Ramaswamy Venkataraman (1910-2009) was an Indian lawyer, Indian independence activist and politician who served as a Union Minister and as the eighth president of India.
R Venkataraman who has had an abiding love for the Nilgiris and was keenly interested in its development and welfare. Shri. Venkataraman had a long connection with the Nilgiris. It was Shri Venkataraman who organised the plantation workers in the Nilgiris on trade union lines way back in 1948. It was, again, Shri Venkaraman who, as the Industries Minister of the then Madras State, conceived the idea of bringing the small tea growers of Nilgiris within the ambit of the co-operative sector in the sixties. Thanks to his foresight and initiative, Nilgiris today can boast of being the only tea growing area in the country where small growers co-exist, in equal strength, with the plantations.
He also played a notable role in the Kundah Hydroelectric project and Hindustan Photo Films in the Nilgiris.
Shri. Venkatraman’s interest and contribution in preserving the unique eco-system of Nilgiris was no less. When the Save Nilgiris Campaign appealed to him in 1986 that the Nilgiris was being over-exploited in the name of development, leading to serious ecological problems, he, as the Vice President of India, promptly responded by taking up the matter with the State Govt. His concern and support for the Nilgiris continued through his presidential years.
Nilgiri Documentation Centre