Champakaraman Pillai (also known as Venkat), was an Indian-born political activist and revolutionary from Trivandrum, Kerala. He lived in Germany for most of his active years.⁣

Pillai was born into a Tamil family in Trivandrum, capital of the former kingdom of Travancore in the modern state of Kerala. ⁣

Pillai attended a technical institute, pursuing a diploma in Engineering. After the outbreak of the First World War, he founded the International Pro-India Committee and based its headquarters in Zürich, appointing himself president in September 1914. ⁣

During the same period an Indian Independence Committee was formed in Berlin by a group of Indian expatriates in Germany. In October 1914, Pillai moved to Berlin and joined the Berlin Committee, merging it with his International Pro-India Committee as the guiding and controlling institution for all pro- Indian revolutionary activities in Europe. ⁣

The Indian Independence Committee ultimately became involved in the so-called Hindu-German Conspiracy along with the Ghadar Party in the United States. ⁣

Pillai was the foreign minister of the Provisional Government of India set up in Kabul, Afghanistan on 1 December 1915, with Raja Mahendra Pratap as President and Maulana Barkatullah as Prime Minister. However, the defeat of the Germans in the war shattered the hopes of the revolutionaries, and the British forced them out of Afghanistan in 1919. ⁣

After the end of World War I and Germany’s defeat, Pillai stayed in Germany, working as a technician in a factory in Berlin; when Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose visited Vienna, Pillai met him and explained his plan of action.⁣

In 1907, Pillai coined the term “Jai Hind”, which was adopted as a slogan of the Indian National Army in the 1940s at the suggestion of Abid Hasan. After India’s independence, it emerged as a national slogan.⁣

In 1931, Pillai married Lakshmi Bai of Manipur, whom he had met in Berlin. Unfortunately they had a short life together, as Pillai soon fell ill. There were symptoms of slow poisoning and he went to Italy for treatment. He died in Berlin on May 28, 1934.⁣