Government Interference in Entry to Temples
Gandhiji had announced in the second week of September, 1932 that he would fast unto death if an agreement between high caste Hindus and low caste Hindus also called Harijans was not reached. Concerned with his health, Pundit Madan Mohan Malaviya and C.Rajagopalachariar had made public announcements. Within five days of Gandhiji’s fast, an eight point resolution accepting the demands of the Harijans was passed on 24-9-1932 at Pune. Gandhiji ended his fast after this resolution was passed. He requested the countrymen to open the temples to Harijans as per the resolution. However, the followers of Sanatana dharma argued that entry to temples was not part of the resolution and it was against the ancient vedic and agama Shastras. Also, many Harijans at the time announced that there was no extra benefit to them by obtaining entry to temples. But, to fulfill Gandhiji’s wishes, intense propaganda was undertaken across the country to allow entry into temples for Harijans. This became a huge issue at Guruvayur situated in Kerala where untouchability was practiced fiercely and it was also the holy pilgrim center for Sri Krishna Paramatma. With our Swamigal’s complete blessings, a group of Sanatanis left for Kerala on 10-12-1932. The group included legal experts such as T.R.Ramachandra Iyer, Thirpugazhmani T.M.Krishnaswamy Iyer, Sivaramakrishnan, Rajagopala Iyer, S.Subramania Iyer as well as legislators such as M.K.Acharya and V.Somadeva Sharma. They were accorded welcome by Palghat municipal Chairman S.K.Ramaswamy Iyer. There was a public meeting at Palghat on December 10th and one in Guruvayur on December 11th. The Guruvayur meeting was led by Kodakkal Raja.
Palghat Dr.Sankara Iyer and Thekadi Govinda Menon also made speeches at the meetings. Many resolutions were passed against the Harijans’ entry into temples. The opposition to entry into temples for Harijans was gathering momentum in Kerala where even women participated in the demonstrations.
In order to obtain a peaceful resolution to this issue, Congress leaders such as Babu Rajendra Prasad, Chakravarty Rajagopalachariar, K.Bhashyam, Varadachari and others came to meet Swamigal at Mylapore as advised by Gandhiji. They were not able to obtain the results they expected from the discussions. However, they announced that they benefited spiritually from having darshan of Swamigal.