- Ayyankali was a social reformer who worked for the advancement of the lower caste Dalits known as the Untouchables.
- He pioneered many reforms to improve the lives of the Dalits.
- Ayyankali was born in 1863 in Venganoor, Trivandrum.
- He was one of seven children born to Ayyan and Mala, members of Pulaya community. He was illiterate as were all Dalits at that time.
- In those days Dalits were not allowed to walk along public roads. The Dalit women were not allowed to cover their breasts in public places.
- Ayyankali organized Dalits and fought against these discriminations.
- He passed through the public roads of Venganoor (1893) on a bullock cart which was not allowed for the Dalits. Enraged by his boldness, the upper castes physically attacked him.
- Ayyankali demanded right for Dalit children to study in school, which was not granted.
- Ayyankali opened a school to teach the children belonging to Dalit families at Venganoor which was set ablaze by upper caste people.
- In response to this, in 1907 he led a strike of agricultural laborers at Venganoor which lasted for more than a year.
- He called for a boycott of agricultural work raising certain demands. His demands included (a) stoppage of the practice of not giving tea in tea shops to Dalits who were given tea till then in coconut shells; (b) right to education for the Dalit children; (c) resting time for workers during work hours; and (d) replacement of the system of wages in kind by payment of cash.
- Initially, the landlords did not take it seriously. They tried many means and methods to defeat the workers. But, at last, they were forced to concede the demands of Ayyankali and his supporters.
- In 1907 Ayyankali established Sadhu Jana Paripalana Sangham (SJPS) which campaigned for access to schools and raised funds to set up Pulayar-operated schools in the interim.
- Ayyankali was later nominated to the Sri Moolam Legislative Assembly, in 1910 by the then rulers in recognition of his leadership ability.
- He was the first member of the Dalit community to become a member of Sri Moolam Legislative Assembly.
- In 1913 Ayyankali launched ‘Sadhujana Paripalini’ as the mouthpiece of Sadhujana Paripalana Sangham.
- The first editor of the journal was Chempunthara Kalichothi Karuppan.
- An attempt by Ayyankali to enroll a Pulayar girl in a government school led to violent acts perpetrated by upper castes against the community and eventually to the burning down of the school building in the village of Ooruttambalam. It is known as ‘Ooruttambalam Lahala’ or ‘Thonnootonpathamand Lahala’. It was staged in 1915 (1099 of Kollam Era).
- By 1900 Dalits were given the freedom to walk on the public roads, and by 1914, Dalit children were allowed to join schools.
- Also, Dalit women were allowed to cover their nakedness in public through his efforts.
- In 1937 he was praised by Mahatma Gandhi in a meeting at Venganur, hometown of Ayyankali when Gandhiji visited Travancore in connection with the Temple Entry Proclamation.
- Ayyankali passed away on 18th June, 1941.
- In November 1980, Indira Gandhi unveiled a statue of Ayyankali at Kowdiar square in Thiruvananthapuram.
- The headquarters of the Scheduled Caste Development Department is named after AyyanKali.
Important Questions on Ayyankali
1. Ayyankali was born on – 28th August 1863
2. The place where Ayyankali was born – Venganoor(Thiruvananthapuram)
3. Ayyankali’s house name – Plavathara Veedu
4. Ayyankali’s Father’s name is – Ayyan
5. Ayyankali’s Mother’s name is – Mala
6. Wife’s name is – Chellamma
7. Ayyankali’s childhood name was – Kali
8. Who is known as the father of Modern Dalit – Ayyankali
9. Who is known as Pulayaraja – Ayyankali
10. The title Pulaya Raja given by – Gandhiji
11. The founder of Sadhu Jana Paripalana Sangam – Ayyankali
12. The journal of Sadhu Jana Paripalana Sangam – Sadhujana paripalini
13.The first editor of Sadhujana paropalini – Chempamthara Kalichothi Karuppan
14. The year which the name of Sadhu Jana Paripalana Sangam was changed into Pulaya Mahasabha – 1938
14. Ayyankali started Kudipallikodam at – Venganoor (1905)
15. The year which Ayyankali met Sree Narayana Guru in – 1912 (Balaramapuram)
16. The founder of Kochi Pulayasabha – Ayyankali
17. The leader of Villuvandi Samaram(1893) – Ayyankali
18. Villuvandi Samaram begin and end in – Venganoor to Thiruvananthapuram
19. The leader of Thonooramand Samaram(1915) – Ayyankali
20. Thonooramand Samaram is also known as – Ooruttambalam revolt
21. The leader of Kallumala Samaram – Ayyankali
22. Kallumala Samaram took place in – Kollam(1915)
23.Kallumala Samaram also known as – Perinadu Lahala
24. First Dalit person become the member of Sree Moolam Prajasabha – Ayyankali
25. Ayyankali died on- 18th June 1941
26. Ayyankali’s tomb is known as – Panjajanyam (Chithrakoodam)
27. The headquarters of Kerala SC and ST Development Corporation is situated in – Thrissur (Ayyankali Bhavan)
28. Who called Ayyankali as the Great Son of India – Indira Gandhi
29. The statue of Ayyankali situated at – Kawadiar square (Thiruvananthapuram)
30. Who unveiled the statue of Ayyankali at Kawadiar square – Indira Gandhi
31. The Architect of the statue of Ayyankali – Ezra David
32. The year which Kerala Government started Ayyankali Urban Employment Guarantee Scheme – 2010
33. The year which Indian Postal Department published postage stamp in the memory of Ayyankali – 12th August 2002
34. Which University sets up a chair in the name of Ayyankali- Central University in Kasargod
35. The Prime Minister who attended the 152nd birth anniversary of Ayyankali – Narendra Modi