E.V. Ramaswamy Naicker (also known as Perivar) was primarily a social reformer who selflessly worked for the up-liftment of the lower castes. In 1925, he started the Self- Respect Movement, which rejected brahminical religion and culture. Naicker felt that Hinduism under the control of brahmins was the prime instrument of exploitation of the lower castes. He sought to undermine the position of brahmin priests by formalising weddings without them. He condemned Manusmriti for its caste bias. In 1924, he brought out a journal named Kudi Arasu.
Naicker was also involved in the political struggle for independence. He was a member of the Indian National Congress and participated in several movements.