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A. Vaidyanatha Iyer

A. Vaidyanatha Iyer (1890-1955), also known as Madurai Vaidyanatha Iyer or Ayyar was an Indian activist, politician and freedom-fighter who spearheaded the temple entry movement in Madras Presidency in 1939.

Early life

Vaidynatha iyer was born in Thanjavur in then Madras Presidency in 1890. His Parents are Arunachalam Iyer and Lakshmi Ammal[1] in a Tamil Brahmin family. He entered the Indian independence movement in 1922 when he participated in the Non-Cooperation Movement.[1] He also participated in the Vedaranyam Salt Satyagraha (1930) and the Quit India Movement of 1942.[1]

Temple Entry Movement

The Temple Entry Authorization and Indemnity Act was passed by the government of C. Rajagopalachari in 1939 by which restrictions prohibiting Shanars and Dalits from entering Hindu temples was removed.This was done by C.Rajagopalachari to save his friend Vaidyanatha Iyer from legal action who entered the Temple surreptitiously. During this time, Vaidyanatha Iyer was the President of the Tamil Nadu Harijan Seva Sangh.[2] On July 8, 1939, Vaidyanatha Iyer entered the Meenakshi temple at Madurai in the company of L. N. Gopalasamy and six of his Dalit friends, P. Kakkan, Muruganandam, Chinniah, Purnalingam and Muthu.[3][4][5] This was stringently opposed by upper-caste Hindu leaders and those seeking to preserve Varnashrama Dharma.[5]

Death and legacy

Vaidyanatha Iyer died in 1955.[1] A postage stamp was issued in his memory by the Government of India on December 9, 1999.[1][6]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Special postage stamp on freedom fighters and social reformers". Press Information Bureau, Government of India. 
  2. ^ B. R. Ambedkar. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, writings and speeches, Volume 5. p. 122. 
  3. ^ He who removed fear and changed history
  4. ^ South Indian Studies Issue 3-4. 1997. p. 267. 
  5. ^ a b Naan Tamizhan Part-25. Kumudam (in Tamil). July 15, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Stamp Gallery". Tamil Nadu Postal Circle. 


  • A. Vaidyanatha Ayyar, P. S. Chandraprabu (1999). Voice of a great soul: speeches of Shri A. Vaidyanatha Ayyar in Madras. Gandhi Memorial Museum. 

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