kings of Travancore 1663 TO 1949

TRAVANCORE--The Rajas of Venad--

431 B.C TO 1000A.D. to 1947 A.D.
{1} [The Kulasekhara internet]

Travancore Kings

Rama Varma 1663-1672
Aditya Varma 1672-1677
Umayamma Rani‡ 1677-1684
Ravi Varma 1684-1718
Aditya Varma 1718-1719
Unni Kerala Varma 1719-1724
Rajah Rama Varma 1724-1729
Marthanda Varma 1729-1758
Dharma Raja 1758-1798
Balarama Varma 1798-1810
Gowri Lakshmi Bayi‡ 1810-1815
Gowri Parvati Bayi‡ 1815-1829
Swathi Thirunal 1829-1846
Uthram Thirunal 1846-1860
Ayilyam Thirunal 1860-1880
Visakham Thirunal 1880-1885
Moolam Thirunal 1885-1924
Sethu Lakshmi Bayi‡ 1924-1931
Chithira Thirunal 1931-1949

Padmanabhapuram 1721-1795
Thiruvananthapuram 1795-1949
Padmanabhapuram Palace
Kilimanoor palace
Kuthira Malika
Kowdiar Palace

Rajah Rama Varma was the ruler of the Indian kingdom of Venad, later known as Travancore, in the modern day state of Kerala, India between 1724 and 1729, having succeeded his brother Unni Kerala Varma. He is better known as the uncle of Maharajah Padmanabha Dasa Vanchi Pala Marthanda Varma Kulasekhara Perumal, the "maker of modern Travancore". He was born as the second son of Rajah Ittamar of Thattari Kovilakam into the Royal Family of Kolathunadu. His entire family, including himself, two sisters and his elder brother Unni Kerala Varma, were adopted into the Venad house as members of the Travancore Royal Family by Rajah Ravi Varma, nephew of Umayamma Rani due to their failure of heirs there. Of his sisters, one died soon after her adoption while the other was the mother of the Maharajah Marthanda Varma.


Rajah Rama Varma was a weak ruler during whose reign the Ettuveetil Pillamar, the Ettara Yogam and other nobles had more power than the King himself, as had been the case since the middle of the 17th century. However on the advise of Marthanda Varma, the Rajah signed a treaty of subordination with the Pandyas at Trichonopoly and secured a Pandyan force in Venad. This frightened the disloyal nobles for sometime, who now, however, turned their attention towards killing Marthanda Varma, the heir apparent under the Marumakkathayam law. Previously, the Ettuveetil Pillamar had been responsible for the assassination of prince Kerala Varma who had successfully defended Venad from an Islamic army (Mukilan pada), and many other crimes.

The Kunju Thampimar

The Rajah Rama Varma had married a Bengali lady known as Abhirami alias Shrimathi Avirama Kochamma from whom he had issue two sons, Padmanabhan and Raman Thampi, known as the Kunju Thampimar and a daughter Ummini Thankachi. One the demise of the Rajah in 1729, Maharajah Marthanda Varma succeeded to the throne under the Marumakkathayam law of inheritance.

The succession of their cousin to their father's throne irked the Kunju Thampimar who allied themselves with the Ettuveetil Pillamar, Marthanda Varma's foes. On their instigation the Thampi brothers proceeded to Trichonopoly and succeeded in making the Pandyan government there believe that Marthanda Varma was an usurper and that they were the rightful heirs to the throne of Venad. The Pandyan Government deputed a Commander known as Azhagappa Mudaliar to install the Kunju Thampimar in Venad and punish Marthanda Varma. However the Mudaliar was bribed by the King, and the Thampi brothers were severely reprimanded for their actions.

Soon after this, in 1730, the Thampi brothers made a visit to their cousin while he was at Nagercoil Palace where they were both killed by Marthanda Varma. While the traditional accounts state that they attempted to assassinate Marthanda Varma and were hence killed, it is not clear as to why their sister Ummini Thankachi was also killed by Marthanda Varma. There is also another local legend that she committed suicide following the killings of her brothers. Thus the sons of Rajah Rama Varma were vanquished and Marthanda Varma became the Rajah of Venad which he expanded into modern Travancore.
......................................................................................................................Dewans of Travancore

Dewans of Travancore

Arumukham Pillai 1729-1736
Thanu Pillai 1736-1737
Ramayyan Dalawa 1737-1756
Martanda Pillai 1756-1763
Warkala Subbayyan 1763-1768
Krishna Gopalayyan 1768-1776
Vadiswaran Subbrahmanya Iyer 1776-1780
Mullen Chempakaraman Pillai 1780-1782
Nagercoil Ramayyan 1782-1788
Krishnan Chempakaraman 1788-1789
Raja Kesavadas 1789-1798
Odiery Jayanthan Sankaran Nampoothiri 1798-1799
Velu Thampi Dalawa 1799-1809
Oommini Thampi 1809-1811
Col. John Munroe 1811-1814
Devan Padmanabhan Menon 1814-1814
Bappu Rao (Acting) 1814-1815
Sanku Annavi Pillai 1815-1815
Raman Menon 1815-1817
Reddy Rao 1817-1821
T. Venkata Rao 1821-1830
Thanjavur Subha Rao 1830-1837
Ranga Rao (Acting) 1837-1838
T. Venkata Rao (Again) 1838-1839
Thanjavur Subha Rao (Again) 1839-1842
Krishna Rao (Acting) 1842-1843
Reddy Rao (Again) 1843-1845
Srinivasa Rao (Acting) 1845-1846
Krishna Rao 1846-1858
T. Madhava Rao 1858-1872
A. Seshayya Sastri 1872-1877
Nanoo Pillai 1877-1880
V. Ramiengar 1880-1887
T. Rama Rao 1887-1892
Rama Rao was born in Trivandrum in the year 1831. Rama Rao had his schooling at the Rajah's Free School in Trivandrum and the L. M. S. Seminary at Nagercoil. On completion of his education, Rama Rao entered the Travancore civil service and worked as a clerk. When he did not receive promotion, Rama Rao quit the job and accepted an offer as a translator in district and sessions court in Calicut. In 1857, Rama Rao was appointed Tahsildar of Kalkulam. Rama Rao was hailed by European missionaries for the character shown by him as a tahsildar. He was soon promoted as Deputy Sheristadar and as First Sheristadar in the Huzur Cutcherry. He became Deputy Peishkar of the Quilon Division in 1862. Rama Rao served as Deputy Peishkar of Quilon division from 1862 to 1878 and Kottayam division from 1878 to 1887, when he was appointed Diwan of Travancore. Rama Rao died on June 5, 1895.
S. Shungrasoobyer 1892-1898
Shungrasoobyer was born in 1836 in Travancore. His maternal grandfather was a pundit of the Appeal Court. Shungrasoobyer had his schooling at the Rajah's Free School, Trivandrum. On completion of his schooling in 1853, Shungrsoobyer joined the Travancore state service as a teacher on a monthly salary of Rs. 5. Shungrasoobyer's talents were spotted by the then Diwan, Sir T. Madhava Rao who appointed him Deputy Sheristadar of Police. Shungrasoobyer served as the Director of Vernacular education and as Boundary Commissioner, helped resolve a boundary dispute between the Travancore and Cochin states. In 1882, Shungrasoobyer was appointed Settlement Diwan Peishkar of the Revenue Settlement by the then Diwan V. Ramiengar. Shungrasoobyer performed his job well and successfully completed the settlement of Najanad, Trivandrum and Chirayinkil taluks. In 1888, Shungrasoobyer was nominated to the Travancore Legislative Assembly. Travancore was witnessing a movement for Dalit upliftment at the time Shankara Subba Iyer became Dewan in 1892. There was no representation for the low-caste Hindu community Ezhavas in the Travancore Legislative Council, constituted in 1888.Hence, in 1895, the Ezhavas presented a memorial to the Dewan demanding more political representation.However, the Ezhavas received no response. Shungrasoobyer retired as Diwan in April 1898 on a monthly pension of Rs.800. The Government of British India recognized his services by making him a Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire. Sir Arthur Havelock, the Governor of Madras appointed him a non-official member of the Madras Legislative Council. Shungrasoobyer died in September 1904.
K. Krishnaswamy Rao 1898-1904
Diwan Bahadur K. Krishnaswamy Rao CIE (1845-1923) was an Indian civil servant, judge and administrator who served as the Diwan of Travancore from 1898 to 1904.Krishnaswamy Rao was born in September 1845. He had his schooling and on completion of his matriculation at the age of sixteen, he entered government service.Krishnaswamy Rao began his career in October 1864 as a record-keeper in the Nellore district court at a salary of Rs. 20. In 1867, he was promoted as Sheristadar in view of his superior abilities and became a District Munsiff in July 1870. In 1883, he was appointed sub-judge at Cocanada. In May 1894, he was made Chief Justice of Travancore by the then Maharaja and served from 1884 till his appointment as Diwan in 1898.Krishnaswamy Rao died in 1923.
V. P. Madhava Rao 1904-1906
Vishwanath Patankar Madhava Rao CIE (Feb 1850 - 1934) was an Indian administrator and statesman who served as the Diwan of Mysore kingdom from 1906 to 1909 and Baroda from 1910 to 1913. Madhava Rao was born in February 1850 in a Deshastha Brahmin family of Kumbakonam, Madras Presidency. His ancestors were Thanjavur Marathis who had migrated to Tanjore district during the rule of the Thanjavur Marathas. Madhava Rao was educated at Kumbakonam College by William Archer Porter. He completed his B. A. in 1869 and was appointed as a headmaster in royal school in the Mysore kingdom. Madhava Rao entered the service of the Mysore kingdom in 1869 as a headmaster of the royal school. He was later appointed public prosecutor of Mysore and served in the Judicial and Revenue departments. He also served as Inspector General of Police, Plague Commissioner in the Mysore kingdom from 1898 to 1901 and Revenue Commissioner from 1902 to 1904 before being appointed Diwan in 1906.Madhava Rao served as Diwan of the Mysore kingdom from June 30, 1906 to March 31, 1909. In 1906, a law was passed empowering members of the Mysore Legislative Assembly to pass laws. The new legislature was constituted on March 6, 1907. The Land Revenue Code was amended to make the Revenue Commissioner the Chief Revenue authority and was also given charge of the treasury. A Department of Public Health was created and competitive exams for the Mysore Civil Service were revived. Taxes on arecanut were revoked. Kindergarten schools were introduced in the kingdom and primary education was made free. A number of irrigation projects were undertaken. The Marikanite Works were completed in 1906-07 and the Cauvery Power Works at Belagola in 1907-08. The Government sanctioned a free grant of land to the Indian Institute of Science. Electric lighting was introduced in the civil and military station of Bangalore city on January 1, 1908 and for Mysore city on September 26, 1908. Diwan of Travancore in office 1904–1906, Monarch Moolam Thirunal.
S. Gopalachari 1906-1907
P. Rajagopalachari 1907-1914
Diwan Bahadur Sir Perungavur Rajagopalachari (18 March 1862 – 1 December 1927), also spelt in contemporary records as Sir P. Rajagopala Achariyar, was an Indian administrator. He was the Diwan (chief minister) of Cochin State from December 1896 to August 1901 and of Travancore from 1906 to 1914.Rajagopalachari was born in Madras and educated at Presidency College and Madras Law College. He joined the Judicial Department Indian Civil Service on 3 May 1886 and was appointed deputy collector in December 1887. From 2 May 1890 to December 1896, he served as assistant collector and magistrate in Madras Province.
Diwan of Cochin:- In December 1896, Rajagopalachari was appointed Diwan by Maharaja Rama Varma of Cochin. He served in his capacity from 1896 to 1901. During his tenure as diwan, the Cochin Native Merchants Association was founded.This later became the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry - Cochin.In 1901, the Central Records of the Cochin State were established at Tripunithura.This later evolved into the Kerala State Archives Department.
Diwan of Travancore : In 1901, he was appointed Registrar of Co-operative Credit Societies in the Madras Presidency and then served as Assistant Collector from March 1902 until 1906, when he was appointed Diwan of Travancore state.
The Sadhu Jana Paripalana Sangham was established in 1907 by social reformer Ayyankali to campaign for education for Dalits. Rajagopalachari was supportive of the movement, and in 1907 the government of Travancore passed an order for the admission of Dalit children in schools.However, the upper-caste landlords who owned most of the schools were obstinate in allowing Dalit children into their schools and openly defied the government order. A major strike erupted. Low caste agragrian workers refused to farm their fields.In 1910, Rajagopalachari and Mitchell, who headed the education department, made the order for admission of Dalit children public, thereby putting an end to the controversy. Rajagopalachari also brought forth reforms in the administration. Dalits, who were previously excluded from the administration, were made eligible for nomination to the State Assembly.Ayyankali became the first Dalit member to be nominated to the Travancore State Assembly.[8] Rajagopalachari also donated 8acres of land for the construction of an Islamic college by Sheikh Mohammad Hamadani Thangal.
In 1914, Rajagopalachari returned to Madras as Secretary of the Judicial Department, the first Indian to hold the post. In 1917, he was appointed to the Council of the Governor of Madras. When the Madras Legislative Council came into being, as per the provisions of the Government of India Act 1919, on 17 December 1920, Rajagopalachari was elected as the first President.It is believed that he was instrumental in formulating the no-confidence motion against the Justice Party Government of the Raja of Panagal.His tenure came to an end in 1923 and he was succeeded by L. D. Samikannu Pillai. In 1923, he was appointed to the Council of India in London, resigning in 1925 due to ill-health and returning to India. Rajagopalachari died on 1 December 1927
M. Krishnan Nair 1914-1920
Diwan Bahadur Sir Mannath Krishnan Nair KCIE(1870–1938) was an Indian politician from the Indian National Congress and later, Justice Party who served as a member of the Madras Legislative Council and later, executive council of the Governor of Madras. He also served as the Diwan of Travancore from 1914 to 1920. Krishnan Nair was born in 1870[1] in the Mannath family of landlords from the Malabar district of Madras Presidency. Krishnan Nair had his schooling in Malabar district and higher education at the Government College, Calcutta and Madras Christian College. Krishnan Nair studied law at the Madras Law College before enrolling as a lawyer. At an young age, he joined the Indian National Congress and participated in its meetings. He was elected to the Madras Legislative Council in 1904 and served as its member from 1904 to 1910. Krishnan Nair was appointed Diwan of Travancore in 1914 and he succeeded Sir P. Rajagopalachari. Krishnan Nair served as Diwan of Travancore from 1914 to 1920.
T. Raghavaiah 1920-1925
Diwan Bahadur T. Raghavaiah CSI was an Indian administrator who served as the Diwan of Travancore from 1920 to 1925. He was a favorite of the Maharaja Moolam Thirunal. His refusal to allow low-caste to enter Hindu temples is believed to have led to the Vaikom Satyagraha.Raghavaiah was born in a Telugu-speaking family from the northern part of the Madras Presidency. He had his education in Madras city and entered the provincial civil service.Raghavaiah was appointed Diwan of Travancore in 1920 replacing M. Krishnan Nair. Ragahvaiah's administration is considered to be a mixture of progress as well as discontent. He is credited with having reformed the electoral system in Travancore. However, Raghavaiah's diwanship is remembered as a period of turbulence and discontent. In 1920, he raised the tuition fees for students in government colleges. This was followed by protests all over the state. Untouchables had been prohibited from entering the Vaikom temple since time immemorial. In the early 1920s, however, though the efforts of politician T. K. Madhavan, the Indian nationalist Indian National Congress resolved to put an end to the practice. Madhavan petitioned Raghavaiah, the then Diwan in 1924, to introduce a legislation enabling untouchables to enter the Vaikom temple and other temples in the kingdom. But Raghavaiah being a staunch, orthodox, upper-caste Hindu, refused. This led to widespread agitations throughout and made the administration, highly unpopular.
M. E. Watts 1925-1929
V. S. Subramanya Iyer 1929-1932
Diwan Bahadur V. Subramania Iyer Subramanya Iyer (b. October 21, 1877) was an Indian administrator who served as the Diwan of the princely state of Travancore from 1929 to 1932.Subramanya Iyer was born on October 21, 1877 to V. Subramania Iyer.[1] He studied in St. Joseph's College and set up practice as an advocate in Travancore. He served as the Chief Justice of the High Court of Travancore before being appointed Diwan in 1929.Subramanya Iyer was appointed Diwan of Travancore in 1929 succeeding E. W. Watts.  He served as Diwan till 1932 when he was succeeded by Muhammad Habibullah. In 1930, Venkatarama Iyer was appointed Commissioner of Travancore Devaswom. In 1931, Subramanya Iyer had to deal with a students hartal in Travancore which followed the death of Motilal Nehru. Subramanya Iyer remained active in public life following his retierment as Diwan. ON November 25, 1932, Sir C. P. Ramaswami Iyer, advisor to the Maharaja, appointed him President of the Committee to gauge public opinion before introducing the Temple Entry Proclamation. The other members of the Committee were Ulloor Parameswara Iyer, Mahadeva Iyer and Nambi Nilakanta Sarma. The commission interviewed people who were for as well as against temple entry and submitted a report strongly discouraging temple entry. However, Sir C. P. Ramaswami Iyer ignored the report and proceeded to introduce the landmark legislation. In 1934, Subramanya Iyer became the President of the Kerala Hindu Mission.[1] On death of Rabindranath Tagore in 1941, a Kerala Tagore Academy was fomed with Subramanya Iyer as its President.
T. Austin (British civil servant) 1932-1934
Sir Thomas Austin KCIE (b. July 20, 1887 - 1976) was a British civil servant of the Indian civil service and administrator who served as the Diwan of Travancore from 1932 to 1934.Thomas Austin was born in 1887 to a British clergyman, Rev. T. Austin. He was educated at the Plymouth College and Jesus College, Cambridge.Thomas Austin entered the Indian civil service in 1910 and served in various junior position before being appointed District Collector of Nilgiris in 1929. He served as Collector of Nilgiris from 1929 to 1932 when he was appointed Diwan of Travancore on a two-year contract. In his later life, Austin also served as Chief Secretary of the Government of Madras. Austin was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire in 1945. Austin died in the 1976 at the age of 89.
Muhammad Habibullah 1934-1936
Nawab Khan Bahadur Sir Muhammad Habibullah KCSI KCIE (b. September 22, 1869 - d. May 16, 1948) was an Indian politician and administrator who served as the Dewan of Travancore from 1934 to 1936.Habibullah was born in Madras to Aushukh Hussain Khan Saheb on September 22, 1869. He was a member of the Arcot royal family and closely related to the Nawabs of Arcot. He had his schooling at Zila High School, Saidapet and graduated in law.[3] He joined the bar at Vellore in July 1888.[3]Habibullah was involved in local boards politics right from the early stages. In 1895, he was elected Non-Official Honorary Chairman of the Vellore Municipality. Habibullah resigned his practice at the bar on being elected Official Secretary of the municipality in September 1901. He served as Secretary till September 1905 when he was elected Chairman. Habibullah served for 14 years (1905-19) as Chairman of the Vellore municipality. From July 1919 to January 1920, Habibullah acted as a member of the executive council of the Governor of Madras in the absence of P. Rajagopalachari who was on leave.
British administration: Habibullah was India's delegate to the first session of the League of Nations in 1919. On 17 December 1920, he was appointed as the member for Revenue in the Governor's Executive Council for the Madras Presidency, a post he held till 27 December 1924. In 1925, Habibullah was appointed a member of the Executive Council of the Viceroy of India and served from 1925 to 1930.He was also the leader of India's delegation to South Africa in 1926-27.
Divan of Travancore: Muhammad Habibullah was appointed Divan of Travancore by H.H. Maharajah Sri Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma on the 15th of March, 1934. During the two years that he held the Dewanship of the state, many reforms and developments were implemented in the state, particularly in the electorates, the state forces (the Nair Brigade) and the civil services. Immediately after he assumed office, Muhammad Habibullah appointed a committee for Franchise and Delimitation to determine the question of adequate representation of the many communities of the state in the electorates and state assemblies. Specific numbers of seats were reserved for Christians, Ezhavas and Muslims in the general constituencies. However owing to objections by the Nairs, the issue was reopened many years later in 1939 for resettlement. During 1935-36 the Dewan appointed a new Public Service Commissioner for the first time in Travancore for recruitment into the civil services of the state, without caste and religious prejudices. For positions in the government service that drew below Rs. 150 per mensem, preference was to be given to weaker sections of society, however for positions above that scale, merit was made the only criterion. To gain employment into these divisions a public service exam was to be passed. Even so, owing to the need felt for communal representation, it was decided that for 60% of the appointments only efficiency based on the exams would be considered, whereas the remained 40% of appointments would be filled by efficient persons with preference on a communal basis along with the exams. However the military and the temple services were excluded from these principles. In 1935 the Pallivasal Hydroelectric Scheme was started for the production of electricity on a large and profitable scale in Travancore. The next important activity of Dewan Habibullah was with regard to the Nair Brigade. In 1936 Travancore joined the Indian State Forces whereby the Nair Brigade and the Maharajah's Bodyguard came to be known as the Travancore State Forces. So far only Nairs, who were the military caste of Travancore were allowed to join the forces of the state but by new legislation, military service was thrown open to the other communities of the state as well. The Maharajah himself was the Colonel-in-Chief of the forces.  In 1936 Muhammad Habibullah retired from service and was succeeded by Sir C.P. Ramaswami Iyer. Habibullah died in Travancore on May 16, 1948.
C. P. Ramaswami Iyer 1936-1947
Sachivottama Sir Chetpat Pattabhirama Ramaswami Iyer, (ചേത്തുപ്പട്ടു പട്ടാഭിരാമ രാമസ്വാമി അയ്യര്‍) (b. November 12, 1879–September 26, 1966), also called "C. P." was an Indian lawyer, administrator and politician who served as the Advocate-General of Madras Presidency from 1920 to 1923, Law member of the Executive council of the Governor of Madras from 1923 to 1928, Law member of the Executive Council of the Viceroy of India from 1931 to 1936 and the Diwan of Travancore from 1936 to 1947.
Ramaswami Iyer was born in 1879 in Madras city and studied at Wesley College High School and Presidency College, Madras before qualifying as a lawyer from the Madras Law College. He practised as a lawyer in Madras and succeeded S. Srinivasa Iyengar as the Advocate-General of the Madras Presidency. He subsequently served as the Law member of the Governor of Madras and the Viceroy of India before being appointed Diwan of Travancore in 1936.
Ramaswami Iyer served as Diwan from 1936 to 1947 and is credited with having introduced social and administrative reforms as the Temple Entry Proclamation (1936), abolition of capital punishment, universal adult franchise and the mid-day meal scheme in Travancore state. He is also credited with the establishment of numerous hydro-electric power projects, the creation of Kerala University, and the establishment of Travancore Bank, which eventually became State Bank of Travancore. However, at the same time, he is also remembered for the ruthless suppression of the Communist-organized Punnapra-Vayalar revolt, and his controversial stand in favour of an independent Travancore. Ramaswami Iyer resigned in 1947 following a failed assassination attempt. Ramaswami Iyer served as a leader of the Indian National Congress in his early days. He was made a Knight Commander of the Indian Empire in 1926 and a Knight Commander of the Star of India in 1941. He returned these titles when India attained independence in 1947. He was also a member of the 1926 and 1927 delegations to the League of Nations. In his later life he served in numerous international organisations and on the board of several Indian universities. Ramaswami Iyer died in 1966 at the age of 86 while on a visit to the United Kingdom.
Ancestry and origins : The ancestors of C. P. Ramaswami Iyer were Vadadesa Vadama Brahmins whose seat was the town of Chetpet in the North Arcot of Tamil Nadu.  The family traces their lineage to Dikshitars whom they believed, were Deshastha Brahmins who migrated from Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh to the town of Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh from where they migrated to the northern part of Tamil Nadu in the 16th century AD.As a reward for their piety and scholarship, the migrants were granted the villages of Chetpat, Adayapalayam and Morakkaniyur by a local chieftain.[2] Ramaswami Iyer's family originated from the group which inherited the village of Chetpat. C. P. was also related to Achan Dikshitar, brother of the famous Advaitist saint Appayya Dikshitar. C. P.'s grandfather, Chethupattu Ramaswami Iyer joined the service of the British East India Company as a policeman and was later promoted as Deputy Tahsildar and Tahsildar of Kumbakonam.

Early life and education: Chetpet Pattabhirama Ramaswami Iyer was born two hours before sunrise on Deepavali day, the 13th of November 1879 to C. R. Pattabhirama Iyer (1857–1903) and his wife Seethalakshmi Ammal, also called Rangammal in the town of Wandiwash, North Arcot. Pattabhirama Iyer was a prominent judge who had served as the chairman of the committee which sponsored Swami Vivekananda's voyage to the United States of America. C. P.'s birthdate was reckoned as November 12 as per the Hindu calendar which calculates a day as the time span between sunrise and sunset. C. P. had his schooling at the Wesley College High School in Madras. He had an extremely strict upbringing as a result of a prediction that the child would not pass a single exam in his life. On completion of his schooling, C. P. enrolled at the Presidency College, Madras. In college, C. P. won prizes in English, Sanskrit and Mathematics and the Elphinstone Prize for his paper on the Nebular theory. C. P. passed his degree with a gold medal and graduated with distinction from the Madras Law College. C. P. had always desired to become an English professor. However, his father, Pattabhirama Iyer wished that his son become a lawyer and accordingly, C. P. chose a career in law. C. P. spent his college vacations in the Mysore kingdom with the Diwan, Sir K. Seshadri Iyer whom he always claimed as his inspiration.

As a lawyer: - In 1903, C. P. joined V. Krishnaswamy Iyer as an apprentice. Just before the death of Pattabhirama Iyer the same year, he arranged for C. P.'s admission as a junior to Sir V. Bhashyam Aiyangar but the latter was not able to accommodate him. As a result, C. P. practiced on his own and made a reputation as a lawyer.[14] He fought and won over 300 cases[14] and was offered a judgeship of the Madras High Court which he, however, turned down. In 1920, he was appointed Advocate-General of Madras by the then Governor, Lord Willingdon. During his tenure as a lawyer, C.P. handled a number of prominent cases as the Ashe murder trial[14] and the Besant Narayaniah case.
Indian Independence Movement:  In his early days, C. P. was an admirer of Gopal Krishna Gokhale and desired to join the Servants of India society in Poona. In 1912, he fought on behalf of Jiddu Narayaniah against Annie Besant for the custody of his sons J. Krishnamurti and Nityananda in the famous Besant Narayaniah trial and won. Besant, however, later got the verdict annulled by appealing to the Privy Council in England.However, as a result of this case, C. P. developed an admiration for Annie Besant and collaborated with her in organising the Home Rule League and served as its Vice-President. In 1917, he became the Secretary of the Indian National Congress. C. P. also edited Annie Besant's newspaper New India during her incarceration at the same time, campaigning vigorously for her release. C. P., later, distanced himself from the Indian Independence after disagreeing with Mahatma Gandhi over the Swadeshi and Non-Cooperation movements.
As a member of the Executive Council of the Governor of Madras: In 1920, C. P. was nominated as the Advocate-General of Madras Presidency. He was responsible for the introduction of the City Municipalities Act and the Madras Local Boards Act. In 1923, he was nominated to the executive council of the Governor of Madras and was charged with the portfolios of law and order, police, Public Works Department, irrigation, ports and electricity.
As a member of the executive council, C. P. laid the foundation of the Pykara Dam which was constructed between 1929 and 1932 at a cost of Rs. 6.75 crores. He also started the construction of Mettur Dam over the Cauvery river. While the Pykara Hydro-electric project triggered the rapid industrialization of Coimbatore, the Mettur project was used to irrigate vast areas of Tanjore and Trichy districts. As the member in charge of ports, C. P. was also responsible for the improvement of Cochin, Vishakapatnam and Tuticorin ports. As law member, C. P. was also instrumental in passing the Devadasi Abolition Bill proposed by Muthulakshmi Reddy. However, owing to strong protests from devadasis across Madras Presidency, C. P. suggested that the bill be introduced only as a private bill and not a government measure. Between 1926 and 1927 he was the Indian Delegate at the League of Nations in Geneva. By 1931 he was a Law Member [clarification needed] of the Government of India and in 1932 attended the Third Round Table Conference at London. In 1933 he was the sole [citation needed] Indian delegate to the World Economic Conference and the next year he drafted a Constitution for the state of Kashmir.
Dewan of Travancore: In 1931, when Chithira Thirunal was barred from succeeding his deceased uncle as the Maharaja of Travancore, C. P. spoke on his behalf to the Viceroy of India. The Viceroy agreed to crown Chithira Thirunal but only on the condition that C. P. should function as adviser to the young monarch. C. P. agreed and served as Legal and Constitutional adviser to the prince from 1931 to 1936. In 1936, Chithira Thirunal personally requested C. P. to be the Diwan of Travancore. C. P. accepted the offer and served as Diwan for a period of ten years.

Economic and industrial reforms : During C. P.'s tenure as Diwan, Travancore made rapid strides in industrial development. C. P. invited the Indian Aluminium Company to set up a factory in the town of Alwaye. The first fertilizer plant in India, the Fertilizers and Chemicals of Travancore Ltd. (FACT) was established by C. P. to manufacture ammonium sulphate. This was established with American collaboration in open defiance to the hostility of the Viceroy of India. C.P. also established a plant to manufacture cement and another to manufacture titanium dioxide. The Travancore Rayons Limited was established in 1946 with a plant at Perumbavoor. The first plant to manufacture aluminium cables was opened at Kundara. By the time, C. P. stepped down as Diwan in 1947, the revenues of the state had increased fourfold from the time he had assumed charge.
Irrigation works:
C. P. wished to establish a hydro-electric power project on the Periyar river.[32] However, his efforts were opposed by the Government of Madras. C. P. argued as a lawyer on behalf of Travancore and won. As a result, the Pallivasal hydro-electric power project was established on the Periyar river.He initiated[citation needed] the Pechipara Hydro-electric Scheme (present Kodayar Hydroelectric Power Project in Kanyakumari District), the Periyar Game Sanctuary and other irrigation projects.

Other reforms : C. P. carried out a great deal of pioneering work for the Vivekananda Rock at Cape Comorin and built guest-houses at Kanyakumari. He renovated the Padmanabhapuram Palace of Marthanda Varma's days (in present-day Kanyakumari District) and expanded the Trivandrum Art Gallery. In 1937, C. P. started the University of Travancore with the Maharajah as Chancellor and himself as Vice Chancellor. In 1939 he was awarded an honorary L.L.D. Degree by the University of Travancore In 1940 under his Dewanship Travancore became the first state to nationalize road transport in India. The first cement highway in India was constructed between the capital Trivandrum and Kanniyakumari covering a distance of 88 kilometres. The same year capital punishment was abolished and adult franchise introduced. He was also the first to appoint a lady as District Judge (Mrs. Anna Chandy later became the first Indian woman High Court Judge). Iyer introduced for the first time the mid day meal scheme to prompt poor children to attend school.
In 1941 the British conferred on him the title of Knight Commander of the Star of India (KCSI). When Indian Independence came into view Travancore and other Princely States were given two options of either staying independent or merging with the dominions of India or Pakistan.

Punnapra-Vayalar revolt
In reaction to C. P.'s speeches for the creation of an "American model" of executive in Travancore,[citation needed] a mass uprising broke out in the Allepey region in October 1946.On 24 October Travancore police killed near about 200 people in Punnapra and the Govt. ordered martial law in Alleppy and Cherthala. CP's police and army moved to Alleppy and on 27th oct Vaylar witnessed another mass uprising and 150 people were killed on the spot.On the same day 130 people were killed in different locations of Alleppy by police shoot out.According to prof. A shreedharamenon's 'Kerala History' Near about 1000 people died in Punnappara Vyalar Agitation. Even though the agitation was a short-time failure, it caused a responsible rule in Travancore.
Declaration of independence
When, on June 3, 1947, United Kingdom accepted demands for a partition and announced its intention to quit India within a short period, the Maharaja of Travancore desired to declare himself independent.Supported by the Diwan, C. P., Chithira Thirunal issued a declaration of independence on June 18, 1947.As Travancore's declaration of independence was unacceptable to India, negotiations were started with the Diwan by the Government of India. Family sources indicate that C. P., himself, was not in favour of independence but only greater autonomy and that a favourable agreement had been reached between C. P. and the Indian representatives by July 23, 1947 and accession to the Indian Union could not be carried out only because it was pending approval by the Raja. Nevertheless, an assassination attempt was made on C. P. on the July 25, 1947 during a concert commemorating the anniversary of Swati Thirunal. C. P. survived with multiple stab wounds and hastened the accession of Travancore state to the Indian Union soon after his recovery.

Later years

After he resigned his Dewanship of Travancore, C. P. left for London. In 1948 he returned his titles of KCSI and KCIE in a letter to the Governor-General Lord Louis Mountbatten. In the same year, he visited Brazil on the invitation of the Government of Brazil and Argentina, Peru and Mexico as a tourist. He also visited the United States of America where he gave talks at the University of California, Berkeley, and had discussions with important bank executives, journalists and the American President Harry S. Truman.[42] In 1949-50, he visited the United States again as a Visiting Professor of the American Academy of Asian Studies at California.In 1952, he toured Australia and New Zealand as a guest of the respective governments and visited the United States again in 1953 on a lecture tour. During the 1950s and 1960s, C. P. served as a Vice-Chancellor of Annamalai and Banaras universities, both at the same time, thereby becoming the first Indian to do so. In 1953, C.P. was appointed member of the Press Commission of India. Two years later, C. P. toured China as the leader of an Indian universities delegation. C. P. served as a member of the University Grants Commission (1955), the Punjab Commission (1961), the National Integration Committee on Regionalism, the Chairman of the Hindu Religious Endowments Commission from 1960 to 1962 and President of the Inter-University board of India and Ceylon (1965).
Death: In September 1966, C. P. left for England to conduct research on a planned book titled "A History of My Times" at the India Office library. At about 11:30AM, on September 26, 1966, he suddenly slumped on his armchair while speaking to a reporter and died instantly.The following day,
P. G. N. Unnithan 1947-1948
P. G. N. Unnithan was the last Diwan (Prime Minister) of independent Travancore (Thiruvithamkoor). He succeeded Sir C.P. Ramaswami Iyer on August 20, 1947 following the latter's resignation (subsequent to the attempt on Sir CP's life at the Swathi Thirunal Music academy on July 25, 1947). He chaired the Travancore Constitutional Reforms Committee. He relinquished office on March 24, 1948 when a people's government led by Sri Pattom Thanu Pillai as Prime Minister took over. Sri PGN Unnithan hailed from the Edassery Pattaveettil Family of Mavelikkara which had a history of high military service to the Travancore Royal Family. His father Ittamar Koil Thampuran was from the Haripad Palace and nephew of Kerala Varma Valiya Koil Thampuran. He married Bhargavi Amma, the daughter of Sri PG Govinda Pillai (Government advocate at Alappuzha) of Pullampilla Pichanattu (Viruthiyathu) Family of Chengannur. His sister was married to the son of famed Artist Raja Ravi Varma of the Royal Family of Mavelikkara. He had four children. He died on April 5, 1965.

Map of Travancore in 1871. A Canal scene in Travancore. The Kingdom of Travancore was located at the extreme southern tip of the Indian subcontinent.
Government‎: ‎Monarchy
Religion‎: ‎Hinduism
Historical era‎: ‎Age of Imperialism
Status‎: ‎Princely State of British India
Apr 20, 2012 - Map highlights the kingdom of Travancore with capital cities and current country boundaries. Travancore Kingdom existed from 1729 to 1947.