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Due recognition sought for Kochi royal family

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Kerala Varma Maharaja.
Kerala Varma Maharaja.

When the State Government is celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the formation of the State, one section is sore that its efforts in the past have not been given due recognition. These are the members of the erstwhile royal family of Kochi, mostly settled down in Thripunithura.

It was Kerala Varma Maharaja of Kochi, better known as "Aikya Kerala Thampuran", who made a clarion call and through his patriotism defied the diktats of the imperialist rulers, even at the threat of dethronement.

In a letter to the Chief Minister, the former ADC to Aikya Kerala Maharaja of Cochin State Captain Kerala Varma pointed out that successive Governments ignored the role of Aikya Kerala Thampuram.

Sri Kerala Varma ascended throne of the Cochin State at a critical period of Indian history in 1946.

Immediately afterwards, he sent a message to the Cochin Legislative Assembly dated July 14, 1946, that he had decided to end the royal dynastic rule to form "Aikya Keralam", cherished dream of all Malayalis.

Moreover, he stated that he wanted to see the people of Cochin as the proud citizens of a united independent India.

Diwan C.P. Karunakara Menon read out the message that shook the princely States, which were the pillars of British empire.

The British Government honoured select loyalists on the emperor's birthday and New Year by giving them titles.

The previous rulers were honoured by the title `Sir'. The Maharaja expressed his patriotism by declining the offer of knighthood by the British emperor, even though his younger brother Ravi Varma Thampuran proudly accepted the title M.B.E. (Member of the British Empire).

Convention

In order to mobilise public support for Aikya Keralam, the Maharaja held a convention in Trichur on April 11 and 12 in 1947.

This was attended by leaders like K. Kelappan, Moidu Moulvi, K.A. Damodara Menon (from Malabar), E. Ikkanda Varier, Panampilly Govinda Menon, Dhara Singh (from Cochin), Mannathu Padmanabhan, T.M. Varghese, C. Kesavan (from Travancore).

V.K. Krishna Menon, as special representative of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, in his speech praised the ruler's clarion call for unity, "while we were witnessing disintegrating forces in other parts of India".

This convention was held in defiance of the Political Agent of the British Government. He argued that it was an impetus for the people of other Princely States to fight against the foreign rule and end the royal dynastic rule in other 550 princely States.

Due to the sacrifices by freedom fighters and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose's INA, RIN mutiny, the British Government hastened to transfer power to India. But the Princely States were given the option to stand as independent States or join India or Pakistan.

The Narandra Mandal, an organisation of the rulers of the princely States, held an urgent meeting in Delhi to chalk out a confederation of Indian States.

Indore Maharaja's ADC Col. C.K. Nayudu, famous cricketer, came to the Maharaja for canvassing his support for the idea, but the Maharaja even refused to meet him.

He was the first ruler to accede to the Indian Union without any preconditions. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhai Patel and other national leaders paid glowing tributes to the Maharaja's unquestionable patriotism.

It was the Maharaja's timely action that broke the backbone of the British conspiracy to balkanise the country. Soon, other rulers followed his example.

History records that the Cochin ruler was one of the important architects of Indian unity.

During his short tenure, the Aikya Kerala Thampuran introduced full Responsible Government in the State, when autocracy was the order of the day.

Further, he announced the Temple Entry Proclamation.

The Cochin rulers always fulfilled the ambitions of the people and that was why there had not been any political martyrdom in the long history of the State.

Sri Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma Maharaja's epoch-making Travancore Temple Entry Proclamation is celebrated every year with the participation of State Ministers.

Captain Kerala Varma, in the letter, requested the Government to honour Sri Kerala Varma Maharaja in a befitting manner for the great contribution in the formation of Aikya Keralam, especially when the Government is observing the golden jubilee.

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