History of Travancore Tamil Nadu Congress
This party was accepted as the body representing the Tamilians of Travancore under the guidance of Nesamony. There lies a doubt whether small group of people under the leadership of Sam Nathaniel functioned under the same party name before the formation of the party under Nesamony's leadership. In order to explain explicitly the objectives of the party and to gather public support, many open meetings were held. However, their main aim was to form a Tamil state under the supremacy of the Maharaja with ample autonomy. They were popular among the Nadar community belonging to Kalkulam and Vilavancode Taluks. Thousands of people thronged the open meetings held in these taluks. Membership campaigns were thoroughly carried out. Seeing their growth in these two taluks, State Congress leaders thought to compromise instead of competing against them. However it did not materialise.
Support from Other Communities
The political party which gained popularity among the Nadars tried to solicit support of people of other community. They did conduct meetings in Muslim populated areas, too, to gather support. Muslims assured ethical support but refused to take part in their activities. Nesamony and other important leaders of the party like Sam Nathaniel and Fenn Russaliah approached the Kottar Catholic Bishop Agniswamy. The Bishop did sent messages secretly to parish authorities to support them to protect the rights of the Catholics. They failed to succeed in this. The fishermen were Catholics and were advised from church not to support this party. They also feared whether their support would make the Nadars dominate them. As far as the Vellalas of Nanjil Nadu were concerned, some of them were involved in the activities of this party but this was not long lasting as their support was opportunistic. This might have been because they have never faced torture by the Nairs. People belonging to various other castes offered support based on circumstances and individual benefits.
Problems Faced by Travancore Tamil Nadu Congress
The growth of Travancore Tamil Nadu Congress angered the Nairs as it posed as a threat to the State Congress. The Nairs of State Congress attacked members of the party. Their lives and property was at stake. Rampant physical attacks were common. Despite this they could not prevent the party to win the elections in 1948 Assembly elections. The government had also created lot of obstacles for the party by denying employment. The government did not allow the Weavers Advisory Committee of Kalkulam and Vilavancode to function as they were suspected to be supporters of Travancore Tamil Nadu Congress. Many welfare schemes in the Tamil areas were not implemented as they were inclined to the Travancore Tamil Nadu Congress. All the Municipal Development Schemes were slumped. Due to the administration pressure the party had experienced difficulties in holding meetings related to the state elections.
Meanwhile the Reforms Committee had submitted its report on the manner of conducting the elections. The report was not beneficial to the Tamilians. Tamilians wanted two constituencies. The Travancore Tamil Nadu Congress entered the arena with great fervour. Nesamony decided to field eighteen candidates on behalf of the party. In each village a group was set up for this purpose. People were educated on the methods of voting as this was the first election. Among the eighteen candidates who were fielded fourteen of them had won. The winning candidates were from Thovalai, Agasteeswarem, Kalkulam and Vilavancode. The State Congress lost deplorably. Though the Travancore Tamil Nadu Congress had lost few of the seats they got an opportunity to enter the Nair strong holds.
Boycott of Assembly Session by Travancore Tamil Nadu Congress
The Representative Body had met for the first time in the political history of Travancore on 20 March 1948. An interim constitution was also framed on that day by the Maharaja. This convention was however boycotted by the major opposition party. This boycott was a protest against the government's atrocities towards the Tamilians in the four Southern Taluks. It was a tribute to those who suffered maltreatment by Nairs.
The Union of Travancore Cochin State was opposed by Travancore Tamil Nadu Congress. On 13 July 1949, they started raising voice against this unison. However under the assurance of the then Home Minister Sardar Vallabhai Patel that at the time of State Reorganisation on language basis their demands would be considered, their struggle was withdrawn.
A Boundary Conference was organized by the Travancore Tamil Nadu Congress on 6th January 1950. This convention displayed the power of the Tamilians internally and to the whole world also. They established a cordial relationship with the State Congress and gained an opportunity to participate in the administration of Travancore Cochin State during that interval. There were many futile attempts to disintegrate the party but its leader Nesamony, faced the situation by establishing the fact that no power could destroy the movement. Nesamony exposed the misdeeds of the Nair government in his prologue.
Split in Travancore Tamil Nadu Congress
The Presidential Election for the party was conducted on 16th October 1950. Ramaswamy Pillai and Thanulingam Nadar were the two contenders for the post. Ramaswamy Pillai won and became the President. To destroy the domination of Nesamony, a Protestant Christian in party, Thanulingam founded another Political Party. Twenty seven dissatisfied members assembled in the Saraswathy Hall on 27 October 1950 and elected Thanulingam as leader of their group. Within two months, the political scenario of Travancore witnessed a sea change. Thanulingam's influence in the Hindu Maha Mandal became weak and led him to a state of tight spot. He wanted to rejoin his ex party but failed in that attempt. In the meantime the first General Election of the Indian Republic was under groundwork. The political parties which were recognised by the Election Commission were allotted symbols. Travancore Tamil Nadu Congress was allotted pot as its symbol. Thanulingam also wanted to test his strength by contesting in the election. He requested to recognise his party as "The Travancore Tamil Nadu Congress" and to allot a symbol. A bullock cart symbol was allotted. Under Nesamony's leadership his party had won eight out of twelve seats. Thanulingam's party could not even win a single seat.
Dissolving Travancore Tamil Nadu Congress
Travancore Tamil Nadu Congress was organised as a political party on the goal of forming a state for the Tamils under the authority of Travancore Maharaja. The central government wanted to reorganize the states based on their language. However this opportunity was used by Travancore Tamil Nadu Congress to separate the Tamil areas from the Travancore Cochin State and to merge it with the State of Madras. As their main aim the formation of Kanyakumari District was accomplished on 1 November 1956, the leaders dissolved the party and merged it with the national party, The Indian National Congress. Nesamony convened a meeting of the leaders of his party on 26th January 1957 at Allen Memorial Hall, Nagercoil, from where it started the liberation journey. The proposal to dissolve was accepted by all.
The formation of the Travancore Tamil Nadu Congress based on a particular aim which was fulfilled eventually with great difficulties. Leaders like Nesamony were instrumental in taking the party to great heights and achieving the goal systematically.