top of page
Dewan Bahadur C. Krishnaswami Rao
C. Krishnaswami Rao_edited.jpg

No estimate of the character and accomplishments of Dewan Bahadur C. Krishnaswami Rao will be complete which fails to take into account the services he rendered to individuals and families as guide, philosopher and friend. In many respects he was the counterpart of his distinguished name sake. People knew him as “Trustee” Krishnaswami Rao in the same way that they had marked out his senior as “President” Krishnaswami Rao. Though reserved by nature, he was a warm friend at closer quarters. His prejudices were deep and strong, but once he was convinced of his mistake he was sure to make ample amends. He was a gentleman to the core, and his remarkable talents and abilities won for him the admiration of all those who came in contact with him.

C. Krishnaswami Rao was born in the year 1867 at Saidapet, where his father Kanchi Sama Rao was Tahsildar. At a very young age he lost his father, and was brought up by his mother under the careful supervision of a family friend in the person of Mr. Kurnool Ramachandra Rao. After an eventful academic career in the Presidency College, Madras, he attended the Law Lectures there and came out first in the Presidency in the B.L. Examination in the Second Class, there being none in the First Class that year. He was bound apprentice to Mr. C. Ramachandra Rao Saheb of the Law College at Madras and when this was over, set up independent practice as Vakil at Kurnool.

He soon built up a fairly lucrative practice. His undoubted abilities as a lawyer soon came to notice, and in the year 1893 he was first appointed as District Munsiff. His knowledge of Tamil, Telugu and Canarese put him in quick succession in charge of District Munsiff’s Courts over the length and breadth of the Presidency; and his expeditious disposals of suits put him in  all places where work was in heavy arrears. He had therefore to do hard work, and his constitution sometimes broke down under the heavy strain. He took leave about 1912 when he was acting as Sub-Judge and during this period  gave valuable evidence before the Public Services Commission.

His able disposal of suits soon brought for C. Krishnaswami Rao the appreciation of his superiors. He rose to the position of District Judge and within the space of a few years he was made to act as Judge of the High Court at Madras. Owing to certain undercurrents, he was not made permanent as such though, Government had in the meanwhile recognized his merits and conjferred on him high titles. He was sent to the Imperial Legislative Assembly at Delhi as nominated member on behalf of the local Government, from which position he retired after a few months’ leave in 1923.

It was difficult for C. Krishnaswami Rao to reconcile himself even in retirement to a life of comparative idleness. He therefore set up practice and gave legal advice to certain Indian rulers among others.

In the summer of 1928, he came down to Madras on a short visit from Coonoor. A severe and unexpected Colic brought about his sudden end.

The best part of Dewan Bahadur C. Krishnaswami Rao’s life was given to Government service. Nevertheless he had played a great part in rendering personal help to friends of a kidn that they alone can appreciate. His connection with local institutions during retirement was not very important, for he was frequently drawn away to the mofussil on his professional work. But his sympathies were unmistakably on the side of the more unfortunate among us. Had he lived longer, the Mahratta Education Fund would have secured through him the financial support of several princes for foreign scholarships. That he was not spared to achieve this purpose must be a matter for sincere sorrow.                                                                


bottom of page