On 22nd August, 2014 Dr K. V Cybil delivered a talk to the students and faculty of MCPH on the involvement of Narayana Guru in Kerala politics. His research paper dealt with the revolts against the caste system in nineteenth century and the role of OBCs in the eradication of caste system. These movements led to the passing of various acts by the Government of India in order to bring about reform.
Narayana Guru’s efforts were not limited to caste issues in Hinduism, but they also included Christianity and Islam. The intent, however, was not to rise in the hierarchy of caste, but to rise over and above the system of caste itself. The theory of Sanskritization fails in this regard, with respect to Narayana Guru and his reforms. On a conceptual note, they may instead occur to us as technologies of deification. This marks an entry by the untouchable subject into the political society.
The talk ended with the audience interacting with Dr Cybil, bringing up present-day issues in Kerala and how the teachings of Narayana Guru continue to influence the people of the state to this day. Some brought to light the feminist issues and the role of women in the caste system while others spoke of how people have turned the Guru and his teachings into a form of worship.
Report by Pratyusha Nagavarapu, I M. A
Edited by Sharmada Shastry, II M. A