GS1 Modern Indian History
- Since 2024 will mark the centenary year of the Vaikom Satyagraha, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin will jointly launch the centenary celebrations on April 1, 2023, at a function to be held at Vaikom.
What is Vaikom Satyagraha?
- The Vaikom Satyagraha of March 30, 1924 was a satyagraha (campaign) against untouchability in Hindu society in Travancore, India (now part of Kerala). The focus of the movement was the Shiva temple at Vaikom, close to Kottayam.
- Vaikom is located in the western part of the Kottayam district of Kerala, India. It has border with Vembanad Lake.
- Its significance in Indian history is due to the Vaikom Satyagraha against untouchability, in which Mahatma Gandhi and Periyar Ramasamy participated.
- The Satyagraha sought to secure freedom of movement for all sections of society on public roads leading to the Sri Mahadevar Temple in Vaikom.
- According to the caste system prevalent in Kerala and the rest of India, lower caste Hindus were barred from entering temples.
- They were not allowed to walk on the roads leading to temples in Kerala. Prior to the formation of the state of Kerala in 1956, the region was divided into the states of Malabar (northern Kerala), Cochin and Travancore.
- In 1923, T.K. Madhavan presented a letter at a Congress party meeting in Kakinada detailing the discrimination meted out to Keralites from lower castes. After this convention, it is necessary to promote the movements against untouchability. In Kerala, a council of persons from different castes was formed to combat untouchability. K Kelappan headed the committee, which included T K Madhavan, Velayudha Menon, K Neelakantan Namboodiri and TR Krishnaswamy Iyer.
In February 1924, he resolved to start “Keralaparyatnam” to secure temple access and the ability to use public highways for all Hindus, regardless of caste or creed.
- It is considered to be the first organized struggle in Kerala to demand the right of all castes and communities to use public highways. It was started in protest against the ban on the four lanes around the Vaikom Mahadevar temple from underprivileged communities
Effects of Vaikom Satyagraha
- Vaikom Satyagraha was a testing ground for Gandhian Satyagraha principles. Gandhiji wrote to WH Pitt, the Travancore Police Commissioner at that time, in 1925 to resolve the ongoing issue. Therefore, Pitt intervened and the government and Gandhi reached a compromise.
- Gandhiji gave his consent to end the Satyagraha in 1925, when the government decided to revoke the prohibitory orders made in February 1924, and also when he agreed to withdraw the Satyagraha.
- The government announced that the three side routes (paths) of the Shiva temple or Mahadev temple at Vaikom (North, South and West) would remain open to the general public, but the route on the eastern side, ie.
- Roads leading to the east will be designated exclusively for upper castes. Many historians concluded that the Vaikom Satyagraha had not yielded the expected results and that the settlement was an embarrassment compared to the secret of the revolutionary cause.
- Nevertheless, this movement laid the groundwork for the end of traditional colonialism.
- In November 1936, the historic Temple Entry Proclamation was passed, declaring the importance of the Vaikom Satyagraha, ending the age-old orthodox ban on the entry of Dalit castes into the temples of Travancore. It was also an excellent opportunity for the Indian National Congress party to expand in Kerala.
- It became the first human rights movement in India. The Vaikom Satyagraha had a great impact on Indian politics and society. This resulted in the establishment of Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam (SNDP). It is a reform organization that campaigned for the advancement of the lower castes of Kerala.
- Historians are concerned about the efforts of several organizations to rebrand the Vaikom Satyagraha as a religious reform movement rather than a social reform campaign.
- The Vaikom Satyagraha was a turning point in the Indian independence movement which highlighted the inequalities of the caste system and the need for social reform. The demonstration highlighted the effectiveness of nonviolent resistance in effecting social change by paving the way for a more inclusive and equitable society.
daily main question
[Q] The Vaikom Satyagraha was an important moment in the Indian independence movement that exposed the atrocities of the caste system. analyze in detail.