Champak Raman Pillai Biography
Birth: 15 September 1891, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
The death: 26 May 1934, Germany
Work area: Freedom fighter
Champak Raman Pillai was an Indian political activist and revolutionary. Although he was born in India, he spent most of his life in Germany. Pillai’s name is included among the great revolutionaries who lost their lives for the independence of the country by putting everything at stake. He was a hero who continued the fight for India’s independence while abroad and tried to wipe out the British rule in India with a foreign power. It is our misfortune that very few people remember him today, but this country will always be grateful for his sacrifice.
Champak Raman Pillai Biography
Champak Raman Pillai was born on 15 September 1891 in Thiruvananthapuram district of Travancore State into a common middle class family. His father’s name was Chinnaswamy Pillai and mother’s name was Nagammal. His father was a Tamil but settled in Thiruvananthapuram due to his job as a police constable in the state of Travancore. He had his elementary and high school education at Model School in Thakod (Thiruvananthapuram). While in school, Champak was introduced to Sir Walter Strickland, a British biologist who often visited Thiruvananthapuram for specimens of vegetation. On one such tour, he invited Champak and his cousin Padmanabha Pillai to come together and they joined them. Padmanabha Pillai returned from Colombo but Champak reached Europe with Sir Walter Strickland. Walter enrolled him in an Austrian school from where he passed the high school examination.
Life in europe
After completing school, Champak enrolled in a technical institute for engineering. During the First World War he established the ‘International Pro India Committee’. It was headquartered in Zurich. Around this time, in the city of Berlin, Germany, some overseas Indians formed an association called ‘Indian Independence Committee’. Virendranath Chattopadhyay, Bhupendranath Dutt, A.M. Raman Pillai, Tarak Nath Das, Maulvi Barkatullah, Chandrakant Chakraborty, M. Prabhakar, Birendra Sarkar and Heramba Lal Gupta. In October 1914 Champak moved to Berlin and joined the Berlin Committee and merged it with the ‘International Pro India Committee’. The aim of this committee was to monitor all revolutionary activities related to Indian independence in Europe. Lala Hardayal was also persuaded to join this movement. Soon its branches were also established in Amsterdam, Stockholm, Washington, Europe and other cities of America.
The Indian Independence Committee and the Ghadar Party were involved in the so-called ‘Hindu-German conspiracy’. Germany provided all assistance to the anti-British activities of the committee. Champak Worked on the committee together with Raman Pillai. Later Netaji met Subhash Chandra Bose Pillai. It is believed that the slogan ‘Jai Hind’ was the brainchild of Pillai.
Pillai remained in Germany after Germany’s defeat in World War I. He worked as a technician in a Berlin factory. When the leader went to Vienna, Pillai met him and told him about his plan.
Foreign Minister in India’s Provisional Government
Raja Mahendra Pratap and Mohammad Barkatullah established a provisional government of India in Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, on 1 December 1915. Mahendra Pratap was its President and Barkatullah was the Prime Minister. Pillai was given the charge of foreign minister in this government. Unfortunately, with the defeat of Germany in the First World War, the British drove these revolutionaries out of Afghanistan.
During this time, German officials were helping Indian revolutionaries for their personal selfishness. Although the Indian revolutionaries made it clear to the German authorities that they were participants in the fight against the enemy, the German authorities wanted to use the intelligence system of the Indian revolutionaries to their advantage.
Marriage and death
In 1931, Champak Raman Pillai married Lakshmibai of Manipur. They both met in Berlin. After his unfortunate marriage, Champak became ill and went to Italy for treatment. It is believed that he was poisoned. He could not recover from illness and died on 28 May 1934 in Berlin. His wife Lakshmibai brought his ashes later to India which was flown to Kanyakumari with full state honors.
Time Line (Life Events)
1891: Born in Thiruvananthapuram
1906: Sir Walter moves to Europe with Strickland and attends an Austrian school
1914: Establishment of the International Pro-India Committee in Zurich; Become president of
1914: Went to Berlin in October where he joined the Indian Independent Committee
1915: Became Foreign Minister in India’s provisional government formed in Afghanistan.
1919: Met Subhash Chandra Bose in Vienna
1931: Married to Laxmibai, a resident of Manipur
1934: died in Berlin on 26 May
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