Prominent personalities of Kerala
Sir Chettur Sankaran Nair

Sir Chettur Sankaran Nair-President of the Indian National Congress in 1897Sir Chettur Sankaran Nair: Sir Chettur Sankaran Nair CIE (July 11, 1857 – 1934) was the President of the Indian National Congress in 1897. He was the only Keralite to hold the post.

He was born on July 11, 1857 on the Malabar Coast. His early education began in the traditional style at home and continued in schools in Malabar, till he passed the Arts examination with a first class from the Provincial School at Calicut. Then he joined the Presidency College, Madras. In 1877 he took his Arts degree, and two years later secured the Law degree from the Madras Law College.

Sir Sankaran Nair started as a lawyer in 1880 in the High Court of Madras. In 1884, the Madras Government appointed him as a member of the Committee for an enquiry into the state of Malabar. Till 1908, he was the Advocate-General to the Government and an Acting Judge from time to time. In 1908 he became a permanent Judge in the High Court of Madras and held the post till 1915.

In the meantime, in 1902, the Viceroy, Lord Curzon appointed him Secretary to the Raleigh University Commission, In recognition of his services he was appointed a Commander of the Indian Empire by the King-Emperor in 1904 and in 1912 he was knighted. Sir Chettur Sankaran Nair became a member of the Viceroy's Council in 1915 with the charge of the Education portfolio. As member, he wrote in 1919 two famous Minutes of Dissent in the Despatches on Indian Constitutional Reforms, pointing out the various defects of British rule in India and suggesting reforms. For an Indian to offer such criticism and make such demands was incredible in those days. The British government accepted most of his recommendations.

Sir Chettur Sankaran Nair played an active part in the Indian National movement which was gathering force in those days. In 1897, when the First Provincial Conference met in Madras, he was invited to preside over it. The same year, when the Indian National Congress assembled at Amraoti, he was chosen its President. In a masterly address he referred to the highhandedness of foreign administration, called for reforms and asked for self-government for India with Dominion Status. In 1900 he was a Member of the Madras Legislative Council. His official life from 1908 to 1921 interrupted his activities as a free political worker. In 1928 he was the President of the Indian Central Committee to co-operate with the Simon Commission. The Committee prepared a well-argued report asking for Dominion Status for India. When the Viceregal announcement came granting Dominion Status as the ultimate goal for India, Sir Sankaran Nair retired from active politics. He died in 1934, aged 77.

It was Sir Chettur Sankaran Nair who dedicated the large and tall lamp (Deepasthambham) in Guruvayoor temple - made on bronze, over 30 feet in height can hold over 300 wicks. Lighting of this lamp is a major offering the Guruvayoor Temple today.

Chettoor Sankaran Nair Foundation established in his memory, carries on many philanthrpic and charitable activities all over India.





Keralites have proved their deligence and extra ordinary brillience through out the world. Keralites are well known for their honesty and efficiency in all fields. In the list of Prominent Personalities we have tried to include all famous personalities from Kerala. We are trying to collect the details of the rest. If you have the details of any such personalities, please send to us.

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