S. Srinivasa Iyengar

S. Srinivasa Iyengar

Seshadri Srinivasa Iyengar CIE (Tamil: சேஷாத்திரி ஸ்ரீநிவாச அய்யங்கார்) (11 September 1874 – 19 May 1941), also seen as Sreenivasa Iyengar and Srinivasa Ayyangar, was an Indian lawyer, freedom-fighter and politician from the Indian National Congress. Iyengar was the Advocate-General of Madras Presidency from 1916 to 1920. He also served as a member of the bar council from 1912 to 1920, the law member of Madras Presidency from 1916 to 1920 and as the president of the Swarajya Party faction of the Indian National Congress from 1923 to 1930. Srinivasa Iyengar was the son-in-law of renowned lawyer and first Indian Advocate-general of Madras, Sir Vembaukum Bhashyam Aiyangar. Iyengar's followers called him Lion of the South.

Srinivasa Iyengar was born in the Ramanathapuram district of Madras Presidency. He graduated in law and practised as a lawyer in the Madras High Court rising to become Advocate-General in 1916. He also served as a member of the bar council and was nominated as the law member of the Governor's executive council. He resigned his Advocate-General post, his seat in the Governor's executive council and returned his C. I. E. in 1920 in protest against the Jallianwala Bagh massacre and joined the Indian National Congress. He participated in the Non-Cooperation Movement. However, in 1923, he broke away along with other leaders as Motilal Nehru and Chittaranjan Das due to differences with Mahatma Gandhi over participating in elections. The breakaway faction later formed the Swarajya Party. Iyengar served as the President of the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee and later, the Madras Province Swarajya Party and was the leader of the party when it refused to form the government in the province despite winning a majority in the 1926 elections. In later life, he established the Independence of India league and organized protests against the Simon Commission. He retired from politics due to differences with other Congress politicians over the goal of Dominion status. He briefly returned to politics in 1938. On May 19, 1941, Iyengar died in his house in Madras.

Srinivasa Iyengar remains the youngest lawyer from the Madras bar to be made Advocate-General. Srinivasa Iyengar was also the mentor of freedom-fighters U. Muthuramalingam Thevar and Sathyamurthy. K. Kamaraj, who later became the President of Tamil Nadu Congress Committee and served as the Chief Minister of Madras from 1954 to 1962 is believed to be his greatest find. Srinivasa Iyengar's 1939 book on "Mayne's Hindu laws" is a much-acclaimed and well read book.

During Iyengar's tenure as leader, the Congress was often criticized by Periyar and politicians of the Justice Party as a party dominated by Brahmins. This was due to the fact that top Congress leaders as Iyengar, Sathyamurthy and C. Rajagopalachari were all Brahmins.

Read more about S. Srinivasa Iyengar:  Early Life, Legal Career, Later Life, Death, Family, Legacy, Criticism, Works