marshal nesamony

Father of Kanyakumari District

Kanyakumari District a Table of its formation

பின்னூட்டமொன்றை இடுக

A CASE STUDY (Since 1822 A.D.)

Socio-Economic and Political Liberation Struggle in the Extreme South of India

Background and Restrictions

1. The Subject
Liberation of an oppressed community is a continuous struggle. This social science theory is strengthened by the liberation history of a socially, economically and politically oppressed  community which lives in the extreme south of India. The Nadar community which was oppressed fought for its liberation during the first half of the nineteenth century, ie. from 1822 to 1859 A.D. and again during the middle of the twentieth century, ie. 1947 to
1956 A.D.

The present Kanyakumari District of the State of Tamil Nadu and southern portion of Kerala from Cochin formed the erstwhile State of Travancore. Travancore was an independent Princely State even while India was under the rule of the British Government. The oppressed community under discussion, the
Nadars, formed a majority in the southern taluks of the State of Travancore. They were under the oppression of Nairs, a minority community in the southern taluks. But as the government was under their control, Nairs exercised much power on the Nadars and kept them under their sway. The Nadars had to fight
continuously to gain and safeguard their liberty and dignity.

2. Social Background
Travancore Society was subjected to many divisions based on religion and caste. Hindus and Non-Hindus were the two major religious divisions in the State. The Non-Hindus were Christians, Muslims, Jains, Buddhists and Jews. Amongst the Non-Hindus, the Christians and the Muslims formed the majority. Hindus, on
the basis of caste were divided into two, the Savarnas and the Avarnas. Savarnas were the high caste Hindus or the Caste Hindus and the Avarnas were the low caste Hindus or the Non-Caste Hindus. Brahmins, Shatriyas, Ambalavasis, Nairs and Vellalas were the Caste Hindus and the Ezhavas, Nadars, Kammalas, Fishermen,Pulayas, Parayas, Pallas, Nayadis and the Hill Tribes were the Non-
Caste Hindus. On the caste hierarchy, the Brahmins were at the top. They had all privileges and status in the society. Brahmins were divided into two, namely, Malayalee Brahmins and Foreign Brahmins. The Malayalee Brahmins or the Nambudiris were the religious heads and more powerful compared to the Foreign Brahmins.  Foreign Brahmins were high officers in the government. They were emigrants from Canara, Maharashtra, Thulu and Tamil Nadu into
Travancore. The Shatriyas came second on the caste hierarchy. The kings of Travancore emerged from this caste.  Next came the Ambalavasis, who were the Hindu Priests.  The lowest in the high caste ranking was the Nairs and
Vellalas. The Nairs were allowed to possess the titles, Pillai, Thampi and Menon. Pillai was given to those who enjoyed the Royal Privileges, the Thampis were those who had blood relationship with the king and the Menons came from respectable families.
The Nairs mostly preferred to serve in the Army of the Country.
The male children were trained in martial arts even at the age of
seven10. When the opportunity in the army was reduced, they
preferred to exchange rifle for the pen11. More than 60 per cent of
the government vacancies were filled by Nairs12. They were the
landlords and Jenmis in Travancore. Their luxury and high status
in the society were ensured by the low caste people.

The most important pattern to be noted in the community
of the Nairs was the system of inheritance. They followed the
matrilineal system of inheritance. This system was called
Marumakkathayam13. According to this system, sister’s children
were the inheritors. The Nair women were permitted to have
marital relationship with any Nambudiri or Nair. Those
Nambudiris or Nairs were not bound to care for the children born
in such relationship. Polyandry prevailed among them. As Robin
Jeffrey observed, no Nair knew his or her father. The mother alone
was known. Properties were jointly used and it was managed by
the eldest male member of the family on behalf of the female
members14. So the female members of a family lived under one
roof with authority, safety, security and rights. The Vellalas of Nanjil
Nad were also called the Nanjil Nad Nairs. They also accepted the
Marumakkathayam Law of inheritance and identified themselves
with the Nairs15. But some families followed Makkathayam Law
of inheritance like their ancestors in Tamil Nadu

Under the low caste group, the Ezhavas of North and the
Nadars of South Travancore were prominent17. Ezhavas depended
on coconut trees while the Nadars on palmyrah trees18. They were
also agriculturists. The Nadars largely lived in Thovalai,
Agasteeswaram, Eraniel, Kalkulam, Vilavancode, Shencottai,
Neyyatinkarai, Deviculam, Peermade and Chittoor taluks of
Travancore19. Some people served as coolies under Nair and Vellala
landlords and certain others as tenants to them20.
Next to the Nadars came the Kammalas. They were
Tattans, Kannans, Thatchans, Kalthatchans and Kollens. The
Kammalas imitated the Nairs and considered themselves as high
caste21. Next in the ladder was the fisherman community. People
in the lowest strata of the community were the Pulayas and Parayas.
They were called “soil slaves” and mostly lived away from the living
Next to the Hindus, the Christians were in majority in
Travancore. They were divided into Syrian Christians, Catholic
Christians and Protestant Christians. Syrian Christians were on par
with the Nairs in status. They lived secluded from the other low
caste Christians They were agriculturists and traders and amassed
Francis Xavier came to India in the year 1542 A.D.. He
concentrated on the people along the sea coast for conversion. A
very large number of fishermen joined his denomination. He
belonged to the Catholic Christian tradition24. London Missionary
Society (L.M.S.) missionaries landed in South Travancore, whilethe Church Missionary Society (C.M.S.) in the north during the
beginning of the nineteenth century and converted people to
Protestant Christianity. London Missionary Society brought a large
number of low caste people, especially the Nadars within its fold.
Some soil slaves, Pulayas and Parayas also embraced Christianity
during this period25.
Many Muslims came from Arabia and Afghanistan and
settled in Travancore. They had children born to the local women.
But most of the Muslims in Travancore were converts. During the
Mysore aggression between 1766 and 1790 A.D., a large number
of natives were converted to Islam. Some people embraced Islam
to relieve themselves from the high caste oppressions. Muslims
believed in hard work and most of them were traders26.

3. Economic Background

Feudalism prevailed in the erstwhile State of Travancore.
During the rule of Tamil kings, Travancore was known as Chera
Nadu27. The Cholas waged war against the Cheras during the
eighteenth century28. This caused vast changes in the socioeconomic
and political set up of Chera Nadu. Many petty kingdoms
cropped up29. Those who were in the upper strata of the society
and the temple trustees made use of the chaotic conditions that
prevailed in Chera Nadu and they established authority over the
temple properties. As there was no safety to life and property, the
ordinary citizens entrusted their landed properties into the hands
of the Nambudiris. Nambudiris established ownership over those
lands by adopting injurious and dubious methods30. Thus the
Nambudiris became landlords and Jenmy System came into
existence in Travancore31.

The whole of Travancore was divided into Nadus. Each
Nadu was divided into many Desams. The man who was employed
to supervise the Nadu was called Naduvazhi and the Desam, the
Desavazhi. The Nairs were appointed as Naduvazhis and Desavazhis
by the Nambudiris. The Nairs were also addressed as Jenmies32.
The Jenmies cultivated the lands which were under their control
by making use of the low castes, the Nadars, Ezhavas, Parayas and
Pulayas. Some Nadars and Ezhavas served as tenants to their lands.
The landlords who sold their lands also sold the low caste people
who were attached to the lands along with the land as
Jenmy System assured the Nambudiris and the Nairs the
socio-economic and political stability and status. But the low castes,
especially the Nadars were exploited from many angles34. The
Jenmies were exempted from taxes while the Nadars were
burdened with innumerable kinds of taxes. The fruits of their
labour were sucked in the form of innumerable taxes, fines and
gifts. As a result, the Nadars found it very difficult to exist in
Travancore and many escaped to British India. Like taxes, the
system of Oozhiam and Viruthi were also responsible for the
deplorable condition of the Nadar community35. Oozhiam meant
that the low caste people must do free services to the temples,
government and landlords. Viruthi meant the land holders must
provide things as required by the temples, government, officers
and land lords. As per the records, in all these the Nadar community
alone suffered much36.

4. Political Background

Due to internal disorder and external aggression,
Travancore was in chaos and confusion. Marthanda Varma who ascended the throne in 1729 A.D. set right the internal disorder
and brought the administration under his control. He subdued
the neighbouring Rajas and annexed their territories37. Attingal,
Kayankulam, Elayidathu Swarubam, Kollam, Ambalapuzha,
Vadakancoor, Thekkancoor were annexed. He purchased 30 miles
long portion between Kanyakumari and Kalacaud from the
Tiruchinapally Viceroy38. Hence the southern boundary became
Kanyakumari and the northern Kochi, covering an area of 7,600
sq. miles39.
Marthanda Varma concentrated on the internal
administration of his country.He employed those in whom he had
confidence. He removed the inefficient and insincere from the
government services. Tamil Brahmins were appointed in various
government departments. A Dutch captive, D’ Lennoy was
appointed as head of the State Army. The army was modernised
by introducing imported modern weapons40.
British East India Company set its foot in Travancore in
the year 1644 A.D.41 In 1684, they built a factory and in 1690
constructed a fort with the permission of Attingal Ranee42.
Marthanda Varma maintained good relationship with the British
East India Company. In 1789, Tippu Sultan waged war against
Travancore. The British East India Company came to the rescue
of Travancore. In return, Travancore had to pay a large sum of
money as cost of war to the Company. As per the agreement
between the Company and Travancore, the Company had to
protect Travancore and Travancore had to pay a large sum annually
to the Company for the maintenance of the army inside
Travancore43. Again the Company appointed a Resident in the
Travancore Court in 180044. In 1805, the agreement was renewed.

Accordingly, the East India Company got the right to interfere in
the Travancore Administration. For all important decisions, the
Ranee or Raja, as the case may be, should get the permission of the
British Resident45.Thus Travancore came under the sway of the
British Government.

5. Social Restrictions

The low caste people suffered from unapproachability,
untouchability and unseeability46. They had to keep a distance from
the high caste according to caste hierarchy. Since the Nadars belonged
to the low caste group, they were segregated and not allowed to go
near a Brahmin or Nair47. Those who violated this rule of keeping
distance would be immediately killed by a Nair. Nadars should keep
a distance of 36 feet from a Brahimin and 12 feet from a Nair48.
There were also restrictions in dress and use of ornaments to
the Nadars. Their women were restrained to dress like the Nair
women. Both male and female were restricted to cover below their
knee and above their waist. Women were forbidden to cover their
bosoms. Low caste women appearing before the high caste people
covering the breasts was considered as an insult by the high castes49.
Such dress restrictions were thrust upon the Nadars particularly on
the women50. Those Nadar men or women who violated this rule
were beaten up and tortured. The jacket or upper cloth worn by
the low caste women were torn to pieces by the high caste Nairs.

Ornaments made out of costly metals were prohibited to
the low castes. They should not use umbrellas, chappals and were
also prohibited to tile their houses, own a cow or use vehicles51.Nadars were not allowed to decorate marriage pandals52 and their
women should not carry water pots on their waist. They should
carry the water pots on their head holding the pot by their right
and left hands53.

6. Religious Restrictions

The Nadars faced many restrictions in the worship of God.
In the temples managed by the government and high caste Hindus,
entry was prohibited to the low caste people. They could not even
go near the outer side of the temples. Nadars had their own temples
or worship places. In those temples, installation of and worship of
Gods like Siva, Brahmma, Vishnu were prohibited. They were
considered as high caste gods. The low caste gods like Veerabadran,
Sudalai Madan, Irulan, Mutharamman, Padrakali were allotted
to the Nadars54. For the high caste gods, ghee and milk were offered
while the Nadars were allowed to offer toddy and arrack to their

7. Economic Restrictions

The Nadar community people had to lose a large portion
of their income in the form of fines, taxes and gifts. Among the
fines, Prayachittam was the most cruel levy on the Nadars. The
amount of fine was fixed as per the will and pleasure of the officer
who levied the tax. The officer who levied and collected the tax
did not remit even 20 per cent of the amount collected to the
government treasury56. Prayachittam was collected even from those
who did not do any wrong deed.

Another major extortion from the Nadar caste people was
in the form of taxes. The government collected hundreds of taxes
from the Nadars. One of the important taxes collected was
Purusantaram. This was a payment made to the government by
those who inherit the ancestral property. It was more than 40
percent on the value of the inherited property. Like Prayachittam,
the collectors of Purusantaram also misappropriated by not
remitting the actual collection to the treasury57.
Another cruel tax was Poll Tax58. The male member of a
family, aged between 16 and 60 years had to pay this tax59. For the
dead and for those who migrated from the country, the surviving
family and the available male members had to pay Poll Tax60.
The Nadars paid Professional Tax, House Tax and Land
Tax. For the ladder they used to climb the trees, Enikkanam was
collected, for the belt used to climb the trees, Thalaikanam was
collected61, for the hut they lived one Fanam was collected and it
was named as Kuppakachi, for changing the roof Manai Meyppan
Kollum Irai was collected62. For all types of trees possessed by the
Nadars, tax was collected. Married women had to pay Tali Irai.
For some kinds of dress, ornaments, turban, umbrella, palanquin
and conducting marriage one had to pay tax to the government.
Always the tax collectors collected more than the prescribed
amount and never remitted the actual collection. Hence the Nadars
used to visit the officers and bribed them to lessen the burden of
Those who failed to pay the tax were severely punished. A
weighty stone was loaded on the back of the defaulter who was
made to stand under the hot sun in the same posture for manyhours. Red hot iron was used to pierce the ears of the defaulter
and the rod was allowed to hang in his ear for many hours. They
were beaten, arrested and put in jail for many days64. The women
defaulters were molested by the government officers65. High
officers did not entertain the complaints lodged by the victims.
Another important factor that kept the Nadars under
permanent poverty was Ooliam and Viruthi services. They had to
carry salt from the field to the selling station on head66. To guard
the woods cut from the forest and elephant pits, the Nadars were
employed without payment67. Those who were drawn for such
duties had to be away from family for many days68. As the Nadars
were called continuously to do Ooliam service, their own works
suffered and thus they were driven to poverty69. Even if the
government paid for the work done, the wages were
misappropriated by the officials. In all these, the Nadar community
suffered much70.
Those who held temple or government lands were called
Viruthikars. Viruthikars were bound to supply things free of cost in
addition to the Ooliam service. Palmyrah tree leaves used as writing
materials and coconut tree leaves used as the main food of elephants
were supplied regularly by the Viruthicars. During festivals, the Royal
Families, Officers and Jenmies should be gifted with hens, eggs,
vegetables, fruits, oil, firewood and vegetables should be supplied to
the Ootupuras,71 free feeding centres for Brahmins by the
Viruthikars. In all these, many a time the Viruthikars had to transport
the things as head load to Trivandrum or Quilon where they lived72.

Nadars on the
Path of Progress
1. Introduction
The caste-ridden Travancore society imposed many
restrictions on the low castes. During the beginning of the
nineteenth century, a revolution took place. Even though the
British rule in the country was a major factor for this revolution,
the motivating force was the selfless service of the Protestant
Christian Missionaries. The then British Residents in Travancore,
Mecaulay and Munro, were responsible for the entry and expansion
of Protestant Christian Mission in South Travancore. The
Missionaries joined hands with the oppressed community, the
Nadars of this area and expanded their ministry. Major part of
their ministry consisted of relieving the low castes from their
miseries. Hence the oppressed Nadar community was awakened
and established its liberation from oppression and helped to choose
the path of progress1.
2. Early Missionaries
London Missionary Society sent William Tobias
Ringeltaube to India2. He landed at Tranquebar on 4 December
18043. Ringeltaube’s attention was directed towards the Shanars
2of South Travancore. So he studied Tamil4, their language and
proceeded to Travancore through Aralvaimozhi Pass and settled
in South Travancore at a place called Mylaudy in Agasteeswaram
Taluk. For his entry, settlement and work, the first British Resident
Mecaulay helped much. But for him, Ringeltaube would not have
entered Travancore5. He laboured there for about ten years and
converted the low caste people, particularly the Nadars to
Christianity6. During his period he mingled with the low caste poor
people and very clearly understood their sufferings. He, with the
assistance of the Residents brought forth many reliefs to the poor
low caste Christians as well as to the low caste Non-Christians7.
Following Ringeltaube, Charles Mead, the second L.M.S.
missionary landed at Mylaudy in the year 1818 and he served for
the betterment of the down – trodden for more than half a century8.
During his period, people under his fold multiplied in thousands
year after year and the mission centres expanded from Quilon to
Cape Comorin. He brought more missionaries during this period
from homeland and expanded the humanitarian outreach through
educational, medical and technical services. Mead established
mission centres in most of the important places. In those centres
he also built churches and schools9.
3. The Nadars in Christianity
According to the 1815 statistics, during the period of
Ringeltaube, there were only 1019 Christians10. But this multiplied
during the period of Charles Mead. In his first year of service alone
more than 3000 Nadars embraced Christianity11. If the head of the Nadar community in a village joined Christianity, he was
followed by the whole village12. In Agasteeswaram taluk, village
after village people embraced Christianity. In all these villages,
churches and schools were established by the missionaries13. In
1824 the number of congregations nearly doubled, rising to 48,
under the care of 27 native teachers, while 47 schools were in
operation with a daily attendance of 1,300 scholars. In this
expansion the participation of the Nadar community was immense14.
4. Relief from Restrictions
With the assistance of the Protestant Christian Missionaries,
this oppressed community began to shed the restrictions they
underwent in the name of caste, one by one. Nadars were subjected
to innumerable cruel taxes of the government. From these they
wanted relief15. When Ringeltaube came around the villages, the
Nadar community people made him understand the cruelty of
the taxes that were imposed on them by the government.
Ringeltaube never missed the chance of relieving them from the
burden of taxes by making use of his influence with the British
Residents. The Nadars were relieved from Poll Tax, and
Professional Tax16. This was a great boon to the Nadar community
and it can never be forgotten17.
Next great burden which pulled down the economy of the
Nadar community was the Ooliam services to the temples,
government and landlords. Converts to Christianity did not like
to serve in the Hindu temples18. Secondly they also wanted relief
from Ooliam on Sundays as they had to attend the church services
on that day. The Christian Nadars got relief from doing Ooliam
service to the Hindu temples on Sundays in the year 181519. Againduring the time of Mead the question of doing Ooliam on Sundays
to the government arose. Relief was granted to the Christians from
doing Ooliam to the government on Sundays in the year 1821.
But those who refused to accept Ooliam on other days were made
liable for punishment20.
Next restriction was using upper garment, covering the breast
by the low caste women. Those women converted to Christianity
wanted to dress decently covering their breast. The high caste Nairs
considered the women of low caste covering their breast before them
to be a sign of disrespect and insult. Hence Munro, the Resident on
the request of Christian Missionary, Ringeltaube released an order
in 1812 permitting the Christian converts to use upper garments21.
5. Educational Progress
Of all the progresses the Nadar community attained under
missionary efforts, educational progress was enviable. The Christian
Missionaries along with evangelism did yeomen service in the cause
of providing useful knowledge to all. The first missionary
Ringeltaube opened schools wherever he established a church. He
taught the students English, Tamil, Mathematics and Scripture.
Ringeltaube gets the credit of being the first to introduce English
Education in Travancore22.
Next came Charles Mead who deserves the credit for
introducing systematic English Education in Travancore. In 1819
Mead startd a seminary in Nagercoil23. His wife and the wives of
other missionaries stationed at Nagercoil started girls’ schools24 as
well as boarding schools for the slave girls. Mead also started schools
exclusively for the Hindus and Muslims. The seminary started by
Mead grew into a Second Grade College in Travancore in the year
1893. This college had produced eminent men useful to hold high
posts in the government25. Hence it attracted the king and he sought the help of the missionaries for a similar educational work in the
entire country. Missionaries established a network of schools based
on all their mission centres catering to the need of the citizens of
Travancore without caste or religious discrimination. The
missionaries also started industrial schools with a view to provide
It is worth to note the testimony of the Travancore State
Historian, Nagam Aiya (1906) on the educational services rendered
by the two Protestant Christian Missionaries, Ringeltaube and
Charles Mead. It is as follows:
“The Protestant Missionaries, though later arrivals in the
field, were the first to introduce English Education in the State.
The originator of an English School in Travancore was Revd.
William Tobias Ringeltaube, a native of Prussia and a man of great
force of character. From 1806, when he came to Travancore, till
1816 he devoted his whole energy to evangelistic work, and
wherever he went he carried with him the mission of English
Education. He was incessantly preaching and teaching and he
established many schools for poor children, Christian as well as
Non-Christian. The progress of education through his
instrumentality may be gathered from his reply to a query from
Col. Munro, the Dewan-Resident of Travancore in 1813. He wrote
that there were six schools for the laity. “the instructions that are
given consist in lessons of reading, writing, arithmetic” and to
Christian children the “catechism and reading the New Testament
or religious books . . . The natives are not disposed to send their
children to school . . . Books are supplied by presents from the
Revd. Missionaries at Tranquebar but not in sufficient number”.
Ringeltaube’s noble efforts in the spread of English education was
aided, through the recommendation of the Resident Col. Munro,
by a grant of land at a nominal rental made by Rani Lakshmi Bayi.”
“The most important name connected with educational work
in Travancore was undoubtedly that of Revd. Mead. He was a mostenthusiastic worker and from the date of his arrival in Travancore in
1817 as a Missionary of L.M.S till his death in 1873, he threw his heart
and soul into the work of education. The year after his arrival, ie., in
1818, he founded the Nagercoil Seminary which was the first institution
to give regular English Education in Travancore. The great object of
the founder in view, was “the communication of religious and useful
knowledge”, and the languages taught were English, Tamil, Malayalm
and Sanskrit. After a long and bright career, the Seminary has risen to
the status of a Second Grade College. It has supplied two Dewans
(N. Nanu Pillai & T. Rama Rao) to the State, and the first Headmaster
and organiser of the Rajah’s Free School at Trivandrum, Mr. Roberts,
was drawn from it. Mr. Mead who had settled at Nagercoil, established
several schools besides the Nagercoil Seminary. His long and intimate
connection with English Education induced the government to appoint
him as Superintendent of Schools in 1855, and in this capacity he did
much to further the cause of education in Travancore.”

“Mead was also the pioneer of female education in the State.
He established industrial schools and did much to bring about the
abolition of slavery. As a Judge, Missionary and Superintendent of
Education and of the Government Press, he put forth his best
efforts for the amelioration of the condition of His Highness’
subjects. After him the L.M.S. did not relax efforts and their
remarkable activity in this direction may be gathered from the
fact that according to the statistics of 1904, they had under their
charge 384 schools with 15,641 pupils.”27
6. Economic Progress
The education that they obtained due to the labours of
Protestant Christian Missionaries not only enlightened the
oppressed Nadar community but also brought them economic
progress. Munro removed the discrimination policy of the
government28. He and the subsequent non-Nair Dewans were
interested in the employment of qualified people irrespective of
caste in the government29. As the converts were able to get education under the missionary care, especially the English
language, opportunities in government automatically invited the
Christian Nadars.30 Teaching jobs both from the schools in
Travancore and elsewhere31 came in search of the Nadar Christians.
Their proficiency in English helped to find employment in
European – managed production firms and estates32. Those who
obtained industrial training from the mission schools were able to
start their own business or industrial unit. In almost all Christian
homes, the women were engaged in lace-making which ensured
additional and permanent income to the family.
In the tea estates started by the Europeans in Sri Lanka,
the Nadar Christians of South Travancore found accommodation.
The missionaries introduced many young, educated and intelligent
lads of the Christian Nadar community to the European planters.
One such person was Devasahayam who served in Sri Lanka estates
owned by Europeans33. Devasahayam came to India and started
coffee plantations in 60 acres with the consent of the Maharaja of
Travancore34. All these efforts provided employment to the young
and educated Nadar Christians of South Travancore and they,
their friends and relatives could lead a decent life on par with the
high caste Nairs35.

First Uprising :
Nair Dominance
1. Introduction
The educational and social services rendered by the
Protestant Christian Missionaries, in addition to their usual
evangelism among the oppressed community of South Travancore
opened the eyes of the Nadar community which suffered most,
towards liberation. In the persecutions which followed in various
places in South Travancore the Hindus, Romanists and Muslims
united together against the Protestant Christians particularly
Nadars. The Nairs were foremost in action, but the Brahmins and
others were behind the scenes. Samuel Mateer observed1, “On the
whole then, it was determined, that by some means or by any means
a stop must be put to the progress of Christianity and to the spread
of the reforms and innovations already in progress and impending.”
The Christians, particularly the Nadar Protestants rose up to break
the yoke of bondage imposed on them by the high castes,
particularly by the Nairs.
The Nadars who embraced Protestant Christianity with
the help of the missionaries managed to obtain many a relaxation
from the government. In all, the relief from the Ooliam service
hurt much the Nairs directly. For the Nairs lived by the exploitativelabour freely rendered by the Nadars at their beck and call. Nadars
began to refuse their invitation and often demanded wages for the
work done2. Hence the Nairs were infuriated.
Secondly, the women of those who embraced Christianity
were allowed to use upper garment to cover their bosom like the
high caste Nair ladies3. This was considered an insult by the Nairs.
Thirdly, the economic and social progress of the Christian
Nadars under the patronage of the missionaries irritated the Nairs.
Their anger was mainly on the missionaries who were responsible
for the progress and courage of the Nadars. Therefore the Nairs
decided to wipe out the missionaries, their mission churches the
schools and the Nadar converts4. In all these struggles, Nadars of
Kalkulam and Vilavancode taluks of South Travancore suffered
much, since the Nair settlements were comparatively high in those
2. Kalkulam Struggle
The struggle first started in Kalkulam taluk. In May 1822,
a few Nadar women went to the church covering the upper part
of their body with a jacket. They were molested by the Nairs, their
jackets were torn to pieces and filthy words were used against
them5. Retaliation proceeded from the Nadars. The missionary,
Charles Mead reported the matter to the British Resident in
Travancore. The Resident directed the Padbanabapuram Court
to study the matter and report. The judgement came in favour of
the Christians6.
Jubilant over the judgement the Christian ladies gained
confidence and boldly began to use upper garments and freely
moved to market places and to the church. The Nairs were determined to assault those who violated their wishes. In the year
1828, struggle burst out at Attoor, Kannanoor, Thirparappu,
Arumanai, Udayarvilai and Pulippanam in Kalkulam Taluk7.
Under the leadership of Eswara Pillai, the Revenue Inspector of
those places in collusion with Pidagaicars plotted against the
Christians. Christian churches were burnt, Christians were caught,
tied together, thrashed and put in jail. To hunt the Christians,
they used bow and arrow, sticks, swords and guns. They came
round and round with all these weapons to spread fear over the
Christian areas. The Christians were branded as terrorists and
traitors and their movements were watched8.
As Kalkulam taluk had a sizable number of Nairs, the
Christians of that taluk had to suffer a lot. Kaisapillai,
Neelakandapillai and Madhavan Pillai of the Attoor locality
terrorised the Christians and placed their lives and properties under
insecurity9. Raman Pillai said, “What business have the gentlemen
in this country? What can these Kaluvaris Naughty fellows do? If
we burn down all the chapels so that no one should remain, these
Kaluvaris will return to their country10.”
Attoor Church and the houses of Christians were burnt
down. Their paddy, jaggary, clothing, ornaments, etc. were
destroyed. Attoor school master and some Christians were tied
together and elephants were employed to drag them to Thuckalay
jail11. A dead man’s body was lying on the road side. Responsibility
for his death was thrust on some Christians and they were arrested
and brought under custody. The ears of a woman aged 90 were
cut and the ornaments were stolen. One Vedamonikam of
Pampadikonam was murdered by the Nairs. They threatened to
destroy the bungalow of Resident Colonel Mecaulay12. Even though the Christians were exempted from Ooliam
services on Sundays, they were caught and compelled to do Ooliam
services on Sundays in order to prevent them from going to the
Church13. A Christian from Kannanoor refused to do Ooliam
service on a Sunday. He was caught by the furious Nairs on a
Sunday 21 December 1826 and was forced to carry coconut leaves
to Padbanabapuram to feed the elephants in the Fort. On hearing
this a Nadar named Esakimadan who embraced Christianity with
the co-operation of certain others relieved that Christian who was
loaded with coconut leaves. The same leaves were loaded on a
Nair and transported back to Kannanoor Church. This incident
shook the Nair society very badly14.
With a view to punish the Nadar Christians who were
responsible for such an incident, some Nairs of Attoor Adigaram,
after two days assembled one mile away from Kannanoor Church
with sticks, swords, guns and other weapons. Hearing this the
Christian Nadars of Kannanoor Church left their houses and ran
away. Those who remained in the houses were beaten and the
houses were plundered and the Church was burnt15.
After this incident, during nights, the Nair terrorists used
to go round with deadly weapons and torches, shouting slogans
against the missionaries. Wherever they went, the churches and
schools of the mission were burnt down and the Christians were
severely beaten. On 22 December, the servant of Charles Mead
went to Trivandrum to get bread for Mead. On his way he was
stopped and enquired. He said that he was from the Army Camp.
The Nairs who stopped him said that he would have been killed if
he was associated with Mead16.
3. Vilavancode Struggle
In the Vilavancode taluk region, the Nairs pervented the
Christians from going to the Church and giving sermons in the Church17. Packianathan of Kanjiracode Church was prevented
from preaching the gospel. He was threatened by saying that his
house and the Church would be burnt if he violated their wish.
Savarial Gnanappu and Annal of this village were teased and their
jackets were torn to pieces while going to the market. Mallam Pillai
of the same village, under the instigation of Nattalam Pakuthi
Provartikar and the head of the same village did all these things18.
When this matter was complained to the Provartikar by the Reader
of the Church, he was warned that he would also be beaten if
these women wore jackets any more19.
Gunamudayal and Neetiyudayal of Kunnathoor went to
the market at Kallankuzhi. They were beaten and their jackets
were torn to pieces. Likewise Yesudial who went to the Kuzhivilai
market was also beaten and her jacket was torn to pieces by
Poothamadan Chetty and Mallan Pillai. Women of Vetha Madan’s
and Arumugam’s house went to the market wearing the jacket20.
Sankara Pillai threatened them saying that they were violating the
usual custom. Those ladies went to the house and returned with
broom-stick in their hand and their men followed them with stick
and other weapons. Seeing this, Sankara Pillai ran away21. This
was complained to the Midalam Pidagaikar.
The climax in this struggle was that an attempt to the life
of the Missionary, Charles Mead was made. On 3 January 1829,
the Nairs planned to attack his residence at Mondaicaud. Knowing
this, Mead secretly informed the matter to Captain Sibald who
was stationed at Oodayagiri Fort. Captain Sibald came in time and
rescued the life and properties of Mead22.
4. Nanjil Nadu Struggle
Vellalas who enjoyed social status on par with the Nairs
lived in Thovalai and Agasteeswaram taluks in Travancore. They also oppressed the Christians. Vellalas of Bhoothapandi, Maravas
and certain others joined together and attacked the Christians of
Thittuvilai area. One school teacher and thirteen other Christians
who were in their houses were dragged out and put into the
Bhoothapandi Satram Jail. Some of them confessed that they were
not Christians23. Those who recanted were released and others
were tortured. Watching this tragedy, the Muslims and the Catholic
Christians of the area rejoiced. The reason was that the growth of
the Protestant Christians was considered as a menace to them24.
In 1828, rioting started and extended for six months. Hence
the Missionaries, Mead and Mault requested the British Resident
Colonel Morrison to give protection to the Christians25. The
Resident requested Dewan Venketa Rao to enquire the matter.
Accordingly Dewan came to Padmanabapuram Fort on 11 January
1829 and made an enquiry26.
5. Government Order
Dewan Venkata Rao conducted an enquiry, accordingly
an order was released in February 182927. Those woman converts
to Christianity were allowed to wear Kuppayam, (a loose jacket)
only and were prohibited from wearing dresses like those of the
Nair women. Next, those who embraced Christianity were
exempted from Ooliam duties only on Sundays and they had to
do Ooliam duties on other days. But they were not bound to do
Ooliam service to the Hindu temples and Devasams. Thirdly, it
was declared that low castes of all categories were prohibited to
follow or imitate the high caste customs and manners. Construction
of worship places without the permission of the Government was
barred. Again the order insisted that the complaints, if any, should
be lodged only to the government officials and not to any nongovernmental
officer or person28. The officials were Nairs and they supported always the Nairs. So the low caste people lost confidence
in them. The order was intended only to prohibit the Christians
from complaining to the Missionaries.
1829 order was painful to the Protestant Christians and to
the Missionary, Charles Mead in particular who fought for the
liberation of low castes from the clutches of high caste Nairs. Mead
considered that this order was an attempt to suppress the growth
of Christianity. By this order the Christians did not get any relief.
Those who languished in jail due to false cases lodged by the high
caste Nairs were suffering from diseases also. Their families were
in starvation. Considering the sufferings of his converts, Mead had
to fight with the Government for long29.
By the 1829 order, the Government could neither stop the
growth of Christianity nor find solution to the problems of
Christians. Christians were occasionally and, here and there
attacked by the Nairs and it was a continuing story. Under such
circumstances, in the year 1855 the order relating to the abolition
of slavery was proclaimed. The Nairs who were benefitted much
by the slaves were severely affected by the proclamation for which
the Christian Missionaries were instrumental. The slaves attained
the ownership of the land which they cultivated. The control the
Nairs had over the slaves vanished. This order put the Nairs in
shame and they began to crush the Christians and the Missionaries
who were responsible for their pitiable plight30.
The Proclamation of Queen Victoria of England in the
year 1858 confused both Nairs and the Nadars. The Nairs
considered that the Proclamation was in their favour. With the
help of the Nair officials, the Nairs took the law into their hands
and started oppressing the Nadars. The Nadar community thought
that they were given the right to disobey the existing social customs
and traditions31. The Hindu Nadar women also began to dress like the Christian Nadar women covering the upper part of their body.
For this, the Christian Nadars helped the Hindu Nadars. The Nairs
began to attack brutally the Christian Nadars with the assistance
of other low caste communites32. As a result in Neyyatinkarai,
Kalkulam, Vilavancode. Thovalai and Agasteeswaram rioting burst
out severely in December 185833.
6. Struggle Renewed
Rioting vigorously cropped up in Neyyoor region on 25
December 185834. the Nairs entered into the Neyyoor village and
manhandled all those Christians whom they came across. The
women who wore jackets were attacked and jackets were torn to
pieces. Fearing the Nair attack the Christian Nadars of that village
ran away. Children and women found shelter in the Mission
Bungalow. This struggle reflected in almost all the Neyyoor Mission
villages. Under the pretext of service to the government, the Nairs
captured four people from the Kallankuzhi village, tied them
together, beat them severely, put them under lock-up and released
them after many days35. After two days, the Kallankuzhi Church
was burnt down. On 27 December the Meicode Church was also
burnt down36.
The taluks of Agasteeswaram and Thovalai were also
affected severely. Houses of three Nadars were burnt down in the
James Town village on 29 December 185837. On 4 January 1859
rioting started at Kottar near Nagercoil. Nairs and Vellalas joined
together and attacked the Nadar Christians and their properties38.

The Christian women were beaten up and their upper garments
were torn to pieces. Under the leadership of Vaidiyalingam Pillai
and Neelam Pillai nearly 200 Vellalas and Nairs assembled and
marched towards Thazhakudy village with sticks and cutting knives.
The party attacked the Christians, beat and tore the jackets of the
women. They planned to burn the church and the school and to
kill the catechist and the school teacher. Hence the Church and
the school were closed for many weeks. Christians of Thazhakudi
evacuated the village39. Three days prior to the Thazhakudi
incident, nearly 500 vellalas along with the government officers
marched to Kumarapuram, Iraviputhur and Marungoor villages,
entered into the houses of the Christians and plundered. Men ran
away and women were dragged out of their houses, molested and
the upper garments were torn to pieces40. Such type of rioting
happened at Aralvaimozhi, Chemponvilai and Kattuputhoor
On 10 January 1859, the Church at Vadakkankarai and
the Resident’s Bungalow at Nagercoil were burnt down. On the
same day about 50 Vellalas met catechist of Chellamthuruthi and
ordered him not to open the church and preach. If he obeyed
their order, they promised him to offer half a kottah a local measure
of paddy per month41. Between 11 and 16 January, two churches
and schools were burnt down. In Thittuvilai a Nadar Christian
and his wife were assaulted severely and his house and the adjoining
27 houses were set on fire42. In many places, Christians were dragged
to render Ooliam services to the Hindu Temples on Sundays. They
were compelled to give up Christianity and to mark Hindu symbols
on their forehead43. As there prevailed insecurity to the Christian
Missionaries and to their family members, special guards were
arranged to watch their living places44. In Agasteeswaram, the Nadar Christians gathered people and raised funds to give a counter attack
to the brutal deeds of the Vellalas and Nairs. They sought the
support of the Tirunelveli Nadars also45.
In Neyyatinkarai, two women went to Aralumoodu
market. They were beaten up by a last grade government servant
and brought before the Neyyatinkarai jail officer. The jacket of
one woman was torn into pieces, pulled off and hung on the tree
near the jail. A group of nearly 400 people consisting of Muslims,
Chetties and others were roaming about Aramanoor, Puthenkarai
and Thirupuram markets on 15 and 19 January 1859 with a view
to attack Christians46.
7. Interference of Missionaries
When rioting was at its peak, the Missionaries, John Cox,
Russel, Whitehouse, Lewis and Baylis jointly complained to the
British Resident in Travancore47. They wrote and met the king
directly and explained to him the sufferings of the Christians48. As
the missionaries could not get any solution from the King of
Travancore, they sought the help of the British Governor at
Madras, Charles Trevelyan. On 6 May 1859, Trevelyan wrote a
letter to the British Resident in Travancore, General Cullen
expressing his dissatisfaction over the unlawful customs and
traditions followed in Travancore. He asked General Cullen to
impress upon the Maharaja regarding the painful dress regulations
adopted against the traditions of Christians and others49.

On the compulsion of the government of Madras, the
Dewan and Maharaja had half a mind to agree to the demand of
the Nadars. Accordingly on 26 July 1859, the Travancore
Government permitted all the Nadar women to wear Kuppayam
like the Christian Nadar women, irrespective of religion. The Nadar
women of any religion were permitted to cover the upper part of
the body by any means excepting the style of the Nair women.50
Even though this order was not satisfactory to the Nadars, this
privilege was not granted to the other low castes.
Missionaries were not satisfied with the 1859 order of the
Government. As the other low caste women were not permitted
to cover the breast, the missionaries expected clash in the future.
Hence regarding the dress, they again wrote a letter to the Governor
of Madras condemning the attitude of the Travancore
Government. The Governor summoned the Resident to his office
and had a talk on the subject. The Governor advised the Resident,
Maltby to use all his influence on the Maharaja to remove all dress
restrictions imposed on all castes. Maltby reported the wish of the
British Government to the Maharaja51. Maharaja felt that if he
did not oblige, there would arise strained relationship between
Travancore and the British. Hence in 1865 an order was released
permitting all low castes to dress like the Nadar women. Even then
the low caste women were not permitted to dress like the Nair
As time passed by, all the restrictions imposed on the low
castes vanished one by one. However the enmity that arose between
the Nairs and the Nadars remained submerged and unresolved. It
re-emerged after one century and the Nadars had to fight again
during the middle of the twentieth century to reclaim their liberation. This liberation is neither the gift of the Travancore Kings
nor the generosity of the Nairs and Vellalas but was the preragative
attained by the sustained efforts of the oppressed community, the
Nadars, unrelenting support of Protestant Christian Missionaries
and the unrestricted co-operation of the British Residents in

Second Uprising :
An Introduction
1. Introduction
The Nairs had marital relationship with royal families and
Nambudiri families; consequently they were socially, economically
and politically in a privileged position in Travancore. Social
Revolution that took place during the nineteenth century in South
Travancore due to the labours of Protestant Christian missionaries,
the process adopted by the sovereigns to strengthen the
administration of the State, the influence of British rule in the
administration of Travancore and the break-down of Nair Tarawads
as a result of the educational and employment policies adopted by
the government marked the decline in power and authority of the
Nair community in Travancore. The Nairs were determined to
capture political power to restore their past glory in the society.
After attaining political power, once again they began to oppress
the Nadar community of South Travancore because their
representatives in the legislature refused to pay heed to their
dictates. There resulted the Nadar Revolt against the Nair
domination under a different scenario during the middle of the
twentieth century. This is addressed as a continuation of the struggle
that broke-out during the first half of the nineteenth century
between the two said communities.
2. Decline of Nair Dominance
Marthandavarma Maharaja was the maker of Modern`Travancore. He abolished the feudal system of agrarian economy
that prevailed at the time of his ascendancy to the throne and
reduced the power of Nair Jenmies. He also reduced the strength
of Nair Brigade in the army1 of the land and abolished the system
of controlling the army by the Nair landlords. TheNair traitors of
the country were subdued and their lands were confiscated and
treated as government lands2.
The agreement executed by Travancore with the British
East India Company in 1805 gave power to the British to interfere
in all the matters of administration and appointment in
Travancore3. Nairs were normally appointed as Dewans of
Travancore. Veluthampy and Umminithampy who were the
Dewans of the country proved their worthlessness in
administration4. Therefore Rani Lekshmi Baye who ascended the
throne in 1810, appointed the British Resident, Colonel Munro as
the Dewan of Travancore5. Munro brought forth drastic changes
in the administration of Travancore for which Travancore, the
present State of Kerala, is still grateful to him. Within one year the
country which was in chaos and confusion was brought under
control and order. The affairs of the revenue department, judiciary,
and government administration received his immediate attention.
His administration aimed to ensure security and safety to the life
and properties of all sections of the people of the country6. This
attitude of Munro dismantled the Nair domination in Travancore.
Munro abolished the National Council of the Pidagaicars
of Nanjil Nad7 which was supervising and punishing the low caste people who violated the restrictions imposed on them. At times
this so called National Council dictated to the king of the land8.
After Munro, the post of the Dewan was rarely offered to a
Nair9. In 1817, one Reddy Rao of Maratha was appointed as Dewan
of Travancore. Upto 1877 the non-Malayalee Brahmins held the
post of Dewan in Travancore. Thus for long the Nairs who lost the
confidence of the British due to the treacherous action of
Veluthampy had to lose the highest post, the Dewanship in the
country. In the administration of the country, the number of Nairs
employed as staff was also reduced considerably10.
Next to the British Resident Colonel Munro, the man who
restricted the entry of Nairs in the government services was Dewan
Madhava Rao11. The reforms he brought in the education
department very much reduced the domination of Nairs in the
country. Educational qualification and written tests were made
compulsory for government services. Even for the appointment of
engineers, judges and government pleaders, competitive
examinations were conducted12. As a result, the non-Malayalee
Brahmins entered government services in large number13. The
Nairs found that sending their children to schools was inevitable
to secure goverment jobs14. In 1872 out of the 14 graduates, 10
were non- Malayalee Brahmins, but Nairs numbered only three15.
Among those who studied in the Maharaja’s College in 1891 only
67 students were Nairs out of a total of 232, but the non-Malayalee
Brahmins were 112. Hence the opportunity for the Nairs to enter
the government services became limited.

Growth of higher education in the country led to the split
in the Nair Tarawads16. All the members of the family preferred to
obtain collegiate educaion. As it was costly the manager of Tarawad,
the Karanavar17, preferred to send his direct descendants, son or
daughter to obtain collegiate education and the other members of
the Tarawad were compelled to work in the fields18.This attitude
of the Karanavars, in general invited rift in the Tarawads of the
Nairs. As per the 1865 Proclamation of the Government,
individuals could own and sell properties19. The Tarawad lands
were subjected to ownership among its members. Hence the joint
family system that prevailed long in the Nair society broke down.
The 1865 Proclamation drove members to litigations and to wait
long on the verandhas of the Law Courts. In the same year nearly
284 cases were filed regarding the division of family properties20.
Between 1881 and 1891, 660 cases were filed in the division of
family properties alone21. Because of the long pending court cases
and extravagant family expenditures on ceremonies, the economy
of the Nair families enfeebled and crashed. As a result the Nair
dominance in Travancore declined.
3. Nair Dominance Rebuilt
The Nairs miserably failed in their attempt to bring the
Christian Nadars under their control and to extract from them
free labour by force. Hence they determined to capture political
power in Travancore. In 1884 they founded an organisation called
Malayalee Sabha22 to promote their socio-economic and political
clout in the country. The Malayalee Sabha submitted a
memorandum to the government called Malayalee Memorial in
189123. The memorandum was against the domination of non-Malayalee Brahmins in the government. To give a national colour
to that memorandum they managed to get the signatures of some
Syrian Christians, Ezhavas24, Muslims and Vellalas of Nanjil Nad25.
The Nairs did not seek the support of the Protestant Christian
Nadars of South Travancore for they classified them as foreigners26.
As a result of the submission of the Malayalee Memorial to
the government, the Nair community alone was benefitted27. Hence
the Syrian Christians, Ezhavas and Muslims formed a group and
announced the boycott of elections. This was called the Abstention
Movement. They formed a political party called All Travancore
Joint Political Congress on 17 December 193228. This organisation
sought the support of the Protestant Christian Nadars of South
According to the constituion of the country the powers
were concentrated in the hands of the Dewan of Travancore. To
decentralise his power and to abolish that post and to empower
the Representative Body, the Nairs demanded Responsible
Government in Travancore30. Syrian Christians, Ezhavas and
Muslims of the country once again came forward to support the
move of the Nairs31. After obtaining Responsible Government,
elections were conducted in Travancore. The first ministry was
formed by a Nair32. Thus the Nairs regained their political power.
With the power they had obtained once again, they began to oppress
the Nadar Community of South Travancore for they refused to
fall under their influence in the Representative Body.

4. Struggle Continued
At first the struggle took place during the middle of the
twentieth century mainly in Kalkulam and Vilavancode Taluks33
of South Travancore as in the case of the struggle that happened
druing the first half of the nineteenth century34. The main reason
for this concentration in these two taluks was that the Nair
settlements in these two taluks were greater than in Thovalai and
Agasteeswaram Taluks.
The police firing of 1948 and 1954 also took place only in
Vilavancode Taluk35. The legislative council members of
Agasteeswaram and Thovalai wrote on 7 March 1948 to the high
police officer thus: “The Tamilians of Kalkulam and Vilavancode
feel their life, properties and liberty are most insecure . . ., the
District Magistrate had passed a curfew order in Kalkulam and
Vilavancode . . . the Tamilians of these two unfortunate taluks
may be saved from the valley of death . . .”36
The president of Travancore Tamil Nad Congress (TTNC),
a native of Agasteeswaram Taluk, Sam Nathaniel wrote in his letter
to the Governor General of India on 22 August 1948 as follows :
“Together they launched a bitter crusade against the Tamilians
mainly of Vilavancode and Kalkulam. Hundreds of false cases were
foisted on them and they made an occasion for a systematic
manhunt by the Armed Reserve. Looting and plunder became
the order of the day. Young men were hammered and clapped in
jails. Black terror stalked in the two taluks for months.”37
Secondly, like the nineteenth century struggle, the present
one also clearly showed that the Nadars were on the defensive side
and as usual, the Nairs were on the offensive. The hero of the
twentieth century struggle, Nesamony who was on the defensive side indicated in his book, “Inside Travancore Tamil Nad” (1948)
as follows : “Tamilian taps the palms for toddy and sweet juice and
boils it into jaggery. He tills the soil and reaps the harvest. He is the
sole manufacturer of salt. He has developed spinning and weaving
as a cottage industry. The bleak and barren slopes of the hills have
yielded to his pickaxe and spade and are covered with resplendent
vegetations and food crops of various kinds. His hands built the
Kodayar Dam and dug the channels.”38 All the works he referred
in this statement were related only to the Nadars of South
In the twentieth century struggle, like the nineteenth
century, the other caste people offered only a limited support to
the Nadars. Regarding the support of other caste people to TTNC
candidates in the 1948 election, Nesamony wrote as follows :
“Voting showed that the Nairs, the fisherfolk and the barbers mainly
supported the State Congress. . . The fisherfolk were misled by the
Malayalee priests. The Kerala Mudalis had to support the State
Congress as the Textile Commissioner was out and out a Nair and
State Congressite.”39
Thirdly, in the second struggle Malayalee meant the Nairs
and the Tamilians meant the Nadars of South Travancore. During
the struggle wherever the Nadars lived the effect of the struggle was
deeply felt. Nesamony observed as follows : “Travancore
Government is mainly a Nair Government. The Dewan, the District
Magistrate of Trivandrum and the District Superintendent of Police,
Trivandrum and Assistant Superintendent of Police, Nagercoil, when
the struggle began were all Nairs and most of them were relations of
Nair State Congressites. The Police Inspectors of Vilavancode, Eraniel,
Thuckalay, and Thiruvattar are Malayalees. They are holding all the
key positions in Travancore Tamil areas. They have no sympathy on
the Tamils.”40 “We are witnessing today the worst forms of
communalism making strident march in Tamil Nad. Sri. Pattom Thanu Pillai is a Malayalee and he cannot brook the sight of a
Tamilian crossing his path. He is a Nair who thirsts for the blood of
the Nadar, his opponent. He has drunk enough of it not once but
twice. Could not this orgy of man hunting and man slaughter be
put an end to?”41
Again from the statement of Nesamony one could easily
come to the conclusion that the second struggle was a continuation
of the stuggle that took place during the nineteenth century
between the Nairs and Nadars. His statement: “I had occasion to
witness heart – rending scenes reminiscent of what our forefathers
suffered a hundred and fifty years ago at the hands of the Nairs
and the Nair Government.”42 Hence the struggle that took place
in South Travancore during the middle of the twentieth century
under the leadership of Nesamony was a continuation of the
sturggle that took place during the first half of the nineteenth
century under the influence of Protestant Christian missionaries.

An Organisation
for Liberation
1. Introduction
In the event of India’s freedom the Indian National
Congress would take over the administration of India. It was
believed that the Congress Party would go in for the reorganisation
of the states on linguistic basis. Under such circumstances the
Malayalees wanted the formation of Kerala State adding Malabar
and Cochin with the existing Travancore. If that was materialised
by the Malayalees, the Tamilians in Travancore would go voiceless
and helpless in the administration of the State. Hence the Tamilians
wanted an organisation to voice their right to join Madras Tamil
Nadu in the event of Reorganisation of States. A political party
was founded and to elicit the support of the Tamilians, canvassing
was done vigorously by the leaders. The Nadar community
extended unlimited support while the other communities extended
only limited support.
2. Security in Question
Right from the beginning of 1947, far reaching and serious
changes followed one after another in the political scenario of
Travancore. British Prime Minister, Clement Atlee, in the month
of February confirmed India’s freedom. Handing over the
administration to the Indian National Congress, which was the
popular political party, was also made clear. Congress Party as early
as 19271 accepted the principle of forming the states on the basis of
language. If the Congress Party was to proceed to implement its
linguistic reorganisation of states, the Malayalees would be very
firm in forming the State of Kerala, joining Cochin and Malabar
with the existing State of Travancore2. Under such circumstances,
the position of the Tamilians in the Representative Body of
Travancore State would be insignificant. Then the very existence
of the Tamilians in Kerala would become a very big question3.
Organisations of Tamils that existed in South Travancore were
incapable to compete on equal footing with Malayalee
To restore the very fundamental rights and to wrest powers,
the senior and responsible citizens of the Tamil society wanted a
political party of their own without caste or religious affiliations5.
Nesamony, a senior advocate, belonging to the Protestant Christian
Nadar community, was approached. The matter regarding the
future of Tamils inTravancore was discussed. He wanted to have
more discussions on the subject with many more friends and hence
he wrote letters to them6.
3. Political Changes
Many political changes took place from April 1947 onwards
in Travancore. The rewritten constitution was published on 7 April7.
In June, the Travancore Country declared its independence8. By
July, the British relinquished its connection with the Indian States9.

In August, Dewan Ramaswamy Iyer left Travancore10. Unnithan
was sworn in as Dewan of Travancore temporarily. On 4 September
1947, the Maharaja proclaimed Responsible Government to
Travancore11. As Dewan Unnithan was the son of the soil and a
Nair, the Tamilians apprehended oppression. The on-going actions
of the Dewan confirmed the expected oppression12.
Since Responsible Government was installed, there arose
the necessity of rules making, voters list preparation and the
conduct of peaceful election. So the Reforms Committee was
appointed immediately for the said purposes13. The State Congress
claimed that it was the only political organisation in the State and
it demanded the right to fill all the 14 vacancies that arose in the
Reforms Committee14. Travancore Tamil Nad Congress, the only
organisation of the Tamils of the State wanted one-fourth of the
seats in the Reforms Committee15. But all the 14 seats in the
Reforms Committee were filled by Pattom Thanu Pillai, the leader
of State Congress and a Nair by caste16.
4. Allen Memorial Hall Event
Under such circumstances the Tamilians of the State were
in the dark and did not know the direction in which they should
proceed. A senior advocate, a journalist and a respectable man of
the Nagercoil Bar Council, Chidambaram Pillai requested
Nesamony to give leadership to the Tamilians who were at a loss17.
Accepting his request, Nesamony assembled some important
persons to have a discussion on the subject at Allen Memorial Hall
in the Nagercoil Mission Compound18.

On 8 September 1947, at about 5.30 p.m. under the
chairmanship of Nesamony, nearly 200 people mainly advocates,
assembled at Allen Memorial Hall. A staunch member of the State
Congress, Muthukaruppa Pillai19 who was present at that meeting
said that Travancore State Congress was the only organisation in
the State and that represented both Malayalees and Tamilians in
the State. So a new organisation to look after the welfare of the
Tamilians was not needed. Some others argued that Travancore
Tamil Nad Congress was the only organisation which was looking
after the interests of the Tamilians and so all the Tamilians should
join to strengthen it. These two resolutions were put to vote. TTNC
was accepted as the Representative Body of the Travancore
Tamilians. Henceforth TTNC under the leadership and guidance
of Nesamony marched forward from Allen Memorial Hall on 8
September 1947 towards victory20.
One may pause here to re-examine the statement of
Muthukaruppa Pillai. Whether his political party, the State
Congress was looking after the interests of the Tamilians or not
was not the question. He categorically said that there was no political
party in the State except the State Congress. Pattom Thanu Pillai,
the leader of the State Congress claimed the right of appointing all
the fourteen members of the Reforms Committee stating that there
was no other political party in Travancore21. He got that right to
the State Congress and it appointed all the fourteen members.
TTNC was not given any representation in the Reforms
A small group of people might have perhaps functioned
under the presidentship of Sam Nathaniel on the title, Travancore
Tamil Nad Congress. When Travancore announced its
independence there were mixed feelings among the members of
that organisation whether to support it or not and finally, in the meeting held at Maruthuvalmalai in July 1947, there arose a quarrel
and fight and the organisation was wound up and the members
found shelter in Sivagnana Gramony’s Tamilarasu Kazhagam22.
So what was stated by Muthukaruppa Pillai on 8 September 1947
at Allen Memorial Hall meeting regarding the non-existence of
other political parties in Travancore except the State Congress was
5. Father of Kanyakumari
Nesamony who accepted the leadership of the TTNC was
a native of Palliady in Vilavancode Taluk. He was born on 12 June
1895 in a middle class family as the second son of Appolose and
Gnanammal at his mother’s birth place, Maranconam in Kalkulam
Taluk. As he was born in Kalkulam Taluk and brought up in
Vilavancode Taluk, he might have obtained direct and first-hand
experience of the Nair oppression on the Nadars. Perhaps that might
be the motivation for him to liberate his people from the clutches
of the Nairs.
Nesamony completed his degree course at Trivandrum
Maharaja’s College and started his life as a teacher. As he had
interest in public life, he joined the Law College, studied law and
registered himself as a Lawyer in 1921 at Nagercoil Sessions Court23.
His knowledge in law, the style of argument and presentation
attracted the judges many times and that reputation placed him
on the list of very eminent criminal lawyers in Travancore.
As he was a reputed lawyer, many young advocates
irrespective of caste or religion wished to become his juniors. They
gained much from him and later contributed to the society as
lawyers and politicians. A few among them were
Chidambaranathan Nadar, Ponnappan Nadar, Gopalakrishnan,
Fakrudeen Adam and Razak. The TTNC president Sam Nathaniel
was also his junior. Nesamony was very closely associated with the religious
organisation in which he was a member24. He was made Neyyoor
District Secretary in 1933 and in the same year he was elected to
the Travancore Mission Council. The Council elected him as its
secretary. When the question of Union was on its agenda it
benefitted much by making use of his personal influence. In 1939,
he wrote the Constitution and Rules of the Church Council. He
was elected to the post of Vice-President in the South Travancore
Diocese and when it was bifurcated in the year 1959, he became
the Vice-President of Kanyakumari Diocese, CSI and in that
position he served until his last.
Nesamony was called to serve the public. He was elected as
the President of Nagercoil Lawyers’ Association in 194325. In the
same year, he was elected as the chairman of the Nagercoil
Municipal Council. He served as a member of Sri Mulam Assembly
of Travancore, a member of the Madras State Assembly and a
member of the Parliament or the Lok Sabha.
The short period he served as Municipal Chairman is
remembered even today. During his period, he improved the
finance of the Municipality, rescuing it from a state of bankruptcy,
added the suburban areas with the existing area of the Municipality,
provided street lights and drinking water to the town and started
a Rehabilitation Centre for the beggars. As a representative in the
Sri Mulam Assembly, his speech on adult franchise was hailed as a
land mark. Seeing his great and extra-ordinary capacity the then
Dewan, Ramaswamy Iyer appointed him as a member of the Senate
of the Travancore University26.
When the freedom of India was nearing, the Malayalees
wanted to form Kerala State extending from Kanyakumari to
Kasarcode. Nesamony was called to counter the proposal of the
Malayalees by the respectable citizens of the Tamil areas. He never hesitated to shoulder the great burden entrusted to him by the
people. Nesamony carried TTNC across the oppressed people of
Kalkulam, Vilavancode, Neyyatinkarai, Deviculam, Peermade and
Chittoor Taluks. It was made the sole political as well as welfare
organisation of 15 lakh of Tamilians of Travancore. Nesamony was
the uncrowned monarch of the Tamils27 and so he was crowned
by the people with the title, “Kumari Thanthai” (Father of
6. Unlimited Support of Nadars
Under the leadership of Nesamony, the TTNC was made
popular among the oppressed community, the Nadars28. To explain
the aim and objectives of TTNC and to gather support, propaganda
meetings were arranged in the southern taluks29. The main aim of
TTNC was formation of a Tamil State under the aegis of Maharaja
with full autonomy30. The movement became very popular within
a short period among the Nadars of Kalkulam and Vilavancode
Taluks as Nesamony was a very popular advocate, friend and
protector of the Nadars of those areas.
When TTNC was Agasteeswaram-Thovalai movement, in
the propaganda meetings, only 10 to 15 people attended31. But
when it became Kalkulam-Vilavancode movement, in the
propaganda meetings, the Nadars attended in thousands. Since
many people attended the propaganda meetings, holding meetings
without audio equipments was impossible32. In those meetings,
copies of a map denoting the areas where the Tamilians were in
the majority according to the 1941 census, were distributed33. For
the four southern taluks, Taluk Committees, Town Committees
and Paukuthi Committees were formed and membership campaign was carried out vigorously34. Within a period of one month, more
than 10,000 people joined the movement35.
TTNC leaders were engaged in the celebration of Gandhi
Jayanthi in the month of October 1947. In connection with that
celebration, a procession and a public meeting were arranged. The
State Congress also proposed to celebrate Gandhi Jayanthi on the
same day, 6 October and at the same place. On that day, TTNC
procession started from Kandanvilai Church at about 4 p.m.
Mahatma Gandhi’s portrait was taken in procession in an open
chariot drawn by 79 bullocks. The procession marched forward with
musical accompaniments. When the procession approached the
TTNC office at Monday Market, it was noticed that the board on
which, the slogan, “We will form the Tamil State” was written, was
removed by the State Congressites. Scuffle started between the
volunteers of TTNC and the State Congress. Police interfered and
restored peace36 by stopping the TTNC procession at Monday
Market. Condemning the atrocities of the State Congress activists, a
bundh was observed on 7 October at Eraniel, Monday Market and
Neyyoor37. The TTNC President Sam Nathaniel sent a telegram to
the Maharaja explaining the whole story and requested him to
interfere at the earliest. But the government remained silent. The
Eraniel incident at the time of Gandhi Jayanthi celebration still
worsened the relationship between TTNC and State Congress. In
the Eraniel region, the two parties had equal influence. So tension
mounted at Eraniel.
After the Eraniel incident, TTNC grew very fast in
Kalkulam and Vilavancode Taluks. Seeing the growth of TTNC
in these two taluks, State Congress leaders thought of coming to a
compromise with TTNC instead of fighting each other. In
connection with this, Pattom Thanu Pillai, the State Congress leader
met Sam Nathaniel, the President of TTNC. But on 30 October, the Excutive Committee of TTNC passed a resolution reiterating
its demand, a state within Travancore under the aegis of Maharaja
for Tamils with full autonomous status. The attempt of State
Congress for compromise thus failed38.
In November 1947, TTNC arranged meetings throughout
Kalkulam and Vilavancode to explain the aim and objectives of
TTNC to the people. In all these meetings, the Nadar community
people attended in large numbers and assured their support. On
11 November in the meeting held at Pacode in Vilavancode Taluk,
under the presidentship of Meetheen Pillai, Shanmugam of
Bhoothapandi, Abdul Khadar of Peruvilai and Dhas advised the
youngsters to join the movement and strengthen it. In the meeting
some 500 Nadars were present39.
On 15 November, a mammoth meeting was held at
Kuzhithurai in Vilavancode Taluk. Nearly 30,000 people attended
and the meeting was presided over by a Nagercoil advocate,
Sivaraman40. On 16 November, the meeting held at Mylode of
Kalkulam Taluk was presided over by Chidambara Nathan Nadar.
A procession was led from Monday Market at about 6.00 p.m. to
the meeting place at Mylode. In that meeting, nearly 5000 Nadars
On 16 November, nearly 4000 Nadars participated in the
Thennithottam meeting at Vilavancode. It was presided over by
Dhas and all the speakers condemned the attitude of the Nairs
who were against the Tamilians, particularly the Nadars42. On the same day a meeting at Vanniyur of Vilavancode Taluk was
conducted under the presidentship of Ram. Nearly 2000 people
attended the meeting and most of them were Nadars43. On 21
November, a meeting at Cheruppalore of Kalkulam Taluk was held
under the presidentship of Ponnappan Nadar44. On 22 November,
under the presidentship of Sivaraman a meeting was conducted at
Viralikattuvilai of Kalkulam Taluk45. Nearly 5000 Nadars attended
the meeting at Chennithottam of Kalkulam and it was presided
over by George46.
On 23 November, under the chairmanship of Nesamony a
meeting was held at Attoor of Kalkulam Taluk in which 5000
Nadars attended. In the meeting Nesamony pointed out the
anomalies found in the report of the Reforms Committee. He said
that the representation in the Reforms Committee for SIUC
Christians, Asaries and Kammalas was neglected. He assured that
the Tamilians in South were determined to restore their right of
forming a separate state under the aegis of Maharaja for Tamilians
in Travancore with full autonomous status even at the cost of their
lives47. On 27 November, Nesamony presided over a meeting held
at Keezhkulam Village of Vilavancode Taluk. More than 5000
Nadars attended the meeting48.

7. Limited Support by Others
The political party TTNC which gained momentum among
the Nadars tried to enlist the support of the other community
people. To get the support of the Muslims, public meetings were
conducted at Thiruvithamcode where Muslims were in majority.
Muslims extended their moral support but refused to involve in
all its activities49.
To get the support of Catholics, the TTNC leaders
Nesamony, Sam Nathaniel and Fenn Russaliah approached the
Kottar Catholic Bishop Agniswamy. He sent secret message to all
the Parish Churches to extend their support to TTNC to safeguard
the rights of Catholic Christians50. The leaders could not succeed
in their attempt. Wherever Malayalee priests were posted in the
Catholic Churches they worked against this Tamilian organisation,
the TTNC. Fishermen formed the majority among catholic
population of Tamils in Travancore. In most of their churches,
Malayalee priests were in-charge. They advised their church people
not to support TTNC and asked to extend the support to State
Congress in which the Catholic Christians, John, Chakko and
Akkamma Cherian were the leaders. They canvassed support for
State Congress even by distributing hand bills to their church
members51. Another reason for which the fishermen hesitated to
support TTNC was that they feared Nadar domination in future52.
Parayar community also refused to extend its support to
TTNC. They organised themselves under the banner, All India
Scheduled Caste Federation. This organisation held meetings and
did anti-propaganda53. They opposed the division of Travancore
on the basis of language and also demanded to drive away the
Tamil plantation workers from Devikulam and Peermade and to appoint Malayalees in their place. They appealed to their people
not to support TTNC.
In October 1947, under the auspices of the Federation a
meeting was held under the chairmanship of Retnaraj. Those who
spoke in that meeting requested the scheduled caste people not to
join any organisation other than the Federation. Nearly one
hundred people of that community attended the meeting54. Kerala
Mudalis did not evince interest in joining TTNC. Kerala Mudalis
had to support the State Congress for the Textile Commissioner
was a staunch State Congressite and a Nair55.
In November 1947, a TTNC meeting was arranged at
Brahmmapuram of Kalkulam Taluk under the chairmanship of
Kochappan of Krishnavaga community. Nearly 1000 people of
that community assembled at the meeting place and prevented
from holding the meeting at Brahmmapuram. Since tension
prevailed in that area, the magistrate passed prohibitory order56.
As far as the Vellalas of Nanjil Nad were concerned, a few
people were seriously involved in the activities of TTNC. Certain
others came closer to the organisation and at times they kept
themselves away when personal benefits were uncertain. At one
time they were active in TTNC and at another time were active in
some other organisation. Thus they did not give whole hearted
support to TTNC. The reason might be that they were never
subjected to torture by the Nairs, and so they always identified
themselves with the Nairs and suppressed the Nadars. The Vellala
Maha Sabha advised its community people to abstain from
supporting TTNC and not to vote for its candidates in the
elections57. Those Vellalas who followed the Nair culture and
traditions were always in support of Nairs and members of the State Congress. Muthukaruppa Pillai, a strong supporter of State
Congress was a Vellala. Sivathanu Pillai who was nominated to the
Reforms Committee by State Congress was a Vellala.
TTNC was once an organisation of a few people of
Agasteeswaram and Thovalai Taluks. After it became a political
party under the leadership of Nesamony, it became a people’s party
and a party of Kalkulam – Vilavancode Nadars. In spite of it, people
belonging to different castes, religions and places offered
opportunistic support based on circumstances and personal

Oppression and Solidarity

1. Introduction
The growth of Travancore Tamil Nad Congress within a
short period irritated the Nairs and became a threat to the State
Congress. The Nairs of State Congress began to attack the members
of TTNC. TTNC sympathisers, volunteers and leaders were
manhandled and kept under panic. There was no safety for their
lives and properties. This physical attack was rampant in Kalkulam
and Vilavancode Taluks where the Nair settlements were found
in large number when compared to Thovalai and Agasteeswaram
Taluks. The government actions were set in support of the Nairs.
Inspite of these, the State Congress was not able to prevent the
victory of TTNC in the Southern Taluks in the 1948 Assembly
2. Oppression by Nair Government
In those times, Travancore Government was a Nair
Government. The Dewan, high officials and even the last grade
servants were all Nairs. They held important posts both in the Police
Department and Judiciary. Trivandrum District Judge, Trivandrum
District Superintendent of Police, Nagercoil Assisant
Superintendent of Police, Sub-Inspectors of Vilavancode, Eraniel,
Thuckalay, Thiruvattar were all Nairs. They were the sympathisers
of State Congress. So it was clear that the atrocities of the State
Congress were perfectly known to the government1.
In order to prevent the growth of TTNC in the Tamil
regions, government created a lot of disturbances to the Nadars.
Those who were involved in the activities of TTNC were denied
employment opportunities. All those who were already employed
were denied promotions and transferred to distant Malayalam
regions. In the Tamil regions, Malayalees were appointed by the
government. The government did not allow the Weavers Advisory
Committee of Kalkulam and Vilavancode to function, for the
government suspected the members of the committee as
sympathisers of TTNC. The government dropped the Perunchani
Dam construction and Thirparappu Channel construction schemes
for they were beneficial to paddy cultivation in the Tamil areas
only. With the assistance of special police, compulsory paddy and
rice procurement was made indiscriminately in Thovalai and
Agasteeswaram Taluks. In Nagercoil Municipality, all the Municipal
Development Schemes were dropped2. The police personnel who
were trained in modern methods to control Punnapura-Vayalar
Revolt were deployed in the Tamil regions of Travancore. Reserve
Police equipped with weapons roamed about the Tamil areas in
police vans and created panic among Tamilians3. Travancore so
far had never experienced such police atrocities in its history.
Due to the pressure given by the government and State
Congress, TTNC experienced very many difficulties in holding
propaganda meetings in connection with the state elections.
Wherever meetings were arranged, State Congress volunteers
created trouble. Under the pretext of restoring peace, the police
interfered and brutally attacked the TTNC volunteers and leaders.
Immediately the magistrate visited the spot and declared ban order.
Thus TTNC had to close the meetings arranged at
Brahammapuram, Munchirai and Ezhathuvilai4.

3. Propaganda Meetings
The meeting arranged at Brahmmapuram on 14 November
1947 was banned and assembled people peacefully proceeded to
their houses5. But on their way home they were beaten and
wounded by State Congress rowdy elements and the Reserve
On 15 November, a propaganda meeting was held at
Kuzhithurai. There also State Congress people created unruly
scenes. Two adjoining houses of Nairs were vacated and State
Congress rowdies were accommodated. After one hour of the
meeting, the rowdies stationed in the adjoining houses started
pelting stones on the crowd. Immediately a group of people who
were attending the meeting rushed towards the houses from where
the stones were thrown on the people who attended the meeting.
Those stationed in the houses ran away and hence forth the meeting
was peaceful till the end. Even though the magistrate and the police
inspector in their First Information Report condemned the action
of the State Congress people who were responsible for the
untoward happenings on that day, the next day the Superintendent
of Police and certain Nair officials and two Municipal Counsellors
came to the spot and filed false cases against 300 Tamilians and
arrested 23 of them. They were severely beaten, pulled, dragged
and thrown into police lock-up7.
On 23 November, TTNC Volunteers were returning home
after attending a TTNC meeting at Attoor. Due to the instigation
of the police inspector, the Nairs threw stones on the volunteers.
Next day it was noticed that the roof tiles of Aruvikarai Village
Office were damaged. It was on the same night the Nairs of that
Aruvikarai locality damaged the roof tiles, broke open the door of
the office and destroyed the records and the blame of their criminal
activites was thrown on the Nadars who had attended the Attoor TTNC meeting. Next day a case was filed against 14 Nadars and
they were taken to the police station. Pioneer Motor Service bus
was arranged to take the arrested to the police station. But on the
influence of the Nairs of that locality, the police inspector fettered
and made them walk along the road for two miles, two by two, in
the hot sun. The State Congress people mockingly remarked that
the Tamil bastards were carrying Tamil State on their heads two
by two. After a walk of two miles they were loaded in a bus and
taken to Vilavancode court. The magistrate placed them under
police custody. So they were brought to Thuckalay police station8.
On the same day, the Catholic Christians of Manalikarai
arranged a reception meeting to Annie Mascarene who was an
important leader in the Congress Party. The meeting was held in
the Manalikarai Catholic Church compound under the
chairmanship of the Catholic priest, Pius John Morris9. In collusion
with the local Nairs and the State Congressite fisher-men, the priest
turned the reception meeting into State Congress propaganda
meeting. Annie Mascarene appealed to the crowd to support the
State Congress which was responsible for obtaining Responsible
Government to Travancore. She tried to convince the crowd that
State Congress belonged to the Catholic Christians.Opposing her
statements, a part of the crowd stood up and shouted, “Jai TTNC”
and left the meeting shouting slogans in favour of TTNC10. As
confusion stalked, the meeting was closed abruptly. The infuriated
priest and the State Congressites instigated a fisherman who had a
petty shop on four wheels to give police complaint that his cart was
damaged by the Nadars. Following his complaint, the Sub-
Inspector of Police of the Thiruvattar station next day raided all
houses around, arrested the people and put them in jail after brutal
attacks. He gave the same treatment to all those who were seen on
the road and market places11.

4. Condemned
In connection with the above incidents in Kalkulam and
Vilavancode, meetings were arranged in Agasteeswaram and
Vilavancode Taluks to condemn the police atrocities.
On 16 November, under the chairmanship of Madhavan
Pillai, a meeting was conducted to condemn the action of the
magistrate regarding the Brahmmapuram meeting12. Sam
Nathaniel presided over a meeting at Navalkaud on 27 November.
Daniel who spoke in that meeting indicated that the Tamilians of
Kalkulam and Vilavancode Taluks were thrashed and treated as
street dogs by the police and he strongly condemned the police
action. He warned the people that it was a deliberate attempt by
the government to humiliate the Tamilians and to divide them
into Christians and non-Christians. He appealed for the solidarity
of the Tamilians at any cost13.
On 18 November, under the presidentship of Sam
Nathaniel, another meeting was conducted at Nagercoil municipal
ground. All those who spoke at that meeting condemned the
deliberate attempt of the government under the instigation of the
State Congress to divide the Tamilians. The police officers who
filed false cases against the poor Nadars were also condemned14.
The meeting conducted at Kadukkarai on 30 November
condemned the illtreatment inflicted by the police on the TTNC
volunteers and all those officers who behaved in support of State
Congress people in Kalkulam and Vilavancode Taluks15.
When TTNC propaganda meetings were conducted in full swing in various centres, the volunteers sent reports to the headoffice at Nagercoil regularly about the police atrocities as well as
attacks of Nairs on Nadars16. TTNC Executive Committee members
met daily at the office and reviewed the situations in Kalkulam
and Vilavancode. Resolutions were passed by the Executive
condemning the atrocities and the government’s illtreatment on
the Nadars and were sent to the Dewan for redressel. Contrary to
the request, day by day the situation in Kalkulam and Vilavancode
became worse17.
5. Police Attack
The report of the police was to the contrary. The police
deliberately laid the responsibilities for the untoward happenings
in Kalkulam and Vilavancode on the Nadar Community. The
officer of the Nagercoil Police Force who made an enquiry charged
Nesamony and blamed that he was solely responsible for the struggle
in Tamil areas. He said that Nesamony was very popular among
the Nadars and they were instigated by Nesamony18. Nesamony’s
speech in public meetings was very powerful which attracted and
kindled the illiterate Nadars and because of the atrocities of Nadars,
the Nairs who lived around them were in panic. Through his report,
he requested the government to put an end to the activities of
6. Compromise Failed
Since TTNC was not able to procure justice from the
Travancore Government, the Madras State Congress President
Kamaraj was invited by the leaders to assess the situation directly.
Kamaraj accepted the invitation and came to Trivandrum on 4
December 1947. On the same day evening, a meeting at Eraniel where more than 10,000 Nadars gathered, was addressed by
Kamaraj20. Next day he addressed meetings at Karungal and
Nagercoil. After that, he addressed a meeting of TTNC leaders
and State Congress leaders and tried to bring them under some
agreement. His attempt did not yield fruit. Kamaraj proceeded to
Madras promising to hold talks in Madras again. But Pattom Thanu
Pillai as promised did not turn up at Madras. Kamaraj also did not
take further interest on the TTNC issue21.
7. TTNC in Election
In the mean time the Reforms Committee completed its
work and submitted its report to the government on 20 November
194722. The Committee recommended for 120 contsituencies on
the basis of one representative for 50,000 voters23. Among the total,
40 seats were set aside for reservation and 80 seats came under
common category. The report was biased and much harmful to
the Tamilians. Tamilians wanted two constituencies over and above
the given share. The Government turned a deaf ear to the request
of TTNC and proceeded with the recommendations of the
Reforms Committee. When election was declared, the political
parties and their leaders were fully engaged in the election work.
TTNC also got ready to enter the election arena.
Many of the TTNC leaders lost confidence because of the
government’s anti-Nadar attitude. All the election processes were
entrusted to Nesamony by the party24. Since the constituencies
were divided on the basis of Hindu Nadars, Catholics, SIUC and
Parayar, it was difficult for the political parties to find suitable
candidates on the basis of communities. Anyhow after undergoing
many trials Nesamony succeeded in finding out 18 candidates to
contest on the TTNC ticket. Nesamony formed a volunteer force
to explain to the people the Party’s aims and objectives and to supervise the election work of TTNC. In each village, a committee
was set up for this purpose. As this was the first election in the
state, there arose the necessity of educating the people regarding
methods of voting. For this purpose, many volunteers were
recruited and even school students were utilised. The voters were
taught to remember the names of the candidates to whom they
proposed to vote at the time of voting.
8. Police Persecution
When election was fast approaching, the State Congress
let loose goondaism and the atrocities of the police mounted.
Leaders who were engaged in election works at important centres
like Marthandam, Eraniel, Kulaseharam and Nagercoil were
publicly drawn out of the party election office and persecuted25.
In Kalkulam and Vilavancode Taluks, Nadar community people
suffered injuries due to the persecution of Nairs. Their houses were
plundered and then burnt down. That was the order of the day.
Election became a convenient excuse to persecute the Nadars and
frequently complaints were lodged against the Nadars by the Nairs.
Hence the Nadars fearing the insecurity of their lives, ran away
from their native places and found shelter in the Thovalai,
Agasteeswaram Taluks or Madras State. People from Periavilai,
Kizhkulam, Kuzhithurai, Aaru Desam, Kuzhicode and Mancaud
vacated their houses and opted to find shelter in hilly regions26.
All of a sudden Eraniel police Inspector, George with the
help of Reserve Police started manhunting. People who were found
on the roads leading to Mangarai, Kotteti and Palapallam were
arrested and more than fifty people were brutally assaulted. As he
entered the Kotteti evening market and began to persecute the
people indiscriminately, more than a thousand males and females
who had come to sell and buy, abandoned their commodities in
the market and ran away to save their lives27.

In Madichel there was enmity for long between a Nair and
a climber, a Nadar. The Nair urged the police to arrest that Nadar
alleging that he was a party in the Kuzhithurai case. While the
climber was sharpening his knife in the early morning, the Reserve
Police came in large numbers, entered his house and arrested him.
Next day the same Nair was returning home from his usual police
mercenary work. At that time some one gave him a few blows.
Next day the Reserve Police divided into many groups and stormed
the village. They entered nearly 300 houses in the village and beat
all men,women and children with lathies and butt ends of rifles.
Very old and very young were left in the village and all the others
ran away from their houses28.
Nesamony who went around the villages which were
severely affected by the police atrocities and the Nair persecution,
said that he could visualise how much his forefathers might have
suffered in the hands of the Nairs and Nair government some
hundred and fifty years ago29. He saw children starving in their
houses, women with tears and grief and those who suffered in
hospitals with no hope of life and future due to police attacks.
People expected personal assault, annoyance and public outrage
at any time. Every where this was the situation30. Sam Nathaniel,
the President of TTNC wrote complaint letters to the Dewan as
well as to the Maharaja. Yet there was no response from the
government side31.
Under this situation the day for the election came32. To
prevent the voters from going to the polling booths to vote, the police
resorted to firing and the State Congressites jointly started
manhandling the TTNC workers. Mancaud Devasahayam and
Painkulam Chelliah were the victims of Police firing33. Election was conducted in Agesteeswaram and Thovalai Taluks on the same day.
Subsequently in Kalkulam – A and Kalkulam – B constituencies
election was conducted on two days. In Vilavancode Taluk, the
election was conducted on three days. Nesamony was a candidate
in this taluk under the SIUC quota34.
Generally in all polling booths tension prevailed. In
Kulaseharam, Thiruvattar, Ponmanai, Chenkodi, Thirunanthi
Karai, Nettancode, Meicode, Allancode, Manavalakurichi and
Colachel those who came to vote for TTNC were chased away by
police and Nair goondas and anti-social elements were brought
from other places to assassinate important TTNC leaders and to
create confusion and chaos in Vilavancode constituency where
Nesamony was a candidate35. What happened in Neyyatinkarai
polling booth was painful. Goondas of State Congress and Nairs
jointly chased away the TTNC booth agents and other assistants.
As many were arrested, the others ran away from their respective
booths. The polling officers also sided with the State Congressites.
There was great insecurity to the lives of TTNC candidates. The
editor of Bharathi newspaper was attacked by the Nairs at
Kollencode for he was a TTNC candidate36. Another candidate
Kunjan Nadar was stabbed at Mavilai37. In these two incidents the
police were witnessing and enjoying the scenes. The victims were
attacked simply because they were associated with TTNC even
though they knew Malayalam language.
9. Achievement of TTNC
The election was over and the results were announced.
Out of the 18 candidates, 14 candidates who contested in Thovalai,
Agasteeswaram, Kalkulam and Vilavancode won the election with
a vast majority of votes defeating the rivals or the State Congress
candidates deplorably. In Agasteeswaram and Thovalai Taluks, the
State Congress candidates lost their deposits38. But the candidates who contested in the TTNC ticket lost the Neyyattinkarai seat.
However for the first time Tamilians got an opportunity to enter
the strong-holds of Malayalees39. In Deviculam also, the TTNC
candidate lost, for the workers were unable to come out for voting
from their hiding places due to police atrocities40.
10. Again Oppressions
Even though the Kalkulam – Vilavancode people won the
election they could not live peacefully. As soon as the results of the
election were announced, communal rioting started again in its
worst form. The Nadar community people irrespective of religious
affiliations cast their votes unanimously in favour of TTNC41. From
the manner in which the voting was done, it was clear that the
Nairs, Fishermen and Kerala Mudalis voted for Congress42. After
the election with the support of Syrian Christians, State
Congressites and Malayalee priests, the fishermen started
dishonouring the Nadars. The Nadar women who went to the
market to buy fish were treated badly by the fishermen who used
filthy language against the Nadar women. The Nadar women
boycotted buying fish from fishermen. Hence communal rioting
started between the Nadars and the fishermen, which took a very
bad shape. The fishermen were not able to bring fish to the markets.
Those who violated the restrictions were manhandled by the Nadar
community people themselves and the commodities brought by
them to the market were also confiscated. Hence the Act 1PC of
144 was promulgated in many important centres where rioting
was apprehended43.
This revolt led to taking revenge on the TTNC volunteers,
polling agents and other workers who were identified and tortured
by the Reserve Police. Those Nadars who were identified by the
State Congressites were also beaten up by the Reserve Police severely.

Shops owned by the Nadars were subjected to plunder and
destruction. The Reserve police entered the markets and the things
brought to the market for selling by the Nadars were destroyed.
Those who came to sell and buy in the market were manhandled
and chased out of the market premises. The Nadars who lived by
the side of the roads were not able to sleep in their houses for the
police raided their houses at midnight44.
The one-sided and partial behaviour of the government
officials and the police encouraged the Nairs and fishermen to go
in a mob and plunder the Nadar houses, destroy coconut gardens,
betel vines and other vegetations owned by the Nadars. Those who
complained regarding these atrocities of the Nairs and fishermen
were dragged to the police station and to the court and finally
punished. Due to the instigation of the Malayalee Catholic priests,
Nairs and Police Department, Attoor market was plundered and
irreparable damage was caused to the Nadars45.
The Police Department smashed the houses, shops, printing
stations, industrial units which were on both sides of the road from
Kuzhithurai Municipal office upto Thoduvetti bullock market. An
old man who was sitting in a tea shop to sip a cup of tea at
Marthandam was severely beaten by the police. A black-smith who
was working in his unit and a cycle shop owner and his handicapped
son were manhandled severely by the Reserve Police. Police entered
Christal Press at Marthandam, smashed the printing machine and
hurt the owner and his brother46. A Christian priest aged more than
seventy by name Harris, who was sitting in the Christal Press was
threatened by the Reserve Police47. The police entered Thoduvetty
market, brutally attacked the coconut merchants and jaggery
merchants and looted their cash. As the women were attacked and
molested, they ran away to save their lives leaving the articles they
brought to the market for sale48. Tamilians were afraid of going to the Malayalee hotels for, in one of the Malayalee hotels, two Tamilians
were poisoned49.
In Vilavancode and Kalkulam Taluks, the right to assemble
and speak was refused. For two weeks from 5 March 1948, assembly
of more than five persons in a place was prohibited50. In the name
of Peace Committee, to restore peace in the disturbed areas,
unwanted elements of the State Congress were enrolled and they
under the pretext of peace talk kindled communal rioting to an
unimaginable extent51. The Members of the Representative Body
of Travancore of the Agasteeswaram-Thovalai Taluks, Sivaraman,
Thanulingam, Ponniah and Ambrose wrote a complaint, explaining
the pathetic condition of the Nadars of Kalkulam and Vilavancode
who were under the grip of insecurity of life and property, to the
police higher official on 7 March 1948. They requested the officer
to visit those places and see the conditions directly and to render
salvation to the victims. No action was taken. Instead persecution
continued without any interruption52.
The records confirm that the untold sufferings undergone
by the Nadar community of Kalkulam and Vilvancode Taluks laid
solid foundation for the liberation of the Tamilians of South

Nairs at the Helm of Affairs

1. Introduction
The Nairs with the co-operation of other communities
wanted the abolition of the Dewan post and to capture power.
The goal was achieved by the Maharaja’s Proclamation of
Responsible Government to Travancore. The Reforms Committee
formed for the implementation of Responsible Government
conducted election for the Representative Body in 1948. The State
Congress headed by a Nair, Pattom Thanu Pillai bagged 97 seats
out of the 120 seats and came out with absolute majority in the
Assembly1. Next to the State Congress, TTNC captured 14, Muslim
League 8 and one seat independent2. The first day, first session of
the Representative Body was boycotted by TTNC as a protest against
the atrocities of the Government. Pattom Thanu Pillai was sworn
in as the Chief-Minister. After him Narayana Pillai became the
Chief Minister. During his period, Cochin State was united with
Travancore. The strength of the Nairs increased in the Travancore
– Cochin State Assembly. Even then Narayana Pillai ministry had a
premature exit. An Ezhava community member, Kesavan became
the chief minister until the next election to the State Assembly.  2. Boycott of Assembly Session
The Representative Body met for the first time in the
political history of Travancore on 20 March 1948. On that day,
the Maharaja gave his historic concurrence to frame the interim
constitution. Accordingly, the interim constitution was introduced
in the House on 24 March 19483. The most important first day
meeting was boycotted by the important opposition party, the
TTNC. Nesamony, the Leader of the Parliamentary Party in his
letter to the Dewan and to the Press declared that the boycott was
in protest of the government’s atrocities against the Tamilians4 in
the four Southern Taluks. The head of the State Congress, Pattom
Thanu Pillai was charged for his caste-based rule in Travancore.
He released the Nair goondas against the Tamilians of the Southern
Taluks. The safety and security of the life and properties of the
Tamilians in those areas were in danger. All these cruel deeds were
done with the help of Nair Officers, Assistant Superintendent of
Police, the Magistrate and the State Congress Leaders. When
thousands of Tamilians in the Southern taluks were in untold
miseries due to the enemical attitude and behaviour of the
Government under Pattom Thanu Pillai, a Nair, the first day
meeting of the First Representative Body was not a happy occasion
to celebrate. This boycott by the TTNC was to record their protest
against the atrocities of the government and a tribute to those who
suffered persecution by Nairs5.
3. A Nair Chief Minister
The interim constitution published on 24 March 1948 made
provision for the formation of a ministry under the Prime Minister6.
The post of the Dewan was abolished and all the powers were vested
in the hands of the Maharaja. But he could act only according to
the advice of the ministry under the Prime Minister. It was declared
that the Representative Body would act as the Constitutional and Legislative Body. This Body had the authority to legislate, discuss
the financial report, raise questions and pass resolutions7. On the
same day, the State Congress President Pattom Thanu Pillai as Prime
Minister, (Before India became a Republic, the Chief Minister of a
State was designated as Prime Minister) the Ezhava leader Kesavan
and the Syrian Christian Vargheese as co-ministers were sworn in8.
Thus in Travancore the constitutional monarchy came into existence.
The dream of the Nair community occupying the helm of affairs
was fulfilled.
When a Nair was found at the helm of affairs, the Nairs of
South Travancore leaped up in joy. In many places the victory was
celebrated with pomp and gaiety. But at the same time, the position
of the Nadars in the South was deplorable. The daily bread winners
of the Nadar community, especially in the rural areas, were poverty
– stricken as well as fear-stricken. Brutal attack on the Nadars, setting
fire to their houses and plundering of their belongings once again
became the order of the day, which reminded them of their
condition some hundred and fifty years ago9. But the happiness of
the Nairs did not last long.
4. Fall of Ministry
Within a few days, Thanu Pillai’s Ministry had to face
opposition from his own party men. The Nairs of North Travancore
hated Thanu Pillai Ministry. Before forming the ministry, the party
decided to release all those who were in jail under Punnappura-
Vayalar case. Thanu Pillai Government refused to release them.
So there was a mutiny in the Central Jail. Many were injured and
certain others escaped from jail10. This incident pulled down the
prestige of Thanu Pillai Government.
Another matter of contention was Thanu Pillai’s Financial
Report. During the time of Dewan Ramaswamy Iyer, Pattom  Thanu Pillai opposed certain items of expenditure. Many of the
items he opposed were found in the Financial Report presented
by him in the Assembly as Prime Minister of Travancore. Hence
there was a lot of opposition in the Assembly to his budget11. In the
meantime Thanu Pillai expanded his three member ministry by
adding four more12. This brought dissatisfaction among the party
members and they characterised this action as dictatorship.
Above all, the issue of Aykia Keralam posed a very serious
problem to Thanu Pillai Government. Thanu Pillai opposed the
idea of forming Aykia Keralam, leaving the wet lands of South
Travancore. To explore the possibilities of reorganising the state
boundaries on linguistic basis, Dhar Commission visited Calicut.
Then Thanu Pillai sent a telegram to the Commission expressing
his dissatisfaction over disturbing the existing Travancore. His
telegram infuriated the State Congress Champions of Aykia
Keralam13. They wished to move a no-confidence motion in the
Assembly against Pattom Thanu Pillai Ministry. It was moved and
the famous ministry which consisted of the community chiefs fell
on 22 October 194814. Even though the above reasons were
attributed to the fall of the Ministry, the reality was the prevalence
of communal politics in Travancore15. The ministry formed by the
high level chiefs of the communities Nair, Ezhava and Syrian
Christian fell because of the antagonism of Ezhavas and Syrian
Christians against the Nairs.
5. Another Nair Chief Minister
The next man to head the ministry, Narayana Pillai was
also a Nair who belonged to North Travancore16. Pattom Thanu Pillai who laid down the office of the Prime Minister of Travancore
deserted State Congress and organised the Praja Socialist Party (PSP)
in Travancore with 17 important members of State Congress. As a
result like TTNC, PSP also became an opposition party in the
Assembly. In the mean time Muslim League Party was dissolved and
its members were allowed to join any other party. Consequently
Nedumancaud Muslim League Member of the Legislative Assembly,
Razak joined TTNC Party17. Since Thanu Pillai left State Congress,
his friend Karayalar who was elected to the Travancore Assembly
from Shenkottai constituency joined TTNC. As a result, the strength
of TTNC in the Assembly increased to sixteen18. State Congress now
came under the control of Syrian Christians.
6. Union of Travanocre – Cochin
Narayana Pillai was very much interested in forming Aykia
Keralam and attempted towards his goal as soon as he became the
Prime Minister. Dhar Commission which submitted its report on
Linguistic Reorganisation of States, recommended for the
formation of States on the basis of administrative convenience and
not on linguistic basis19. Yet the Commission suggested that if
Cochin was merged with Travancore, there was no harm in joining
Calicut also to form Aykia Keralam20. To Kelappan and Narayana
Pillai who were very particular in the formation of Aykia Keralam,
the suggestion of the Commission was a boon and they were busily
engaged in forming the Union of Travancore and Cochin21.
The State Congress members Kelappan and Narayana Pillai
and the Madras State Assembly members of Malabar and Palacaud
region jointly arranged for a Conference at Alwaye in February
194922. The TTNC members were also invited for the Conference.

In the Conference, a resolution was moved to unite Travancore,
Cochin and Calicut of the Madras State to form Aykia Keralam.
Pattom Thanu Pillai who was present in the Alwaye Conference
warned that the proposal was against the constitution and if Aykia
Keralam was formed, the Tamil Regions would secede and
Travancore would have to starve. But his was a lone voice in the
wilderness. TTNC Parliamentary Party Leader Nesamony proposed
a correction in the said resolution. He recommended to add the
words, “barring the Tamil Regions” at the beginning of the
resolution. That was not accepted23.
Uniting Travancore and Cochin was seriously undertaken
by the Prime Minister Narayana Pillai, Cochin Chief Minister
Ikkanda Warriar and the Education Minister Madhava Menon of
Madras State. Central Government extended its full co-operation
to the efforts taken by them. Following this, Raja of Cochin stepped
down on 1 July 1949. Travancore and Cochin were united and
the Travancore Raja became Raj Pramuk of Travancore – Cochin
State. The two State Assemblies were amalgamated into one. A
new ministry was also formed by Narayana Pillai which included
a few members from the former Cochin Ministry24. The Union of
Travancore – Cochin was opposed by TTNC. On 13 July 1949,
TTNC began to raise voice against the union25. Under the assurance
of Home Minister Sardar Vallabai Patel of the Central Government
and the Madras State Congress President Kamaraj, that at the time
of State Reorganisation on linguistic basis the demand of TTNC
also would be considered, TTNC withdrew its struggle26.
7. Another Fall of Ministry
The domination of Syrian Christians in the State Congress
continued even after the merger of Cochin with Travancore. Nairs
and Ezhavas joined together against the Syrian Christians in the
party. To consolidate the Hindus27, Mannathu Padbhanaban, the President of Nair Seva Sangam and Shankar, the Leader of the
SNDP Yogam of the Ezhavas, joined together and formed in 1950,
the organisation called Hindu Maha Mandal28. This organisation
created a political party named Democratic Congress. Many Nairs
and Ezhavas left State Congress and a majority of them joined the
Communist Party29. This weakened the Congress Party. Narayana
Pillai was in a poor state of predicament.
Again, the Cochin representatives felt that they were not
given proper representation in the Narayana Pillai Ministry. So
Narayana Pillai had to face the threat of Cochin members in the
Assembly. Already TTNC and PSP members were on the opposition
and if the Cochin members also joined them, the position of
Narayana Pillai would be in a state of flux. To save the ministry, the
only way available to Narayana Pillai was to come to a compromise
with TTNC30. Hence Narayana Pillai sought the help of the senior
minister of Madras State, Bhakthavatsalam. He came forward to
help Narayana Pillai readily. Bhakthavatsalam came to Palayamcottai,
invited TTNC leaders to Palayamcottai and resumed talks on the
subject of co-operation of TTNC with Narayana Pillai Government.
Narayana Pillai and Velayuthan Nair of Travancore – Cochin State
also joined in the compromise talk initiated by Bhakthavatsalam. As
a result, a six point compromise formula was prepared. 31This was
called Palayamcottai Pact. As this pact was not accepted by the
General Body of TTNC, the attempt of Narayana Pillai failed.
Day by day, opposition to Narayana Pillai Ministry mounted.
When a bill relating to Devaswam was introduced in the Assembly
the leaders of NSS and SNDP Yogam opposed it vehemently. But
the Assembly accepted the bill, inspite of their opposition32. To appease his opponents, Narayana Pillai appointed the Nair Chief,
Mannathu Padbhanaban as the Chairman of Devaswam and the
Ezhava Chief, Shankar as a member. Even then Narayana Pillai was
not able to bring them to his line. Due to the Devaswam Bill,
Narayana Pillai had to relinquish his position. On 14 February 1951
his ministry fell33.
Even after the fall of Narayana Pillai Ministry, the steps
taken by Nairs and Ezhavas to diminish the power of Syrian
Christians in the State Congress continued. The leader of the
Ezhava Community Kesavan of State Congress was made the Chief
Minister34. He continued as the Chief Minister until the general
election of December 1951 and January 195235. A compromise
was reached between Kesavan and Shankar36 as they belonged to
the same community. Shankers’s Hindu Maha Mandal fell. After
its fall, again the Ezhava – Nair communal fight resumed in the
Travancore – Cochin Politics.

Trials and Triumph

1. Introduction
Nair rule came to an end with the resignation of the Chief
Minister, Pattom Thanu Pillai in October 1948. However the same
Nair became the Chief Minister under another political party in
the State in March 1954. In the absence of Nair rule in Travancore
for a period of five years, TTNC and the Tamilians experienced
both trials and triumph. A Boundary Conference was successfully
conducted by the TTNC and displayed the strength of the
Tamilians in Travancore to the external world and to the internal
Malayalee Society, especially to the Nair community. TTNC could
establish good relationship with the State Congress and availed an
opportunity of participating in the administration of Travancore –
Cochin State during that interval. Amidst these happy instances,
TTNC had to face trials also from its own members. To divide
TTNC and thereby to neutralise its power, enemies made frantic
attempts. Nesamony, the leader of TTNC faced the situation boldly
and established the fact that no force or power on earth could
destroy the movement.
2. Boundary Conference
With a view to focus the attention of the people on the
subject of joining the Tamil Regions of Travancore with the State of Madras, a grand conference called Boundary Conference was
held in Kanyakumari on 6 January 1950. Many committees were
formed to attend the conference work and to conduct in a grand
manner. Nesamony was the head of the Reception Committee.
Under the Chairmanship of Krishnaswamy Bharathy, member of
Indian Constituent Assembly, Thesiga Vinayagam Pillai gave the
inaugural address1. In the welcome speech, Nesamony exposed
the atrocities of the Malayalee government on the Tamilians of the
State with evidences. He said, in the form of rent of land and
income tax a large amount of money was extracted from the
Tamilians without any stipulation and account. Malayalee officers
always collected from the Tamilians more than what was due to
the government. Nesamony exposed with statistics in the
conference, how the government was denying Tamil education to
the children of Tamil parents, how the irrigation projects –
construction of Dams and cutting of Channels – in the Tamil areas
were neglected and the money allotted was not spent, how
compulsary procurement of grains was made from Tamilians and
how the Tamilians were neglected in government appointments
and promotions2.
Nesamony said that there was no truth in the statement of
Nairs that the Malayalees would die of starvation if the southern
taluks were separated from the Travancore – Cochin State. The
total area under paddy cultivation in Travanocre-Cochin State was
6,01,000 acres. Out of this only 59,859 acres came under the four
southern taluks. The total food grains production in the four
southern taluks was sufficient only to one-third of the total
population of the State. The remaining two-third of the total
requirement was imported from other states. Hence the argument
that Travancore would go in starvation if Tamil regions were
separated from Travancore was only a baseless, false propaganda
of Malayalees3.

Lastly Nesamony pointed out the anamoly in the statements
and actions of the Malayalees. Malayalees frequently carried the
message to Delhi that they were not able to tolerate the dominance
of the Tamilians and so they wanted Kerala State. If such was the
case why not the converse was true and allow the Tamilians to go
and join with the Tamils of the Madras State by using the same
scale that they were using to form Kerala State? If the Tamilians go
astray from the peaceful methods to restore their dignity, safety,
security in life and protection for their language and culture.
Nesamony put the responsibility on Malayalees. He concluded his
speech by requesting for secession and a warning of struggle against
the government till the last4.
3. First Trial
After the successful completion of the Boundary
Conference, TTNC had to face many trials which were not palatable
instances in the history of TTNC. The political changes in the
Travancore – Cochin State contributed an opportunity to such trials
to happen in the TTNC party. To destroy Christian domination in
the State Congress, Hindu Maha Mandal was founded. TTNC
Assembly party whip, Thanulingam Nadar was the Vice-President
of the Mandal5. It was organised by Mannathu Padbhanaban, the
Chief of the Nair community and Shankar, the Chief of the Ezhava
community against the Syrian Christian domination in the State
Congress. Thus the State Congress was divided into two – Hindu
and Christian and the party was weakened.
Following the path of Padbhanaban and Shanker,
Thanulingam Nadar tried to divide TTNC into Hindu and
Christian and to gain the leadership of TTNC which was in the
hands of Nesamony, a Protestant Christian. By giving false
propaganda about Nesamony, Thanulingam wanted to separate
the Hindu Nadars from TTNC and to join them with other caste
Hindus6 and thereby to gain power. The owner and editor of Bharathi newspaper, Sathianesan tried his best to avoid Hindu –
Christian division in TTNC and to restore unity. To that effect he
wrote a letter to Nesamony on 14 August 19507.
4. Second Trial
When TTNC was facing the Hindu – Christian problem in
the party itself, the Palayamcottai Pact posed another problem to
the party. Palayamcottai Pact which was presented in the General
Body of TTNC was defeated by one vote. Sivagnana Gramony,
the head of the Tamizharasu Kazhagam played a major role in
defeating the Palayamcottai Pact in the General Body even though
he was not a member of TTNC. He thought that Nesamony had
brought an end to southern boundary dispute of Madras State8 in
which Gramony was interested. He also wrote an article in his
newpaper Tamil Murasu condemning the Palaymcottai Pact9. For
defeating the Pact he made use of the members of his organisation
who penetrated into TTNC10.
5. Third Trial
Due to Thanulingam’s attempt to divide Hindu Nadars
and Christian Nadars in TTNC and the defeat of the Palayamcottai
Pact, the leaders of TTNC were in a state of dilemma. Under such
a situation the President of TTNC, Sam Nathaniel resigned from
his presidentship. Because of his resignation, TTNC was on the
path of electing a new president to the party. Competition that
took place in the election of president divided the Party into two.
Bharathi Editor, Sathianesan persuaded11 Sam Nathaniel to
continue in office. He advised Sam Nathaniel to forget what had
happened to the Palayamcottai Pact in the Party and reminded
him of the responsibility of consolidating and preparing the party
to face the ensuing election. Sathianesan on 14 August 1950 wrote a letter to Sam Nathaniel reiterating his responsibility. Still Nathaniel
was very adamant in his earlier decision12. It was a set-back to the
6. Split in TTNC
Election for presidentship of TTNC was conducted on 16
October 1950. Two people contested for the post – one was
Ramaswamy Pillai, the Vice – President of TTNC, proposed by
Nesamony and the other was Thanulingam Nadar, Vice – President
of Hindu Maha Mandal, proposed by Gandhi Raman. Ramaswamy
Pillai won and became the President of TTNC13. To defeat State
Congress which was dominated by Syrian Christians the leaders of
Hindu Maha Mandal created a political party called Democratic
Congress. Likewise to destroy the domination of Nesamony, a
Protestant Christian in TTNC Party, Thanulingam who was
defeated in the president’s election, founded another Political Party.
Twenty Seven discontented members assembled at Ozhuginasery
Saraswathy Hall on 27 October 1950 and elected Thanulingam
Nadar as leader of their group14.
Thanulingam Nadar who believed in Hindu Mahamandal
was disappointed. Within one or two months, vast changes in the
political scenario of Travancore took place. In the month of
February 1951 Kesavan, belonging to the Ezhava community,
became the Chief Minister of Travancore – Cochin State and as a
result the Democratic Congress of Shankar of the Ezhava
community and the State Congress came to some understanding15.
Hence Thanulingam’s influence in the Hindu Maha Mandal
became weak and finally crashed. This fall and the non – response
among the Hindus led Thanulingam also to a state of dilemma.
He wanted to rejoin TTNC but failed in that attempt also. In the meantime the first General Election of the Indian
Republic was under preparation. For the first time symbols were
introduced for the election. The political parties which were recognised
by the Election Commission were allotted symbols. TTNC was allotted
Kudam (Pot) as its symbol. Thanulingam wanted to test his strength
by contesting in the election. Thanulingam applied to the Election
Commission to recognise his party also under the same name ,TTNC.
As there was already a registration, the commission rejected his
application. Hence he requested to recognise his party as “The
Travancore Tamil Nad Congress” and to allot a symbol. The name as
TTTNC was approved and bullock cart symbol was allotted to his
7. Triumph of Nesamony
Election Commission decided to hold the election during
the months of December 1951 and January 1952. TTNC contested
in all the 12 constituencies and won in eight seats. TTTNC of
Thanulingam was not able to win even a single seat17. In the Nagercoil
Parliament Constituency from the TTNC side Nesamony contested.
TTTNC fielded Thanulingam Nadar. The third contestant was
surprisingly the former President of TTNC, Sam Nathaniel who
was fielded by Pattom Thanu Pillai the leader of Praja Socialist Party
(P.S.P.) and the symbol was Banyan Tree. The fourth independent
candidate was Siva Thanu Pillai. Nesamony won the Parliament
seat by obtaining more than the total votes obtained by his rivals.
Nesamony got a majortiy of 17,000 votes than his nearest rival and
the former President Sam Nathaniel came fourth and lost deposit18.
Thus Sam Nathaniel addressed himself as the traitor of the oppressed
community. Nesamony remarked that a dominant community man,
Thanu Pillai was better than Sam Nathaniel. But this was the reality
and it should certainly serve as a lesson or torch to anyone engaged
in the liberation process.

8. A Nadar in the Ministry
Shankar an Ezhava was the head of the Democratic
Congress and another Ezhava, Kesavan was the head of the State
Congress. They joined together as Travanocre – Cochin Congress
and opposed their common enemy, the Communist Party. Even
then Congress had to face a severe blow. Out of the 108 seats in
the legislature, Congress could capture only 44 seats. The founder
of Hindu Maha Mandal and the President of Democratic Congress,
Shankar was defeated19. Since Congress had no independent
majority in the Assembly, the Communist Party tried to form the
government. Due to internal dissatisfactions they could not form
the government20. Hence the Raj Pramuk21 invited John of the
Congress Party, which secured maximum number of seats in the
Assembly, to form the Government22. John accepted the invitation.
John, a member of the Syrian Christian community formed the
government on 12 March 195223.
However Congress Party had no absolute majortiy in the
legislature and it invited TTNC members to join with the congress.
Since an agreement was reached, the TTNC members joined with
the Congress Party members for all practical purposes24. TTNC
member Chithambaranathan Nadar was included in the ministry.
On 24 May he was sworn in as Forest and Revenue Minister25.
This was the first time in the history, a Nadar was raised to the
position of a minister and it was a pleasant surprise to the Nadar
community in Travancore – Cochin.
The relationship of TTNC with the State Congress did not
continue for long. Split arose between the two parties within a few months. Choosing candidates to contest in the Municipal election
in the months of January and February 1953 might be one of the
reasons for the split26. But the rejection of the demand for the
formation of Regional Congress Committee for the Tamil Regions
was the main reason for the split27.
Under such circumstances, Thanulingam Nadar once again
joined TTNC in March 195328. In continuation of his re-entry,
the independent candidate of Parasalai Constituency, Kunjan
Nadar joined TTNC29. Thus in the Assembly the strength of TTNC
members rose to nine.
9. Re-Election Ordered
TTNC leaders were dissatisfied with the Congress
Government for they had not heeded to any of their demands. A
joint Committee of TTNC and Parliamentary Committee was held
on 28 June 1953 at Eraniel. TTNC warned the Congress that it
would be compelled to withdraw the support to the government if
its demand for the formation of a separate Regional Congress
Committee was not heeded. In this connection, Chidambaranathan
met the Chief Minister30 and informed him of the TTNC
resolution. As a member of the ministry, Chidambaranathan was
not able31 to represent the wish of TTNC forcefully under these
circumstances. Chidambaranathan wished to get out of the
ministry and wrote a letter to Nesamony regarding the idea of his
No reply was received regarding the demands of TTNC
from the Government or the Congress Party. To solve the problem
the discussions held by Nesamony with the high level office bearers
of State Congress proved futile. In continuation, the General Body of TTNC was convened on 13 September 1953 at Nagercoil and it
resolved to withdraw TTNC representative from the ministry
immediately33. Accordingly on 15 September, Chidambaranathan
Nadar resigned from the Ministry. TTNC Assembly members also
resigned from the Congress Assembly Party. The ministry was
defeated by six votes in the Assembly. John’s Ministry resigned on
24 September 195334. On the same night, the Raj Pramuk dissolved
the Assembly and ordered for re-election. It was decided to hold
the elections during January and February 1954.

Climax of Malayalee  Dominance

1. Introduction
The Congress Government lost the confidence of the State
Assembly. Hence John ministry resigned on 24 September 1953
and the re-election was fixed to be held during the months of
January and February 1954. All the political parties in the State
were getting ready to face the election. Communist Party entered
the field as the main opponent of Congress Party. To oppose the
Congress Party, which was dominated by the Syrian Christians,
the Communist Party organised under its left fold all the anti-
Christian forces. Kerala Socialist Party, Praja Socialist Party and
Revolutionary Socialist Party joined together in opposing the
Congress Party. For the third time TTNC also entered the election
field. To give a strong opposition to the Communist alliance,
Congress Party tried for an alliance with TTNC. But it failed.
Hence Travancore State Congress and TTNC independently
competed in the election. The Nairs managed to capture the
government. This dominance of Nairs once again led to the
oppression of Nadars in South Travancore.
2. Again a Nair
The strength of State Congress fell after the election.
Congress secured only 45 seats in the 118 members Assembly. Communists bagged 23, Praja Socialist Party (PSP) 19,
Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) 9, Kerala Socialist Party (KSP)3
and Independents 5 seats. TTNC secured 12 seats in the Assembly
and became stronger than before1. As there was no single party
majortiy in the Assembly, the forming of government became a
problem. Even though Congress managed to get more seats than
other parties, the High Command of the party instructed the
Assembly Party not to attempt for the formation of ministry. But
to avoid Communist rule in the State or the president’s rule, the
leader of the Congress Assembly Party, Panampalli Govinda Menon
came forward to support the PSP Leader, Pattom Thanu Pillai, a
Nair. Hence Thanu Pillai on 17 March 1954, formed the ministry
even though PSP was in minority in the Assembly2. Thus Nair
dominance was re-established once again in the Travancore-Cochin
State politics.
3. Subdued by force
An enemy of TTNC all through got another opportunity
to suppress it. Before forming the ministry, Thanu Pillai offered
the Speaker’s post in the Assembly to TTNC and in return sought
the support of TTNC representatives in the internal elections. As
Thanu Pillai had allegiance with the Communist Party, the TTNC
leaders refused to accept the offer of Thanu Pillai. Following this,
election to the Council of States, Devaswam Department and several
other committees took place in the Assembly. TTNC took a
different stand and voted against Thanu Pillai’s candidates. As a
result Pillai’s candidates suffered defeat. Thanu Pillai hence forth
determined to take revenge on TTNC3.
The finance minister submitted his report in the Assembly.
The Neyyar Left Bank Channel scheme which was included in
the First Five Year Plan was found left in the budget. Irrigation schemes and drinking water schemes which were included in the
financial report were subsequently found dropped as they were
beneficial to the Travancore Tamil Nadu regions. Hence TTNC
members insisted to reconsider the financial report and to include
the projects which were included in the previous report. They also
wanted that if the government was adament in dropping out those
projects which were included in the previous report, the TTNC
would be forced to resort to other democratic methods which were
possible under its purview. This warning was given to the
government in writing by the fourteen TTNC Parliamentary Party
members. Copies of their petition were sent to the concerned
ministers of both Central and State Governments4. TTNC party
secretary wanted to discuss this matter in detail with the Chief
Minister. But the Chief Minister Pattom Thanu Pillai was silent to
the request of TTNC5.
4. Deviculam Struggle
Under these circumstances the State Reorganisation
Commission (SRC) under the chairmanship of Fazl Ali6, visited
Travancore at the end of May 1954. TTNC leaders met the
Commission and gave a written request to merge Deviculam and
Peermade Taluks also with Madras State. Hence the P.S.P.
Government under Thanu Pillai decided to drive away the
Tamilians from those two taluks7. Nearly 400 Tamilians were
arrested, false cases were foisted against them and people in those
regions had no safety or security for their lives, properties and
liberty8. The action of the Government was condemned by the
South Indian Estate Workers Union and TTNC, and hence
struggle started. Labour Union leaders and committee members of TTNC organisation, who were engaged in the struggle9 were
brutally tortured. Due to the police torture, Labour Union
secretary, Kuppusamy lost his hearing ability10. Fearing the police
atrocities, a large number of labourers fled to Madras State and
hid themselves in the villages of Madurai. To have first hand
knowledge about the situation, four TTNC members of the
legislature visited Deviculam and Peermade Taluks11. Those four
members of the Legislative Assembly who visited Deviculam and
Peermade Taluks submitted a report to the Chief Minister, Thanu
Pillai explaining the atrocities of the police. They requested him to
take appropriate steps to stop the police atrocities and to assure the
people that they would be protected from police torture. For this
petition and for the subsequent follow-ups, the MLAs received no
reply from the Chief Minister12.
Subsequent to the petition to the Chief Minister the police
atrocities in Deviculam and Peermade took a very bad turn. Since
the government turned a deaf ear, the TTNC executive committee
met on 19 June and resolved to observe 30 June as “Deviculam
Day” throughout Travancore Tamil Nad13. Public meetings were
conducted throughout Tamil Nadu on Deviculam Day. As
Nesamony was proposed to meet the Deviculam people on 4 July,
the leaders of TTNC proposed to observe that day as Deviculam
Day throughout Deviculam and Peermade Taluks14. But the
magistrate promulgated 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code,
prohibitary order for a period of one month from 29 June onwards
to prevent Nesamony and other TTNC leaders from contacting
directly the Deviculam and Peermade people15. TTNC leaders
Nesamony, Razak and Chidambara Nathan Nadar went there on
4 July and violated the prohibitary order. They were arrested and
sentenced to six months imprisonment16.

TTNC Executive Committee met on 6 July 1954 at Nagercoil
under the chairmanship of TTNC president, Ramaswamy Pillai17.
An Action Council was formed and the President of the Party was
made the First Dictator18 (Leader). On 6 July 1954, the Action
Council met at Panagudy19, which was out of Travancore limit
and chalked out programmes. Accordingly throughout Travancore
Tamil Nad, public meetings were conducted, processions were
taken, satyagraha was observed before government offices in a very
peaceful manner; daily from 9 July 1954 onwards20. Violation of
prohibitary order at Deviculam continued till 29 July21. Communist
Party, Dravida Munneta Kazhagam and Tamizharasu Kazhagam
came in support of the TTNC actions22. Those who spoke in the
public meetings organised by TTNC declared that it was the final
assault and so the Tamilians must come forward even to sacrifice
their lives and that would ensure either death or victory23. Thanu
Pillai was also getting ready to crush the struggle of the Tamilians.
When he was replying to an adjournment motion in the Assembly
on 12 July, he declared that the struggle of TTNC would be
subdued by force24.
5. Deliverance Day
To expose the discriminatory policy of the government and
its suppressive attitudes towards Tamilians of the State, TTNC fixed
a date25. That day became the most imporant day in the history of
the liberation of the oppressed community in Travancore – Cochin
State. TTNC decided to observe 11 August 1954 as Deliverance
Day throughout Travancore Tamil Nadu26. Public meetings, processions, hartals and satyagraha in front of all government offices
were arranged. To conduct all those programmes in a peaceful
manner, hand bills containing instructions were distributed to the
volunteers and the public27. In order to crush this attempt of TTNC,
the Government went out of its way and let loose tyranny on
Tamilians28. Thanu Pillai, the Chief Minister warned that theTTNC
programmes would be crushed with an iron hand29. At the same
time Thanu Pillai insligated the Nairs, his own community people
against the Tamilians with a view to wipe out the Nadar Community
from the land30.
Instead of neutralising the struggle, the government actions
served as catalystic agent. According to the evil plan of the
government, the TTNC leader, Nesamony and certain others were
released from the central jail three days prior to 11 August 195431.
Two months prior to the Deliverance Day onwards, the
police atrocitics on the Tamils and the indifference of the
government on the irrigation schemes beneficial to the Tamilians
were very clearly explained to the people through public meetings32.
Hence the people were antagonistic towards the Police Department
and the Government administration. One week before the
Deliverance Day every where in Tamil regions prevailed fear and
insecurity33. In the mean time a request from the Prime Minister
of India, Jawaharlal Nehru was received by the President of TTNC
requesting to give up the satyagraha programme. He stated that
neither the Central Government nor the State Government could
do anything before the submission of the report of States
Reorganisation Commission. He expressed his dissatisfaction on
the proposed satyagraha of TTNC34.

The proposed Deliverance Day came. Under the
chairmanship of Nesamony a public meeting was conducted at
Nagercoil. Even though, on that day public meetings, processions
and satyagrahas were conducted throughout Travancore Tamil
Nadu peacefully, at Kuzhithurai and in the areas around
Kuzhithurai, police atrocities caused tension which resulted in loss
of lives also35. This might have, perhaps, advanced the liberation
of the oppressed community.
6. Manhunt at Marthandam
Deliverance Day programmes started with a public meeting
on 11 August 1954 at Marthandam Gandhi Maidan. Sixteen
volunteers were selected to picket at Kuzhithurai First Class
Magistrate Court. Selected volunteers were garlanded and taken
in a procession36. Initially nearly 5000 people participated in the
procession and at about 11.30 a.m. it approached Kuzhithurai.
Those who accompanied the procession shouted slogans like,
“Pattom Rule Down Down”, “United Tamilagam will be formed”,
“Struggle will be continued until then”, “Struggle started”, etc37.
When the mob reached the gate of the Magistrate Court, the
number of participants doubled to 10,000. Without giving any
warning, to disburse the mob, the police resorted to lathi charge
suddenly and arrested many. Hundreds of people were injured38.
From the Magistrate Court the mob dispersed into two and one
group went to the Kuzhithurai Bus Stand . At that time the students
of Marthandam English High School got out of the School premises
and went in a procession. Under the pretext that the students pelted
stones, the police initiated lathi charge and arrested two of them.
Thus the situation at Marthandam became worse as a result of the
wrong approach of the police department39.

Many government buses were damaged. In between
Marthandam andThoduvetty the road was blocked by telephone
posts, electrical posts and big stones. The police sub-inspector of
Vilavancode Station requested the Assistant Superintendent of
Police to visit the spot. He came immediately and ordered for
firing40. Many were shot dead and certain others injured41. As per
the Shankaran Commission Report, the number of dead was 3 at
Marthandam42. But actually the number was much more than
what was reported by the Commission43.
7. Manhunt at Puthukadai
A planned picketing at Sub- Registrar Office near
Puthukadai on 11 August 1954 was conducted. As there was no
police force on the spot all went peacefully. Those who picketed
the office peacefully left the office premises. It was planned for a
public meeting in Puthukadai at about 3.30 p.m. under the
chairmanship of Kunjan Nadar, the Second Dictator. As he did
not turn up till 5.00 p.m., advocate Gopala Krishnan presided over
this meeting44. Nearly 10,000 people assembled to attend the
meeting45. As soon as the meeting started, the police without any
warning entered into the crowd and started lathi charge and firing.
Gopala Krishnan and Mathiyazhagan were dragged down from
the dais and put in police van46. The crowd dispersed and the
people ran in all directions. They were chased and shot. Many
were injured and some were killed. Thus the police fired 28
rounds47. Many of those who ran for their lives were caught with
the assistance of Nairs of that locality48. According to the Shankaran
Commission, 4 were dead and the injured were 8 in number49.

But nobody knew how many were injured, how many were shot
dead and how many escaped. The injured and dead were loaded
in two police vans and taken to Trivandrum50. The injured who
escaped the police eyes and found shelter in private hospitals for
treatment were collected and transported to Trivandrum in police
vans. Kunjan Nadar, Second Dictator who organised the whole
Deliverance Day programmes was arrested on the same day
midnight by breaking open the doors of his house at Nagercoil51.
Even though he was a member of the Travancore – Cochin
Legislative Assembly and an important leader of TTNC he was
offered scant respect and subjected to severe illtreatment52. The
struggle was suspended but the police atrocities continued.
8. Rule of Terror
Next day the Chief Minister Thanu Pillai visited the places
where shooting was conducted. He congratulated the police
department of having done a wonderful job53. When he came to
visit, he was accompanied by 1600 Reserve Police with weapons.
After the visit he returned to the capital leaving behind the Reserve
Police to identify the Nadars and torture them. The Reserve Police
force stationed at important centres in South Travancore started
persecuting the Nadar community54. They identified isolated
houses and plundered and entered the market places and
manhandled Nadars irrespective of sex and age55. Making use of
this opportunity the enemies of TTNC and other castes also helped
the Armed Reserve Police to identify the people by sight56 (Kandal
Ariyam Nadar). Those Nadars who worked on fields, visited the
market places or walked on the road were included in that list and
arrested if they were identified as Nadars57. If the arrested man was a Nadar, he was thrust into the police van and if not sent away
by a push. The exact number of people under police custody was
unknown for they were not presented before the magistrates58. In
many cases the First Information Report (FIR) was not prepared
by the police. Following Kunjan Nadar, 6 MLAs were taken under
custody on different dates. Panchayat members and presidents,
Municipal chairmen and members, lawyers, teachers, merchants,
coolies, etc. were arrested and put in jail without presenting them
before the magistrate59. Even the students were not spared by the
police60. At Marthandam, Karungal, Painkulam and Puthukkadai
alone, 1054 persons were taken into custody in one day by the
police.61 Where they were confined was unknown and false cases
were foisted against many thousands. Consequently nearly 3000
persons found shelter in Madras State62.
The Police Stations were over-flowing and there was no
place for the prisoners even to sit63. Inhuman treatment was meted
out to the prisoners in the name of law and order64. The prisoners
were unable to bear the torture of the Police Department and the
cry of the sufferers rent the air around the stations throughout
night everyday65. Some were wounded and certain others died.
The Nadars of South Travancore felt that they were living in hell66.
Those who were wounded by the police were not able to
go home or to the hospital for treatment for they feared arrest.
They were destined to suffer in their hideouts. The family members
of those victims in the hospital or in the prison or in hiding places
were in starvation because the bread winner was unable to feed them67. Nesamony and his family members were under house arrest.
The Water Tank Road in Nagercoil where Nesamony resided was
under keen watch by the police who camped at both east and west
ends of the road68. Nesamony lost all external contacts and did
not know what was going on regarding the safety and security of
his people. Telephone contact was also denied to him.
9. Boycott of Enquiry
The public and many national leaders demanded a detailed
and thorough enquiry on the 11 August 1954 firing and the
subsequent police atrocities on the Tamils of Travancore69. They
also demanded that the enquiry should be conducted by a man
outside the state and it should be impartial70. All India Praja
Socialist Paty secretary Ram Manohar Lohia condemned the action
of Thanu Pillai Government and demanded its immediate
resignation71. Lohia resigned from the General Secretaryship of
the PSP in protest of Thanu’s treacherous actions.
Because of high pressure from different quarters the
government came forward to institute an one man commission of
enquiry72. TTNC opposed the one man commission of the
government. TTNC demanded the enquiry by a person outside
Travancore-Cochin State and also the immediate withdrawal of
the police from South Travancore and the final report on the cases
should be submitted and the list of culprits identified by sight
should be withdrawn. As these demands of the TTNC were not
accepted, the TTNC decided to boycott the commission73.
10. Pressure From All Quarters
Bail applications were submitted in all courts to release all
those who were in police custody. All the applications were rejected by the Magistrate Courts. Then applications for bail were moved at
the Nagercoil District Court. There also the appeals were rejected.
Finally the High Court was approached. There also the bail
applications were rejected74. All wondered where would the TTNC
leaders go to obtain justice to the Tamils of Travancore who were
suffering in jails, hospitals, hiding places, inside and outside the State.
Who would save and feed the family members who were starving in
their houses due to the absence of the male bread-winners of the
family? In the meantime the Thanu Pillai government tried for the
surrender of Nesamony at this weak and helpless moment. Other
leaders of TTNC persuaded Nesamony to agree for a compromise
move with PSP Government.
Fakrudeen Adam and Ramaswamy Pillai were caught in
the net spread by the PSP Government. They, in consultation with
the PSP leaders prepared a memorandum of understanding
between the two parties and brought it for the approval of
Nesamony. As it amounted to an apology, Nesamony refused to
sign the memorandum75.
11. In Darkness
Shankaran Commission submitted its report on 28
November. As TTNC members hastily indulged in destructive actions
police had to resort to firing as a measure of self protection. But for
this action of the police department, many of its men would have
lost their lives. Thus police firing was justified by Shankaran
Commission report76. It was published in the Gazette on 21
December 1954.

As Nesamony expected, Shankaran Commission dealt a
death blow to TTNC. As avowed by Pattom Thanu Pillai, the
struggle was subdued by force. As all the courts in Travancore –
Cochin State rejected the bail applications of the victims, their
salvation was in dark. The children and other male and female
dependents of the victims had also no salvation from starvation
and death. Amidst this the attitude of the party members was not
at all encouraging. They felt that Nesamony’s apology alone would
bring about a change of attitude of the Nair Govenment. In this
surrounding atmosphere of darkness, Nesamony was at a loss, not
knowing the direction in which he had to move forward77.

Liberation by Separation.

1. Introduction
The law courts in Travancore – Cochin State, at all levels,
rejected the bail applications of all those who were in various jails.
Finding no remedy for their relief, Nesamony approached the
Supreme Court of India for the transfer of cases of the victims. A
no-confidence resolution was moved in the Travancore – Cochin
State Assembly. The ministry had to go out of office and a new
ministry, supported by the TTNC was formed by the Congress
The State Reorganisation Commission submitted its report.
It came for discussion in the Parliament. The Commission
recommended for the merger of four Southern Taluks and
Shencottai with Madras State. Nesamony, in a lone voice, fought
for the merger of the other four taluks with Madras State which
were left out by the Commission. However the oppressed people
of the Southern Taluks of Travancore – Cochin State were liberated
by separation on 1 November 1956.
2. In the Supreme Court
When the sympathisers were pessimistic about the future
of the organisation, Nesamony was optimistic and did not retreat
in spite of the failures and disappointments. He came to the
conclusion that he had to stand up firmly all by himself, never depending on anyone else for support. With bold resolve and
renewed dedication he continued his journey to achieve the goal.
He dispelled all the doubts that were deliberately set around the
organisation by the Government. He successfully exposed the
vengeful attitude of the Chief Minister, Pattom Thanu Pillai.
Nesamony gave first priority to get the release of the Members of
the Legislative Assembly from the jail and so he initiated steps on
that line. He approached his friend Raja Gopalachari and explained
the situation in which he was placed. Rajaji directed Nesamony to
approach the Supreme Court of India and seek its help to shatter
the shackles that were put on by the Government. Accordingly
an application was submitted to the Supreme Court to transfer all
the cases connected with TTNC struggle which were on the files
of Travancore – Cochin Courts to Mysore or Madras State1. As the
Advocate General was against the transfer of the cases to Madras
State, the Supreme Court ordered to transfer the cases to the
Mysore State2. This was the first victory attained by Nesamony.
Immediately on behalf of seven Members of Legislative Assembly
who were in jail, bail applications were submitted to the Mysore
High Court where bail was granted3 and the case was posted for
hearing on 18 February 19554.
3. Danger to the Nair Government
Opposition mounted day by day to Thanu Pillai Ministry.
All sections of people opposed his rule. The media published articles
regarding the atrocities of his Government and wanted the
resignation of Thanu Pillai5. T.S. Ramaswamy Pillai, the Thovalai
Constituency Member belonging to the Thanu Pillai’s Party (PSP)
resigned from the party and opposed the brutal actions of Thanu
Pillai. The Congress Party which gave support to Thanu Pillai to form the PSP Ministry decided to withdraw its support. Nesamony
wrote a letter to the Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru
offering the unconditional support of TTNC to Congress Party if
it proposed to form the ministry in Travancore – Cochin State6.
Again Nesamony indicated the opportunity of the Congress Party
to form the ministry with the support of T.S. Ramaswamy Pillai
and the independent candidate Chattanathan to Congress7.
Problems went to the extent of bringing no confidence
motion in the Assembly against the PSP Ministry. T.S. Ramaswamy
Pillai moved a no-confidence resoultion against the PSP ministry.
His resolution was posted for discussion on 8 February 19558. Before
voting on the no-confidence resolution the TTNC members who
were in jail should be released on bail. Attempts were made on
those lines and Nesamony succeeded in obtaining a bail order from
the High Court of Mysore on 1 February and released the TTNC
members from jail on 3 February 19559. Thanu Pillai moved
heaven and earth to save his Government. The two TTNC members
Ponnappan Nadar and P. Ramaswamy Pillai who escaped arrest
remained underground. The government was vehemently
searching for those two Members of the Legislative Assembly and
to arrest them so that they could be prevented from casting their
votes against the Government. But they were kept under cover in
Senkottai Taluk early on 25 January. On the day before the voting
in the Assembly they were brought to Trivandrum and entrusted
into the hands of LMS Hostel Warden, Appavoo Grant. He
managed to push these two persons into the Assembly Hall
sufficiently early in the morning even before the entry of police
into the Assembly Building campus10.

4. Fall of Nair Government
At the appointed time T.S. Ramaswamy Pillai proposed the
no-confidence resolution on the government of Pattom Thanu
Pillai. The left front president and another member spoke against
the motion. Panampilli Govinda Menon, the leader of the Congress
Party spoke in support of T.S. Ramaswamy Pillai’s proposal11. “The
Chief Minister who is now on an elephant thinks that it is all his
height, but in a few minutes he will find his real height”, said
Menon. The motion was put to vote. Left party did not participate
in voting. TTNC, The Travancore – Cochin Congress and other
two members voted for the resolution. The resolution was carried.
As Panampilli Govinda Menon commented, Thanu Pillai found
his real height and resigned on 14 February 195512.
5. Congress Rule
Since TTNC came forward, as promised, to extend
unconditional support to Congress to form the ministry, Panampilli
Govinda Menon became the Chief Minister13. The petition of
TTNC Assembly members who came out on bail reached the
Mysore High Court for enquirty on 18 February. Nesamony was
also present on that day in the Court. The pleader of the Travancore
– Cochin Government declared that all the cases relating to the
petitioners were withdrawn. Nesamony came out of the Court with
pomp, gay and gaiety. Govinda Menon, the Chief Minister ordered
the release of all the TTNC prisoners14. As a result, normalcy was
restored in South Travancore. The Reserve Police Force which
was stationed in South Travancore folded its tents and returned
to the capital, Trivandrum. Those Tamilians who found shelter in
Madras State returned to their houses. Tamilians were expecting
full relief from the iron grips of the Nairs by separating the Tamil
areas and merging them with Madras State.

6. S.R.C. Report
In order to reorganise the states of the Indian Union on
the basis of language, under the chairmanship of Fazl Ali, a
commission called State Reorganisation Commission (SRC) was
appointed by the Central Government and it submitted its report.
On 10 October, 1955, the Commission’s Report was published.
The Commission gave more importance to the Southern States15.
As far as Travancore- Cochin State was concerned, TTNC
demanded to merge Thovalai, Agasteeswaram, Kalkulam,
Vilavancode, Neyyatinkarai, Senkottai. Deviculam, Peermade and
Chittoor taluks with Madras State16. But the Commission
recommended to merge only Thovalai, Agasteeswaram, Kalkulam,
Vilvancode and Shenkottai with Madras State. Considering the
economic loss to the Travancore-Cochin State the Commission did
not favour the merger of the hilly districts17, Deviculam and
Peermade with Madras State18. In Neyyatinkarai Taluk the
Commission found that 86 per cent of the people knew Malayalam.
So the Commission did not favour the merger of this Taluk with
Madras State. In Chittoor also the commission found that the
majority people spoke Malayalam and hence it was merged with
Malabar and consequently with the newly formed Kerala State19.
7. Nesamony in Parliament
States Reorganisation Commission’s report was submitted
in the Lok Sabha on 14 December 1955. When discussions started
in the Parliament representatives of Travancore – Cochin State
vehemently opposed the Commission’s recommendations for the
merger of the Southern Taluks with Madras State. Thomas, the
Ernakulam Constituency representative and State Minister
condemned the recommendation of the Commission for the merger
of the Southern Taluks with Madras State. As it would disfigure the would be State of Kerala,Nesamony was requested to withdraw that
proposal to separate the Southern Taluks20. But Nesamony argued
for the merger of Neyyatinkarai, Deviculam, Peermade and Chittoor
also with Madras State, by giving evidences in support of his argument.
As far as Deviculam and Peermade were concerned Nesamony
insisted on to give more importance to the people who live in those
two Taluks. He said that the estates there were the result of sweat
and blood of Tamilians and they formed the majority in those two
Taluks21. He pleaded in a lone voice, to merge those two Taluks also
with Madras State. His request was not considered by the House.
The members of Parliament from Madras State were indifferently
silent, unmindful of the loss of water sources to Madras State22.
Fasal Ali Commission’s recommendation – merger of
Thovalai, Agasteeswaram, Kalkulam and Vilavancode with Madras
State was confirmed. Even though the Commission recommended
for the merger of Shenkottai Taluk with Madras State,the Joint –
Committee which was appointed to give a final shape to the state
boundaries recommended the eastern portion of Shenkottai alone
to be merged with Madras State. This decision was finally published
authoritatively on 16 January 195623. But in the July 1956 Lok
Sabah meeting Nesamony argued for the full merger of Shencottai
as recommended by SRC24. The House refused to reconsider the
decision of the joint Committee by over-ruling the recommendation
of the SRC.
8. Saviour of Malayalees
It was proposed to merge the four taluks, Thovalai,
Agasteeswaram, Kalkulam and Vilavancode with the Tirunelveli
District of Madras State. Nesamony opposed this proposal and insisted
on forming a separate district in the state by combining these four
taluks. Again Nesamony demanded for the restoration of full rights to the linguistic minority, the Malayalees of these four taluks. His
conviction was that the Malayalees who were minortiy in the newly
formed district should not suffer as the Tamilians did in Travancore-
Cochin State under brutal majority of the Malayalees. Their language
and culture should be respected by the Madras State with linguistic
minority rights. Constitutionally the rights of the Malayalees were
guaranteed. Thus Nesamony proved himself that he was not an enemy
of Malayalees and vengeful like Pattom Thanu Pillai, but enemy of
their dominance over the oppressed community25.
9. Liberation Day
In the mean time changes took place in Travancore – Cochin
State Ministry. Six Congress Members of the Legislative Assembly, as
a protest against the recommendation of SRC to merge the Southern
Taluks with Madras State resigned from the party. Since the
Government under Panampilli Govinda Menon lost majority in the
Assembly, he submitted the resignation of the Government on 11
March 1956. With that 13 months of Congress rule came to an end
in Travancore-Cochin State26. As per the Constitution, Article 365,
the Raj Pramukh dissolved the Assembly and brought the
administration of the State under his control27. When the State was
under President’s Rule, States Reorganisation Act of 1956 was passed
and came for implementation with effect from 1 November 195628.
Malabar District of Madras State was merged with the Travancore –
Cochin State and the State of Kerala was formed on 1 November
1956. On the same day the Southern taluks, namely Thovalai,
Agasteeswaram, Kalkulam and Vilavancode and part of Sencottai
Taluk were merged with Madras State. Barring the east of Shencottai
which was merged with Tirunelveli District of Madras State the other
four Taluks,Thovalai, Agasteeswaram, Kalukulam and Vilavancode
were formed into one unit and named as Kanyakumari District.

Oppressed Community Since 1956

1. Introduction
Kumari Thanthai Marshall Nesamony in his letter to the
President of Indian National Congress, on 26 August 1954,
regarding the police firing at Marthandam and Puthukkadai and
the police atrocities that followed on the Nadar community,
especially, of Kalkulam and Vilavancode Taluks, indicated, that a
high caste Nair could not brook the sight of a low caste Nadar
crossing his path1. This observation of Nesamony ought to serve as
a guide to any one who is engaged in the investigation of the process
of liberation of an oppressed community. It also reveals the fact
that the liberation struggle is a continuous process.
As already indicated in this text, the Vellala Community of
Nanjil Nadu claimed2 parity with the Nair Community in social,
economic and political status. Naturally, the Vellalas, accustomed
to being considered as a high caste community, could not tolerate
a low caste Nadar being honoured with the title, Kumari Thanthai
and his community people dominating the political affairs of
Kanyakumari District. After the merger of Kanyakumari District
with that of Tamil Nadu, a small group of Vellalas began to indulge
in various attempts to erase from the annals of history the sacrifices
made by Nesamony and the people of his community in the liberation struggle, that finally resulted in the separation of
Kanyakumari District from the State of Kerala. As a result the
yeoman contributions of Nesamony, as Kumari Thanthai, are not
even properly acknowledged and blatantly blacked out through
processes of diabolic political machinations and gross misuse of
official machinery in Kanyakumari District3.
2. Political Wisdom
As the Tamilians of Travancore could not pull on withself
respect along with the Malayalees, a separation, merger and
formation of a district became inevitable4 Evidently, disrespect to
Tamil language was not the cause for separation from Travancore-
Cochin State. Under these circumstances for a respectful living in
Tamil Nadu, the District units of the political parties should have
autonomous status. They should not be under the dictations of
the State level and National level committees and leaders, in matters
relating to Kanyakumari District. Nesamony exhibited this wisdom
on many occasions.
Even before the Allen Memorial Hall meeting on
8 September 1947, to form TTNC to look after the interests of the
Tamilians, Nesamony wished to have a political party which should
be independent of all the other political parties in the State5. TTNC
as a political party participated in three general elections in
Travancore. It never made alliance with any other political party
in the State, to contest in the elections6. When the struggle started
he did not align with other political parties but, welcomed their
co-operation7. Nesamony thought that if TTNC aligned with the
other political parties the only demand of TTNC would be mixed
up with the several demands of the parties in alliance. Finally the
demand of TTNC would be pushed to the last and ultimately would vanish.Thus he avoided pledging the autonomy of TTNC
into the hands of other big and small political parties8.
However TTNC once entered into alliance with the State
Congress after 1951 election. As a result State Congress formed
the ministry. A member of TTNC became a Minister9. He was
withdrawn from the ministry in the middle by TTNC, when the
demand of TTNC, a separate Regional Congress Committee for
Tamilians was not rejected by State Congress10.
After the merger of the District in 1956, until Nesamony’s
death in 1968 the socio-political life of the people of Kanyakumari
District was smooth and peaceful11. The political affairs of the
District were guided by the Congress Party in which Nesamony
was a member as well as a leader. The District Unit of the Congress
party retained its autonomous status as against the State level and
National level dictations and dominations. After Nesamony the
District unit of the Congress Party which was the only hope of the
people of the oppressed community, lost its independence.
3. From Independence to Dependence
Instances of using caste, religion and region were a common
phenomenon in the political history of Kerala to gain political
power. The State Congress had to face one such instance in 195012.
Congress Party was dominated by Syrian Christians. The Nairs and
the Ezhavas of the Congress party formed an organisation called
the Hindu Maha Mandal to divide the followers of State Congress
into Hindus and Christians.13 Likewise Thanulingam Nadar, a
member of TTNC wanted to usurp the powers of Nesamony, a  Christian leader in TTNC. He tried to divide the Nadars into
Hindus and Christians.14 He formed a separate political party and
fielded his party candidates in the 1951 general election. As he
and his candidates suffered humiliating defeat, frustrated
Thanulingam made a re-entry into TTNC which was under the
leadership of Nesamony.15 After Nesamony the District Congress
unit had caught itself up in machinations similar to that of
Thanulingam and this has led to the collapse of Congress Party
domination in Kanyakumari District.
After Nesamony, Kamaraj, a Hindu Nadar from
Virudunagar, an absolute stranger to the oppressed community of
this district came here seeking political asylum.16 Inspite of his stature
as ex-chief minister of Madras State, his own people at Virudhunagar
discarded him in the elections to the State Assembly in 1967.17 As he
was a Nadar, the Congress Party of Kanyakumari District welcomed
him and facilitated his political rehabilitation. At this time and later
the Christians in the Congress Party were absolutely careless and
unmindful to this change and its consequences. Nesamony, the
Father of the District and also the Father of the District Congress
was conveniently neglected because he was a Christian.
It is the height of irony that Kamaraj a political refugee
and runaway asylum seeker has memorials and monuments
everywhere in this district. But the heroic liberator, who led the
struggle and paid enormous price has no such significant
government sponsored memorial in this distirct.18 Thus slowly the
Congress Party lost its independence and came under the dictation
and direction of the State level and National level leaders. Today even without the knowledge of the District level committee, the
State level committee is able to take any decision violating the
interest of the District unit19. Under such circumstances how can
the District unit of the Congress party serve the interests of the
people of the District? At the District level, the Congress Fort is in
a dilapidated condition. The leaders are frantically in a mood to
find patronage of any one of the State level or National level leaders
to quench their personal thirst and further their personal interest.
4. First Priority
To TTNC the welfare of the oppressed community was
more important than anything else. Having seen the growth of
TTNC, the State Congress leader, Pattom Thanu Pillai wanted a
compromise with it. He met the president of TTNC and requested
to give up the idea of a separate State for Tamils within Travancore.
Contrary to his request, on 30 October 1947, TTNC passed a
resolution reiterating its demand for the formation of a separate
State with in Travancore for the Tamils20.
A Nair Chief Minister Narayana Pillai wanted the support
of TTNC in the Assembly. So he sought the help of Baktavatsalam
a minister in the Madras State. A meeting was held at Palayamcottai
as an attempt to bring about a compromise between TTNC and
Narayana Pillai government. When the compromise move of
Baktavatsalam was not accepted by the general body of TTNC,
Narayana Pillai ministry in Travancore-Cochin State resigned21.
A man of the oppressed community, a Nadar found a place
in the congress ministry, after the 1951 general election. He resigned
his post within 13 months when the TTNC proposal for the
formation of a Regional Congress Committee exclusively for the
Tamilians was rejected by State Congress22.

To get the co-operation of TTNC, Pattom Thanu Pillai
offered the post of the Speaker of the Assembly to TTNC in 1954
when be assumed the office of Chief Minister. TTNC declined to
accept that offer for it thought that it could not insist on separation,
if it participated in the administration of the government23.
Party members of TTNC insisted Nesamony to come for a
compromise with the government to release all those who were in
Jail after the 11 August 1954 incidents. Nesamony did not budge
an inch from his stand. He refused to sacrifice the self-respect of
the Tamilians and rejected the move of his party men24.
The State Reorganisation Commission recommended for
the merger of four Southern Taluks and Shencottai Taluk with
the Madras State and left out Deviculam, Peermade, Neyyatinkarai
and Chittoor. Nesamony fought for the merger of those four taluks
also25. In the end, even though the Commission recommended
for the merger of Shencottai Taluk, the eastern portion of
Shencottai alone was merged with Madras State26. Even when the
Tamil Members of Parliament were maintaining a safe diplomatic
silence, Nesamony in a lone voice argued for the merger of all the
left-out Taluks27.
The TTNC Members of the Legislative Assembly and of
the Parliament were continuously insisting on the execution of
the irrigation and drinking water projects which were included in
the First and Second Five Year Plans and in the State Budget28.
When cholera broke out in the Tamil areas of Travancore in 1953,
TTNC fought against it on its own accord and never failed to expose
the negligence of the Travancore – Cochin Government on relief

Conversion of Tamil schools into Malayalam schools, neglect
of the oppressed community in government appointments and
promotions, transfer of Tamilians to the Malayalam areas were
brought to the notice of the public and represented to the
government for redressel30. As none of the demands of TTNC were
considered by the government, the TTNC found that the oppressed
community cauld not live with self-respect along with the Malayalees.
Inevitable was a separation, a merger and the formation of a District31.
Early in 1956 when merger was certain, Nesamony sent a
letter to Bhaktavatsalam, Minister for Labour and Industry, Madras
State regarding the projects which were pending and waiting for
implementation in Kanyakumari District32. Funds allotted during
the First and Second Five Year Plans to the State and the share to
the Tamil areas were pointed out. It helped the Madras Government
to transfer the amount allotted by the central government from
the Kerala State and to implement many of the irrigation and
drinking water projects which were pending and beneficial to
Kanyakumari District. Nesamony’s speech in the Parliament on
the subject of Railways to Kanykumari District, connecting
Trivandrum and Tirunelveli, Via. Nagercoil was solely responsible
for bringing Railway connection to Kanyakumari District33.
Nesamony in his demands always considered the total
amount allotted by the Centre to the State and the share that had
to go to the Tamil areas in terms of area and population34. Whether
such an attmpt is ever made by any of the M.L.As and M.Ps who
are his successors in the Assembly and Parliament respectively?
5. The Evolution of a Conspiracy
The Vellalas who were waiting for an opportunity to tarnish
the image of Nesamony by negating his stupendous achievements and to recapture political power from the oppressed community.
They concentrated on the production of false propagandist writings
to tarnish the image of Nesamony and on the other hand engaged
in strategies to divide the oppressed community people into Hindus
and Christians.
The result of their nefarious activities include the
unfounded claims that (1) One Subramonia Pillai of the Vellala
Community is ‘seed sower’ and the ‘spirit and brain’ behind TTNC.
(2) TTNC was started by some Vellalas in 1945 under the
chairmanship of Sam Nathaniel and Nesamony joined the
organisation later. (3) It is a boundary dispute between Madras
State and Travancore (4) It is a language struggle35.
A close scrutiny of all these sweeping generalisations and
false claims made by Vallalas reveal that none of their statements is
authenticated by original sources. Eventhough the struggle is over
and one generation has passed by, they have not attempted to record
the course of the struggle, events and results. They start with some
words like sower, spirit and brain but never made any attempt to
explain and substantiate their claims with why, how and where.
The role of the person whom they try to portray as a participant in
the liberation struggle remains unrecorded and none knows. Their
advocates for reasons best known to them, start the history from
194536 and do not proceed beyond 1947. It is well known that the
boundary of Madras State was immaterial for a Travancorian. And
there was no demand for any particular status to Tamil language
in the liberation struggle37. Obviously the only demand, as well
known to all, was a separate State with in Travancore for the Tamilians under the aegis of Maharaja, As time demanded, the
same demand was modified into separation of Tamil areas from
Travancore-Cochin State and merge the same with Madras State.
6. Futile Propaganda
One Velayutha Perumal who claims to have been Secretary
of the Tamil organisation, TTNC right from its inception in December
1945 upto 1947 last has come out with a book in 1981. He states that
as Nesamony declined the Presidentship of TTNC when it was offered
in December 194538, Sam Nathaniel was made the President of TTNC.
Again he states that Nesamony joined the organisation in 194839.
Unfortunately the statements of Velayutha Perumal regarding the
birth of TTNC and the membership of Nesamony on a later date are
not authenticated by any primary source. His naked claims are
unauthenticated and baseless statements.
It is on record that Nesamony convened a meeting on 8
September 1947 at Allen Memorial Hall, where TTNC was founded
as a political party. Nesamony also requested those assembled there
to take steps to enroll large number of people as members40. Now
the question is if Velayutha Perumal was the secretary of TTNC till
1947 last and its President Sam Nathanial was present in the Hall,
how could Nesamony convene the meeting of TTNC at Allen
Memorial Hall on 8 September 1947 and preside over it? Again why
was the question of the presidentship of TTNC raised41 at the Allen
Memorial Hall meeting when Sam Nathaniel was present in the
Hall if he was already the president of if? No doubt the meeting
conducted at the Allen Memorial Hall was convened by Nesamony
and was under his control. If it was a continuation of Velayutha
Perumal’s TTNC, on what authority did Muthukaruppa Pillai, a
State Congress leader participate in the discussions and put forward
a proposal to accept State Congress as a political party looking after
the interest of the Tamils?42 So it is very clear that Velayatha Perumal’s attempt to steal, hide and twist the liberation history in favour of his
Vellala group falls apart for want of coherent historical evidence.
Apart from such false claims of Velayutha Perumal there
are many other examples to prop up the name of Subramonia Pillai
as one who sowed the seed for the formation of TTNC and as the
spirit and brain behind the organisation.43 But their claims are not
found in any of the government records kept in the archives. None
knows, what was the brain scheme and what did the sower sow?
However one thing about the said Subramonia Pillai was clear. He
was the sole promoter of the campaign against Nesamony and his
people44. For his campaign he managed to get the assistance of
Sam Nathaniel who proved himself a traitor during the course of
the liberation struggle by joining the side of Pattom Thanu Pillai,
and Thanulingam Nadar who became a betrayer, by introducing
Hindu-Christian division among the oppressed community, the
Nadars during the course of the struggle45.
Sam Nathaniel in his letter to the Governor General of
India on 22 August 1948, indicates that TTNC has been fighting
for the Tamils since 194546. Here he is trying to corner glory for
himself by identifying the political party, TTNC that existed at the
time of writing his letter with that of some out fit which was said
to be in 1945 and wound up in July 194747. This existence is based
on claims rather than tangible proofs of activity. However, this
feeble and narrowly limited affair48 should not be confused with
an uniquely significant and widely respresented political party
voicing the cause of all the Tamilians in the State, which was formed
under the chairmanship of Nesamony on 8 September 1947 at the
Allen Memorial Hall, Home Church, Nagercoil49.

One should remember that all the political changes,
consolidations and detachments in Travancore began in some
significant way only from April 194750. Political arrangements and
rearrangements that took place in Travancore prior to the above
date were only in the political party, the State Congress51. Major
Communities in the State joined this State Congress and fought
for Responsible Government in Travancore. TTNC, a political party
was thus formed in response to the emerging political changes and
the realities that took place in Travancore after April 194752. Any
claim on the existence of a political party namely, TTNC prior to
8 September 1947 is false and untenable and not based on historical
facts and evidence.
For example, Nesamony in his letter of 25 March 1947 to
Sundaram Pillai emphatically insists on the need for a political
party exclusively for the Tamils in the State53. Does this not mean
that there was no political party in the State to look after the
interests of the Tamils in the State? If a political party already existed
in the name of TTNC, how can Nesamony start a political party
with the same name? So the set-up Nathaniel refers to in his letter
to the Governor General is not the one which was started by
Nesamony as a political party on 8 September 1947.
When a struggle is over and liberation is achieved, a student
of history may bother only in the investigation of the causes, course,
events and results of the liberation struggle because history alone
will be useful to forecast the future. Suprisingly the Vellala writers
are not interested in those things.
Their search among the bygone, rootless shadows to
excavate the spirit and soul of the sower is not only futile but also
mischievous and motivated. Propping up identities and thrusting
greatness upon the most undeserving individuals form a deliberate  part of the conspiracy to distort the history of the region and
heritage of its people.
7. Counter Literature Campaign and Research
When the vilification campaign against Nesamony and his
people by a small group of Vellalas went on unbridled, one political
sufferer namely, Singarayan of Authivilai, Kalkulam Taluk, on his
own, began a counter capaign to trace the course and to establish
the historical truth and to demolish the many wild, exaggerated
claims. He published some booklets and pamphlets, highlighting
the important events in the struggle and the political wisdom of
Nesamony54. Thus Singarayan single – handedly attempted to
deliver the first blow.
An eminent Professor Albans Nathaniel, a native of
Mavaravilai of Kalkulam Taluk, all through encouraged Singarayan
to counter the activities of the Vellalas. As an academician Albans
felt that the historical information and proof provided by
Singarayan was only a part of a long history. So he sought the help
of one of the prominent leaders of TTNC, namely Abdul Razak.
Razak was a close associate in all the endeavours of TTNC and a
respected Member of Parliament. Razak agreed to write the
liberation history.
Albans Nathaniel published his writings in the form of a
book in the year 1998. Apart from the occasional writings of
Nesamony in the form of booklets and reports, Razak’s book was
the first contemporary account to give the authentic and wholistic
history of the liberation struggle that took place during the middle
of the twentieth century under the leadership of Nesamony55.
Razak’s book stripped off all self-proclaimed honour and glory of
the imposter and established the eminence of Nesamony. Razak died before the publication of his book on 12 January 1991
Subramonia Pillai, took the death of Razak as an advantage and
sued Albans Nathaniel, the publisher of book in the Court of the
Second Additional Subordinate Judge, Nagerocoil as Original Suit
No. 328 of 199956. He claimed Rupees Two Lakhs as compensation
for the loss of his perstige. Albans Nathaniel was dragged even up
to the Supreme Court in this connection. Second Additional
Subordinate Judge gave his verdict on 14 July 2004.57 Albans won
the case. Subramonia Pillai’s own writings and the writings of his
associates about him all went in favour of the defendent, Albans
Nathaniel58. However Albans Nathaniel was put to untold miseries
for a period of six years.
Albans Nathaniel, not satisfied with the extent of his services
to the oppressed community of Kanyakumari District, wanted to
bring out the liberation History through researchers. Accordingly,
Professor Ivy Peter, a historian, after five years of hard work brought
out a book on the liberation history of the oppressed community
through, the Kanyakumari Institute of Development Studies59.
This book authoritatively exposed the “stealing, hiding and twisting
of history” that was undertaken by that small coterie of Vellala
writers. Subramonia Pillai and his coheirs stopped spinning their
tales. They are fully aware that their every lie and
misrepresentations of histroy will only deeply submerge them.
Patchaimal of Swamithope of Agasteeswaram Taluk, the
Director of Tamizhalayam has brought out two books on the
liberation struggle : One is a translation work, containing the
writings and speeches of Nesamony; and the other a record on the
history of the birth of Kanyakumari District60. The speciality of those two publications is that Patchaimal extensively relied on
primary sources.
Sukumaran of Irenepuram of Vilavancode Taluk, who has
first hand knowledge about and experience in the struggle for
liberation has published two books on Nesamony and his role in
the liberation struggle61.
Samuthaya Sinthanai, a Tamil montly, published by
Kanykumari Institute of Development Studies, since 1996 publishes
articles high lighting the liberation struggle almost regularly62. The
articles published by Sukumar and Peter on the liberation subject
have become a challege to those who attempt to steal, hide and
twist the liberation history in their favour.
The primary sources like original letters, memorials,
periodicals, official proceedings, minutes, resolutions, reports of
governments and court documents, provide solid evidence to
history. They remain insurmountable obstacles to those who attempt
to steal, hide and twist the history. Thus the vengeful propaganda
started by the Vellalas of Kanykumari District against the oppressed
community has boomeranged on them. The historic truth has been
established beyond doubt by the intellectuals and academicians
belonging to the oppressed community through their pains taking
research and incisive recording for posterity, with objectivity and
authenticity which no dedicated, serious seeker of truth can afford
to sacrifice.
8. The Oppressed Community Today
The oppressed community, the Nadars form an appreciable
majority (65 per cent) in Kanyakumari District. Though they form
a majority, they are ruled by the Vellalas, a minority (7 per cent) community63. Before the merger the Nairs ruled and after the
merger the Vellalas are ruling the oppressed community. Both Nairs
and Vellalas belong to the high caste group.
A representative of the Vellala community always finds a
place in the Tamil Nadu ministry. where as the oppressed
community is not able to find respresentation in the ministry. As
usual, the oppressed and liberated community finds pleasure in
serving that Vellala representative who keeps his position in the
Tamil Nadu ministry64. Vellalas, irrespective of the political party
in power, are able to get a representative in the ministry.65 If by
some chance a Nadar reprentative is admitted in the ministry, he
will be pressed out of the cabinet before the end of the term66.
State Assembly election was conducted in May 2006 in
Tamil Nadu. Dravida Munnetta Kazhagam (D.M.K.) alliance,
fielded candidates in all the seven constituencies in Kanyakumari
District. It won in all the seven constituencies. Out of the seven
Members of the Legislative Assembly, six members belong to the
oppressed community, the Nadars. None of those six candidates
got an opporunity to serve in the capacity of a minister. As usual,
the Vellala representative got that opportunity. For the fourth time,
without any break, a Vellala representative is honoured by inducting
into the Tamil Nadu ministry. If such is the case what would be
the fate of the oppressed community, the Nadars in Kanyakumari
District? The liberation stands meaningless.
As a result, the communal representation in government
offices and concerns tilted adverse to the oppressed community, the
Nadars. An ordinary member of the oppressed community is unable to do anything in government offices. The daughter – in- law of
Kumari Thanthai experienced, for more than a year, a big ordeal in
dealing with the District and Taluk level government officers to get
her family pension which was caused by the death of her husband,
who served as a member of the legislative council in Tamil Nadu. As
a remedial measure she brought the matter to the notice of the
Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. The family pension was released with
in a week. During this time, one ex-M.L.A. who belongs to the Vellala
community died. His wife was able to secure the family pension
within a period of two months without the interference of the Chief
Minister. If such is the fate of the daughter-in-law of Kumari
Thanthai what would be the fate of an ordinary oppressed
community man’s paper in government department?67
Among the oppressed community, the top sufferers are as
usual, the Protestant Christian Nadars of Kanyakumari District.
They form more than 20 per cent of the population68. They have
become the target of attack from three angles. In order to liberate
the oppressed class of the society from the clutches of the high
castes, the Potestant Christian Missionaries laboured hard69. Those
who embraced Protestant Christianity came up on the social and
economic ladder. The converts refused to do free service to the
high castes70. This act of the converts infuriated the high castes
and they began to attack the missionaries and their converts.71
Protestant Christianity entered South Travancore, the
present Kanyakumari District, early in the nineteenth century72.
Even before that Francis Xavier had organised a group of Christians
called Catholics. Catholics compromised with the practices of the Hindus.73 They did not go against the caste system and the
consequent oppressions on the low castes. So they remained
dormant for more than three hundred years.74 They were
untouched by the high castes for they were not a problem to
Protestant Christian Missionaries believed in the liberation
of the oppressed from their miseries as God’s work. They
confronted with the existing bad and inhuman practices in the
society. Missionaries obtained legal liberation for the oppressed.
Hence wide spread hatred was concentrated on the Protestant
Among the oppressed community, the Protestant Christian
Nadars received government favour first.77 So enmity developed
between the Hindu Nadars and Protestant Christian Nadars. It
continues even today without any reason.78 As the privileges of the
government were first enjoyed by the Protestant Christian Nadars,
the Catholic Christians also began to hate the Protestant
Christians79. Thus on the basis of caste, religion and religious
denomination the Protestant Chirstian Nadars had to face a tricornered
hatred and attack.
On 11 January 1891, the three major communities, Nairs,
Ezhavas and Syrian Christians of Travancore jointly submitted the
famous memorandum called, “Malayali Memorial” to the Maharaja
of Travancore.80 The Vellalas of Nanjil Nadu were also partners in
that memorandum. At the same time, the Protestant Christian
Nadars of South Travancore were considered as foreigners and kept out of that joint effort81. The memorialists demanded to drive
away all foreign Brahmins from Travancore and to appoint only
Travancorians in government jobs82.
Chief Minister Narayana Pillai, to save his ministry tried
for a compromise with TTNC in 1950. As a result, a six point
compromise formula was reached. But this formula was not
accepted by the General Body of TTNC83. It was defeated by the
efforts of Nanjil Nadu Vellalas in the General Body, because they
suspected that Nesamony, a Protestant Christian Nadar would
become a minister in the Narayana Pillai ministry if TTNC supports
the government.84
In 1952, A.J. John formed a ministry in Travancore-Cochin
State with the co-operation of TTNC. John offered one seat in his
ministry to TTNC.85 Nesamony keeping in mind his previous
experience with Thanulingam, in order to avoid inferiority feeling
in the minds of the Hindu Nadars in the TTNC Party, nominated
a Hindu Nadar, Chidambara Nathan to John’s ministry86.
After the merger of Kanyakumari District in 1956, election
to the Madras State Assembly and to the Parliament was conducted
in 1957. The Kanyakumari District Parliamentary seat was
represented by Nesamony in 195287. Thanulingam connived and
succeeded in getting that Parliament seat for himself. He built up
a story that Kamaraj, the Chief Minister of Madras was wanting
Nesamony in the State Ministry88. As Nesamony’s colleagues fully
believed this built up story, pressurised Nesamony to contest for
the Assembly seat, in the esteemed interest of the people of
Kanyakumari District. Without any contest Nesamony was made to represent the Killiyoor Constituency to the Legislature89. But
alas, to defame Nesamony and without any respect to the feelings
of the oppressed community, the Nadars of Kanyakumari District,
Kamaraj inducted one Lourdammal Simon90, a lady into his
ministry from this district. However the oppressed community
disappointed by the action of Kamaraj
Nanjil Vincent a Catholic Christian Nadar became a deputy
minister in Ramachandran’s ministry in Tamil Nadu. In Jeya
Lalitha’s ministry in Tamil Nadu two Catholic Christian Nadars,
Lawrence and Rajendra Prasad served for a shortwhile. Till today
no Protestant Christian Nadar of this district has ever been offered
an opportunity to serve either in Travancore or Tamil Nadu
After Thanulingam, Nesamony was elected to the
Parliament for the second time in 1962 and for the third time in
196791. He was not offered a seat in the central ministry even
though the Congress Party was in power at the centre. In 1980,
1984, 1989. 1991, 1996 and 1998 Dennis, a Protestant Christian
Nadar was elected to the Parliament from Kanyakumari District.
He served twenty years in the capacity of a parliamentarian92, but
never got an opportunity to serve in the capacity of a central
minister. At the same time a Hindu Nadar, Radhakrishnan who
was elected to the Parliament in 1999 from Kanyakumari District93
was made a minister at the centre. This is the grievous political
history of the oppressed and liberated Protestant Christian Nadars
of Kanyakumari District.

same day a meeting at Vanniyur of Vilavancode Taluk was
conducted under the presidentship of Ram. Nearly 2000 people
attended the meeting and most of them were Nadars43. On 21
November, a meeting at Cheruppalore of Kalkulam Taluk was held
under the presidentship of Ponnappan Nadar44. On 22 November,
under the presidentship of Sivaraman a meeting was conducted at
Viralikattuvilai of Kalkulam Taluk45. Nearly 5000 Nadars attended
the meeting at Chennithottam of Kalkulam and it was presided
over by George46.
On 23 November, under the chairmanship of Nesamony a
meeting was held at Attoor of Kalkulam Taluk in which 5000
Nadars attended. In the meeting Nesamony pointed out the
anomalies found in the report of the Reforms Committee. He said
that the representation in the Reforms Committee for SIUC
Christians, Asaries and Kammalas was neglected. He assured that
the Tamilians in South were determined to restore their right of
forming a separate state under the aegis of Maharaja for Tamilians
in Travancore with full autonomous status even at the cost of their
lives47. On 27 November, Nesamony presided over a meeting held
at Keezhkulam Village of Vilavancode Taluk. More than 5000
Nadars attended the meeting48.


பதிவர்: Marshal Nesamony Father of Kanyakumari District

Marshal Nesamony Father of Kanyakumari District

மறுமொழியொன்றை இடுங்கள்

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