Caste movements during freedom struggle

Caste movements during freedom struggle are important from the point of view of UPSC Prelims, State PCS and other exams.

Caste struggles against higher caste domination and discrimination took place throughout the period, resulting in mobilization of masses under leaders, demanding their rightful place in society.

Let’s have a look at the movements, their leaders and motive behind the movements below.

Caste Movements
Movement Leader & Year Causes and result
Satyashodhak Movement

Jyotiba Phule in year 1873 in Maharashtra

  • Phule’s important works Sarvajanik Satyadharma and Gulamgin, were a source of inspiration for masses during the struggle.
  • Against brahmanic domination. Phule used “Rajah Bali” as a symbol of opposition to brahmans symbol of Rama.
  • For emancipation of low castes, untouchables
Arravipuram Movement Sri Narayana Guru in 1888 in Kerala.
  • A fight between low caste and non-brahmin castes. (Remember!)
  • Fighting for the rights of low castes, especially Ezhavas or Iravas (a caste of toddy tappers, considered untouchables) of Kerala.
  • In order to further this movement, he founded Sri Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogum was set up in 1902-1903.
Nair Movement C.V. Raman Pillai,KRK Pillai,M. Padmanbha Pillai in the year 1891 in Kerala.
  • Against domination of brahmins.
  • A Malayali Memorial was formed by Raman Pillai in 1891 and Nair Society by Padmanabha Pillai was set up in 1914.

Kaivartas Movement

(Kaivartas later became Mahishyas.)

In Calcutta in the year 1897.
  • Against upper caste discrimination and oppression.
  • Founded Jati Nirdharani Sabha (1897) and Mahishya Samiti (1901).
Justice Party Movement T.M. Nair, P. Tyagraja Chetti and C.N. Mudaliar in 1916 in Madras.
  • Against domination of Brahmins in govt. service, education and political field.
  • South Indian Liberation Federation (SILF) was formed in 1916.
  • Because, of the efforts it resulted in passing of 1930 Government order providing reservation to various groups.
Depressed Class movement (Mahars Movement) By B.R. Ambedkar in Maharashtra in 1924.
  • For the emancipation of untouchables and their upliftment.
  • Also, founded Depressed Classes Institution, released a Marathi fortnightly Bahiskrit Bharat in 1927.
  • Samaj Samta Sangh and Scheduled Castes Federation in 1927 and 1942,respectively.
Self-respect movement E.V. Ramaswami Naicker/fondly referred as Periyar in 1925 in Tamil Nadu.
  • Against caste bias of Brahmans. In order to undermine their position, he sought to formalise weddings without Brahmin priests.
  • To propagate his views, started Kudi Arasu journal in 1910.
Congress Harijan Movement By Congress Party from 1917 onward.
  • For uplifting the lower and backward classes.
  • Formed All-India Untouchability League in 1932.
  • A weekly Harijan was founded by Gandhi in 1933.

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