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Nettur P. Damodaran

(1913 – 1978) – (Kerala)

N. Damodaran (Aged 65), who was born on May 14, 1913 in Thalassery, Kerala, India, was a prominent figure known for his roles as a parliamentarian, journalist, philanthropist, reformer, and writer. He completed his graduation in Physics from Madras Christian College, where he began his public life by becoming the first elected Student Union Chairman of the College council in 1935.

After his graduation, he joined the Indian freedom movement from the Malabar region and played a crucial part in the Quit India Movement in 1942 from Tellicherry. He organized rallies and public events for this movement, often escaping from the police. He was sentenced to two years in prison once, and he was held as a political detainee in Alipur Central jail, Bellary, from 1942-44.

After his release from jail, he continued his efforts for India’s independence until it was achieved in 1947. Damodaran then briefly switched to an administrative career when he was unexpectedly appointed by Andhra Kesari T. Prakasam, the then Chief Minister of Madras State, as one of the first two ‘Firka’ (now known as Block) development officers as part of an all-India experiment on the Firka development model.

In 1952, he resigned from his official position to start his parliamentary career by running for the first general election of independent India from the Tellicherry constituency, which he won with a thumping majority. Damodaran traveled widely across India and wrote travelogues describing the local culture, people, and practices. He worked towards the upliftment of socially and economically backward classes in Kerala and served as the chairman of the Nettur Commission.

He also played a role in expediting Mahé’s liberation from French rule by working in concert with Mahé liberation leaders. Damodaran was fond of art and took various steps to popularize and promote local art forms of the Malabar region. He passed away on October 11, 1978, in New Delhi, India.