Sir Benegal Narsing Rau (or B. N. Rau), born 26 February 1887, was, in Jawaharlal Nehru’s words “a perfect civil servant”. After studying in Madras and Cambridge, he passed the civil services examination in 1909.He was knighted in 1938 and served as a judge in the Bengal High Court in 1939. In 1944 he was appointed the Premier of the Jammu and Kashmir state, but quickly resigned as he wasn’t interested in political office.
The Viceroy appointed him as the Constitutional Advisor, because of his vast administrative experience and worked closely with Dr. B. R. Ambedkar in drafting the Indian Constitution. Rau was insistent that politics remain separate from the structure and functioning of the Constitution. In 1947, he helped draft Burma’s (now Myanmar) Constitution too.
B. N. Rau had an illustrious career in the UN and was India’s representative at the United Nations Security Council (1950-1952), and later became its President. He was also a candidate for the position Secretary General of the United Nations. He died on 30 November 1953 in Zurich, while serving asa judge at the Permanent Court of International Justice.
B. N. Rau is not the only member of his family to be actively involved in drafting the Constitution, his younger brother, Benegal Shiva Rao was also a member of the Constituent Assembly. This journalist and politician was born on 26 February 1891 in Mangalore and studied in Madras. He was a leading journalist of his times and was a correspondent for The Hindu and The Manchester Guardian (now The Guardian). He was a member of the Congress Parliamentary Party’s subcommittee on the jeep scandal involving V. K. Menon.
He was elected into the Lok Sabha from the Karnataka constituency of South Kanara from 1952 to 1957 and was then a member of the Rajya Sabha from 1957 to 1960. He also led the Indian delegation to the United Nations General Assembly in 1947, 1948, 1949 and 1950.
He is the author of 6 volumes of “The Framing of India’s Constiution”, and other books like “India’s Freedom Struggle: Some Aspects” and “The Problem of India”. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan for his contributions to journalism and literature. He died on 15th December 1975 in New Delhi.
It is also interesting to note that, Shiva Rao was the editor of B .N. Rau’s book “India’s Constitution in the Making”.