Modern Indian History-Events and Personalities

[pib] Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Thevar


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.

His legacy:

(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.


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