Temple Entry Proclamation

The Temple Entry Proclamation issued by Maharaja Shri Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma and his Dewan Sir C. P. Ramaswami Iyer in 1936 abolished the ban on low-caste people or avarnas from entering Hindu Temples in the state of Travancore (now part of Kerala, India)[1].

The edict is as follows:

"Profoundly convinced of the truth and validity of our religion, believing that it is based on divine guidance and on all-comprehending toleration, knowing that in its practice it has through out the centuries, adapted itself to the needs of changing times, solicitous that none of our Hindu subjects should, by reason of birth or caste of community, be denied the consolations and the solace of the Hindu faith."


Today, the Temple Entry proclamation day is considered as social reformation day by the Government of Kerala.

History

When in 1896 a Ezhava Memorial signed by more than 13,000 representative Ezhavas(Hindu community of Kerala) of Travancore was submitted to the government praying for the recognition of the right of the Ezhavas to enter the government service, the upper caste Hindus of the state prevailed upon the Maharajah not to concede the prayer. The memorialists sought only privileges that were already enjoyed by the Christians and the Muslims. P. Chidambaram Pillai in Right of Temple Entry says, The Thiyya Hindu of Hindu Travancore has not as much right of free citizenship as the lowest Hindu in the Mohammadan state of Hyderabad or the lowest Hindu of Christian British India. To be a Hindu in the Hindu state of Travancore is not a privilege for the non-caste Hindus; it is not a mere handicap; it is a curse; it is an insult. In dejection many of the Ezhavas embraced Christianity as borne out by the fact that the Christian population of Travancore which stood at six lakhs in 1901 increased to 17 lakhs in 1931. And when their fight for equity was not taking the Ezhavas anywhere, their leadership threatened that they would convert en masse, rather than stay as helots of Hindu society. The alert Diwan, Sir C.P. Ramaswamy Iyer, realised the imminent danger and prompted the Maharajah to issue the proclamation. Otherwise, the history of Kerala would have been quite different. [1]

Foot Notes

1. ^ Dr.Palpu, Treatment of Tiyas in Travancore

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