Vaikom Satyagraha and Guruvayoor Satyagraha

Vaikom Satyagraha and Guruvayoor Satyagraha have not only regarded as advancement in social reform but also an inseparable episode of the national movement in Kerala for the agitation for civil rights.

The Congress conference held at Kakinada in 1923 decided to propagate against the untouchability in Kerala.

A committee was constituted for this purpose consisting of A.K Pillai, K.P.Kesava Menon, Kurur Nilakantan Nampoothiripad and K. Kelappan. During this period non caste Hindus were not permitted to walk around the Vaikom temple .

Against this a Satyagraha was started in front of the temple on 30 March 1924. As part of this struggle two processions were started from Nagarcoil and Vaikom.

They joined together at Thiruvananthapuram and submitted a memorial to the Maharaja under the leadership of Mannathu Padmanabhan and T. K Madavan.

To support the Satyagraha which caught national attention, E.V Ramaswamy Naicker and the Akalis moved to the area to render support.

Finally Gandhiji himself came to Vaikom in March 1925 and held discussions with the authorities. Consequently among the four roads the three surrounding the temple were opened for public.

Under the auspices of Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee a similar Satyagraha was started at Guruvayoor on 1st November 1931 demanding entry into the Guruvayoor temple for all castes of Hindu religion.

K. Kelappan, Mannathu Padmanabhan, A.K Gopalan and N.P DamodaranNair were the leaders of that agitation.

When Samuthiri, the temple trustee was reluctant to concede as the second phase of the struggle K.Kelappan started fast unto death from 22 September 1932 onwards. But due to Gandhiji’s intervention on 22 October the struggle was withdrawn

Subsequently, there was an opinion poll held at Ponnani taluk in which 77 per cent favoured the entry of all castes in to the temples.

Through these kind of popular struggles temple entry proclamation was made in November 1936 in Travancore.