Venkata Rao

Venkata Rao was Dewan of Travancore when Swathi Thirunal ascended the throne. The famous Rajah Sir T. Madhava Rao's father Runga Row was the younger brother of Venkata Rao. Venkata Rao was one of the most popular Dewans of the state. he also seems to have taught Swathi Thirunal and his brother. Col. Welsh in his Military Reminscences states: I have not made any mention of the present Dewaun, an uncommonly handsome, fair and elegant Carnatic Brahmin. His name is Venkit Rao and he is one of the most intelligent, well educated men, I have met with in India, and writes an excellent letter. As far as I could learn he was most attentive and unremitting in his exertions for the improvement of the country and the good of the State. Such a man to educate the young princes would have been “worth his weight in gold”.After Swathi took over as maharaja, as he had a very high opinion of his tutor, Suba Row, and of his ability and knowledge, he wanted to appoint him Dewan. But the idea of dispensing with the services of the able and popular Dewan Vencatta Row, was not approved of by His Highness’ father, by Her Highness the Ranee, and by the Resident, Colonel Morrison. The controversy on this subject lasted about six months, and in the interval the able Resident, Colonel Morrison, was removed, and Dewan Vencatta Row tendered his resignation. Two months afterwards, in 1830, Suba Row was appointed Dewan. After about 7 years, Swathi was displeased with Subba Rao and suspended him. Remembering the good qualities and ability of the ex-Dewan, Vencatta Row, Swathi Thirunal entertained the idea of re-appointing him to the office of Dewan, and in consultation with His Highness’ brother, the Elia Rajah, this wise measure was resolved upon. His Highness the Elia Rajah then wrote to Vencatta Row, who expressed his willingness to accept the kind offer. The Maha Rajah then deputed His Highness’ favourite attendant, once Cunjen Thampan of Vycome, to Combaconum, to arrange personally with Vencatta Row regarding his return. In the year 1838 A.D., Vencatta Row arrived at Trivandrum, and was at once appointed Dewan. He began to display his characteristic energy in the administration, and his proceedings gave entire satisfaction to His Highness the Maha Rajah. As the new Dewan was progressing in his brilliant career, he had the misfortune to fall out with Captain Douglas, the then Acting Resident. Finding that they could not agree, Vencatta Row tendered his resignation, though much against His Highness’ wish, in 1839 A.D., after a career of only twelve months.

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