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Vaikom Satyagraha

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April 01, 2023

Why in news?

Kerala Chief Minister and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister are to jointly inaugurate the centenary celebrations of Vaikom Satyagraha.

What is Vaikom Satyagraha?

  • Vaikom is a serene town in Kottayam, Kerala.
  • The Vaikom Satyagraha was launched on March 30, 1924 against the ban imposed on members of marginalized communities in the surroundings of Vaikom Mahadevar Temple.
  • It marked the dawn of temple entry movements across India.
  • It was launched by leaders in Kerala such as T.K. Madhavan, K.P. Kesava Menon and George Joseph, on the advice of Mahatma Gandhi.
  • A march comprising of ‘upper caste’ Hindus who supported the reform commenced in Vaikom and ended at the capital of Trivandrum.
  • They marched with 25,000 signatures of ‘forward caste’ Hindus, for opening the Vaikom’s temple roads to all castes.
  • Large-scale participation of women was witnessed for the first time during the Satyagraha, marking the passage of women into the socio-political consciousness of the country.
  • The protest sustained itself for more than one and a half years, leading to many arrests and satyagrahis being jailed.
  • Even the Akalis from Punjab travelled to Vaikom to supply food to the protesters.

What is the role of Periyar?

  • Leaders such as Neelakandan Nampoothiri and George Joseph requested Periyar to lead the protest.
  • Periyar accepted the request and led the protest making the protest successful.
  • Thiru. Vi. Kalyanasundaram (Thiru.Vi.Ka.) conferred the title Vaikom Veerar (Hero of Vaikom) on Periyar.
  • Tamil Nadu played a pivotal role in Vaikom Satyagraha, which symbolised a struggle by the untouchables.
  • Emperumal Naidu and Sivathanu Pillai were prominent leaders in Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu.

What are the impacts of temple entry movement?

  • In 1925, the government of the Travancore princely state declared that people could enter three of the four streets around Vaikom temple thus bringing the protest to an end.
  • It paved way for the temple entry proclamation of Kerala in 1936.
  • In 1928, backward castes got the right to walk on public roads inn all temples in Travancore.
  • It led to various temple entry movements across India thereby promoting social justice and equality for all.
  • Sanchara resolution
  • It is a resolution for free entry to the streets around the temple.
  • The resolution was supported by higher cates in the assembly.
  • But, it was defeated by a single vote in the Assembly by the open support of the traditionalists and the indirect pressure of the government.

References

  1. The Hindu │ Vaikom Satyagraha
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