Mannathu Padmanabha Pillai
Mannathu Padmanabhan (January 2, 1878 – February 25, 1970) was a social reformer and a freedom fighter from the State of Kerala, India. He is recognised as the founder of the Nair Service Society, which claims to represent the Nair community that constitutes almost 14.5% of the population of the state. Padmanabhan is considered as a visionary reformer who organised the Nair community under the NSS
Mannathu Padmanathan was born in Perunna village in Changanacherry, Travancore, British India on 2 January 1878 to Eswaran Namboothiri of Nilavana Illam and Mannathu Parvathy Amma. He began his career as a teacher in 1893 in a Government primary school. After a few years, from 1905 he changed his profession and started practising law, in the Magistrates Courts
On 31 October 1914 with the help of a few others, he established the Nair Service Society. His main ambition was to uplift the status of the Nair community. From 1915 onwards, he gave up law practice and became full-time secretary of the Nair Service Society. Mannam revived and reshaped the old concept of village societies, the Karayogams, which practically set the tenor of family and village life. In 1924-25 the NSS persuaded the Travancore Government to enact the Nair Regulation which broke up the materiarchal joint family providing for paternal and maternal property to divided mong all the children.
He fought for social equality, the first phase of being the Vaikom Satyagraha, demanding the public roads near the temple at Vaikom be opened to low caste Hindus. In 1924 he took part in the Vaikom and Guruvayoor temple-entry and anti-untouchability agitation. He opened his family temple for everyone, irrespective of caste distinction He became a member of the Indian National Congress in 1947 and took part in the agitation against Sir C. P. Ramaswamy Iyer’s administration in Travancore. As the first president of Travancore Devaswom Board he revitalised many temples which had almost ceased to function.
In 1949 Padmanabhan became a member of the Travancore Legislative Assembly. In 1959 he along with Christian Churches led a united opposition against the State Communist Ministry, which became known as the Vimochana Samaram (liberation struggle). The cause of the Vimochana Samaramwas the introduction of an Education Bill by the Minister of Education, Joseph Mundassery, and the movement caused the dismissal of the Communist government under E. M. S. Namboodiripad on 31 July 1959. The consequence of this was the beginning of President’s rule in the state under Article 356 of the Indian Constitution.
Padmanabhan was involved with the Nair Service Society as its Secretary for 31 years and as its President for three years. He was honoured with the titleBharata Kesari by the President of India. He also received Padma Bhushan in 1966.
He died on February 25, 1970 at the age of 93. Mannam memorial (or Samādhi) is located at NSS Headquarters Changanacherry.
January 2 is celebrating as Mannam Jayanathi in Keala
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