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Kerala Renaissance- Ayyankalli

 

 AYYANKALI (1866 -1914)
                              
He was famous for his struggles for the reformation of  Untouchables (Lower caste of India also known as ‘Dalits/Pulayar’ in ‘Malayalam’) They were considered as untouchables by the upper classes.

He was born in 28 August 1863, in a village named Venganoor, Thiruvananthapuram. From the Childhood itself, he face many insults due to caste discrimination.


These consequences later transformed him to fight for the social rights and freedom of pulayas. He rise his voice for the  right for Pulayas to  walk  along the public roads in Travancore.


In 1907,  he founded the Sadhu Jana Paripalana Yogam, which later became Pulaya Maha Sabha.He was nominated to Srimulam Prajasabha or Popular Assembly in 1910 and remained in office for 25 years.


He became the first person from lower classes to be nominated to Tranvancore Legislative Assembly.


He was inspired  by the activities of Sree Narayana Guru,  Founder of S.N.D.P, who also fight struggles for the reformation of Ezhava(another lower caste in Kerala).

Fight for Agriculture and Education Right
Ayyankali organized a protest for the Travancore Agricultural labourers, who were deprived of the minimum basic necessities of life.

In 1905,  he established a school for the Pulayas in Venganoor, to protest against the landlords of Travancore.  As the Pulayas were not permitted to travel through the public roads and to get admission in government schools. Ayyankali directed his early struggles to achieve these objectives.


He founded the Sadhu Jana Paripalana Yogam in 1907, and conducted several protet cross kerala. In 1907, the State Government banned the abolishment of  Pulayas for their primary education and allowed them enter the schools.


 But the Upper Caste people strictly opposed the Government Order. Ayyankalli thus formed a protest against the landlord and threatens them by not willing to work on the fields until their children allowed in school. This hike the courage and among the Harijans.

Since it happened in Kolavarsham 1090, it was later known as ‘Thonnuramandu Lahala’.   

Villuvandi Samaram/വില്ലുവണ്ടി സമരം-1893
To achieve pulayas the freedom to travel through public road, he organized a symbolic struggle and traveled through the public roads using a bullock cart in 1893.

He travelled from Venganoor to Trivandrum in Bullock Cart, and dress like the Nair people. It was becomes a strick for the landlords.

Kallu Mala Samaram/കല്ല്മാല സമരം(1915)
The women in Pulayar, Parayar, Kuravar caste are not prohibited from wearing gold ornaments. So the Pulaya women used to wear ornaments made of stone and iron glass pieces.
In 1915, he conducted a public meeting and thrown away the ornaments and started using the ornaments like the upper Caste. This agitation was known as ‘Kallu Mala Agitation’

King of Pulayas/ പുലയരാജാവ്
In 1973, Gandhiji visited Kerala for the 5th time.
He visited Ayyankali at Venganoor.He gave him an epithet- പുലയരാജവ്.
The  Statue of Ayyankali was inaugurated by the Indira Gandhi in 1980 at Kowdiar, Trivandrum.

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