Long before Independence our country was divided in to about 600 small kingdoms and were ruled by Maharajas with the help of British Among these territories, Kochi State was the only one ruled excellently and efficiently. For this the people of Kochi owes a lot to Diwan Sankara Warrier, (1840- 1856) and his son Diwan Sankunni Menon,( 1860 – 1879).
From an era of King’s rule, Sankara Warrier laid the foundation for a modern government. His rule was a silver lining at a time when most of the State rulers were corrupt ,and the law and order was very poor. The Madras Government, The Board of Directors and Secretary of State were full of praise for his rule.He was as famous as Sri. Salar jung, Sri. Dinakar Rao, Madhava Rao, Sheshayya Shastri, e.t.c.
SANKARA WARRIER was born on January,22nd,1798, at the Edakkunni Wariam Tharavadu,at Edakkunni village, Thrissur Taluk. At the age of 18,he left for Ernakulam and joined as a clerk in Appeal Court. In 1818, he got a better job in Hajur Office. In1820, he joined in Diwan Nanjappayya’s Office. After Nanjappayya, Edamana Sankara Menon came as Diwan and Casamajor came as resident of Kochi. Sankara warrier was made Diwan Peshkar . In January 20th,1840,at the age of 42 years,Sankara warrier was made the Diwan of Kochi State after Venkita Subbaya, who had been removed from the office after a dispute with the Maharaja.
After assuming the Office, Finance, Public works, Agriculture, Trade-development, and Law& order were his priorities.
At the time of taking the charge, the balance amount at the Treasury was Rs.371/-. At the end of the 2nd year, it was 1.5 lakhs. In 18 years, the balance had raised to Rs. 11 lakhs. He achieved this, not by cutting the expenditure for the welfare of the people, but by reducing the unnecessary expenditure of the palace and administration.
He made a chain of roads throughout the state. Most of the old bridges were made at his time. He made a lot of tourist bunglows and sathrams in the state.
A road was made connecting Thrissur and Coimbatore. Travel between Kochi and Coimbatore became easy.
Most of the lakes(water reservoirs) we see in kochi state were made during his time.More than thousand acres of barren land were made into agricultural land. He built a dam on Chittur river. About 2000 acres of land were irrigated by this.
DEVELOPMENT OF TRADE
Improvement of transport helped in trade development. Imposing taxes for every small thing was stopped.The taxes for rice and other food items were abolished. A port was built at Malipuram and income through customs duties were increased. Goods transport between Thrissur and Coimbatore started for the first time .The development of water canals-Aranattukara canal, Thevara -Kundannoor canals made the transportation of goods cheaper and easier.
LAW AND ORDER
He stopped slavery which was prevalent in our society for a long time . He stopped it by bringing a law against slavery. He could control corruption in the administrative system to a great extent by taking apt actions.
After 16 years of eventful rule, he died on October2 1st 1856. Even today we the members of Edakkunni warriam remembers him on this day with proper rituals(Vechu namaskaram) at Edakkunni temple.
Contributed by Shri Giridharan G. (email@example.com)