June 18, 2017

Moolam Thirunal Sethu Parvathi Bayi (1896-1983), better known as Amma Maharni, was the Junior Maharani (Queen) of Travancore as well as a promoter of Indian Classical music. She was the mother of Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma, the last King of Travancore. Sethu Parvathi Bayi was distantly related by birth to the royal house of Travancore in the direct female line. In 1900, following the absence of heirs in the Travancore Royal Family she, along with her elder maternal cousin Sethu Lakshmi Bayi, was adopted by her maternal great-aunt, Senior Maharani Lakshmi Bayi. At the age of five, she became the Junior Maharani of Travancore. Sethu Parvathi Bayi chose Sri Pooram Nal Ravi Varma Thampuran of the Kilimanoor Palace as her consort owing to his high educational achievements. Their wedding took place in 1907. In 1912, after giving birth to the Heir-Apparent Sree Chithira Thirunal at the age of fifteen, she became the Amma (mother) Maharani (queen), or the Queen Mother of Travancore. Sethu Parvathi Bayi was an accomplished veena (stringed instrument) player, and a famous promoter of Carnatic Music and other arts. She played a major role in bringing to light the compositions of her ancestor Maharajah Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma of Travancore. 
 
Pooradam Thirunal Sethu Lakshmi Bayi CI (1895–1985) was the regent of the Kingdom of Travancore in southern India between 1924 and 1931. She, along with her younger cousin, Moolam Thirunal Sethu Parvathi Bayi, were adopted into the Travancore Royal Family and were the granddaughters of the celebrated painter, Raja Ravi Varma. In 1924, Maharajah Moolam Thirunal died and his grand nephew and the heir to the throne, Sree Chithira Thirunal, was just 12 years old then. A regency became necessary, since the Maharajah was still a minor. Since Travancore royal family followed the matrilineal system, Sethu Lakshmi Bayi was the head of the family. It was decided, despite the opposition of the minor Maharajah's mother, Junior Maharani Sethu Parvathi Bayi, that Sethu Lakshmi Bayi should be Regent as she was the Senior Maharani until the minor King came of age in 1930. It is to be noted that she was an absolute monarch in her own right as per matrilineal law  and ruled as the sovereign. Sethu Lakshmi Bayi's regency continued the progressive administration of Travancore Dynasty and brought forth reforms like abolition of Devadasi system as well as the prohibition of animal sacrifice. Her meeting with Mahatma Gandhi resulted in a royal proclamation by which all the public roads (except the eastern road) to Vaikom Mahadeva Temple were opened to all castes. She also amended the Travancore Nayar Act in relation to the Marumakkathayam system of inheritance and family.  

Source: Wikipedia

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