Kerala Piravi : History, significance of this day

Kerala Piravi : History, significance of this day

Kerala Piravi or Kerala Day is celebrated on 1st November which marks the formation day of Kerala as an independent state after the unification of three provinces. The word Kerala is believed to be originated from the word “kera” and “alam”. Kera means coconut and alam is land or location – thus it means Land of coconut trees. The word “Piravi” is a word in the Malayalam language that means “birth”. The state is sandwiched between the Western Ghats from the east and the Lakshadweep Sea from the west.

History of Kerala

Mythological Background

There are quite a few mythological stories about the creation of Kerala as well. It is believed that Kerala originated from the sea when Lord Parasurama threw his axe into it. Lord Parasurama is said to be the sixth avatar of Lord Mahavishnu. He threw his axe into the ocean from Gokarnam in remorse for his actions of killing Kshatriyas. The land emerged from the waters of the Arabian Sea. This land is called the land of Parasurama which is today’s Kerala.

Freedom Struggle

The freedom movement of India has a bearing on Kerala. The idea of Salt Satyagraha originated in Kerala. In Vaikom there was a satyagraha for allowing lower caste people into temples. It gained much importance and was considered a challenge to the rule of the British. Sooner or later many other organizations were formed to struggle for their rights. The Samyukata Rashtriya Congress was formed which consists of people belonging to Christianity- Islam and the Ezhavas. They formed an alliance for getting reservations in Government.

The independence struggle in Kerala developed in two phases. The first phase was violent and directed against the British. The second was peaceful and was part of the nationalist movement under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi.

Post Independence

After the Independence of India, there arose a strong need to carve new states on a linguistic basis. Thus, a few years after Independence, Kerala was reorganized as one such independent State.

Before its establishment, Kerala was part of three major provinces namely Malabar, Cochin, and Travancore. Malabar Presidency constituted the northernmost territories of Kerala that included Thalassery, Kannur, and Kasaragod. There were two independent kingdoms of Travancore and Cochin which joined the Union of India after it gained independence in 1947.

On 1 July 1949, the two states were merged to form Travancore-Cochin (Thiru Kochi). On 1st January Travancore-Cochin was recognized as a state. On 1st November 1956, the state of Kerala was formed by the state reorganization Act merging the Malabar district, Travancore-Cochin, and the taluk of Kasargod, South Kanara. The Tamil-speaking southern region of Old Travancore including Kanyakumari became part of Tamil Nadu.

In 1957 elections saw the EMS Namboodripad Government elected to power. What was special about this state government was that it is the world’s first democratically elected communist-led government to come to power. The leader introduced radical reforms in favor of farmers and laborers which led to change to some extent.

Kerala Piravi Day commemorates this momentous union that led to the formation of modern-day Kerala as we know it.

Suggested Read: Kerala – Culture and Tradition

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Simmi Kamboj

Simmi Kamboj is the Founder and Administrator of Ritiriwaz, your one-stop guide to Indian Culture and Tradition. She had a passion for writing about India's lifestyle, culture, tradition, travel, and is trying to cover all Indian Cultural aspects of Daily Life.