C. Natesa Mudaliar

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Natesa Mudaliar
C Natesa Mudaliar 2008 stamp of India.jpg
Natesa Mudaliar on a 2008 stamp of India
Alma materPresidency College, Madras
Political partyJustice Party

C. Natesa Mudaliar (1875–1937), also known as Natesan, was a politician and activist of the Dravidian Movement from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. He was one of the founders of the Justice Party along with Theagaroya Chetty and Dr. T. M. Nair.

Natesa Mudaliar was born in a Tamil family of Triplicane, Madras in 1875. He had his early schooling in Madras and graduated from Presidency College, Chennai and Madras Medical College before practising as a doctor. He founded the Madras United League in 1912 and was one of the founders of the South Indian Liberal Federation. He was elected to the Madras Legislative Council in 1923 as a candidate of the Justice Party and served as legislator till 1937. Natesa Mudaliar died in 1937 at the age of 62.

Natesan's admirers regard him as a kind-hearted gentleman. K. M. Balasubramaniam, a writer and supporter of the Dravidian Movement, compared him to Mahatma Gandhi.

Early life[edit]

Natesa Mudaliar was born in Triplicane, Madras in 1875.[1] He had his early schooling in Madras and graduated in arts from the University of Madras.[1] Natesan worked as a lecturer in Pithapuram Maharaja College and as an interpreter in the Gordon Woodrof Company.[1] He graduated in medicine from Madras Medical College and practised as a doctor.[1] In 1914, he started a hostel for non-Brahmin students in Madras Presidency. This marked his entry in South Indian politics.

Contribution in early Dravidian politics[edit]

In 1912, the Madras United League was formed.[2] Natesa Mudaliar was one of the founders of the league and served as its Secretary.[2] The league was largely composed of government employees and concentrated on improving the literacy of non-Brahmins by conducting adult education classes.[2] In 1914, the Madras United League was renamed as the Madras Dravidian Association[2] and Panaganti Ramarayaningar, later the Raja of Panagal was elected President.[3] As a part of its programme, the Madras Dravidian Association conducted a hostel called "Dravidian Home" for the benefit of non-Brahmin students.[3] Natesan was the caretaker of this hostel.[3]

Formation of the South Indian Liberal Federation[edit]

Through the mediatory efforts of Mudaliar, political opponents Sir Theagaroya Chetty and Dr. T. M. Nair came together and resolved to put forth their efforts to form an organization representing the non-Brahmins of the Madras Presidency.[3]

In November 1916, at a non-Brahmin conference presided over by Panaganti Ramarayaningar, the four important non-Brahmin organizations in the Presidency came together to form the South Indian Liberal Federation, more popularly known as the Justice Party.[3] Theagaroya Chetty became the first President of the federation.

Natesa Mudaliar, along with Theagaroya Chetty, was instrumental in negotiating an end to the Buckingham and Carnatic Mills strike of 1921, organized by V. Kalyanasundaram.[4]

In the Legislative Council[edit]

Natesan did not participate in the first general elections in Madras Presidency held in 1920. However, in the 1923 assembly elections, Natesan was elected to the Madras Legislative Council.[5] He had differences with ministers in the Raja of Panagal ministry and often criticized the government.[6] When P. Subbarayan took over as Chief Minister, Natesa Mudaliar praised Subbarayan and the Swarajists and appealed for the merger of the Justice Party with the Indian National Congress.[6][7] At the Non-Brahmin confederation in Coimbatore in 1927, he led the split of the Justice Party into two camps: Ministerialists and Constitutionalists and functioned as the leader of the Constitutionalists till the two groups merged.[6] In 1929, Natesan presided over the Justice Party conference in which a resolution was passed facilitating the admission of Brahmins in the party.[6]

In 1933, Natesan expressed his support to C. P. Ramaswami Iyer when the latter spoke against casteism and proposed a temple entry law in order to remove restrictions on scheduled castes entering Hindu temples.[8]


Natesan was expected to contest in the 1937 elections to the legislative assembly of Madras but he died all of a sudden in February 1937 at the age of 62.


Natesa Mudaliar was known to be a kind-hearted gentleman and was regarded as the "heart" of the Justice Party.[9] K. M. Balasubramaniam compared him to Mahatma Gandhi in his book South Indian Celebrities.

Natesan was also known for his dedication to the Justice Party. His oft repeated phrase was: "The Justice Party is the justest Party, Give that party your support hearty."[10]


  1. ^ a b c d Madhukar, Savita Jhingan (2008). "News and Announcements" (PDF). Stamps of India Collectors Companion (359): 3.
  2. ^ a b c d K. Nambi Arooran (1980). "Caste & the Tamil Nation:The Origin of the Non-Brahmin Movement, 1905–1920". Tamil renaissance and Dravidian nationalism 1905–1944. Koodal Publishers.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ a b c d e Rajawat, Mamta (2004). Encyclopaedia of Dalits in India. Anmol Publications PVT LTD. p. 240. ISBN 978-81-261-2084-0.
  4. ^ Muthiah, S. (22 December 2008). "A street name unchanged". The Hindu.
  5. ^ South Indian Celebrities, p. 41
  6. ^ a b c d South Indian Celebrities, p. 42
  7. ^ Mangalamurugesan, Nataraja Kandasamy (1979). Self-Respect Movement in Tamil Nadu, 1920–1940. Koodal publishers. p. 134.
  8. ^ South Indian Celebrities, p. 51
  9. ^ South Indian Celebrities, p. 53
  10. ^ South Indian Celebrities, p. 39

Cited sources[edit]

  • Balasubramaniam, K. M. (1934). South Indian Celebrities Vol 1. Madras: Solden & Co. pp. 36–54.