Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 28 (PTI) Kerala on Friday celebrated the 157th birth anniversary of social reformer Ayyankali with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan remembering his fight 'reclaiming' streets and said it was one of the 'momentous chapters in our State's fight against feudalism.' Chief Minister, ministers, leaders of political parties and people from all walks of life paid homage at the statue of Ayyankaliat Vellayambalam here.
In a tweet, Vijayan said the day reminds one that the freedom common people enjoy are the result of struggles against oppression fought by Ayyankali.
'His reclaiming of the streets for all is one of the momentous chapters in our State's fight against feudalism.Tributes,' Vijayan added.
Ayyankali (18631941) was a social reformer who worked for the advancement of Dalits, who were considered as untouchables, in the princely state of Travancore.
In 1893, Ayyankali challenged the ban on lower caste people using public roads in the erstwhile Travancore kingdom by riding a 'Villu Vandi' (bullock-cart).
In 1914, he enrolled Panchami, a dalit child to a school in Travancore resulting in a massive agitation and the school was burned down by the upper caste Hindus.
'Ayyankali was the lead fighter in the social revolution which transformed a primitive culture that was a breeding ground for injustice and led us to the birth of modern Kerala where we live today,' Vijayan said in a Facebook post.
Vijayan said Dalits, who were once considered slaves, could be identified as humans in the pagesof history due to the efforts of Ayyankali.
Last year, the iconic Victoria Jubilee Town Hall here, popularly known as VJT Hall, was renamed after Mahatma Ayyankali.
Earlier, the cover page of the 2019-20 state budget had depicted a picture of Ayyankali and Panchami.
Ayyankali became a member of the assembly of Travancore, known as the Sree Moolam Popular Assembly (SMPA) or Praja Sabha, in 1912 representing the backward Pulaya community.PTI RRT BN WELCOME BN WELCOME