Biography of P. S. Sivaswami Iyer

Indian Governor P. S. Sivaswami Iyer Biography

Sir Pazhamaneri Sundaram Sivaswami Iyer KCSI CIE (b. February 7, 1864 – d. November 5, 1946) was a prominent lawyer, administrator and statesman who served as the Advocate General of Madras from 1907 to 1911.

Sivaswami Iyer was born on February 7, 1864 in the village of Palamaneri. He had his schooling in Palamaneri and graduated from Presidency College, Madras. Sivaswami Iyer studied law and practised as a lawyer serving as the Advocate-general of Madras Presidency from 1907 to 1911.

P. S. Sivaswami Iyer also served as a member of the executive council of the Governor of Madras and as a member of the Council of State. Sivawami Iyer died on November 5, 1946 at the age of 82.

Sivaswami Iyer was also active in the Indian independence movement and presented India’s case before the League of Nations. He was a keen connoisseur of arts and library science.

P. S. Sivaswami Iyer Early life

Sivaswami Iyer was born to Sundaram Iyer in the village of Palamaneri on February 7, 1864.  P. S. Sivaswami Iyer belonged to the Palamaneri Brahacharanams who traced their descent from Krishnan Raman Brahmarayar, the commander-in-chief of the Chola army under Rajendra Chola.
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Sivaswami Iyer had his schooling in Palamaneri and graduated from Presidency College, Madras in January 1882, with a first class in Sanskrit and History.  P. S. Sivaswami Iyer studied law from Madras Law College and set up practice as a lawyer in 1885.

P. S. Sivaswami Iyer As lawyer

Sivaswami Iyer set up a successful practice as lawyer and on on May 12, 1904, was nominated to the Governor’s Executive Council as Additional member in charge of making rules and regulations.

Sivaswami Iyer served as member of the Madras Legislative Council from 1904 to October 25, 1907, when he was appointed Advocate-General of Madras Presidency.

Sivaswami Iyer was elected to the senate of the Madras University in 1898 and served as Vice-Chancellor of the Madras University from 1916 to 1918 and Benaras Hindu University from 1918 to 1919.

P. S. Sivaswami Iyer Politics

Sivaswami Iyer entered politics in 1912 when he was appointed member of the Executive Council of the Governor of Madras as per the Minto-Morley scheme and served from 1912 to 1917. During the First World War, he was instrumental in raising support for the Indian Volunteer Movement in order to provide support to the United Kingdom.

P. S. Sivaswami Iyer moderate views and weak opposition to Government policies including the widely condemned internment of Annie Besant during his tenure as member of the executive council earned him the displeasure of Indian nationalists.

However, in 1919, Sivaswami Iyer expressed strong condemnation of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. Sivaswami Iyer was the Indian delegate to the third session of the League of Nations in 1922 in which, he condemned the mandate policy of General Smuts of the Republic of South Africa.

Sivaswami Iyer served as a member of the Council of State from 1922 to 1923. He also opposed the Simon Commission on its arrival in India.
Sivaswami Iyer served as a member of the Imperial Legislative Assembly, in which he spoke often on military matters.

Later Life and Death

In 1931, he was appointed member of the new Indian Military College Committee. During his later years, he expressed strong disapproval of any attempt to partition the subcontinent.

Sivaswami Iyer died in his Madras home on November 5, 1946 at the age of 82. On his death, the Lady Sivaswami Iyer girls school was named after him in his memory.
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Legacy and Criticism

Sivaswami Iyer was an avid reader and a connoisseur of arts.  He was a strong advocate of women’s education and supported sweeping reforms to this regard.

P. S. Sivaswami Iyer  took a special interest in military matters and served as a member of the Indian Military College Committee set up to establish an indigenous military academy on the model of Sandhurst.

Sivaswami Iyer was known for his mastery over Sanskrit and his love for the language. He is also known for his vehement attacks on Tamil extremists whom he once mocked as the “rabble in the towns”.

P. S. Sivaswami Iyer Honours

Sivaswami Iyer was made a Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire in 1908 and a Companion of the Order of the Star of India in 1912.  He was promoted to a Knight Commander of the Order of the Star of India in 1915.

P. S. Sivaswami Iyer Works

  • Sir P. S. Sivaswami Iyer (1919). Martial law administration in the Panjab. As described by the official witnesses.
  • S. R. Ranganathan; Sir P. S. Sivaswami Iyer, W. C. Berwick Sayers (1931). Five laws of library science.
  • Sir P. S. Sivaswami Iyer (1930). The Simon Commission Report Examined. Huxley Press.
  • Mohan Singh Mehta; Sir P. S. Sivaswami Iyer (1930). Lord Hastings and the Indian States: being a study of the relations of the British government in India with the Indian States 1813-1823.
  • Sir P. S. Sivaswami Iyer (1935). Evolution of Hindu Moral Ideals. Calcutta University.