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As the year 2024 marks the centenary of the Vaikom Satyagraha, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin jointly inaugurated the centenary celebrations, during a function held at Vaikom on April 1, 2023.

What is Vaikom Satyagraha?

  • It is the first anti-caste movement, as the pupil of the depressed class and untouchables were restricted from entering the temple.
  • This Satyagraha was to establish the rights of the oppressed classes to walk on the roads to the Shree Mahadeva Temple in Vaikom in Kottayam district.
  • The issue of temple entry was first raised by Ezhava leader TK Madhavan in a 1917 editorial in his paper Deshabhimani.
  • In AICC (All India Congress Committee) meeting in Kakinada 1923, K Madhavan along with Sardar Panikkar and KP Kesava Menon submitted a petition to the Travancore legislative council.
  • The petition sought to grant the right to temple entry and worship of gods for all sections of the society irrespective of caste, creed, and community.
  • It was launched on 30th March 1924.
  • The movement in the vicinity of Mahadev temple in Kottayam district of Kerala took place during 1924-1925.
  • Prominent people who supported this Satyagraha are Sree Narayana Guru and Periyar E.V Ramaswamy.
  • Gandhi arrived at Vaikom in March 1925, held a series of discussions with leaders of various caste groups and met Maharani Regent at her Varkala camp.
  • The Vaikom Satyagraha was officially withdrawn on November 30, 1925 after consultations between Gandhi and W.H. Pitt (police commissioner of Travancore).
  • A compromise was reached following the release of all prisoners and grant of access to roads.
  • Temple Entry Proclamation: In 1936, the historic Temple Entry Proclamation was signed by the Maharaja of Travancore which removed the age-old ban on the entry of temples.