Ayyankali Jayanthi


Ayyankali is a pioneer social reformer and Dalit rights activist. Ayyankali was born in Venganoor, Thiruvananthapuram. Ayyankali jayanthi marks the birthday of the leader Ayyankali. He is a notable personality from the first tide of social reformers hailing from the erstwhile state of Travancore in British India. He was instrumental in bringing many radical changes towards elevating the social wellbeing of lower caste communities of that region.

Ayyankali Jayanthi 2023

Mon , 28th Aug 2023

Ayyankali was born on August 28, 1863, in an indigenous community. His parents are Ayya and Mala and belonged to the Pulaya community which was considered an ‘untouchable’ lower caste in Travancore of Kerala. The regions of Travancore at that time were highly caste-ridden. People from the lower castes were not given any basic civil rights like access to good water resources, education, entering temples or other sacred spaces. Ayyankali was enraged by these inhuman acts. He defied such restrictions and demanded basic rights such as access to education, public places, right to the dignity of clothing, right to use public roads. Hailing from an oppressed community he knew the pain of unjust discrimination they were made to go through. He was also an earliest labour leader from Kerala, he also fought for the rights of agricultural labourers years before such worker’s union came into picture.

He argued for the right of the farm labourers, for the payment of their work to be paid in cash rather than paying in grains or clothing. He demanded rest time for the workers during their pay hours and protested against physical assault on labourers by the upper caste. His ideas and protests inspired other oppressed Dalits to join hands to fight for themselves. There were numerous clashes with the upper classes and riots broke in Southern Kerala called the ‘Chaliyar Riots’. Around 1900, through the protest the communities won the right to use most roads except those that had temples in them.

Ayyankali was aware of the importance of education. He fought for the right of Dalit children to education and for their admission in public schools. He called for a Harthal-strike of agricultural labourers who worked on farms owned by the upper caste communities to draw attention to his demands. This was probably the first ever ‘strike’ in the Travancore region by agricultural farm workers. In 1907, the Travancore government passed an order that all Dalit children will be allowed to study in public schools. Some government officials protested against that order. Three years later, Ayyankali’s dream of education for all children without discrimination finally came true in 1910. In 1910, Ayyankali was nominated to the Travancore Legislative Assembly, called Sree Moolam or Praja Sabha. He was the first Pulaya community member to be nominated to legislative assembly.

Ayyankali was a human rights champion years before the phrase human rights even came into existence. Mahatma Gandhi was impressed by Ayyankali’s work and met him soon after the right of education was implemented. Ayyankali died in 1941 at the age of 78. He is often referred as “the most important Dalit leader of modern Kerala”.

Ayyankali Jayanthi festival dates between 2019 & 2029

Year

Date

2019

Wednesday, 28th of August

2020

Friday, 28th of August

2021

Saturday, 28th of August

2022

Sunday, 28th of August

2023

Monday, 28th of August

2024

Wednesday, 28th of August

2025

Thursday, 28th of August

2026

Friday, 28th of August

2027

Saturday, 28th of August

2028

Monday, 28th of August

2029

Tuesday, 28th of August

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