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PERIYAR’S PERSONAL SECRETARY PASSES AWAY IN TRICHY

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T Mahalingan, 89, the direct personal secretary of social reformer Periyar E V Ramasamy passed away after a brief illness on Sunday night near Rettaivaikal in Trichy. The 89-year-old, who held crucial posts in Dravidar Kazhagam abandoned his government job in 1960 to join as Periyar’s personal assistant to assist him in organising public meetings across the state.

Born on June 28, 1930 at Velipalayam in Nagapattinam town, Mahalingan after completing SSLC joined as a land surveyor in the survey department at Nagapattinam. A staunch supporter of the Dravidar Kazhagam in the 1950’s, Mahalingan used to attend all public meetings presided by Periyar in erstwhile composite Thanjavur district.

After Periyar’s health deteriorated in 1960’s, a request was made in Viduthalai, a Tamil daily founded by Periyar seeking interested cadres to join as personal secretary. Mahalingam resigned his job and joined Periyar. “There was no wheelchair then, Periyar used to grip Mahalingan’s shoulders while travelling throughout the state for public meetings. Mahalingan, during the final years of Periyar towed his urine bucket while speaking about self-respect and women rights,” president of Trichy regional Dravidar Kazhagam, M Nargunam told .

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In 1973, he married Dravida Rani in a self-respect wedding presided by Periyar at Woraiyur following which Mahalingan relieved himself from his post for a decade.

“He felt bad leaving Periyar’s personal secretary post,” recalls Rani. The couple has named their only son as Periyarselvan in memory of Periyar. Mahalingan, while leaving Periyar had sought a handwritten letter as recognition for his service which he framed in his house.

ahalingan, who was managing a library in Periyar Thidal in Trichy was also a member of Periyar trust and served as correspondent of Thanthai Periyar elementary school in K K Nagar until his death.

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