- National President – Mahila Morcha, Bharatiya Janata Party
- Social Activist
- Founder – Thamarai Shakthi
- Founder – Kovai Makkal Sevai Mayyam
- Chairman – The New India Forum
Vanathi Srinivasan is an Indian Politician belonging to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and currently serves the party as its National President of Mahila Morcha (Women’s Wing). She started serving the BJP in the year 1993 and has held various key positions within the party.
Vanathi is a lawyer by profession, and she is also a women’s welfare activist, orator, social activist, author, and philanthropist. She is known for her advocacy of girl-child education, empowerment of single-mothers and is one of the few politicians to deliver polite and precise political answers on live-television debates.
She hails from Coimbatore and belongs to an agricultural family. She attained her primary education in Coimbatore and did higher studies in Covai and Chennai. She started practicing law at Chennai High Court in 1993. After entering active politics, she began focusing mostly on her political career and contested in Tamil Nadu Assembly elections twice (2011 – Mylapore, Tamil Nadu & 2016 – Coimbatore South, Tamil Nadu).
EARLY LIFE & EDUCATION:
Vanathi Srinivasan was born on 6th June 1970 to her parents Kandasamy and Poovathal at Uliyampalayam Village near Thodamuthur block in Coimbatore. She is the eldest child in the family and she has a brother named Shiva Kumar.
She did her schooling at Thondamuthur Higher Secondary School and showed brilliance in Chemistry. She went on to pursue her UG program in Chemistry from PSG Arts & Science College.
Later, she developed an interest to become a dignified self-employed individual and her aspirations set her on the path to becoming a lawyer. She graduated from Dr.Ambedkar Government Law College, Chennai in 1993 and went on to achieve her Master’s Degree in Law from the University of Madras in the branch of International Constitution in 1995.
During her time as a student at Dr.Ambedkar Government Law College, Vanathi played a significant role in organizing a State-level Law Students Convention under the banner of FOTLAWS (Forum Of Tamilnadu Law Students) in 1992, wherein, several demands were made for the betterment of Law education in Tamil Nadu and also for the establishment of a University for Law-education in the name of Dr.B.R.Ambedkar.
Vanathi had also played an active role in running regular free coaching and health awareness programs in a slum situated near Dr.Ambedkar Government Law College at Chennai. She was very instrumental in organizing several such programs including large-scale medical camps, blood donation camps, and temple cleaning programs in and around Chennai city.
In 1993, she was made a part of a five-member fact-finding team that visited Chinnampathi, a hill hamlet, in Coimbatore, wherein, tribal women were sexually assaulted by few members of the Task Force, which was hunting the notorious bandit Veerappan.
ASSOCIATION WITH ABVP
In 1988, Vanathi became an active member of ABVP – Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (an all India students organization affiliated to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) while she was a student at PSG Arts & Science College at Coimbatore. She was appointed ABVP’s college unit Secretary and then was promoted to City Joint Secretary for Coimbatore.
Paying heed to the national call of ABVP, she led the agitations at Coimbatore against Kashmiri militants and Pakistan’s instigation in 1989. She was detained for a day for burning the flag of Pakistan in front of the office of Commissioner of Police in Coimbatore.
While pursuing her UG Law program at Chennai, she was elevated to the post of State Joint Secretary in ABVP between 1990-1991 & 1991- 1992 and was also made its National Executive Member.
In 1992, she was arrested and detained in Chintadripet Police Station along with other ABVP activists, when they pulled down and burned obscene movie banners that were placed in a theater at Mount road, Chennai.
She started practicing law at Chennai High Court in 1993 under the guidance of Shri. B.S.Gnanadesikan, Senior Advocate, the then PCC President.
Vanathi’s knowledge as a lawyer and her skill in articulating her legal thoughts to words in the most astute manner helped her win many cases. Significant cases are those through which more than a dozen freedom fighters could get freedom fighters’ person, for which they were fighting for decades.
She had an active career as a lawyer and she served as a Standing Counsel for the Government of India from 2002-2004 and also for the Southern Railway in the same period.
In 2012, Vanathi received the Outstanding Woman Lawyer award from Mr.Justice Iqbal, the then Chief Justice of Madras High Court, who was subsequently elevated to the Supreme Court of India. As Vanathi stepped into active politics, she has been maintaining the balance between her career as a Lawyer and as a Politician.
Vanathi Srinivasan’s association with the Bhartiya Janata Party spans for more than three decades. She has been a member of BJP since 1993 and has held various positions in the party since 1999.
Since 2009, she devoted her whole spirit and mind to the growth of the party in Tamil Nadu. Vanathi Srinivasan contested in the Assembly Elections in Tamil Nadu twice. In 2011, she contested in the Mylapore constituency and received a 5.3% vote share. She again contested in the 2016 elections; this time at the Coimbatore South constituency. Though she faced defeat, she received a 23% vote share.
As a politician, she has been primarily focusing on helping the underprivileged, particularly aiding the impoverished women. Vanathi Srinivasan led several demonstrations seeking Total Alcohol Prohibition in TN. She had filed Public Interest Litigations in Madras High Court for the closure of liquor shops and had favorable orders, and taking up causes for downtrodden and women in particular.
She served as the State Secretary of BJP-Tamil Nadu’s Women’ Wing, General Secretary, and Vice President. Vanathi’s commitment to the BJP and its nation-building goals has been much appreciated by the party and public alike on several occasions.
She has been actively trying to create awareness among the people of Tamil Nadu about the innumerable public welfare schemes that have been put into effect by the Central Government, especially the scheme’s benefiting girl-children.
In October 2020, she was made the party’s Women’s Wing’s National Chief. Vanathi Srinivasan is the first woman from Southern India to be appointed as the National President of Women’s Wing.
State Joint Secretary of the ABVP between (1990-1991) and 1991-1992 and was also National Executive Member during 1991-1993.
State Secretary of the BJP Tamil Nadu (2013-2019)
General Secretary of the BJP Tamil Nadu (2014-2015) and (2016-2020)
Vice President of the BJP Tamil Nadu (June- November 2020)
National President of BJP’s Mahila Morcha in Tamil Nadu (2020 – Present)
Member of the CBFC (Censor Board) – 2002-2004
Non-official Director for Madras Fertilisers Limited in November 2015 for three years, and Chairperson of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Committee
AT THE INTERNATIONAL ARENA:
Invite from USA State Department: Vanathi Srinivasan was invited by the US Department of State under the aegis of the American Council of Young Political Leaders in the year 2010 as part of the 10-member Indian Young Political Leaders’ delegation. Spent about a month’s time meeting various Congressional members and Senators in Washington DC and also in the State of Michigan.
From Chicago – She was invited as a resource person to address in a women empowerment session on 12th September 2019 in the World Hindu Conference at Chicago organized on the eve of the commemoration of the 125th year anniversary of Swami Vivekananda’s speech in World Parliament of Religions.
From Canada: She was invited to deliver a keynote address on 25th January 2020 in the grand gala event of Tamil Heritage month organized by the Canadian National Tamil Forum.
She also undertook study tours in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Srilanka, and the Arab Emirates.
AS A WRITER
As much as she loves to read, Vanathi Srinivasan also loves to write and that resulted in two books. She wrote the book ‘Women- You are the Great’ in the year 2018 and ‘Why we need CAA’ (in Tamil) in the year 2020.
Vanathi Srinivasan is an active social activist and her contributions towards social harmony and development are extensive.
Stand against vulgarity in movies – She was appointed as a member of the Censor Board between 2002 and 2004, in Tamil Nadu. Vanathi Srinivasan is remembered as a firebrand member of the Board because of her hard stand against obscenity and vulgarity in movies. She was instrumental in trimming and censoring many scenes in the Tamil movie titled ‘ New’, which attracted media attention.
Tsunami Relief – Following the 2004-Tsunami disaster, the ruling Government constructed houses for the victims who had lost theirs with the aid of the World Bank. But many of the affected fishermen’s families were not provided their houses for long.
Vanathi Srinivasan stepped in and made tireless representations and protests, seeking shelter for the victimized fisherfolk residing at Mylapore and Pattinapakkam. Through her continuous efforts, she brought them their solace.
Against Alcohol – Vanathi Srinivasan has been advocating a Liquor-less Tamil Nadu for more than a decade. She has inspired and requested other leaders to take steps to close TASMAC shops (Government-run liquor shops) in their respective constituencies. She led the protest for the closure of TASMAC shops at Mylapore and Mandaveli in Chennai in 2012-2013. She ensured the closure of two such shops in the two regions is made and she emerged triumphant with her protest. Following the 2020-Lockdowns, she made continuous requests to the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and the State Government to keep the shutters of TASMAC Shops permanently locked, stating that wives of alcoholic husbands in Tamil Nadu were at ease during the lockdown and the permanent closure will give great peace to them.
Relief Work during 2015- Chennai Floods – When Chennai’s citizens were left without any food-relief after the devastating floods induced by North-East Monsoon rains, Vanathi Srinivasan arranged for food-packets distribution for the displaced persons. More than 10,000 people received relief materials worth Rs.1 crore in South Chennai. From day-one (2.12.2015), she initiated and organized relief work in and around Adyar/Mylapore/Teynampet- flood-affected areas of Chennai. About 25,000 food packets, 7,000 relief material kits with essential items were distributed. 9 medical camps were arranged wherein about 3000 were treated.
Adoption of Village – Inspired by the call given by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to MPs to adopt a village, Vanathi Srinivasan adopted her native village in Coimbatore. She initiated measures to provide toilets to all the houses/huts that lacked the facility to avoid open defecation. 35 toilets have been completed and handed over to the beneficiaries in September 2015 as part of Swachh Bharath. A comprehensive medical camp was conducted in August 2015 and it was made as a periodical health care program. Vanathi has taken the initiative to run a regular library, e – Seva center, free Wi-fi facility from 2015 onwards. Afforestation initiatives were taken in the village and hundreds of trees were planted and are being maintained. By joining hands with the NGO – Seva Bharati, tailoring classes for 50 women were provided there. For women who are unable to afford their own sewing machines, Bank Loans were arranged through her support. In order to nurture the energy of young boys in the village, sports kits were given. All the households were provided with LED light as part of energy conservation. Also, several social gatherings are being organized to preserve harmony and cherish the heritage of the village.
Thamarai Sakthi – This is an NGO founded by Vanathi with the objective to raise awareness among the women at workplaces about workplace harassment issues, Domestic violence, and to assist women who are suffering the pain silently. The organization also conducts various women empowerment activities.
Kovai Makkal Sevai Maiyyam – This is another NGO that was founded by Vanathi Srinivasan in 2017 to carry out several welfare measures for the downtrodden and underprivileged section of the people. Lots of service projects are being organized in and around Coimbatore. In 2019, this NGO organized one of the biggest job fairs in Coimbatore at Hindusthan College of Arts and Science grounds, where thousands of unemployed but educated youth were able to find their employer and vice versa. In November 2020, Vanathi Srinivasan announced that 100 girl children living solely under the care of their mothers in Covai will receive financial support through her ‘Modi’s Daughter’ scheme for the next 5 years, and assured to support the best performing children.
New India Forum – This forum was formed by Vanathi Srinivasan to be a place of discussion for elites and young professionals where they can discuss the issues their respective industry faces and can exchange solution to their issues. It is a think tank forum founder by Vanathi in 2019 and its activities are confined to Chennai.
OTHER WELFARE ACTIVITIES
Some of the other notable activities by Vanathi Srinivasan includes the provision of RO Water Plants and establishment of Library library for SC Girls Hostel, an arrangement of desilting-work in the water-bodies at three villages, etc.
Vanathi Srinivasan organized a 5-days yatra (covering 500 km) for the preservation of water bodies. She supports another Coimbatore-based NGO called No Food Waste that collects excess food and distributes the same to the needy.
She organized one month Yatra on the eve of Sister Nivedita’s 150th birth anniversary covering 26 districts in Tamil Nadu and reached 2.5 college girl-students.
Vanathi is married to Shri Su.Srinivasan. He was also a student leader in the 1980s ( a full-time member for 11 years from 1983-1993 in ABVP), was State Joint Organizing Secretary and State Secretary for T.N. Mr.Srinivasan practiced in Supreme Court with Shri.Prashant Bhushan (Activist Lawyer). He served as Assistant Solicitor General of India (2014-2017) for Madras High Court. Presently, he is the Senior Central Government Standing Counsel for Central Administrative Tribunal, Madras. He is also the North Tamil Nadu State President for VHP.
Mr. and Mrs. Srinivasan are blessed with two sons – Adarsh V.Srinivasan, the eldest, and Kailash V.Srinivasan.
Adarsh pursued B.E., at PSG Tech, Coimbatore, and now works for Cisco Systems Pvt. Ltd., Bengaluru. He was the CHairperson of the Students Union in PSG Tech during 2019-20 and received the best outgoing student award of his department (ECE).
Kailash V. Srinivasan joined Jindal Global Law School, Sonepat in the current academic year. He is a well-known debater in ‘Model United Nations’ in Chennai, and he has several outstanding awards to his credit.