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This day marks the death anniversary of Paravoor T. K. Narayana Pillai, who holds the unique distinction of being the last Prime Minister of Travancore and the First Chief Minister of Travancore-Cochin.
Died on 23rd June 1971
A future stalwart of the Indian National Congress, Pillai was born in North Parur of Travancore and graduated with a degree in humanities from Union Christian College, Alwaye in 1911. At the time, he was just 21 years of age and the cause of fighting for the nation appealed to him a lot.
Within just 13 years, he was made the head of North Parur's Congress unit owing to his remarkable political vision. His rise through the ranks was rapid - just 8 years later, he was chosen to become the Secretary of the Travancore-Cochin unit in 1932 and elected to lead them in just 1938.
Most people have to wait for an entire lifetime to achieve what he did at 48 years of age. Just a year after independence, he became the second and the last Prime Minister of Travancore in October of 1948.
As the PM, he ruled with an iron fist and played a huge part in suppressing the Communists who were rioting against the feudal lords of the state.
His tenure was short-lived as the post was abolished after the King of Travancore-Cochin kingdom signed the Instrument of Accession in 1949, but led the INC to a landslide victory in the next elections, returning as the Chief Minister of the newly formed Travancore-Cochin.
After all these years as a figurehead of the Congress in the area, he gained massive popularity and was a revered leader all over. People came out and voted for him in huge numbers, and this made elections a cakewalk for him.
Yet again, he couldn't hold on to power for long because of a gulf that emerged and kept on widening between two bulwarks of the party, Panampilli Govinda Menon and E. John Philipose. In 1951, his government fell.
Pillai secured an important failure in the next government; the Food, Labour and Education minister under C. Kesavan but that lasted for just a few months and he had a falling out with Kesavan. A defeat in the union elections of '52 pushed him into oblivion and then, he took retirement forever. For whatever remained of his life, he wrote articles in magazines before arthritis tied him to a bed before he went into a perpetual slumber on this day, in 1971.
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