Punnapra Vayalar Samaram: The Punnapra Valayar revolt was a communist uprising that took place in October 1946 led by the Communist Party of India against C.P Ramaswamy Iyer, the Diwan of Travancore. The revolt is named after the two places in which it took place; beginning in Punnapra and ending in Vayalar.
Punnapra Vayalar Samaram
In January 1946 Sir C. P. Ramaswamy Ayyar announced his proposal for constitutional reforms which provided for an irremovable executive on the ‘American model’.
The State Congress rejected the scheme as unacceptable. The slogan ‘American Modal Arabi Kadalil’ rent the air everywhere in the State.
The Communists organised a violent struggle in their strongholds in Alleppey District in a bold bid to put an end to the autocratic rule of the Diwan and achieve responsible government.
In October 1946 Vayalar and Punnapra witnessed a violent mass upheaval in which the workers openly challenged the authority of the Government and came into violent clash with the police and the military.
On October 25 the Travancore Government declared Martial Law in Alleppey and Shertallai and Diwan Sir C. P. Ramaswamy Ayyar himself assumed supreme command of the police and military operations in the area.
The Travancore armed forces stationed in Shertallai town moved against the Communist Camp at Vayalar (October 26 and 27) which lay surrounded by water on three sides.
The workers at Vayalar put up a stiff resistance with bamboo spikes, stones and axes, but the police and the military opened fire with machine guns in a determined move to crush the insurrection.
In the massacre that took place at Vayalar on October 27, 1946 more than 150 persons lost their lives on the spot and many more succumbed to injuries later.
In the firings which took place in two other places on the same day 130 people were killed.
It is estimated that about a thousand people lost their lives in the Punnapra-Vayalar outbreak.
The tragic events of Vayalar and Punnapra came as a rude shock to public opinion all over the State and stiffened the attitude of the people against the Diwan Sir. C. P. Ramaswamy Ayyar and his
continuance in office.
The Indian Independence Act (1946) provided for the lapse of Paramountcy of the British Crown over the Indian States with effect from the date of withdrawal of the British power from India.
Sir. C. P. Ramaswamy Ayyar announced on June 11, 1947, that Travancore would set itself up as an independent State with effect from the date on which the British withdrew from India.
The action of the Diwan aroused a bitter controversy inside and outside the State.
Travancore was again in the vortex of a political struggle and the Government resorted to a series of repressive measures to meet the situation.
One of the highlights of the struggle was the police firing at Pettah, Trivandrum, in which three persons including a student by name Rajendran were killed.
A few days after the incident, an unsuccessful attempt was made on Sir C. P. Ramaswamy Ayyar’s life when the Diwan was attending a function in the Swati Tirunal Academy of Music at Trivandrum
The Diwan escaped with minor injuries and very soon left the state for good. Immediately after this incident the Maharaja intimated to Lord Mountbatten, the Governor-General, his decision to accept the Instrument of Accession and take Travancore into the Indian Union.
Sir C. P. Ramaswamy Ayyar resigned the office of Diwan on August 19, 1947, and was succeeded in that office by P.G.N. Unnithan.
On March 24, 1948, the first popular Ministry of Travancore consisting of Pattom A.
Thanu Pillai, C. Kesavan and T. M. Varghese was installed in office.
The Thanu Pillai Ministry had to resign office on October 22, 1948, following the split in the
Congress Legislature Party and a new Ministry headed by T. K. Narayana Pillai came to power.
It was while this Ministry was in office that the integration of Travancore and Cochin took place on July 1, 1949.
Punnapra Vayalar Smarakam
Punnapra Vayalar Smarakam: Memorial of Punnapra Vayalar uprising martyrs located near Kalarcode, Alappuzha
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