Nanoo Pillai

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M. R. Ry.
Dewan Nanoo Pillai of Neyyoor
Diwan of Travancore
In office
Monarch Ayilyam Thirunal[1]
Preceded by Sir A. Seshayya Sastri
Succeeded by V. Ramiengar
Personal details
Born 1827
Southern division, Travancore
Died 1886

Nanoo Pillai (1827–1886) was a Travancorean statesman who served as the Diwan of Travancore from 1877 to 1880.

Early life[edit]

Nanoo Pillai was born in a Nair family of Neyyoor village of Travancore in 1827. He was educated privately had his English schooling at the London Missionary Society seminary in Nagercoil. While young, he caught the attention of General Cullen, the English Resident. He volunteered to work for the General as a translator and later as a clerk in the Resident's office.[2]

Civil service[edit]

After serving for 14 years in the Resident's office, Nanoo Pillai joined the Travancore service as Assistant Police Sheristadar. With a strong recommendation from the then Diwan, Sir T. Madhava Rao, Nanoo Pillai was promoted to be Diwan Peishkar of the Southern Division. He was soon transferred to the Travancore division and acted as the Diwan in Madhava Rao's absence on six occasions and was eventually appointed as the Diwan on the retirement of Seshayya Sastri in August 1877.

As Diwan[edit]

As Diwan of Travancore, Nanoo Pillai brought reforms in the Revenue Settlement introducing the transfer of registries. He also brought measures for irrigating the Southern Division and formulated the Kothayar Project before retiring in 1880.


  • V. Nagam Aiya. Travancore State Manual, Volume I. pp. 590–594. 


  • K. R. Elenkath (1974). Dewan Nanoo Pillay: biography with his select writings and letters. Dewan Nanoo Pillay Memorial Reading Room, West Neyyoor.