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Arattupuzha Velayudha Panicker, the forerunner of Sri Narayana Guru: Kerala Rennaissance study notes

Arattupuzha Other names for Velayudha Panicker include Kallaseril Velayuthan Panikker and Chekavar of Arattupuzha. He was an Ezhava warrior who fought the upper castes’ oppression.  He was conceived on January 7, 1825. He was the famous Kallissery Tharavad’s Kallisseri Perumal Chekor’s son. According to legends, he was a tall, muscular man with fair skin who served as a protector.

Velayudha Panicker, according to anthropologists Filippo and Caroline Osella, was a precursor to Sri Narayana Guru. Even his grandfather Vallikadavil Perumal Chekavan had skill with Tulunadan Kalari. Velayudhan completed studies in Sanskrit, Ayurveda, Astrology, and Kalripayattu. Velumpy of Varanapally was his bride.

He caught hold of the thief who robbed Salagramam from Tharananaloor Namboothiri.

As a compliment the Travancore King gave him a title of Panickan, later it was modified as Panicker.

He learned Kathakali, considered to be a Namboothiri Brahmin art

He started a Kathakali troupe called Kalisseri Kathakali Yogam with the help of Ambalapuzha Madhava Kurup.

Achipudava Strike was organised by Panicker. It was for Achipudava, who was successful, for lower caste women who cover the area below the knee. All Channar women in his region had been ordered to cover their upper bodies, and Panicker had purchased and given upper clothing to all Avarna women in the Kayamkulam market. Additionally, he was connected to the Mookkuthy Chantha incident in Pandalam. By doing this, lower-class women are given permission to wear gold jewellery.

He spent ten days learning puja and installing temple deities at Guruvayur Temple while dressing in Brahman attire. He threw a bag of gold onto the table and said, “Yes, I am a Panicker; take this Gold for your services,” when a Brahmin discovered his identity. He was pursued by the enraged temple officials all the way to Cherthala. 

He went to Goa in 1852 to learn the Brahminical rituals practised in temple worship. He established a temple in Mangalathu village in 1852. Sivlinga was installed by Viswanathan Gurukal of Kandiyur, Mavelikkara, and panicker himself performed the pooja. Arattupuzha Velayudha Panicker was the Edackadu Njaneshwaram Temple’s founder. There, people of all castes and tribes were welcome to worship. In Cheruvaranam, Panicker erected a second temple in 1853. In Arattupuzha, Panicker also started a library and a school. He was killed in 1874 while travelling by boat when a group of affluent individuals ambushed him from behind in the dead of night.

Community Hall in memory of Arattupuzha Velayudha Panicker is situated in Mangalam (Alappuzha). Arattupuzha Velayudha Panicker Research Foundation and Cultural Centre is also situated at Mangalam

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