C. Sankaran Nair
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|Sir Chettur Sankaran Nair|
|Advocate General of the Madras Presidency|
|Preceded by||C. A. White|
|Succeeded by||P. S. Sivaswami Iyer|
|President of Indian National Congress|
|Preceded by||Rahimtulla M. Sayani|
|Succeeded by||Anandamohan Bose|
11 July 1857|
Chettur, Madras Presidency, British India
24 April 1934 (aged 76)|
Madras, British India
|Political party||Indian National Congress|
|Profession||Lawyer, jurist, activist, politician|
Early life and education
He was born on 11 July 1857 in Chettur family in Mankara, Palakkad District, as the son of Manmayil Ramunni Panicker and Parvathy Amma Chettur. His early education began in the traditional style at home and continued in schools in Malabar, till he passed the Arts examination with a first class from the Provincial School at Calicut. Then he joined the Presidency College, Madras. In 1877 he took his Arts degree, and two years later secured the Law degree from the Madras Law College.
Sir Sankaran Nair started as a lawyer in 1880 in the High Court of Madras. In 1884, the Madras Government appointed him as a member of the Committee for an enquiry into the state of Malabar. Till 1908, he was the Advocate-General to the Government and an Acting Judge from time to time. In 1908, he became a permanent Judge in the High Court of Madras and held the post till 1915. He was a part of the bench that tried Collector Ashe murder case along with C. A. White, then the Chief Justice of Madras, William Ayling, as a special case.
In the meantime, in 1902, the Viceroy Lord Curzon appointed him Secretary to the Raleigh University Commission. In recognition of his services, he was appointed a Companion of the Indian Empire by the King-Emperor in 1904 and in 1912 he was knighted. He became a member of the Viceroy's Council in 1915 with the charge of the Education portfolio. As member, he wrote in 1919 two famous Minutes of Dissent in the Despatches on Indian Constitutional Reforms, pointing out the various defects of British rule in India and suggesting reforms. For an Indian to offer such criticism and make such demands was incredible in those days. The British government accepted most of his recommendations.
He played an active part in the Indian National movement which was gathering force in those days. In 1897, when the First Provincial Conference met in Madras, he was invited to preside over it. The same year, when the Indian National Congress assembled at Amaravathi, he was chosen its president. In a masterly address, he referred to the highhandedness of foreign administration, called for reforms and asked for self-government for India with Dominion Status. In 1900, he was a member of the Madras Legislative Council. His official life from 1908 to 1921 interrupted his activities as a free political worker. In 1928, he was the President of the Indian Central Committee to co-operate with the Simon Commission. The Committee prepared a well-argued report asking for Dominion Status for India. When the Viceregal announcement came granting Dominion Status as the ultimate goal for India, Sir Sankaran Nair retired from active politics. He died in 1934, aged 77.
Sir Sankaran Nair's eldest daughter Lady Madhavan Nair and son-in-law and nephew Sir C. Madhavan Nair (a legal luminary and a judge of the Privy Council) lived on a large estate known as Lynwood, in Chennai. Within this property, in the area now known as Lady Madhavan Nair colony/Mahalinagapuram, is situated near the Ayappan-Guruvayoorappan temple, the land for which was donated by Lady Madhavan Nair. There are still many roads bearing names of the house – Lynwood avenue – and of the children of Sir and Lady Nair – Palat Narayani Amma road, Palat Sankaran Nair road, Palat Madhavan Nair road. He also had eight more children, among which another daughter - Saraswathy Amma - was married to the eminent diplomat K. P. S. Menon. His son R. M. Palat was also a noted politician by himself.
Sankaran Nairs grand-nephew (niece Ammukutty Amma's son) was K. K. Chettur, an ICS officer who also served as India's first ambassador to Japan. He was the father of Jaya Jaitly, a politician and socialist, whose husband Ashok Jaitly was chief secretary of Jammu and Kashmir. Their daughter Aditi is married to the former cricketer Ajay Jadeja.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to C. Sankaran Nair.|
- All India Congress Committee – AICC Archived 2010-09-06 at the Wayback Machine.. Congress.org.in. Retrieved on 2012-06-11.
- We care for Madras that is Chennai. Madras Musings (1911-06-17). Retrieved on 2012-06-11.
- London Gazette, 21 June 1904
- London Gazette, 12 July 1912
- Gautam Sharma (1 January 1996). Nationalisation of the Indian Army, 1885–1947. Allied Publishers. p. 113. ISBN 978-81-7023-555-2. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
- Autobiography of Sir C. Sankaran Nair. Lady Madhavan Nair. 1966.
- Gandhi and Anarchy (1922). Archive.org. Retrieved on 2012-06-11.