N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar

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Dewan Bahadur Sir
N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar
Gopalaswamy Ayyangar.jpg
Born Narasimha Ayyangar Gopalaswami Ayyangar
31 March 1882
Tanjore district, Madras Presidency, Tamilnadu
Died February 10, 1953(1953-02-10) (aged 70)
Chennai, Tamilnadu

Diwan Bahadur Sir Narasimha Gopalaswami Ayyangar, CSI, CIE (31 March 1882 – 10 February 1953), Member of the Drafting Committee of the Constitution, was a leader of the Rajya Sabha and a cabinet minister (railway minister) in the Government of India.[1]

Life and Education[edit]

Gopalaswami Ayyangar was born on March 31, 1882 in Tanjore District Madras Presidency. He studied at the Wesley School, and at the Presidency and Law Colleges in Madras, whereafter, for a short period in 1904, he was an Assistant Professor in Pachaiyappa's College.


In 1905, Ayyangar joined the Madras Civil Service. He served as a Deputy Collector till 1919, and was promoted Collector and District Magistrate in 1920. He was Registrar-General of Panchayats and Inspector of Local Boards for seven years from 1921. During this time many village panchayats were organized in the districts or Ramnad and Guntur.[2] Then for three years he was Collector and District Magistrate in Anantapur. Following that he was Inspector of Municipal Councils and Local Boards till 1932. Mr. Ayyangar served as Secretary to Government in the Public Works Department from 1932 to 1934. Finally he served as a member of the Board of Revenue till 1937. The second phase of his career was devoted to politics. He was Prime Minister of Kashmir from 1937-1943 and was appointed Council of State from 1943-1947. During that time he was Chairman of the Committee for the Indianisation of Army. From 1947-1948 he served as Minister without Portfolio in the first cabinet under Jawaharlal Nehru. This was followed by his sojourn as Minister of Railways and Transport from 1948-1952, and finally, he served as Defence Minister from 1952-1953.[3]

Prime Minister of Kashmir[edit]

Ayyangar's political career gained prominence during his tenure as Prime Minister of Kashmir. He was chosen to head the delegation that represented India in the long-standing dispute over Kashmir's sovereignty at the United Nations in 1948.[4] In 1952, Prime Minister Nehru appointed him as India's representative in the ongoing negotiations and discussions about Kashmir at the Geneva talks.[5]

Indian Constitution and Article 370[edit]

Ayyangar was a member of the Constituent Assembly and belonged to the thirteen-member Drafting Committee that formulated the Indian Constitution. He was the chief drafter of Article 370 which granted local autonomy to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.[6]

Minister of Railways and Transport[edit]

During his tenure as Minister for Railways and Transport from 1948–52, the railways experienced considerable growth and expansion in services and equipment. He was the main architect in the regrouping of the Indian Railways into six zonal systems - Central, Eastern, Northern, North-eastern, Southern, and Western.[citation needed] Under his leadership, the operation of the railways was smooth and productive. The railway budget also reported surplus earnings at this time.[7]

Reorganization of Government[edit]

In 1949, he presented his report on the "Reorganization of the Government Machinery" in an effort to streamline government services and maintain efficiency in the public sphere. He reocmmended the establishment of four standing committees, and, as a result of this report, the Defence Committee, the Economic Committee, the Parliamentary and Legal Affairs Committee, and the AdHoc Administrative Organization Committee were formed by the Union government.[8]


Ayyangar died in Madras at the age of 71 on February 10, 1953, and was survived by his wife, a son, G. Parthasarathy, who was then Assistant Editor of The Hindu, and a daughter.[9]


A distinguished administrator and a civil servant, Ayyangar held seven titles until 1947 including the title of Diwan Bahadur, the highest title awarded by a British viceroy. Other titles conferred on him by the British government were a Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire (CIE) in the 1935 Silver Jubilee and Birthday Honours list,[10] a Companion of the Order of the Star of India (CSI) in the 1937 Coronation Honours list[11] and a knighthood in 1941 New Year Honours list.[12]


  1. ^ http://zeenews.india.com/news/exclusive/forgotten-fathers-of-the-constitution_598978.html
  2. ^ Srinivasan, N. "Village Governments in India".The Far Eastern Quarterly 15.2 (Feb 1956):209.
  3. ^ vdt10. "The Hindu : dated February 10, 1953: N.G. Ayyangar passes away". 
  4. ^ "Indian Defense Aide Dies."New York Times. February 10, 1953:27.
  5. ^ "Nehru Appoints Aide for Kashmir Parley."New York Times. August 6, 1952:3.
  6. ^ Thalpiyal, Sheru, Maj. Gen. 2011. "Article 370: The Untold Story." Indian Defence Review 26.1
  7. ^ "Surplus is Indicated for India's Railways". New York Times. February 23, 1952:4.
  8. ^ "Indian Administration". 
  9. ^ "N.G. Ayyangar Passes Away".The Hindu. February 10, 2003.
  10. ^ London Gazette, 3 June 1935
  11. ^ London Gazette, 11 May 1937
  12. ^ London Gazette, 1 January 1941

External links[edit]

Media related to N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar at Wikimedia Commons