Ukkirapandi Muthuramalingam Thevar also known as Pasumpon Muthuramalingam Thevar was an Indian politician. He hailed from the Maravar community, the dominant warrior caste group in his home district in southern Tamil Nadu. Thevar became the leader of the All India Forward Bloc in Tamil Nadu, and was national deputy chairman of the party from 1952 onwards. He was elected thrice to parliament.
During his youth, Thevar was aided by Kuzhanthaisami Pillai. Pillai was a close family friend of Thevar’s father. Pillai took responsibility for arranging Thevar’s schooling. First he was given private tuition and in June 1917 he began attending classes at an elementary school run by American missionaries in Kamuthi. Later he joined the Pasumalai High School(near Thirupparankundaram) and then he shifted to the Union Christian High School in Madurai. Thevar would however, not complete his studies. In 1924 he missed his final examinations due to an outbreak of a plague epidemic. The following year he also missed his chance to attend the final examinations, as he returned to Pasumpon to fight a legal battle over issues of inheritance of family property. The case would linger and was not settled until 1927, when the court ruling in Muthuramalingam Thevar’s favour.
One particular issue would have a special impact on Thevar’s political career. Since 1920 the Criminal Tribes Act had been enacted by the government of the Madras Presidency and began to be implemented in the Madurai, Ramnad and Tirunelveli districts. After his entry into politics, Thevar began to mobilize resistance to the CTA. He toured villages in the affected areas and led protest rallies for the rights of the individuals registered under the CTA. In 1929 the Maravars of 19 villages in Appanad were forced to registered under the CTA. Thevar led a massive campaign in the villages, urging the people to defy the CTA. The authorities partially withdrew, and reduced the number of CTA registrations in the concerned areas from around 2000 to just 341.
The growing popularity in Thevar as a leader of elements opposing the official Congress leadership in Tamil Nadu troubled the Congress-led government. Thevar was also increasingly associated with labour militancy. A criminal case, the so-called Madura Security Case, was proceeded against him. He was banned from leaving Madurai. When travelling to his birthplace, Pasumpon, in September 1940 he was apprehended and jailed for 18 months at the Central Jail in Tiruchirapalli. His capture sparked wide condemnation in Tamil Nadu. Soon after his release he was again arrest, now under the Defence of India Rules. He was released from prison only on September 5, 1945.
After being released from prison Thevar began mobilising for the Madurai municipal elections, held in March 1959. An alliance of the Forward Bloc, Communist Party of India, Indian National Democratic Congress and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam was formed. The alliance won the elections, and for the first time Congress lost its hold over the city administration.Following the election, Thevar health deteriorated and he largely withdrew from public life. He was nominated for the 1962 Lok Sabha election. However he only attended a single campaign meeting, which also was attended by C. Rajagopalachari (who now had merged with his INDC with the Swatantra Party). Thevar was reelected, but due to health reasons he was unable to travel to the parliament in Delhi. U. Muthuralingam Thevar died on October 30, 1963, on his 55th birthday. A bye-election for the Aruppukottai Lok Sabha constituency seat vacated by his death was held in 1964, in which the Forward Bloc was defeated for the first time.
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