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I.K. Kumaran

(1903 – 1999) – (Kerala)

Irayi Kunnathidathil Kumaran Master (Aged 93), also known as “Mahe Gandhi,” was born on 17 September 1903 in Mahe or Mayyazhi, a Union Territory of India. He fought for liberation from France in 1954 and also unsuccessfully fought for the unification of Mayyazhi with Kerala. Kumaran was the first Administrator of Mahe after Indian independence. He passed the exam to become a sub-inspector in British India but was denied a job because he was a French citizen.

From 1928, he worked as a teacher in Choodikotta Madrasa and Ottapilakool Mappila School. It was during this period that IK Kumaran became involved in politics at the instigation of Muchikal Padmanabhan. Kumaran Master entered the social and political arena through the Youth League movement. He resigned in 1940 to become more active in politics. He later became the President of the Congress Committee in Vadakara and actively campaigned for the reorganization of the Congress in Kottayam Taluk. He also served as the President of the Youth League for some time.

Kumaran Master made his mark not only in politics but also in various social activities such as untouchability, mixed eating, bhudanam, Harijan upliftment, khadi propaganda, and prohibition of liquor. In 1970, he established the Mahatma Gandhi Government Arts College in Mahe. The Mahé Co-operative College of Teacher Education, which is part of the Mahé Co-operative Centre for Information Technology Ltd, was established in 2005.

Gandhians like I. K. Kumaran led the struggle for union with India in Mahe after Indian independence in 1947. On 14 July 1954, the Mahajanasabha organized a march into Mahe, which was liberated on 16 July 1954. He passed away on 27 July 1999.