Maharajah Chitra Tirunal Rama Varma of Travancore, a man of charity and wisdom who abolished death penalty in the 1940s

Chera dynasty, Kerala, 1949.
Maharajah Chitra Tirunal Rama Varma of Travancore.

Queen  Sethu Parvathi Bayi, Mother of ruler Sri Chitira Thirunal,En.wikipedia. org
 Among the rich Indian Maharajahs who had spent much of their time in pursuit of  luxuries  and pleasures in their lives  such as owing a big fleet of expensive automobiles, spacious well embellished palaces, expensive jewelries  a  harem with bewitching beauties, etc. Only  a few rulers, instead of going after these transient pleasures etc., they  steadfastly focused  their intellectual pursuits  and the welfare of the society and got a name for themselves.  One such a ruler was Sree Chitira Tirunal Bala Rama Varma of the Princely state of Travancore, Kerala.

Sree Chitira Tirunal Balarama Varma GCSI GCIE (7 November 1912 - 20 July 1991), popularly known as Sree Chithira Thirunal,  happened to be last  ruler  of the Princely State of Travancore, South India. The eldest son of Junior Maharani  Sethu Parvathi Bayi, and Sri Pooram Nal Ravi Varma Koyi Thampuran of the Royal House of Kilimanoor he ascended the throne on 6 November 1931. The rulers belong to the ancient Chera dynasty and Sri Rama Varma  lost his father when he was 12  and till he became the ruler,  his maternal aunt, Sethu Lakshmi Bayi (1924–31) acted as the  Regent. The Princely State  was an alley of the British Raj and on behalf of the Regent Sir C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar, a legal luminary and a man of erudition who had a close rapport with  the British, ran the administration effectively. However, the communists in that state were against his administration. After India's freedom, there  arose  difference of opinion between the Dewan and freedom fighter Sardar Patel  who was keen to annex the state with the Indian Union. Later, he  resigned the dewanship under compelling circumstances.  Chitra Tirunal's rule lasted from 1931 till 1949 and from 1949 till 1956 he was the Rajpramuk of both Travancore and Cochin states. In November 1956, his position as Rajpramuk ended and Kerala became  a state as part of the Indian Union.
Chera dynasty, Kerala, 1949.
Chitra Tirunal never went to school, however, he had his  best education under eminent Indian as well as European tutors. As for his administrative skills, he went through special training in Bangalore city.  His reign was a golden period in his state and he introduced many  progressive reforms to improve the quality of  life  of his subjects.  It was during his reign the famous Temple Entry Proclamation was  made in 1936, throwing open the Hindu temples to the untouchables. The state  made  good progress in the areas of  education and commerce, agriculture, public health, public transport  civil works, hydro-electric power and a host other stuff  aiming at the overall improvement of his state. Women's education was given due importance by him.

Upon retirement from his royal commitments, being charitable  and humane,  he spent much of his time focusing on  the welfare of the people, in particular, down-trodden who needed  care and attention to move upward in the society.  Worthy of mention are the establishment of  Harijan welfare deptt. Harijan hostel, Chitra  poor Home for the needy.  As a person with progressive mind, he  was the first one in the whole Asia to have introduced abolition  of  death penalty, thus becoming a pioneer in this regard.  He also founded  charitable institutions like a Genetic center and Sri Chitra Tirunal inst. of Medical Sciences and Technology and Maharani Setu Parvati Bayi Surgical center  for the poor who could undergo costly medical treatment for heart, kidney, etc
.Map of Kerala, various
In the event of natural calamity such as flooding, etc  that causes havoc, Sri Tirunal would never fail to respond quickly with donations and other help. Hailing from a royal family, instead of wasting money on luxuries and personal happiness, his mind was always preoccupied with the welfare of his subjects, cutting across caste, creed, religion, status, etc. Till his death on 20 July 1991 at the age of 76 Chitra Tirunal Bala Rama Varma was close to the heart of people of all walks. Even now, his popularity is very much intact.