Govindan Paramaswaran Pillai (1864–1903) was born in Alathoor in Kerala, India, in an aristocratic Nair family.
After gaining a B.A. at the University of Madras he was admitted to the Middle Temple in London in 1898, where he was called to the bar in 1902. He later established the first English language newspaper in South India, the Madras Standard.
Participation in Indian freedom struggle
The formation of the Indian National Congress in 1885 led to increased agitation for Indian independence from British rule. G. P. Pillai was the earliest leader of the organisation from Kerala, and twice served as its General Secretary. He was well-known as editor of the Madras Standard and as an activist for civil rights in Travancore State. A forceful writer and orator, he had wide contacts in Britain as well as India. Mahatma Gandhi acknowledged the help and guidance given to him by Pillai in the South African Indian issue and also in the temperance movement.