Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Shri Mannathu Padmanabhan

Bharatha Kesari Mannathu Padmanabhan
Founder and builder of NSS

Born in the last quarter of the 19th century in a middle class family in Perunna village in Kerala, Shri Mannathu Padmanabhan grew up to become one of the
Architects of the 20th century Kerala. Without much formal education he plunged dedicatedly into the social and political life of the state, to the extent that his story has turned out to be the history of the land during his own life time. Shri Mannathu Padmanabhan, fearing that the community into which he was born was fast becoming irretrievably decadent, sent out to redeem it from total destruction with zeal and determination. He endured personal humiliations and financial embarrassments in his endeavour to build a mighty edifice that symbolizes the ambitions and aspirations of millions of Nairs.

Nair Service Society
The Nair Service Society popularly known as the NSS was founded by the late Shri Mannathu Padmanabhan in October 1914. The Nair community which had been the backbone of the Kerala society for centuries was in a mess. There was disarray among its members. Economically the community was facing a crisis. They believed in the traditional system of education which comprised of some years of coaching at home in the ancient arts and Sanskrit. They had practically lost all their land holdings. The odd jobs some of them managed to get in the Maharaja’s Government did not help the community in any way. Highly paid jobs were reserved for Brahmins from the neighboring states as they were educated in modern schools and colleges. From all points of view the decline and fall of the Nair community had begun.

It was at this critical period in the history of the Nairs that Shri Mannathu Padmanabhan set out to found the Nair Service Society. In his bold venture he was ably assisted by the Nair youth of Kerala.
Gradually Shri Mannathu Padmanabhan was able to build up an empire for the society. He collected donations from the rich as well as the poor. Schools began to spring up one after another. When a number of schools began functioning his attention was turned towards the starting of colleges. It was indeed a Herculean task that was involved in the collection of money for this purpose. His unwavering optimism, dediction, fortitude and sefless endeavour enabled him to achieve success in this field also. Side by side with these institutions he started Karayogams(small village units) to consolidate his people.

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