List of Iyers
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Prior to the 1800s, almost all prominent members of this community hailed from religious or literary spheres. Tyagaraja, Syama Sastri and Muthuswamy Dīkshitar, who constitute the "Trinity of Carnatic music" were probably the first verified historical personages from the community, as the accounts or biographies of those who lived earlier appear semi-legendary in character. During the British Raj, Iyers and Iyengars dominated the services by their predominance in the legal and administrative professions. Most of the Dewans of the princely state of Travancore during the 19th century were Tamil Brahmins (Iyers and Iyengars). Some of the prominent individuals of the period as Seshayya Sastri, Sir T. Muthuswamy Iyer, Sir P. S. Sivaswami Iyer, Shungrasoobyer, Sir K. Seshadri Iyer, Sir S. Subramania Iyer and C. P. Ramaswamy Ayyar all had a legal background. At the same time, they were also intimately associated with the Indian National Congress and the Indian independence movement. The most prominent freedom fighter from the community was Subrahmanya Bharati. Following independence, Iyers have diversified into a number of fields dominating the domain of classical arts in particular.
Saints, religious and spiritual leaders
- Abirami Pattar (c. 18th century AD), Tamil saint and poet. Author of Abirami Anthathi and Hindu religious works in Tamil.
- Appayya Dikshitar (1520–1593),Saivite saint and religious scholar who re-established Advaita philosophy's predominance in the South. He was especially patronised by the rulers of Vellore and Madurai, Chinnabomma Nayak and Tirumalai Nayak, respectively.
- Bharati Krishna Theerthaji (1884–1960), the Shankaracharya of Puri. He also popularized Vedic mathematics.
- Campantar (c. 7th century AD), One of the 63 Nayanmars. One of the authors of Tirumurai.
- Chandeshvara Nayanar, one of the 63 Nayanmars.
- Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi (1894–1994), former pontiff of the Kanchi Mutt.
- Cuntarar (c. 8th century AD), One of the Nayanmars and author of the Periya Puranam.
- Sri Jayendra Saraswathi (born 1935), Current pontiff of the Kanchi mutt.
- Manikkavacakar (c. 9th century AD), One of the Nayanmars. Author of Tiruvacakam
- Nambiyandar Nambi (c. 11th century AD), Saivite ascetic and poet. One of the authors of the Tirumurai.
- Siva Sri Paskarakurukkal, Sri Lankan Tamil priest resident in Germany, responsible for the building of the second biggest Hindu temple of Europe, the Sri Kamatchi Ampal Temple.
- Ramana Maharishi (1879–1950), saint and spiritual leader of Mount Arunachala.
- Sheshadri Swamigal (1870–1929), Siddha or religious mendicant who lived in the forests of Arunachala.
- Swami Sivananda (1887–1963), yogi who lived in Rishikesh, in the foothills of Himalayas. He popularized Hatha Yoga in North America
Scientists and academics
- L. K. Ananthakrishna Iyer (1861–1937), Indian anthropologist.
- Sir C. V. Raman (1888–1970), Indian physicist. Awarded the 1930 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the dispersion of light.
- Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (1910–1995), American physicist of Indian origin. Awarded the 1983 Nobel Prize in Physics. Nephew of Sir C. V. Raman.
Journalists and writers
- Thi.Janakiraman (1921–1983), Tamil novelist.
- Professor K. V. Krishna Iyer (1894–1986), Indian historian. Author of standard reference books on Kerala History.
- Naccinarkiniyar (c. 10th century AD), Tamil writer who wrote a commentary on the Tholkappiyam.
- R. K. Narayan (1906–2001), Indian writer.
- Ulloor Parameswara Iyer (1877–1959), Malayalam poet. Regarded as one of the important poets in the Malayalam language.
- Sir S. Ramachandra Iyer, Chief Justice of the Madras High Court (1961–1964).
- C. S. Ranga Iyer (1895–1963), Indian journalist, politician and Indian independence activist. Proposed the Untouchability Abolition Bill in the Imperial Legislative Council (India) (now Lok Sabha) in 1932.
- Sir P. S. Sivaswami Iyer (1864–1946), Indian lawyer. Advocate General of Madras Presidency from 1907 to 1911.
- P. R. Sundaram Iyer (1862–1913), Indian lawyer and founder of Madras Law Journal. Grandfather of cinematographer P. C. Sreeram.
- M. Subbaraya Iyer (1885–1963), Indian lawyer and educationist.
- Pennathur Subramania Iyer (1860–1901), Indian lawyer, politician and philanthropist. Founder of P. S. Charities.
- Sir S. Subramania Iyer (1842–1924), Second Indian Judge of the High Court of Madras and one of the founders of the Home Rule movement in South India.
- A. Vaidyanatha Iyer (1890–1955), Indian activist. Participated in the Indian independence movement and organized the temple entry movement in the Meenakshi Temple in Madurai. President of the Tamil Nadu Harijan Seva Sangh.
Indian Independence Movement
- U. V. Swaminatha Iyer (1855–1942), a Tamil scholar and researcher
- G. Subramania Iyer (1855–1916), Freedom fighter and founder of "The Hindu" English newspaper.
- Subramaniya Siva (1884–1925), Freedom fighter and close associate of Bharathi and V.V.S.Iyer
- S. A. Swaminatha Iyer (1849–1899), Indian lawyer and freedom-fighter.
Artists and musicians
- Harsha Iyer (b. 1991) rock musician, singer-songwriter from Chennai 
- Karaikudi Sambasiva Iyer (d. 1958), Veena player, Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship (1952)
- E. Krishna Iyer (1897–1968), Indian lawyer, freedom-fighter, classical artist and activist who fought for the revival of Bharatanatyam.
- Madurai Mani Iyer (1912–1968), singer of Carnatic music
- Muthuswami Dikshitar (1775–1835), Composer. Formed the "Great Trinity of Carnatic Music" along with Thyagarajar and Shyama Shastri.
- K. V. Narayanaswamy (1923–2002), Singer of Carnatic music.
- Nithyashree Mahadevan (born 1973), carnatic music singer. Granddaughter of singer D. K. Pattammal.
- Rukmini Devi Arundale(1904–1986), danseuse and artist. Popularized Bharatanatyam. Founder of Kalakshetra
- V. Selvaganesh (born 1966), Indian percussionist and carnatic musician. Son of T. H. Vinayakram.
- Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer (1907–2003), singer of Carnatic music
- Shankar Mahadevan, Music director
- Shyama Shastri, Composer. Formed the "Great Trinity of Carnatic Music" along with Muthuswami Dikshitar and Thyagarajar.
- Sikkil Kunjumani (born 1930) and Sikkil Neela (b. 1940), Carnatic vocalists.
- R. K. Srikanthan (1920-2014), Singer of carnatic music.
- Patnam Subramania Iyer (1845–1902), composer of Carnatic music.
- Tyāgarāja (1767–1847), Composer of Carnatic music. Formed the "Great Trinity of Carnatic Music" along with Muthuswami Dikshitar and Shyama Shastri.
- Manambuchavadi Venkatasubbayyar (1803–1862), Carnatic musician and student of Thiagaraja.
Monarchs and military commanders
- Ramaiyan (c. 17th century AD), Army general in the service of Thirumalai Nayak. Led the Madurai Nayak troops in the 1639 war against the Sethupathi of Ramnad. Subject of the ballad Ramayyan Ammanai.
Politicians and administrators
- Krishna Gopalayyan, Diwan of Travancore from 1768 to 1776.
- V. S. Krishna Iyer (born 1922), Indian politician and freedom-fighter. Member of Lok Sabha from Bangalore South (1984–1989)
- Mani Shankar Aiyar (born 1941), Indian politician from the Indian National Congress. Union Minister of Panchayat Raj, Youth Affairs and Sports.
- T. S. Narayana Iyer, Indian lawyer and civil servant. Diwan of Cochin kingdom from 1925 to 1930.
- C. R. Pattabhiraman (1906–2001), Indian lawyer and politician. Member of Lok Sabha for Kumbakonam (1957–1967). Eldest son of Sir C. P. Ramaswami Iyer.
- R. Ramasubbier, Indian politician, theosophist and Indian independence activist. Member of the Madras Legislative Council from 1892 to 1894.
- Sir C. P. Ramaswami Iyer (1879–1966), Indian lawyer, administrator and statesman. Advocate General of State of Madras (1920–1923), Diwan of Travancore (1936–1947).
- Ramayyan Dalawa, Dewan of Travancore from 1737 to 1756. Strategic advisor to Maharaja Martanda Varma during the Battle of Colachel against the Dutch.
- Sir K. Seshadri Iyer, (1845–1901) Diwan of Mysore from February 1883 to March 1901, the longest tenure for any Dewan of the princely state. Regarded as the "maker of modern Bangalore".
- T. V. Seshagiri Iyer (1860–1926), Indian lawyer and politician. Member of the Madras Legislative Council 1923-1926. Founder of the India Boat Club in Kodaikanal.
- Sir A. Seshayya Sastri (1828–1903), Indian administrator. Dewan of Travancore from 1872 to 1877 and Pudukkottai from 1878 to 1894.
- M. R. Sethuratnam Iyer, Indian politician. Minister of Development in the government of P. Subbarayan from 1928 to 1930.
- S. Shungrasoobyer (1836–1904), Dewan of Travancore from 1892 to 1898.
- Jana Krishnamurthi (1928–2007), Indian politician and one of the co-founders of BJP. Served as the 7th National President of BJP (2001–2002); Member of Rajya Sabha from Gujarat (2002-2007); Law Minister of India (2002-2003)
- Suresh Singh, Kumar; B. V. Bhanu; B. R. Bhatnagar; D. K. Bose; V. S. Kulkarni; J. Sreenath (2004). Maharashtra. Popular Prakashan. p. 1873. ISBN 81-7991-102-0.
- "Iyer". Uttarakhand Information Centre. Retrieved 2008-08-07.
- The Imperial Gazetteer of India, Volume XVI. London: Clarendon Press. 1908., Pg 267
- Castes and Tribes of Southern India, Pg 269
- Sastri, K. A. Nilakanta (1966). A History of South India from Prehistoric Times to the Fall of Vijayanagar: from prehistoric times to the fall of Vijayanagar. Oxford University Press. p. 289.
- Ghose, Rajeshwari (1996). The Tyāgarāja cult in Tamilnāḍu: A Study in Conflict and Accommodation. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. p. 10. ISBN 81-208-1391-X, ISBN 978-81-208-1391-5.
- Robert Eric Frykenberg. "Elite Formation in 19th Century South India – An Interpretive Analysis". tamilnation.org. Retrieved 2008-09-11.[dead link]
- Slater, Pg 168
- Sivaraman, Mythily (2006). Fragments of a Life: A Family Archive. Zubaan. p. 4. ISBN 978-81-89013-11-0. ISBN 81-89013-11-4.
- "I can't wait to perform live: Harsha Iyer". The Times of India. Feb 20, 2012. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
- "Sounds like curiosity". The Hindu: NXG. November 2, 2011. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
- Mahadevan, Shankar (8 September 2013). "I am a Malayali grew up in Mumbai: Shankar Mahadevan" (Interview). Interview with John Brittas. Kairali TV. 0:38. Retrieved 4 January 2010 – via Kairali Archive on YouTube.
Interviewer: You have some connection with Kerala in fact, your family migrated from Palakkad or something like that. Shankar Mahadevan: Yes, I am an Iyer from Palakkad actually