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POIKAYIL YOHANNAN

Poikayil Yohannan (Kumara Guru):  


Poikayil Yohannan (1878 – 1939), known as Poikayil Appachan to his followers, or Kumara Gurudevan was a Dalit activist, poet, Christian preacher who founded the socio-religious movement Prathyaksha Raksha Daiva Sabha ('God's Church of Visible Salvation'). 

Born as a bondsman to a Syrian Christian family, he had to follow Christianity and a Christian name, called Johannan. Well literate and versed with Bible, Johannan sought to create a sense of unity among the Christian Dalit communities. Even though he joined the Marthoma church, as he realized that the church treated Dalits as an inferior class, he left the church. In 1909, Johannan left Christianity and formed his own Dalit liberation movement named 'Prathyaksha Raksha Daiva Sabha' (PRDS)

Known as Poikayil Appachan or Kumara Gurudevan later, Johannan advocated devout liberation, and sought to empower and unite the Dalits. Poikayil Yohannan bought several acres of land and set up schools and industrial training centers in various places. He even established several government aided schools for Dalit education.
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