C. Kesavan (1891-1969), one of the best known leaders of Travancore State Congress who agitated for a “responsible government,” was a great social reformer. He tirelessly fought for the eradication of untouchability and worked for the welfare of the marginalised sections of society.
A courageous journalist, he was editor of the family-owned newspaper, Kaumudi in 1938. When the newspaper's licence was cancelled, he started another paper and, when that too was banned, came out with a third publication. He started a fourth magazine after his stint as Chief Minister of Travancore.
During the1950s, Kesavan's son K. Balakrishnan, a journalist and a thinker came out with the widely acclaimed Kaumudi weekly, which folded up in 1970. It was revived as a quarterly in 2004 by Hashim Rajan and the first edition that celebrated C. Kesavan is now in book form.
The first part has 19 articles written about Kesavan by reputed personalities, and among them the ones by his daughter, Aisha Rajan, and son, Balakrishnan are very moving. Others are analytical and mostly on the political contributions of Kesavan. By and large, they bring out his fearless character and principled politics.
While the second part consists of Kesavan's controversial and ‘revolutionary' public speeches, the third offers a collection of the addresses he delivered on the floor of the legislative assembly. The book is a substantial contribution to the genre of literature that seeks to place historical personalities in perspective.