Barrister G.P. Pillai, whose 150th birth anniversary falls on Wednesday, may have been Travancore’s pioneer campaigner for freedom, human dignity, and equal opportunity, but his place of birth has chosen to ignore him.
The man who was born at Pallippuram on February 26, 1864, had gone on to become a vocal campaigner against autocratic governance in the then Travancore and give, along with eminent persons like Dr. Palpu, inspirational leadership to movements aimed at securing a fair share of jobs in Travancore government for Malayali youth and dignified treatment of Thiyyas of Malabar.
To commemorate his memory, a portrait of his was unveiled at the Victoria Jubilee Town (VJT) Hall on February 26, 1964, to mark his birth centenary.
The authorities pulled out the portrait at the time of renovation of the hall during the early 1990s. Since the portrait was damaged in the process, they replaced it with a new portrait at the instance of former Chief Minister K. Karunakaran. That too was removed sometime later .
Old timers still recall the man’s resourcefulness in taking a letter from none other than Swami Vivekananda to Sister Nivedita (Ms. Margaret Noble) in 1896 seeking her help to get the backwardness of Thiyyas of Malabar in the British Parliament.