KERALA

A. Sreedhara Menon dead

Eminent historian and former Head of the Department of History, University of Kerala, Alappat Sreedhara Menon died here on Friday. He was 84. He is survived by wife, Sarojini Menon, and two children. The cremation will be on Sunday.

Sreedhara Menon, born to Kovilakathu Parambil Padmanabha Menon and Alappat Narayani Amma on December 18, 1925, in Ernakulam, grew to be among the prominent historians in the country with 25 books to his credit.

After graduating in 1944, he joined the History Department of the St. Thomas College, Thrissur and completed his postgraduate studies in the University of Madras in 1948 with first rank.

He joined the History and Politics Department of University College here in 1949 before moving to Harvard University on a Fulbright Travel Grant and a Smith-Mundt Scholarship from where he secured a masters degree in Politics with specialisation in International Relations. His first book (on Indian history) was published in 1956.

He joined the Kerala Gazetteers Department in 1958 and became its first State Editor, a post which he held until 1968.

Sreedhara Menon's stint as Registrar of the University of Kerala from 1968-1977 was also a remarkable phase in his career. He made notable contributions in developing many departments in the arts, science and humanities streams. The publication of the ‘Journal of Indian history' was taken up with renewed vigour. The ‘Journal of Kerala studies' also got started. ‘A survey of Kerala history,' published in 1967, is among his notable works. The State government had sought his services for writing a book on the ‘History of the freedom movement in Kerala' as part of the golden jubilee of the country's Independence. He could not complete the assignment owing to differences of opinion with the government. (The book was later brought out by a private publisher).

‘Triumph and tragedy in Travancore — a study on Sir C.P. Ramaswamy Iyer' is stated to be his magnum opus. He extensively used documents collected from the National Archives of India and the C.P. Ramaswamy Iyer Foundation, Chennai. The book was released by noted historian M.G.S. Narayanan and the first copy was received by Nandita Krishna, a relative of the Dewan.

He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2009.