Professor Jayendran, who spent a lifetime teaching English to generations of young scholars in a celebrated college in Kozhikode, lives in a modest home in the city outskirts. A chronic bachelor, he spends his time reading and writing, and is happy to welcome visitors. He makes it a point to show visitors a simple bedstead that occupies the pride of place in his bedroom, a prized possession he has inherited from his illustrious ancestors who lived in the old colonial town of Thalassery. “Sree Narayana Guru slept on this bed when he was our honoured guest almost a century ago,” he tells his visitors.
That visit to his ancestors’ home took place during the early years of the 20th century, when the Guru travelled to Malabar as part of his social reform initiatives. The few occasions he was in Malabar, he met community leaders, intellectuals, businessmen and professionals and urged them to eschew retrograde practices like animal sacrifice and child marriage widespread in the community, and encouraged them to adopt modern educational and social practices that were suited to a community’s progress. He established a few temples and ashrams during those visits, in places like Calicut, Thalassery, and Kannur, and some other places.
Among the temples that the Guru had established in Malabar were the famous Sreekanteswaram temple in Calicut (1910), the Jagannath temple in Thalassery (1908), and the Sundareswaram temple at Talap in Kannur (1916). During those visits he came into contact with a large number of the Thiyya community leaders.