P. Rajagopalachari

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Perungavur Rajagopalachari
Dewan of Cochin
In office
Monarch Rama Varma XV
Preceded by V. Subramanya Pillai
Succeeded by L. Locke
Dewan of Travancore
In office
Monarch Moolam Thirunal
Preceded by S. Gopalachari
Succeeded by M. Krishnan Nair
Member of Madras Legislative Council
In office
Governor John Sinclair, 1st Baron Pentland, Lord Willingdon, George Goschen, 2nd Viscount Goschen
President of the Madras Legislative Council
In office
Prime Minister A. Subbarayalu Reddiar, Raja of Panagal, P. Subbarayan
Governor Lord Willingdon, George Goschen, 2nd Viscount Goschen
Preceded by None
Succeeded by L. D. Swamikannu Pillai
Personal details
Born 18 March 1862
Died 1 December 1927
Political party Indian National Congress
Alma mater Presidency College, Madras
Occupation lawyer, civil servant
Profession Sub-Collector, Statesman
Religion Hindu

[1] 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.

Early life and career

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

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

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 Dalits. Rajagopalachari was supportive of the movement, and in 1907 the government of Travancore passed an order for the admission of Dalit children in schools. However, the upper-caste landlords who owned most of the schools were obstinate in allowing Dalit children into their schools and openly defied the government order. A major strike erupted. Low caste agragrian workers refused to farm their fields. In 1910, Rajagopalachari and Mitchell, who headed the education department, made the order for admission of Dalit children public, thereby putting an end to the controversy.[citation needed]

Rajagopalachari also brought forth reforms in the administration. Dalits, who were previously excluded from the administration, were made eligible for nomination to the State Assembly. Ayyankali became the first Dalit 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

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 2015-09-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 "History of the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry - Cochin". iccicochin.com. Retrieved 2008-07-12.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Missing chapter in history of universal schooling". Archive Files to enter hard disk. July 23, 2003. Retrieved 2008-07-12.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. U. Mohammed (2007). Educational empowerment of Kerala Muslims: a socio-historical perspective. Other Books. p. 56. ISBN 8190388738, ISBN 978-81-903887-3-3.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Vakkom Maulavi- The man who led Islamic Renaissance in Kerala by M. A. Shakoor" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-09-03.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Proserpio, Leo (1931). L.D. Swamikannu Pillai: A Biographical Study. Codialbail Press. p. 96.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Ralhan, O. P. (2002). Encyclopaedia of Political Parties. Anmol Publications PVT LTD. p. 185. ISBN 8174888659.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Natesan, G. A. (1925). The Indian Review. G. A. Natesan & Co. p. 649.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 31712. p. 4. 30 December 1919.
  10. "London Gazette notice" (PDF).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  • History of Cochin (PDF). corporationofcochin. p. 122.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Obituary, The Times, 2 December 1927

Further reading

  • Rajagopal, P.V. : The Life and Times of Sir P. Rajagopalachari.
  • Some Madras Leaders. 1922.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>, 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