DR. P.V. CHERIAN (1893-1969) (PL.

M.B.B.S, D.L.O., F.R.F.P.S.(Glas), F.R.C.S.(Edin)
(3rd Son of Mathen Varkey PL.1.2.3)
Dr.P.V.Cherian belonged to the 8th generation of Palathinkal

Dr. P.V.CHERIAN, third son of P.M.Varkey (Varkey Magistrate) and Achamma, was born on 9th July 1893 at Alleppey in Kerala. It is told by elders that Dr.Cherian had his babyhood at our Palathinkal Tharavadu ‘Akathilottu’. Educated at the Maharajah’s College High School, Trivandrum, young P.V.Cherian passed his Matriculation Examination in 1909. Later he studied at C.M.S.College, Kottayam and passed his Intermediate Examination. He came to Madras in 1912 to pursue his further scholastic career and joined the L.M.S Course, which was subsequently converted into five year M.B.B.S. He passed all his medical examinations at the very first attempt and took his M.B.B.S. degree in 1917. He was then appointed Assistant Surgeon in the Government Hospital for Women and Children, Madras.

Within three weeks after his first appointment, he was granted a Temporary Commission in the Indian Medical Service and was posted to Bangalore. Subsequently, he was posted to Bellary in the Hospital for Prisoners of War. Later he was attached to the 88th Carnatic Infantry which left for Mesapatomia (Iraq) on Field Service. In Mesopotamia (Iraq), he served at different places like Basara, Bagdad, Mosul, Sherghat and Baquba and returned to India in 1922 on being posted to Jhansi. From Jhansi he was transferred to Mhow.

On being released from the Army, he was appointed as Assistant to the Professor of Biology and Medical Jurisprudence. It was then that he came into contact with Major E.W.C.Bradfield, one of the greatest surgeons the Indian Medical Service ever had. At the request of Major E.W.C.Bradfield, the First Surgeon and Professor of Surgery and Biology in the Madras General Hospital, Dr.Cherian, encouraged by his friends, accepted the appointment as an Assistant to the First Surgeon, General Hospital, Madras in 1923. Later in 1925, he went to England on study leave to specialise in Ear, Nose and Throat Diseases.

In London, he worked in the Central London and Golden Square Ear, Nose and Throat Hospitals. He took Diploma in E.N.T from the Royal College of Surgeons. He then proceeded to Glasgow and took the Glasgow Fellowship and later passed the F.R.C.S. Examination in October 1926 from Edinborough. He then proceeded to Vienna where he worked with Prof.Ruttin and many other famous surgeons of international eminence. Prof.Ruttin had very high opinion about the skill and ability of Dr.P.V.Cherjan as an E.N.T Surgeon. Since then he had a distinguished and successful career as an eminent E.N.T. Surgeon of All India repute. He organised the E.M.T department of the Madras General Hospital and built it up as a very efficient and well—equipped institution. The professional services rendered at the E.N.T Department of the Madras General Hospital headed by Dr.P.V.Cherian was of such high order that people from all over India came to Madras to have the benefit of his special skill. Eventually, Dr.Cherian became the Principal of the Madras Medical College and his appointment as the First Indian Surgeon General of Madras was the culmination of a glorious career as an eminent surgeon devoted to the cause of E.N.T surgeory in particular and the medical profession in general. He was the first President of the All India E.N.T Association and was also the first President of the All India E.N.T Conference held at Madras, inaugurated by the Governor, the Maharajah of Bhavanagar.

On retirement in 1948, Dr.Cherian came under the influence of Sir Mohammed Usman and was inducted into politics. Though he avoided politics, politics sought him. He became an Alderman of the Corporation of Madras in November 1948 and in November 1949 he was elected MAYOR OF MADRAS. Seven years later, his wife Mrs.Tara Cherian was elected to this high office and thus the case of the Cherians is the only one instance where both husband and wife have been elected to this high office of Mayor of Madras.

From the Municipal forum to the State forum was a natural and inevitable transition in the case of Dr.P.V.Cherian. In 1959 he was elected to the Madras Legislative Council from the Indian Christian Constituency. In 1952, he was returned to the Legislative Council from the South Graduates Constituency and by reason of his very eminent position, he was elected as the Chairman of the Madras Legislative Council. In 1959, he was again re-elected to the Madras Legislative Council and on such re-election he was elected again as the Chairman of the Council for another term of six years which office he held with conspicuous ability and distinction.

Dr.P.V.Cherian had widely travelled abroad. Besides his early travels abroad in connection with his studies, he went to America in 1950 as District Governor of Rotary and visited Chicago, Detroit and Washington, where he met and conferred with the Mayors, in particular with the Mayor of New York, Mr.O.Dwyer. In 1957, he visited the United Kingdom and Ireland as a delegate from the Madras Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. On this occasion, he visited other Legislatures from the continent of Europe. At the invitation of the Federal Republic of Germany, he visited West Germany.

Dr.P.V.Cherian’s activities were not confined to surgery and politics alone. He was an educationist as well. He was for a number of years, a member of the Syndicate of the Madras and Annamalai Universities. He was also the Vice-Chancellor of the Annamalai University. His services as a member of the Syndicates representing the Faculty of Medicine were greatly valued and appreciated.

In the field of sports and cultural activities, he played a notable part assisted by his able wife Mrs.Tara Cherian. In 1952, he, along with his wife played a notable part as Director of the All India Olympic Games. He and his wife successfully organised and conducted the World Conference of Christian Youth at Kottayam. He was a Member of the Board of Governors, the Lakshmibai College of Physical education, Gwalior. He was also a Member or the Board of Administration, Lawrence School, Lovedale, South India. Dr.P.V.Cherjan was also a keen Freemason and a Rotarian. He has held very high offices in both Freemasonry and Rotary.

Last but not least, Dr.P.V.Cherian was a very popular and prominent figure in the social circles of Madras. His interest and activities were varied and many. As Mayor he rendered great service for the improvement of slums and the upliftment of the poor.

The appointment of Dr.P.V.Cherian, as Governor of Maharashtra, when Smt. Vijayalaxmi Pandit resigned on 14th November 1964 was the ultimate recognition he received. Dr.P.V.Cherian was to have retired as Governor on 14th November 1969, after 5 years of excellent service, but fate did not allow him to complete the term. He expired on 9th November 1969 at the age of 76.


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