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G. Subramaniar

(1855 – 1916) – (Tamilnadu)

Ganapathy Dikshitar Subramania Iyer (Aged 61) born on January 19, 1855, in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, India, was a prominent Indian journalist, social reformer, and freedom fighter. He founded ‘The Hindu’ English newspaper on September 20, 1878, and served as its proprietor, editor, and managing director until October 1898. He also founded the Tamil language newspaper ‘Swadesamitran’ in 1882.

Subramania Iyer taught at the Church of Scotland Mission School in Madras from 1875 to 1877 and at Pachaiyappa’s High School in 1877. He cleared his B.A. examinations as a private candidate in 1877 and was appointed headmaster of the Anglo-Vernacular school, Triplicane in 1879.

Under Subramania Iyer’s leadership, ‘The Hindu’ gained recognition for the first time since its establishment. He was known for his fiery articles that had a sting in them. He actively supported India’s freedom movement and used his newspaper to protest against British Imperialism. When Bal Gangadhar Tilak was arrested by British authorities in 1897, The Hindu strongly criticized the arrest. On December 3, 1883, the newspaper moved to 100 Mount Road and established its own press called ‘The National Press.’

Subramania Iyer was against conservatism and blind superstitions and used his newspaper as a means of reform. However, his articles often landed the newspaper in many defamation suits, and he faced financial difficulties while fighting them. He met Gandhi in Pachaiyappa’s hall when Gandhi came to Madras to spread information about the status of Indians in South Africa.

In 1889, when he conducted his widowed daughter’s remarriage, Subramania Iyer was socially boycotted by his relatives and the conservative Mylapore society. He supported widow remarriage and aimed to abolish untouchability and child marriages.

Subramania Iyer realized the importance of speaking in the local language and addressed the masses in Tamil during his public lectures. He encouraged Subramaniya Bharathi in his early years and sheltered him in his house. He passed away on April 18, 1916, in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.