Bacteriologist Dr. Padmanabhan Palpu was a well-known Renaissance figure in the ezhava community. He was a well-known Indian author, doctor, and philanthropist. On November 2, 1863, in Petta, Trivandrum, Dr. Palpu was born. Sree Narayana Guru was a devotee of Dr. Palpu. Dr. Palpu’s elementary school teachers were Ramanpilla Asan and M.J. Fernandas. The first health officer assigned to Bangalore during the plague outbreak was Palpu.
He was additionally Mysore’s deputy sanitary commissioner. He joined the Mysore Government-founded Vaccine Institute. In 1920, he stepped down as director of the Mysore Lymph Institute. When SNDP Yogam was registered in 1903, Palpu became the organization’s first vice president.
His son Nataraja Guru was a student of Narayana Guru directly. Dr. Palpu finished fourth in the entrance exams held by the Travancore State Government in 1884.nBut because of his lower caste status, he was not given a spot to study medicine. Later, Dr. Palpu was accepted to Madras Medical College. He went back to Travancore, but the government barred him from pursuing a medical career. He travelled to Mysore to train.
Swami Vivekananda was consulted by Dr. Palpu for advice on how to bring the Ezhava community together and work for its advancement. He was advised by Swami Vivekananda to team up with a spiritual figure in his endeavours. He published the book, ‘Treatment of Thiyas in Travancore’, a compilation of the memorandums that were submitted to the Travancore Government.
The Greater Ezhava Association was established by Dr. Palpu, who was also the third signatory to the 1891 Malayali Memorial. More than 300 people showed up for the Ezhava Maha Sabha’s inaugural meeting in Thiruvananthapuram. The group decided to petition the government with 10,000 signatures from Ezhavas calling for an end to their discrimination.
On September 3, 1896, the government received the Ezhava Memorial, which had been signed by 13176 people. Dr. Palpu then sent Barrister G.P. Pillai to England with a letter that she had obtained from Sister Niveditha, a follower of Swami Vivekananda. This was done in order to get a British parliamentarian to represent the Ezhavas’ case.
Dr. Palpu pursued higher education in England. There he met Dadabhai Navroji, who assisted in submitting a memo to the Indian State Secretary. The founder of the Malabar Economic Union is Dr. Palpu. On January 25, 1950, Dr. Palpu passed away.