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Periyar: A Political Biography of E.V. RamaswamyPeriyar: A Political Biography of E.V. Ramaswamy by Bala Jeyaraman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very balanced biography of the much revered political leader of Tamil Nadu. Just like any other leader he had his good points and his warts. As the author rightly says he is neither the saint that his followers make him out to be, nor is he a demon which his detractors make him out to be. He was an ordinary man who succumbed to the normal human temptation of attempting to make the whole world see things from his point of view.

The good part was that he wanted a society where everybody is equal irrespective of caste, creed, religion or gender. Some of the stance that he took were militant, like cutting off the tufts and sacred thread of the brahmins. It is arguable if they really deserved it. And in the later part of his life he seems to have become power crazy, power to bring his dreams to reality.

The other deified leader who has been brought down to earth in this book is Rajagopalachari. Many think he was a paragon of virtue, but this book brings out the shades of grey in him as well.

A eminently readable book.

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