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Parmasivan Subbarayan Gounder, former CM of Madras, remembered

He was much ahead of his times-Gopalakrishna Gandhi

P Subbarayan Gounder 1889-1962) was known as the man who had highly developed intellect of his time. Hailing from a zamindar family of Tiruchengode, he did whatever he felt was right. He went ahead and believed whatever  he felt was right without even hearing out his masters. His motive was to eliminate caste hierarchy in society. Lamentably, so many of us don’t even know about this great leader said former Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi at a memorial oration called in his honour.

It was during his tenure as chief minister of Madras presidency (1926-1930), a bill was introduced for reservation in government jobs for dalits. He proposed the Temple Entry Bill which permitted low-caste Hindus and Dalits to  enter Hindu temples and made their prohibition illegal and punishable. He also introduced District Municipalities Act and Local Boards Act.

At a oration, organized by the family members of Subbarayan at MMA Auditorium , Gopalkrishna Gandhi said that unlike today’s politicians, he never looked for fame. He worked for the welfare of the poor and downtrodden. For people like Subbarayan , politics meant the welfare of people. He was  the grandfather of former Union minister Rangarajan Kumaramangalam and father of Mohan Kumaramangalam who was a minister in Indira Gandhi’s cabinet.

“Subbarayan was arrested along with other congress leaders Sathyamurthy and Bakthavatsalam for his active participation in ‘Quit India’ movement. When there was chaos on who would become the CM between Subbarayan and Rajagopalachari, he graciouly walked down the stage and asked Rajaji to become the Chief minister. In 1933, he joined Indian national congress where he served as Minister of Law and Education is Rajaji’s cabinet and the Minister of Police and Home in Ramaswamy Reddiar’s cabinet.

From 1949 to 1951, Subbarayan Gounder served as independent India’s first ambassador to Indonesia. Subbarayan was not only fighter as a leader, also in his personal life. “He started practising as an advocate of the Madras High Court in 1918 after getting a doctorate in Law from the University of Dublin. He then married , his classmate from Presidency Radhabai Kulmud even though there was a lot of opposition from his family. R Gandhi who is  a close friend of the Subbarayan family and senior advocate of the Madras High court stated that “ He was a man with great vision and courage”.

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