Mitavadi C. Krishnan

A website dedicated to one of Kerala's greatest social reformers.

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(1867-1938 AD) C. Krishnan played a key role in bringing out radical social transformation in Kerala society which was steeped in ignorance, superstition, casteism, poverty, untouchability and other evils. A defender of human rights, he propogated the ideals of humanism, social justice and democratic values. He was called ‘Mitavadi’ C. Krishnan after the newspaper that he published from 1913 to ’38 from Calicut for spreading the message of the reformatory movement.  The Government of Kerala states "The Mitavadi was in the forefront of the movement for social reforms and the uplift of the weaker sections of society".

Sunday, October 30, 2005

C. Krishnan a Liberal Democrat

C. Krishnan was a liberal democrat. Compassion, understanding, peace, concern for the poor and weak were virtues he possessed. He tried his best to practise what he preached. A man of sterling character, he was free from extravaganza and pomposity. He cultivated the habit of reading and meditation. He was punctual, humane and generous.

C. Krishnan was not a diehard politician of any hue. Extremism was unknown to him. He was convinced that the liberal ideas imparted by an English education would lead to the eradication of superstition, casteism, untouchability and other evils of the caste-ridden society. In the matter of social reform, the British administration in Malabar region, on the whole, evinced progressive outlooks, unlike the rulers of Cochin and Travancore. This made him an admirer of the British, but this too was not without reservations, as occasions demanded.

A defender of human and civil rights, C. Krishnan always championed the cause of groups and individuals who were denied their rights. He severely criticised the British government policies which were unjust and detrimental to the welfare of the masses and he was always careful to judge the policies and decisions of the government on their merits. He apposed tooth and nail black laws and inhuman policies introduced by the British. He organised meetings at Calicut to protest againsts the infamous Rowlatt Act of 1919. His stinging indictment of the Madras Budget (1931-32) is a clear indication of his neutral and objective assessment of government policies. He argued that the reforms introduced by the government during the last ten or fifteen years had ended in sheer waste.

C. Krishnan was a selfless leader and social activist and this is demonstrated by the fact that he refused to accept the title of Rao Bahadur offered to him by the British government.