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Context: Amid the ongoing tussle between the LDF government in Kerala and Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, senior BJP leader Prakash Javadekar and state education minister V Sivankutty traded allegations over erstwhile Travancore Diwan Sir CP Ramaswamy Iyer.
- Claiming that the Left dispensation was attempting to “demean” the constitutional post of the Governor and create “constitutional anarchy” in the state, former Union minister Javadekar alleged that Sivankutty had threatened the Governor by reminding him of the assassination bid against Sir C P Ramaswamy Iyer in 1947.
- Stating that Iyer was a good administrator and anarchists attempted to take his life, Javadekar alleged that the Kerala minister “was doing the same thing by reminding Governor Arif Mohammed Khan of the incident.”
- Sivankutty hit back saying that the Diwan had tried to keep Travancore an independent country without joining India or Pakistan.
Who was Sir CP Ramaswamy Iyer?
- Sir Chetput Pattabhiraman Ramaswamy Iyer, popularly known as ‘Sir CP’, was the Diwan of the erstwhile Travancore princely state from 1936 to 1947.
- A lawyer who served as the Advocate-General of Madras Presidency from 1920 to 1923, CP rose to glorious heights as he found favour with both the crown prince Sri Chithira Thirunal Bala Rama Varma and Lord Willingdon, the Viceroy of India.
- Serving as Adviser to the prince between 1931 and 1936, Sir CP was personally requested by Sri Chithira Thirunal in 1936 to be the Diwan of Travancore, an offer he accepted and served at the position for 10 years.
- On June 3, 1947, Britain announced its intention to quit India, while also accepting demands for the country’s partition.
- Following this, the Indian Independence Act of 1947 — a legislation of the United Kingdom Parliament — gave princely states the option to accedeto the newly divided territories of India or Pakistan, or continue as an independent sovereign state.
- Maharaja Sri Chithira Thirunal, who wished to stay independent, was supported by Sir CP, who declared his intention of forming an independent state of Travancore that would be open to the idea of signing a treaty with the Indian union.
- According to historian Ramachandra Guha, Sir CP, being strongly pressed by Mohammed Ali Jinnah, also maintained secret relations with senior ministers of the British government, who encouraged him to not merge with India.
- Amid his dream of an independent state, Sir CP became more unpopular as he proposed an ‘American model’ for Travancore.
- His policies led to a massive uprising, the Punnapra-Vayalar revolt, which was suppressed by the Travancore army and navy.
- The anger and discontent culminated into an assassination attempt on Sir CP on July 25, 1947, at a concert commemorating the anniversary of Swati Thirunal.
- On July 30, 1947, Travancore joined India.