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.