NIVARTHANA AGITATION/ ABSTENTION MOVEMENT
The “Nivarthana agitation” of the early thirties was to secure adequate representation for the Ezhavas, Christians and Muslims in the State Legislature. These communities demanded that they should be given representation in the Legislature in proportion to their numerical strength. The erstwhile Dewan of Travancore Sir C.P. Ramaswamy Iyer declared open war with the agitators and decided to suppress the agitation. Finally the Government had to allot specific number of seats to the Ezhava, Muslim and Christian communities. In February 1938, the ‘Travancore State Congress’ was formed and started agitation for a responsible government. On 26 August 1938, Ramaswamy Iyer banned the State Congress . Later on Akkamma Cherian led a mass rally to the Kowdiar Palace of the Maharaja Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma to revoke a ban on State Congress. They also demanded the dismissal of the Dewan, C. P. Ramaswami Iyer, against whom the State Congress leaders had levelled several charges.
The ALAPPUZHA district also witnessed the ‘Nivarthana’ movement which was started as a protest against the constitutional repression of 1932, the first political strike in Kerala was held at Alappuzha in 1938.
Kerala Kesari was the mouthpiece of Abstention movement. New electoral law giving reservation for minorities was formally announced by the Government in August 1936.
Leaders of Abstention movement was N.V.Joseph, T.M.Varghese and C.Kesavan.