For Dalit Women’s Representation: Women of Pratyaksha Raksha Daiva Sabha

[Below is the retrieved part of a petition that was submitted to the Protector of Depressed Classes in Travancore by the women of the Pratyaksha Raksha Daiva Sabha, which represented not just the spiritual but also (indivisibly from it) the material rebirth of the dalit people in parts of Travancore]

[From V V Swami, E V Anil, Pratyaksha Raksha Daiva Sabha: Orma, Paattu, Charithrarekhakal, Adiyardeepam Publications,p. 259] Continue reading “For Dalit Women’s Representation: Women of Pratyaksha Raksha Daiva Sabha”

Remembering Mother’s Path: Komarakam Chinnamma in her Daughter’s Memories

The most important dalit spiritual movement of the early 20th century was initiated by Poykayil Yohannan (widely called Poykayil Appachan by his followers), one of the most remarkable minds in the great social churning in Kerala of the early 20th century.  Born in the Pathanamthitta district and converting to Christianity, Appachan rose to great heights as a masterful speaker and preacher, but he soon was disillusioned by the persistence of caste discrimination in the Church. He left to form his own faith, the Pratyaksha Raksh Daiva Sabha which attracted very many dalit followers as an empowering community. Appachan was a brilliant poet, thinker, legislator, and speaker but he was constantly threatened by the casteist elites everywhere he went. It was the women followers of Appachan who protected him in such moments of danger. Komarakam Chinnamma was one such hero, a fearless, strong, spiritually elevated dalit woman of those time. Her daughter, from these words, is a masterly story-teller. Continue reading “Remembering Mother’s Path: Komarakam Chinnamma in her Daughter’s Memories”

Freedom from Forced Labour: Dakshayani Velayudhan

Dakshayani Velayudhan (1912-1978), the only dalit woman member of the Constituent Assembly of India, was born in Kochi. She distinguished herself early in life as the first dalit woman in Kerala to obtain a college degree, which she remembers, was won in the face of continuing caste discrimination in college and outside. She worked as a teacher after her education and also served in the Cochin Legislative Council during 1945-48, actively participating in the debates. At the age of 34, she became a member of the Indian Constituent Assembly. Some of her legislative assembly debates have been included here,for example,this one. Continue reading “Freedom from Forced Labour: Dakshayani Velayudhan”

Resolution Banning Untouchability in Kochi: Dakshayani Velayudhan

[Speaking in the discussion on a resolution demanding a ban on untouchability through a Royal Proclamation. Proceedings of the Cochin Legislative Assembly 11 August 1945, 635-36 . This is originally in Malayalam; I have translated it below.] Continue reading “Resolution Banning Untouchability in Kochi: Dakshayani Velayudhan”