From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : M. Thevar, Forward Bloc
Mains level : Not Much
The Prime Minister has recalled the rich contributions of Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Thevar on Thevar Jayanthi.
Who was M. Thevar (1908-1963)?
- Muthuramalingam was a politician and a patriarch of Thevar community in the state of Tamil Nadu.
- He was elected three times to the national Parliamentary Constituency.
(a) Association with INC
- Thevar attended the 52nd annual session of the Indian National Congress, held in Tripuri in March 1939.
- At this meeting the presidency of Subhas Chandra Bose was challenged by Pattabhi Sitaramayya. Sitaramayya had the active support of Gandhi.
- Bose was elected president again over Gandhi’s preferred candidate Pattabhi Sitaramayya.
- Thevar strongly supported Bose in the intra-Congress dispute and joined the Forward Bloc.
(b) Opposition to the Criminal Tribes Act (CTA)
- The CTA had been enacted in 1920 by the government of the Madras Presidency and was subsequently implemented in a piecemeal fashion.
- CTA criminalized entire communities by designating them as habitual criminals.
- Adult males of the groups were forced to report weekly to local police, and had restrictions on their movement imposed.
- Thevar mobilised resistance to it, touring villages in the affected areas and leading protest rallies for the rights of the individuals registered under it.
(c) Temple entry movement
- The Temple Entry Authorisation and Indemnity Act was passed by the government of C. Rajagopalachari in 1939.
- This removed restrictions prohibiting Dalits from entering Hindu temples.
- Thevar supported this reform and on 8 July 1939 he helped the activist A. Vaidyanatha Iyer take Dalits to Meenakshi Temple in Madurai.