Sri Narayana Guru (1845-1928) was a famous socio-religious reformer from Kerala. He represented the aspirations of the Ezhavas who were considered untouchables in Kerala. He opposed the domination of the brahminic or the priestly class and worked to secure temple entry rights to the depressed castes as well. In 1888, he started the Aravippuram Movement with the installation of a Siva idol at Aravippuram and defied brahminical laws. On the wall of the Siva Temple, he inscribed the following words: "Devoid of dividing walls of caste, of race, or hatred of rival faith, we all live here in brotherhood." In 1902-1903, he launched the Sri Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam (the SNDPY) which took up the cause of social equality. The movement demanded
(i) right of admission to public schools;
(ii) recruitment to government employment;
(iii) access to roads and entry to temples; and
(iv) political representation for the depressed castes.
The SNDPY had a great impact and helped in the emancipation of the lower castes. Sri Narayana Guru will always be remembered for his relentless efforts to bring transformation in the social structure.
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