Bharatha Kesari Mannathu Padmanabhan  

Sri. Mannathu Padmanabhan was born on January 2nd 1878 to Sri. Eswaran Namboodiri of Nilavana Illam and Chiramuttathu Parvathy Amma He was born with a humble family background and started his career as a teacher in Government Primary School [Kanjirapally Govt. School-1893], at the age of 16. In 1905, he started practicing law in the Magistrates Courts and soon became a leading member there.

Mannam was the forefront fighter against the social injustices that was in force at that time in Kerala and led the famous "Vimochana Samaram". Mannam took leadership in the Vaikkom Sathyagraham and Guruvayoor temple-entry and led the famous "Savarna Jadha" in 1924, an anti-untouchability agitation. He became a member of the Indian National Congress in 1947 and took part in the Travancore State Congress agitation against Sir C.P Ramaswamy Iyer’s administration in Travancore for which he was arrested and sent to jail. In 1949, Sri. Mannam became a member of the Travancore Legislative Assembly.

Mannam dedicated his life for the upliftment of the Nair Community. He established, expanded and enriched the Nair Service Society and served as its Secretary for 31 years and as President for three years.

NAIR BHRITHYA JANA SANGHAM [which later became Nair Service Society], was founded by Mannathu Padmanabha Pillai and thirteen others of his Nair community associates, at Mannath House, Perunna, Changanacherry on 31 October, 1914. Sri. K.Kelappan Nair was the first President and Sri. Mannath Padmanabha Pillai was its secretary. Mannam gave up his career to become full-time secretary of Nair Bhruthya Janasangham.
Founder members of NSS were:
K Kelappan Nair
Mannathu Padmanabha Pillai
Panagottu Kesava Panicker
N.C. Thrivikrama Kaimal
Kakkanad Narayana Panicker
Panakkattu Parameswara Kurup
Nagavallil Kochukunju Kurup
Padinjarekuttu Krishna Pillai
Kottanattil Padmanabha Pillai
Pallipurath Narayana Pillai
Pothuvadathu Padmanabha Pillai
Valparambil Velayudhan Pillai
Kondur Krishna Pillai
Thaliyil Madhavan Pillai

Later in his life Mannam renamed himself as "Padmanabhan" removing the sir name, stating that cast should not be a dividing factor amongst the human beings. In 1925, Nair Service Society was registered under the Indian Company act. Mannam’s personal life was inextricably intertwined with the history of the N.S.S. He travelled extensively through the state, met the people, organized hem and won their love and regard with the help of his disarming simplicity, single-minded devotion, will and determination. Impregnable fortress of superstition and formidable citadel of resistance crumbled before his all-conquering and awe-inspiring personality. Gradually he built an empire out of nothing .The prestigious institutions founded by him would perpetuate his memory.

In 1901 Mannathu Padmanabhan married Mechettu Kalyani Amma, who died in 1912 survived by a daughter. In 1932, Mannam married “Thottakkattu Madhavi Amma”, the daughter of the Diwan Peshkar of Cochin, Karakkattu Narayana Menon and famous Malayalam poetess, Thottakkattu Ikkavu amma. Madhavi Amma was the first lady member of the Cochin legislative council and a writer of many books, such as "Thathvachinda", “Hemapanjaram” etc.


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