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The Vykom Satyagraha

Three young men, Kelappan, Madhavan and Krishnaswamy took up the leadership of the Satyagraha Movement. They got in touch with Gandhiji, 'obtained his blessings and started Satyagraha in a town called 'Vykom'. At Vykom, the way to the temple of Lord Shiva lay through a particular street; Harijans were not allowed to walk there. The Satyagraha was to put an end to this unjust rule. Gandhiji was giving directions to the volunteers from Ahmedabad. Narayana Guru did not participate in the Satyagraha. He encouraged the volunteers who were all his devotees. People who believed in very old practices opposed the Movement. The Satyagrahis suffered much trouble at their hands. But the Satyagrahis bore them with patience. At last, in April 1925, Gandhiji himself came to Vykom to see that the question was settled. It was on this occasion that the Guru and Gandhiji met. Gandhiji had great regard for the Guru.

The Satyagraha succeeded only partially. Of course, the right of way in the public street was given to all people. But it was only in 1937 that the Travancore State Government issued an order in the name of the Maharaja and gave the right of entry to temples to the Harijans also, for the first time in the whole of India.

The Satyagraha ended. The Guru got a Primary School constructed for the use of poor children, as a memorial to it, on the spot where the Satyagraha wasconducted.

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