S. Ramanathan (politician)

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S. Ramanathan (30 December 1895 – 9 March 1970) was an Indian politician who served as the minister of Madras Presidency in the Congress-led government of 1937. He was the founder of the Self-Respect Movement.[1]

Early life[edit]

Ramanathan was born on 30 December 1895 in Kodaivillagam, near Mayiladuthurai in Tanjore District, Madras Presidency, British India (present day Nagapattinam district, Tamil Nadu, India).[2] He was educated at Pachaiyappa's College, Madras Christian College and Madras Law College.[2]

Political career[edit]

Ramanathan joined the Indian National Congress to participate in Indian independence movement during his college years.[2] As a follower of Mahatma Gandhi, he was involved in the promotion of Khadi in Madras.[3] He was arrested during the Non-cooperation movement for his participation.[4]

In 1922, when some members of the Congress decided to contest the elections, they formed the Swaraj Party. Some Brahmins in Madras, led by Rajagopalachari, welcomed the move, but a group of non-Brahmins, led by Periyar E. V. Ramasamy and Ramanathan, opposed it.[5] In the party meeting of 1925, Ramanathan proposed a resolution, on behalf of Ramasamy, for proportional representation to the non-Brahmins but it failed.[6]

After the failure of the resolution, Ramanathan founded the Self-Respect Movement to safeguard the interests of non-Brahmins. He became the secretary and invited Ramasamy to took the leadership of the movement.[7][8] He felt that Gandhi was favouring Brahmins in the Congress and he opposed the Gandhi's views on varnashrama dharma (caste system in India). In September 1927, Ramanathan and Ramasamy met Gandhi to solve the issues but it did not make any impact on both sides.[3] In the same year, he left the Congress party. The English newspaper named Revolt was started in 1928 with Ramanathan as its editor to propagate ideas of the Self-Respect Movement.[4]

Ramanathan and Ramasamy went on a tour of the Soviet Union and Europe in 1931–1932. During their stay in Soviet Union, according to Anaimuthu, a follower of Ramasamy, they were scheduled to meet with Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin on 28 May 1932. However, "Ramanathan's contact with Trotskyites had infuriated the apparatchiks and they were therefore asked to leave immediately".[9] In London, Ramanathan translated Lenin's On Religion into Tamil, which was later published in Kudi Arasu, a Tamil weekly magazine.[9]

Ramanathan rejoined the Indian National Congress in 1936. He was elected from the Mayavaram constituency in 1937 Madras Presidency Legislative Assembly election.[10] He became the Minister for Public Information and Administration Reports in the Rajagopalachari cabinet of 1937–1939.[4] In 1947, he wrote a book titled Gandhi and the Youth, in which he criticized the ideas of Gandhi on caste and Khadi.[11]

He retired from politics and died on 9 March 1970.[2]


  1. ^ "Self-respect and socialism". Frontline.
  2. ^ a b c d "பெரியாரின் தளபதி ராஜாஜியின் தளபதியானார்..." nakkheeran.
  3. ^ a b Eugene F. Irschick; University of California, Berkeley. Center for South and Southeast Asia Studies (1969). Politics and Social Conflict in South India: The Non-Brahman Movement and Tamil Separatism, 1916–1929. University of California Press. pp. 332–. GGKEY:X5KJTZKJXZU.
  4. ^ a b c Eugene F. Irschick (1 January 1986). Tamil revivalism in the 1930s. Cre-A. p. 215.
  5. ^ David Arnold (7 April 2017). The Congress in Tamilnad: Nationalist Politics in South India, 1919–1937. Taylor & Francis. pp. 1883–. ISBN 978-1-315-29419-3.
  6. ^ Nataraja Kandasamy Mangalamurugesan (1979). Self-Respect Movement in Tamil Nadu, 1920–1940. Koodal Publishers. p. 47.
  7. ^ "Who is Periyar EV Ramasamy? Dravidian movement stalwart led anti-Hindi agitation after quitting Congress". International Business Times, India Edition. 7 March 2018.
  8. ^ Ī. Ca Vicuvanātan̲ (1983). The political career of E.V. Ramasami Naicker: a study in the politics of Tamil Nadu, 1920–1949. Ravi & Vasanth Publishers. p. 71.
  9. ^ a b Madhavan K. Palat (1 November 2017). India and the World in the First Half of the Twentieth Century. Taylor & Francis. pp. 132–. ISBN 978-1-351-25530-1.
  10. ^ C. V. Rajagopalachari (1972). Failure of Gandhism and Communism. C.V. Rajagopalachari. p. 6.
  11. ^ Rahul Ramagundam (1 January 2008). Gandhi's khadi: a history of contention and conciliation. Orient Longman. p. 188. ISBN 978-81-250-3464-3.