Bharata Kesari Shri.Mannathu Padmanabhan was the founder leader of the Nair Service Society (N.S.S) an organisation formed for the unity and welfare of the Nairs, a major Community sector of the Hindus in Kerala.This non political Organisation was formed by Mannathu Padmanabhan along with some of his friends at Changanacherry, in Kerala on 31st October 1914.Mannathu Padmanabhan served as the General Secretary of this organisation for 31 years and then as the President for three years.The headquarters of N.S.S is at Changanacherry and there are more than 5000 'Karayogams' which are branches of this society functioning in main Villages, Towns and Cities all over Kerala and in some other parts of India where large group of Nairs are residing.
Mannathu Padmanabha Pillai was born on January 2nd, 1878 to parents Easwaran Namboothiri of Nilavana Illam and Charumuttathu Parvathy Amma at Perunna in Changanacherry.He began his career as a primary School teacher but learnt law and practiced at Magistrate Courts later.
There were several rustic traditional practices followed by Nairs as a custom, some of which like 'Pulikudi' adiyanthiram, 'Sapindi Adiyanthiram', and so on which were all feasts given to the people of the locality that drained the financial capacity of many families. Many of such unnecessary feasts and feasts distributed after the death of a person were all stopped by the N.S.S. and the unnecessary 'tea party' arranged on many such occasions are also banned.There are many other progressive actions implemented by the N.S.S for the prosperity of Nairs in general. Almost all Nairs in Kerala are members of 'Nair Service Society' and abides the regulations and rules of the society.
Mannathu Padmanabhan was a person who possessed immaculate leadership qualities and he had a foresight into several significant matters concerned for the welfare of Nairs.As a person with tremendous power of comprehension, he was capable of materializing his dreams into reality.He also worked for uplifting the lower castes and was a participant in the famous 'Vaikom Sathyagraha'.
He was a true patriot and a freedom fighter.
Mannathu Padmanabhan observed that by providing good education only, a society can progress to betterment and by this vision Nair Service Society started large number of Schools,Colleges and Professional Colleges under
its management, all over Kerala.Colleges like 'N.S.S.Hindu College,Changanacherry,N.S.S.College,Pandalam, M.G.College Trivandrum' etc are some of the prestigious educational institutions functioning in Kerala by N.S.S management.
Mannathu Padmanabhan was the first President of 'Travancore Devaswom Board'.
Mannathu Padmanabhan was also familiar as 'Mannam'.He was given the title 'Bharata Kesari' as a honour by the President of India.He was also the recipient of 'Padma Bhushan' Award.
Mannathu Padmanabhan passed away on February 25, 1970.
His birthday on January 2, is celebrated as 'Mannam Jayanthi' all over the state and many other places in India and abroad.Processions,public meetings and cultural programs are arranged in many places.
Kerala Government has declared 2nd January, the 'Mannam Jayanthi' as a public Holiday from 2016 on wards.