The Abstention movement had as its backbone the underprivileged sections of the Hindu community and the religious minorities of the Christians and Muslims as it aimed at securing the redress of the grievances of these communities. The upper castes, particularly the Nairs, were hostile to the movement though some individual leaders among them identified themselves with the cause. In spite of the sectarian and communal nature of their demands it cannot be denied that the Abstentionists were fighting for a just cause-the cause of social justice. They succeeded at last in getting fair representation for the aggrieved communities in the Legislature and Public Services.

The sense of resentment against the status quo was so strong among the Ezhavas that there was even a move among them to leave the Hindu fold en masse and embrace Christianity. The excellent rapport, which they had established with the Christian community during the Abstention movement, was a factor that operated in favour of this move which was spearheaded by no less a person than C.V. Kunjuraman. Apart from issuing a pamphlet in which he made out a case for the large-scale conversion of the Ezhavas to Christianity, he was also reported to have met the C.M.S. Bishop of Kottayam in connection with the proposed move. It was perhaps the realisation by those in authority of this undercurrent among the Ezhavas that prompted them to take the momentous decision in favour of temple entry. Judged from this standpoint, the Temple Entry Proclamation of November 12, 1936 should be regarded as an offshoot of the Abstention Movement.

- A. Sreedhara Menon
Triumph & Tragedy in Travancore