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Vaikom Satyagraha

Published: 5th Apr, 2024


The centennial commemoration of the Vaikom Satyagraha (March 30, 2024), brings attention to a significant chapter in India's history that foregrounded social reform amidst the growing nationalist movement, bringing Gandhian methods of protest to the state of Travancore.


About the Satyagraha:

  • Vaikom, a temple town in the princely state of Travancore, saw the start of a non-violent agitation on March 30, 1924 — the first among temple entry movements that would soon sweep across the country.
  • Vaikom Satyagraha lasted for 604 days (20 months) from March 30, 1924 to November 23, 1925.
  • It was a mass Temple entry movementfor lower caste people.
  • Leaders involved:
    • Led by:TK Madhavan, KP Kesava Menon, K Kelapaan (Congress Leaders)
    • Supported by:Mahatma Gandhi, Periyar, C Rajagopalachari, Chattampi Swamikal, Sree Narayana Guru
  • The nonviolent movementdemanded the right of members of lower castes to walk on the roads leading to the Vaikom Temple, now in the district of Kottayam.
  • The authorities denied their request, stating that it would lead to social unrest and disturbance.
  • This denial was met with widespread protests and demonstrations, which eventually led to the involvement of Mahatma Gandhi, who arrived in Vaikom in 1925.
  • Gandhi was able to iron out a compromise: three out of the four roads surrounding the temples were opened upfor everyone but the fourth, eastern road was kept reserved for Brahmins.
  • Outcome:The protests eventually led to the historic Temple Entry Proclamation issued by the then king Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma on November 12, 1936. It abolished the ban on 'lower castes' from entering Hindu temples in the Princely State of Travancore.

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