Valangaiman Sankaranarayana Srinivasa SastriCH PC (22 September 1869 – 17 April 1946) was an Indian politician, administrator, educator, orator and Indian independence activist. He was acclaimed for his oratory and command over the English language. Srinivasa Sastri was born to a poor temple priest in the village of Valangaiman near Kumbakonam, India. He completed his education at Kumbakonam and worked as a school teacher and later, headmaster in Triplicane, Madras. He entered politics in 1905 when he joined the Servants of India Society. Sastri served as a member of the Indian National Congress from 1908 to 1922, but later resigned in protest against the Non-Cooperation movement. Sastri was one of the founding members of the Indian Liberal Party. In his later days, he was strongly opposed to the partition of India.
Srinivasa Sastri served as a member of the Madras Legislative Council from 1913 to 1916, Imperial Legislative Council of India from 1916 to 1919 and the Council of State from 1920 to 1925. Sastri also functioned as India’s delegate to the League of Nations, as member of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom and agent to the Union of South Africa
Sastri gained worldwide fame for his prowess in the English language. He was a close follower of Gopal Krishna Gokhale. He was also a close friend and associate of Mahatma Gandhi, who addressed Sastri as his “elder brother” in writings. Sastri was made a Companion of Honour in 1930. In 1921, the Freedom of the City of London was conferred on him, and in 1931 he received the Freedom of the City of Edinburgh.
However, some members of the Indian freedom struggle such as Nehru felt that Sastri was too sympathetic to the British rulers, and too co-operative with them. This was especially apparent at the Round table conferences where Sastri and his party member agreed to the unfair proposals of the British.