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Describe the fight for a democratic society in Kerala and how the Shanar Agitation (Channar Lahala), Vaikom Satyagraha and Guruvayur Satyagraha helped in that fight.

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There were many social evils in Kerala. There was control based on taste. Even basic human rights were denied to some castes. Human dignity did not mean anything to the Upper Classes. Against such in justice, some popular movements worked hard. Here are some of the most important movements.

Shanar Agitation:

This was one of the early fights against social in justice. This took place in Southern Travancore. This is also called ‘Melmundu samara’. Women of the Channar Community were not allowed to cover the upper part of their bodies with any doth or dress. Then, when Col. Monroe was the Diwan, he issued an order allowing the Channar women (Nadar) to wear a dress if they became Christians. 

The Channar women were not satisfied with this. They started appearing in the public wearing shawls like women of the Upper Classes. The Upper-Class Hindus did not like it. They attacked the Channar women, who retaliated. Finally on 26 July 1859, the government issued a royal edict removing restrictions on the dressing.

Vaikom Satyagraha:

This is the first famous public protest against untouchability. This protest was organized forgetting the right to use the paths near the. Vaikom Temple by lower caste Hindus. The leaders of this Satyagraha were T.K. Madhavan, Mannath Padmanabhan, C.V. Kunjuraman, K. Kelappan, and K.P. Kesava Menon.

An important event connected with the Vaikom Satyagraha is a procession of High Caste Hindus organized by Mannath Padmanabhan. The Procession went to Trivandum and met Maharani Sethulaxmi Bai and presented their request to her.

The Vaikom Satyagraha and the Savama Procession (Jatha) helped in forming positive public opinion regarding Temple Entry to all Castes. Finally, Gandhi interfered and the protest was successfully concluded. All the paths, except two, around the Vaikom Temple, were opened for use by all kinds of people.

Guruvayur Satyagraha:

This was a milestone in the social reform movement of Kerala. It was a great event against untouchability. This protest was begun with the demand that all Hindus should be allowed to worship in the temple. The Guruvayur temple was under the control of the Kozhikode Zamorin and only Upper Caste Hindus could worship there.

The Satyagraha started on 1 November 1931. K. Kelappan and Mannath Padmanabhan led the protest. Kelappan started a fast unto death in front of the temple.

Some fanatic Upper-Class Hindus attacked volunteers like A.K. Gopalan and P. Krishna Pillai. On 2 October 1932, on the advice of Gandhi, the Satyagraha was ended. An opinion poll was conducted in Ponnani Taluk to find out public opinion about the issue. Most of the people supported temple entry by lower caste Hindus also. Although results did not come immediately, the Satyagraha helped in forming public opinion in favour of Temple Entry by all manners of Hindus.

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