Sri. Mannathu Padmanabha Pillai


Sri. Mannathu Padmanabhan, the great leader and social reformer was born on January 2, 1878 in Perunna Village in Changanacherry. Sri. Eswaran Namboodiri of Nilavana Illam was his father and his mother, Smt. Parvathy Amma came from a respectable Nair family from Perunna, Changanacherry.

Sri Mannam started his career as a teacher in 1893 in a Government Primary School and after a few years he changed his profession and took up legal practice from 1905 onwards. His life ambition was to uplift the Nairs and to regain their lost power.On October 31, 1914, Sri. Mannathu Padmanabhan and 14 other Nair Community members formed Nair Samudaya Bhrutya Jana Sanghom in Travancore. Later the organization became the Nair Service Society (NSS). He served the society as its Secretary for 31 years and as President for three years.

In 1924, Sri. Mannam took part in the Vaikom Sathyagraha. He was an active member in the Guruvayoor temple-entry and anti-untouchability agitation. He became a member of the Indian National Congress in 1947 and took part in the Travancore State Congress agitation against Sir C.P Ramaswamy Iyer's administration in Travancore. In 1949 Sri. Mannam became a member of the Travancore Legislative Assembly.

During all these years the Nair Service Society had his constant attention and selfless service. It had now grown into a powerful organisation with a vast membership, substantial finances and various welfare activities. Besides looking after this work, Sri. Mannam wrote many articles, an autobiography, and a travel book, criticisms and a novel, Snehalata. His style was virile, forthright and very effective. He also set up colleges, schools, hospitals and industrial units for the upliftment and welfare of the Nair Community.

In appreciation of his valuable services the President of India awarded him the title "Bharata Kesari" (Lion of India). He was also awarded the "Padma Bhushan" in 1966 by the Government of India. Sri Mannam passed away on 25 February 1970.