Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91

Vol. XXVI No. 16, December 1-15, 2016

Roads that remember memorable women

Recalling Lady Madhavan Road, Mahalingapuram

Lady Madhavan Road is in Mahalingapuram, near the Aiyyappan Koil. It is perpendicular to both Madhavan Nair Road and Sarojini Road.

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Who was Lady Madhavan Nair?

Lady Madhavan Nair was born K Parvathi Ammal of Karumathil. Her father was C. Sankaran Nair, who eventually became a member of the Viceroy’s Council. She was the eldest of five daughters, and had one older brother.

Parvathi Ammal was not a very diligent student. She took every opportunity to miss class. She studied in a convent in Madras. Once, when her parents were away in England, they received a letter from the school complaining that their two eldest daughters had “bunked” classes and were cycling all over the city!

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She was an accomplished violinist and enjoyed singing. She was enthusiastic about amateur theatricals, and roped her sisters into putting up many plays, including Bluebeard.
When she was about ten years old, she had a private tutor, along with her sister Kal-yani. They were mischievous students, and would not pass up an opportunity to tease the tutor; even having a laugh at his expense right in front of him!

Parvathi Ammal married Chettur Madhavan Nair in Ottapalam, in April 1911. He was her cousin.
Madhavan Nair was also an eminent freedom fighter, journalist and writer. He was the founder-editor of the Mathru-bhoomi daily. He was later a Madras High Court judge and a member of the Privy Council. He was knighted in due course.

They lived at Lynwood Estate, which is now Mahalinga-puram. They owned a large property, which Lady Madha-van Nair later donated to the Aiyyappan temple and where the temple was constructed.
Lady Madhavan Nair also got her father’s autobiography published in 1966, almost thirty years after he passed away in her house.

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–Archana Venkatesh

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