Mitavadi C. Krishnan

A website dedicated to one of Kerala's greatest social reformers.

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(1867-1938 AD) C. Krishnan played a key role in bringing out radical social transformation in Kerala society which was steeped in ignorance, superstition, casteism, poverty, untouchability and other evils. A defender of human rights, he propogated the ideals of humanism, social justice and democratic values. He was called ‘Mitavadi’ C. Krishnan after the newspaper that he published from 1913 to ’38 from Calicut for spreading the message of the reformatory movement.  The Government of Kerala states "The Mitavadi was in the forefront of the movement for social reforms and the uplift of the weaker sections of society".

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Charting His Own Course

Of the several reformers of Kerala who were directly under the spell of Sree Narayana Guru, some took the liberty of shaping their own paths and tread along them. Though influenced and initiated by the Guru, C. Krishnan preferred a sharp deviation from his mentor on the attitude towards Hinduism of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, which pampered and protected social discriminations. To the Guru, a mass exodus of the aggrieved section from Hinduism was neither rational nor necessary. Hinduism, he felt, was not the religion of a minority of 'norm setters' who dictated obsolete customs and observances, which turned the faith into an object of ridicule and denigration. The proper course was to open a triade against the influential sectarians in the Hindu society, correct them, and save Hinduism from the deplorable state into which it had been thrown by the crafty, orthodox designers.

However, C. Krishnan thought otherwise. Why should the vast, neglected and discriminated section bother either for purifying or cleansing Hinduism at the intellectual level, bearing simultaneously, at times, physical assaults and political pressures? To him Buddhism was a sect that upheld the concepts of equality and brotherhood. It was also a sect that upheld human values. Humanism found its torrential flow from the fertile brain of the Buddha - Krishnan felt. Buddhism, to Krishnan, was not a temporary and convenience-based asylum for the lower castes, but a permanent faith which upheld elements like love, fraternity, human dignity etc. To him 'Buddha is an embodiment of the softest of human feelings, compassion and love. Even the most barren hearts will flower into wisdom, sweetness and joy at the very thought of this healer of humanity'. His planned programmes in propogating Buddhism was the result of his basic conviction, and not a calculated strategy to provide succour to the discriminated sections.

He was his own man.