Parukutty Nethyar Amma Vadakke Kurupath

Coonoor, Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu, India

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Parukutty Nethyar Amma Vadakke Kurupath (Vadakkekuruppath)

Immediate Family:

Daughter of Kurur Narayanan Namoddripad and Chinammu Amma Vadakke Kuruppath
Wife of HH Maharaja Rama Varma Kunjikkidavu Thampuran Madrassil Theeppetta Thampuran, Cochin (1914 - 1932)
Mother of Raman Menon Vadakke Kuruppath; V.K.Aravindaksha Menon; Vilasini Amma Vadakke Kuruppath and Ratnam Palatt
Sister of Private

Managed by: A Narayanan (Cherunni)
Last Updated:

About Parukutty Nethyar Amma Vadakke Kurupath

Maharaja Rama Varma (popularly known as Madrassil Theepetta Thampuran), who reigned from 1914 to 1932, was assisted by a particularly able consort named Parukutty Nethyar Amma.[8] The Nethyar was the daughter of Kurur Namboodiripad, who was a member of the family that had the traditional honour of anointing the kings of Palakkad. Her mother belonged to the Padinjare Shrambhi house of the aristocratic Vadakke Kuruppath house of Trichur. She married the Maharaja, then heir apparent, when she was twelve years old. It is said that she was especially blessed by the Devi at the Chottanikkara Temple. By a quirk of fate her husband ascended the throne as a result of the abdication of his predecessor. As the Maharaja was a scholar and had other interests (including knowledge of curing snake bites and comprehension of the language of lizards known as Gawli Shashtra), she took over the finances of the state. Under her guidance salaries were quadrupled and the revenue earned a 17-gun salute. Parukutty Nethyar Amma was awarded the Kaiser-i-Hind medal by King George V in 1919 for public work and came to be known as Lady Rama Varma of Cochin [9].

Royal palace at KochiThe Nethyar Amma was not only an able administrator but also a Nationalist moving from being seen as an exemplery public figure in the eyes of the British to earning the ire of the colonial state for her relationship with Mahatma Gandhi and Indian nationalists. As one British Intelligence report stated "The hill palace is the centre of nationalist activity and charkhas have been introduced to assist the weaving of khadi." (see Fortnightly Intelligence Reports availbale at the National Archives of India) In addition, a little known fact about the Cochin state is the attempt made by the British government and the Viceroy to force the Maharajah to abdicate under the ploy of trying to prove him insane. A doctor was brought from London to bolster the case, and the physician opined that the "Maharaja was merely an old man who tired easily". This attempt was directly linked to the fear that the Nethyar Amma - or the "Consort" as she was referred to by the British - was becoming increasingly powerful in nationalist circles. [8]

The head of the Congress party in Cochin was Kurur Nilakantan Namboodiripad who was a cousin of the Nethyar Amma. The Collected Works containing Gandhi's letters include correspondence between the Maharajah's daughter V.K Vilasini Amma and the himself, and a second daughter V.K Ratnamma was married to R. M. Palat, himself a politician and the son of Sir C. Sankaran Nair, the former president of the Congress Party and well known nationalist.[8] The Maharaja's son V.K Aravindaksha Menon was married to Malathy , the daughter of V. K Narayana Menon a prominent contractor in Trichur in whose house "Pandyala", Jawaharlal Nehru, Kamala and Indira Nehru rested on their way to Sri Lanka. When Gandhi visited Cochin, he was treated as a State Guest and Aravindaksha Menon, the Nethyar Amma's son personally was deputed to accompany him. Soon Parukutty Nethyar Amma appeared opposed, which proved to be a significant hurdle for British interests in India.[8]

On the death of the Maharaja, the Nethyar Amma retired initially to the palace she had constructed for herself in her home town Trichur, near to her ancestral house, Padinjare Shrambhi. The house Ratna Vilas was named after her elder daughter Ratnam. The Nethyar Amma then went on an extended tour abroad, taking along her grandson Sankaran Palat, who was admitted to Le Rosey in Switzerland and later in Charterhouse, England. She returned to India and divided her time between Trichur and Coonoor, where she purchased two tea estates and a tea factory.