V.I. Muniswamy Pillai was an activist who worked for the empowerment of the Scheduled Castes. He was unable to complete any formal education due to the economic status of his family and began his career as a clerk before starting his own business in 1925.
Role in the Independence Movement:
Pillai was a member of the Madras Legislative Council in 1926 as a representative of the Depressed Classes. He presided over the national executive meeting of the All India Depressed Classes Federation in 1932. In the same year, he was one of the signatories to the Poona Pact.
Contribution to Constitution Making:
Pillai was elected to the Constituent Assembly from the Madras Presidency on a Congress party ticket. He made several interventions in the Assembly related to the welfare of the Dalit Community in India.
Pillai served as a cabinet minister in the Provisional Parliament under Jawaharlal Nehru. He contested and lost the elections to the Lok Sabha as a Congress candidate from Tindivanam.
He passed away on 14 December 1953.
- Pillai spoke in favour of reservation in the Executive Cabinet, Upper House and Services for the empowerment of the Dalit Community.
- He spoke in favour of abolition of untouchability and elucidated on the importance of universal suffrage for the Dalit Community. He argued in favour of minority status for Dalits.
- During the debates on Draft Article 292 (Article 330), he spoke about the importance of conducting a census before the upcoming general elections, as the same would be used to ascertain the number of reserved seats for the Scheduled Castes in Parliament.