Social activist and crusader against caste killings, Udumalai Gowsalya married Parai musician Sakthi at the Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam head office in Coimbatore on Sunday. The wedding was helmed by Evidence Kathir, Kolathur Mani, VCK Vanniyarasu, and Ku Ramakritinan.
Gowsalya is a caste crime survivor whose husband Shankar, a Dalit man, was killed by her own family in 2016. Sakthi is a computer applications graduate, who has been pursuing his dream of being a Parai artiste since 2011. A native of Coimbatore, Sakthi completed his diploma in Paraiattam at the Bharathiar University. His students say that Sakthi has attempted to bring about a reform in the traditional folk art by preparing extensive notations for an otherwise extempore song and dance routine.
Shankar, a Dalit man, and Gowsalya, who hails from the socially dominant Thevar community (OBC), had been married for just eight months when Shankar was murdered by Gowsalya’s family in broad daylight. Gowsalya was just 19-years-old when the incident occurred. Having witnessed Shankar being hacked to death on March 13, 2016, Gowsalya started actively advocating against casteism and caste violence, and has been demanding a law to protect inter-caste couples in the country.
Pictures from the wedding
On December 12, 2017, a year and six months after the murder, a Tiruppur court, awarded death penalty to Gowsalya’s father Chinnasamy, the mastermind in the murder. The Court, however, acquitted Gowsalya’s mother Annalakshmi, who was Accused 2 in the case along with Pandi Durai, Accused 3 and Gowsalya’s uncle.
Reacting to the verdict, Gowsalya told media persons, "This verdict will inspire fear in the minds of caste fanatics. It also inspires faith in our justice system.”
Gowsalya has always maintained that the battle is far from over. While Gowsalya was awaiting Shankar’s trial to be heard, she visited Divya who had lost her husband, Illavarasan, to caste violence in July 2013.
Gowsalya now regularly speaks on caste violence and the evils of the caste system. “Until there is a law against ‘honour’ killings, my struggle will continue,” she reiterated during one of the media interactions. In September this year, she also visited Amrutha who had lost her husband Pranay in a similar hate crime.