Dismiss Notice
Welcome to IDF- Indian Defence Forum , register for free to join this friendly community of defence enthusiastic from around the world. Make your opinion heard and appreciated.

The Casabianca of Travancore

Discussion in 'General History' started by InfoWarrior, Jul 15, 2017.

  1. InfoWarrior

    InfoWarrior Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2017
    Messages:
    873
    Likes Received:
    708
    Country Flag:
    India
    The Casabianca of Travancore

    TRIUMPH AND TRAGEDY IN TRAVANCORE — Annals of Sir C.P's Sixteen Years: Prof. A. Sreedhara Menon: Current Books, P.B. No. 212, Kottayam-686012. Rs. 395.

    AN AMAZING fact revealed by the author in this book which grips the reader right up to the last line was the perception by the then ruler of the State of Travancore, Marthanda Varma, that it was a "Hindu State" in view of its dedication to the tutelary deity, Sri Padmanabha. This was nothing but a return to the Divine Right of Kings propounded in mediaeval, monarchical England. It would not, therefore, be possible to concede to it responsible government "without diluting its Hindu character" and the ruler just did not care if it militated against the concept of secularism to which India was committed. This quixotic stand was supported by the Dewan, Sir C. P. Ramaswamy Aiyer, in total disregard for the concept of secularism cherished as an ideal in modern India. It should, therefore, surprise many to know from Prof. Menon about the conversion to Hinduism by Dr. James Cousins with the name of Jayaram in Thiruvananthapuram "under the benevolent patronage of the Ruler and the Dewan" in 1937.

    The oddities of CP's thinking including his envisaging "reconversion" to Hinduism notwithstanding, C. P. is given a Churchillian image by the author, while giving his book a title which recalls Winston Churchill's Triumph and Tragedy, the last volume of British Prime Minister's famous Memoirs of the Second World War (1939-45). During his long tenure as Dewan, CP did make Travancore a model state in British India. The Machiavellian image he won for himself in earlier years receded to make him a Casabianca in 1947 because of his last ditch stand for an independent Travancore, recalling "the boy who stood on the burning deck whence all but he had fled" in the moving poem of Felicia Hemans. While the poem would have left the eyes of every one moist, there were not many to shed a tear for CP even after the knife attack on him. There was in fact a sense of relief felt all over the country that CP could no longer prevent the Maharaja from signing the Instrument of Accession to the Indian Union. The Machiavelli in CP — as one could see from Prof. Menon's account — was stepping out with his ruthless use of power to bring about the run on the Travancore National and Quilon Bank in 1938 and its eventual crash in 1938, though he denied that it was engineered by him. He just did not care if this was attributed to his being "anti-Christian" (The Directors were all Christians). While the Directors of the Bank were charged with tax evasion, fraud and misappropriation of the Bank, later investigations revealed that the Bank had in fact been managed very well. It did in fact honour the trust placed in it by refunding amounts of up to anywhere between 12 and 16 annas in the rupee (amounting to 16 annas). However much the admirers of CP would deny it, the destruction of the Bank was an act of vendetta though it would have been difficult if not wholly impossible at the time to prove this. Mr. C. P. Mathen, who was a Director of the Bank at the time and who was jailed, had given a moving account of the tragedy which left a large number of its depositors ruined in his I Have Borne Much in 1951.

    The rapid progress which Travancore had made in achieving the highest rate of literacy unmatched anywhere in British India and the bold progressive measures like temple entry which had been initiated in the State should all be attributed to the dynamism of C.P. Incidentally it came as a surprise to many at the time that the then Maharaja of adjacent Cochin State who was later applauded by Nehru for being the first princely ruler in 1946 to constitute a responsible government was a staunch opponent of temple entry. CP's unflinching refusal to agree to the setting up of responsible Government led to a dreadful bloodshed, the toll of which was estimated anywhere from 7000 to 2000, the latter figure being that of the British Resident, Col. Edwards.

    The author gives an indication of how the concept of an integrated India was losing its appeal for CP when he saw Jinnah's determined and eventually triumphant drive for carving out Pakistan and he had probably come to the conclusion that the break-up of the rest of India would be inevitable. Few would now remember that the post-war British Labour Government headed by Clement Attlee and which was believed to have been committed to India's independence gave a stunningly sinister indication of its intentions to leave India fragmented into as many states in which Robert Clive found it two centuries earlier. The reputation Attlee had built up for himself as an anti-imperialist would hardly have made anyone suspect that this was what he had in mind in his historic announcement that Britain would transfer power to whichever "government or governments" could take over after the lapse of the British paramount in March 1948. By advancing the date to August 1947, Lord Mountbatten, with all the glorious image he had built up for himself, tried to achieve this earlier and might have succeeded but for Sardar Patel's seeing through the game and his masterly integration of the states into the Indian Union. Attlee's announcement should have sounded as an invitation not only to Jinnah for carving out Pakistan but to as many princely satraps and other separatists for the slicing out of India into their own principalities. Travancore had gone very far ahead with its achievements in industry and education under CP's dynamism and he saw no reason why he should cling to what was beginning to look like just a sentimental attachment to a united India when it seemed to be on the verge of a break-up. He was even negotiating and finalising deals with a number of countries all over the world.

    The author gives us an insight in the earlier chapters of his book of how CP, seized by this craze for power, was eventually heading towards being nothing more than a footline in the history of free India.

    Had he been far-seeing instead of just being so mindlessly ambitious, he could have easily emerged as an architect of free India's policy at the highest levels with Nehru looking around for distinguished men like him. Instead he only induced Nehru to charge him with perfidy, which could not be overlooked.

    The book is a well-documented history of Travancore during a tumultuous era.

    It will be difficult to do full justice in a review to the information it is packed with. C.P. did recede into a quiet and long retirement from 1947 until his death in London in 1966, but he was going to play a role as a member of the Press Commission constituted in 1951-52 and he came out with some outspoken pronouncements about "press barons" while addressing media persons in 1956.

    http://www.thehindu.com/thehindu/br/2002/03/26/stories/2002032600170400.htm
     
    SrNair likes this.
  2. InfoWarrior

    InfoWarrior Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2017
    Messages:
    873
    Likes Received:
    708
    Country Flag:
    India
    When the Britishers left India in 1947, they did not leave the country the way it is today. 68 years ago, with more than 500 princely states scattered across the boundary, the idea of a united India was difficult to conceive. To make matters worse, the British did not decide anything about the princely states, and they were free to join either India or Pakistan and could even remain independent!

    This freedom led some of the rulers and princes into believing that they could rule their independent states. It was Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel who negotiated the deal with the princes and made them understand the importance of a united India. Still, there were several princely states that were very difficult to persuade.
    Here's the story of how 5 of those princely states came to be called a part of India:


    Travancore

    Travancore was the first princely state that questioned why Congress should succeed the British. After the British had left, the dewan - Sir C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar - made it clear that Travancore would become an independent country, free from any outside rule, as it used to be before 1795 when it first signed treaty with the East India Company. This desire of the dewan was also welcomed by Muhammad Jinnah. Eventually, after a series of negotiations, Travancore gave in to the demand of joining India. But what preceded it was certainly unfortunate.

    An assassination attempt was made on the Sir C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar by a socialist activist of Kerala, and he had to be admitted in hospital. Meanwhile, the States People's Organisation rallied to the cause and Travancore gave in to join India. Later, from the hospital bed, the dewan also advised the Maharaja of Travancore to follow the path of conciliation and compromise.
    [​IMG]
    Source: thehindu
    https://www.scoopwhoop.com/Did-You-...emain-Independent-After-Partition/#.4h4zz98fo
     
  3. InfoWarrior

    InfoWarrior Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2017
    Messages:
    873
    Likes Received:
    708
    Country Flag:
    India
    Travancore did not want to accede to India: princess
    D Jose in Thiruvananthapuram

    Swati Thirunal Lakshmi Bai, princess of the erstwhile Travancore kingdom, finds herself in the midst of controversy thanks to her statement that the last king of the Travancore dynasty, Chithra Thirunal, was against accession of Travancore with the Indian Union.

    Lakshmi Bai, in course of a lecture on 'History of Modern Travancore' at the Institute of Management in Government, where IAS officers are trained, said that Chithra Thirunal feared that the north would dominate the south, and therefore wished to keep Tranvancore out of the Indian Union.

    While political parties have vehemently criticised the princess for her "provocative comments" and for "raising a needless controversy", historians for their part dismiss her comments as totally irrelevant.

    What exactly is she trying to say, demanded Community Party of India-Marxist secretary Chadayan Govindan. "We in Kerala have never felt that it was a mistake to become part of the Indian Union," the politico added. "If Kerala has remained backward, it is not the fault of the accession, but of bad relations between the Centre and the state."

    Nonsense, was Communist Party of India state secretary Veliyam Bharghavan's response to Lakshmi Bai's comments. "It's a complete distortion of history, the princess is retrospectively trying to justify the stand taken by the former king on this issue," Bhargavan said, adding, "Then again, Chithra Thirunal cannot be blamed, he was merely a pawn in the hands of the then diwan of Travancore, C P Ramawamy Aiyar."

    Another prominent political personality to put the villain's robes on Aiyar is Professor T J Chandrachoodan of the Revolutionary Socialist Party, who argues that the decision to stake a claim for an independent Travancore was taken by Aiyar as diwan. The diwan's autocratic ways of functioning, Chandrachoodan goes on to argue, resulted in various violent public uprisings of the time, including the Punnappura Vaylar uprising that was largely responsible fo the final decision to accede into the Indian Union.

    If politicians have been quick to condemn the princess, historians haven't lagged behind either. Sreedhara Menon, doyen of Kerala historians, said that Lakshmi Bai's argument made no sense as, under the British, rule, there was no such thing as a north-south divide. The phenomenon, he pointed out, was an outcome of Independence and the formation of a national government centered in New Delhi.

    Menon, unlike the politicians, sees love rather than ignorance as the spark behind the princess's utterances. "She might have made these remarks out of a desire to defend the king, whom she loved very much," the historian said, adding, "but her remarks have no basis in fact."

    For her part, Lakshmi Bai refused to elaborate on her comments, saying she did not want the late king to be dragged into a controversy. "All I can say for now is that I would never distort fact simply to defend the late king," she said, adding that her forthcoming book on Chithra Thirunal will answer the criticisms that have been voiced by various parties.
    http://www.rediff.com/news/oct/18queen.htm
     
    SrNair likes this.
  4. SrNair

    SrNair Captain FULL MEMBER

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2016
    Messages:
    1,115
    Likes Received:
    1,350
    Country Flag:
    India
    I am also a native of Travancore .Yup Our kings were brilliant enough to accept the change in politics in subcontinent .
    You seems much interested in our history . I think you are a Keralite @InfoWarrior
     

Share This Page