RENAISSANCE IN KERALA :Struggles and Social Revolts ...

RENAISSANCE IN KERALA :Struggles and Social Revolts ...
Mar 21, 2015

RENAISSANCE IN KERALA :Struggles and Social Revolts

RENAISSANCE IN KERALA :Struggles and Social Revolts

Hello reader,

In this post we will discuss some of the struggles and social revolts happened as  part of renaissance in Kerala. 

Short notes on following events are provided in this post:

  1. Kurichya Revolt : 1812
  2. Shanar Agitation: 1859
  3. Pandara  Pattam  Proclamation:1865
  4. Malayali memorial : 1891
  5. Ezhava Memorial :1896
  6. Malabar Rebellion(Moplah Rebellion) :1921
  7. Wagon tragedy :1921
  8. Students' agitation: 1922
  9. Vaikom Satyagraham :1924
  10. Guruvayoor Stayagraham: 1931-1932
  11. Yachana Yathra :1931
  12. Nivarthana Agitation: 1932
  13. Electricity Agitation  :1936
  14. PattiniJatha :1936
  15. Kuttamkulam Struggle :1946
  16. Punnapra Vayalar Upheaval :1946
  17. Paliyam Satyagraham 1948

Kurichya Revolt : 1812

Protest from  Kurichiyas  and Kurumbars of Wynad against  the  British  Government’s  policy  of collecting revenue  from  them  in cash  rather than  in  kind.

Shanar Agitation: 1859

The Shanars of South Travancore agitated for their women  to get the same rights to dress as women from upper sections of the Hindus.(Breast cloth agitation).
Col.  Munro permitted  Shanar  women, who converted  to Christianity, to cover their bodies with Kuppayams.
Eventually  the Royal Proclamation of July26, 1859, abolished all restrictions on covering of the upper parts by Shanar women

Pandara  Pattam  Proclamation:1865

-    Known as “the Magnacarta  of  the  Travancore  ryots(farmers)”
-    It conferred proprietary rights of Sirkar  Pattam lands to  the holders.

Malayali memorial : 1891

•    Aim: To protest against  the  Government’s policy  to import outside persons,  particularly Tamil Brahmins,  for important posts in the public services even when persons with similar qualifications were available inside the State.
•    G.Parameswaran  Pillai  (Barrister G.P.Pillai),  R.Ranga  Rao and  N.Raman Pillai were  the master brains of this movement. They were expelled from the Maharaja’s College, Trivandrum, in 1882 under suspicion of raising word against Government’s job policy.
•    A memorandum signed  by  10,028  persons from all castes was submitted to the Maharaja Sree Moolam Thirunal on January 1, 1891 requested  to secure jobs for the educated Keralaites in the Travancore civil service.
  • "Travancore for Travancoreans " slogan is related with Malayali memorial.
  • Chenkotta Ramayyar took initiative to file in favour of Brahmins and against Malayali memorial

Ezhava Memorial(1896)
-     The Ezhavas and  other backward  communities  were denied  the admission  to Government  schools  or   public services
-    Ezhava community under the leadership of  Dr.Palpu  submitted  a memorial to the Maharaja in 1896 to get same privileges for Ezhavas which were being enjoyed  by  Ezhavas who converted to Christianity.
-    Upon receiving negative response , they submitted  second “Ezhava Memorial” to  Lord  Curzon,  the Viceroy  of India, during his visit to Trivandrum in 1900. This memorial also faced failure. 

Malabar Rebellion(Moplah Rebellion) :1921

Malabar Rebellion  was an armed uprising by Mappila Muslims in 1921 against British authority and Hindus in Malabar.

  • Malabar agriculture system was in this hierarchy :  (1)The Jenmi( Nambudiri Brahmins and Nambiar chieftains) were in highest level with hereditary land grants by the Naduvazhis (2) Kanikkaran (Nairs) : for the security and supervision of the land and (3) Verumpattakkaran (Mappilas) who cultivates land for one year lease called verum pattam.
  • The 1921 rebellion began as a reaction against a restriction by the British authorities on the Khilafat Movement in the Eranad and Valluvanad taluks .
  • The police attempt to arrest Vadakkevittil Muhammed, the secretary of the Khilafat Committee, rumor about attack on Mambaram mosque in Tirurangadi were some other reasons for riots.
  • The largely kudiyaan (tenant) Mappilas  attacked , forcibly converted and killed jenmi families.They also attacked and took control of police stations, British government offices, courts and government treasuries.
  • The most prominent leaders of the rebellion were Variankunnath Kunjahammad Haji, Sithi Koya Thangal and Ali Musliyar
Wagon tragedy :1921
The Wagon tragedy was the death of 67 prisoners who had been taken into custody following Mappila Rebellion.

  • Almost 90 detained Muslim rebels were dispatched by train from Tanur to the Podanur Central Prison. As Podanur jail was found to be full  orders were given to take back the prisoners.
  •  During the return journey, 67 of the 90 rebels suffocated  to death in the closed iron wagon.
  • Historian Sumit Sarkar referred to it as the "Black Hole of Podanur"

Students' agitation: 1922
Students came forward  to oppose a fee hike.  The agitation was  strongly supported by the 'Swarad' paper of A.K.  Pillai

Vaikom Satyagraham :1924
Aim: To get approach  roads  to  the  Vaikam  temple opened  for  Hindu avarnas.
Started on 1924 March 30.

Leaders: T.K.Madhavan,  K.P.KesavaMenon,  Mannath  Padmanabhan, Changanacherry  Parameswaran  Pillai, C.V.Kunhiraman  and  K.Kelappan .

Highlight: Savarna Jatha (by Mannath Padmanabhan) came  to  Trivandrum  and submitted their demand before the Regent Setu Lakshmi Bai.

Gandhi  visited Travancore and discussed with the Rani  and also met Sri.Narayana Guru at Varkala. 

After 20  month old struggle,  the Satyagraha  finally  ended  in success  in  1925 and  approach roads  to the temple were  formally opened  to  all  castes!!

Civil disobedience movement : 1930
Kerala also involved actively in nationwide  Civil disobedience movement invoked by Gandhiji.

  • Salt Satyagraha started at Payyannur under the leadership of K. Kelappan  on April 21, 1930. Mohammad Abdur Rahiman, K. Madhavan Nair, P. Krishnapillai and R.V. Sharma led the Satyagraha at Kozhikode.
  • Civil disobedience movement came to an end  after Gandhi-Irwin pact was signed on March 4, 1931
  • The resumption of civil disobedience movement in 1932, created a strong response in Kerala. When the movement was withdrawn in 1934, a section of congress workers led by  E.M. Sankaran Nambudiripad and P. Krishna Pillai joined the Congress Socialist party.

Guruvayoor Stayagraha: 1931- 1932
Aim: to get the Guruvayur temple, Ponnani taluk, Thrissur  opened  to  all  Hindus  
Satyagrha  Was started under auspices of  Kerala  Provincial Congress .

The  leader  of  the Satyagraha was K.Kelappan who entered indefinite fast

 Captain of  Volunteer  Corps was A.K.Gopalan.

 T.Subramanian Tirumumbu was the captain of the temple  entry  campaign

P.Krishna  Pillai was  brutally assaulted  for ringing a bell in temple.

Guruvayur  Satyagraha failed  to  achieve  its immediate objective, but  helped to create a climate  against untouchability.

Yachana Yathra :1931

Yachana Yathra was led by V.T. Bhattathirippadu in 1931 from Trichur to Chandragiri river which lasted for seven days.

This begging march was for the education of poor children.

Nivarthana Agitation: 1932
Ezhavas, Christians and Muslims demanded for representation in the Legislature in proportion to their numerical strength.

 Travancore Diwan Sir C.P. Ramaswamy Iyer tried to suppress the agitation.

Agitators formed Samyukta  Rashtriya  Samiti and requested the voters to abstain from voting
( Abstention movement).

Kerala Kesari was the mouth piece of Abstention movement.

New electoral  law giving reservation for minorities was formally announced by the Government in August  1936.

Leaders :N.V.Joseph,  T.M.Varghese  and C.Kesavan

Electricity Agitation  :1936
 Protest  against  the  decision of Diwan Sir R.K.Shanmukham  Chetti  to  entrust  the distribution of the electric power in the town to private company

Leaders were  E.Ikkanda  Warrier  and Dr.A.R.Menon.

PattiniJatha :1936

PattiniJatha’ was led by A.K. Gopalan in July 1936 from Kannur to Chennai. There were 32 persons in the March.

Temple Entry Proclamation : 1936
Sri Chitra Tirunal Balarama Varma, the Maharaja of Travancore, issued Temple Entry Proclamation on  November  12,  1936.

Gandhiji hailed it as “a micracle of modern  times” and  “a  smriti  which  is  the people’s charter of spiritual emancipation”

The  Temple  Entry Authorisation Proclamation V of (1947-48) issued by the Maharaja of Cochin opened the  temples  in  that  State  to  all  castes.

The  Madras  Temple Entry Act of 1947 extended this reform to the Malabar area.

Kuttamkulam Struggle :1946

Kuttamkulam struggle  „Vazzhinadakkal Samaram‟; was started as a protest  against untouchability in  to the premise of the Kudalmanikyam  temple.

The caste organizations like S N D P, Samastha Cochin  Pulaya Mahasabha, the political parties like  Prajamandalam,  Labour  Organizations,  Beedi  workers  organizations
protested  against  this  injustice.  

The people united  under the leadership of  P. K. Kumaran Master, Saratha  Kumaran, K .V. Unni and P.K.Chathan Master.

Finally the untouchable’s classes got the right to walk  along  the  kuttamkulam  road!

Punnapra Vayalar Upheaval :1946

The September 1946 there occurred the  Punnapra Vayalar Upheaval against the ‘American Model’ irremovable executive.

The American Model was proposed by Sir C. P. Ramaswami Ayyar.

Paliyam Satyagraham (1948)
To get open the the road in front of the main residence of the Paliat Achan, the erstwhile hereditary Chief Minister of Cochin for Avarnas.

Even the princes of the royal families of Cochin and Kodungallur supported it.

A.G.Velayudhan , a freedom fighter ,was killed in a police lathi-charge

Meanwhile in April  1948 all temples in Cochin  were thrown open to all  Hindus,  irrespective of caste.  As a result the Avarnas  and non-  Hindus  got the right to walk along the paliyam road.


Communal Road to a Secular Kerala - Page 53 - Google Books Result
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