village of ancient Kerala was self-sufficient. They had the
strong foundation of the peoples' rule. All matters pertaining
to a village were discussed in the 'yogam' or grama sabha. Nairs
were the leaders of such yogams. The lowest unit of the organization
was known as Karayogam or Tharakoottam. This was under the
control of the landlords known as Deshavazhis. The Karayogam
in a district were under the control of Nattukoottam. Nattukoottam
has the power even to disobey the orders of the King. Ettuveettil
Pillamar constituted a Nattukoottam in old Venad (Travancore).
By the end of 18th century, Marthandavarma defeated the Ettuveetil
Pillamar with the help of Dutch and became the supreme ruler
of Venad. With the advent of the British the Nattukoottam gradually
disappeared and the Nair supremacy was also wounded.
kure Ayiram Yogam (one minus one thousand organisation) was
such a grama sabha existed at Kodungallur, which was the capital
city of old rulers of Kerala. This was a strong organisation
of nairs, which stood for the welfare of the country. Various
sub classes of nair community from 'Kiriyam' to 'Vattakkadan'
had representation in the yogam. The yogam met on the first
day of the month in front of Kodungallur Bhagavathy temple;
discussed all aspects related to the people residing within
their jurisdiction and took appropriate decisions. In fact,
the members of the yogam were the rulers of the locality as
well as the Bhagavathy temple of Kodungallur.
SOCIAL UNION-MALAYALEE SABHA
had no organization of their own up to the first half of 19th
century. The lovers of the Nair community who were conscious
about the renaissance of their society formed the first organization
in this line. In 1877 an organization known as Malayalee Social
Union was formed at Thiruvannthapuram. This organization was
active till 1881. In 1884, Malayalee Social Union was converted
as Malayali Sabha and the organization was re-organised under
the leadership of Sri.C.Krishna Pillai. Malayali Sabha concentrated
in extending financial aid to poor students, spreading western
education and in introducing welfare programmes. During the
initial stage it was kept away from politics. But gradually
it interfered in politics also. Gradually Malayali Sabha became
the nerve center of political thoughts in Travancore. It took
up several social welfare measures intended for the up-lift
of weaker sections of the society. Their programmes had a national
vision and broad mindedness, which helped them to be in the
forefront of the national movement in later years. Malayali
Sabha was headed by famous personalities like C.Krishna Pillai,
C.V.Raman Pillai, G.P.Pillai, C.Sankaran Nair and P.Ayyappan
Nair Samajam was a unified organization of the early Nair Samajams
scattered over various regions of Travancore. It was as a result
of the struggles organized by the Keraleeya Nair Samajam that
the Government appointed the Govinda Pillai Commission to submit
report for the changes to be made in the matrilineal system
of inheritance. The Nair Regulation Bill of 1911 was enacted
and passed through amendments based on the report of the above
Commission. Keraleeya Nair Samajam gave a strong voice, high
thinking and deep insight to a society, which was groping in
darkness for the last several decades.
records that Keraleeya Nair Samajam succeeded in giving a clear
picture of the backwardness of Nairs in the field of education,
finance and politics. Nairs came forward to unite for a common
cause by setting aside their narrow differences between sub-castes.
Though Keraleeya Nair Samajam did not last long, their efforts
to bring sub-castes to the Nair community proved beneficial
in later years.
October 1914 witnessed the birth of a great event in the history
of Kerala, the birth of Nair Brhrityajana Sangham that was transformed
as Nair Service Society after one year. It had its origin at
Mannathu Bhavanam (House of Mannathu Padmanabhan) of Perunna,
Changanassery. Mannathu Padmanabhan and Sri.K.Kelappan along
with his twelve friends sat in front of holy light lit by his
mother Parvathy Amma and held a brain storming discussions,
which paved the way for the formation of great movement in Kerala.
Nair Bhrityjanasangham formed under the leadrship of Sri.K.Kelappan
and Mannathu Padmanabhan on 31st October 1914 (Thulam 15, 1090
- ME). The Nair Bhrityajanasangham was formed in line with the
Servants of India Society. It was through the sincere and tireless
efforts of the lovers of the Nair community that the public
awareness activities, which was a part and parcel of the Indian
National Movement, led by Gopalakrishna Gokhale reached Kerala.
The main activities of Nair Bhrityajanasangham in the early
days were to enroll volunteers for the service of the society,
to spread education, loyalty to nation and god worship among
people, to end the social evils etc. The activities of Nair
Bhrithyajanasangham were extended to Malabar also under the
leadership of Sri.K.Kelappan, the President of the Sangham.
holy light lit from the Mannathu Bhavanam spread its shining
light throughout Kerala. It became the spirit, energy and leading
force of vast majority of people. The social renaissance movement
of Kerala had its birth from this holy light. It eradicated
the dirt and darkness from the minds of people and society.
It became the guiding force of the social renaissance movement.