Contribution of Swamy Shradhanand to Kerala Socio-religious-reform Movements
23 rd Dec is the martyrdom day of great educationalist, veteran freedom fighter and Vedic scholar, Swamy Shradhanand who was closely connected to socio-religious – reform movements in Kerala. But the glorious role played by him in Kerala during the first quarter of last century is missing from our history books. Mahatma Munshi Ram was born at Talwan Village in Jalandhar (Punjab) on February 2, 1856. The magic of great social reformer and vedic scholar, Maharshi Dayanand Saraswathi totally changed a spoiled young Munshiram (later Swamy Shradhanand) into an Arya Missionary and a national leader. He actively participated in freedom struggle and motivated many revolutionaries to fight against the alien rulers. He was the Chairman of reception committee of Amritsar Congress session in 1919 just after Jalyanwala Bagh massacre and successfully conducted this session. He established Gurukul Kangri with one teacher (himself) and two students (his two sons) which is now a famous university. He was the first non muslim to deliver sermon from the rampart of Jama Masjid of Delhi.
Above all he was a preacher of vedic dharma. He spearheaded the shudhi movement which resulted in the return of thousands of converted Hindus to vedic religion. During the 1921 Malabar rebellion he came to Kerala for rescue works and brought back thousands of forcible converted Hindus to their parent religion. The Arya Samaj at Ponnani in Malappuram district was the main re-conversion centre during 1921 rebellion. Swamiji and his brave followers risked their life and gave a strong presence in Ponnani, the so called Mecca of Kerala to succor the poor Hindus. The hapless Hindus were massively converted by force there. At present also Ponnani is a main conversion centre to Islam. The landed property and buildings of erstwhile Arya Samaj at Ponnani is now encroached by some one. When new Khilafat commemorative buildings are coming up in many parts of Malappuram district, there is no one to take up the case of this encroached historical Arya Samaj property which stood great relief for riot victims.
Swamy Shradhanand was also the inspirational force for upliftment of so called lower casts in Kalpathi village of Palakkad district. When these downtrodden people were denied their right to take part in yearly conducted Kalpathi Ratha Yathra, Swamiji took up the matter in the Court of Law and obtained a Judgment from Madras Court in their favour before the start of that year’s Rath Yathra. He also actively participated in Vaikkom Sathyagrah. But it is very unfortunate that the contribution of Swamiji and other Arya Missionaries like Pt. Rishi Ram are missing in our history books. Even a photograph of Pt. Rishi Ram who established Calicut Arya Samaj is not available now in any historical libraries of Kerala. When there was a mass function to commemorate the 85th anniversary of Vaikkom Sathyagrah with much fanfare, there were not even a mention of Swamy Sradhanand and his colleagues. This is a great insult to those brave souls like Swamy Shradhanand who was behind the socio-religious reform movements in Kerala.
He established Bharatheeya Hindu Shudhi Sabha alongwith Pt.Madan Mohan Malavia in 1923. The shudhi movement spearheaded by Swamiji brought back lakhs of converted Hindus to Vedic Religion. This enraged the muslim extremists. As a result of that he succumbed to the stabbing by a fanatic Muslim named Abdul Rasheed on 23rd Dec 1926. The British court sentenced Rasheed with death penalty. It was very unfortunate that Mahatma Gandhi (whom the honour ‘Mahatma’ was given by Swamy Shradhanand) sought relaxation for death sentence given to Abdul Rasheed from British authorities. But same Gandhiji refused to take up a similar case for great freedom fighters Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Sukh Dev and Rajguru. But the British authorities did not care Gandhiji’s suggestion and hanged the assassin of Swamy Shradhanand as per the court verdict.
Now Kerala is passing through a tough time. Mass conversion like love jihad etc.is going on in different parts of Kerala. In these circumstances let us pay homage to this immortal Arya Missionary and dedicate ourselves for the cause of propagation and protection of vedic dharma!
Om krunvantho vishwamaryam!
By : KM Rajan