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Rama Rao Memorial  Taluk Hospital


Rama Rao Memorial Taluk Hospital is an unique institution. It was established in 1894 by T. Rama Rao who was a Diwan of Travancore from 1887 to 1892. Rama Rao was a Dakshini Maharashtrian and was my grandfather’s grandfather in the main direct male line. The hospital building was set up in 16 acres of his land from his private resources purely as a charity for the poor dalit families of Nedungolam, a remote village in Kollam District where he had extensive coconut and paddy lands of hundreds of acres. The endowments under which the hospital was set up are the second oldest endowments in Travancore kingdom, now part of Kerala. After Rama Rao's death in 1895 his son Rao Sahib Udarasiromani T. Padmanabha Rao was involved much in the development of the hospital. After Padmanabha Rao’s time from around 1945 onward our family did not evince much interest in the affairs of the hospital and finally it was handed over to the Government of Kerala on 17th April 1971 by our late father K. Rama Rao. Since then, for over 44 years none from our family had visited the hospital, until 2015 when I decided to visit it along with my siblings and our families. It was an amazing and eye-opening experience. The hospital had grown into a modern and major establishment serving vast numbers of patients. It is now the second largest hospital in Kollam District and was under consideration of the Govt. of Kerala for setting up a major Medical College Hospital. Astonishingly, even after 120 years the Management of the hospital had lovingly clung to the memory of its founder, T. Rama Rao and his family. We found that the original building put up by T. Rama Rao had been restored and turned into a museum for his memory and framed photos of T. Rama Rao and his immediate family adorned the walls. The Chief Medical Officer Dr. Raju and the local MLA Shri. Jayalal of CPI (M) and the Chairperson of the local Panchayat told us that in 2012 when they heard that the Govt. of Kerala wanted to drop T. Rama Rao’s name from the hospital, they resisted and won. They ensured that a gazette notification was issued to this effect. All this, when our family was not aware of the matter and shows the pride with which the Management held on to the hospital’s historic origin. A copy of the gazette notification was handed over to us at a grand function organised for our visit.

The visit itself was an humbling experience for us. While talking from Bangalore to the Dr. Raju, I had an inkling that they were planning something big. Sensing this I told him to keep our visit simple. For us it was like visiting a family shrine which we had not seen for several decades. But what awaited us on 17th October 2015 took our breath away. The entire hospital was decked up with banners and all local dignitaries led by the MLA and the Chairperson of the Panchayat turned up to welcome us with bouquets and garlands. The Chief Matron of the hospital who was its longest serving staff told us that she was born in Nedungolam and had been working all her life at the hospital. She used to see Rama Rao’s portrait every day in the Hospital museum and often would wonder where his descendants are now. We found her happy beyond words because today that red-letter day had arrived. It was touching to hear her emotional narration. This typified the reverence with which T. Rama Rao was held by the people of Nedungolam 120 years after his death.

​A few photos taken during our visit in 2015 are presented here. But more importantly, a write-up (circa 1933) by T. Rama Rao’s son, Rao Sahib Udarasiromani T. Padmanabha Rao narrating the history of the hospital as well as detailing the philanthropic activities of his father is also presented. This was written by him in connection with the visit to the hospital by the Junior Maharani of Travancore in 1933 to inaugurate the Maternity Ward which like all facilities and wards in the hospital was funded fully by our great-grandfather. The Dakshini Marathi translation of T.Padmanabha Rao's write-up is also provided.

Ananda Rao Vasishta


The original Consulting Rooms, now a museum. The legendary Everest mountaineer Dr. Somervell (1890-1975) did his major surgeries here. Read his interesting mentions in pages 182, 185 and 187 about the hospital in his book "After Everest" in

रावसाहेब उदारसिरोमणी श्री टी. पद्मनाभराव ह्यांच लेख (1933) 

दक्षिणी मराठी भाषांतर, आनंदराव वसिष्ठ

कोल्लम तालुकाच परवूर रेल्वे-स्टेशनांतून दोन मैल दूर इत्तिकरा नदीच कांठशी आहे नेडुंगोलम खेडे. मझ॑ बाप श्री रामराव (इसवी 1865-70 च काळांत॑) कोल्लम डिविशनाच दिवान-पेष्कारविणी होते. कृषी कराला फार अवड त्यांस होत॑ म्हणून ते वेळी इकड॑ जमीन घेऊन तळभूमींत॑ साळी अणी उमाठ-प्रदेशांत॑ नारळी, फणस अस॑ लावून कृषीच काम आरंभ केले. हे प्रदेशांत॑ भरून नायर जन होते अणी हेनी पणीन मझ॑ बापासारख॑ कृषीच काम आरंभ केले. फार दारिद्र्यांत॑ कष्टी भोगून उपजीवन कराच पुलय, परय असलते दळित वर्गाच लोके पणीन भरून आहेत॑ इकड॑. हेनी पोणावांटादनीन उंच-वर्गाच लोकांच जमीनांत॑ काम करत आहेत॑. निराशांत॑ बुडून उपजीवन कराच हे दळित लोकांला पाव्हून मझ॑ बापा नोवेंबर 1869 वर्षी दरबारला अस॑ लिव्हले ; "मझ॑ डिविशनांत॑ पुलय अणी परय वर्गाच अनेक दळित जन॑ आहेत॑. वाचणे-लिव्हणे नाहीस्क॑ अज्ञानतांत॑ संपूर्ण बुडून आहेत हेनी म्हणून स्पष्ट कळत॑. कागदपत्रांत॑ हस्तचिन्ह घालताना तजांतल॑ विषय काय म्हणून कळींगाला दुसरेंच सहाय यांस अगत्य पह्जेस्क॑ असत॑. पुरनात्याला, वर्गभेदाच दुष्टपणाच पीडा सोसामत॑ पडत॑ यांस॑. वर्षोंवर्षी कष्ट अनुभव कराला कारण झालत॑ दास्यपणांतून सरकार यांस॑ सुटिवले, अणी जमीन घ्याच अधिकारपणीं मिळ्ळ॑ यांस॑. पण, असलत॑ मोचन आल्याव॑र त्यांस त्यंच अज्ञताच रूक्षपण अण्खीन व्यक्त होऊन दिसल॑. उंच-वर्गाच लोकांच विद्याभ्यासाला म्हणून सरकार अनेक साळे देश पूरा उघडत आहेत॑. हेच सारख॑ दळित वर्ग लोकांकरतानहीं त्यंच आवश्याजोक्त॑ साळे उघडलतर॑ बर॑ असेल॑".

हे कागदपत्र लिव्हून थोडक दिवसांत॑ तेनी दळित वर्गांस म्हणून एक रात्रीच साळे नेडुंगोलमांत॑ उघडले. बारा लेंकरेनीशी आरंभ झालत॑ हे साळे अत्ता "सरकार लोवर ग्रेड वेर्णाकुलर स्कूल" झाल॑ अणी अत्ता इकड॑ दोनशेंच व॑र विद्यार्थी लोक॑ आहेत॑.

अत्तच॑ एडमन रेल्वे-स्टेशनाच जवळच॑ आर्यनेल्लूरांत दळित वर्गांच लोकांच॑ समूहवासाला म्हणून एक स्थापना निर्माण करून ते चालिवाला तय्यार असलतर॑, तिकड असाच त्यंच स्वंत जमीन द्याला तय्यार आहों म्हणून कळिवत॑ कोल्लम जिल्लाच LMS Missionary यांस॑ थोड वर्षाच नंतर॑ रामराव एक कागदपत्र लिव्हले. विद्याभ्यास अणी जेवणे सौजन्य होऊन देलतर॑ ते खर्चाला पह्जेत॑ पैसे त्यंच जमीनांतून मिळाच आदायांतून काढूया म्हणूनीन कळिवले. गेल॑ पंचवीस वर्षाच हृस्व-लेखांत॑ LMS अस॑ सांगिट्लाहेत॑. "बावीस एकर जमीन अणी त्यांतल॑ घर वगैरा कोल्लम जिलाच॑ दळित लेंकरांच॑ विद्याभ्यासाकरतां श्री T.रामराव CIE हेनी अम्हाला देलते विषय कळून अमच॑ मित्रांस संतोष झालसेल॑. गेलत॑ अनेक वर्षापसून हे बावीस एकरांतून मिळत होतत॑ आदाय हे कल्याण विषयाला उपयोग झाल॑. हेज विना अनामत होऊन बाजू पडलहोतत॑ 60 एकर जमीन पणीन हेज बरोर जोडून अत्ता अग्गीन मिळून सुमार 90 एकर झालाहे".

दरबाराला पाठिवलत॑ कागदपत्रांत॑ श्री रामराव अस॑ पणीन लिव्हले. "असलत॑ वर्गांच लोकांला साधारण विद्याभ्यास द्याचपक्षा मलयालमाच प्राथमिक शिक्षण देलतर॑ धाराळ होईल॑". यांस॑ वांचुनिकीला जोडलत॑ अभ्यास देलतर॑ पुरे, अस॑ रामरावच॑ योचना होत॑. कोट्टयमांत॑ असाच॑ "चर्च मिस्सन व्यावसायीक साळेला" हे उद्देशांत॑ तेनी एक देणगीच॑ व्यवस्था केले. हेज विषयीन आर्चडीकन बेंजमिन लिव्हले "हे रोक्कम सरकार निधिपत्रांत॑ मद्रासच॑ CMS कार्यालय वाटे निक्षेप झालाहे. त्यांतून याच आदायांतून प्रतिवर्षीन कोट्टयमांत असाच॑ CMS व्यावसायीक साळेंतून शिक्षण संपिवून लोहार अणी सुतार म्हणून उपजीवन आरंभ करणार दळित युवांला आवश्य पडलत॑ उपकरण सौजन्यविणी द्याच व्यवस्थाहीं झालाहे".

1892 वर्षी रामराव उद्योगनिवृत्त झाले अणी नेडुंगोलमांत॑ स्थिरवास करून त्यंच मनप्रीय कृषिव्यवसायात॑ स्वारस्याच॑ वेळ काढाला आरंभ केले. नेडुंगोलमांत राहणार दळितांत॑ दरिद्र अवस्था शिकाला अत्ता त्यांस॑ भरून अवसर मिळ्ळ॑. बरोरल॑ वैद्यचिकित्सा यांस॑ मिळत नाही, हेच त्यांत॑ मुख्य आवश्य म्हणून कळ्ळ॑. सरकार चालिवाच वैद्यशाला इकड॑ बाजू कोठीन नहोत॑, कोल्लम अणी चिरयिनकील हे दोन पट्णांत॑ असाच सोडून. ते काळांत॑ रेल्वे प्रयाणाच सौकर्य अण्खीन इकड॑ आलहोत॑नाही म्हणून खेडेंत॑ मिळाच ढोंगी-वैद्यांच चिकित्साला आश्रय घेवून हानी अनुभव करामत॑ पडल॑. नेडुंगोलमांत॑ एक औषधवाणी (dispensary) उघडलतर॑ तला पह्जेत॑ बांधणी अणी ते चालिवाला आवश्याजोक्त॑ साळीच जमीन हे अग्गीन देणगीपत्र वाटे (ie, through an endowment) व्यवस्था करून द्याला तेनी तय्यार आहेत॑ म्हणून नेय्यूर मेडिकल मिस्सनाच॑ Dr. फ्रै, यांस॑ रामराव एक कागदपत्र लिव्हले. रामरावाच॑ हे औदार्य-देणगी संतोषांन॑ मेडिकल मिस्सन स्वीकार करले अणी 1893 वर्षी एक भाडेच बांधणींत॑ औषधवाणी उघडले. सोळा एकर उमाठ जमीनांत॑ अत्ता असाच॑ मुख्य बांधणी अणी डॉक्टराच घर, हे दोनीन बांधाच काम समेच आरंभ झाल॑ अणी 1894 वर्षी संपल॑. तेम्हाच पोलिटिकल एजंट यांच पत्नी श्रीमती ग्रिग (Mrs. Grigg) हेनी डिसंबर 4, 1894 दिवसी हे उद्घाटन करले. सामर्थ्यशाली डॉक्टरांस नियुक्त झालत्यामळे हे हॉस्पितल जनप्रीय झाल॑ अणी रोगींच॑ शुश्रूषाच काम पुढे जातां जातां बरोर सार्थक होत गेल॑.

फ़ेब्रुअरी 1895 महिने अनंतशयनमांतून नेडुंगोलमाला जायाच वाटे मझ॑ बापाला पक्षघाताच॑ बाधा (paralytic attack) झाल॑ अणी जूण 1895 महिना स्वर्गवासी झाले. Dr. फ्रै (Dr.Fry) यांच॑ उत्तराधिकारी Dr.फेल्स (Dr. Fells) रामरावांच॑ मृत्यु विषयीन अस॑ लिव्हले "स्वर्गीय रामरावांच॑ मृत्युमळे झालत्येवढ॑ अगाध शोक राज्यांत॑ वेगळ॑ कोणाच मृत्युच वेळीन पाह्याला मिळना. जातीभेद अणी वर्गव्यत्यास नाहीस्क॑ सर्वजनांचीन कल्याण रामरावच॑ मनांत॑ सदाहीं होत॑. सौहार्द्यशीली अणी  हितमनोभावी रामराव सर्वांचीन ममताला अर्ह झाल॑. "नेडुंगोलम डिस्पेनसरी" अणी नेय्यूर हॉस्पितलाच॑ "रामराव पलंग" हे दोनीं निमित्त॑ अमच॑ मेडिकल-मिस्सनाच बरोर त्यंच नाव सदाहीं जोडून राह्यील॑". अनेक वर्षापसून मझ॑ बापाच॑ परिचय होतत॑ रेव. हॅक्कर अस॑ सांगतात॑, "दुसरेंच कष्ट परिस्थिती सुधारिवाच विषयीन अम्ही बोलताना अग्गीन श्रद्धाविणी ऐकून त्यंच्यान होयाच कराला सदा तय्यार होते. नेडुंगोलम अणी आर्यनेल्लूरच॑ आजूबाजूच॑ लोक॑ मात्र नोहो, त्यंच याच वंशज पणीन रामरावाच॑ नावाला कृतज्ञतार्पण करतील॑".

हे संकट घटनाच नंतर॑ हे स्थापनाच जवाबदारी मझ॑व॑र आल॑. गेल चाळीस वर्ष देवाच अनुग्रहामळे मझान झालत॑ अग्गीन मी करत आहें.

1887 वर्षी महिनामहिने पंचवीस रुपेच देणगी सरकाराकडून मिळ्ळ॑.

हॉस्पितलाच नाव वाढून जास्ती लोक॑ शुश्रूसाला याला आरंभ झाल॑. तिकडल॑ सौकर्य पुरे होयनास्क॑ झालत॑करतान 1912 वर्षी दादिगेयांच॑ आठ पलंगाच खोली उघडलों.


Portions of the endowed lands on which the hospital buildings are built. The major portions of the land are behind the OP Dept (top picture, the light green building in the right background) 


मझ॑ मेव्हणा (भावोजी) मैसूर राज्याच पूर्व दिवान टी. आनंदराव यांच मृत्युपत्राच व्यवस्थापकाच आग्रहानुसार सोळा पलंगाच बायकांच॑ खोली मझ॑ बहिणी सौ सुंदराबाई ह्याच नावांत॑ 1921 वर्षी उघडलों. उरलत॑ सात हदार (हज़ार) रुपे सरकार निधिपत्रांत॑ निक्षेप झाल॑. सरकाराच महिनामहिनेच देणगी पस्तीस रुपीविणी वाढिवले अणी त्यामळे एक सुईणीला (midwife) नियुक्त कराला झाल॑.


"Sundara Bai Women's Ward" funded by Diwan T. Ananda Rao of Mysore and named after his wife who was Diwan T. Rama Rao's daughter. This building is not being used now.


भरून थोर शस्त्रक्रिया (surgeries) इकडे करतात म्हणून 1929 वर्षी मी एक शस्त्रक्रिया-खोली बांधून देलों. हे बांधाला अणी शस्त्रक्रियाला आवश्य असाच॑ उपकरणांच खर्च मझ॑ पत्नीकडून आल॑. मझ॑ पत्नी सौ राजम्म बाईच नावाव॑र असाच हे बांधणी बरोर ठीवींगाला म्हणून दोन हदार रुपे सरकार निधिपत्रांत॑ निक्षेप कोलों.

सेप्तंबर 6, 1933 नेडुंगोलम अणी आजूबाजूच गांवाला एक महत्व दिवस म्हणून सांगूया. ते दिवसी अमच॑ महाराजा इकडे येऊन हे खेडेला सन्मान करले. साडे-चारला कोल्लमांतून मोटर-बंडींत॑ निघले. हदारों लोक॑ त्यंच महाराजाला दर्शन कराला आले. अनेक वार्ड महाराजा पाह्यले अणी रोगींकडे सुखान्वेषण करले. "हॉस्पितल संदर्शन करून अपार आनंद झाल॑. एक पूर्व दिवानाच श्रमामळे स्थापना झालत॑ हॉस्पितल म्हणून विशेष संतोष झाल॑ अणी पुढे भविष्यांत॑ अण्खीन समृद्धी होऊनदे" अस॑ आशीरवाद करून साडे-पांचला वापस निघले.

हॉस्पितलांत॑ प्रत्येकविणी एक प्रसवविभाग नसामळे प्रसवाला याच बायकांस॑ पह्जत॑ बरोरल॑ सौकर्य मिळत नाही म्हणून मी एक नव॑ प्रसवविभागाच बांधणी महाराजाच संदर्शनाच वेळी तय्यार करिवलों. महाराजांच॑  संदर्शनाच॑ स्मरणविणी त्यंच नावांत॑ हे प्रसवविभागाच॑ नाव घालाला संतोषांन तेनी संम्मत देले. 1933 वर्षी हे बांधणीच काम संपल॑ अणी एप्रिल 1, 1933 दिवसी जूनियर महाराणी ते उद्घाटन करले. उद्घाटन समारोहाला कोल्लमांतून साडे-चारला निघून आले अणी अस॑ भाषण करले :

"श्री पद्मनाभाराव अणी मित्रों,
हे समारोहांत॑ भाग काढाला श्री पद्मनाभाराव मला पाठिवलत॑ आवंतण॑ मी फार संतोषान स्वीकार करलें. असलते परोपकारी दृष्टीनीशी तुमच॑ बहुमान्य पिता करलते हे औदार्य फार उचिताच म्हणून सांगाम॑. लोकांस हे हॉस्पितलांतून मिळाच उपकार तुम्ही पुढे अण्खीन वाढीवून तुमच॑ वंशपारंपर्याच औदार्यपण॑ दाखिवलांत म्हणाच॑ विषय प्रशंसार्ह अणी अनुकरणोत्तम म्हणून सांगाम॑. हे काळांत॑ भारतांत॑ मिळाच वैद्य-शुश्रूषाच परिस्थितींच बरोर पाह्ताना असलते पूर्णतय्यारी प्रसवविभाग तुमच॑ औदार्यपणाच शिरोमणीस्क राह्यील. दरिद्र रोगींला भात द्याला म्हणून तुमचकडून दहाहदार रुपेच देणगी तुम्ही घोषणा केलतेहीं एक महत्वाच विषय म्हणून सांगाम॑.

विदेशांत॑ असलते हॉस्पितल अणी वैद्य-शुश्रूषांच व्यवस्था सरकार नोहो, पण साधारण नागरीकांच॑ औदार्यपणांतून होत॑, अस॑ तुम्ही बरोर सांगिट्लांत॑. इकड॑ भारतांत॑ हेज जवाबदारी सरकार अथवा क्रिस्तुधर्माच मिस्सनरींच व॑र असत॑. पण तुम्ही एक उत्तम उदाहरण दाखिवलाहेंत॑. दुसर॑ पैसावंत नागरीक पणीन समयानुचित अणी अस्थिर देणगीच॑ व्यर्थपण करनास्क॑, चोखोट व्यवस्थाच अणी आवश्यानुसाराच दानधर्म करतील॑, अस॑ मी आशा करतें. मझ॑ हे भाषण संपिवाच पुढे मी तुम्हाला अभिनंदन करतें. तुमच॑ वंशजांच॑ औदार्यामळे स्थापना होऊन, लंदन मिस्सनरींच अधिकाराच खाले बेष चालत असाच॑ हे हॉस्पितलाच कल्याण अणी उद्धार बेष होईल, अस॑ मी आशा करतें.
"राम वर्मा मेटर्निटी वार्ड" हेज उद्घाटन मी अत्ता करतें."

हे वार्डांत॑ सहा पलंग आहे. हेजांतून एक पलंगाच निरंतर खर्चाच आवश्याला म्हणून डेप्यूटी-कमिशणर म्हणून मैसूरांत उद्योगांत असणार मझ॑ एक भाचा, श्री गोविन्दराव हेनी मला दीडहदार रुपेच॑ "इंद्या सरकार निधिपत्र" देऊन पाठिवलाहेत॑. मी सरकाराकडे हे निक्षेप कोलों.

"राम वर्मा मेटर्निटी वार्ड" उद्घाटन करल्यानंतर॑ महाराणी प्रत्येक वार्डहीं संदर्शन करून सगळ॑ रोगींलींचीन सुखविचार करले. तिकडून पुलयांच वार्डाला गेले अणी टैफोय्ड रोग बाध झालत॑ एक लेंकरू विषयीन अन्वेषण करले.

आज हे दिवसी मी देलत॑ दहाहदार रुपेच देणगी सरकाराकड॑ निक्षेप केलों.

हॉस्पितलाच मोत्तम बंडवाळाच रोक्कम वीस हजाराच व॑र झालाहे. Treasurer of Charitable Endowments Travancore ह्यंच जवळ हे निक्षेप झालाहे. हेज विना देणगीच जमीन अणी बांधणीच मोल पन्नासहजाराच व॑र आहे. हॉस्पितलाच पूरा आस्त सरकाराला ओपिवून तज स्थिर अवस्था अण्खीन दृढ कराच उद्देशांत॑ मी सरकाराकड॑ संपर्कांत आहें. हेज विषयीन Dr. सोमरवेल मला अस॑ लिव्हले, "अमच॑ मेडिकल मिस्सनाच संपूर्ण अंगीकार हे विषयांत॑ तुम्हाला मिळेल म्हणून मझकडून मी तुम्हाला दृढ होवून सांगतों. हे झालतर॑, नेडुंगोलमांत॑ होयच अमच॑ काम आण्खीन सुलूभांत॑ पुढे जाईल अणी मला आशा आहे जिल्लाच लोकांस॑ मिळाच सौकर्यपणीन वाढत जाईल". थोडक दिवसांत॑ तेनी पुन्हा मला अस॑ लिव्हले, "फ़ेब्रुअरी अक्रा तारीखला तुमच॑ दोन कागदपत्रहीं   मेडिकल कम्मिटी वाचून तुमच॑ योजनाला त्यंच मनपूर्व अंगीकार देले".

हित उद्देशांत॑ हॉस्पितलाच बरोर संपर्कांत॑ असणार मेडिकल-मिस्सनाच॑ एक-एक डॉक्टरांसीन कृतज्ञतापूर्ण धन्यवाद अर्पणा करणे मझ॑ कर्तव्य आहे. त्यंच हितोद्देश नसलतर॑, हे हॉस्पितल आज एवढ॑ चोखोट स्थितींत॑ येऊन पावलसना अणी लोकप्रिय झालसना. मझ॑ अपार कृतज्ञता Dr.सोमरवेल यांस प्रत्येक होऊन सांगामत॑ आहे. सहानुभूती अणी श्रद्धानिष्ठविणी तेनी रोगींस कस॑ चिकित्सा करतात॑ अणी तेनी इकड॑ येताना त्यंचकडून चिकित्सा करींगाला याच रोगींच गुंप, हे अग्गीन पाह्यलतरेच विसंबाला होईल॑.

T. पद्मनाभराव.


Author ARV (with bouquet) & brother Padmanabha Rao (garland in hand), Shri.Jayalal, MLA (center) Dr. Raju, CMO (left) and the Panchayat Chairperson (right)   


Write-up by RaoSaheb Udarasiromani

Shri. T. Padmanabha Rao

(written in 1933)

Nedungolam is a small village on the Ittikara river, two miles from the Parur railway station, in the Quilon Taluq. When my father (Dewan T. Rama Row) was Dewan Peishcar of the Quilon Division, being fond of agriculture, he purchased and registered lands here and converted the low lands into paddy lands and planted the high lands with coconut, jack & c. There are a number of Nair families here, who followed my father’s example. There is a very large population of Pulayas, Parayers and other depressed classes, who lead a precarious existence mostly working on the lands of the higher classes. Finding the general helpless condition of these people, my father wrote to the Darbar, as follows, so long ago as November 1869. “There is a large class of pulayers and parayers in my Division. That this class is deeply sunk in ignorance is clear. Without another’s help they could not understand the contents of documents which they are asked to sign and the institution of caste adds to the evil. The Sirkar has abolished slavery and freed all these people from the bondage under which they had groaned for years. Further, it has permitted them to acquire property. But these concessions have tended in fact, to render their ignorance the more perceptible to them. The Government is taking steps to supply the wants of the higher classes by establishing vernacular schools throughout the country, and the Sirkar will do well to open schools for these classes also, on a scale commensurate to their wants”.

Soon after he addressed this letter, he opened a night school for the depressed classes, in Nedungolam, with about a dozen students. This school has now grown into a Government Lower Grade Vernacular school with over 200 students.

A few years later, he wrote to the L.M.S. Missionary in charge of the Quilon District, offering his lands at Aryaneloor, near the present Edamon railway Station, if the Mission would establish a colony of the depressed class people in the estate and give them free board and education from the proceeds of the estate. The L.M.S. Report gives a summary of 25 years’ progress as follows : “It may interest out friends to know that some 22 acres of land and houses thereon, was given by Mr. T. Rama Row C.I.E. for the education of children from the depressed classes in the Quilon District and for many years now, the income from the 22 acres has been used for such beneficent purpose. Since then, about 60 acres of abandoned land adjoining it, have been added, making in all about 90 acres.

In his letter to the Durbar, quoted above, Mr. Rama Row also wrote “It is not required to give a liberal education to such a class. All that is really needed is to give them an elementary knowledge of Malayalam”. To earn  a living in after life, after such an education, it was Mr. Rama Row’s idea to give them technical education. With this view, he made an endowment to the Church Mission Industrial School at Kottayam. Archdeacon Benjamin writes, with reference to this endowment, “The amount is invested in Government securities through the C.M.S. office at Madras and the interest is annually used for supplying tools to the depressed class young men who finish their course each year, in the C.M.S. Industrial School at Kottayam, as blacksmiths or carpenters”.

In the year 1892 Mr. Rama Row retired from the Dewanship and settled down at Nedungolam to follow his old hobby-agriculture. He had now greater leisure and opportunities to study the condition of his poor neighbours. The most pressing need was proper medical aid. The nearest Government Hospitals were at Quilon and Sherainkil. In those days there was no railway communication; and as a consequence the people resorted to local native quacks, with painful results. Mr. Rama Row wrote to Dr. S. Fry of the Medical Mission at Neyoor, enquiring if the Mission would open a Dispensary at Nedungolam if he put up the necessary buildings and endowed paddy lands for its maintenance. The Mission gladly agreed and a dispensary was opened in a rented building in 1893. The construction of the present main building on 16 acres of elevated land, and the Medical Officer’s quarters was taken in hand at once and completed in 1894. Mrs. Grigg, the wife of the then Political Agent was good enough to open the building on the 4th December 1894. The Mission sent capable medical men and the dispensary became popular and the work of healing was carried on earnestly and successfully.

In February 1895, on his way from Trivandrum to Nedungolam, my father had an attack of paralysis from which he succumbed in June 1895. Touching his death, Dr. Fells, who succeeded Dr. Fry, wrote “There are very few men in the State whose decease would be so deeply lamented as the late Mr. Rama Row’s. By his genial friendliness and his desire for the well-being of all classes in the State, he has endeared himself to all. With our Medical Mission, his name will always be identified both by the Nedungolam Dispensary and by the Rama Row Cot in Neyoor Hospital.” Rev Hacker, who knew my father for years, wrote “I always found him willing to listen to us and always ready to help to lighten the burden of others. The poor people of Nedungolam and in the places round Aryanelloor, will have reason to bless his name for generations to come”.

Since this sad event, the burden of fostering the Institution fell on my humble shoulders, and all these 40 years, by the Grace of God, I have endeavored to carry it out to the best of my ability.

In 1897 the Government was pleased to sanction a grant of Rs. 25 per mensem.

With the growing popularity of the Hospital, the original accommodation was found to be insufficient. A male ward with eight beds was built in 1912.


The Executors of the will of my brother-in-law, Mr. T. Ananda Row (a former Dewan of Mysore) placed in my hands funds for putting up a female ward. This was built in 1921 and contains 16 beds and is called after my sister, Sou Sundara Bai. The balance of the amount was invested in Government pro: Notes for Rs. 7000, and handed over to Government was pleased this year, to raise the grant to Rs. 35, when a midwife was added to the staff.


The new Women and Child wards

As several major operations were performed and a suitable theatre was badly felt, I built an operation theater in 1929. This building was put up and furnished from funds provided by my wife. Rs. 2000 in Govt. Pro: Notes were handed over to Government for the maintenance of this building, which is called after my wife Sou Rajama Bai.

The 6th of September 1933 will be regarded as a red – letter day, not only by the Hospital but by the villagers of Nedungolam and its neighborhood; as on this day His Highness the Maha Rajah honored the Hospital by visiting it. His Highness drove from Quilon at 4-30 P.M. Thousands of people flocked to see their Sovereign. His Highness went through the several wards and made kind enquirers of the patients. His Highness was pleased to observe that it “gave him great pleasure to visit the Hospital, particularly as it was one founded by a former Dewan, and wished the Institution continued prosperity”. His Highness left at 5-30 P.M.

The want of a separate maternity ward was badly felt to properly attend to maternity cases that were brought to the Hospital. I took the opportunity of His Highness’ visit to put up a building. His Highness was graciously pleased to comply with my request, to call it after His Highness, as a remembrance of His Highness’ visit to the Hospital. The building was completed in 1933 and Her Highness the Junior Maha Rani was pleased to open it on the 1st April. Her Highness drove from Quilon at 4-30 P.M. In opening the building, Her Highness spoke as follows:

“Mr. Padmanabha Row, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have gladly accepted the invitation of Mr Padmanabha Row to attend this function. It was a very wise, as well as a most philanthropic idea of your distinguished father, to think of this form of charity and the filial devotion displayed by you, in confirming and extending the benefits of the institution, is worthy of praise and imitation. In the present condition of medical relief in India, nothing is more useful than a well-equipped Maternity Ward and today you are crowning your benevolent efforts, by making a handsome provision for feeding the poor patients. The gift of Rs. 10,000 for this purpose, which you have announced, is indeed a notable departure.

As you rightly observe, hospitals and medical relief are largely endowed in other countries by private benefactions but in India, we rely mainly on Government aid and Missionary enterprise. You have, however, set a worthy example and it is my hope that other persons, similarly well-placed, will utilise their funds in organised and well-directed charity of this kind, rather than fritter them in sporadic and impermanent gifts and endowments. Let me conclude by congratulating you and wishing all prosperity to this institution, which owes its inception to the members of your family and its successful working to the London Mission.

I now declare The Rama Varma Maternity Ward open.’’

There are six beds in this ward. I have pleasure in stating that one of my nephews, Mr. T. Govinda Row, a retired Deputy Commissioner of the Mysore service, requested me that he may be permitted to make an endowment for the maintenance of one of the cots. He sent me Govt. of India notes for Rs. 1500, which has been handed over to Government.

After opening the Rama Varma Maternity Ward, Her Highness was pleased to visit each ward and make kind enquiries of all patients. Her Highness went over to the pulaya ward where Her Highness enquired about a child that was suffering from typhoid.

The Rs. 10,000 I endowed this day to the Hospital for providing diet to the poor patients, has been handed over to Government.

The funded capital of the Hospital thus amounts to over Rs. 20,000 and is in the custody of the Treasurer of Charitable Endowments Travancore. Besides the above cash, the buildings and endowed lands are worth over Rs. 50,000. In order to secure greater permanency to the Hospital, I am in correspondence with the Government handing over the whole estate to Government. Regarding this proposal, Dr. Somervell wrote to me “I think you can take it from me that our Medical Mission will heartily approve of your suggestion, and that this suggestion will enable our work at Nedungolam to continue smoothly and I hope, with ever increasing benefit to the people of the District”… Later on he wrote “The medical Committee met on February 11th and read your two letters, and signified its very hearty approval of the scheme”

In conclusion it is my duty to express my grateful thanks to successive Doctors of the Medical Mission for their continued interest in this Hospital. But for that interest, the Hospital would not have come to its present efficiency and consequent popularity. I am immensely thankful to Dr. Somervelle in particular. One has only to visit the Hospital, whenever he inspects it, to find the large number of patients that flock to him and with what sympathetic attention he attends to them.

T. Padmanabha Rao


Click on picture to enlarge

Family members with  Dr. Raju, Shri. Jayalal, Chairperson of the Panchayat & others


At the Reception Function. Gazette Notification regarding the name of the hospital being presented by the MLA Shri. Jayalal to the Family.


Group photo with staff. Author ARV & Padmanabha Rao in the center.


OP & Consultaion Rooms


Way to

Way to Operating Theaters


Gazette Notification regarding  name of the Hospital (tanslated from Malayalam)

Rama Rao Hospital Gazette Notification Mal.jpg

Gazette Notification regarding  name of the Hospital 

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