RADHA N. NAIR
(Amar Chitra Katha Pvt Ltd, April 1, 1971)
The old Maharaja of Travancore grew frail and there was talk of who should succeed him. By matrilineal tradition his nephew, Maarthaanda Varma, was the heir. But councillors were plotting to break with custom and install the Maharaja's gullible son on the throne. The best way to get rid of Maarthaanda, they decided, was to kill him. The story of Maarthanda's escape and his coronation has been adapted from the novel Maarthaandavarma by CV Raman Pillai, one of the great Malayalam writers. In Maarthaandavarma, he writes a historical romance about an actual Maharaja of Travancore. Historically, Maarthaanda Varma is still remembered for uniting the kingdom of Travancore, and providing it with a just and strong government.