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Onam is a festival celebrated by all the Malayalis across the world. It is a secular festival celebrated by all the Malayalis irrespective of their religion. It is a nostalgic remebrance of a past where all Malayalis lived in harmony.

According to the legends Mahabali was a just Asura king. In his kingdom everyone was equally treated. There was no caste discrimination, cheating, everyone had food to eat, no child deaths….. The Aryan gods were not happy with this just ruler.

According to Wikipedia:

Vishnu took the avatar of a dwarf brahmin boy called Vamana and approached Mahabali. The king offered anything to the boy – gold, cows, elephants, villages, food, whatever he wished. The boy said that one must not seek more than one needs, and all he needs is the property right over a piece of land that measures “three paces”. Mahabali agreed.

The Vamana grew and covered everything Mahabali ruled over in just two paces. For the third pace, Mahabali offered himself, an act which Vishnu accepted as evidence of Mahabali’s devotion. Vishnu granted him a boon, by which Mahabali could visit again, once every year, the lands and people he previously ruled. This revisit marks the festival of Onam, as a reminder of the virtuous rule and his humility in keeping his promise before Vishnu. The last day of Mahabali’s stay is remembered with a nine-course vegetarian Onasadya feast.

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Today, we are featuring a drawing, setting the record straight on the Onam legend. In these times of hatred we need our Mahabali more than any time in history. The place of Vamana needs to be in the dustbin of history.

Today we are also featuring a poem on Onam, which describes the rule of King Mahabali (Maveli), written by early 20th Century social reformer Sahodaran Ayyappan. This poem was translated by Ra Sh

In the time of Maveli’s reign
All men got treated the same.
A reign of joy. A reign sans mishaps.
No frauds around, no cheating ones.
Not even the smallest speck of a lie.
No untouchables, no pollution,
No degradation. No such perverse ways.
No animal sacrifice. No pujas with offerings.
No agent between man and divine.
No rude and senseless gods.
No rich and no poor.
No dearth of capital.
Men producing wealth for all
By toiling hard as each was able.
Learning the letters without a hitch.

In the time of Maveli’s reign,
Men and women had equal freedom.
Men were civilized at their own will.

The ruling Brahmins grew wary of this.
Invited the sly dwarf Vamana home.
Who donned the role of a mendicant!
By guile he ensured Maveli’s fall.
Dispatched him to the underworld.

The four-caste system came to be.
Turning earth into living hell.
They began to say men polluted men.
Evil untouchability began its reign.
Overpowered the weaker ones.
Licked the feet of the powerful ones.
Drank the sweat of the poorer folk.
While the lazy ones grew in girth.
If the poor happened to utter the alphabets,
Their tongues were put to the sword.
Women became dolls to play with.

How many centuries have we been
Bearing this yoke in silence?
Brothers, for us to rise again
Better rouse our fellow brothers.

Listen!
The Brahmin religion is a rotten one.
One that crushes the ones who follow.
Religions create divide amongst us.
Discard religions once and for all.
Truth and Virtue are the pure religions
To guide us on to a noble living.
A religion ordained by the Great ones past.

Discard Vamana’s morals, we must.
Bring back Maveli’s reign, we must.

One Comment

  1. S V Rajadurai ( Kaliappa Manoharan) says:

    Periyar E V Ramasami was a great friend of Sahodaran Ayyappan. Periyar was in close touch with Ezhava’s struggle for self-respect and self-worth and addressed many meetings in Kerala against Brahminical tyranny and for the emancipation of the downtrodden. Sahodaran Ayyappan also participated in a few Self-respect meetings and conferences in Tamil Nadu It was through Perriyar’s English weekly ‘Revolt’ ( in a brief report ) in the late 1920s , a section of Tamil people came to know of the great dalit leader Ayyankali
    This part of history must be highlighted for the benefit of young readers.

    S V Rajadurai