Arattupuzha Velayudha Panicker:
The recently-released Malayalam film Pathonpatham Noottandu (‘Nineteenth Century’), directed by Vinayan, has earned both critical acclaim and audience approval.
- It is based on the life of Arattupuzha Velayudha Panicker, a social reformer from the Ezhava community in Kerala who lived in the 19th century.
- Born into a well-off family of merchants in Kerala’s Alappuzha district, Panicker was one of the most influential figures in the reformation movement in the state.
- He challenged the domination of upper castes or ‘Savarnas’ and brought about changes in the lives of both men and women.
- The social reform movement in Kerala in the 19th century led to the large-scale subversion of the existing caste hierarchy and social order in the state.
- Panicker is credited with building two temples dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, in which members of all castes and religions were allowed entry.
- In 1858, he led the Achippudava Samaram strike at Kayamkulam in Alappuzha.
- This strike aimed to earn women belonging to oppressed groups the right to wear a lower garment that extended beyond the knees.
- In 1859, this was extended into the Ethappu Samaram, the struggle for the right to wear an upper body cloth by women belonging to backward castes.