KOCHI: Beginning from the pre-independence era, the life of P Vikraman Achan, the Valiyachan of Paliam Tharavad has been a journey of vivid experiences. He celebrates his 100th birthday today.
Despite coming from a royal family, which held the post of Prime Minister of the erstwhile Kingdom of Cochin, Vikraman Achan led a life of humility and dedication. He has shown political maturity on different occasions.
“When the state government came up with the idea of preserving Paliam Kovilakam and Nalukettu as heritage monuments, Vikraman Achan readily accepted it. He thoroughly went through the Muziris project and requested the government to vest the ownership in Paliam and take the responsibility of protection. The government agreed and this decision will benefit future generations,” says Krishnabalan Palliath, manager, Paliam Trust.
Vikraman Achan has also actively articulated the need to preserve our traditions and heritage. All this has been recorded in the book, ‘Paliam History’, published in 2013 and penned by Prof Radhadevi Murchilot. It was later translated into Malayalam by Sreekumari Ramachandran Menon.
Among the 41 temples managed by the Palliam Trust, six have been reconstructed under the auspice of Vikraman Achan. He has also let the devotees of the remaining 35 temples to look after their day to day affairs
Interestingly, Vikraman Achan completed his education in India unlike many of his counterparts. After completing his primary education at the Chendamangalam Paliam School and graduation from Maharaja’s College, he went on to study at the Guindy Engineering College. Although he spent a few years as a teacher in the same college, his penchant for engineering became evident when he joined the Mumbai Hindustan Construction Company in 1941. Two years later, he started working in the South Indian Railways as an Assistant Engineer.
Considering his immense work rate and contribution of more than a decade, he was deputed to Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) in 1961 as a Chief Engineer. Later he was appointed as its Executive Director and retired from service in 1977.
As a token of appreciation for his contribution, BHEL appointed him as its advisor. His five-year tenure as an Advisory Board Member of the Central Finance Ministry for Public Sector witnessed the growth of various PSUs across the country.