History of SNDP Yogam
History of SNDP Yogam
The history of Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam is the rise of the socially backward, depressed classes in Kerala. It is the social development of Ezhava from (according to the 824 Royal Order) mere ‘owner of thalappu and ladder” to the present state. It is also the shining story of the change of an almost food-gathering society into a cosmopolitan world order. Yogam is the first organisation which envizaged Kerala as a whole. Earlier organisations represented only part of Kerala, say, Malabar.
Caste system in Kerala
During the 1890’s the caste system in Kerala was very rigid, with untouchablility. Dr. Palpu started works towards getting the rights of Ezhava community. With the 1891 Malayali Memorial Revolt, he came forward by taking the leadership of the community. He tried to make an organization called ‘Ezhava Sabha’. In 1896, he created the bye-law of it and published the same in Malayali, a newspaper published from Thankussery. Even though he organised some meetings at Paravur and Mayyanad, that movement failed.
Sree Narayana Guru and SNDP Yogam
Before these, a noble, great power had been working towards the spiritual and social awakening of the community. It was none other than the great Sree Narayana Guru Devan. By installing a rock from the Neyyar River as Sivalinga at Aruvippuram on the Sivaratri day of Kumbha month in 1888 (1063 Aandu), he started a silent revolution in the history of Kerala. It caused a social revolution, which uprooted the old social system of Kerala.
Gradually, Aruvippuram became a pilgrim center. On Vavu (Full moon) day, people began to come there to offer sacrifice. The deciples of the Guru which included the famous poet Kumaran Asan, decided to give food to the pilgrims which led to the creation of ‘Vavoottu Yogam’ (serving food to the people who come as pilgrims).
In 1889, Vavoottu Yogam had been expanded. Thus an organization, ‘Aruvippuram Kshetra Yogam’ had formed.
On Malayalam Era 1078 Dhanu 23, (1903), a special meeting of Aruvippuram Kshetra Yogam was conducted. They decided to change that into a big Yogam for the progress of Ezhavas both in religious and material ways. Thus, on 1078 Edavam 2, (1903, May 15), with Narayana Guru as its President, ‘Aruvippuram Kshetra Yogam’ has been registered as’Aruvippuram Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam’ according to the Indian Companies Act, No.6, 1882.
The permanent chairman of Yogam was Sree Narayana Guru Devan. N. Kumaranasan was elected as the General Secretary. Up to 1919, July 20, he was on the post, except in 1904 (1079 Vrischika 10). Difference of opinion exits about the role of the Guru in its establishment. On verifying the original records of registering the SNDP Yogam with the Government as a limited company, the following facts can be derived. The Government file (No 8338) regarding the registration has two parts. Pat I contain the bye -laws and proceedings, having sixteen clauses. Non of the clauses speaks of any caste. The sixteenth clause clearly states of the ‘casteless’ nature of the organization . Below the bye-laws, eleven persons have put their signature. The first signatory witnesses to the document were resident of the Siva Temple, P. Narayana Pillai. Narayana Pillai was the most trusted deciple of the Guru. He installed the first idol of the Guru at Thellicherry together with Moorkoth Kumaran.
Part II of the file (No 8338) gives a different picture. It is an application to the Dewan of Travancore to register the SNDP Yogam as a limited company. The applicants are P.Parameswaran and Marthandan Krishnan . Here the caste provision of the organization is clearly stated: ” promoting and encouraging religious and secular education and industrious habits among the Ezhava community”. The license of the Yogam was issued to the applicants P. Parameswaran and M. Krishnan.