Context: Amid the ongoing tussle between the LDF government in Kerala and Governor, senior BJP leader and state education minister traded allegations over erstwhile Travancore Diwan Sir CP Ramaswamy Iyer.
About Sir CP Ramaswamy Iyer:
- Sir C.P. Ramaswamy Iyer, popularly known as ‘Sir CP’ or simply CP was an able lawyer, efficient administrator and astute politician.
- He graduated with distinction from the Madras Law College in 1901.
- He used to spend his college vacations with Sir K. Seshadri Iyer, the Dewan of Mysore and got inspiration from him.
- He was the Dewan of the erstwhile Travancore princely state from 1936 to 1947.
- Under his Dewanship, Travancore became the first princely state to abolish capital punishment, first to introduce free and compulsory education, first to introduce universal adult franchise and the first to be connected to the rest of India by air.
- The proposed bicameral legislature for the Travancore comprised of the Sri Mulam Assembly (First Chamber) and the Sri Chithira State Council (Second Chamber) and Sir C.P, was the President of both.
- In 1936, Sri Chithira Thirunal personally requested Sir C.P. Ramaswami Iyer to serve as the Dewan of Travancore which he accepted and served for ten years.
- In 1936, at the instance of Sir C.P, Sri Chithira Thirunal issued the famous Temple Entry Proclamation which gave Hindus of all castes and classes, including Harijans or untouchables, the right to enter Hindu temples in the state.
- Mahatma Gandhi and other social reformers praised the Maharaja and the Dewan for this proclamation though the conservative Hindus opposed it.
- Sir CP was the first person in India to suggest a plan for interlinking the rivers in the country and is also credited with the establishment of several hydro-electric power projects.
- He established the Pallivasal Hydro-electric power project on the Periyar River and initiated the Pechipara Hydro-electric Scheme and the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary project.
- In 1940, under his Dewanship, Travancore became the first state to nationalize road transport in India.
- The first cement highway in India between Trivandrum and Kanyakumari covering a distance of 88 kms was constructed during his tenure.
- Sir CP started the University of Travancore (subsequently named as Kerala University) in 1937 with the Maharaja Sri Chithira Thirunal as the Chancellor and himself as the Vice Chancellor.
- He was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Travancore in 1939. He also renovated the Padmanabhapuram Palace built during Marthanda Varma’s time and expanded the Trivandrum Art Gallery.
- Sir CP was the first to introduce the midday meal scheme in the form of the Vanchi Poor Fund in Travancore to encourage poor children to attend school.
- He established the Fertilizers and Chemicals of Travancore, the first fertilizer plant in India with American collaboration.
- He also established the Travancore Cement Co., the Travancore Titanium Co. and the Travancore Rayons Limited.
- The state revenue increased four-fold during his tenure as the Dewan.
- Sir CP was the patron of the Trivandrum Club and the Travancore Athletic Association. He was the Chairman of the Travancore State Sailer Soldiers and Armies Board, member of the Indian Rubber Production Board and President of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
- Some of his literary works are: Indian Universities: Retrospect’s and Prospects; Religion, Man and Other Essays; Biographical Vistas; Pen Portraits; Fundamentals of Hindu Faith and Culture; Cultural Freedom of Some Eminent Indians; At the Crossroads, Phases of Religion and Culture; World Religions-A study in synthesis; World Culture and India; Treatment of Landscape in Eastern and Western Poetry etc.
- Sir CP has been criticized as an authoritarian and anti-Communist but despite his animosity with the Communists, he opposed as “unconstitutional” the dismissal of the elected Communist government of Kerala in 1959.
Source: Indian Express
Previous Year Question
Q.1) In the first quarter of the seventeenth century, in which of the following was/were the factory/factories of the English East India Company located? (2021)
Select the correct answer using the code given below:
- 1 only
- 1 and 2
- 3 only
- 2 and 3