Translated by J Devika
[I prefer to use the term the Great Churning — van-kadayal in Malayalam — to represent social change during the period of the early twentieth century of Malayali society in general, and mahaaturavi — the Great Opening — instead of the term Navoddhanam — Renaissance — to characterize the great upsurge of the oppressed communities towards liberation — of the same time, treating them as analytically distinct.
Continue reading “Women Preachers of the PRDS: Kulakutti Maria”
[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”
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”