Friday, 15 April 2016

Leaders of Renaissance in Kerala - Pandit Karuppan (1885-1938) (Chapter-2)

Leaders of Renaissance in Kerala
Pandit Karuppan (1885-1938)
21. Karuppan pressed the Government to establish a separate Department for this purpose; this led to the creation of the Department for the Protection of the Depressed Classes with then-Director of Public Instruction Rao Sahib C. Mathai as ex-officio Protector, and Karuppan as fulltime Assistant Protector.

22. As Assistant Protector, Karuppan was instrumental in initiating several reforms for the progress of the depressed classes, by starting schools and establishing colonies. He persuaded the Government to provide scholarships, fee concessions, and a number of other incentives for the education of children from the depressed classes.

23. He wrote Aacharabhooshanam to generate awareness among the depressed classes against superstitions; the book was printed by the Government and distributed free of cost to the public.

24. The Depressed Classes Department was later renamed the Harijan Welfare Department.

25. Pandit Karuppan was instrumental in starting fishery schools under the re-organised Fisheries Department. The establishment of fish curing yards helped to promote fisheries as a potential industry and to improve living conditions in the fishing community. While serving as a director in the Cochin Central Co-operative Bank, he urged fishermen and agricultural labourers to form co-operatives for progress through self-reliance.

26. Karuppan was very sincere to the cause of the depressed classes in spirit, word and deed. When his three-year term on the Legislative Council expired, Karuppan was nominated for a second term, but he requested that the Diwan give the post to a member of the depressed classes. Under pressure from Karuppan, the Government appointed P.C. Chanchen, a Pulaya leaderas MLC; Karuppan tendered his resignation to make way for Chanchen.

27. Pandit Karuppan was then appointed as Secretary to the Elementary Education Committee and the Bhashaparishkarana Committee. In 1931, he assumed the newly created post of Superintendent of Vernacular Education, Cochin State.

28. In 1935, he was appointed Malayalam Lecturer in the Maharaja’s College. During those periods, Karuppan had also functioned as Chairman of the Board of Examiners of the Madras University, and as Member of the Municipal Council, Ernakulam.

29. ‘Baalaakalesam’ was autored by Karuppan. The Maharaja of Cochin honoured Karuppan with the title ‘Kavithilakan’, or ‘Great Poet’. Keralavarma Valiakoithampuran of Travancore conferred the Title of ‘Vidwan’ upon Karuppan in 1913.

30. Karuppan  organized the people of his own community into regional groups called Sabhas. The main agenda of the Sabhas was to persuade people to fight ignorance and superstitions. He put strong pressure on his fellow countrymen to become better educated and accept a healthier lifestyle.

31. He organized the first Sabha, ‘Kalyanadayini Sabha’, at Anapuzha, Kodungalloor. Another Sabha was ‘Jnanodayam Sabha’, founded at Edakochi. ‘Sudharma Sooryodaya Sabha’ (Thevara), ‘Prabodha Chandrodayam Sabha’
(Vadakkan Paravur), ‘Araya Vamsodharani Sabha’ (Engandiyoor), and ‘Sanmarga Pradeepa Sabha’ (Kumbalam) are other Sabhas that Pandit Karuppan patronized.

32. Cochin Pulaya Maha Sabha was founded by Karuppan.  Subsequently, he persuaded other communities like Velas, Sambavas, Ulladas, Kudumbis, etc., to also form similar Sabhas, to give momentum to their fight against social evils and discrimination.

33. Aggrieved by the death of Sree Chattambi Swamikal, Karuppan wrote a condolence poem namely ‘Samadhi Sapthakam’.

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