Vivekananda and the Social Movements in Kerala

  • By Shankari Prasad Basu
  • January 16 2020


Swamiji said this in his lecture ‘The Future of India’ found in the third volume of The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda:  

‘Was there ever a sillier thing before in the world than what I saw in Malabar country? The poor Pariah is not allowed to pass through the same street as the high-caste man, but if he changes his name to a hodge-podge English name, it is all right; or to a Mohammedan name, it is all right. What inference would you draw except that these Malabaris are all lunatics, their homes so many lunatic asylums, and that they are to be treated with derision by every race in India until they mend their manners and know better. Shame upon them that such wicked and diabolical customs are allowed; their own children are allowed to die of starvation, but as soon as they take up some other religion they are well fed. There ought to be no more fight between the castes.’

Here Swamiji calls Kerala a lunatic asylum. However, he was surprised to see educated women speaking in English and Sanskrit when he visited Travancore.’

To read the only article published in Prabuddha Bharata on Swamiji and Kerala.

Article covers – Kumaran Asan (1873 to 1924) played an important role in Kerala’s social life esp for the backward Ezhawa community. Narayana Guru’s social reform movement started after Swamiji started making waves across the country. It cannot be said that Guru was influenced by Swamiji but played an important role by influencing him.

Late R Sugutan, a member of the Communist Party of India, acknowledged the spiritual message of Swamiji.

Know how Narayana Guru’s social and religious ideas and activities resembled that of Swamiji. 

Article gives very good insights on the social conditions of Kerala from 1890 to 1930.

To read article in PDF click on PDF.

This article was first published in the January-February 1989 issue of Prabuddha Bharata, monthly journal of The Ramakrishna Order started by Swami Vivekananda in 1896. This article is courtesy and copyright Prabuddha Bharata. I have been reading the Prabuddha Bharata for years and found it enlightening. Cost is Rs 180/ for one year, Rs 475/ for three years, Rs 2100/ for twenty years. To subscribe

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