|Vaikom Sri Mahadeva temple, Vaikom, Kerala risholidays.com/|
|Vaikom Shiva temple, kerala. .mandirmandir.com|
The date 12 November 1936, was a milestone not only in the sociopolitical history of Travancore (Kerala), but also of India. A different and distinct pattern of social reformation emerged just like a certain geometrical pattern is generated if a kaleidoscope is given a good shake!! It was on this day ''the Temple Entry Proclamation'' was issued by Maharajah Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma despite protests from upper caste Hindus. Both the Maharajah and the then Diwan Sir C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar, a legal luminary and Scholar n Sanskrit won the appreciation of national leaders especially Gandhiji who called the poor people as Harijans (sons of God; now dalit is widely used and not harijans) for boldly introducing this famous temple entry proclamation act and setting the stage for the entry of weaker sections in the society to enter the Hindu temples. The town Vaikom is famous for a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva (here the God's name is Mahadevan).
|Vaikom Mahadevan temple, Kerala .thehindu.com|
As for K. Kelappan, no doubt, he played a stellar role in the famous Vaikom Satyagraha and was the leader of the Guruvayur Satyagraha in 1932. He undertook fast-unto death in the same temple town and the fasting continued till he became very weak. At last, Kelappan gave it up upon Gandhiji’s interference. The Vaikom movement was centered at the Shiva temple in Vaikom, near Kottayamthe. Nambootheri Brahmins were the main residents on the four nadas/ streets around the Shiva temple. They were the ones taking care of the temple pujas, rituals, etc.
|Social reformer, Vaikom struggle Kellapan ravel.manoramaonline.com|
|T.K. Mahadevan laid the foundation of Vaikom struggle, kerala. indianetzone|
As a prelude to Stayagrahs at vaikom, a group of Savarnas or upper castes, participated in a padayatra procession to the palace in Thiruvananthapuram, and submitted a petition on the first of Oct. 1924 to the Regent Maharani Sethulakshmi Bai of Travancore with approximately 25000 signatures for allowing entry to the roads to the temple for everyone. They impressed on the Regent Ranee the need to respect the aspiration of low caste people and their basic rights to enter the streets and worship on the temple premises. Gandhijii came on the scene and personally met with the Regent Maharani. In addition, another procession of Savarnas tool place headed by well-known Nair leader Mannath Padmanabhan Nair, with about 500 in the initial stage and increased in size to about 5000 when the procession had reached Thiruvananthapuram in the month of November 1924.Later their protests died down and they accepted the rulers' move. The king after certain deliberations understood the ground reality and abolished the ban on the so-called 'low caste people' or avarnas from entering the roads close to the temples as well as the temples in the Princely State of Travancore, now part of Kerala. It was on 23rd November, 1925, the temple gates except the East street of all places of Hindu worship were opened to Hindus of all castes In 1928, the backward castes got the right to walk on public roads leading to all temples in Travancore.
''Vaikom Sathyagraha'' was a great success after a prolonged struggle which finally led to the temple entry proclamation act. Congress leader E.V. Ramawami Naicker, (then Congress President of TN) as requested by Kerala Congress Party and his personal friend and Congress leader Rajaji, participated in the protest in the second phase representing Tamil Nadu (Then part of Madras Presidency) as the main satyagrahis courted arrest and sent to jail. He took the leadership toward the end and was arrested twice and finally released soon after the ruler of Travancore died. The aim of Satyagraha was to securing freedom to all sections of society to pass through the public roads leading to the Sri Mahadeva Temple. The streets were forbidden to the so called low caste people for a pretty long time earlier.The famous Malayalam poet Muloor S.Padmanabha Panicker wrote:'
Long ago on the streets of Vaikom in a rickshaw,
The great sage Sree Narayana was going,
An idiot born as god on earth'',
Came up and ordered the rickshaw to withdraw. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaikom_Satyagraha