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Developmental Modernity in Kerala: Narayana Guru, SNDP Yogam and Social Reform

P. Chandramohan (Author)

This study of the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam (SNDP Yogam), one of the earliest social reform movements in Kerala, investigates the relationship between social reform, religion and caste. The Yogam drew inspiration from the ideas of Sree Narayana Guru, which suited the aspirations of the upwardly mobile Ezhava middle class. In both religious and social matters, the Guru was a traditionalist who adopted a rational stand and strove to create a modern outlook among the masses. He thought of the temple as a social space in which people could meet and exchange ideas. While pursuing his spiritual mission, he advocated education, industrialization and the abolition of caste as prerequisites for social regeneration.

This work demonstrates how the SNDP Yogam focused on issues of education, government employment, industrialization, the abolition of cyclical rituals and caste, anti-alcoholism, and the demand for a new law of inheritance. Looking at the interface between the Guru’s ideas and the Yogam’s efforts in the direction of socio-economic reform and political democracy, one is able to discern the onset of modernity in Kerala. However, gradually, disjunction between principles and practice led to a decline of the SNDP movement. Ironically, since it was largely centered on the interests of the privileged sections of the Ezhava community, the movement achieved Ezhava solidarity only around caste. This study is also significant, therefore, for providing an example of a social reform movement turning into a caste solidarity movement.

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About the author

P. Chandramohan

Dr. P. Chandramohan hails from an agricultural family in the tiny village of Chellampatti that lies to the west of the Madurai University.  The first to take the doctoral degree in a rustic setting, he did his bachelor’s degree from Vellaichamy Nadar College at Nagamalai Pudukkottai and master’s in the Department of Art History from Madurai Kamaraj University.  He migrated to the Tamil University where he took his M. Phil. And Ph.D. under the inspiring guidance of Prof. Raju Kalidos.  He along with Dr. R.K.K. Rajarajan had done extensive field-work all over South India and has attended several conferences all over the country, particularly the Indian History Congress, Indian Art History Congress, South Indian History Congress and Tamilnadu History Congress.  A first class graduate from the Madurai University, he has won the appreciation of his teachers by his abiding scholastic interest.  After taking his doctorial degree, he served as Research Assistant in a U.G.C.  Major Project that was operating in the Mother Teresa University and was posted in the Tamil University under the co-Director, Prof. Raju Kalidos.  He has a number of articles in his credit in the proceedings of the South Indian History Congress and Tamilnadu History Congress.  A few articles are pending publications in the international journals from Rome and Nepales.  At present, he is Lecturer in History, Government Art College at Mellur (Tamilnadu).

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Bibliographic information

Title Developmental Modernity in Kerala: Narayana Guru, SNDP Yogam and Social Reform
Format Hardcover
Date published: 06.06.2016
Edition 1st. ed.
Publisher Tulika Books
Language: English
isbn 9789382381792
length 260p.,