erstwhile province of pre-independent India, was ruled by Sree
Chitra Tirunal Maharajah until the country became independent in
1947. The Government of India took over the province after the
Known for their munificence, the Maharajah and members of the royal family
of Travancore considered themselves 'dasas' (servants) of Lord Padmanabha,
the reigning deity of Travancore. Interestingly, they wore a turban instead
of a crown as a mark of respect to Lord Padmanabha. Their philanthropy
finds expression in their countless contributions to the country, then
On a visit to a super-specialty hospital in Europe, Sree Chitra Tirunal
Maharajah was seized with a deep desire to establish a similar institution
in Kerala. Those were the times when tertiary cares in cardiovascular
and neurological diseases were not available in the State.
In the summer of 1974, the Maharajah's dream was fulfilled when the royal
family made a gift that carried in its womb the beginnings of what later
turned out to be the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences & Technology.
About this time, Dr. M.S. Valiathan, trained abroad in surgery and biomedical
science, returned to India to guide the destiny of the Institute. Supported
magnificently by Shri. C. Achutha Menon, the then chief minister of Kerala,
the Government of Kerala took the unusual step of placing the center
under the Department of Science and Technology in the State. During the
initial period, patient care was limited to cardiology and neurology.
Soon, a multi-storeyed building was added to meet the increasing demand.
The expansion of clinical services did not alter from the scientific
objective of the Institute and a field of endeavor relevant to its scientific
and social interests was sought. The choice fell on biomaterials and
a full-fledged Biomedical Technology Wing came into existence.
A steadily growing market in the post-war years had created a multi-million
dollar industry for medical devices abroad. A rough estimate of India's
imports in the early seventies had placed their annual price tag at 400-500
million rupees. Rising to the need of the hour, the medical center initiated
a project for the development of Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC) bags for storage
of blood and fabrication of valvular prostheses. The significance of
the effort at integrating medical science and technology was recognized
by the Government of India which declared the Institute an "Institute
of National Importance" in 1980. By 1994, the institute had successfully
developed and transferred many a technology to industry, bringing to
fruition a long-cherished dream of its Founder-Director whose twenty
years of tireless striving left its indelible mark on the fabric of the
In 1994, the mantle of Directorship fell on one who, from within, had
witnessed with joy and pride all important milestones in the brief history
of the Institute. To meet the dearth of health professionals at decision
making and planning levels in government, a course in Public Health was
started with the help of an International faculty in the newly commissioned
third wing of the Institute, named the Achutha Menon Center for Health
Sciences. The three centers, with their clinical and research activities,
function to fulfill an abiding commitment to high quality health care
to the community in the areas of cardiology and neurology, at a time
when the cost of health care has escalated beyond the reach of a majority.