The Izhavas or Ezhawas were experts in coconut cultivation and toddy-tapping and some of them were also trained in Sanskrit and the traditional medical system of Ayurveda.
In spite of possessing great skill-set, they were treated as outcasts and considered untouchables in the state of Kerala. They were not allowed to get educated in schools, enter temples or participate in other social activities.
Their dressing, costumes and religious practices were all ridiculed. They were also not allowed to take jobs in government sector, enter Hindu temples or have idols of the higher gods in their own temples.
Over a period of time all these discrimination ignited the spark of rebellion in the Izhavas community. By the mid-nineteenth century, they started to take measures to elevate their position in society.
In 1854, they established their own temple and took the task of religious practices and ceremonies in the hands of their priest community.
This outrage was then taken up by Swami Narayan Guru who gathered volunteers to take up the task of spreading awareness for the upliftment of these classes.
These volunteers went from village to village explaining inhabitants to give up on their old set of dogmas.