P. V. Cherian

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Palathnikal Varkey Cherian (or Cheriyan) (9 July 1893 – 9 November 1969) was a physician, surgeon and politician from India. He was the Governor of Maharashtra from 14 November 1964 till 8 November 1969.[1] His daughter, Jini, is the wife of Humayun Dhanrajgir, sometime Managing Director of Glaxo.

Early life and medical career[edit]

Cherian was born into the Palathinkal family in Travancore as the son of P. M. Varkey and Achamma on 9 July 1893. After completing schooling in Travancore, Cherian went to Madras in 1912 where he earned his MBBS degree in 1917. He then joined the Government Hospital for Women and Children as an Assistant Surgeon and, later, was commissioned into the Indian Medical Service during which time he was attached to the 88th Carnatic Infantry and served in various cities in Mesopotamia. In 1925, Cherian went to England to specialise in ear, nose and throat diseases and, in 1926, passed the FRCS examination from Edinburgh. When R. N. Arogyasamy Mudaliar was Minister for Medical Administration (1926–28), he was keen to "indianise" the medical services, he appointed Cherian as the first Indian Superintendent of Madras Medical College, together with A. Lakshmanaswami Mudaliar. Later, Cherian became Principal of the college and was appointed as the first Indian Surgeon-General of Madras.[2]

Political career[edit]

After his retirement from the government medical service in 1948, Cherian became increasingly active in politics. He was an alderman of the Corporation of Madras in 1948 and, in 1949, became mayor of the city. His wife, Tara, whom he married in 1935, was elected to this office in 1956, making the Cherians the only couple to have held the office of the Mayor of Madras.[3] Tara, who died in November 2000, was the first woman mayor of independent India and was herself a Member of the Legislative Council during M. G. Ramachandran's government.[4]

In 1952, Cherian was elected to the Madras Legislative Council and became its chairman. He was re-elected to both the Council and its chairmanship in 1959.[5]

On 14 November 1964 he was sworn in as the Governor of Maharashtra, a post that he continued to hold until his death on 9 November 1969 at the age of 76.


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 May 2010. Retrieved 23 November 2009. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ http://www.palathinkalktm.org/tributes/6.php
  3. ^ http://archives.chennaionline.com/chennaicitizen/2000/tara.asp
  4. ^ http://archives.chennaionline.com/chennaicitizen/2000/tara.asp
  5. ^ http://www.assembly.tn.gov.in/archive/Resumes/04assly/04_07_1.pdf
Preceded by
S. Ramaswamy Naidu
Mayor of Madras
1949 - 1950
Succeeded by
R. Ramanathan Chettiar