Vaikom Satyagraha

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India's one of the most supported and widely accepted protests, ‘Vaikom Satyagraha', celebrated its 100 years recently.

About Vaikom Satyagraha

  • It is the first anti-caste movement, as the pupil of the depressed class and untouchables were restricted from entering the temple.
  • This Satyagraha was to establish the rights of the oppressed classes to walk on the roads to the Shree Mahadeva Temple in Vaikom in Kottayam district.


  • The issue of temple entry was first raised by Ezhava leader TK Madhavan in a 1917 editorial in his paper Deshabhimani.
  • In AICC (All India Congress Committee) meeting in Kakinada 1923, K Madhavan along with Sardar Panikkar and KP Kesava Menon submitted a petition to the Travancore legislative council.
  • The petition sought to grant the right to temple entry and worship of gods for all sections of the society irrespective of caste, creed, and community.
  • It was launched on 30th March 1924.
  • The movement in the vicinity of Mahadev temple in Kottayam district of Kerala took place during 1924-1925.

Factors responsible to Satyagraha

  • Christian missionaries, supported by the East India Company, had expanded their reach and many lower castes converted to Christianity to escape the clutches of an oppressive system that continued to bind them.
  • Maharaja Ayilyam Thirunal took many progressive reforms and the most important of these was the introduction of a modern education system with free primary education for all – even lower castes.

Prominent people who supported this Satyagraha are Sree Narayana Guru and Periyar E.V Ramaswamy.

Q1: What is Caste?

It can be defined as a hereditary, endogamous group having a common name, common traditional occupation, and common culture, relatively rigid in matters of mobility, the distinctiveness of status, and forming a single homogeneous community.

Source: Remembering Vaikom satyagraha, a 100 years later