E. Vinayaka Rao
Several Dakshini Maharashtrians have achieved eminence in their chosen fields and lent luster to the community. But there are only a few who have attained eminence on account of their contributions aimed solely at strengthening community's unique ethos. E. Vinayak Rao belongs to this select group and holds the pre-eminent position in it. His unstinting passion to ensure cohesiveness and growth of the cultural ethos of Dakshini Maharashtrians was the driving force behind the formation of that august body, the "Mahratta Education Fund" in 1912. He was 21 years old at that time.
Vinayaka Rao was born on July 14, 1891 at Tanjore. He was the eldest son of Sri. S. Ekanatha Rao and Smt. Chandrakantha (also known as Meenakshi Bai). He had his schooling in Kumbakonam Town High School for boys and thereafter graduated from Pachaiyappa's College, Madras. For a short period he worked as a Tutor in the same college before joining the Madras Law College. He practiced law in Madras High Court where he worked with Sir. C.P. Ramaswamy Iyer and Sir. Alladi Krishnaswamy Iyer.
Vinayaka Rao's role in the formation of MEF is best known to us through his famous article "The History of the Mahratta Education Fund, Madras, for the First Twenty Five Years" which appeared in the 1937 Silver Jubilee Souvenir of MEF. As it is impossible to present a better narration of his role in the formation of MEF, we can only offer our respects to this great upholder of South Indian Maharashtrian traditions. He served as Honorary Secretary of MEF from 1912 to 1937.
Vinayaka Rao was a friend of the famous mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan. Both were from Kumbakonam and both studied in Pachaiyappa's College, Madras. Ramanujan continued to be in contact with Vinayaka Rao while he was in England.