Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Dr. Palpu, The legend

Dr. P.Palpu
               Padmanabhan Palpu was born on 2 November 1863 in Petta, Trivandrum, India. His family were wealthy and educated members of the Ezhava caste, which at that time was considered to be an untouchable community among what Swami Vivekananda described as the "mad house" that was the caste system of Kerala. The Ezhavas were traditionally occupied as Farmers, hand loom workers, bakers and toddy tappers but many had involvements in ayurvedic medicine.
Birth home at Petta, Trivandrum
         Palpu attended Maharaja's College in Trivandrum but was subsequently refused admission to Travancore Medical College in 1878. He attended a similar college in Madras and then went to England, where he furthered his medical training at London and Cambridge. Returning to India, he found that his low caste status prevented him from obtaining employment in the Travancore Health Service, which meant that he had to relocate to Mysore in order to get work.
Saint Guru Narayana Statue at Ambedkar Park, Noida, UP, North India
Becoming aware of the importance of education as a method of socio-economic advancement and also as means to improve health and hygiene,  Palpu was the third signatory to the Malayali Memorial, a petition organised in 1891 that primarily sought to address the concerns of the local communities of Kerala including Christians and Muslims sought to employment in the royal administration of various field. He was among those who attempted to use data from the 1891 census to highlight inequalities in Travancore society and he again made demands in 1895, when he petitioned the Diwan of Travancore. In 1896, he organised a petition that attracted the signatures of 13,176 Ezhavas. This latter was presented to the Maharajah of Travancore and demanded their right to admission in schools run by the colonial government and access to employment in public service. These uses of a petition as a vehicle to achieve a coalescence of communal consciousness and cause change were the first examples of such in the princely state of Travancore, where the ritually superior Brahmin groups held the majority of posts available in the administration of the state.
                      It is a notable thing to remember that the outraged disgust of Dr Palpu who had to suffer the cruel discrimination from the upward class people even he was a medical degree holder,culminated in the formation of SNDP Yogam under the grace of Sree Narayana Guru.He started his fight for social justice through the movements like  Ezhva Memorial ,Malayalee Memorial etc.His co-working with Kumaranasan helped him to strengthen his ideas and missions.The integrated union of Sreenarayana Guru,Dr Palpu and Kumaranasan was a turning point in the socio-cultural,political history of Kerala.


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