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Southern States - Kerala

NSS call to emulate Mannathu
By Our Staff Reporter

PERUNNA, JAN. 2. The Nair Service Society (NSS) on Wednesday celebrated the 125th birth anniversary of its founding father Mannathu Padmanabhan with a call to emulate the social reformer in words and deeds.

Inaugurating the celebrations, Mr. Justice N. Krishnan Nair of the Kerala High Court pointed out that Mannathu's greatness lay in the fact that he never hesitated to take a proactive role when ever human rights were trampled upon. Untouchability, which was the scourge of the Hindu society in the early years of last century, was one such human rights issue which the great social reformer challenged squarely. He opened his family temple to all the Hindus irrespective of their caste affiliations.

In fact, this act, which took place long before the Temple Entry proclamation, might have acted as a inspiration for the then Maharaja of Travancore to make the historic declaration entitling all Hindus to enter temples, Mr. Justice Nair said.

According to him, today there was no one to react effectively when human rights were trampled upon. If rule of law had to be enforced, justice would have to prevail. For this, people would have to cooperate with the courts and other agencies engaged in enforcing rule of law in the country, he said.

Mr. K. P. Karunakara Menon, NSS president, who chaired the session, in his address said that even in the absence of Mannathu Padmanabhan after his death, the functioning of the Society was being done just the way he wanted it. The great social reformer had never worked exclusively for the benefit of his community. He never wanted members of other communities to be aggrieved on account of his actions, even as he was forceful in getting every rights of his community, realised, Mr. Menon said.

According to him, Mannathu made every member of his community, including the poorest of the poor, to feel proud as he devised methods to ensure their participation in the setting-up of great institutions through schemes like `pidiyari' and `kettuthengu'. He had earned crores during his life time, but every paise he spent for the institution he had single-handedly built up from scratch.

Extending his felicitation, Dr. N Babu, president, Travancore Devaswom Board, pointed out that efforts of Mannathu Padmanabhan in his social work, his lifestyle and his outlook would remain a model for all ages. He could not get formal education on account of poverty, but instead of being bogged down, he took it as a challenge and built scores of institutions which today provide class education at all levels.

For him, the Nair Service Society was everything, Dr. Babu pointed out, referring to an incident when Mannathu named the NSS general secretary as his nominee in the insurance policy during his flight to European countries. For Mannathu, his life was his message, Dr. Babu said.

The Kerala University Vice-Chancellor, Dr. B Ekbal, and former Union Minister, Prof. P. J. Kurien, also extended felicitations. The NSS general secretary, Mr. P. K. Naryana Panicker, welcomed the gathering.

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