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B. N.Sarma

(1867 – 1932) – (Andhra Pradesh)

B.N. Sarma (Aged 64) also known as Rao Bahadur Sir Bayya Narasimheswara Sarma was born on 1867, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India. He was an Indian lawyer, politician, and member of the Viceroy’s Executive Council. He studied law at Madras University and joined the Congress during its Madras session in 1887.

Starting his career as a Visakhapatnam bar lawyer in 1891, he served as municipal chairman of Visakhapatnam twice and brought about significant improvements to the town. Due to his success in public life, he was nominated to the council of the presidency of Madras in 1906, which sparked his interest in politics.

In 1908, he played a key role in The Madras Estates Land Act, which granted rights to tenant farmers in estates and simplified estate and inam revenue administration. Despite being a holder of zamindari and inam lands, he relinquished his legal practice at a young age as it conflicted with his position in public life.

In 1916, he became a member of the imperial council and, in 1918, proposed a resolution in the imperial council recommending linguistic provinces. When the Montagu–Chelmsford Reforms were passed in 1919, Sarma disagreed with the Tilak group of Congressmen and Besant, supporting the moderate view that the reforms were a positive step and should be given a chance.

Sarma was one of the few Indian Congress members to deliver a speech in the Imperial Legislative Council supporting the reforms while still in the Congress, as the other moderates had already left to form the liberal party. From 1920 to 1925, he served as a member of the Viceroy’s Executive Council, holding the portfolios of revenue, agriculture, public works, finance, and education during his tenure. He was also the president of the railway rates commission until his death in 1932.