P. Rajagopalachari

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Perungavur Rajagopalachari
File:P. Rajagopalachari.jpg
Dewan of Cochin
In office
MonarchRama Varma XV
Preceded byV. Subramanya Pillai
Succeeded byL. Locke
Dewan of Travancore
In office
26 October 1907 – 11 May 1914
MonarchMoolam Thirunal
Preceded byS. Gopalachari
Succeeded byM. Krishnan Nair
Member of Madras Legislative Council
In office
GovernorJohn Sinclair, 1st Baron Pentland, Lord Willingdon, George Goschen, 2nd Viscount Goschen
President of the Madras Legislative Council
In office
Prime MinisterA. Subbarayalu Reddiar, Raja of Panagal, P. Subbarayan
GovernorLord Willingdon, George Goschen, 2nd Viscount Goschen
Preceded byNone
Succeeded byL. D. Swamikannu Pillai
Personal details
Born18 March 1862
Died1 December 1927
Political partyIndian National Congress
Alma materPresidency College, Madras
Occupationlawyer, civil servant
ProfessionSub-Collector, Statesman

Diwan Bahadur Sir Perungavur Rajagopalachari, KCSI, CIE (18 March 1862 – 1 December 1927), also spelt in contemporary records as Sir P. Rajagopala Achariyar, was an Indian administrator. He was the Diwan (chief minister) of Cochin State from December 1896 to August 1901 and of Travancore from 1906 to 1914.[1]

Early life and career[edit]

Rajagopalachari was born in Madras and educated at Presidency College and Madras Law College. He joined the Judicial Department Indian Civil Service on 3 May 1886 and was appointed deputy collector in December 1887. From 2 May 1890 to December 1896, he served as assistant collector and magistrate in Madras Province.

Diwan of Cochin[edit]

In December 1896, Rajagopalachari was appointed Diwan by Maharaja Rama Varma of Cochin. He served in his capacity from 1896 to 1901. During his tenure as diwan, the Cochin Native Merchants Association was founded.[2] This later became the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry - Cochin.[2] In 1901, the Central Records of the Cochin State were established at Tripunithura.[3] This later evolved into the Kerala State Archives Department.[3]

Diwan of Travancore[edit]

In 1901, he was appointed Registrar of Co-operative Credit Societies in the Madras Presidency and then served as Assistant Collector from March 1902 until 1906, when he was appointed Diwan of Travancore state.

The Sadhu Jana Paripalana Sangham was established in 1907 by social reformer Ayyankali to campaign for education for Scheduled Castes. Rajagopalachari was supportive of the movement, and in 1907 the government of Travancore passed an order for the admission of scheduled castes children in schools. However, the Namboothiri-Nair caste landlords who owned most of the schools were obstinate in allowing scheduled castes children into their schools and openly defied the government order. A major strike erupted. Scheduled caste agrarian workers refused to farm their fields. In 1910, Rajagopalachari and Mitchell, who headed the education department, made the order for admission of Scheduled Caste children public, thereby putting an end to the controversy.[citation needed]

Rajagopalachari also brought forth reforms in the administration. Scheduled Castes, who were previously excluded from the administration, were made eligible for nomination to the State Assembly. Ayyankali became the first Scheduled Caste member to be nominated to the Travancore State Assembly.[citation needed] Rajagopalachari also donated 8acres of land for the construction of an Islamic college by Sheikh Mohammad Hamadani Thangal.[4]

Rajagopalachari's administration had its own share of controversies. M. A. Shakoor, in his biography of Vakkom Moulavi, calls Rajagopalachari's administration "authoritarian".[5]

Later life and career[edit]

In 1914, Rajagopalachari returned to Madras as Secretary of the Judicial Department, the first Indian to hold the post. In 1917, he was appointed to the Council of the Governor of Madras. When the Madras Legislative Council came into being, as per the provisions of the Government of India Act 1919, on 17 December 1920, Rajagopalachari was elected as the first President.[6] It is believed that he was instrumental in formulating the no-confidence motion against the Justice Party Government of the Raja of Panagal.[7] His tenure came to an end in 1923 and he was succeeded by L. D. Samikannu Pillai.[8] In 1923, he was appointed to the Council of India in London, resigning in 1925 due to ill-health and returning to India.


Rajagopalachari was appointed Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire (CIE) in 1909 and Knight Commander of the Order of the Star of India (KCSI) in the 1920 New Year Honours.[9]


A bust of Rajagopalachari is present in the hall of the Madras Legislative Council.


Rajagopalachari had a brother P.Narasimhachari who was a Justice in High Court - Rangoon, Burma (Myanmar).[10] He also had notable grand nephews (his sister's grandchildren) - C.T.Rajagopal, C.T.Venugopal and C.T.Krishnama Chari


  1. "Mohan". www.perungavur.tk. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "History of the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry - Cochin". iccicochin.com. Archived from the original on 16 September 2008. Retrieved 12 July 2008.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Missing chapter in history of universal schooling". Archive Files to enter hard disk. 23 July 2003. Archived from the original on 28 August 2008. Retrieved 12 July 2008.
  4. U. Mohammed (2007). Educational empowerment of Kerala Muslims: a socio-historical perspective. Other Books. p. 56. ISBN 978-81-903887-3-3.
  5. "Vakkom Maulavi- The man who led Islamic Renaissance in Kerala by M. A. Shakoor" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 March 2014. Retrieved 3 September 2015.
  6. Proserpio, Leo (1931). L.D. Swamikannu Pillai: A Biographical Study. Codialbail Press. p. 96.
  7. Ralhan, O. P. (2002). Encyclopaedia of Political Parties. Anmol Publications PVT LTD. p. 185. ISBN 8174888659.
  8. Natesan, G. A. (1925). The Indian Review. G. A. Natesan & Co. p. 649.
  9. "No. 31712". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 1919. p. 4.
  10. "London Gazette notice" (PDF).


Further reading[edit]

  • Rajagopal, P.V. : The Life and Times of Sir P. Rajagopalachari.
  • Some Madras Leaders. 1922., Pg 62 - 67
Preceded by
Subramanya Pillai
Diwan of Cochin
Succeeded by
L. Loka
Preceded by
S. Gopalachari
Diwan of Travancore
Succeeded by
M. Krishnan Nair