Kalaram Temple Entry Movement, led by Dr B. R. Ambedkar, formed a pivotal role in the Anti-Caste Movement in India. Dr B. R. Ambedkar led a protest in March 1930 outside the Kalaram Temple in Nasik, Maharashtra, in order to allow lower caste people or untouchables to enter the temple. The Movement aimed for equal rights for the lower caste people.
Down the centuries, the lower caste people had suffered oppression and discrimination from the upper caste communities in every sphere of life – social, religious, cultural, economic, and political. They were forbidden to learn scriptures and banned from entering the temple.
During British rule in India, there were various attempts to push for the temple entry of lower castes or untouchables. In Maharashtra, before the Kalaram Temple Entry Satyagraha, two significant attempts were made in Amravati in 1928 and Pune in 1929. The Ambadevi Temple Entry Movement at Amravati started in February 1929 and could not gather much support. Another attempt at Paravati Temple in Pune was in October 1929, which continued till 1930.
On 2 March 1930, Dr B. R. Ambedkar launched the Kalaram Temple Entry Movement in Nasik (Maharashtra). Around 15,000 volunteers gathered at the Kalaram Temple Satyagraha, making the Movement one of the significant processions of the Nasik. The then Bombay Government imposed Section 144 of the Civil Procedure Code around the temple, which led to the arrest of several protestors. During the Satyagraha, the peaceful protesters faced hostile attacks from the upper caste Hindus. Despite these oppressions, the satygrahis remained peaceful at Ambedkar’s request.
Dr B. R. Ambedkar did not participate in every phase of the Satyagraha due to his active participation in different matters. But his associates, such as Bhaurao Gaikwad, Patitpawandas, Amritrao Rankhambe, and P. N. Rajbhoj, played a vital role in this Movement.
The Kalaram Temple Entry Movement continued for another three years, but the temple doors remained closed to the lower castes. After the experience of the Kalaram Temple Entry Movement, Dr B. R. Ambedkar did not participate in any other temple entry movement. He realized that temple entry would not solve the problems of the untouchables. However, the Movement contributed to the aim of making the oppressed castes socially and politically conscious.
Temple Entry Bill 1932
On 1 November 1932, P. Subbarayan proposed the Temple Entry Bill in the Madras Legislative Council, which permitted low-caste Hindus and Dalits to enter Hindu temples and made their prohibition illegal and punishable. However, the Imperial Council rejected the Temple Entry Bill in January 1933.