Kozhencherry is a small town in Pathanamthitta district of Central Travancore region (South Central Kerala) in Kerala state, South India. It is on the banks of river Pampa. It is a commercial centre with many of the Banks and trade companies have their establishments here. It is believed that once the Kovilans of Thekencore kingdom's ruled this area. Kozhencherry used to be a part of the erstwhile Travancore kingdom. One of the five Taluks in Pathanamthitta district is also named Kozhencherry. The other taluks are Tiruvalla, Mallapally, Ranni, and Adoor.
Diwan (prime minister) of Travancore, Sir C.P. Ramaswami Iyer was also known as Sir C.P. He was infamous for his unruly ways. The representatives of Christians met together at Trivandrum in 1932 and formed All Kerala Christian Maha Sabha.
A special meeting of this was held on May 9 - 11, 1935 at Kozhencherry.
In this meeting T.M. Varghese proposed that " The elections to the Legislative Assembly of Travancore was not properly held and so it must be dissolved and new election should be carried out." On the last day, May 11, the programme was an All Kerala Joint Political Meeting. C. Kesavan was a speaker. He declared, "I am talking about Sir C.P.We don't need that animal. The Travancore became notorious after his arrival." This infuriated Sir C.P. Ramaswami Iyer . C. Kesavan was arrested and spent about two years in jail. To commemorate this incident a statue of C. Kesavan was erected at the Kozhencherry town.
Soon after Sir C.P. Ramaswami Iyer popularly known as Sir C.P. was appointed as Dewan of Travancore, he appointed foreign Brahmins to all the top posts of Government. Against this the Nairs joined together and agitated. This is known as the "Malaylee Memorial Agitation." As a result of this, Maharaja of Travancore Sri Chitira Thirunal Balarama Varma issued a proclamation on October 21, 1932 to constitute a new State Assembly. This came into effect on January 1, 1933. As per this order, the seats were divided among the community as given below: Community, Population (in ten thousands), No. of representatives in the Assembly:-
Christians (160.4, 10);
Ezhavas (86.9, 3);
Nairs (86.8, 36);
Other Hindus (47.9, 15);
Muslims (35.3, 3)
Low Caste (91.7, 1)
Europeans (578 people, 2).
Total population 5,090,000.
Total seats in the Assembly 70.
Christians were involved in business, tea & rubber estates. Ezhavas were the hard working people. Muslims were in business. All these communities helped the state to improve economically. But when it came to the assembly seats they were left behind. So under the leadership of T.M. Varghese representatives of Christian, Ezhava and Muslim communities met the Diwan. He gave them a vague reply. So they decided that there was no use in meeting this Diwan.
T.M. Varghese realized that a government with no responsibility to the people was an anachronism. A meeting of the leaders of the three communities was called at the L.M.S. hall, Thiruvanthapuram on January 25, 1933. They decided to stay united under T.M. Varghese and abstain from the elections. This is known as Nivarthana Prakshobhanam (Abstention Movement).
Christians of Travancore met together at Thiruvanthapuram on November 21, 1932 and formed All Kerala Christian Union (Kerala Kristava Maha Sabha). A general meeting of this Union was held at Kozhenchery in 1935 from May 9 to 11. On the first day T.M. Varghese proposed a resolution that, "The election of the Travancore Legislative Assembly is not justifiable,the government officers have made unlawful influence in its formation, and it is against the wishes of Christian-Ezhava- Muslim people, it is requested that the government should immediately disband the present assembly and elect a new one."
On the last day there was a meeting of All Kerala Joint Political Meeting. C. Kesavan one of the speakers said, "I am talking about C.P. (Diwan Sir C.P. Ramsami Iyer). We don't require this pest. Travancore got a bad name after his arrival. This country will be gone to the dogs' unless this man leaves." (This is now known as C. Kesavan's Kozhencherry Address). This angered the Diwan Sir C.P. and C.Kesavan was arrested on June 7, 1935 and was sentenced to two years jail. Three lawyers T.M. Varghese, K.T.Thomas and Barrister George Joseph appeared for C.Kesavan.All Kerala Joint Political Party (Samyuktha Party) was formed and elected T.M. Varghese as Chairman and K.T.Thomas as Secretary. Because of all these, the government at last conceded their demands to a certain extent by introducing communal reservation in appointments to the public service. On August 1936 a new constitution was promulgated and election for the Travancore State Assembly was held on April-May, 1937. T.M. Varghese won the election as a candidate of the All Kerala Joint Political Party. In the Sree Mulam Assembly he was elected as Deputy Chairman.
C. Kesavan who was put in jail in 1935 was released in 1937. Welcoming Kesavan at Kollam and Alapuzha, T.M. Varghese said, "In the name of and on behalf of the 5.1 lakhs (5, 10,000) of people of Travancore, I accord with pleasure, a hearty welcome to the most-self sacrificing individual C. Kesavan." Diwan was furious. As per his suggestion a no confidence motion was moved against the Deputy speaker. In the voting that followed 42 supported the motion, 24 were against and 2 abstained. Thus T.M. Varghese was removed from his post as deputy speaker.
In 1938, a number of leaders and newspaper editors were assaulted. There was no enquiry on this. For discussion, T.M. Varghese brought a resolution in the Assembly but Sir C.P. did not accept it.
In February 1938, T.M. Varghese tabled a motion that, "The proceedings of the Assembly may be suspended to discuss the point "Responsible Government," (Utharavaditha Bharanam - Government responsible to the people). Sir C.P. allowed this motion to be discussed. In the Assembly, T.M. Varghese declared. "There is no need of a Diwan, in between the 5.1 million people of Travancore and their Maharaja." Pattam Thanu Pillai (later Chief Minister) and K.T. Thomas spoke supporting the motion. On that day after coming out of the Assembly hall, they formed the Travancore State Congress.
Arrests followed. Banks and newspapers were closed. Agitation spread. Finally on July 30, 1947 Travancore decided to join Indian Union. On August 15, India attained freedom. On 19, Sir C.P. resigned. The government issued a proclamation on September 4, 1947 stating the formation of a "Responsible Government."
In the election that followed, T.M. Varghese was elected from Pathanapuram constituency and became minister of education. On October 17, 1948 the ministry resigned. In 1949, T.M. Varghese was elected as the Speaker of the Assembly. Again in 1952 T.M. Varghese became Home Minister in the ministry headed by A. J. John, Anaparambil. Kesavan became Chief Minister of the erstwhile Travancore-Cochin (Thiruvithamkoor-Kochi) state in 1951 and was elected to State Assembly in 1952. He expired on July 7, 1969 at Mayyanad.