THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Such has been the impact of the Temple Entry Proclamation of 1936 that it has often been described as the single biggest social reformation event since the ban on Sati. Downtrodden and progressive sections wholeheartedly welcomed it, but not many know that even a football tournament was held in its honour back then!
A Travancore government order allocating the Cantonment Maidan (Peeranki Maidan) in Kollam free of rent for the tournie is one of the attractions at an exhibition arranged at the VJT Hall to mark the 82nd anniversary celebrations of the Temple Entry Proclamation.
The tournament was organised in 1937 by the Athletic Club, Quilon. In waiving the rent on the ground, the GO also notes there existed precedents in this respect - the Silver Jubilee Tournament Committee, All Kerala Nair Conference Reception Committee and the SNDP Yogam had used the ground rent-free the past.
On a more serious vein, the exhibition, inaugurated by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday, features photo enlargements of some of the most important archival material on the state’s renaissance movement. For instance, the temple entry proclamations issued in Travancore, Malabar and finally, Cochin. Another specimen is a photocopy of the ‘Neettu’ issued by Gowri Parvati Bayi to Diwan Janardana Rao Venkata Rao sanctioning 500 ‘panam’ to dissuade Veeramma of Kollam from committing Sati.
The exhibition takes the visitor through landmark events of the era such as the Vaikom Satyagraha and Aruvippuram Prathista and social evils like slavery and untouchability. The exhibition has a copy of the proclamation of 1865 banning slavery and an earlier letter written by Diwan Sankara Warrier to Major General W Cullen, the British Resident.
The letter says, "According to the Sirkar account of 1023 ME there are 6,760 full-grown Sirkar slaves, male and female, and 1,226 children making together 7,986 souls. The amount of revenue derived from the full-grown slaves in the year quoted was rupees 3673-5-2.’’
In the CM’s words, the exhibition aims to show what Kerala was like back then, and how far Kerala society has progressed since then. A copy of the memorandum written by upper caste Hindus to the Maharani expressing their protest to the Vaikom Satyagraha, the writings of Narayana Guru on the satyagraha and short bios of the social reformers of the time such as Ayyankali, Narayana Guru, Chattambi Swamikal and Sahodaran Ayyappan are also on display. The exhibition will be on till Monday at VJT Hall.