Dr.Padmanabhan Palpu  is one of the immortals of the Indian Renaissance movement that started in the pre-Independence days. He was by profession a bacteriologist – a fighter of germs. Circumstances made him a social revolutionary – a fighter of man made social evils. Towards this end, he waged a long, heroic and self-less battle, with his sharp mind and mighty pen. Dr Palpu’s fight was mainly against the dominant and priestly sections of the society which looked down upon and discriminated against what they called ‘lower castes’. In the face of all their organised, government-sponsored opposition and ill-treatment, he stood apart as an apostle of liberty and unfailing champion of the oppressed classes.

Dr Palpu was born on November 2, 1863 in Petta, Trivandrum, a part of Indian princely state of Travancore, present-day Kerala, in a wealthy Ezhava family.  Dr. Palpu was a contemporary and follower of Sree Narayana Guru. He was a prominent Indian writer, physician, and philanthropist during the Indian Independence Movement. His son was Nataraja Guru, who was the direct disciple of Narayana Guru, and who established the Sree Narayana Gurukulam in Varkala.

Dr. Palpu later got admission at the famed Madras Medical College. He faced more obstacles when he returned to Travancore when the Government denied him a career in medicine for the same reason of him being a lower caste member.

Dr. Palpu sought the advice of the famed Indian saint Swami Vivekananda to unite and work towards the emancipation of the Ezhava community. Swami Vivekananda advised him to associate with some spiritual person in his effort to fight for the rights of the Ezhavas. This drew him to Sri Narayana Guru. The Swami asked Dr. Palpu to Spiritualize and Industrialise the community.

In 1903, Dr. Palpu founded the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam, known as SNDP. SNDP later became the beacon for many social reformation movements in Kerala. Little did he realize then that this organisation would later become the cornerstone of a major social and religious reformation that would envelope the entire state. Although an Ezhava himself, Dr. Palpu reached out to other backward communities and worked for their welfare as well.

Dr. Palpu was a relentless fighter for the cause of the Ezhavas and other backward communities in Kerala. He wrote many articles in English newspapers highlighting the degrading customs in Kerala that made the condition of the Ezhavas miserable. He published at his own cost the book, Treatment of Thiyas in Travancore, a compilation of the memorandums that were submitted to the Travancore Government and the articles that he wrote in newspapers. This book, and its translation that he published in Malayalam, became records for the future generations to know about the horrible social situation that existed at that time.

Ezhava Memorial was a landmark in the struggle of the backward classes for gaining their legitimate rights from the government that was representative of the mad social customs that prevailed in the state at that time. During that period, Malayali Memorial which was submitted to the Maharaja of Travancore in 1891 marked the beginning of the united social effort in the state to press the demands for jobs for locals. This mass petition in which Dr. Palpu was the third signatory complained about the ‘Divans’ (government officers) who came from outside the state, and appropriated a greater part of the jobs for their own people.

He soon formed the Ezhava Maha Sabha (Greater Ezhava Association) and more than 300 people attended its first meeting held at Thiruvananthapuram. The meeting decided to submit a mass petition to the government signed by ten thousand Ezhavas demanding the abolition of the discrimination against them. Dr. Palpu himself took the initiative to get the signatures, and on 1896 September 3, the petition, the historically famous Ezhava Memorial, signed by 13176 people was submitted to the government In it, Dr. Palpu enumerated as an example the humiliations that the members of his own community had to suffer from the government.

As a social reformer, Dr. Palpu was a firm believer in the principle of Dharma. This symbolized such factor as absolute truth, self-less love and benevolent service. All his philanthropic efforts as the right-hand man of Sree Narayana Guru were geared to this noble goal. The Dharma Vs organized perfidy, both priestly and official, campaign he undertook is an open declaration of the faith of this social reformer. The following quatrain which sums up his attitude to Dharma is said to have been used by the Guru as his message:

Dharma knows only one caste
And it tends only one religion
That Dharma is our only God
Let all men abide by it.

Dr. Palpu also started the Malabar Economic Union. A large portion of the proceeds of this venture was spent for community welfare and philanthropy. Dr. Palpu died on January 25, 1950 — a day before India became a Republic. He has influenced the works and lives of several noted personalities in Kerala like Kumaran Asan and TK. Madhavan.



  1. The first Graduate from Ezhava Community in Travancore?

Answer : Velayudhan (Brother of Dr. Palpu)


2.  The first Medical Graduate from Ezhava Community in Travancore?

Answer : Dr.Palpu


3. Malayali Memorial was submitted in?

Answer : 1891


4. Leader of Malayali Memorial?

Answer : Barrister G.P.Pillai


5. Other important leaders of Malayali Memorial?

Answer : K.P. Sankara Menon and Dr.Palpu


6. . The Founder of Ezhava Maha Sabha (Greater Ezhava Association)?

Answer : Dr.Palpu (1896)


7. The first meeting of Ezhava Maha Sabha (Greater Ezhava Association) was held at?

Answer : Thiruvananthapuram


8. The leader of Ezhava Memorial?

Answer : Dr.Palpu

9. The number of people who signed in Ezhava Memorial?

Answer : 13176


10. Ezhava Memorial was submitted to?

Answer : Sree Moolam Thirunal


11. Ezhava Memorial was submitted on?

Answer : 3 September 1896


12. The leader of Second Ezhava Memorial?

Answer : Dr.Palpu


13. Second Ezhava Memorial was submitted in?

Answer : 1900


14. Second Ezhava Memorial was submitted to?

Answer : Lord Curzon


15. The book “Treatment of Thiyyas in Travancore” was written by?

Answer : Dr.Palpu


16. The Article “Thiruvithamkotte Theeyan” was written by?

Answer : Dr.Palpu (In Madras Mail Daily)


17. Dr.Palpu met Swami Vivekananda in?

Answer : 1882 (Mysore)


18. Dr.Palpu met Sreenarayana Guru  in?

Answer : 1895 (Bengaluru)


19. The founder of Malabar Economic Union?

Answer : Dr.Palpu


20. Dr.palpu called Sree Narayana Guru as?

Answer : Periya Swami


21. Dr.palpu called kumaranasan as?

Answer : Chinna Swami


22. Who is known as “Political Father of the Ezhavas”?

Answer : Dr.Palpu


23. Who describes him as the “Political Father of the Ezhavas“?

Answer : Ritty Lukose




24. Dr.Palpu was died on?

Answer : 25 January 1950



25. The founder of sree Narayana Gurukulam (situated in Nilgiris)?

Answer : Dr.Nataraja Guru (Son of Dr.Palpu)



26. The book “Dr.Palpu” was written by?
Answer : Velayudhan Panilasherri


27. The book “Dr.Palpu Dharmabodhathil Jeevicha Karmayogi” was written by?

Answer : M.K.Sanu


28. The book Dr.Palpu was written by?
Answer : T.K.Madhavan


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