|young ruler of Travancore, Balaram Varma thebetterindia.com|
|Architect of Vaikom struggle, T.K. Mahadevan, en. wikepedia. org|
The scourge of untouchability in India had been around for centuries and the Hinduism (it is a way of life, and not a religion) never mentioned about either castes or discrimination among Hindus. That how did un-touchability creep into the Indian society is a moot question that needs proper scientific study; biased study pinning blame on one community won't help the posterity. As for certain political parties of TN, whose ideology is based on rationalism, atheism and linguistic chauvinism, they blame it on the so called upper caste Hindus and find scapegoats in the quite Brahmin community.
|T.kK. Madhadevan lawter and social eformer. thebetterindia.com|
|rformist Kelappan. keralapscgk.com|
|Sri kelappan , Vaikom struggle en.wikipedia.org|
The architect of Vaikom Satyagraha was T.K Madhavan with moral support from Narayana Guru and Gandhaiji. The salient feature of this struggle was the agitators never used foul and filthy language making scapegoats out of certain upper caste communities. Their main objective was to remove unconditionally the road blocks set to prevent entry to the temple roads and it was a methodical approach. The first step in the right direction is to assert the rights of all people to use the public roads around the temples. The vaikom satyagraha was synonymous with a peaceful war on caste discrimination and denial of entry into roads close to the temples - all in the name of castes. This first ever prolonged agitation drew the attention of the Indian sub continent as well as the western world where, in particular, in the southern USA, Black people were seriously protesting against the Jim crow laws, open racial discrimination, denial of voting rights, access to public rest rooms and transport, and admission to colleges.
Sri Madhavan intelligently made certain moves within the purview of laws with support from a large number of leaders from Kerala. And to achieve that, the involvement of the Indian National Congress was necessary. T. K. Madhavan (2 September 1885 – 27 April 1930) was the one who presented a resolution seeking permission of temple entry and right to worship to all people irrespective of caste and community. Besides, he moved the resolution for the eradication of untouchability in the Kakkinada (now in Andhra) session of Indian National Congress (INC) meeting held in 1923. Madhavan had to continue his struggle for the temple entry of Harijans in Kerala to get it done as early as possible. In 1927, he was made organizing secretary of the SNDP Yogam. T.K Madhavan formed a voluntary organization "Dharma Bhata Sangham" to strengthen the activities of SNDP Yogam.
In the aftermath of the Kakinada Congress resolution, the KPCC met at Ernakulam on 24 January 1924 and formed an Untouchability Abolition Committee (UAC) consisting of K. Kelappan (convener), T. K. Madhavan, Kurur Nilakantan Namboothiri, T.R. Krishna Swami Iyer, and K. Velayudha Menon. A Publicity Committee of five members including T. K. Madhavan was also formed.
In the Vaikom struggle Madhavan was well supported by K. Kelappan, and K.P. Kesava Menon put in every effort to get the right of oppressed class of people to use the road in front of Vaikom Mahadeva temple. When the protests became a serious issue, Madhavan and Kesava Menon, and other members were arrested and imprisoned. The struggle lasted for 18 long months of pain and mental agony. Other prominent people like Kurur Neelakanthan Namboodiri and Mannathu Padmanabhan could not succeed.
|E.V.. Ramaswami Naicker, TN kalaipukcmca.blogspot.com/|
The hard-won victory of Vaikom Sathyagraha was due to the toil of reformers like T. K. Madhavan and others from Travanacore region and the collective efforts of other reformers. Mention may be made of Mannathu Padmanabha Pillai (2 January 1878 – 25 February 1970) who was a social reformer and freedom fighter from the south-western state of Kerala. As the founder of the Nair Service Society (NSS), which claims to represent the Nair community (forming 12.10% ( as per KMS 2011) of the population of the state, he gave full support to the temple entry satyagraiha. So was Channankara Velayudhan Pillai Raman Pillai (19 May 1858 – 21 March 1922), also known as 'C. V' who was a pioneering playwright and novelist of Malayalam literature.
T.K Madhavan and others instilled confidence in the marginalized castes and urged them to assert their basic fundamental civil rights of accessing public spaces and their equal rights in the places of worship. To him and other sataygrahis like Sri Kelappan, God does not have discriminatory eyes and only the egotistical men do impose this kind of wrong inequality before God.
Besides, Madhavan submitted a resolution to the Travancore legislative council, demanding equal rights to temple entry and worship for all people regardless of castes and communities. In addition, he submitted repeated memorandums to the royal government for lifting the ban for marginalized castes to access Vaikom’s temple roads. These fundamental efforts made by him and others snowballed into Vaikom Satyagraha that paved the way for the entry of Harjans (dalits) into the temples of Kerala. Towards the end, M.K. Gandhi reached Vaikom and gave it the finishing touch.
In Today's political scenario across India and, in particular Tamil Nadu, the situation regarding Dalit youths is a matter of concern. Though the Dalits get better job opportunities, etc., they lack dedication and self improvement because they do not have good guides to help them out. Invariably, they have become puppets in the hands of certain narrow-minded, selfish political leaders who use them as trump cards and freely indulge in divisive politics. In addition to it, they are being enticed by other religious heads to get them converted to their religion. This political exploitation of dalit youths under dubious and misleading leadership continues unabated. None of the leaders teach them to lead a purposeful life and achieve success by way of hard work and integrity.