From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Born 12 November 1911
Occupation Social worker
Known for Social service
Parent(s) Hare Krishna Das
Hema Prabha Das
Amalprava Das, also known as Amal Prabha Das, was an Indian social worker, Gandhian and the founder of Kasturba Ashram at Sarania Hills, Assam, a self help group for women and their economic upliftment and Guwahati Yubak Sevadal, a non governmental organization working for the social development of harijans. The Government of India honoured her in 1954, with the award of Padma Shri, the fourth highest Indian civilian award for her contributions to the society, placing her among the first recipients of the award. A recipient of the 1981 Jamnalal Bajaj Award, Das was honoured again by the Government of India with the second highest civilian award of Padma Vibhushan which she declined to accept.(Wikipedia)
AMAL PRABHA DAS
Amal Prabha Das was a reformer and Gandhian who along with her mother, Hemaprabha Das, set up a Sabarmati-style ashram in the Sarania Hills near Guwahati.
Amal Prabha was the child of Hema Prabha and Hare Krishna Das. In 1934, Gandhi visited Assam and stayed at her parents’ house. Amal Prabha got to see his work at close quarters and this inspired her to walk the path of service. In 1927 she was denied admission to Cotton College as she was a girl; ironically this same college was later to offer her a job but she declined. She travelled to Calcutta and studied applied chemistry, becoming the first Assamese woman to get a postgraduate degree. She also studied clinical pathology there.
Having completed her studies, in 1939 along with her mother she visited the Maganbari Centre of Self Development at Wardha to learn about village uplift. The family then set up an ashram on Gandhian lines in Sarania and they began to train local people in handicrafts and small-scale forest-based industries. When Kasturba Gandhi (q.v.) died in 1944, her grieving husband set up the Kasturba Gandhi Memorial Trust and appointed Amal Prabha to supervise its work in the Northeast. The Sarania Hills ashram now became the Kasturba Ashram and Gandhiji stayed there in 1946 and formally inaugurated the Gram Sevika Vidyalaya. Gandhi is said to have commented about Amal Prabha, ‘Yeh ladki chatur hain, kam kar sakti hain,’ (this girl is clever, she can work). The Kasturba Ashram helped set up 21 gram sevika kendras or centre of village uplift in different parts of the region including some in Arunachal Pradesh which are still operational. In 1950 when a devastating earthquake ravaged Assam, hundreds of members of Kasturba Ashram and the gram seva kendras volunteered for relief work. The Kasturba Kalyan Kendra was established at Lakhimpur for people rendered homeless by the earthquake. Amal Prabha also set up the Guwahati Yubak Sevadal with school and college students to fight untouchability. The members of the Ashram also worked in Vinoba Bhave’s bhudaan movement in Dhakuakhana and Dhemaji. The draft of the first Gramdaan Act was prepared by the Kasturba Trust and enacted by the government of Assam. At Guwahati, Mahendra Mohan Lahiri donated land for the Assam Go Seva Samiti. She received the Padma Vibhushan and the Jamnalal Bajaj Award.(http://www.streeshakti.com/bookA.aspx?author=9)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
19 September 1977
Occupation Trans activist
Abhina Aher is an Indian transgender activist who has worked for transgender empowerment. She has worked with organizations such as The Humsafar Trust (Mumbai), Family Health International (FHI), Johns Hopkins University Centre for Communication Programme (CCP) and India HIV/AIDS Alliance. She is also an artist and the founder of Dancing Queens - a dancing group of transgender people. Abhina is also a TedX Speaker and has delivered talks in Delhi and Varanasi. She is currently associated with I-TECH India as Technical Expert, Key Populations. She has more than two decades of experience in the HIV/AIDs sector. She has worked with various communities including men who have sex with men, transgender people, women engaged in sex work, intravenous drug users, and people living with HIV. She was also the programme manager of the Global Fund-supported programme 'Pehchan'.
Abhina was born as Abhijeet Aher in a middle class maharashtrian family in Mumbai. Her mother was a trained Kathak dancer and worked for a government organization. She often performed at official functions. Abhina used to observe her keenly and tried to imitate her in private. Her father passed away when she was three-year old. She was raised by her mother singlehandedly and remarried later on.
Aher participates in pride parades and works with national and international organisations to bring change for the trans community of India. She has been or is involved in different capacity with various organisations. She is a HIV consultant on trans issues for Global Action for Trans Equality She is a steering committee member at the International Trans Fund United States. She is a consultant of sexuality and gender projects and a national programme manager of the Pehchan programme at the India HIV/AIDS Alliance. She is involved in Programme in Charge Communication on MARPs, USAID grant at Johns Hopkins University Centre for Communication. She is chair at Asia Pacific Transgender Network Bangkok, Thailand.
Aher is the founder of a transgender dancing group called Dancing Queens. The group aims to use dance and expressions as a medium to break barriers and works on trans advocacy. The group was founded in 2009 and has performed in different cities. In the year 2016, she also founded Tweet Foundation for empowering transgender individuals.
Abhina experiences trouble during travelling when the officials for security at airports are curious about her transgender status. There has been several incidents at international airports where security officials (Both male and female) have refused to check her. She stands firm and explains them and try to sensitise them which is part of advocacy work that she does for the trans community.
Awards and accolades
2014: REX awardee fellowship for her work towards trans empowerment in India.
2017: Global Innovator from Human Rights Campaign
Adv. Rahul Singh
NATIONAL DALIT MOVEMENT FOR JUSTICE-NCDHR
He is fueled by his passion to work for the cause of Dalits and Adivasis. He is an expert on SCs and STs (PoA) Act 1989 and Rules 1995 and carries over a decade of extensive experience in Dalit Human Rights Monitoring, advocacy and lobbying on the implementation of various legislations and policy matters. He is one of the key persons who drafted amendments to the SCs and STs (PoA) Act as amended in 2016, along with the drafting committee formed by NCSPA in 2009 and closely worked with Ministries and National Advisory Council.
He has wide experience in program strategic planning, programme development & design, programme implementation, multi-stakeholder engagement etc. He has researched extensively on violence against Dalits/Adivasis and wrote several books and reports on the implementation of SCs and STs (PoA) Act 1989. His hunger for knowledge and determination to turn information into action has contributed to the organisation over the years. A lawyer by training, he is involved in several strategic human rights litigation on SCs and STs (PoA) Act 1989 for the promotion and protection of Dalit and Adivasi human rights. A native of Delhi he believes mindfulness in the workplace is key to success. He lives his life through his passion to work for the human rights of Dalit/Adivasi.
Mr Amarjit Singh is an ambedkarite activist thinker based in UK who has been involved in anti-caste anti-racist activities for most of his life. He come from a family of activists. He was the editor of the Birmingham University India society’s magazine Bharat in 1976 which ran an article on Dr B R Ambedkar. This was the first time such an article had appeared in a university magazine, in the Diaspora. He organised a conference in Birmingham on the origins of the caste system in 1978.
During the 2000s, he ran a website for around 4 years whose purpose was to bring Dalit history to Dalits as well as to fight for an anti-caste legislation in UK as part of the Single Equalities Bill drive. He has also played host to many Dalits activists and scholars from India when they have visited the UK.
He has spoken at various venues about the history of the caste system and untouchability in India, including at Bergen University Norway and the World Conference on Untouchability held at Conway Hall.
He is also a member of British Association for the Study of South Asia (BASAS), a professionally academic body of scholars interested in the study of South Asia. He is currently attending evening talks and discussions at Radical Anthropology Group (RAG) at the University College London in order to help him find an integrated and holistic theory of origins of caste system based on totemism/tribal endogamy/exogamy practices and the role of indigenous matrilineal to Aryan patrilineal process in the formation of the caste system. Notwithstanding the upper caste arrogance and actual practices of the Marxists in India, he believe that these issues are the missing links between Ambekarism and Marxism on a theoretical plane; something that neither Marx nor Babasaheb had 100% access to in their times. This links also indicate the theoretical organic unity of blood and suffering between Dalits and Adivasis. His research also involves historical Dalit resistance, its successes, failures and lessons.(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fg2eZ4jUyw)
During the 2000s, he ran a website for around 4 years whose purpose was to bring Dalit history to Dalits as well as to fight for an anti-caste legislation in UK as part of the Single Equalities Bill drive. He has also played host to many Dalits activists and scholars from India when they have visited the UK
He has spoken at various venues about the history of the caste system and untouchability in India, including at Bergen University Norway and the World Conference on Untouchability held at Conway Hall.
He is also a member of British Association for the Study of South Asia (BASAS), a professionally academic body of scholars interested in the study of South Asia. He is currently attending evening talks and discussions at Radical Anthropology Group (RAG) at the University College London in order to help him find an integrated and holistic theory of origins of caste system based on totemism/tribal endogamy/exogamy practices and the role of indigenous matrilineal to Aryan patrilineal process in the formation of the caste system. Notwithstanding the upper caste arrogance and actual practices of the Marxists in India, he believe that these issues are the missing links between Ambekarism and Marxism on a theoretical plane; something that neither Marx nor Babasaheb had 100% access to in their times. This links also indicate the theoretical organic unity of blood and suffering between Dalits and Adivasis. His research also involves historical Dalit resistance, its successes, failures and lessons.
This leadership is not limited to reservation or atrocities on Dalits, but has a larger development canvas
Ashok Bharti, chairman, All India Ambedkar Mahasabha; and principal advisor, National Confederation of Dalit and Adivasi Organisations talks to Aditi Phadnis on the growing Dalit disenchantment with the ruling party and where does the future of Dalit leadership lie Are you seeing evidence of Dalit disenchantment with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and when did it begin? Certainly, Dalit disenchantment with the BJP is widespread. This disenchantment is not localised or limited to a few states or regions.
Ashok BhartiKabir Chair on Social Conflict
Mr. Ashok Bharti is Chairman, National Confederation of Dalit Organisations (NACDOR), India, and Chairman, International Commission for Dalit Rights, the US. He serves as Kabir Chair on Social Conflict at the IPCS. In his 30-year career, he has advocated the cause of the Dalit people and Dalit rights and has worked towards creating a more inclusive and equitable society. He has served in various positions, such as Co-Chair, Indigenous People International Action Team, Brussels, Belgium; Convenor, Global Task Force on Social Exclusion set up by the Global Call to Action Against Poverty; and Member, Working Groups on Dalits, National Advisory Council, Government of India, among others. He is a recipient of the CARE Millennium Award 2011 for outstanding work on MDGs, CARE Deutschland-Luxemburg, Germany, and the Dalit Ratna Award.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Born 22 August 1979
Died 20 September 2016
Website People Like Us (PLUS) Kolkata
Agniva Lahiri (22 August 1979 – 20 September 2016) was an Indian LGBT social activist from Kolkata, who was active in promoting the causes of the transgender members of the community. Lahiri founded People Like Us (PLUS) Kolkata, a Non Governmental Organization, in 2001 and served as its executive director. Lahiri was also associated with Network of Asia Pacific Youth as a coordinator for policy research and international advocacy.
Agniva Lahiri was born on 22 August 1979, biologically a male, to a government servant and an economics school teacher, as the youngest of their three children, in Kolkata, India. Lahiri's early schooling was in Ramakrishna Mission Residential School and graduate studies at Asutosh College, Kolkata. Subsequently, Lahiri took master's degree in Bengali Literature from University of Calcutta and another master's degree in Sociology from Nagarjuna University, Kolkata and is pursuing higher studies at University of Melbourne. The realization that feminine emotions ruled within a biologically male body came to Lahiri at a very early age. This drew a lot of criticism from Lahiri's teachers and fellow students. But the discriminatory treatments did not stop Lahiri from making the decision to accept oneself as the other gender.
Lahiri died on 20 September 2016, reportedly due to liver failure.
Agniva Lahiri's social career started with joining a forum called Pratyay, a division of Praajak, a gay support forum started in 1992 on Kolkata. Lahiri also started a newsletter called Pratyay Arshi Nagar, with contributions even from the college faculty. The newsletter later grew to be a newspaper by name, Manashi. Lahiri's social activism was kickstarted by an incident on 7 December 2003, with the assault by a group of people. Lahiri filed a complaint with the local police who declined to register a formal case against the perpetrators. Lahiri and colleagues persisted and were successful in getting a First Information Report filed. Lahiri has been involved with the Network of Asia Pacific Youth as a coordinator in the research on sexual culture and its relevance in the area of HIV intervention and prevention program. Lahiri's past associations are with UNICEF ROSA in 2002 on Child welfare, with Gender and AIDS Training Institute (GATI). and with UNFPA as a young researcher. Lahiri is presently the Executive Director of People Like Us (PLUS) Kolkata which runs a destitute home in Kolkata called Prothoma, offering shelter for the victims of human trafficking and unsafe migration and standing up against the violence meted out to them. The activities have attracted public attention and UNAIDS (United Nations AIDS Program) released a small grant of ₹ 400,000 with which Lahiri organised a forum for transgender people by name, the Indian Network of Male Sex Workers. The forum now has 22 branches in 14 states of India.
People Like Us (PLUS) Kolkata
Agniva Lahiri started the establishment of an organization for transgender people and gender variant men in 2000 and informally started the organization, People Like Us (PLUS) Kolkata in 2001. The organization was registered as an NGO in March 2003. The organization is working as a social forum for the rights of gender variant men and is involved in the HIV and AIDS related activities such as :
counselling, training and rehabilitation
intervention in issues like human trafficking
Father of the first Pasmanda Movement and Freedom Fighter
Faiyaz Ahmad Fyzie
Maulana Ali Hussain "Aasim Bihari" was born on April 15, 1890, in Mohalla Khas Ganj, Bihar Sharif, Nalanda district, Bihar, in a devout but poor Pasmanda weaver family. In 1906, at the young age of 16, he started his career in the Usha organization in Kolkata. While working, he pursued interests in studies and reading. He was active in many types of movements. He quit his job as it was getting restrictive, and for his livelihood he started the work of making beedis. He prepared a team of his beedi worker colleagues who would discuss issues that concerned nation and society. There would also be sharing of writings.
In 1908-09, Maulana Haji Abdul Jabbar of Sheikhpur tried to create a Pasmanda organization which wasn't successful. He felt a deep sense of grief about this. In 1911, after reading "Tarikh-e-Minwal wa Alahu" (History of Weavers), he was prepared completely for the movement. At the age of 22, he started a five year shceme (1912-1917) for educating adults. During this time, whenever he went to his native Bihar Sharif, he would keep make people aware by organising small gatherings.
In 1914 , at the young age of 24 years old, he started a Society called "Bazm-E-Adab"(Chamber of Literature) that started a library under its aegis, in his native location of Khasganj, Bihar Sharif in Nalanda district. In 1918, a study centre called "Darul Muzakra"(House of Conversation) was established in Kolkata, where labourers and others used to gather in the evening to discuss writings and contemporary issues - these meetings would sometimes go on all through the night.
In 1919, after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, leaders like Lala Lajpat Rai and Maulana Azad were arrested. Aasim Bihari then started a nationwide postal protest for the release of those leaders, in which people from all the districts, towns in the entire country sent about 1.5 lakh letters and telegrams to the Viceroy and Queen Victoria. This campaign was eventually successful, and all the freedom fighters were freed from jail.
In 1920, in Tanti Bagh, Kolkata, he created the organisation "Jamiatul Mominin" (Party of the Righteous), whose first conference was held on March 10, 1920, in which Maulana Azad also delivered a speech.
In April 1921, he started the tradition of the wall written newspaper "Al-Momin" (The Righteous) in which text was written on large sheet of paper and stuck on a wall, so that more people could read. This style became very famous.
On 10 December 1921, a convention was held in Tanti Bagh, Kolkata, in which Mahatma Gandhi, Maulana Jauhar, Maulana Azad etc., participated. In this convention, about 20 thousand people took part.
Gandhiji on behalf of the Congress party proposed to donate a huge amount of one lakh rupees to the organization, with some conditions. But Aasim Bihari, at the very beginning of the agitation, considering it better to keep the organization away from any kind of political compulsion and surrender, refused to accept the amount of one lakh, a big financial assistance, which was highly needed by the organization.
From 1923, the wall newspaper Diwari Momin began to be published as a magazine Al-Momin.
In the beginning of 1922, with the intention of giving an all-India look to the organization, he started a tour of villages and towns, beginning from Bihar.
On July 9, 1923, a local meeting of the organization (Jamiatul Mominin) was held at Madrasa Moinul Islam, Sohdih, Bihar Sharif, in Nalanda district, Bihar. On the same day his son Kamruddin, whose age was only 6 months and 19 days, died. But the passion of bringing society into the mainstream was such that he reached the venue on time and delivered a powerful speech for one hour.
In these constant struggles and travels, he had to face many troubles as well as financial difficulties. Many of the times had to deal with hunger issues too. At the same time, his daughter Baarka was born in the house, but the whole family was drowning in debt and hunger for long.
During this time in Patna, Arya Samajis defeated the Muslim Ulemas (Clerics) in debate as nobody was able to answer their questions. When this was reported to the Maulana, he then took a loan from a friend for travel fare. He carried roasted corn in his bag and reached Patna. There he defeated the Arya Samajis in such a manner, by his logic and arguments, that they had to flee. A regional level conference was convened in Bihar Sharif on 3-4 June 1922, after nearly six months of rigorous travel.
It was difficult to arrange for the expenditure of the conference and the funds collected were not sufficient. The date of the conference was getting closer. In such a situation, Maulana requested his mother to lend the money and jewellery that he had kept aside for his younger brother's wedding. He hoped that more funds would be arranged as the date of the Conference got closer. Unfortunately, not enough funds could be collected. He felt despair and even after being invited for the wedding, he didn't attend it and left the house, out of guilt. He could not even dare to be a part of it.
In the will of God, I have surrendered my being
His wish is my wish, what He wills shall happen
All such setbacks, however never affected his passion.
In spite of all the troubles, anxieties and frequent travels, he never missed studying newspapers, magazines and books in addition to writing articles and daily diaries. This study was not limited to education, or knowledge of only social or political activities, but he wanted to research science, literature and historical facts and reach their roots. In certain instances, he would not hesitate to write letters to the writers of famous newspapers and magazines of that time.
In August, 1924, the foundation of a core committee called 'Majlis-e-Misak' (Chamber of Covenant), was laid down for the solidarity of selected, dedicated people.
On July 6, 1925, 'Majlis-e-Misak' (Chamber of Covenant), started publishing a fortnightly magazine named Al-Ikram (The Respect), so that the movement could be further strengthened.
The "Bihar Weavers' Association" was formed to organize and strengthen the weaving work, and its branches were opened in other cities of the country, including Kolkata. After creating an organization in Bihar in 1927, Maulana turned to Uttar Pradesh. He visited Gorakhpur, Banaras, Allahabad, Moradabad, Lakhimpur-Kheri and other districts and created quite a stir. After UP, the organization was set up in Delhi, Punjab area too.
On April 18, 1928, the first All India level grand conference was held in Kolkata, in which thousands of people participated. In March 1929, the second All India Conference was held in Allahabad, third in October 1931 in Delhi, fourth in Lahore, and fifth on November 5, 1932, in Gaya. In the Gaya conference, the Women's Wing of the organization also came into existence.
Similarly in Kanpur, Gorakhpur, Delhi, Nagpur and Patna, State Conferences were organized.
In this way, the organization was established in places like Mumbai, Nagpur, Hyderabad, Chennai, and even in countries like Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and Burma and hence Jamiautul Mominin (Momin Conference) became an international organization. In 1938, there were nearly 2000 branches of the organization in India as well as abroad.
A weekly magazine called 'Momin Gazette' from Kanpur also started to be published. Keeping himself behind the scenes in the organization and pushing others forward, Aasim Bihari never made himself the President of the organization. Only after many requests of the people, he kept himself confined to the post of General Secretary only.
When the organization's work increased a lot, and the Maulana did not have the opportunity of doing hard labor to raise his livelihood and family -- in such a situation, the organization fixed a very modest amount to be paid to him every month, but unfortunately that was also not paid to him many times.
Wherever the branches of Momin Conference were opened, small meetings were held continuously, and education and employment counseling centres and libraries wwere also established.
From the beginning, Maulana tried to ensure that Pasmanda castes other than the Ansari caste, were also made aware, active and organized. For this, he used to include people, leaders and organizations of other Pasmanda castes in every conference, their contributions in the Momin Gazette were also given equal space.
Meanwhile, the news of his brother's severe illness reached him and he was told "Come soon, he can die anytime". But the Maulana couldn't go home due to frequent tours. Even when his brother died, he could not even go for the funeral.
In the election of the Interim Government in 1935-36, the candidates of the Momin Conference also won a good number of votes across the entire country. As a result, a large number people also realized the power of the Pasmanda movement. This is where the movement began to witness opposition.
Already in the mainstream politics, the upper caste Ashraf Muslim class started defaming the Momin Conference and its leaders, by employing different types of allegations, religious fatwas, writings, magazines. In fact, they even made a song called 'Zulaah Naama', that indulged in the character assassination of the weaver caste as a whole and was also published.
During the campaign in Kanpur, a Pasmanda activist named Abdullah was murdered. Usually, Maulana's speech used to be about two to three hours. But on September 13, 1938, his five hour speech in Kannauj and the speech in Kolkata in October 25, 1934, that lasted a whole night became landmarks in human history, setting an unprecedented record.
The Maulana played an active role in the Quit India Movement. In the year 1940, he organized a protest in Delhi against the partition of the country, in which about forty thousand Pasmanda people participated.
In the elections of 1946, some candidates of the Jamiatul Momin (Momin Conference) were successful and many of them won against candidates of the Muslim League.
In 1947, after the storm of the partition of the country, he revived the Pasmanda movement with full rigor. The Momin Gazette was republished in Allahabad and Bihar Sharif.
The failng health of the Maulana started influencing his untiring hard work, travels. But he was determined to revive the tradition of Hazrat Ayyub Ansari (the Companion of Prophet Muhammad) . When he reached Allahabad, he did not have the strength to even walk a step. Even in such a condition, he was busy in the preparations for the Conference of the Jamiatul Momineen in UP State, and kept guiding people.
But Allah had taken from him whatever work he could. On the evening of December 5,1953, he suffered a sudden heart stroke and there was trouble in breathing; the pain and uneasiness of the heart grew, his face became sweaty, he fainted. Around two o'clock at night, he found himself in the lap of his son, Haroon AAasim. With a gesture he indicated his head be rested on the ground so that he could offer himself to Allah's favor and demand forgiveness for his sins. In these circumstances, on Dec 6, 1953, on a Saturday, in Haji Kamruddin's house, in Atala, Allahabad, he breathed his last.
In his forty years of vigorous and active life, the Maulana did nothing for himself, and where was the opportunity to do it? But if he wanted, he could have gathered many material things for himself and his family. But he never gave attention to this aspect. The Maulana kept lighting the homes of others throughout his life but he did not try to illuminate his own house with a small lamp.
Acknowledgement: I would like to thank Professor Ahmad Sajjad who has written the 700 page biography of Aasim Bihari titled Banda-e-Momin Ka Hath (The Hand of a Righteous Person) and guided me in telephonic and direct conversations.
Faiyaz Ahmed Fyzie is a freelance author and is working as a Research Associate in the Ministry of AYUSH. The English translation is done by Vinay Shende, who is an Ambedkarite working in the Corporate Sector.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Occupation Education activist
Annie Namala also worked with Solidarity Group for Children Against Discrimination and Exclusion (SGCADE).
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Born 3 May 1969
Ayesha Rubina (عائشہ روبینہ; born 1969) is a corporator of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), educationist, social entrepreneur, social worker and former co-opted member of (GHMC). She is noted for being instrumental in planning a first-of-its-kind park for special needs people in India. She provides special education to children with special needs. She actively takes part in social debates and local issues. She is based in Hyderabad, India.
Ayesha did her schooling from Holy Mary Girls High School and earned three degrees from Osmania University. She has master's degree in social work, and post graduate diploma in early childhood education and teaching from Osmania University. She had been awarded gold medal for scoring highest marks in M.A. English from Osmania University.
Social & volunteer work
She is a professional social worker with a Master of Social Work. In recognition of her services in the field of education and social work, Ayesha was nominated to Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation as a co-opted member. In this role, she has contributed by laying out the first ward development plan, played a prominent role in planning a park for special needs persons, and initiated livelihood training for over 8,000 youth. Ayesha has helped set up 10 schools for the underprivileged that cater to the educational needs of more than 4500 children. She also runs a school for kids with special needs. She has been in the top eight of The Times of India's "Lead India" initiative and a participant of the prestigious International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) of the U.S Department of State. As an Advisory Committee member, she is associated with a Center for Social Sciences, a network of people and organizations engaged in community based services through education and social services.
Greens Special School
It is one of its kind schools that give education to children with special needs. This school provides free education to special kids. It offers medical therapies, and aims to rehabilitate & integrate these children into the mainstream. The special school is Ayesha’s pet project, and it is run by Ayesha Education Society.
Views on Girl’s Education
Being an activist who works in the area of girls' education, Ayesha believes that the role of economically independent women has become even more challenging nowadays. She criticizes modern society for merry-making and feeling comfortable when a woman goes out to earn, but expecting her to first deliver her 'traditional' duties efficiently. She also worked towards establishing e-libraries in the city. She said that the number of students in Hyderabad's Old City area is increasing day-by-day, and education has become a priority. Therefore, libraries are need there.
Ayesha is a known figure in Hyderabad's political circles for her social work and activism for public welfare. In April 2014, a press report quoted All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM) supremo Asaduddin Owaisi as saying that his party is forming its Shoba-e-Khwateen (Women’s Wing). The same report noted that Ayesha was tipped to be joint convener of Women’s Wing.
Asia-Pacific Cities Summit: In 2013, Ayesha represented the Mayor of Hyderabad in the Asia-Pacific Cities Summit held in Taiwan where she presented a paper on "Trans-City Business Coalitions" and "Local Informal Economies".
Greens Special School Managing Trustee
Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation Co-opted Member
Genesis High School Managing Director
Bharathi Vidyalaya Founder
Center for Social Sciences Advisory Committee Member
OSE Group of Schools Managing Director (Honorary)
Special Olympics Trustee
Indian Council for Child Welfare (ICCW) Member and Ex-coordinator, AP
A.P. Welfare Association for Mentally Challenged Executive Committee Member
Sarojni Naidu Vanita Mahavidyalaya Alumni Association President
Holy Mary Girls High School Alumni Association President
Awards & recognition
1. Pearl of Hyderabad by JCI Hyderabad: Ayesha was awarded the title 'Pearl of Hyderabad' by local chapter of Junior Chamber International (JCI), a non-political and non-sectarian youth service organization. 2. IVLP (International Visitor Leadership Program) - U.S. Department of State: An alumnus of U.S. Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). Ayesha represented India and was one among the 19 participants from various countries of the world. She visited 4 states- Washington D.C, Florida, Texas & California. 3. Lead India by The Times of India: Represented the city of Hyderabad in the Times of India's 'Lead India'- a nationwide talent hunt for the next generation of political leaders for India. Finished in the Final 8 of the nationwide competition.
4. Young Achiever Award by Rotary Club, Hyderabad.
5. Gold Medalist in M.A. (Masters in English) at Sarojni Naidu Vanitha Mahavidyalaya.
The story of Dalit icon Ashamma from Andhra Pradesh, another Neeraja Banot winner, a socially-marginalized woman who has been fighting for her rightful place in society, too follows along the same line.
Ashamma was a ‘jogini’ or a sex worker in Karni village. Frustrated by this she decided to stand up for her dignity and self respect and joined the Andhra Pradesh Mahila Samatha Society and was influenced by them to live a new life. She helped other women who were forced into sexual favours by men, through this Society.
In such a situation, it takes an amalgamation of self-confidence, self- efficacy, determination, and empathy to build up a strong and inextinguishable fire of resilience. A research by University of Minnesota, 2010 by Suniya Luthar and Edward Zigler, indicates that during the early childhood years, it is important for children to have good quality of care and opportunities for learning, adequate nutrition and community support for families. A research finding showed that one reason for this could be Empathy. The National Council on Family Relations, 1995 conducted a study which explored the relationship between empathy and parenting strategy choices . Results showed that empathy was negatively related to the use of negative and ignoring parenting strategies.
At 35 years of age, Ashamma has nothing to share with the world expect tears. She comes from Karni village in Mehbubnagar district of Andhra Pradesh, where women belonging to the lower caste are considered objects of entertainment. Ashamma was made to undergo the jogini ritual when she was seven years old. As per this custom, she was married off to the village deity. Recalls Ashamma, "Since the day of the initiation, I have not lived with dignity. I became available for all the men who inhabited Karni. They would ask me for sexual favours and I, as a jogini, was expected to please them. My trauma began even when I had not attained puberty."
At 11, Ashamma attained puberty. As soon as the news spread, men hounded her all the more. She was forced to sleep with countless people, some of whom were much older than her. Still in her teens, Ashamma delivered a girl child. "I bore the child from the man I loved, but he did not marry me. Later, I escaped from the village," she says. But all the time she was reminded that she was a jogini and should not act like a pativrata.
During those days the Andhra Pradesh Mahila Samatha Society was running sanghams in villages. These forums voiced the concerns of sexually exploited women. When Ashamma heard the views of its leaders, she was impressed. She swore to fight against the baseless custom of jogini.
In 1997, Ashamma became the head of the sangham which operated in Karni. As the leader of the forum, she discouraged the practice of jogini. Her mission revolved around thwarting the attempts of villagers to initiate young girls into this evil practice. She still remembers how hard she had to fight in order to save a nine-year-old girl in her village from becoming a jogini. The police had refused to help her and no one in the village was prepared to cooperate with her. But Ashamma sat in protest until she succeeded in preventing the initiation ceremony.
The two courageous women -Alice Garg from Jaipur and Ashamma from Andhra Pradesh were awarded for their services to society in Chandigarh on April 28. The award money comprised Rs 1.5 lakh each. The commitment of these women to their respective cause was evident from the fact that both of them donated a part of the huge sum to their respective societies. Ashamma kept Rs 50,000 for her child and donated the rest to her sangham. Alice donated the money to Rustamji Trust which is dedicated to the amelioration of the plight of the poor.
by D . kasur
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Born 29 June 1947
Died 16 May 2010 (aged 62)
Anuradha Ramanan (29 June 1947 – 16 May 2010) was a Tamil writer, artist and a social activist. She is survived by two daughters Smt. Sudha Ramanan and Smt. Subha Ramanan. Both of them live with their families in the United States of America.
Anuradha was born in 1947 in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu. Her grandfather R. Balasubramaniam was an actor who inspired Anuradha to become a writer. Anuradha started her career as an artist before making several unsuccessful attempts to get a job with popular magazines.This prompted her to join Mangai, a Tamil magazine after the editor found her writings very interesting. Anuradha's literary career started in 1977 while working for the magazine. She also revealed the sexual harresment allegations about Jayendra Saraswathi. Apart from her literary contributions, she was well known for her "anti-divorce counselling" work. In a career that spanned over 30 years, Anuradha wrote nearly 800 novels and 1,230 short stories. Her works were mainly centered on family and everyday happenings. One of her early works Sirai, won a gold medal for the best short story from Ananda Vikatan. It was adapted into a film of the same name. Following this, her other novels Kootu Puzhukkal, Oru Malarin Payanam and Oru Veedu Iruvasal were adapted into films in various languages such as Tamil, Telugu and Kannada. Oru Veedu Iru Vasal, directed by Balachander won the National Film Award for Best Film on Other Social Issues in 1991. The 1988 Telugu film Oka Baarya Katha based on her work won five Nandi Awards. In addition to films, many of her stories such as Archanai Pookal, Paasam and Kanakanden Thozhi have been adapted into television serials. She was awarded a gold medal by M. G. Ramachandran, the then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.
Anuradha died of cardiac arrest on 16 May 2010 at the age of 62 in Chennai. She was married to Ramanan and has two daughters.
Sexual harassment allegations against Jayendra Saraswati
Anuradha Ramanan said she was subjected to sexual harresment by Jayendra Saraswati when she met back in 1992, when she was taken to negotiate the release of the spiritual magazine "Amma" by the muth. Anuradha Ramanan has charged Saraswathi of making sexual advances. He said that during their first meeting, he spoke about the proposed journal and offered to make her its editor, Ramanan agreed to the offer. During their final meeting, she said, he began using indecent language, and when she looked up from the notebook, the woman who took me to him was in a sexually intimate position with him. She said that the Saraswathi "approached" her, and when she objected, the other woman tried to persuade her of her "good fortune." When she left the place, the Shankaracharya allegedly asserted that she keep her mouth shut. Ramanan said that she had met a woman police officer who was close to her to lodge a complaint, but did not do so because she feared for the future of her daughters. She reported that an attempted murder had been made against her. She said a truck hit her car in which she was travelling and a further attempt was made on her life when she was admitted to the hospital. On December 2004, she said she would have met with the same fate as that of Sankarraman if she had made the disclosure 12 years ago when the alleged incident took place.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Born November 7, 1746
Sussex County, Delaware Colony, British Empire
Died February 13, 1818 (aged 71)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Occupation Clergyman (Anglican/Episcopal Church)
Known for Anti-slavery petitioner
Spouse(s) Mary King
Relatives Julian Abele (architect)
Absalom Jones (November 7, 1746 – February 13, 1818) was an African-American abolitionist and clergyman who became prominent in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Disappointed at the racial discrimination he experienced in a local Methodist church, he founded the Free African Society with Richard Allen in 1787, a mutual aid society for African Americans in the city. The Free African Society included many people newly freed from slavery after the American Revolutionary War.
In 1794 Jones founded the first black Episcopal congregation, and in 1802, he was the first African American to be ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church of the United States. He is listed on the Episcopal calendar of saints. He is remembered liturgically on the date of his death, February 13, in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer as "Absalom Jones, Priest, 1818".
Absalom Jones was born into slavery in Sussex County, Delaware, in 1746. When he was sixteen, his owner sold him along with his mother and siblings to a neighboring farmer. That year the farmer kept Absalom, but sold his mother and siblings, and moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he became a merchant. Absalom was allowed to attend a school and learned to read and write. While still enslaved by Mr. Wynkoop (who was a vestryman of Christ Church and later St. Peter's), Absalom married Mary King (an enslaved woman owned by S. King, a neighbor to the Wynkoops), on January 4, 1770. Rev. Jacob Duché performed the wedding ceremony.
By 1778 Absalom had purchased his wife's freedom so that their children would be free; he asked for aid by donations and loans. (According to colonial law, children took the status of their mother, so children born to slave women were born enslaved.) Absalom also wrote to his master seeking his own freedom, but was initially denied. In 1784, however, Wynkoop manumitted him, possibly inspired by revolutionary ideals. Absalom took the surname "Jones" as an indication of his American identity.
Around 1780, a Methodist movement was sweeping through the colonies as part of the Second Great Awakening. It came at a time of revolutionary ferment in the closing period of the American Revolutionary War. The movement was especially popular in New York, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. Methodists had developed in Great Britain as evangelicals within the Church of England. In December 1784, Thomas Coke and Francis Asbury established the Methodist Episcopal Church as a new denomination, separate from the Church of England.
Pennsylvania abolished slavery and became a free state in the new United States. Jones became a lay minister of the interracial congregation of St. George's Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia. The Methodist church admitted persons of all races and allowed African Americans to preach. Together with Richard Allen, Jones was one of the first African Americans licensed to preach by the Methodist Episcopal Church.
But members of the church still practiced racial discrimination. In 1792, while at St. George's Methodist Episcopal Church, Absalom Jones and other black members were told that they could not join the rest of the congregation in seating and kneeling on the first floor and instead had to be segregated first sitting against the wall and then in the gallery or balcony. After completing their prayer, Jones and most of the church's black members got up and walked out.
Jones and Allen founded the Free African Society (FAS), first conceived as a non-denominational mutual aid society, to help newly freed slaves in Philadelphia. Jones and Allen later separated, as their religious lives took different directions after 1794 as discussed below. They remained lifelong friends and collaborators.
As 1791 began, Jones started holding religious services at FAS, which the following year became the core of his African Church in Philadelphia. Jones wanted to establish a black congregation independent of white control, while remaining part of the Episcopal Church. After a successful petition, the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, the first black church in Philadelphia, opened its doors on July 17, 1794. Jones was ordained as a deacon in 1795 and as a priest in 1802, became the first African-American priest in the Episcopal Church.
A month after St. Thomas church opened, the Founders and Trustees published "The Causes and Motives for Establishing St. Thomas's African Church of Philadelphia," saying their intent was
to arise out of the dust and shake ourselves, and throw off that servile fear, that the habit of oppression and bondage trained us up in.
Famous for his oratory, Jones helped establish the tradition of anti-slavery sermons on New Year's Day. His sermon for January 1, 1808, the date on which the U.S. Constitution mandated the end of the African slave trade, was called "A Thanksgiving Sermon" and published in pamphlet form. It became famous. Rumors persisted that Jones had supernatural abilities to influence the minds of assembled congregations. White observers failed to recognize his oratory skills, perhaps because they believed rhetoric to be beyond the capabilities of black people. Numerous other African-American leaders were similarly said to have supernatural abilities.
Fugitive Slave Act of 1793
After becoming the first black and freedman to be ordained as a priest, and as the Constitution's deadline for abolition of the slave trade passed, Jones took part in the first group of African Americans to petition the U.S. Congress. Their petition related to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793, which they criticized for encouraging cruelty and brutality, as well as supporting the continuing criminal practice of kidnapping free blacks and selling them into slavery. Jones drafted a petition on behalf of four freed slaves and asked Congress to adopt "some remedy for an evil of such magnitude."In 1775, the state of North Carolina had made it illegal to free slaves unless approved by a county court, a provision largely ignored by members of the Society of Friends (Quakers). They not only continued to free their own slaves, but in some cases bought slaves from other men in order to free them. In 1788 the North Carolina legislature passed a law allowing the capture and sale of any former slave who had been freed without court approval, with twenty percent of the sale price going as reward to the person who reported the illegal manumission. Many freed African Americans fled the state to avoid being captured and sold back into slavery.
The petition was presented on 30 January 1797 by U.S. Representative John Swanwick of Pennsylvania. Jones used moral suasion: trying to convince whites that slavery was immoral, offensive to God, and contrary to the nation's ideal. Although U.S. Representative George Thatcher of Massachusetts argued that the petition should be accepted and referred to the Committee on the Fugitive Law, but the House of Representatives declined to accept the petition by a vote of 50 to 33. Jones submitted a similar petition two years later, which was also declined.
African Methodist Episcopal Church
On a parallel path, Richard Allen founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME), the first independent black church within the Methodist tradition. He and his followers converted a building and opened on July 29, 1794, as Bethel AME Church. In 1799, Allen was ordained as the first black minister in the Methodist Church by Bishop Francis Asbury. In 1816, Allen gathered other black congregations in the region to create a new and fully independent denomination, the African Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1816, Allen was elected as the AME's first bishop.
Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793
Yellow fever repeatedly struck Philadelphia and other coastal cities in the 1790s, until sanitary improvements advocated by Dr. Benjamin Rush were adopted and completed. In the meantime, Allen and Jones assisted Rush in helping people afflicted by the plague, for black people initially were rumored to be immune. Many whites (including most doctors except for Rush and his assistants, some of whom died) fled the city hoping to escape infection. Allen and Jones' corps of black Philadelphians helped nurse the sick, as well as bury the dead. Jones in particular sometimes worked through the night. However, Rush's reliance on bleeding and purging as a medical treatment proved misplaced.
When Mathew Carey published a popular pamphlet accusing Blacks of profiting from nursing sick White citizens, Jones and Allen published a protest pamphlet in response. They described sacrifices that they and members of the Free African Society made for the health of the city. Philadelphia Mayor Matthew Clarkson, who had called upon them for help, publicly recognized that Jones and Allen acted upon their desires to improve the entire community. Jones' responses to the overall crisis strengthened ties between free Blacks and many progressive whites, aiding him later on when he established St. Thomas' Episcopal Church. Almost twenty times more black people helped the plague-struck than did whites, which later proved crucial in helping St. Thomas Church to gain social acceptance.
Death and legacy
Absalom Jones Cenotaph in Eden Cemetery
Jones died on February 13, 1818, in Philadelphia. He was originally interred in the St. Thomas Churchyard in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His body was relocated to Lebanon Cemetery and then to Eden Cemetery. In 1991, his remains exhumed, cremated and placed in a reliquary in the Absalom Jones altar of the current St. Thomas African Episcopal Church (now located at 6361 Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia). The chapel is named in his honor, as is the church's rectory. A cenotaph was placed at Eden Cemetery in Collingdale, Pennsylvania marking the site of his former grave.
The national Episcopal Church remembers his life and service annually on the anniversary of his death, February 13.
The Diocese of Pennsylvania honors his memory with an annual celebration and award.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Anand Teltumbde in 2020
Born 15 July 1950
Occupation Professor, writer
Spouse(s) Rama Teltumbde
Life and career
On 29 August 2018, the police raided Teltumbde's home, accusing him of having a connection to the 2018 Bhima Koregaon violence and an alleged Maoist plot to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Teltumbde denied the allegations but his petition was denied by the Bombay High Court. He was granted interim protection from arrest by the High Court, but he was arrested by the Pune police on 3 February 2019 and released later that day.After his release, Teltumbde accused the government of harassment and of attempting to criminalize dissent. In the course of the investigation, various others have been critical of the handling of the case; Supreme Court Justice D Y Chandrachud in September 2018, questioned the biased nature of the investigation by the Maharashtra Police. Others such as counter-terrorism expert and Executive Director of the Institute for Conflict Management, Ajai Sahni suggested the evidence used against Teltumbde seemed fabricated. Teltumbde's mobile phone was hacked by Israeli spyware Pegasus through WhatsApp along with over a dozen other activists, lawyers, and journalists in India. Teltumbe had noticed his phone had been "acting up" and was later contacted by Citizen Lab in October 2019. In February 2019, The Washington Post reported that Teltumbe was arrested as part of "a government crackdown on lawyers and activists" who are critics of Modi. More than 600 scholars and academics issued a joint statement in support of Teltumbde, condemning the government's actions as a "witch-hunt" and demanding an immediate halt to the actions against Teltumbde. In addition, over 150 organizations and intellectuals—including Noam Chomsky and Cornel West—signed a letter to United Nations secretary general António Guterres, describing the charges as "fabricated" and calling for the UN to intervene.
Republic of Caste: Thinking of Equality in the Era of Neoliberalism and Hindutva (Navayana, New Delhi, 2018) ISBN 978-8189059842 Dalits: Past, Present and Future (Routledge, London and New York, 2016) ISBN 978-1138688759 The Persistence of Caste (Zed Books, London, 2010) ISBN 9781848134492 Hindutva and Dalits: Perspectives for Understanding Communal Praxis (ed.) (Samya, Kolkata, 2005) ISBN 978-8185604756 'Ambedkar' in and for the Post-Ambedkar Dalit Movement (Sugawa, Pune, 1997) ISBN 978-8186182291
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Arige Ramaswamy, a noted social activist, politician and social reformer.
Occupation Political Leader
Spouse(s) Rajamma (m.1921) Lalitabai (m.1929)
Born on 1895 in a Mala family to Arige Balayya at Ramankole, Hyderabad State (now Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh). He also worked as ticket collector in Nizam's railways. He was follower of Achala Siddhanta and also the Brahmo Samaj. He founded Sunitha Bala Samajam and carried out social reform among the Dalits.
He worked along with Bhagya Reddy Varma, S. Venkat Rao and other activists, who organized the Dalits in the early 20th century. Recognising the socio-economic backwardness of Madigas, he formed the Arundhatiya Association for their welfare. Ramaswamy married a Madiga boy with a Mala girl, which was opposed by Bhagya Reddy Varma and the community members. In 1922, he established Adi Hindu Jathoyonnathi Sabha.
Later, he joined INC and became Joint Secretary in Telangana Congress and been Minister in state govt. He was also associated with "Grandhalaya (library)" movement.
He died on 23 January 1973 at Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
3 March 1861
Died 2 May 1948 (aged 87)
Calicut Shanthi Ashram
Resting place Santhi Gardens (Ayathan family cemetry, Calicut)
Other names Darsarji, Darsar Sahib
Known for Physician, Writing, Philanthropy, Social reform in Kerala
Notable work Bhramodarma malayalam (Bible of bhramosamaj)Saranjiniparinayam and Susheeladukham (Musical dramas)
Movement Sugunavardhini movement, Brahmo Samaj
Arattupuzha Velayudha Panicker
Dr Ajay S. Sekher
Dr Ajay S. Sekher is currently Assistant Professor of English at Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kalady. He has a Master's degree and PhD (2007) in English from Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, Kerala. His doctoral research deals with the representation of caste and gender margins in postcolonial Indian fiction. He has published articles and translations on literature and culture in English and Malayalam in leading journals including The Economic and Political Weekly (2003 & 2006). He has also taught at S S University, Kalady (2004-08) and School of Letters, M G University (2008-09). He has also served as Assistant Professor of English at Government College, Thrissur (2011-12) and Govt College Kasaragod (2010-11). His recent published titles include:
Representing the Margin: Caste and Gender in Indian Fiction. Delhi: Kalpaz/Gyan, 2008.
Writing in the Dark: A Collection of Malayalam Dalit Poetry. Mumbay: Vikas Adhyayan Kendra, 2008. (Translation)
Unknown Subjects: Songs of Poykayil Appachan. Kottayam: PRDS, 2007. (Translation)
Samskaram, Prathinidhanam, Prathirodham: Samskara Rashtreeyathilekkulla Kuripukal. Mavelikara: Fabian, 2009.
Irutile Kali. Pathanamthitta: Prasakti, 2007. (Trans. of Toni Morrison’s Playing in the Dark)
Neelimayeriya Kannukal. Kottayam: D C Books, 2009. (Tans. of Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye)
Sahodaran Ayyappan: Towards a Democratic Future. Calicut: Other Books, 2012.
Ajay Sekher is also interested in Photography and Painting. He has done groups shows of painting in Kochi and Kottayam (2008 and 2009).
EZHAVA COMMUNITYSAHODARANDALIT HISTORY
Memory is often short-lived—we forget more than we remember. The moment we forget, we are seized by a collective amnesia that paves way for homogenous and selective interpretations of history. In Kerala, we have all but forgotten the struggles and rebellions that our people fought only a century ago. We have heard of Narayana Guru, but know little about how he came to be or about the turbulent times in the 19th century, when the caste system and Brahmanism ruled supreme. We forget that there are predecessors and models for Kerala’s modernity and its Renaissance. Arattupuzha Velayudha Panicker is a part of that history. The story of the life and struggles of the legendary Velayudha Panicker, or Chekavar, of Arattupuzha (1825–1874) has been kept out of school curricula and the official history by the traditional ruling classes and by the caste hegemonic consensus in Kerala. Recently, however, there has been a renewed interest in the struggle he waged. He fought the violent empire of caste and Hindu Brahmanism in Kerala that still lingers and is assuming fierce proportions with the rise of cultural nationalism in India.
There is a new English novel based on his life, The Leftover, by Dr Rajan Guruvanshy, as well as a recently published historical study in Malayalam by Dalitbandhu N.K. Jose (2017). A foundation was recently formed for the study of Velayudha Panicker’s legacy of ethical and anti-caste resistance. The Arattupuzha Velayudha Panicker Foundation (henceforth, AVP) chapter in Kottayam, for example, which is run by Mr S.P.L. Suresh of Manipuzha, conducts annual art competitions every January for school students, to commemorate his birthday. Some of the monuments that keep his memory alive are a community hall, the temple he found in the early 1850s, and the 250-year old Kallissery traditional household. These are all found in his birthplace, Arattupuzha, in the old Karthikappally Taluk of Alappuzha, near Kayamkulam (Pillai 2010).
As early as the beginning of the 1800s, Panicker was building temples, schools, and libraries for Avarna people, including marginalised community members. He was the first Avarna to do this for his people, particularly in Kerala. He was also one of the first persons to fight for equality against caste Hindu violence that dehumanises the lower castes including rampant instances of public humiliation and violation of the modesty of Avarna women. Later by mid-nineteenth century, he carried these struggles forward in the Kayamkulam, Patisery, and Pandalam rebellions. He was the first social revolutionary in Kerala to question the hegemonic restrictions imposed by caste Hindus regarding the Avarna women’s use of breast cloths and gold ornaments. He is the first rebel in the known local minor histories or heterologous narratives to be immortalised for defying and resisting the caste Hindu feudal lords who perpetuated physical and symbolic violence against the Avarnas in south Kerala (Sathyaprakasam 1998:12).
Velayudha Panicker paved the way for the foundation of social reformation and political protest in the early 19th century in southern Kerala. His struggles eventually culminated in the Kerala Renaissance, carried forward in its most ethical articulations by Narayana Guru, Muloor, Asan, and Sahodaran in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In this respect, Panicker began the counter-hegemonic resistance movement of those, marginalised, enslaved, and subjugated by Brahmanism and caste for centuries. He set in motion the egalitarian and ethical democratic reformation of Kerala from below, working with people at the grassroots level. He was the first and most important interventionist to kindle the spark of Kerala modernity among its most downtrodden people. In him, we see action and sacrifice directed powerfully towards the achievement of liberty, equality, and fraternity, which was carried forward later by Narayana Guru, Sahodaran, and others. He also was the first to emphasise investment in cultural and educational capital as being key to achieving liberation and the all-round improvement of human qualities. He provided a model for social activism and liberation politics for all excluded and exploited people around the world.
Unique geographical location and local cultural differences
Arattupuzha literally means ‘the river where the annual ceremonial ritual bath of an ancient shrine is conducted’. Many places have the names Arattupuzha and Arattukadavu (Bathing ghats) in Kerala. Arattu refers to the pally neerattu, or the ‘ritual river-bath of the deity of a pally or vihara (monastery) that marks the end of the annual festival’. Alappuzha is a wetland area sandwiched between the Vembanad and Kayamkulam backwaters. Place names that have survived centuries of invasion, attempts at erasure, and cultural hegemony indicate that there were renowned Buddhist centres in this area for more than a millennium (Alexander 1949). Trikunnapuzha and Thottapally in the north are identified as sites of ancient Buddhist viharas and the possible location of Srimulavasam, the renowned southern seat of the Buddha (Ilamkulam 2001:2; Narayanan 2005:23). Ilamkulam argues that Srimulavasam was taken by the sea in the 12th or 13th century. He cites Atula’s Mushakavamsa (considered to have been written in the 10th century C.E.) which records the donations to this Buddhist shrine made by Malabar rulers like Kolathiris. Ilamkulam also argues that the Paliyam copperplate must be appropriately called the ‘Srimulavasam copperplate’, as historical records indicate that it was donated to the shrine by the Ay King, Vikramaditya Varaguna. It is evident that this region of Kerala, including the Karthikappally, Karunagapally, and Tottapally areas, had established Buddhist centres, which were part of a global civilisation of Buddhism that thrived in this area well into the Middle Ages. Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean trade routes provided the connection to Southeast Asia and the western world.
Amidst these ocean-oriented contexts and connections, Arattupuzha constitutes an island paradise, a lagoon-like formation between the sea and the lake. It is a long sandy strip of land between the Arabian Sea and the backwaters of southern Kerala near Kayamkulam. Arattupuzha, in the old Karthikappally Taluk of Alappuzha, lies between Trikkunnapuzha and Valiazheekal. Now, a new bridge connects it to Kayamkulam in the east as well. It is separated from the mainland by Kayamkulam Kayal (backwaters) on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west. It is a land of unique natural and cultural features that dates back to ancient times. The egalitarian spirit of enlightenment still survives in the region.
Sramana cultural legacies and distinct genealogies indicated in toponymy
The ancient history of Kerala’s people survives in family and place names, despite violent conquests and erasures, or Sanskritisation. Even after centuries of elitist alterations and tampering, almost all place and family names have their origins and etymologies in Tamil and Pali (the ancient language of Theravada Buddhism). Studies in toponymy and onomastics indicate that name endings ‘pally’ and chery[i]—abundant even today—originated in ancient Pali and Tamil languages (Valath 1991). Non-Hindus in South India use the word ‘pally’ (denoting a vihara, or basati, a Jain vestige) in South India to mark their holy places of worship and communion. The word pallykkoodam, for school, has the same origin. ‘Chery’ was originally a Buddhist monastery, and later, the term came to denote ‘the dwelling place of Avarnas’[ii]. Place names like Karthikappally, Perumpally, and Dhanapally indicate that there were many ancient sramanapallys (Buddhist viharas or shrines) in the region. Buddhism survived well into the 13th or 14th centuries in this wetland area. Its marshes isolated it from the Brahmanical conquest of central Kerala that began in the 7th century, which had, by the early Middle Ages, extended to large parts of the rest of what is now Kerala. That Buddhism in the Mahayana form survived until as late as the 16th century in some smaller areas like Vaikom, Kilirur, and Nilamperur, can be attributed to the Chera prince, Pallyvanar II. There are several popular legends about this and P. C. Alexander, S. N. Sadasivan and the present author have extensively written on it.
A collusion of priests and militia resulted in the capture of these ancient pallys in the Middle Ages, and their conversion into Hindu Brahmanical Kshetras (temples). Purity-pollution rules and the institutionalised practice of untouchability were imposed. The still-surviving architecture of these ancient shrines and old households in Kerala is identical to the Buddhist architecture in China, Japan, and Korea, indicating its close connections and past linkages through various schools of Buddhism such as Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana. The Kallissery Nalukettu (traditional Kerala household with four wings and a central yard) that still exists in Mangalam, Arattupuzha, is a prime example. It may be observed that an ettukettu (eightfold structure), has numerical analogies related to the ‘eightfold path and four noble truths’ of the teachings of Buddha. It was built 250 years ago by Perumal Chekor, the grandfather of Velayudhan. The place name ‘Mangalam’ also has Buddhist connections through the ‘Mahamangala Sutta’. The Ilamko epic Silapatikaram on Kannaki also refers to her as a patini or mangala devi as enshrined in the Mangala Devi Kottam (temple) which is in Kumily, in the Western Ghats. There are numerous places in South India and Sri Lanka that have ‘mangalam’ in their names.
Sramanapallys, and the communities they were a part of, survived in isolated wetland areas of Kerala even after the conquests of Brahmanic forces in the 8th and 9th centuries, specifically in the Vembanad, Kayamkulam, Ashtamudi, and Sasthamkotta backwaters. The significance of the number eight in Ashtamudi also suggests a reference to the ‘eightfold path’. There are other linguistic references in Kerala connected to the significance of the number eight (ettu in Malayalam), such as ettum-pottum or ettinte-pani, It is also remarkable to observe that Sramana traditions in the corrupted and disguised form of Chathan worship also survived in the western part of the Thrissur Kole wetlands. Peringottukara and its Kanady Madom are cases in point. The same Chathan Seva (worship of Chathan) is happening in Kattumadam Mana in a Brahmanical way in Vannerinadu, in the north, on the southern banks of the river Nila. It may also be remembered that the Sanskrit text, Tantra Samuchayam, was written by Chennas Nambutiripad in Vannerinadu in the 16th century, to assimilate the Tantric cults related to Vajrayana, which was still flourishing in the region in the late Middle Ages.
Hegemonic invasions and appropriations
It should also be noted that Tantric practices are integrated more deeply into the Nambutiri Brahmanism of Kerala than in any other region in India. The temple system is controlled by the Brahmanic priestocracy, including the Tantris, Mel, and Kizh Santis, which indicates that they were Vajrayanis and Mahayanis in the past. The meaning of the caste name ‘Nambutiri’ refers to one whose faith (nambu) has shifted, in this case from Buddhism to Brahmanism. This is perhaps why they are considered to be ‘lower’ Brahmans by the Brahmans of North India, and why the Nambutiris are identical in appearance to Keralites with Avarna or Buddhist lineages. In their house names as well, Pali root words like ‘pally’ and ‘chery’ are abundant. These families were related to Avarna households through kinship or ritual-pollution linkages, and through the traditional sacred laundry system of vannatimatu. The Azhvanchery Brahman lord (tampran) was given the position of supreme leader of Brahmanism in Kerala, as he was the first Buddhist scholar to convert to Vedic Brahmanism in northern Kerala. Even so, ‘chery’ remains part of his household name, retaining the reference to ‘the abode of the Buddhist monks’ earlier, and ‘Avarna’ later.
Naga deities in the sacred groves of households to the south west of Kallissery are another indication of the antiquity of those families. According to local people, there were four such groves that no longer exist. Animism and nature worship were encouraged by Buddhist nuns and monks who created these sangha aramas (sacred groves), for eco-cultural conservation among the common people. There is an old folk saying dating from Asokan conservationist culture, that if you disturb the kavu (grove), then the kulam (pond) will dry up. After embracing Buddhism, Asoka the Great, who ruled in the 3rd century BC, instituted an ethical administration, which encouraged a culture of environmental conservation supported by official policy.
Exclusion and survival in the margins
During the Middle Ages, followers of Buddhism and Jainism were pushed to the eastern frontiers of Kerala, and into the highest elevations of the Western Ghats. They were forced into these areas by Brahmanism and its subservient Sudra henchmen, which together were called the Savarna (caste Hindus). This was the elitist and hegemonic culture of Kerala that is a product of the infamous ‘sexual colonies’, and of the nocturnal alliance called sambandham that gave birth to the manipravalam wedlock-culture and writing (Ilamkulam 2001). Achankovil, Sabarimala, and Anamalai Sramana settlements are relics of these ravaged cultures that are now being Hinduised.
The very place name Arattupuzha is associated with Perumpally, which lies to its south. ‘Arattupuzha’ refers to the annual celebration in the pally called arattu, which is still retained by Savarna Hinduised temples, as is the annual ritual of pally vetta.[xi] The huge river or puzha here was used for the ritual bathing ceremony of the deity of Perumpally, which literally means ‘large Buddhist shrine’. Because of their historic struggles with Brahmanism, caste, and its subservient henchmen, the Kallissery Ezhava household in Arattupuzha produced generations of warriors who were well-trained in martial arts, such as kalaripayattu, medical practices like Ayurveda, and astrology. They were also well-versed in Sanskrit, and some members of that household, including the grandfather of Velayudha (Kalliseril Perumal Chekor) were experts in even the ‘tulunadan’ style of kalari (Vasavapanicker 1980:12)[xii]. It is evident that they were associated with the protection of the Perumpally here, and even after the Savarna conquests, they preserved some of their self-defence practices and were able to effectively resist Savarna aggression and violence in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The retention of kallu or kall (stone) in the name of the household is also evidence of a connection with Sramana, as kallu is associated with those place names with affixes like ‘Kottam’ or ‘Vattam’ or ‘Kuti’—all referring to the ancient stone-based architecture introduced by the Sramana sages in Kerala. Examples of this are Kallil, Pappinivattom, and Kuttippuram (Valath 1991).
Fighting back and fighting caste in 19th century Kerala
Recently, there has been a renewed interest in his struggle against the violent empire of caste and Hindu Brahmanism that still linger and have assumed fierce proportions. A foundation was formed recently to study his ethical and anti-caste resistance legacy. A community hall, the temple founded by him, and the Kallissery household are some of the monuments that still preserve his memory in his birthplace, Arattupuzha.
The Sramana people of South Kerala—later known as Avarnas, or untouchables under Hindu Brahmanism because of their Sramana ancestry—were severely oppressed in the early Middle Ages by the invading Brahmanical conquests that were carried out by the Sudra militias. The Bahujans, or Buddhist people, were caught—literally—between the devil and the deep sea. In this context, we may also remember Boddhi Dharma (‘Damo’ or ‘Tamo’ in many parts of the world), who fled to China in the 6th century (when Brahmanism came south into the Pallava and Chera kingdoms), and there performed ‘kalari’ as kung fu in the Shaolin Temple. The Tamils celebrate him as a Pallava prince from Kanchi. Some Dalit artists and activists in Kerala also claim that he is a Chera prince from Vanchi or Muziris or Kodungallur. Thus, it is clear that the self-defence practices of kalari, Kung Fu, taekwondo, and karate have a common Buddhist origin that dates to Asokan times.
Multilateral and cultural resistance
Velayudha Chekavar established a brotherhood of sociocultural activists made up of young men from the untouchable community of Arattupuzha (Jose 2017; Sathyaprakasam1998:12). He established a troupe and school called ‘kaliyogam’ or ‘kalari’, which trained young Avarnas to perform Kathakali—something that they were officially prohibited from doing. This lasted till his death and produced many artists from the untouchable community. Sudras furiously protested Kathakali performances by untouchable youths and tried unsuccessfully to ban them, but Panicker went on to help Avarnas in Changanassery and Kottayam to establish their own kaliyogams, or clubs, in their localities (Gopan 2006; Sathyaprakasam 1998:13). In his doctoral dissertation, C. Gopan elaborates on the involvement of Panicker with the Chakasery Ezhava household, and the successful staging of Kathakali performances in places near Kottayam in the mid-19th century. Panicker and his sons, along with friends from various Dalit Bahujan communities, performed on stage, refuting caste taboos and customs, and thereby, infuriating the caste henchmen who unleashed a series of physical and legal battles against them. According to the caste Hindu men, Panicker and his followers were Sudras, and the Ezhavas were Chandals or Avarnas—untouchables. According to them, it was against the Varnasramadharma tradition to allow Avarnas to perform the roles of the gods of Hindu Sanatana Dharma on stage before the ceremonial lamp, wearing ornaments and the divine crown.
Velayudha Panicker also supported the most marginalised communities—now known as Dalits—by running night schools and kalaris for them (Jose 2017). His institutions were open to all sections of society. He also supported them by assisting them with building new huts and renewing old thatches. This interest in members of the lowest social strata later influenced Avarna poets like Muloor to compose his well-known Pulavrithangal, which portrayed the life and struggles of Dalits (Sathyaprakasam 1998:13). Narayana Guru’s model for the housing and education of Dalit children in his ashrams (refuge) was deeply influenced by the earlier fraternal groups established by Arattupuzha. Social change and conversion was in the air in Nanjinad in the mid-19th century, soon after the missionary intervention in south Travancore, in relation to the breast cloth controversy and the Channar revolt; Panicker spread the word of sociocultural change among the people and prompted Avarna women to cover their breasts with cloths in public. In the Kayamkulam Market, when an Avarna woman was stripped and humiliated by Nair men, Panicker and his followers retaliated immediately with counter attacks (Sekher 2017; Sathyaprakasam 1998:13).
The Sudra lords who carried out the heinous crime of violating women’s modesty in public were sentenced to death and executed immediately. This shocked the Savarna hegemony around Kayamkulam and ended it forever. Panicker distributed breast cloths to Avarna women to wear in public, and from then on, no agent of Brahmanism dared to touch any Avarna women in and around Kayamkulam (Jose 2017; Sathyaprakasam 1998:13).
Freedom, fraternity, and equality
To add to this terror treatment, Panicker told the Avarnas (Dalit Bahujans) not to work for the Savarna upper castes. The Nair feudal lords were brought to their knees by this labour refusal. They publicly apologised before the humiliated Avarna woman, and only then did Panicker withdraw his labour strike. During this time, he gave food and minimum wages to thousands of agricultural labourers in the region (Sathyaprakasam 1998:14). Clearly, such early labour strikes must have influenced later Dalit leaders like Ayyankali to organise protest strikes for educational rights. According to several reports in Satyaprakasm and Dalitbandhu in Pandalam Market, too, this was repeated. Panicker made and distributed at least 1,000 gold nose rings among Avarna women in Pandalam and asked them to wear them in public. No Nair lord dared touch them. This historic episode is known as the Mukuti Struggle.
Velayudha Panicker also practised inter-caste dining. He enjoyed inter-caste meals with Dalits—mostly Pulayas and Parayas—of his region, which was a shocking thing to do in early 19th century Kerala (Sathyaprakasam 1998:15). Sahodaran Ayyappan, who organised the first documented inter-caste dining in the history of Kerala at Cherai in 1917, must have been inspired by the oral history on Arattupuzha Velayudha Panicker and his practice of this same radically subversive act almost a century before and a few hundred miles south (Sekher 2012).
Selfless sacrifice and multiple ethical legacies
A henchman sent by the caste Hindu lords assassinated Panicker as he slept in his boat in the Kayamkulam Kayal near Perumpally. He was 49 years old. It is believed that Topiyitta Kittan, a new convert to Islam, was probably hired by the Brahmanical ruling class to carry out this heinous act. He had been an employee of Chekavar but had been fired on account of fraud at the Kallissery estate. The caste Hindu forces were able to make him channel his resentment into committing this murder. We may also remember the popular local narratives on the encounter between the ‘Robin Hood of Kerala’, Kayamkulam Kochunni, and Panicker. According to this story, when the former tried to kill Panicker in his sleep, he suddenly woke and caught Kochunni red-handed, but then spared his life. Chekavar showed that clemency and generosity because he was aware that Kochunni was also an Avarna and from a Buddhist lineage, even though he was a Muslim. He also knew that it was the caste Hindu forces behind this assassination attempt, and thus spared his brother’s life. Arattupuzha was assassinated in a criminal act by Brahmanical agents. However, the spirit of resistance and rebellion against hegemony was born and the cause of social justice and human rights lives on. The agenda of radical revolution, and democratic cultural politics and struggle unleashed by this immortal activist against the caste and Savarna Brahmanic hegemony of Kerala was unique, contemporary, and way ahead of its time.
His activism was based on concrete socio-political intervention and change. He also stressed the importance of art and culture in emancipation. His practice of kalari martial arts, Ayurveda, astrology, and Kathakali articulate the significance of representation, cultural politics, and cultural capital in his struggle for equity and justice. His mode of temple installations reinforces the spiritual quests, needs, and awakening of the masses on ethical and spiritual planes.
His local institution buildings, including schools and libraries, embody the primacy of welfare governance and constitutional frameworks. His counter-resistance and physical revolts reinforce the social and material mobility of the subaltern. He offers an inspiring example to social activists, radical reformers, and cultural policy planners, as well as to people in governance and social activists. He has inspired generations of social reformers, philosophers, spiritual leaders, cultural activists, and democratic fighters, and remains a source of inspiration for future democratic struggles in and around Kerala.
Martyrdom and iconic status in anti-caste early renaissance struggles
The moment you alight at Mangalam, in Arattupuzha, the small but beautiful temple, surrounded by white sand, and the community hall erected in the memory of Velayudha Panicker, will catch your eye. There is a huge banyan tree at the bus stop, situated between the road and the Arabian Sea, and plenty of peepal trees around the temple. The lotus pond, and another pond with green water plants, are cool and soothing. Unfortunately, however, the temple is now under renovation and the original simplicity, accessibility, and openness are giving way to closed caste Hindu models.
The temple in Mangalam was founded by Panicker in early 1851. In 1856, he built one more temple in Cheruvaranam, near Chertalai. Kandiyur Matatil Viswanadhan Gurukkal, a Virasaiva Tantri, performed the consecration for him. He allowed all people, irrespective of caste, creed, or gender, to enter and worship in these temples. It is important to note that this happened almost three decades before Narayana Guru’s Aruvippuram installation of 1888[xv]. Narayana Guru received his education at the Varanapally household on the eastern banks of Kayamkulam Kayal (where Panicker found his wife, Velumbi). He was clearly aware of the socio-spiritual and anti-caste legacy of Velayudha Panicker. N.K. Jose observes that Narayana Guru had even gone twice to meet Chekavar during his educational years at Varanapally and Kummanpally in Kayamkulam, but was unsuccessful. It is notable that Narayana Guru received his basic primary education from the Kudipallykoodam system in Kerala, which is a clear relic of Buddhist pallys and pallykoodams. Kudi and pura also refer to the earliest Buddhist settlements. Chattambi Swamikal, Narayana Guru’s elder contemporary, also received his primary education at Pettayil Raman Pilla Asan’s kudipallykoodam and kalari near Trivandrum. Despite being the son of a Brahman, he was denied the Sanskritic Gurukula entry along with Brahman Unnis (boys) because he was accused of having a Sudra mother.
As an early 19th century activist and interventionist against caste and Brahmanism, Panicker tried to acquire the cultural and symbolic capital monopolised by Savarnas—temple worship, education, learning, arts like Kathakali, and religious ritual practices including temple rituals. That is why during the 1840s and 1850s he travelled extensively along the western coast of India, to Vaikom, Guruvayoor, and even up to Goa. He disguised himself as a Brahman to enter Brahmanical temples there, and find out the subtle nuances and cultural distinctions of Brahmanical tantric worship. After a great deal of observation and study, he composed a simple and egalitarian ritual and performed his own idol installations in south Kerala in the 1850s. This observation and critical appropriation by Panicker could not be rejected as mere Sanskritisation and imitation. It is something beyond cultural mimicry, having greater historic reasons, political goals, and strategic essentialism. These current Hindu temples were all Buddhist shrines and pallys or viharas that had been modified into Brahmanical ones after the Middle Ages through hegemonic appropriations, Saiva-Vaishnava devotional frenzy, the alliance of priests and militia, and cheating of the people (Ilamkulam 2001; Alexander 1949; Gopalakrishnan 2008). After the takeover, the original owners were cast away as untouchables and even ‘un-seeables’. They were even violently killed for coming near the old shrines, as in the 1806 Dalavakulam massacre at Vaikom Shrine, which was one of the last Mahayana pallys to be converted in the mid-16th century.
Spiritual and cultural politics and strategies for the people
Legend has it that Brahmanical henchmen chased Panicker even up to Cherthala, from Guruvayoor, on finding out that he was an Avarna or untouchable Ezhava. He travelled by traditional boat (with paddles), by horse, and by elephant during his expeditions and explorations along the south coast. Because of this, local people still cherish his memory and talk about him as a saviour, martyr, and ethical fighter for human dignity and rights. He was indeed a martyr. Through various kinds of struggles against caste Hindu hegemony, he worked tirelessly for the liberation of his community and that of similar Avarna communities in his region who had Buddhist genealogies of writing, learning and resistance. His historic struggle in 1867, against the Edapally prince for the freedom of movement, is a true forerunner of Ayyankali’s Villuvandi struggles in the 1890s.
Mr Raveendran, who runs a hotel near the temple at Mangalam, has a portrait of Panicker on the wall, and is articulate about his legacy. People in the locality still remember the primary school and small library founded by Panicker in Arattupuzha in the early 1850s. Though these pioneering institutions vanished after Panicker’s assassination, the memories and emancipating spirit are still with the local people. A library, established in 1924, is named after Asan near the temple and the Kallissery household that still survives.
Greater cultural legacies and shared history
The Kallissery Nalukettu, made of teak by his grandfather Perumal Chekor in the 17th century, has survived the ravages of time, although some parts are demolished and in decay. The government should take immediate steps to protect this historic monument and preserve it for posterity as a museum of cultural history, social justice, and human rights in Kerala. It should be developed into a local museum of the Kerala Renaissance and modernity.
The surrounding government schools, temple, ponds, library, community hall, and Kallissery household should be transformed into a cultural complex and become part of the shared heritage of Arattupuzha, Alappuzha, and Kerala in general. The ancient household and the associated monuments of this legendary fighter of caste could form an appropriate memorial for the Kerala Renaissance as well. Archaeological studies and excavations on this narrow land bridge, which includes Thottapally, Trikunnapuzha, Arattupuzha, and Perumpally, may also reveal vital treasures related to Kerala’s Buddhist past and its world connections. Trikunnapuzha is the historical site of a world renowned vihara called Srimulavasam (Ilamkulam 2001; Narayanan 2005). The government should initiate a ‘Srimulavasam cultural project’—in the manner of the Muziris heritage project—to locate and conserve this ecologically and culturally sensitive landscape. This would attract the world’s attention and enhance support for Buddhist countries in Southeast Asia.
Chery is originally the monastic settlement of Buddhists and later from the middle ages after Hinduization, it denotes the settlements and slums of Avarnas or untouchables outside the Chaturvarnya who had Buddhist lineages.
Historians like Ilamkulam and Valath have suggested this notion on many occasions. It is also in the common parlance used in Kerala. Lamasery or the abode of the Lamas is an example in English, originally from Tibetan. Lamas are Tibetan Vajrayana monks.
The Mangala Sutta is a discourse (Pali: sutta) of the Buddha on the subject of 'blessings' (mangala, also translated as 'good omen' or 'auspices' or 'good fortune'.
Kannaki is a legendary Tamil woman who forms the central character of the Tamil epic Silapathikaram (100-300 AD).
Patini is a virtuous wife figure, Mangaladevi is a Buddhist and Jain auspicious deity having affiliations with Mahamaya or Tara or the Jain Yakshis.
Cheran Chenguttuvan, the king of ancient Tamilakam, had erected the temple for Kannaki around 2000 years back at Vannathiparai and called it 'Kannagi Kottam' or 'Mangaladevi Kannagi temple' and performed regular pujas.
These are commonly used phrases that gives various meanings to the number eight, all derived from the 8fold paths or Ashtangamarga of the Buddha.
Chathan a corrupt Hinduized form of Sasta or Boddhisatva of Buddhism.
Peringottukara is a village in the western coastal side of India, located in the western side of the Thrissur District which is one of the 14 districts of Kerala. The famous Chathan seva temples are located in Peringottukara, such as Peringottukara Devasthanam, Avanangattu Kalari, Kanadi Madom.
Followers of Vajrayana and Mahayana Buddhist traditions respectively.
The ritual hunt in a Pally and now in a Hindu temple as part of annual festival.
Related to Tulunad the northern most tip of Kerala above Kasaragod bordering with south Karnataka up to Konkan.
I have visited Arattupuzha on many occasions since May 19, 2011, and have seen mementos of this great 19th century anti-caste crusader. I have longed to visit since I began my doctoral dissertation on caste and marginality in Kerala and India. These places are rich with the history of resistance by culturally and economically marginalised people against caste, Brahmanism, and the Savarna hegemonic elitist culture of Kerala. Mr K.K. Kunnath, playwright and local historian from Perumpally, south of Arattapuzha, spoke to me in May, 2001, about the anti-caste legacy of Velayudha Panicker.
In recent times, another narrative has been created by caste Hindu forces and elite pundits, claiming that Muslim men humiliated the Ezhava women in Kayamkulam Market. This version is strategically deployed by caste Hindu spokespersons to create a schism between Ezhavas and Muslims. If these large Other Backward Caste (OBC) groups form an alliance, it will be the end of the Brahman-Sudra caste Hindu alliance in Kerala. Through such cunning narratives, the caste Hindu hegemony achieves two things—to absolve itself of the historical heinous crime, and to thrust it upon the ‘demonised other’ of the Muslim ‘terrorist’ or ‘anti-social’. This is an easily available communal strategy to orchestrate this kind of divide and rule over the Avarnas and minorities. The same tactics were used by caste Hindu lords to assassinate Arattupuzha, using a newly converted Muslim called Topiyitta Kittan (the Kittan who wore a skullcap). Such an act can instigate a communal feud and the real perpetrators would go unrecognised.