Cherukolpuzha Hindumatha Parishad celebrated its 104th anniversary
Cherukolpuzha Hindumatha Parishad celebrated its 104th anniversary from February 7-14. Parishad is a significant Hindu conclave in Kerala. It draws thousands of people to its eight days long programme every February. It is the precursor of Hindumatha Mahamandalam. It drew inspiration from the Hindu renaissance movement led by two spiritual leaders and monks Vidhyadhiraja Chattampi Swamiji and Sree Narayana Guru Swamiji during the late 19th century and early 20th century.
Chattampi Swamiji asserted that every Hindu, cutting across caste lines, has the right to learn and preach Vedas, Upanishads, Epics and Puranas. Their powerful stand got a healthy impetus when social reformers like Mannath Padmanabhan (founder of Nair Service Society – NSS) and Kerala Gandhi K Kelappaji took over it. They called on the society to give up luxurious temple festivals and utilise the savings to provide educational institutions so that the children of all castes could have employment opportunities. Pradeshika Nair Samajam of Ayroor village is one of the earliest organised groups who came forward to practise that idea.
Almost in the same period, Swami Theerthapada Paramahamsa, the very close disciple of Chattampi Swamiji, took initiative to hold the get-together of the villagers with an idea of organising a week long religious conclave on the banks of Pampa river during February at Ayroor Cherukolpuzha in Ranni Taluk of the present day Pathanamthitta district. In fact, the idea had been mooted by Chattampi Swamji himself when he had visited the village earlier. The first conclave was held in February 1913; it was called “Hindumatha Parishad”. Thereafter the event was organised every year. Every year the strength of the audience and the number of spiritual leaders as speakers began to swell.
During the first four decades the Parishad was organised by a group of people with identical mindsets, afterwards the stakeholders felt the necessity of an organised structure for running the show. It paved the way for the formation of a spiritual-cultural organisation in 1957. It was christened “Hindumatha Maha Mandalam.” It was registered under the Charitable and Cultural Societies Act with a vivid constitution and by laws. It does have clear cut statement of the aims, goals, membership criteria, administration, activities, etc.
The Mandalam runs a few institutions befitting its goals. Office of the Hindumatha Maha Mandalam, Vidyathiraja Samskarika Kendram, Vidyathiraja Smithi Mandapam, etc. are the prominent among them.
The activities and aims of the Hindumatha Maha Mandalam make it a versatile movement. These characteristics have facilitated the Mandalam’s reach out to all sections of the Hindu society both within and without the State of Kerala. Organiser spoke to M Ayyappankutty, the Publicity Convenor of the Parishad. He said, “Galaxy of Hindu scholars and speakers gathered at the eight days long programme.”
“The attendance has increased a lot this year compared to the yesteryears. This time more than 700 children participated in various competitions held in connection with the Parishad,” he added.
T Satisan, Kerala