वी. एस. श्रीनिवास शास्त्री (जन्म: 22 सितम्बर, 1869)

September 22, 2017

वी. एस. श्रीनिवास शास्त्री  (जन्म: 22 सितम्बर, 1869, तंजौर, कर्नाटक; मृत्यु: 17 अप्रैल, 1946, मद्रास उदारवादी राजनीतिज्ञ और इंडियन लिबरल फ़ेडरेशन के संस्थापक थे, जिन्होंने भारत में ब्रिटिश औपनिवेशिक शासन के दौरान देश-विदेश में कई महत्त्वपूर्ण पदों पर काम किये। इन्होंने अपनी जीवनवृत्ति स्कूल शिक्षक के रूप में आरंभ की, लेकिन सार्वजनिक मुद्दों में गहरी रुचि और अपनी वाकपटुता के कारण जल्द ही वह राष्ट्रीय स्तर पर प्रसिद्ध हो गए।


जीवन परिचय
श्रीनिवास शास्त्री का पूरा नाम 'वालांगीमन शंकरनारायण श्रीनिवास शास्त्री' था। इनका जन्म ग्राम वालंगइमान (जिला तंजौर, कर्नाटक) में 22 सितम्बर, 1869, एक ग़रीब ब्राह्मण परिवार में हुआ था। यह ग्राम प्रसिद्ध तीर्थस्थल कुम्भकोणम के पास है, जहाँ हर 12 वर्ष बाद विशाल रथयात्रा निकाली जाती है। इनके पिता एक मन्दिर में पुजारी थे और इनकी माता जी भी अति धर्मनिष्ठ थीं। अतः इनका बचपन धार्मिक कथाएं एवं भजन सुनते हुए बीता। इसका इनके मन पर गहरा प्रभाव हुआ और इन संस्कारों का उनके भावी जीवन में बहुत उपयोग हुआ।


श्रीनिवास शास्त्री शिक्षा के प्रति अत्यधिक अनुराग होने के कारण वे कुम्भकोणम के ‘नेटिव हाईस्कूल’ में पढ़ने के लिए पैदल ही जाते थे। 1884 में मैट्रिक करने के बाद उन्होंने मद्रास प्रेसिडेन्सी से एफ.ए किया और फिर मायावरम् नगर पालिका विद्यालय में पढ़ाने लगे। इस दौरान छात्रों में लोकप्रियता और अनूठी शिक्षण शैली के कारण इनकी उन्नति होती गयी और ये सलेम म्यूनिसिपल कॉलेज में उपप्राचार्य हो गये। इसके बाद श्रीनिवास शास्त्री मद्रास के पचइप्पा कॉलेज में भी रहे। इन्होंने अपनी जीवनवृत्ति स्कूल शिक्षक के रूप में आरंभ की, लेकिन सार्वजनिक मुद्दों में गहरी रुचि और अपनी वाकपटुता के कारण जल्द ही वह राष्ट्रीय स्तर पर प्रसिद्ध हो गए।


राजनीतिक क्षेत्र में श्रीनिवास शास्त्री ने गोपालकृष्ण गोखले को अपना गुरू माना था। उनके प्रति अत्यधिक श्रद्धा को इन्होंने अनेक लेखों तथा ‘माई मास्टर गोखले’ नामक पुस्तक में व्यक्त किया है। इनकी शुरु से ही जीवन की सामाजिक समस्याओं में अभिरुचि थी, इसी कारण गोपालकृष्ण गोखले द्वारा संस्थापित 'सर्वेट्स ऑव इंडिया सोसायटी' नामक संस्था के वह 1907 में सदस्य बना दिय गए। संस्था के उद्देश्यों की पूर्ति में श्रीनिवास शास्त्री की लगन देखकर गोपालकृष्ण गोखले ने इस संस्था की अध्यक्षता के लिए अपने बाद इन्हीं को चुना। 1915 में इस संस्था के अध्यक्ष बने. श्रीनिवास मद्रास विधान परिषद के सदस्य थे तथा 1916 में उन्हें केंद्रीय विधायिका के लिए चुना गया।
श्रीनिवास शास्त्री ने 1919 के गवर्नमेंट ऑफ इंडिया ऐक्ट का स्वागत किया, जिसके द्वारा पहली बार भारतीय मतदाताओं के प्रति उत्तरदायी प्रांतीय सरकारों पर भारतीय मंत्री कुछ हद तक नियंत्रण कर सकते थे। सुधार के तहत स्थापित राज्य की नई परिषद में निर्वाचित होने के बाद उन्होंनें पाया कि वह दिनोदिन सदन में छाई राष्ट्रवादी कांग्रेस पार्टी से असहमत होते जा रहे हैं। कांग्रेस सुधारो में सहयोग करने से इनकार करती थी और सविनय अवज्ञा के तरीक़ो को तरजीह देती थी। इसलिये श्रीनिवास शास्त्री ने 1922 में कांग्रेस पार्टी को छोड़कर 'इंडियन लिबरल फ़ेडरेशन' की स्थापना की, जिसके वह अध्यक्ष बने।


श्रीनिवास शास्त्री समाज सुधारक थे। इसलिये सरकार ने उन्हें 1922 में ऑस्ट्रेलिया, न्यूज़ीलैंड और कनाडा की यात्रा पर भेजा, जो उन देशों में रहने वाले भारतीयों की दशा को सुधारने का एक प्रयास था। 1926 में उन्हें इसी कार्य के लिए दक्षिण अफ़्रीका भेजा गया और 1927 में उन्हें वहां का एजेंट-जनरल नियुक्त किया गया। भारतीय सरकार ने उन्हें मलाया में भारतीय मज़दूरों की दशा पर रिपोर्ट देने के लिए भी नियुक्त किया। 1930-1931 के दौरान उन्होंने भारत में संवैधानिक सुधारों के प्रस्तावों पर चर्चा के लिए लंदन में आयोजित गोलमेज़ सम्मेलनों में सक्रिय भागेदारी की। 1935 -1940 के दौरान वह मद्रास में अन्नामलाई विश्वविद्यालय के कुलपति पद पर भी रहे।


देश एवं विदेश में बसे भारतीयों की सेवा को समर्पित श्रीनिवास शास्त्री का 76 वर्ष की आयु में 17 अप्रैल, 1946 को मद्रास में देहांत हुआ।


Valangaiman Sankaranarayana Srinivasa Sastri (22 September 1869 – 17 April 1946) was an Indian politician, administrator, educator, orator and Indian independence activist. He was acclaimed for his oratory and command over the English language. Srinivasa Sastri was born to a poor temple priest in the village of Valangaiman near Kumbakonam, India. He completed his education at Kumbakonam and worked as a school teacher and later, headmaster in Triplicane, Madras. He entered politics in 1905 when he joined the Servants of India Society. Sastri served as a member of the Indian National Congress from 1908 to 1922, but later resigned in protest against the Non-Cooperation movement. Sastri was one of the founding members of the Indian Liberal Party. In his later days, he was strongly opposed to the partition of India.


Srinivasa Sastri served as a member of the Madras Legislative Council from 1913 to 1916, Imperial Legislative Council of India from 1916 to 1919 and the Council of State from 1920 to 1925. Sastri also functioned as India's delegate to the League of Nations, as member of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom and agent to the Union of South Africa.


Sastri gained worldwide fame for his prowess in the English language. He was a close follower of Gopal Krishna Gokhale. He was also a close friend and associate of Mahatma Gandhi, who addressed Sastri as his "elder brother" in writings. Sastri was made a Companion of Honour in 1930. In 1921, the Freedom of the City of London was conferred on him, and in 1931 he received the Freedom of the City of Edinburgh.


However, some members of the Indian freedom struggle such as Nehru felt that Sastri was too sympathetic to the British rulers, and too co-operative with them. This was especially apparent at the Round table conferences where Sastri and his party member agreed to the unfair proposals of the British.


Srinivasa Sastri was born in the town of Valangaiman, Madras Presidency, India on 22 September 1869. His father, Vaidik Sankaranarayana Sastri, was a poor Hindu priest. He was educated at the Native High School in Kumbakonam and in 1887, graduated from Government Arts College, Kumbakonam with a first class degree in English and Sanskrit. On graduation, he found employment as a teacher at Municipal College, Salem.


Srinivasa Sastri married Parvathi in 1885. His granddaughters are, Parvathy, married to Ramamurti (Retd.G.M of NLC)[citation needed] and Kausalya, married to the renowned Indian scientist and nephew of Sir C. V. Raman, S. Ramaseshan.


In 1894, Srinivasa Sastri was appointed headmaster of Hindu High School, Triplicane and served for a period of eight years, until 1902. During this period, he achieved fame for his proficiency in English and his good administrative skills. In his late years, he also served as Vice-Chancellor of the Annamalai University. During his tenure as Vice-Chancellor, he demonstrated his scholarship in Sanskrit and Oriental Literature. He persuaded Mahavidwan R. Raghava Iyengar, then Head of the Tamil Research Department, to translate Kalidasan's epic poem Abhignana Sakuntalam in Tamil. The poem was translated in the Sandam Metre and published in 1938. He delivered the Kamala lectures in Calcutta University which are widely cherished and remembered.


Srinivasa Sastri established the Madras Teachers Guild during his term as headmaster of Triplicane High School. He was one of the pioneers of the Co-operative movement and started India's first co-operative society, the Triplicane Urban Co-operative Society (TUCS) in 1904.


Srinivasa Sastri met Indian independence activist Gopal Krishna Gokhale for the first time in 1906. He was drawn towards Gokhale's Servants of India Society and joined the organization becoming its President in 1915. He joined the Indian National Congress in 1908 and became the Secretary of the Madras District Congress Committee in 1911.As a member of the Congress, he was instrumental in bringing about a pact between the Congress and the Muslim League.


Srinivasa Sastri was nominated to the Madras Legislative Council in 1913 and to the Imperial Legislative Council of India in 1916. He opposed the Rowlatt Act which empowered the Government of India to imprison anyone without trial and delivered a well-appreciated speech in the Imperial Legislative Council denouncing the bill.In 1919, he was appointed a member of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom.


In 1922, Sastri resigned his membership of the Indian National Congress after disagreeing with its leadership on the issue of non-cooperation and established the Indian Liberal Party along with Tej Bahadur Sapru.He consequently served as a President of the Indian Liberal Federation. In 1924, he accompanied Annie Besant on a visit to England demanding Home Rule for India.He also participated in the first and second round table conferences.


Sastri was made a member of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom in 1921.On 1 January 1930, he was made a Companion of Honour.The then Viceroy offered to make Sastri Knight Commander of the Order of the Star of India in 1928, but he declined the offer.


In 1937, the then Governor of Madras offered to make Sastri the Acting Chief Minister of Madras Presidency but Sastri declined the offer. He also declined an offer of membership in the council of the Secretary of State for India.In 1921, the Freedom of the City of London was conferred on Srinivasa Sastri. This was followed by the Freedom of the City of Edinburgh on 9 January 1931.


Sastri was made a member of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom in 1921.On 1 January 1930, he was made a Companion of Honour. The then Viceroy offered to make Sastri Knight Commander of the Order of the Star of India in 1928, but he declined the offer.


In 1937, the then Governor of Madras offered to make Sastri the Acting Chief Minister of Madras Presidency but Sastri declined the offer. He also declined an offer of membership in the council of the Secretary of State for India. In 1921, the Freedom of the City of London was conferred on Srinivasa Sastri. This was followed by the Freedom of the City of Edinburgh on 9 January 1931.


Sastri was made a member of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom in 1921. On 1 January 1930, he was made a Companion of Honour.The then Viceroy offered to make Sastri Knight Commander of the Order of the Star of India in 1928, but he declined the offer.


In 1937, the then Governor of Madras offered to make Sastri the Acting Chief Minister of Madras Presidency but Sastri declined the offer. He also declined an offer of membership in the council of the Secretary of State for India. In 1921, the Freedom of the City of London was conferred on Srinivasa Sastri. This was followed by the Freedom of the City of Edinburgh on 9 January 1931.