Narayana Guru (1856 - 1928) was a great sage and social reformer of India. Born in Ezhava/Thiyya community (a Backward Community in today's parlance), he demonstrated a path to social emancipation without invoking the dualism of the opressed and the opressor.
In contrast to certain other reformers who critized Brahmins and "upper caste" Hindus for the conditions of the "lower castes", Narayana Guru stressed on the upliftment of the community through its own efforts by the establishment of schools and temples. His transformation of the social face of Kerala relied on emphasizing the Hindu Advaita philosophy contrasted with those that argued that social discrimination was inseparable from Hinduism.
Narayana Guru is revered for his Vedic knowledge, poetic proficiency, openness to the views of others, non-violent philosophy and most importantly his unnerving resolve to rebel and change wrongdoing in society. Narayana Guru was instrumental in setting the spiritual foundations for social reform in the current State of Kerala (erstwhile states of Travancore, Kochi and Malabar) and was arguably one the most successful social reformers that tackled caste in India.