Details of the life sketch of
Shri K.K. Vishwanathan-Governor of Gujarat
Shri K.K. Vishwanathan was born in Mattancheri, Cochin on November 4,1914. He was educated at St. Thomas College, Trichur, Maharaja's College, Earnakulam and Law College, Trivandrum. He took his Bachelor's Degree in Law from the Madras University in 1938 and started his legal practice in Cochin the same year. Simultaneously, he took up the management of a High School there and also evinced great interest in trade union work. Shri Vishwanathan was one of the founders of a major Port-workers' Union by name the ''Cochin Thuramukha Thozhilali Union''.
Afterwards, he enrolled as a member of the Cochin Praja Mandal, a constituent of the All India State People's Conference, which carried on in the princely State the policies and programmes of the Indian National Congress. In 1948, he was elected to the Cochin Legislative Council on Praja Mandal ticket and, on the merger of Travancore and Cochin in 1949, he automatically became a Member of the integrated State Assembly.
Shri Vishwanathan, however, resigned from the State Assembly in 1950 alongwith his other colleagues in response to a call from the Cochin Praja Mandal to that effect. He then turned his attention to welfare activities among the masses and soon came to be known as a leading social worker as also an astute Congressman in and around the Cochin region.
In 1957, when the EMS-led Communist Ministry was installed in office after the first general elections, after the formation of Kerala State in November 1956, Shri Vishwanathan was also a Member of the Assembly and was eventually elected as Secretary of the Kerala Congress Legislative Party. He dedicated himself to the cause of the weaker sections with missionary zeal and ardently advocated several progressive measures and legislations for the amelioration of their condition. By then he had become one amongst front-ranking Parliamentarians in Kerala and gained recognition even of members of Opposition parties as an expert in land reforms. During this period he decided to give be up even his lucrative law practice in order to be able to devote his full time and care to the party work.
Shri Vishanathan was returned to the State Assembly with a huge margin of votes when fresh elections were held in 1959 after the exit of the Communist Ministry headed by Shri E.M.S. Namboodiripad as a result of the ''liberation struggle'' launched by the people against it. He lent his powerful support and guidance first to the Coalition Government and later to the Congress Ministry in brining about various land reform measures in the State.
Shri Vishwanathan edited a Malayalam Weekly named "THE REPUBLIC' and ably projected Congress policies and programmes which gained acceptance and support from the common people. He was the Secretary of the State Congress Legislative Party during 1957-60 and 1960-64 and the General Secretary of the KPCC from 1966 to 1969. The first ever AICC session held in Kerala was successfully organized by him in Ernakulam in 1966. After the split in Congress ranks in 1969, he, as the Convener of the ad hoc KPCC, was responsible in establishing the Congress Party on strong foundations. He was later elected as President of the KPCC in 1970, followed by his re-election to the same post in December, 1972.
In addition to his Parliamentary work, Shri Vishwanathan was Chairman of the State Evaluation Committee of Programmes for the Scheduled Casters and the Scheduled Tribes during the first and the Second Five Year Plans; was a member on the Kerala State Food Advisory Committee, the Public Health Advisory Committee, the High Power Committee on Land Reforms, the Estimates Committee, the Assurance Committee and the Rules Committee. He organized an All India exhibition in celebration of the Centenary of Sree Narayana Guru.
As President of various important Trade Unions, he actively participated in several labor welfare programmes for nearly two decades. Besides, he played a prominent role in the adult franchise movement as a pre-condition to the induction of Responsible Government in the Cochin State.
During his tenure in the Congress, Shri Vishwanathan took a very keen interest in reorganizing the KPCC and secured far better representation on it for the Harijans, minority communities and the youth which enhanced the party's involvement in the lives of all categories of people in the State, lending it a greater democratic touch. He also helped opening of hotels and restaurants managed by the Harijans. He played a notable role in raising and developing the Congress Seva Dal into a 25,000 strong trained volunteer organization.
During his long and eventful public life in Kerala, Shri Vishwanathan could see through many an ambitious and progressive reform in political as well as social spheres. He was able to elicit all round admiration and respect for his intellectual honesty and wisdom even from his seniors. He came to be considered a friend, philosopher and guide by his junior colleagues. Even amongst opposition party members there was great appreciation of his transparent sincerity and he was held in high esteem and affection for his qualities of head and heart.
He took over as the Governor of Gujarat on April 4, 1973 and continued to serve Gujarat till 13 th August, 1978.