सर सुब्बियर सुब्रह्मण्य अय्यर ( जन्म: 1 अक्टूबर, 1842)
सर सुब्बियर सुब्रह्मण्य अय्यर (अंग्रेज़ी: Sir Subbier Subramania Iyer, जन्म: 1 अक्टूबर, 1842 – मृत्यु: 5 दिसंबर, 1924) की गणना अपने समय के दक्षिण भारत के प्रमुख नेताओं में होती है। प्रादेशिक कौंसिल के सदस्य के रूप में, वकील के रूप में, एक जज के रूप में, काँग्रेस जन के रूप में, शिक्षाविद् और सामाजिक कार्यकर्ता के रूप में लगभग 30 वर्षों तक वे सार्वजनिक जीवन में व्यस्त रहे। वे एस. मनी अय्यर के नाम से अधिक प्रसिद्ध थे।
सुब्रह्मण्य अय्यर का जन्म 1 अक्टूबर, 1842 ई. को मदुरा ज़िले, मद्रास राज्य में हुआ था।
शिक्षा पूरी करने के बाद उन्होंने वकालत शुरू की और 1885 में मद्रास आ गये। उनकी प्रतिभा देखकर 1888 में उन्हें सरकारी वकील बना दिया गया।
1895 में मद्रास हाईकोर्ट का जज नियुक्त किये गये। इस पद पर वे 1907 ई. तक रहे।
1884 ई. में पत्नी का देहांत हो जाने के बाद से सुब्रह्मण्य धर्म और दर्शन की ओर आकृष्ट हुए और थियोसोफ़िकल सोसाइटी से उनका सम्पर्क हुआ जो जीवन-भर बना रहा।
वे अनेक वर्षों तक थियोसोफ़िकल सोसाइटी के उपाध्यक्ष भी रहे।
राजनीतिक कार्यक्रम को आगे बढ़ाने के लिए मद्रास में जो 'महाजन सभा' स्थापित हुई, सुब्रह्मण्य उसके प्रमुख व्यक्तियों में थे।
1885 ई. में मुम्बई में हुए भारतीय राष्ट्रीय काँग्रेस की प्रथम स्थापना अधिवेशन में मद्रास प्रान्त के प्रतिनिधियों का उन्होंने ही नेतृत्व किया था।
एनी बेसेंट ने जब होमरूल लीग की स्थापना की तो वे इस संस्था के मानद अध्यक्ष बनाए गए।
होमरूल लीग की गतिविधियों के कारण जब एनी बीसेंट मद्रास में नज़रबंद कर ली गईं तो सुब्रह्मण्य ने उनकी रिहाई में मदद करने के लिए अमेरिका के राष्ट्रपति विल्सन को पत्र लिखा था। इस पर वायसराय चेम्सफोर्ड ने जब उनकी आलोचना की तो अय्यर ने ब्रिटिश सरकार की दी हुई 'सर' की उपाधि लौटा दी थी।
सुब्रह्मण्य कुछ समय तक मद्रास विश्वविद्यालय के कुलपति रहे।
उन्होंने एनी बीसेंट को वाराणसी में सेंट्रल हिंदू स्कूल की स्थापना में भी सहायता पहुँचाई।
सुब्रह्मण्य संस्कृत की शिक्षा पर जोर देते थे।
हिंदू तीर्थों की दशा सुधारने के लिए उन्होंने 'धर्म संरक्षण सभा' बनाई और धार्मिक साहित्य प्रकाशित करने के लिए 'शुद्ध धर्म मंडली' की स्थापना की।
1915 में गाँधीजी के भारत लौटने के बाद मद्रास में उनका स्वागत करने के लिए जो सभा आयोजित की गई उसकी अध्यक्षता एस. मनी अय्यर ने ही की थी।
5 दिसम्बर, 1924 को सुब्रह्मण्य अय्यर का देहांत हो गया।
Sir Subbier Subramania Iyer (1 October 1842 – 5 December 1924) was an Indian lawyer, jurist and freedom fighter who, along with Annie Besant, founded the Home Rule Movement. He was popularly known as the "Grand Old Man of South India".
Subramania Iyer was born in the Madurai district of Madras Presidency. On completion of his schooling in Madura, Subramania Iyer qualified as a lawyer from the University of Madras, and went on to practice as a lawyer in Madurai and Madras, before being appointed a Judge of the Madras High Court, in 1891. He also served as the first Indian Chief Justice of the Madras High Court, before retiring in 1907.
Subramania Iyer was born in Madurai in the Madras Presidency, on 1 October 1842. His father Sooravally Subbier Aiyer (1794–1844) was the legal agent of the Raja of Ramnad's zamindari, but died when Subramania Iyer was barely two years old. He had his early education at the English Mission School, Madurai, joining the Zilla School, Madurai, in 1856, from which institution he completed his schooling.
As his mother was not willing to send him to Madras for a higher education, Subramania Iyer decided to join the administrative service. He served as a clerk in the Deputy Collector's Office, Madurai, Deputy Collector's Office, Ramnad, and the Collector's Office, Madurai. While working in the Collector's Office, he studied privately for the Pleader's Examination and stood first among the successful candidates.
Though unable to secure a 'Sanad' to practise, he was appointed the Public Prosecutor, when the Criminal Penal Code came into force, in 1862. Desiring to practise as a lawyer, he studied privately for the Matriculation Examination and passed the same in 1865, followed by the First Arts (F.A.) examination in 1866. Two years later, in 1868, he passed the B.L. examination from Presidency College, Madras, standing first (in the Second Class) among all successful candidates. He served as an apprentice under J. C. Mill, Barrister-at-Law, and thus qualified himself to practise as a Vakil.
Practising as a Vakil at Madura from 1869 to 1885, he appeared in some important cases, the most notable among them being the Ramnad Zamindar's Case and the Meenakshi Temple Funds Misappropriation Case. While at Madura, he also earned a reputation as a public worker, being appointed a Municipal Commissioner of Madura and a member of the Local Board, besides being elected a member of the Devasthanam Committee of the Meenakshi Temple at Madura.
He presented an 'Address of Welcome', on behalf of the people of Madura, to the Prince of Wales, who visited Madura in 1875. In 1877, he gave evidence and pleaded for the necessity of protecting tenants from arbitrary eviction by the landlords, before the Famine Commission when it visited Madura. He also served as the Vice-Chairman of the Madura Municipality, from 1882 until his departure for Madras.
After his wife, Lakshmi's death in 1884, he shifted to Madras, where he emerged as a formidable rival to the redoubtable lawyers Bhashyam Aiyangar and Eardley Norton. Recognising his merit, the Government appointed him Government Pleader and Public Prosecutor in 1888, the first Indian to be appointed so. As Government Pleader, he appeared in two sensational cases – the Nageswara Iyer Forgery Case and the Tirupati Mahant Case. He was appointed an Acting Judge in 1891 and continued in that position until being appointed a Judge of the Madras High Court in January 1895, succeeding Sir Muthuswamy Iyer to the bench of that Court.
As Judge, amongst other cases, he presided over the insolvency court which investigated into the crash of a Madras bank, Arbuthnot & Co, in 1906. He also acted as the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court in 1899, 1903 and 1906, the first Indian to do so. After serving as a judge of the Madras High Court for 12 years, he resigned on 13 November 1907 due to failing sight, and was succeeded by Mr. Chettur Sankaran Nair.
He presented the Welcome Address to the Prince of Wales, in 1914, on behalf of the public of Madras.
Subramania Iyer was nominated a member of the Legislative Council of Madras by the Government, in 1884 and left a creditable record as a non-official member of the Council although the rules did not permit non-official members to play a very useful role. Serving as a member of the Malabar Land Tenure Committee (1885), largely due to his initiative, an act was passed providing compensation for tenants' improvement in Malabar. Nominated for a second time, Subramania Iyer made his association with the Council as useful as possible under the system extant then.
One of the founding members of the Indian National Congress, he led the Madras delegation to its first session at Bombay, in December 1885, where he seconded a resolution proposed by K. T. Telang urging the increase of the elected element in the Legislative Councils and for councillors to be given real and effective powers, and where he made the following statement, as published in the annals of the Indian National Congress of 1885:
"All of us have the utmost faith and confidence in the justice and the fairness of the English people, and we only have to solicit an enquiry into the facts, being content to leave the issue in the hands of their great political leaders."
He used to attend sessions of the Congress until he became a Judge of the High Court and contributed in no small measure to the strengthening of the Congress's organisation in the Madras Presidency.
He was close to Sir Arthur Lawley, whom he is held to have substantially influenced and assisted in his administration of the Madras Presidency, in a private capacity.
As Chairman of the Reception Committee, he welcomed the delegates to the 29th session of the Indian National Congress held at Madras in 1914. He presided over a public meeting at Madras in 1915 organised to welcome Mr. M. K. Gandhi just then returned from South Africa. Welcoming Mr. Gandhi, he suggested the lines on which national work in India should proceed:
"We want the soul-force which Mr. Gandhi is trying to work up. Soul-force consists in a man being prepared to undergo any physical or mental suffering, taking the precaution that he will not lay a single finger to inflict physical force upon the other side. It was that soul-force that was manifested by the South African Indians and it is the same force that should be developed in this country."
He agreed to serve as the Honorary President of the All India Home Rule League established in Madras on 1 September 1916, by Mrs. Annie Besant, whose arrest was ordered on 16 June 1917, by Lord Pentland, Governor of Madras. As President of the League, he took up the cause of Mrs. Besant and her colleagues and started a movement for their release, which occasioned his rupture with the Government.
Immediately after Mrs. Besant was interned, Sir Subramania Iyer wrote a letter to Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States of America describing British Rule in India and appealing for the sympathy and support of the American Government and people, in which he stated:
"Officials of an alien nation, speaking a foreign tongue, force their will upon us; they grant themselves exorbitant salaries and large allowances; they refuse us education; they sap us of our wealth; they impose crushing taxes without our consent; they cast thousands of our people into prisons for uttering patriotic sentiments-prisons so filthy that often the inmates die from loathsome diseases."
Subjected to scathing criticism in the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the Secretary of State, Edwin Montagu, and the Viceroy, Lord Chelmsford, rebuked him when he met them in Madras in 1918 to make a representation on the proposed political reforms. A few days later, Sir Subramania Iyer renounced his knighthood and returned the insignia to the Government.The Government awarded a Certificate of Merit to Subramania Iyer on 1 January 1877 as a mark of their appreciation of his services to the public, on the occasion of the Proclamation Durbar at Delhi.
He was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire, in 1890, and was elevated to a Knight-Commander of the same order on New Year's Day, 1900.
In 1893, he had the title of Dewan Bahadur conferred upon him.
He died on 5 December 1924 and was survived by three sons borne to him by his wife Lakshmi.
The Mani Iyer Hall in Triplicane was built by the Theosophists in his memory and named after him. He is also commemorated by a statue, unveiled in 1935, outside the Senate House of the Madras University.