Kottayam: During the heyday of India’s freedom struggle, Mahatma Gandhi had visited several parts of the ancient kingdom of Travancore.
A car belonging to freedom fighter Changanassery Parameswaran Pillai proved useful for the Mahatma to travel around the kingdom to attend Congress programs and other Indian National Movement events.
When Gandhi visited Travancore in 1925, 1943 and 1937, he traveled in Pillai’s car, a Rolls-Royce, while visiting the Kottayam and Vaikom areas. Gandhi went by boat to other places in Vaikom.
Gandhi reached Vaikom by boat on March 10, 1925. Later he traveled to Alappuzha and from there to Thiruvananthapuram by boat. Gandhi traveled in Pillai’s car from Thiruvananthapuram to the southernmost parts of Travancore.
Pillai accompanied Gandhi on his journey beginning from Thiruvananthapuram on March 15, 1925 to Kottayam via Kazhakkoottam, Attingal, Kundara, Kottarakkara, Adoor, Pandalam, Chengannur, Thiruvalla and Changanassery.
Along with Gandhi and the founder of the Nair Service Society (NSS), Mannathu Padmanabhan Pillai also participated in the Vaikom Satyagraha, which lasted 603 days from March 30, 1924.
The same car was used in Gandhi’s tour in 1934. After the inauguration of Aanandasramam in Changanassery on January 19, 1934, Gandhi visited places like Panmana and Adoor in the same car.
Pillai’s driver was still driving the car.
Pillai served as Chairman of the NSS from 1917 to 1928. He also served as Thiruvananthapuram Regional Chairman of the Indian National Congress in 1937.
Pillai practiced as a barrister for two years in the High Court of Travancore. He was a member of the Sreemoolam Assembly from 1906 to 1913. He was a member of the Travancore Legislative Council from 1913 to 1927.