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Immanuvel Devendrar
Born (1924-10-09)9 October 1924
Sellur Village,
Ramanathapuram district,
Tamil Nadu
Died 11 September 1957(1957-09-11) (aged 32)
Mudukulathur, South Tamil Nadu
Other names Vellu, Sekaran, Devendranar
Organization Tamil Nadu Youth Congress

Immanuvel Devendrar (9 October 1924 – 11 September 1957) was a freedom fighter, Dalit activist and worker for the Indian National Congress in Tamil Nadu, India, who was murdered by a group of people from another caste.

Immanuvel Devendrar was born in Sellur, Mudukulathur, Tamil Nadu on 9 October 1924. He took part in the Quit India movement from the age of 18 and was imprisoned for three months because of it. In 1945, he enlisted in the British Indian Army and, upon his discharge, he returned to his native Ramanathapuram district to work for the Indian National Congress party (INC). His time in the army had caused him to question the historic oppression of Dalits in his district, which was particularly severe.[1][2]

Devendrar worked to improve the education, rights and representation of the Dalit Pallar caste, of which he was a member. He tried to mobilise them to demand equality. The INC saw him as a useful opposition to Pasumpon Mutharamalingam Thevar, who had defected from the party to join the Forward Bloc.[1] The party thought that he might be a worthy future member of the Legislative Assembly and groomed him for that end. It was for this reason that he converted to the Hindu religion and took the name Immanuel Sekaran.[2]

The Pallars were often in dispute with the higher-status Thevar caste and the relationship between the communities became fraught following a by-election in 1957. A peace meeting was called, at which Devendrar refused to stand up when Thevar arrived.[1]

Devendrar was ambushed and murdered by a group of Thevars on 11 September 1957. There were accusations that Thevar himself had some responsibility for the death. Thevar was in fact arrested but later released without charge.[1]

The 1957 Ramnad riots, in which 42 Dalits were killed, occurred as a consequence of Devendrar's murder.[2]

The anniversary of Devendrar's death is celebrated annually as Devendrar Jayanti by Pallar people in Tamil Nadu.[3][4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Freedom fighter, Dalit icon: Remembering Tamil Nadu's Immanuel Sekaran". Hindustan Times. 11 September 2016. Retrieved 2017-07-20. 
  2. ^ a b c Karthikeyan, D. (11 September 2011). "Immanuel Sekaran in the vanguard of Dalit struggle". The Hindu. Retrieved 2017-07-20. 
  3. ^ Floral tributes paid to Tamil Nadu state leader Emmanuel Sekaran
  4. ^ "Tribute paid to Emmanuel Sekaran". The Hindu. 12 May 2005. Retrieved 2017-07-20. 

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