National seminar on the last phase of monarchy in Travancore inaugurated

History is replete with instances where the Travancore royal family functioned more as servants of the State than rulers who exploited the masses. The simplicity that the family consistently upheld in all aspects of governance distinguished it from other contemporary monarchies, Governor of West Bengal M.K. Narayanan has said.

It is unfortunate that other dominions hardly followed the example set by the Travancore rulers, Mr. Narayanan said.

He was speaking after the inauguration of a national seminar being organised by the Sree Uthradom Tirunal Institute of Culture, in association with the Indian Council of Historical Research, New Delhi, on the last phase of monarchy in Travancore at Rangavilasom Palace, South Fort, here.

Since the focus of the seminar is on the final years (1924-1947) of the royal rule, the Governor highlighted the role of Sree Chitra Tirunal Marthanda Varma, describing him as one of the most enlightened monarchs and a great visionary.

“The current generation will perhaps never be able to quite appreciate the electrifying impact of the Temple Entry Proclamation that Chitra Tirunal enacted within five years of coming to power. Other than permitting Dalits entry into over 15,000 temples across the State, it also led to a moral and social revolution that extended far beyond the borders of the Travancore State,” he said.

A point that needed to made about the Travancore royal family was how an enlightened monarchy like it had much to show to democracies, Mr. Narayanan said, briefly explaining Chitra Tirunal’s role on the educational and industrial fronts.

A more detailed analysis needed to be undertaken to shed light on one of the most fascinating periods of history in the State, he said, hoping that the three-day seminar would lead to a better understanding of that time.

Mr. Narayanan’s address was lauded by head of the royal family of erstwhile Travancore Uthradom Tirunal Marthanda Varma, who said he had not heard the history of the Travancore kingdom so precisely articulated in a brief speech.

About his brother, Mr. Varma admitted it was difficult to express his feelings. One of the greatest compliments he had received was one that described the siblings as Rama and Lakshmana, he said.

ICHR secretary Ishrat Alam acknowledged that the kind of attention paid to colonial rule was not given to the study of princely states.

Uthradom Tirunal released a booklet on Sree Chitra Tirunal written by SUTIC director T.P. Sankarankutty Nair. SUTIC chairman K. Ayyappan Pillai and Dean of Social Sciences, Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirapalli, N. Rajendran were present.

The programme will continue till Wednesday.