Panampilli Govinda Menon was born in Trichur, Kerala on 1 October 1908. He studied at St. Thomas College Thrichur and completed his Honours Degree in Physics from St. Joseph’s College, Trichi. He also studied law from Law College, Madras after which he practised in the lower courts and the High Court of Kerala.
He was elected to the Cochin State Legislature (1935 and1938). He resigned from this post in 1942 to protest the repressive policy of the Cochin Government. Menon was re-elected again to the Legislative Assembly of Cochin (1945). He served as the Food Minister of Cochin (1946) and as the Chief Minister of Cochin (1947).
Role in India’s Independence Movement:
Even as a student Menon was involved in politics and actively participated in Vaikom Satyagraha, an anti caste struggle in Kerala. He joined the Prajamandalam as he got more involved in politics and later joined the Indian National Congress. Menon served as a member of Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee and the All India Congress Committee. He took active part in the boycott movements in Kerala.
Contribution to Constitution Making:
P. Govinda Menon was a representative of the princely state of Cochin in the Constituent Assembly. P. Govinda Menon made a few interventions in the Assembly about princely states.
Menon was elected as a member to the Legislative Assembly of Kerala again (1948), served as a Finance Minister (1952) and became the Kerala Assembly Congress Party leader. He also served as the Chief Minister of Travancore Cochin State, after they were merged. He was elected to the Lok Sacha in 1962 and was made the Minister of Food, Agriculture, Community Development and Cooperation under Indira Gandhi. He held portfolios of the Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Law and Social Welfare and was also the Law Minister on India in 1967.
Menon played various roles in public affairs and was known for advocating for the under-privileged and for improving the status of teachers. He represented India in various international conferences and continued to work with the Congress even after their split in 1969.
Menon passed away on 23 March 1970.
1. Member, Steering Committee
2. Member, Committee for the drafting of a model constitution for the Indian States
Menon rarely spoke in the Assembly. In one of Menon’s interventions, he moved certain rules about vacancy in the office of Assembly members that he thought were important to be added to the Constituent Assembly Rules.
Menon thanked the President for allowing the representatives of princely states to be a part of the Assembly. He believed that the princely state of Cochin always desired to be represented in the Assembly and that it was their duty and right to be able to participate in the deliberations of the Assembly.
- He supported the addition of Part VI-A to the Constitution which brought the princely state in line with all the British India provinces. He believed that the Assembly should frame a Constitution for all of India, the states and provinces alike and felt that the desires of all Indians was that India should be united.