On April 1st, the State-level launch of the Vaikom Satyagraha centenary celebrations will be a shared responsibility between the Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan, and his Tamil Nadu counterpart, M.K. Stalin, who will both inaugurate the event in Vaikom.
The Department of Culture has partnered with various government departments and institutions across the State to organize diverse programs commemorating the 603-day-long Vaikom Satyagraha struggle. The valedictory function will also take place in Vaikom.
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To facilitate the Vaikom Satyagraha celebrations, a State-level organizing committee has been established, chaired by the Chief Minister, with the Minister of Culture serving as the Working Chairman.
The Vaikon Satyagraha celebrations committee’s vice-chairpersons include Vellappally Natesan, General Secretary of SNDP Yogam; G. Sukumaran Nair, General Secretary of Nair Service Society; Punnala Sreekumar, General Secretary of Kerala Pulayar Maha Sabha; Thomas Chazhikadan, MP; C.K. Asha, MLA; and Radhika Shyam, Chairperson of Vaikom Municipality. The Chief Secretary is the general convener, while the convener of the Department of Culture serves as the Secretary.
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Furthermore, organising committees will be established in all districts, with the district panchayat presidents serving as chairman, and the District Collector assuming the role of convener for the Vaikom Satyagraha celebrations.
The Vaikom Satyagraha was a peaceful protest aimed at gaining entry to the prohibited public areas of the Vaikom Temple in the Kingdom of Travancore, which was infamous for its strict and oppressive caste system. Swami Vivekananda even referred to Travancore as a “lunatic asylum”. The Vaikom Satyagraha campaign was led by prominent Congress leaders such as T.K. Madhavan, K. Kelappan, and K.P. Kesava Menon, and received substantial support and participation from various communities and activists.
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In the princely state of Travancore, many major temples had long prohibited lower castes, also known as untouchables, from not only entering but even walking on the surrounding roads.