(Sir Chettur Sankaran Nair is my idol as he was a rebel in every sense and Im glad to be part of his lienage in Mankara, Palakkad, Kerala …)
|Chettur Sankaran Nair
|President of Indian National Congress|
|Born||July 11, 1857
Malabar District, Kerala, India
|Died||1934 (aged 76–77)
|Political party||Indian National Congress|
|Profession||Lawyer, jurist, activist, politician|
Early life and education
He was born on July 11, 1857 on the Malabar Coast. His early education began in the traditional style at home and continued in schools in Malabar, till he passed the Arts examination with a first class from the Provincial School at Calicut. Then he joined the Presidency College, Madras. In 1877 he took his Arts degree, and two years later secured the Law degree from the Madras Law College.
Sir Sankaran Nair started as a lawyer in 1880 in the High Court of Madras. In 1884, the Madras Government appointed him as a member of the Committee for an enquiry into the state of Malabar. Till 1908, he was the Advocate-General to the Government and an Acting Judge from time to time. In 1908 he became a permanent Judge in the High Court of Madras and held the post till 1915.He was a part of the bench that tried Collector Ashe Murder case along with C. A. White, then the Chief Justice of Madras, Mr. Justice Ayling, as a special case.
In the meantime, in 1902, the Viceroy, Lord Curzon appointed him Secretary to the Raleigh University Commission, In recognition of his services he was appointed a Companion of the Indian Empire by the King-Emperor in 1904 and in 1912 he was knighted. He became a member of the Viceroy’s Council in 1915 with the charge of the Education portfolio. As member, he wrote in 1919 two famous Minutes of Dissent in the Despatches on Indian Constitutional Reforms, pointing out the various defects of British rule in India and suggesting reforms. For an Indian to offer such criticism and make such demands was incredible in those days. The British government accepted most of his recommendations.
He played an active part in the Indian National movement which was gathering force in those days. In 1897, when the First Provincial Conference met in Madras, he was invited to preside over it. The same year, when the Indian National Congress assembled at Amraoti, he was chosen its President. In a masterly address he referred to the highhandedness of foreign administration, called for reforms and asked for self-government for India with Dominion Status. In 1900 he was a Member of the Madras Legislative Council. His official life from 1908 to 1921 interrupted his activities as a free political worker. In 1928 he was the President of the Indian Central Committee to co-operate with the Simon Commission. The Committee prepared a well-argued report asking for Dominion Status for India. When the Viceregal announcement came granting Dominion Status as the ultimate goal for India, Sir Sankaran Nair retired from active politics. He died in 1934, aged 77.
Sir Sankaran Nair’s eldest daughter Lady Madhavan Nair and son-in-law Sir C Madhavan Nair ( a legal luminary and a judge of the Privy Council)lived in Chennai, on a large estate known as Lynwood. Within this property in the area now known as Lady Madhavan Nair colony/Mahalinagapuram, is situated the Iyappan temple, the land for which was donated by Lady Madhavan Nair . There are still many roads bearing names of the house – Lynwood avenue – and of the children of Sir and Lady Nair – Palat Narayani Amma road, Palat Sankaran Nair road, Palat Madhavan Nair road .
Lt General Candeth, a war hero and the liberator of Goa, was another of Sir Sankaran Nair’s grandsons.