Tamil Nadu produces 4 PhD-holding MPs, 2 belong to the Dalit caste.

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The current Lok Sabha comprises of 28 members who hold a PhD, with two being Dalit MPs from Tamil Nadu.

Story: Anjali Soni

Of the 543 newly elected Lok Sabha MPs, only 28 hold PhDs, including four from Tamil Nadu: Dr. Thol. Thirumavalavan, Dr. D. Ravi Kumar, Dr. Thamizhachi Thangapandian, and Dr. Ganapathy Rajkumar. Dr. Thirumavalavan and Dr. Ravi Kumar, the only Dalit MPs with doctorates, focus their research on crucial aspects of Dalit history. Thirumavalavan’s PhD thesis examines the Meenakshipuram conversions, while Ravi Kumar explores the life of the ‘untouchable’ saint, Nandanar.

Born in a small village in the Ariyalur district, Dr. Thirumavalavan overcame significant hardships to become the first graduate from his village. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Presidency College, University of Madras, followed by a Master’s in Criminology from Madras Law College, and a PhD in Victimology from M.S. University in Tirunelveli. His thesis, “Religious conversion of Meenakshipuram Dalits — a victimological study,” investigated why over 150 Dalit families in Tirunelveli embraced Islam in 1981. Thirumavalavan’s findings highlighted improved socio-economic conditions among the converts compared to other Dalits in the region.

Also read: Who is Dalit MP K Suresh who was chosen by the opposition as a candidate for the post of Speaker?

Dr. Ravi Kumar, the other VCK MP, hails from Manganampattu village in Mayiladuthurai district. Despite a challenging journey to school, he pursued higher education, earning a Bachelor’s in Tourism Studies, a Bachelor of Law, and a Master’s in Tamil literature before obtaining a PhD from Annamalai University. His research, titled “Hidden History of King Nandan,” focused on Nandanar, a Shaivite saint depicted as untouchable in historical texts.

The other two PhD holders from Tamil Nadu are DMK MPs, Dr Thamizhachi Thangapandian and Dr Ganapathy Rajkumar. Thangapandian’s research on Sri Lankan playwright Ernest Thalayasingam Macintyre culminated in her book, “Island to Island,” which explores the Tamil diaspora’s experiences. Rajkumar’s thesis, “Evolution of Jayalalithaa as a mass leader,” documented the late AIADMK leader’s rise despite the challenges she faced as a woman.

Also read: Odisha’s New Cabinet: Four Tribals, Two Dalits, in Historic Move by BJP

The importance of education is a common thread among these MPs. Thirumavalavan emphasizes that education empowers individuals and provides a deeper understanding of social issues. Ravi Kumar believes that education is crucial at any age, while Thangapandian views her work in Tamil as a political statement. Rajkumar sees education as a third eye that offers diverse perspectives on the world. Their journeys underscore the transformative power of education and its role in shaping their political and social outlooks.

*दलित टाइम्स उन करोड़ो लोगो की आवाज़ है जिन्हें हाशिए पर रखा गया है। *

महिला, दलित और आदिवासियों के मुद्दों पर केंद्रित पत्रकारिता करने और मुख्यधारा की मीडिया में इनका प्रतिनिधित्व करने के लिए हमें आर्थिक सहयोग करें।


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