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Mannathu Padmanabhan, the immortal founder of Nair Service Society was a legendary personality, who dedicated his life to the upliftment of the society. He was a great social reformer and freedom fighter. He influenced the social and political life of the state to the extent that his story has turned out to be the history of the state of Kerala during his own lifetime.
Mannathu Padmanabhan was born on 2nd January 1877 to Eswaran Namboothiri of Nilavana Illam and Mannathu Parvathy Amma of a respectable Nair family near Changanacherry in the erstwhile princely state of Travancore. He started his career as a Teacher in 1893 in a Government Primary School. After a few years, he changed his profession and took up Legal practice from 1905 onwards, and became a prominent member of the Bar.
In 1914, he along with 13 others established the Nair Service Society with the ambition to uplift the Nair community, which was witnessing its own decadence and disintegration. From 1915 onwards, he gave up a lucrative legal practice and became full time secretary of the Nair Service Society.
In 1924, he took part in the Vaikkom Sathyagraha and later in Guruvayur Temple entry agitation. He was the captain of the " Savarna Jatha" from Vaikkom to Trivandrum in support of the entry of "Avarnas" to the temples. He even opened his family temple for everyone irrespective of any caste distinction. In 1947, he took part in the Travancore state congress agitation against Sir C.P.Ramaswamy Iyer's administration in Travancore.
In 1949, Mannathu Padmanabhan became a member of the Travancore Legislative Assembly from Pathanamthitta constituency. In 1959, he led a united opposition called "Vimochana Samaram" against the state communist ministry, which resulted in the dismissal of the State government. He was honoured with the title"Bharatha Kesari" and awarded with "PadmaBhushan" in 1966.
Mannathu Padmanabhan served the Nair Service Society as its Secretary for 31 years and as its President for 3 years. The prestiigious institutions established under his efficient leadership includes Mahathma Gandhi College TVM, NSS College Nilamel, NSS College Pandalam, NSS College Changanassery and NSS Eng. College Ottappalam. He passed away on 25th February 1970, leaving behind a space that can never be occupied by any one.


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