V. Viswanathan

Venkata Viswanathan (25 January 1909[1] – 16 January 1987[2][3]) was an ICS officer[4] who served several gubernatorial tenures across several states of India. He was the Chief Commissioner of Bhopal from 1950 to 1952 and of Delhi from 1964 to 1966,[5] the Lieutenant Governor of Himachal Pradesh from 26 February 1966 to 6 May 1967[6] and Governor of Kerala from 15 May 1967 to 31 March 1973.[7]

Venkata Viswanathan
5th Governor of Kerala
In office
15 May 1967 – 1 April 1973
Chief MinisterE. M. S. Namboodiripad
C. Achutha Menon
Preceded byBhagwan Sahay
Succeeded byN. N. Wanchoo
4th Lieutenant Governor of Himachal Pradesh
In office
26 February 1966 – 6 May 1967
Chief MinisterYashwant Singh Parmar
Preceded byBhagwan Sahay
Succeeded byOm Parkash
4th Chief Commissioner of Delhi
In office
1964 – 7 September 1966
Preceded byBhagwan Sahay
Succeeded byAditya Nath Jha
Personal details
Born25 January 1909
Died16 January 1987(1987-01-16) (aged 77)
Alma materCentral College, Bangalore, University College London, Balliol College, Oxford

Viswanathan hailed from Thrikkaderi in Palakkad district of Kerala[8] and became the first Malayali to be appointed the Governor of Kerala[9] which was unusual given the convention of not appointing a native as the Governor of his home state in India. He studied at the Central College, Bangalore, University College, London and at the Balliol College, Oxford before joining the Indian Civil Service in 1930.[1]

Viswanathan had a reputation of being the ‘eyes and ears of Delhi’ and often took an anti-Communist line. He sparred with the then Chief Minister EMS Namboodiripad and once almost precipitated a constitutional crisis, when he prepared his own address to the Kerala Legislature. The then government rejected his draft and insisted that he read the address which the government had prepared. The Governor complied with this demand.[10] In September 1968, Viswanathan made attempts to persuade EMS to resign.[11]

During his tenure, EMS Namboodiripad and C Achutha Menon served as Chief Ministers.[12] He was also a part of the five member Committee of Governors constituted by President V V Giri to look into norms, functions and powers of the Governors of States.[13]


  1. ^ a b Bhushan, Ravi (1975). Famous India, nation's who's who. Famous India Publications. p. 4.
  2. ^ Diary of National Events 1987-88 Archived 2014-06-02 at the Wayback Machine (pdf)
  3. ^ India, a reference annual. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, India. 1990.
  4. ^ Communism in Kerala: A Study in Political Adaptation , Thomas Johnson Nossiter. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles 1982. pp. 219.
  5. ^ "States of India since 1947".
  6. ^ "Governor House, Himachal Pradesh, India - Governors of Himachal Pradesh". Himachalrajbhavan.nic.in. 27 January 2010. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  7. ^ "Previous Governors". Rajbhavan.kerala.gov.in. Archived from the original on 13 August 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  8. ^ "Kerala / Palakkad News : Sankaranarayanan leaves for Delhi today". The Hindu. 20 January 2007. Archived from the original on 22 January 2007. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  9. ^ "Kerala P.S.C Question _ 012 ~ Psc Question Bank". Pscquestionbank.com. 9 May 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  10. ^ "Of Governors and their own addresses". The Hindu. 6 July 2001. Archived from the original on 25 January 2013. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  11. ^ Communism in Kerala: A Study in Political Adaptation , Thomas Johnson Nossiter. University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles 1982. pp. 246, 247.
  12. ^ Kerala Legislature. "General Info - Kerala Legislature". Niyamasabha.org. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  13. ^ "Appointing a PM". Frontlineonnet.com. Retrieved 20 August 2012.