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|Sir Rama Varma VI|
|Maharaja of Travancore|
|Successor||Sethu Lakshmi Bayi(Regent)|
|Father||Changanassery Raja Raja Varma|
|Mother||Rani Lakshmi Bayi|
|Born||September 25, 1857|
|Died||March 7, 1924(aged 66)|
|Kingdom of Travancore|
|Part of History of Kerala|
|Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma||1729–1758|
|Gowri Lakshmi Bayi||1810–1815|
|Gowri Parvati Bayi‡||1815–1829|
|Sethu Lakshmi Bayi‡||1924–1931|
|Chithira Thirunal||1924–1949, (1949-1971 titular)|
|‡ Regent Queens|
Early life and education
Mulam Thirunal Rama Varma was born on the 25th of September 1857 to Prince Raja Raja Varma of the Changanassery Royal Family and Maharani Lakshmi Bayi of Travancore, niece of the illustrious Swathi Thirunal Maharajah. He lost his mother when he was only a few days old. The Maharajah had an elder brother, Hastham Thirunal. After the usual vernacular Malayalam studies the two princes were placed under the tutorship of Annaji Rao B.A. and later under Raghunath Rao B.A. at a special country house built for the purpose. Hastham Thirunal soon had to stop his studies owing to ill health and so Rama Varma remained the only pupil under the tutor. He was taught subjects such as History, Geography of the world, Arithmetic and Grammar initially. His great grandmother was the illustrious Maharani Gowri Lakshmi Bayi of Travancore.
The Travancore Legislative Council was established under a Regulation in the year 1888, three years after Rama Varma became the Maharajah succeeding his uncle Visakham Thirunal who died in 1885. This was the first Legislative Council for a Native state in the whole of India. It was later succeeded by Sree Moolam Popular Assembly the first legislature in Indian history to have elected members.
In 1886 a Proclamation was passed relieving the people from payment of penalties on documents executed on unstamped government cadjan leaves (Paper was not in common use yet in Travancore). In 1887 the penalty on non payment of stamp duty was reduced as it was found to be a huge burden. Likewise in the same year another Royal Proclamation was passed relinquishing the right of the Government in property left by a person under the Marumakkathayam matrilineal system of inheritance when a person died without heirs. Likewise under the then system, when a tenant of a Jenmi or landlord died heirless instead of the land passing in entirety to the landlord, it passed with sovereign right to the Government who auctioned it later. This was abolished.
In 1888 the Anchal System of post was improved and postage stamps of new values were introduced. His reign also saw major changes in the transport sector in Travancore. The first bus services of the native state were started in 1908 in two routes starting from Trivandrum. The first bus on the Trivandrum-Nagarcoil route was started by Arumana Narayanan Thampi, son of Visakham Thirunal, and the first bus on the Trivandrum-Kollam route was started by Joseph Augusti Kayalackakom, a textile merchant of Trivandrum. Ten years later in 1918, the first train reached Trivandrum as the Chenkotta-Quilon railway line was extended to Trivandrum.
One of the major accomplishment during his reign was the progress made in the area of agriculture. It was during his reign and under his constant support that the major reclamation activities in the Vembanadu Lake took place. Two of the stalwarts of his Popular Assembly Pallithanam Luca Matthai and C.J Kurian were revered as the Kayal Rajas of Kuttanadu. Their guiding spirit converted Kuttanad into rice bowl of Travancore. They were instrumental in the reclamation of more than two-third of the Kayal lands in Kuttanad.
Several other reforms were also brought in by Moolam Thirunal Rama Varma in the fields of education, medicine, law and order, civil service etc. Sanitary Departments were opened and female education progressed. Changes were brought in the management of prisons and the Public Works department was reorganised. Life Insurance system was introduced by the Maharajah. For these, the British recognised him by granting him a personal salute of 21 guns in 1898.
- Dewan V. Ramiengar (1880–1887)
- Dewan T. Rama Rao (1887–1892)
- Dewan S. Shungrasoobyer C.I.E. (1892–1898)
- Dewan K. Krishnaswamy Rao (1898–1904)
- Dewan V. P. Madhava Rao (1904–1906)
- Dewan P. Rajagopalachari (1904–1914)
- Dewan M. Krishnan Nair (1914–1920)
Family and Demise
Since the Royal House of Travancore followed the Nair Marumakkathayam system of matrilineal inheritance the presence of females was very essential in the family. Since the family had failed to exist in the female line, on the suggestion of Rani Lakshmi Bayi, two princesses, Sethu Lakshmi Bayi and Sethu Parvathi Bayi were adopted from the cousin Royal family at Mavelikara. Maharani Sethu Lakshmi Bayi succeeded Maharajah Moolam Thirunal Sir Rama Varma as Regent in 1924 till 1931, when her nephew & heir to the throne, Maharajah Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma attained the legal age and became the last Maharajah of Travancore.
Maharajah Sir Rama Varma married twice, both noblewomen of the Thampi clan of the Nairs as tradition. His first wife (married in 1880) was Nagercoil Ammachi Panapillai Amma Srimathi Kunjulakshmi Pillai Anantha Lakshmi Pillai Kochamma, of the Nagercoil Ammaveedu Family, whose aunt was the consort of Ayilyam Thirunal. She died prior to the Maharajah's accession to the throne in 1882 giving birth to an only son, Nagercoil Sri Narayanan Chempakaraman Thampi, who remained aide de camp to his father till his death. Following this the Maharajah remained single for more than a decade. The Maharajah's second wife was Vadasseri Ammachi Panapillai Amma Srimathi Lakshmi Pillai Karthyayani Pillai Kochamma, of the Vadasseri Ammaveedu family.
She originally belonged to the Kaipally family of Palkulangara but was adopted before marriage to the Maharajah into the Vadasseri Ammaveedu in 1899. She was born to Krishnan Nair (Nagercoil Ammaveedu) and Lakshmi Amma. She was the sister of play writ and author, Vadasseri Krishnan Thampi, who also was the Principal(1917 to 1934) of Sanskrit College in Trivandrum. Her other two sisters were Kalyani Pillai Kochamma and Bhageerathi Pillai Kochamma. She was first married to T.Sankaran Thampi, Palace Manager, from which marriage she had a son, V. Sri Velayudhan Thampi in 1898. From her marriage to the Maharajah she had a daughter, Vadasseri Shrimathi Kartyayani Pillai Bhagavathi Pillai Kochamma, in June 1901. Her elder son was also adopted by Moolam Thirunal (This was not the first instance of a Maharajah espousing an already married woman. Moolam Thirunal's uncle Ayilyam Thirunal's consort was also already married before she became royal consort in 1862). Ulloor S. Parameswara Iyer writes about the Maharajah's consort in "Progress of Travancore Under HH Sree Moolam Thirunal":
|“||..Karthyayani Pilla Kochamma by birth belongs to a very ancient and highly respected Nair family in Trivandrum and is a lady of remarkable culture and attainments, a gifted pianist, musician and artist. Her many lovable and ennobling qualities have won for her a warm place in the hearts of His Highness' subjects..||”|
Sankaran Thampi of Sankaramangalam
T Sankaran Thampi (1857 - 1930), the principal favourite and relative of the Maharajah, was the all powerful Palace Manager, the power behind the throne. He belonged to Sankaramangalam Family, a branch of Cheruvallil Tharavad at Karicode in Kollam.
The emergence of Sankaran Thampi as the leading favourite of the Maharajah limited the influence of another favourite Saravanai Ananda Narayana Aiyar. Thampi was closely associated with C.V. Raman Pillai. Two of Thampi's brothers were Tahsildars. Thampi survived the Dewanship of VP Madhava Rao, who tried to displace him. He remained powerful until the Maharaja's demise in 1924.
Official full name
Officially he was also known with his full name, style and honours: Colonel His Highness Sri Padmanabhadasa Vanchipala Sree Moolam Thirunal Rama Varma Kulasekhara Kiritapathi Manney Sultan Maharajah Raja Ramaraja Bahadur Shamsher Jang, Maharajah Of Travancore.
- GCSI: Order of the Star of India
- GCIE: Order of the Indian Empire
- FRAS: Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society
- Panapillai Amma
- Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma
- Sethu Lakshmi Bayi
- Visakham Thirunal
- Kappazhom Raman Pillai
- Sree Moolam Popular Assembly
- Jeffrey, Robin. 'The Decline of Nair Dominance'. New Delhi: Manohar Publishers and Distributors, 2014.
Moolam ThirunalBorn: 25 September 1857 Died: 7 March 1924
|Maharaja of Travancore