Mahaa Raaja Swathi Thirunaal, renowned as the “Garbha Shreemaan” is always more than a name , but a fragrance filled in the atmosphere of this “God’s Own Land” – Kerala
Colonel Welsh who visited Trivandrum in 1825 refers to the studies of the yound prince Swathi Thirunal.[In his book “Military Reminiscences” ]
Swathi Thirunal was a friend of books.
Welsh says: “He read a chapter of Malcolm’s Central India; the Governor-General’s Persian letter on the capture of Rangoon; a passage in Sanskrit; another in Malayalam and seemed equally clever at each. He then took up a book of mathematics, selecting the forty-seventh proposition of Euclid, sketched the figure on a country-slate; but what astonished me most was his telling us in English that Geometry was derived from the Sanskrit which was ‘Jawmeter,’ to measure the earth, and that many of our mathematical terms were also derived from the same sources,such as hexagon, heptagon, octagon, decagon, dua-decagon, etc.
During the first year of his reign (1829) a library was established in Trivandrum.
British Resident Col. Edward Cadogan, the grandson of Sir. Hans Sloane, the founder of the British Museum, was the President of the Library and Swathi Thirunal was the Patron.
The Library was managed by an Association known as Trivandrum Public Library Committee. Membership in those days was limited to only those persons invited to the Royal Durbar.
In 1837, Swathi Thirunal granted Rs 1000/- to the Library based on a request from the Library Secretary Mr. Roberts (This is possibly Mr. J. Roberts, Master of the Free school, which later became the University College, Thiruvananthapuram).