Friday, 28 December 2012

Enlightened Administration in Travancore During the time of Kuriakose Elias Chavara

The rulers of Travancore during the time of Kuriakose Elias Chavara were Rani Gouri Lakshmi Bhai, Rani Gouri Parvati Bhai, Swati Tirunal, Utradam Tirunal Marthadanda Varma and Ayilyam Tirunal. In order to have a complete picture of the enlightened administration in Travancore the rulers before and after his life time is also significant. Enlightened Administration in Travancore begins at 1729 with the reign of Marthanda Varma and Dharma Raja. But after the death of this prominent leader, the successor, Balarama Varma and his ministry were weak in administration and public welfare. This resulted in a financial crisis in the state and they began to levy forced loans from prominent people. Against this injustice, Velu Thampi fought along with people in 1800 and became the Dalawa of the Travancore.

Velu Thampi Dalawa (1800)
The people of Travancore witnessed the efficient administration of Velu Thampi Dalawa. He purified the administration from corruption, promoted revenue collection, introduced education in the villages and ensured welfare and prosperity of major towns with network of roads, cultivation etc.

Ummini Thampi
The successor of Velu Thampi, Ummini Thampi also contributed to Travancore by increasing the financial strength of the state, establishing courts and jails, settling weavers, development of Vizhinjam Port etc. But Dalawa was unpopular even though these reformations were introduced.

Rani Gouri Lakshmi Bai (1810 - 1815)
Several Enlightened reformations were carried out by Rani Lakshmi Bai along with Munro, resident-Diwan. He introduced secretariat system, pattayam, auditing, thahasildar post and prevented smuggling, abolishment of slavery etc. which were hyperactive active on that time. Reformation of judicial administration, supervision of police department by Diwan, direct management of Davaswams by the government etc are also the milestones.

Gouri  Parvati Bai (1815 – 1829)
The regency period of Gouri Parvati Bai was a liberal administration. During her reign agriculture, communications etc were developed and restriction on trade removed with several export and import duties. Civic equality and social freedom were established, Therefore Christian missionaries were allowed for evangelization, and rent-free and free timbers was supplied for building the Churches. In addition, education for Syrians was considered.

Swati Tirunal (1829 – 1847)
This period is  known as the “Golden Age” in the history of modern Travancore. Major contributions of him are: encouragement of fine arts, Munsiff courts for petty civil and police cases, transfer of Capital from Quilon to Trivandrum, beginning of English education, charity hospitals, engineering and irrigation works, census of the population of the state etc. As a great reformer, he was called ‘Garbha Sriman:’ one who was the sovereign even from his birth.

Utradam Tirunal Marthanda Varma (1847 – 1860)
Utram Tirunal Marthanda Varma proved himself as a qualified leader. Improvement of finances of the state, liberation for slaves, permitting Shanar (lower caste) women to cover their upper body, education for girls, opening of first post office and modern factory for the manufacture of coir were his greatest achievements.

Ayilyam Tirunal (1860 - 1880)
Ayilyam Tirunal continued the great  reformations of predecessors. Along with Diwan, Madhava Rao he opened postal service to public, arts college established at Trivandrum, English, Malayalam, Tamil schools, and hospitals were opened over the state. Seshayya Sastri succeeded Ayilyam Tirunal and his major achievements was building  Kerala Government Secretariat. Travancore had taken its place in the front rank of the Indian states during his time.

Visakham Tirunal (1880 – 1885)
Most important reformation of his reign was the re-organization of police force and elementary education that made great progress under the system of grand-in-aid.

Sri Mulam Tirunal (1885 – 1924)
Major events of his reformation were in the field of agriculture. He made giant strides in the field of education with the co-operation of private agencies. Libraries, reading rooms were opened and hospitals, especially Ayurvedic Hospitals got special attention. Legislative Councils were formed and women were given power to vote.

Setu Lakshmi Bai (1924 – 1931)
Setu Lakshmi Bai's achievements include formation of village panchayats and abolition of Devadasi, animal sacrifice etc.

Sri Chitria Tirunal Balarama Varma (1931 – 1949)
The last sovereign ruler of Travancore took special interest in Legislative reformation. Industrialization was developed. The execution of Pallivasal Hydro Electric scheme and introduction of State Transport Services are bright spots during his regime.

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