Two personalities from Kerala were key in sealing the verdict of Ayodhya in favour of Ram Mandir. KK Muhammad and KK Nair. This is the story of the latter, who resigned from civil services fighting the inhustice done to Hindus.
During 1931 fresh dispute had occurred in the area where Babri Masjid stood at Ayodhya in the name of Sri Ramjanmabhoomi. The British Government did not allow the Hindus to offer prayers in the disputed place. K.K.Nair, who was the District collector and Magistrate at that time, allowed Hindus the right of worship.
During 1952, the Government of India banned the right of Hindus to offer prayers at Ramjanmabhoomi, despite the recommendations of K.K.Nair.
Recording his protest, K.K.Nair resigned from the civil service and started practice as an advocate in the Allahabad High Court. Later he was elected as a Member of Legislative Assembly of U.P. and a Member of Parliamnt.
KK Nair aka Kandangalathil Karunakaran Nair is a name which will be deeply engraved in the history of the Ayodhya movement. The brave ICS officer, hailing from the southern state of India Kerala played an unforgettable role in reinstating the fundamental right to worship of Hindus in the Rama Janmabhumi before India became a constitutional republic.
Born on September 11, 1907, KK Nair began his life from Kuttanad, a small village in Alappuzha, Kerala. After completing his education in Kerala, he went to England for higher studies and won ICS at the age of 21. He joined as a civil servant in Uttar Pradesh in 1945 and became Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Magistrate of Faizabad on June 1, 1949.
As the District Magistrate, Nair entrusted his assistant Guru Datt Singh to file a ground report on the Ayodhya issue, after receiving a letter from the state government on the same. In his report sent to Nair on October 10, 1949, Guru Datt Singh unambiguously recommended the construction of a grand Ram temple at the site.
“As per your orders, I went to the spot and inspected the site and enquired all about it in detail. Mosque and the temple both are situated side by side and both Hindus and Muslims perform their rites and religious ceremonies. Hindu public has put in this application with a view to erecting a decent and vishal temple instead of the small one which exists at present. There is nothing on the way and permission can be given as Hindu population is very keen to have a nice temple at the place where Bhagwan Ram Chandra Ji was born. The land where temple is to be erected is of Nazul [government land],” says Singh’s report to Nair.
On December 22, 1949, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister GovindVallabh Pant, at the behest of the then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, ordered to expel the Hindus from the temple of Ram Lalla.
PM Nehru shot off a telegram to GB Pant on Ayodhya dispute saying, “I am disturbed at the developments in Ayodhya. Earnestly hope you will personally interest yourself in this matter. Dangerous example being set there, which will have bad consequences.” Also there are reports, which suggest that Nehru wrote a note directing state government to shift the idols of Ram Lalla and Sita out of Babri Masjid premises.
Nehru reiterated his concern in his letter to C Rajagopalachari, then Governor-General of India. “I wrote to Pantji last night, about Ayodhya and sent this letter with a person, who was going to Lucknow. Pantji telephoned me later. He said he was very worried and he was personally looking into this matter,” read Nehru’s letter, dated January 7, 1950.Another letter of Pandit Nehru (dated March 5, 1950) suggests that a directive to the Faizabad district administration, which apparently refused to comply with the directive.
This letter was a reply to the one he received from celebrated Gandhian KG Mashruwala. Nehru wrote, “You refer to the Ayodhya mosque. This event occurred two or three months ago and I have been very gravely perturbed over it. The UP Government put up a brave show, but actually did little. Their District Officer in Faizabad [KK Nair, ICS] rather misbehaved and took no steps to prevent this happening”.
Nair was the district magistrate of Faizabad then.Ayodhya falls in the Faizabad district (incidentally, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has recently announced to rename Faizabad district as Ayodhya).
Nair defended his decision of not acting on a directive of the country’s Prime Minister, which was routed through the state government.
Nair wrote a letter to the UP chief secretary saying, “I would, if the government decides to remove the idols at any cost, request that I be relieved and replaced by an officer, who may be able to see in the solution a merit which I cannot discern.”
But Faizabad District Collector KK Nair refused to implement the order, pointing out that the real stakeholders were performing Pooja there and the move would lead to riots and bloodshed.
Following the incident, Govind Vallabh Pant suspended KK Nair from the service. But Nair fought the Congress Government at court and managed to get an order in his favour.
After rejoining the service, he decided not to continue as an IAS officer as, by the time, he had became an eyesore to Nehru. After resigning from the service, he started practising as a lawyer in the Allahabad High Court.
By challenging the ‘ diktat’ of Nehru against Hindus, KK Nair upheld justice and made the way to the hearts of millions of people. People in and around Faizabad fondly called him ‘Nair Saheb’.
Taking the fight for Ram Mandir forward, KK Nair and his family joined the Jana Sangh. In 1952, his wife Sakunatala Nair contested on the Jana Sangh ticket and became a member of Uttar Pradesh assembly. Later, in 1962, both KK Nair and his wife became members of the 4th Lok Sabha, winning Bahraich and Kaiserganj constituencies respectively.
Interestingly, their driver was also elected as a member of the UP legislative assembly from Faizabad assembly constituency. The couple was later arrested and jailed during the Emergency for protesting against the fascist regime of Indira Gandhi.
Shri Nair remained as a Jana Sangh worker till his death, September 7, 1977. Though he was a venerable and much-celebrated figure in Uttar Pradesh in those days, he did not receive due recognition in Kerala. Now a group of nationalists in the state is building a memorial in his home village, under the aegis of KK Nair memorial charitable trust. The memorial is being built on the land donated by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. Along with other welfare activities, the trust is aimed at offering training for civil service aspirants and scholarships for eligible students.
Dr. Sindhu Prashanth