Shri C. Subramaniam (05.02.1990 – 09.01.1993)

    Shri C. Subramaniam Shri C. Subramaniam assumed the office of the Governor of Maharashtra on 15th February 1990.

    Elder statesman, administrator, thinker, speaker and writer, Shri C. Subramaniam is, first and foremost, a patriot devoted, in pre-Independence days, to the cause of freedom and, later, to the development of the country and the preservation of its rich cultural heritage.

    There are few fields of the country’s development, economic and social, with which he was not associated and in which he has not left his indelible imprint during the last four decades of freedom.

    Shri C. Subramaniam is best known as the architect of India’s modern agricultural development policy, after the success of his programme which led to a record production of wheat in 1972 an achievement appropriately termed as the ‘Green Revolution.’ About Shri Subramaniam’s contribution Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, the Nobel Laureate, writes: “The vision and influence of Mr. Subramaniam in bringing about agricultural change and in the very necessary political decisions needed to make the new approach effective, should never be under-emphasized. The groundwork for this advance (in the production of wheat) was solidly laid during that period (1 964-67) when Mr. Subramaniam was the guiding political force instituting change.”

    Shri Subramaniam is an institution-builder of the Institute of Mathematical Sciences and the Madras Institute of Development Studies owe their inception to his encouragement and support.

    Shri Subramaniam has an international standing which is equalled by few of his compatriots. He was closely associated with the UNO and its organs, the. FAQ and the UNESCO.

    Since his retirement from active political life, nearly a decade ago, Shri Subramaniam has been closely associated with India’s premier cultural organisation, the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. He is now its President and Chairman, Bhavan International.

    Shri Subramaniam has been tireless in campaigning for a clean public life and has delivered numerous lectures on diverse subjects including electoral reforms, party system and the bureaucracy.

    Shri Subramaniam, the man is a humanist, encyclopaedic in his learning and urbane in his manners.

    A resume of Shri Subramaniam’s life and work is given below:

    Born on January 30, 1910 at Pollachi in Coimbatore District of Tamil Nadu, Shri C. Subramaniam received his early education at Pollachi and higher education in Madras. He secured his law degree from the University of Madras in 1932, but could set up legal practice at Coimbatore only in 1936. He was by then, fully involved in the freedom movement and this brought him imprisonment in the very year that he obtained his law degree. His interest in political affairs deepened and he was imprisoned again in 1941 and during the “Quit India Movement” in 1942. He became the President of the Coimbatore District Congress Committee and Member of the Working Committee of the State Congress Committee. He was elected Member of the Constituent Assembly of India in 1946 and was a member of the Provisional Parliament till 1952.

    In 1952 Shri Subramaniam successfully contested for a seat in the Madras State Legislative Assembly (now Tamil Nadu) and became a Member of the State Cabinet. He functioned as the Leader of the House in the Madras Legislative Assembly from 1952-62 for a period of ten years. Concurrently holding the important portfolios of Finance, Education and Law in the State, this position he retained uninterruptedly for ten years, his stewardship of these important portfolios saw a period of sustained educational progress and all-round development of the State. Tamil Nadu became one of the few early States to introduce free primary education for all children.

    Shri Subramaniam was also instrumental in introducing the mid-day meal programme for the poorer children attending the schools – a programme that was financed partly by Government contribution and partly by mobilization of local resources at the level of the village, thus providing people’s participation.

    In 1962, Shri Subramaniam was elected Member of the Lok Sabha (the National Parliament) and he became Minister of Cabinet rank in charge of Steel (1962-63), Steel, Mines and Heavy Engineering (1963-64), Food and Agriculture (1964-66), Food and Agriculture, Community Development and Cooperation (1966-67). His tenure as Minister In-Charge of Steel and Heavy Industries saw the initiation of a number of steps not only for improving the working of the existing industrial units but also for setting up new ones. As Minister for Food and Agriculture, Shri Subramaniam played a decisive role in the introduction of high-yielding varieties of seeds and more intensive application of fertilizers which paved the way for increased output of cereals in the later 60s and attainment of self-sufficiency in food-grains for the country.

    During 1967-68 Shri Subramaniam was Chairman of the Committee on the Aeronautics Industry set up by the Government of India. He became the Interim President of the Indian National Congress during the critical days of July-December 1969. Shri Subramaniam continued to be a member of the Working Committee of the National Congress and of the Central Parliamentary Board of the Party.

    In August 1970, Shri Subramaniam became the Chairman of the National Commission of Agriculture. In recognition of his contribution and interest in the problems of agricultural development policies and programmes Shri Subramaniam had been elected in his personal capacity, to the Board of Governors of the International Rice Research Institute, Manila and the International Maize and Wheat Research Institute (CIMMYT), Mexico which positions he held for six years.

    After the elections in March 1971, Shri Subramaniam was invited to join the Union Cabinet as Minister of Planning and also Deputy Chairman of the National Planning Commission. The Department of Science and Technology was also added to his charge subsequently.

    Shri Subramaniam was elected to the Lok Sabha in a by-election from Tamil Nadu in August 1971, polling about 90 per cent of the votes cast by the electorate.

    In July 1972, Shri Subramaniam took over as Minister of Industrial Development giving up the portfolio of Planning but retaining Science and Technology. Ministry of Agriculture was also added to his charge from July 1974. Subsequently he was Minister of Finance from October 1974 till March 1977. In March 1977, he was elected to the Lok Sabha from Palani Constituency with a thumping majority. Shri Subramaniam became a Cabinet Minister in Charge of Defence from July 1979 to January 1980.

    Shri Subramaniam has been moved by a long standing commitment to improve the nutritional standards of children in developing countries. In September 1970, at the invitation of the Secretary General of the United Nations, Shri Subramaniam prepared a strategic statement for fighting protein hunger in the developing countries and in May 1971 headed a panel of experts that drew up recommendations for action by the General Assembly.

    Shri Subramaniam has travelled extensively both in India and abroad and is the author of a number of books, the most recent of which is a volume entitled, “The New Strategy in Indian Agriculture “.

    Shri Subramaniam was given the Anuvrat Award, instituted by Jai Tulsi Foundation of New Delhi in February 1988 in recognition of his dedicated life to build moral and national character. The award consisted of Rupees one lakh in cash and a Citation. It has been donated to Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan for the purpose of giving awards for excellence in character for students studying in secondary and higher secondary schools. Students of 30 schools are getting these awards for excellence in character.

    Shri Subramaniam is keenly interested in sports particularly Tennis and Cricket.


    1. War on Poverty.
    2. The New Strategy in Indian Agriculture.
    3. Some Countries which I visited Round The World.
    4. The India of My Dreams.

    Wife : Shrimati Sakuntala Subramaniam
    Son : Shri Rajashekar
    Daughters : Shrimati Aruna Ramakrishnan, Shrimati Swathantra Sakthivel
    Permanent Address : River View, Kotturpuram, Madras – 600 085, TAMIL NADU.