Malayali Memorial and Ezhava Memorial

Malayali Memorial & Ezhava Memorial

In this post, we are going to learn about the two important memorials of Kerala renaissance history, the Malayali Memorial of 1891 and Ezhava Memorial of 1896.

Both the Malayali Memorial and Ezahava memorial is an important topic for almost all Kerala PSC examinations. We can also expect questions about the personalities associated with both these memorials for PSC exams.

Malayali Memorial (1891)

During the 19th century (1817-1872), the Tamil Brahmins dominated many of the key administrative positions in Travancore (more than 45 % of all government jobs with high remuneration) and thus controlled the trade and commerce of the state.

In Travancore, a cultural organisation named the Malayali Social Union was founded in the year 1877. Later, in 1884, it was renamed as Malayali Sabha under the leadership of C. Krishnapillai. Pattom Thanupillai, together with C.V. Raman Pillai, P. A. Ayyappan Pillai, and V.I. Kesava Pillai. 

They assembled the educated youngsters under the banner of this organisation, which became the nerve centre for political thinking.

This Malayali Sabha became the backbone of the Malayali Memorial of 1891.

The Malayali Memorial was the inevitable climax of this lengthy period of dissatisfaction, and it was submitted against this injustice of denying government employment to the qualified natives and filling them with Tamil Brahmins and other outsiders.
  • First major petition in Travancore submitted before the Maharaja of Travancore.
  • First Organized Political movement of Travancore for social justice.
  • Submitted on – 1891 January 1.
  • Other NameTravancore Memorial.
  • Leaders – Barrister G.P. Pillai, K.P. Sankara Menon, Dr. P. Palpu & N. Raman Pillai.
  • Slogan – Travancore for Travancoreans (തിരുവിതാംകൂർ തിരുവിതാംകൂർക്കാർക്ക്).
    • Written by – Barrister G.P. Pillai (originally from a pamphlet of the same name he wrote in 1870).
  • Drafted by – C.V. Raman Pillai.
    • Newspaper in which C.V. Raman Pillai wrote about Malayali Memorial – Mithabhashi.
    • Book written by C.V. Raman Pillai on Malayali Memorial – Videsiyamedhavitvam (1922).
  • First signed by – K.P. Sankara Menon.
    • 2nd signatory – Barrister G.P. Pillai.
    • 3rd signatory – Dr. P. Palpu.
  • No. of Persons signed – 100,28.
  • Venue – Kottayam Public Library.
  • Submitted to – Sree Moolam Thirunal Rama Varma.
  • Submitted to King by – K.P. Sankara Menon.
  • Travancore Diwan – T. Ramarao.
  • The foreign political activist who gave legal support (Legal Advisor) to Malayali MemorialEardley John Norton.
  • Result – a slight change in the attitude of the Travancore Government towards the locals.
In the Memorial, only the names and occupations of the first 250 signatories were included. Out of which, 168 were from the Nair community.

Ezhavas, Sudras, and Christians were listed separately whereas the Muslims, Pulayas, Parayas, Mukkuvas, and other low caste communities were not included in the Memorial, despite the fact that they too represented Malayali communities.

On April 21, 1891, after three months of quiet, a telegram was issued to K.P. Sankara Menon, rejecting the memorial claims. Simultaneously, the administration agreed to meet with a delegation of no more than six people to address the problems highlighted.

Counter-Memorial (1891)

  • Submitted on – 1891 June 3.
  • Submitted by – Chenkotta Ramayya & Ramanathan Rao.
  • Aim – To oppose Malayali memorial.
  • Submitted to – Sree Moolam Thirunal.

Ezhava Memorial (1896)

In the same time period, all lower castes, including Ezhavas, were barred from working in Travancore for jobs paying more than 5 annas. But the converted Christians enjoyed all of the privileges which were barred to Ezhavas and other communities.

The Ezhava memorial was not the first attempt by the lower and middle classes against the denial of government employment and entry to schools in the name of caste.

A similar complaint was made to the Madras Government in 1884 in Kurikacheril, under the leadership of Madhavan and Kunjhiraman.

However, it took 5 years to evaluate the case, which was finally dismissed as a bizarre plea.

Even Dr. Palpu filed a complaint in 1895, with the Diwan of Travancore which was also dismissed.
  • Submitted on – 1896 September 3.
  • Leader – Dr. P. Palpu.
  • No. of Persons signed – 131,76.
  • Organization associated with Ezhava memorial – Ezhava Maha Sabha.
  • Submitted to – Sree Moolam Thirunal Rama Varma.
  • Travancore Diwan – Shungrasoobyer / Sankara Subha Iyer.
  • Result – Declined.
  • 125th Anniversary of Ezhava memorial – September 3, 2021.

The content of the Ezhava memorial...

"അടിയങ്ങളിൽ വിദ്യാഭ്യാസമുള്ളവർ ഇതര ജാതിക്കാരോട് ഒത്തു നോക്കിയാൽ വളരെ മോശവും, വിശേഷിച്ച് ഇക്കാലത്ത് പരിഷ്കാരത്തിന് അവശ്യം വേണ്ടതായ ഇംഗ്ലീഷ് പഠിത്തമുള്ളവർ തീരെ ചുരുക്കവുമാണ്.... ഇതിനു കാരണം പഠിത്തത്തിന് സൗകര്യമില്ലായ്മ ഒന്നു മാത്രമല്ല, വിദ്യാഭ്യാസത്തിന്റെ പ്രയോജനമെന്ന് ജനങ്ങൾ വിചാരിക്കുന്ന  സർക്കാരുദ്യോഗങ്ങളിൽ അടിയങ്ങൾക്ക് നിശ്ശേഷം അർഹതയില്ലെന്നു വച്ചിരിക്കുന്നതും പ്രധാനമായൊരു കാരണമാണ്.... അതിനാൽ  മേലാലെങ്കിലും എല്ലാ ഗവൺമെന്റ് പള്ളിക്കൂടങ്ങളിലും കടന്നു പഠിച്ചുകൊള്ളത്തക്കവണ്ണവും, യോഗ്യതാനുസാരം അടിയങ്ങൾക്കും സർക്കാർ ഉദ്യോഗം കിട്ടത്തക്കവണ്ണവും കല്പനയുണ്ടാവണമെന്ന് പ്രാർത്ഥിച്ചു കൊള്ളുന്നു."

Second Ezhava Memorial (1900)

  • Leader – Dr. P. Palpu.
  • Submitted to – Lord Curzon.
  • Travancore King – Sree Moolam Thirunal Rama Varma.
  • Travancore Diwan – Shungrasoobyer / Sankara Subha Iyer.
  • Result – Declined. Lord Curzon took the stand that the Britain wasn't interested in such affairs.

  • G.P. Pillai – Govindan Parameswaran Pillai.
    • Grand Old man of Travancore – Barrister G.P. Pillai.
    • Pen name – Oru Rajya Snehi.
    • The Only Malayali whom Mahatma Gandhi has mentioned in his autobiography, 'My Experiments with Truth' – Barrister G.P. Pillai.
    • The Only Malayali who participated in the first session of the Indian National Congress on December 28-31, 1885 – Barrister G.P. Pillai.
  • Kerala Scott – C.V. Raman Pillai.
  • Kottayam Public Library was founded by – T. Rama Rao & Rev. John Cailey (1882).
  • Founder of Modern Kottayam – T. Rama Rao.
  • Ezhava Maha Sabha – Dr. Palpu (1896).