Image Credits: The Hindu
K.M. Panikkar
1895 - 1963

Early Life:

Kavalam Madhava Panikar was born on 3 June 1895, in Travancore, India. He studied History and Sociology and completed his education at the University of Oxford in 1917. After returning to India in 1919, he taught at the Calcutta University and Aligarh University. He then moved away from acedemia to journalism by editing for the Swarajya daily in Madras. Panikkar then became an editor for the Hindustan Times in 1925. He served as the Foreign Minister of the State of Patiala and the Chief Minister of the State of Bikaner (1944-1947).


Role in India’s Independence Movement:

Panikkar was acquainted with T.K. Madhavan of Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) while working as the editor of the English daily Swarajya. Together, they conceptualized Voikom Satyagraha. He was sent by MK Gandhi, as a representative of the Congress to negotiate a settlement between the Akali movement and the Government.


Contribution to Constitution Making:

Panikkar was a representative of the Princely Province of Bikaner to the Constituent Assembly. He made interventions in the debates about the Central Legislature’s power to give effect to treaties, and the importance of State representatives in the Assembly.


Later Contributions:

Panikkar was an ambassador to China (1948-52), Egypt (1952-53), and France (1956-59). He then returned to academia and worked as the vice-chancellor of the University of Mysore till his death.


Panikkar died on 10 December, 1963, at the age of 68.


Key Writings:

K.M. Panikkar authored multiple books in both Malayalam and English. Some of them include Survey of Indian History’, ‘In two Chinas’, ‘Asia and Western Dominance’, ‘The Future of South East Asia’, ‘Malabar and the Portugese’, ‘The Afro-Asian States and their Problems’ ‘Studies in Indian History’, and ‘Caste and Democracy’.

  1. Member, Union Constitution Committee.
  2. Member, Sub-Committee on Amendment.

In his first speech, Panikkar's thanked the President for inviting representatives of States. He talked about the importance of including them in the Assembly and highlighted the right that States had in organising India’s freedom. In another Assembly debate, Panikkar stated that it was important for the Central Legislature’s authority to give effect to treaties and enter into agreements with other countries be related to a substantial item in the federal or concurrent list.