Chithira Thirunal of Travancore


Chithira Thirunal of Travancore

Sree Chithira Thirunal (born as Balarama Varma; November 7, 1912–July 19, 1991) was the last ruling Maharaja of the princely state of Travancore in India.

Accession

Balarama Varma was the eldest son of Sethu Parvati Bayi, Senior Rani of Attingal, by her consort, Ravi Varma of Kilimanoor, a grand-nephew of the celebrated painter Raja Ravi Varma.Balarama Varma's mother was distantly related, by birth, to the royal house of Travancore in the direct female line. In 1900, following the absence of heirs in the Travancore royal family, she had been adopted by her maternal grand-aunt. Thus, upon the death of his adoptive maternal uncle, Sri Moolam Thirunal Ramavarma, on August 7, 1924, Balarama Varma succeeded to the throne of Travancore under the Regency of his maternal aunt, the famous Maharani Sethu Lakshmi Bayi [The Royal family of Travancore followed the "Marumakkathayam" system of matrilineal succession like the Nairs of Kerala.] . As was customary, he took the regnal name 'Sree Chithira Thirunal,' as he was born under the "Chithira nakshatram" or star.

Maharaja of Travancore

Sree Chithira Thirunal reigned under the regency of his maternal aunt, Sethu Lakshmi Bayi, who was also his mother's first cousin. On November 6, 1931, upon his attaining majority, Sree Chithira Thirunal was invested with full ruling powers. He was instrumental in establishing the University of Travancore (now the University of Kerala) in 1937. He also had a beautiful palace built which is now a museum. He was able to secure the services of eminent statesmen such as C.P.Ramaswami Aiyar, who served as his chief minister for several years. The period of HH Sree Chithira Thirunal Bala Rama Varma who took the reign of administration in 1931, witnessed many-sided progress. The promulgation of "Temple Entry Proclamation"(1936), was an act that underlined social emancipation. But the Punnapra - Vayalar massacre and the declaration of Independent Travancore were the black episodes of his life.

Later years

After India became independent in 1947, Sree Chithira Thirunal agreed to merge his state with India after some initial hesitation. Travancore was united with neighbouring Cochin state and Sree Chitira Tirunal served as Rajpramukh of the Travancore-Cochin Union from July 1, 1949 to October 31, 1956, which was the entire duration of the existence of that political entity. On November 1, 1956, the state of Kerala was created by uniting the Malayalam-speaking areas of the Travancore-Cochin Union with those of neighbouring Madras State, and Sree Chithira Thirunal demitted office. On December 28, 1971, Sree Chitira Thirunal lost his titles when the Indian government derecognized the rulers of the erstwhile princely states.

Sree Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma died at the Kowdiar Palace, Trivandrum in 1991, aged seventy-eight. He had ruled Travancore for 67 years and at his death, was one of the few surviving rulers of a first-class princely state in the old Indian Empire. He was also the last surviving Knight Grand Commander of both the Order of the Star of India and of the Order of the Indian Empire. He was succeeded as head of the royal house of Travancore by his brother, Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma.

The government of India issued a stamp in 1991, commemorating the reforms that marked the rule of Sree Chithira Thirunal in Travancore. The Sree Chitra Thirunal Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology and the Sree Chitra Thirunal College of Engineering at Trivandrum was named after him.

Titles

*to 1924: Maharajkumar Bala Rama Varma III, Elaya Raja of Travancore
*1924-1935: His Highness Sri Patmanabha Dasa Vanchipala Bala Rama Varma III, Kulasekhara Kiritapati Manney Sultan Maharaja Raja Ramaraja Bahadur, Shamsher Jang, Maharaja of Travancore
*1935-1943: His Highness Sri Patmanabha Dasa Vanchipala Sir Bala Rama Varma III, Kulasekhara Kiritapati Manney Sultan Maharaja Raja Ramaraja Bahadur, Shamsher Jang, Maharaja of Travancore, GCIE
*1943-1944: Major His Highness Sri Patmanabha Dasa Vanchipala Sir Bala Rama Varma III, Kulasekhara Kiritapati Manney Sultan Maharaja Raja Ramaraja Bahadur, Shamsher Jang, Maharaja of Travancore, GCIE
*1944-1945: Lieutenant-Colonel His Highness Sri Patmanabha Dasa Vanchipala Sir Bala Rama Varma III, Kulasekhara Kiritapati Manney Sultan Maharaja Raja Ramaraja Bahadur, Shamsher Jang, Maharaja of Travancore, GCIE
*1945-1946: Colonel His Highness Sri Patmanabha Dasa Vanchipala Sir Bala Rama Varma III, Kulasekhara Kiritapati Manney Sultan Maharaja Raja Ramaraja Bahadur, Shamsher Jang, Maharaja of Travancore, GCIE
*1946-1991: Major-General His Highness Sri Patmanabha Dasa Vanchipala Sir Bala Rama Varma III, Kulasekhara Kiritapati Manney Sultan Maharaja Raja Ramaraja Bahadur, Shamsher Jang, Maharaja of Travancore, GCSI, GCIE

Honours

*King George V Silver Jubilee Medal-1935
*Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire (GCIE)-1935
*King George VI Coronation Medal-1937
*Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of India (GCSI)-1946
*Indian Independence Medal-1947

References

External links

* [http://kamat.com/database/biographies/maharaja_of_travancore.htm Brief biography]
* [http://www.4dw.net/royalark/India/trava5.htm Brief biography and detailed genealogy]


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