Neyyattinkara A P Nair (A. Parameswaran Nair)

   Born on Medam 11, Malayalam Era 1057, (A.D. 1883) in Vandanoor, A.P.Nair initially focused on the study of Malayalam, Sanskrit and English. He served as a teacher of Malayalam in government schools, where he had illustrious students like Balaramapuram G Ramanpillai (Editor of Navasakthi) and N. Chandrasekharan Nair, who became the first I.G of Police. He soon resigned his job to establish the Jnanapradayini Library at Neyyattinkara in 1909. In the meantime, he had become a member of the Indian National Congress and risen to the level of its Taluk Secretary. His relentless fight against untouchablility and liquor, and his demand for temple entry for all resulted in his being jailed many a time. A.P.Nair’s dedication to the cause of the upliftment of the oppressed and his participation in the Indian independent struggle also brought upon him the wrath of those in power, who imprisoned him. Undeterred by such actions, he inspired many people to join the freedom struggle and encouraged them to dedicate themselves to the service for the nation.

On Medam 15, 1101 (ME), Jnanapradayani library could host the first All Travancore Library Conference. The resolutions regarding provision of aid, land and government publications to libraries, put forth by this conference were passed by the Government. A.P. Nair became the secretary of the All Travancore Library Organisation and served as the head of Travancore-Cochin Library Organisation. Nair, who also guided the Kerala Library Organisation, was at that time, prominent among the founders of the Travancore State Congress Party. He was also the co -founder of Keraleeya Nair Samajam with C. Krishnapillai and the editor of the newspapers, Samudayaparishkarini and Navakeralam . Along with Dr. N.V. Naidu led the demonstration on foot from Nagarcoil and even invited national leaders including Mahatma Gandhi to Neyyattinkara and organised public meetings to honour them.

A.P.Nair also served as the representative of Neyyattinkara Municipal Council in Sri Mulam Prajasabha from 1927. Diwan Watts honoured him for putting forward progressive ideas like importance of mother tongue (Malayalam), National language (Hindi) and the Universal language (English) in education, importance of career guidance in education, upliftment of the downtrodden, improving agriculture, cooperation etc. On February 25, 1929, Diwan Watts once publicly acknowledged in thus in the Praja Sabha: “Mr. Parameswaran Nair, I will begin by mentioning about the vernacular libraries. I think it is an example worth following.......... You can be satisfied with the knowledge that you are the first person to take such an initiative and advocate for this cause “ .

The following excerpts are taken from the letter send by Mahakavi K C Kesava Pillai: “You would be delighted to know that the famous ascetic and grammarian from Kerala, A.R. Rajaraja Varma Thampuran, recently mentioned to me in praise of you, your Library and your efforts to take it to new heights.”

In Dr. Suranat Kunjan Pillai’s words: “ I came to know that this library is the result of the hard work of Sri. A.P. Nair, an admirer of literature and an activist for people’s welfare. We appreciative his works and congratulate him for them. It is highly gratifying to note that this library has been an object of adoration for many great followers of Kerala for a long time” (All Travancore Library Welfare Committee, M.E 21-5-1125).

On many an occasion, his discourses left people spell bound. In a gathering presided over by Changanassery Parameswarn Pillai at Puthenkachery , held to protest against the man-handling of students who went on strike against Diwan Raghavayya and in the people’s agitations against Sir C.P. Ramaswamy Iyyer, he is known to have delivered excellent speeches. As a religious speaker also he had delivered many lectures that kept audiences captive.

He was married to Karthiyayaniamma, daughter of Madhavan Pillai of Vilankarathala Veedu, Vadakodu, Neyyattinkara who was the Subedar during the reign His Highness Ayillyam Thirunal. His son P. Madhavan Nair served as the secretary of the Njanapradayini Library. A.P. Nair expired in 1969, without having accepted the benefits and favours offered to freedom fighters including the pension.