[Answered]Discuss the significance of the Vaikom Satyagraha and the self-respect movement in modern Indian history.

Demand of the question

Introduction. Contextual introduction.

Body. Significance of Vaikom Satyagraha and the self-respect movement.

Conclusion. Way forward.

 India’s freedom struggle was not merely a fight against the British. Rather it was simultaneous fight against social evils and a struggle for a better society. Movements like Vaikom Satyagraha and Self Respect Movement played a prominent role in this and helped in Shaping Modern India. Vaikom Satyagraha was a mass movement that demanded lower caste persons to be given the right to use a public path in front of the famous Vaikom temple. The Self-Respect Movement was dedicated to the goal of giving non-Brahmins a sense of pride based on their Dravidian past.

Significance of Vaikom Satyagraha:

  1. It was the first mass agitation for the cause of human rights in the country. It inspired later people and help them to fight for the cause of human rights.
  2. The Vaikom Satyagraha was a testing ground for the Gandhian principles of Satyagraha. It was tested and proved as the most effective means for the first time.
  3. This movement were helped in establishing equal rights and curbing discrimination against Scheduled Castes in Indian Society.

Significance of Self-respect movement:

  1. Anti-Brahmanism and Self-respect Marriages were two important aspects of Self-respect Movement. The movement encouraged inter-caste and inter-religious marriages, along with that it also encouraged marriage ceremonies without Brahmin priest.
  2. Post independence, Tamil Nadu passed a law and become the first state to legalise Hindu marriage without Brahmin priest. Thus, it played an important role in religious reforms.
  3. The monopoly of power and influence enjoyed by the Brahmins was slowly lost due to E.V.R.’s propaganda against orthodoxy. It was filled with the sense of self-respect and above all self-confidence, to fight against social injustice perpetrated by the Brahmins of the day.
  4. The practice of having separate dining places for Brahmins in every hotel or earmarking separate eating places in public feasts was slowly given up owing to the agitation of the volunteers of the movement.
  5. It was largely responsible for making an effective change in the social life of the vast majority of people through its ceaseless propaganda against superstitious beliefs, based upon religious traditions.
  6. It was instrumental in Tamil Nadu to create awareness amongst themselves, as one community. The Self-Respect movement brought the message of the Tamil Nationalism to the masses.
  7. Gender relationships were actively divorced from Brahmanical patriarchy and women’s rights over their physical, sexual and reproductive choices were celebrated.

Self-Respect Movement was not a mere social reformist movement. It aimed at destroying the existing Hindu social order in its totality and creating a new, rational society without caste, religion and God. The movement was extremely influential not just in Tamil Nadu, but also overseas in countries with large Tamil populations, such as Malaysia and Singapore.

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