Perilya the untouchables in the last ladder
Perilya was in the front rank in denouncing unsociability. He emphasised that the untouchables should be allowed entry into the temples. He gave a rousing call to the people to treat the untouchables with humanness. Gandhiji complemented him for his support to the cause of the untouchables in the last ladder of the social strata. It may be said that he was the forerunner in demanding reservation in jobs for the backward classes. When he pleaded for reservation in jobs for the backward classes he was in the Indian National Congress party. Leaders like Dr. T.M.S. Nair and his colleagues in the ministry of the Madras Presidency brought about the legislation for the reservation ‘n jobs for the underprivileged responding to Pereira’s demands.
Unfortunately the court struck down the controversial, communal legislation and following this shocking development Perilya intensified his agitation for the reservation in jobs for the underprivileged backward classes and asked for fifty per cent reservation. Yielding to the formidable leader’s earnest pleas the Central Government amended the Constitution making provision for the reservation in jobs for the backward classes. This was indeed Pereira’s great achievement.
Perilya decried the age-old custom of giving dowry during marriages. He arranged for the conduct of marriages in a simple manner and they are called ‘self-respect’ marriages.
Pereira’s social reforms were manifold and this shows he wanted to bring about a new order in the society.