Paper Title:Dalit movement and Ayyankali – a study

Abstract

Mahatma Ayyankali was a popular leader of Dalits of Kerala who carried forward many reform movements for dalits (low caste people).In 1937 he was praised by Mahatma Gandhi when he visited Venganoor, Ayyankali’s home town. He was the first labour leader from India who fought for equal rights of Dalit workers in Kerala. Yet he led in front a movement for democratizing public places and asserting the rights of workers even before the formation of any workers organization in Kerala. He belonged to Pulaya Community who were regarded as dalit.Till middle twentieth century. Kerala was a place filled with strange customs and discrimination based on caste and creed. Dalits were not allowed to pass through public places nor could their women cover their breasts in from of high caste people. Ayyankali himself was an illiterate person similar to Manu Script and fought against these discrimination. He was inspired a lot by Ayyavu’s teachings. Ayyaguru was the harbinger of many social reform leaders of Kerala.


Keywords:Dalits Movement, Ayyankali, Kerala, Middle Twentieth Century, Pulaya Community.