‘Skilful and attentive driver,’ Gandhi's testimonial for this Keralite

Kochi: The date was February 21, 1934. Mahatma Gandhi wrote a testimonial to Keralite Palliyani Kuttan Kaimal, who was his driver and aide during his visit to Tamil Nadu.

"Kaimal has been a very skilful and attentive driver throughout the exacting tour in Tamil Nadu," signed M K Gandhi.

It was C Rajagopalachari who coordinated Gandhiji's TN visit. Kaimal, a close aide of Rajagopalachari, was also in Tamil Nadu then.  When he had to find a trusted driver for Gandhiji, Rajaji did not have to think twice before picking Kaimal for the task.

While returning after completing his tour, Gandhiji took a paper from his secretary and wrote down the testimonial.

This testimonial had a pride of place in Kaimal's house at Elamakkara in Kochi. The note was handed over to the GandhiServe Foundation during the 1970s. 

“After coming across a notification by the central government, seeking documents in Gandhiji's own handwriting, my father sent it across to Delhi," his son P Kuttykrishnan recounted. 

The testimonial has been uploaded on the website of the Mahatma Gandhi Research And Media Service, which is part of the foundation. A copy of this note is still at the Kochi house.

Kaimal had also served as an aide to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his visit to Hyderabad in early 1950.

After returning to Kochi, Kaimal worked at the Burmah Shell Oil Company. A native of Thrissur, Kaimal died in 1982.