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Sir CP Ramaswami Aiyar

Full nameSachivottama Sir Chetpat Pattabhirama Ramaswami Aiyar, KCSI 1941, KCIE 1925 (CIE 1923), LLD, DLitt (aka Sir Chetput Pattabhiraman Ramaswami Iyer; Sir CP)
Born12 Nov 1879, Madras, India
Died26 Sep 1966, London, United Kingdom

Born the son of a Brahmin lawyer in 1879, CP Ramaswami Aiyar followed the same path, graduating with distinction from the Law School in Madras and joining the Madras High Court Bar in 1903. He was appointed Advocate-General of Madras in 1920, Law Member of the Executive Council of the Governor of Madras in 1923, and Law Member of the Executive Council of the Viceroy of India in 1931, the same year he agreed to serve as Legal and Constitutional Adviser to the Maharaja of Travancore. He also served as Indian delegate to the League of Nations in 1926 and 1927.

Aiyar was a member of the British Indian delegation at the conference.

For additional biographical information, see the official delegate Who's Whos. See also Emery Kelen's caricature, from his portfolio of delegates at the Round Table Conference.


  • March 1930 met Sir Manubhai Mehta and Haksar from Chamber of Princes as part of British India delegation (alongside Shafi and Muhammad Ali) to find shared ground on constitutional advance (not successfully) (Moore, 1974:129)

First Session

  • Member of British India Delegation. In his praised speech from 20th November 1930 the opening plenary he suggested: “Let us consult large maps and histories. It is often said that the professional politicians are rife in India, but let it be remembered that the object of the professional politician, and of every other politician, is ultimately to seek what is beyond politics and what is beyond the transient needs of the hour the prosperity and the contentment of the people.” (Indian Round Table Conference, Proceedings)
  • He was a member of Federal Structure Committee
  • 31st December 1930: Aiyar wrote to the Prime Minister that due to urgent personal and domestic reasons (his Mother’s illness) he had to leave London on 8th January, sailing from Marseilles on 9th.
  • 15th January 1931 the Federal Structure Committee Second Report, listed Aiyar as member of the legal subcommittee and acknowledged his contribution.

Second Session

  • Member of British India Delegation but was listed as one of those invited to the RTC but not in one of the subcommittees.
  • Became a member of the consultative committee to continue the RTC work in India between the second and third sessions.


  • March 1932: asked to convene a representative committee of ministers to investigate merits of the confederation plan, being championed by Patiala, and to consider what safeguards the princes might demand of the Sankey scheme (Copland, 1997:108). The committee insisted that participation in federation was dependent on having sufficient seats in the upper house, guaranteed treaty rights, guaranteed rights of secession, and that federal government limited to set subjects (Copland, 1997:110)
  • 1932: Appointed Commerce Member of the Government of India
  • 1933: Appointed Chairman of the Committee for the White Paper
  • 1933: Member of Joint Select Committee of Parliament on Indian Reforms (leading to the Government of India Act 1935)
  • 1933: Delegate to World Economic Conference
  • 1934: Drafted a new constitution for Kashmir
  • 1936–47: Dewan of Travancore
  • 1942: Appointed Member for Information, Governor-General’s Executive Council, India. Resigned almost immediately, and within 18 days was back in Travancore as Dewan.
  • 1946: Rep. States before the British Cabinet Delegation
  • 1947: Member of the Negotiating Committee on behalf of States in respect of Constitutional reforms
  • 1953: Vice-Chancellor, Annamalai University
  • 1954: Vice-Chancellor, Banaras Hindu University
  • 1956: Delegate to British Commonwealth Universities Conference and PEN International Conference, London
  • 1962: Again appointed Vice-Chancellor of Annamalai University
  • 1963: Delegate, Commonwealth Universities Conference

Sources used

Selected publications

Secondary literature

  • Who Was Who:
  • The Times, “Sir C. P. Ramaswami Aiyar”, Issue 56747 (27 Sep 1966), p. 12
  • Times of India, “Great Administrator Who Made Modern Travancore: Dr. Aiyar Was A Brilliant Scholar & Educationist” (27 Sep 1966), p. 10
  • Saroja Sundararajan, Sir C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar, a biography (New Delhi: Allied Publishers; c2002)

Online resources

ImagesPhotograph of Sir C P Ramaswami Aiyar, from the published biographical guide to delegates at the second session of the Round Table Conference, 1931

"Sir C. P. Ramaswami Aiyar, K.C.I.E." From Indian Round Table Conference Second Session 1931: Biographical Notes and Photographs of the British and Indian Delegates (London: St. James's Palace). By permission of the British Library (shelfmark T 11187). Reproduced under Open Government Licence v3.0 (

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