C. P. Ramaswami Aiyar, famously known as C.P., was born in 1879 to a marriage that was a celebrated union of two leading Tamil Brahmin families. He became one of India’s greatest constitutional lawyers, a passionate general secretary of the Indian National Congress, a loyal dewan of the princely state of Travancore and vice-chancellor of two different universities simultaneously. In the midst of a lecturing tour at universities in London and Oxford in 1966, C.P. breathed his last.
Inheriting an immense fortune through his mother, and an iron resolve to pursue academic excellence from his father, C.P. was the ‘prize boy’ at school and college, and he quickly rose to become a top lawyer at the Madras bar. He also became the youngest advocate-general of Madras. His undying zeal took him to the governor’s executive council, the viceroy’s executive council and the League of Nations. And as he advised the maharaja of Travancore through political intrigues, he grew unpopular and narrowly escaped an assassination attempt.
This biographer presents C.P.’s life through the diligent execution of his duties; an obedient son, a nurturing senior lawyer, a lieutenant in the Besantine Congress faction, an administrator dedicated to nation building and social reform, and an academic in relentless pursuit of intellectual excellence. We are shown a man who inherits the will to prove the stars wrong and script his own destiny, establishing a legacy in legal, political and academic worlds. And this glory—with its accompanying very human failings—has been told with an elegance that is too charming to miss.
Duty, Destiny and Glory will interest students of biography, modern Indian history and political science, as well as the general reader.
List of Abbreviations
Appendix I The C.P. Family Tree
Appendix II C.P.’s Handwriting