Diwan Bahadur Sir Arcot Ramasamy Mudaliar, KCSI (14 October 1887 – 17 July 1976) was an Indian lawyer, diplomat and statesman who served as a senior leader of the Justice Party and in various administrative and bureaucratic posts in pre-independence and independent India.
Arcot Ramasamy Mudaliar was born on 14 October 1887 in the town of Kurnool and had his schooling in Kurnool. He graduated from the Madras Christian College and studied law at the Madras Law College. On completion of his studies, practised as a lawyer before joining the Justice Party and entering politics. Mudaliar was nominated to the Madras Legislative Council in 1920 and served from 1920 to 1926 and as a member of the Madras Legislative Assembly from 1931 to 1934, losing to S. Satyamurti in the 1934 elections. He served as a member of the Imperial Legislative Council from 1939 to 1941, as a part of Winston Churchill's war cabinet from 1942 to 1945 and as the Indian Representative in the Pacific War Council. He was India's delegate to the San Francisco Conference and served as the first President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council. He also served as the last Diwan of Mysore kingdom and occupied the seat from 1946 to 1949.
Ramasamy Mudaliar was born on 14 October 1887 in Kurnool in a Tamil-speaking Thuluva Vellalar(agamudayar) family. He was the eldest of a pair of twins, the other being Arcot Lakshmanaswamy Mudaliar. He studied at Municipal High school, Kurnool, and graduated in arts from Madras Christian College. On graduation, Mudaliar studied law and was nominated to the Madras Legislative Council. Uncle to World War II veteran Commander V.S.P. Mudaliar. File photo of Ramasamy mudaliar along with Krishnamachari two representative in imperial war cabinet.
Ramasamy Mudaliar was a part of the Justice Party ever since its inception in 1917 and served as its general secretary. In July 1918, Arcot Ramasamy Mudaliar went to England along with Dr. T. M. Nair and Kurma Venkata Reddy Naidu as a part of the Justice Party delegation to argue in favor of communal representation and give evidence before the Reforms Committee. The evidence was taken just before Dr. Nair's death on 17 July 1919.
Ramasamy Mudaliar rose in stature gradually and began to be regarded as the "brain of the Justice Party". He assisted in coordinating between non-Brahmins in different parts of India and organizing non-Brahmin conferences. Mudaliar was a prominent orator and was known for his inspiring speeches.
In the elections to the Madras Legislative Council held on 8 November 1926, the Justice Party lost the elections, winning just 21 of the 98 seats in the council. Mudaliar was one of the many who met with failure in the elections. Mudaliar took a temporary retirement from politics and replaced P. N. Raman Pillai as the editor of Justice, the mouthpiece of the Justice Party. Under Mudaliar, there was a tremendous growth in circulation, and the Justice became widely popular. On 1 March 1929, Mudaliar appeared before the Simon Commission along with Sir A. T. Paneerselvam, another important leader of the Justice Party, to provide evidence on behalf of the Justice Party. Mudaliar served as the mayor of Madras from 1928 to 1930. In 1935, Mudaliar resigned as the chief editor of Justice following his appointment to the Tariff Board. Mudaliar was knighted in the 1937 Coronation Honours List, by which time he was a member of the Council of the Secretary of State for India. He received the accolade at Buckingham Palace on 25 February 1937.
Mudaliar maintained friendly relations with Shahu Maharaj and non-Brahmin leaders from Maharashtra and parts of North India and helped in coordinating between and uniting leaders from different parts of India and in organising non-Brahmin conferences. Mudaliar was a participant in the Satara non-Brahmin Conference held on 18 December 1922. Rajaram II presided over this conference. He also participated in the All-India Non-Brahmin Conference held at Belgaum on 26 December 1924 where Mudaliar's oratory was appreciated. At the Seventh Non-Brahmin Conference held on 8 February 1925, he appealed for unity amongst non-Brahmins.
Following the death of Sir P. T. Theagaroya Chetty in 1925, Ramasamy Mudaliar functioned as the sole link between Shahu Maharaj's Satya Shodhak Samaj and the Justice Party. He assisted the Raja of Panagal in organising an All-India Non-Brahmin Confederation at Victoria Hall, Madras on 19 December 1925. Mudaliar supported the candidature of B. V. Jadhav who was eventually appointed President. On 26 December 1925, he organised a second conference at Amaravati. The conference comprised two sessions. The Maharaja of Kolhapur presided over the first while the Raja of Panagal presided over the second. In the second session of the Conference, Mudaliar said:
It was too late in the day for me to defend what was the Non-Brahmin movement. When its activities had spread from Bombay to Madras, from the Vindhya mountains to Cape Comorin, its very extent and the lightning rapidity with which its principles have pervaded the country will be the best justification of the Movement
Mudaliar's utterances at this conference became the target of The Hindu, which criticised him by saying that "the Speaker was desiring to produce an effect in another province, forced him to draw rather freely on his imagination".
Shortly before the Second World War broke out in 1939, Ramaswamy Mudaliar was appointed member of the Viceroy's Executive Council. In June 1942, he was knighted again as a KCSI. In July 1942, Ramasamy Mudaliar was appointed to Prime Minister Winston Churchill's War Cabinet, one of the two Indians nominated to the post, with equal rights and privileges as representatives from Britain's dominions. I
Mudaliar served as India's delegate to the United Nations at the San Francisco Conference between 25 April and 26 June 1945, where he chaired the committee which discussed economic and social problems. Mudaliar was elected as the First President of the Economic and Social Council during its session at Church House, London, on 23 January 1946. Under his presidency, the Economic and Social Council passed a resolution in February 1946 calling for an international health conference. At the health conference which was eventually held on 19 June 1946, inaugurated by Sir Arcot Ramasamy Mudaliar, the World Health Organization came into being and the constitution for the new organisation was read out and approved by delegates from 61 nations. On the expiry of his one-year term, he returned to India and took over as the Chief Minister of Mysore.
Arcot Ramasamy Mudaliar was appointed as the dewan in 1946. He succeeded Dewan N. Madhava Rao. He presided over a very turbulent period. On 3 June 1947, Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy made a public declaration about the acceptance by the Indian Leaders for partition of India in to two Independent dominion. This announcement had a tremendous impact on the Indian States. Early in June 1947. the Dewan convened a Press Conference, at Bangalore, and announced that the Mysore Government had taken a decision to accede to the New dominion of India and to send its representatives to the Indian Constituent assembly. Thereafter British parliament passed the Indian Independence Act, 1947 on 15 July 1947 and the Bill received Royal Assent on 18 July 1947. This act provided for the creation of independent dominion of India and Pakistan on 15 Aug 1947. This act also freed the Indian states from the suzerainty of British Government. There were a lot of misgivings about the lapse of suzerainty and the resultant freedom given to the over 560 Indian States. Indian leaders drafted an Instrument of Accession asking the Rulers to accede to the dominion government on three subjects of Defence, Communication and External affairs. Maharaja of Mysore executed the Instrument of accession on 9 Aug 1947 and the same was accepted by the Governor General of India on 16 Aug 1947. But this also gave impetus to the local congress leaders to renew their demand for a Responsible Government. This led to an agitation known as " Mysore Chalo". There appears to be an obfuscation of facts among the agitating public that Mysore Maharaja on the advice of the Dewan and his secretary Sir T. Thamboo Chetty was refusing to join the Indian Union. The truth of the matter was India was not a Union then. India had just become an Independent Dominion. Maharaja of Mysore was one of the earliest to sign the Instrument of accession. Maharaja soon on 24 Sept 1947 gave his assent to setting up of a Responsible Government and on 25 Oct 1947, Mr. K.C. Reddy became the First Chief Minister with a cabinet of nine ministers. But Dewan continued to remain asa link between the Cabinet and the Maharaja. But as Maharaja accepted the recommendation of the Constituent assembly of Mysore to accept the Constitution of India for the state of Mysore and become a Part-B state in the soon to be formed Republic of India, and issued a proclamation to this effect on 25 Nov 1949. With this the post of Dewan was also abolished. During his tenure as Diwan of Mysore, Mudaliar organised a number of Tamil music concerts in the Mysore kingdom in order to raise money for the restoration of Carnatic musician Tyagaraja's samadhi or tomb at Tiruvaiyaru. Mr. Ramasamy Mudaliar was sent by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru as head of the Indian Delegation to New York to argue India's case in The Security Council when Hyderabad appealed to it against Accession to India and eloquently argued the case for India and Security council decided in favour of India.
Mudaliar was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1954 and the Padma Vibhushan in 1970. The Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI) was established on 5 January 1955 and Sir Mr. Arcot Ramaswami Mudaliar was elected as the first Chairman of ICICI Ltd. In his later years, Mudaliar served as the Chairman of the India Steamship Company and of the Tube Investments of India, until his death in 1976; helped AMM group setup TI cycle of India. AMM group runs Sir Ramaswamy Mudaliar higher secondary school in Ambattur in remembrance of him.A.R.L.M. Matriculation Higher Secondary School is run by his family in his remembrance. His sons are based out of United States.
Despite his violent tirades against Varnashrama dharma and Hindu scriptures in his writings and editorials in the Justice, Ramasamy Mudaliar was known to be a staunch Vaishnavite. He regularly sported the Vaishnavite namam. Once while offered beef during a visit to England, he refused it with horror.