About Mannam

Sri. Mannathu Padmanabhan

Sri. Mannathu Padmanabhan the peerless leader of the Nair Community, the immortal founder of the Nair Service Society and the great social reformer was born in the closing decades of the 19th century in Perunnai, a village in Changanacherry taluk of the erstwhile state of Travancore as the son of middle-class parents. Abject poverty misery and deprivation marked the early years of his life. After school education he became a teacher and then a pleader. Before long he found himself drawn in to the vortex of political and social movements. The plight of the Nair Community that was witnessing it’s own decadence and disintegration, precipitated by extravaganza, superstitious veneration for antiquated and anachronistic customs and tradition, filled him with anguish. He marshaled his oratorical skill and organizational ability to motivate, inspire and mobilize the Community that was lost in a long and deep slumber. The Nair Service Society which he conceived, nursed and nurtured epitomized the hopes and aspirations of the community which had been waiting for a savior.

Mannam’s personal life was inextricably intertwined with the history of the Nair Service Society. He travelled extensively through the state, met the people, organized them and won their love and regard with the help of his disarming simplicity, single-minded devotion, will and determination. Impregnable fortress of superstition nd formidable citadel of resistance crumbled before his all-conquering and awe-inspiring personality. Gradually he built an empire out of nothing. The prestigious institutions founded by him would perpetuate his memory.

Captivated by Mahatma Gandhi and his principles of Satyagraha, Mannam led a Satyagraha march called “Savarnajatha” for the sake of the untouchables. It ultimately led to the “Temple Entry Proclamation”. The dynamic roles he played in the “Vaikom Satyagraham” and in the independence struggle and his subsequent imprisonment and his initiatives aimed at communal harmony, peace and social changes turned him into a legend in his life time. The major milestones in the history of the NSS intersect the social, political and cultural history of Kerala . Mannam passed away at the ripe age of 93. The story of his life is the stuff, fairy tales are made of. The touch of his magic word revived and resurrected the entire community. He taught them the philosophy of action, the value of unity and above all the need to change. His legacy is undiminished by passage of time. He lives through generations.
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