Gandhi Heritage Sites - Writeups

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Vykom, Kerala

Connection with Gandhiji 
Gandhiji stayed at Vykom from March 9 to 11 and March 16-17, 1925 during Vykom Satyagraha of 1924-1925.  His second, brief visit to Vykom was after more than a decade, on January 18, 1937.

The roads surrounding Sri Mahadev Temple in Vykom, a town in an erstwhile Travancore princely state, were not open for the Ezahava community. The community was considered untouchable and was prohibited from using those roads. It had been a matter of friction between local upper-caste Hindus and the Ezahavas for decades. The involvement of Gandhiji and the Indian National Congress brought the struggle to the national level. It had the support of Sri Narayan Guru, Ezhava spiritual leader, and social reformer.

Vykom Satyagraha’s primary objective was to obtain the right for Ezhavas to use all four roads surrounding the temple, with the ultimate aim of securing temple entry. A Satyagraha Ashram was set up in Vykom where volunteers were pouring in from all over the country to offer satyagraha against the unjust practice.

First Visit
• Gandhiji reached Vykom on March 9, 1925.
• He joined satyagrahis in their morning prayer on March 10.
• Later in the day, accompanied by his close aide Mahadev  Desai, son Ramdas, prominent Congress leader C. Rajgopalachari and Krishnaswami Iyer, Gandhiji met local orthodox Hindu leaders. Discussion continued for three hours. But the upper caste people were not ready for any of the solutions suggested by Gandhiji.
• He gave a speech at a public meeting in Vykom on the same day.

• Gandhiji had a conversation with the inmates of Satyagraha Ashram on March 11, 1925.
• During the second visit to Vykom, Gandhiji met a spokesperson of upper-caste Hindus on March 17, 1925.

Second Visit
•  Gandhiji visited Vykom again on January 18, 1937. He was felicitated in a public meeting held at Satyagraha Ashram's ground. He addressed a huge gathering, a crowd of approximately 25 thousand people according to his aide Mahadev Desai.

Additional Details 
1. Gandhiji visited social reformer and spiritual leader Sri Narayan Guru at his Sivagiri Ashram on March 12, 1925.
2. He stayed at Sivagiri Ashram overnight. He was presented with an address the next morning at Sivagiri Hall by Ezhavas and other untouchables. In reply, among other things, he asked them to support Vykom Satyagraha if they find the satyagraha just.