Dalit Consciousness and Its Perspective on the Basis of Prds History in Kerala

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Dalit Consciousness and its perspective on the basis of PRDS History in Kerala
R. Prakash,Kerala

The greatest spiritual upheaval that the world saw in the beginning of this century was staged in India, with the emergence of P.R.D.S. the defensive activities of ‘Keezhala People’ have been feathered in different parts of the world. But no where else, there took place on an organised spiritual uplift based on their history and culture. It was in Kerala, in India, that such an event was staged though it went unnoticed. This progressive movement was in the backup of the Renaissance movement in India. Thus the Indian Renaissance deserved our special attention. Kerala has a history of Renaissance that his distinctive features of its own. These features make the Renaissance in Kerala differ from other areas in India. A unique peculiarism in Christianity-The activities of Christian Missionaries and the conversion among Dalit People. It happened in this background that the ‘Vaukunda Swami Movement’. Sree Narayana Movement’ the activities of Ayyankali and Vaikam Sathyagraha, took their origin, Religious conversions have directly or indirectly, influenced all renaissance movements. But it was P.R.D.S. alone that faced the identity crisis of conversion among the Dalit people. P.R.D.S. emerged as a spiritual movement. So it has been much misunderstood and misspelt in history. It has been greatly distorted and disturbed. In order to learn about the advent of P.R.D.S. history, it is essential that the history of Kerala and its democratical approach towards renaissance should be re-examined.

The period of history termed the Renaissance of India does not yield to prejudicial assessment. The leaders of Indian Renaissance like Raja Ram Mohan Roy and Dayananda Saraswathy stood against the Brahmin Supremacy in even aspect. Yet the Mahatma Jyothi Baphula, E. V. Rama Swami Naikar and Dr. Ambedkar belonged to another layer on level. This shows the conflicting nature of the renaissance and its streams. The call to return to the Vedas was given by Dayananda Saraswathy and Rajaram Mohan Roy Their idea was to reform Hindu religion. What actually happened was the spranging up at different levels of anticaste, non-brahmin movements. As a protest against high caste sway; the ‘Sathaya Sodhaka Movement’, ‘Swabhimana Movement’ in Tamil Nadu, “Adhom Movement; in Punjab” , “Adi-Hindu Movement; in M. P., Nama Subhra Movement in Bengal and in Kerala, Sree Narayana, Ayyankali and P. R. D. S. movements sprang up Raja Ram Mohan Roy and Dayananda Saraswathy were not spokes men of the Bhakti Movement advocated by Tukaram, Ram Das and Kabeer. Yet what their movement reveals is the inherent weakness of the ‘Bhakthi Movement’. So What happened in India in the name of Renaissance was a Hindu Social reformation or a totality of Hindu culture.

But none other than Ayyankali, Ambedkar and P.R.D.S. movement suited the spiritual development and raise the and lead the defence of the Dalit people. Before the beginning of Ambedkar Movement (1924) other Dalit Movements and become prominent. They had come into being against the social reformatory views of the National Renaissance.

Kerala, in the last quarter of the 19th century presented in its acute form, the identity crisis faced by the Dalits in India. Kerala was comprised of three Kingdom (Travancore, Cochin and Malabar) Colonialism made this a period of conflicts. There conflicts were furthered by the activities of Christian Missionaries and the Conversions made by them with their aid and initiative, there broke out the “Channar Muttiny” 1829. This may be regarded as the first explosion of Renaissance. The Channars/Ezhavas were the people to climb up palm trees for toddy tapping. “Vaikunda Swami Movement” was an active movement among them at that time. This was in Southern Travancore.

We have to bear in mind that the complicated caste system in Kerala was strikingly different from that the caste...
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