India @75 | Gandhi's Travancore trips were often in NSS leader's car

Mahatma Gandhi. Photo: Malayala Manorama.

Kottayam: During the heydays of the India's Freedom Struggle Mahatma Gandhi had visited several parts of the erstwhile Travancore Kingdom.

A car owned by freedom fighter Changanassery Parameswaran Pillai came in handy for the Mahatma to criss-cross the kingdom in order to attend Congress programmes and other events of the Indian National Movement.

When Gandhi visited Travancore in 1925, 1943 and 1937, he travelled in Pillai's car, a Rolls-Royce, while visiting Kottayam and Vaikom areas. Gandhi went by boat to other places from Vaikom.

Gandhi reached Vaikom by boat on March 10, 1925. Later, he went to Alappuzha and from there to Thiruvananthapuram by boat. Gandhi travelled in Pillai's car from Thiruvananthapuram to the southernmost parts of Travancore.

Pillai accompanied Gandhi in his trip beginning from Thiruvananthapuram on March 15, 1925 to Kottayam via Kazhakkoottam, Attingal, Kundara, Kottarakkara, Adoor, Pandalam, Chengannur, Thiruvalla and Changanassery.

Along with Gandhi and Nair Service Society (NSS) founder Mannathu Padmanabhan Pillai also took part in the Vaikom Satyagraha, which lasted for 603 days from March 30, 1924.

The same car was used during Gandhi's tour in 1934. After the inauguration of Aanandasramam in Changanassery on January 19, 1934, Gandhiji visited places like Panmana and Adoor in the same car.

Pillai's driver always drove the car.

Pillai was the NSS president from 1917 to 1928. He also served as the Thiruvananthapuram regional president of the Indian National Congress in 1937.

Pillai practised as a lawyer for two years in the Travancore High Court. He was the member of the Sreemoolam Assembly from 1906 to 1913. He was a member of the Travancore Legislative Council from 1913 to 1927.

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