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Ananthasayanam Ayyangar Biography

Ananthasayanam Ayyangar (1891-1978) was a veteran freedom fighter, outstanding parliamentarian, as well as a former speaker of the Lok Sabha. His full name was Madabhooshi Ananthasayanam Ayyangar and he was born on 4th February, 1891 at Tiruchanur in Andhra Pradesh, India.

Ayyangar completed his formal education from Devasthanam High School in Tirupati and Pachiappa’s College in Chennai, moving on to earn a degree in law from the Madras Law College in 1913. Beginning his career as a Mathematics teacher in 1912, Ananthasayanam Ayyangar turned towards the legal profession in 1915, practicing at Chitoor. Whilst pursuing a successful career in law, he longed to witness an independent judicial system in India, thus becoming an activist lawyer.

With the temperament of a Nationalist, Ayyangar’s strong interests in the freedom movement even saw him suffer imprisonment, to eventually become one of the leading figures of the Indian National Congress. He even played an instrumental role in the Non-Cooperation Movement and social activities regarding issues on untouchability, caste system and social upliftment of the Harijans, under the guidance of Mahatma Gandhi. Ayyangar entered politics in 1922 as Municipal Councilor and was elected to the Central Legislative Assembly in 1934. His outstanding debating skills and remarkable performances there earned him respect and recognition, along with names like the ‘Emden of the Assembly’.

Continuously striving hard for public cause, he went on to be unanimously elected as the Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha in 1952. After the demise of former Speaker Dadasaheb Mavlankar, Ananthasayanam Ayyangar then became the next Speaker of the Lok Sabha on 8th March, 1956, and was again re-elected to office during the Second Lok Sabha as well, serving his post with diligence in the years ahead. He also went on to visit China in 1956 as the leader of a Parliamentary delegation, host the first Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Conference in India in 1957, and preside over the CPA Conference in Canberra in 1959. His role in the Parliament saw him as an authority on the Constitution, Personal Law and Hindu Law, whilst he also effectively implemented his views on issues like Standing Committees, Bills, Adjournment Motions, and Resolutions, that have become established practices in the current parliamentary system.

In 1962, Ayyangar became Governor of Bihar and served the post till 1967. After retirement from an active political life, Ayyangar utilized his scholarly forte immensely contributing to field of education, covering various subjects, especially that of Sanskrit and Indian Culture. He also served as Chancellor of the Rishikul University and was the Chairman of the Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidya Peeth at Tirupati, earlier known as the Kendriya Sanskrit Sanghathan, under whose leadership these institutions became predominant. He even has a book to his credit, named ‘Our Parliament’. For his immense contributions to the field of learning, he was bestowed with the prestigious degree of ‘Doctor of Literature’ by the Shri Vaishnava Theological University at Brindavan, in 1954.

Shri M. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar passed away on 19th March, 1978. In his fond memory, The Madabhushi Ananthasayanam Institute of Public Affairs (MAIPA) was founded under his name; while recently, a life-size bronze statue of Ananthasayanam Ayyangar was unveiled at Tirupati by Maharashtra Governor S.M. Krishna.