Palaniappan Chidambaram was born on 16 September 1945, is an Indian politician and attorney who presently serves as Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha and formerly served as the Union Minister of Finance of India. Chidambaram is a corporate lawyer and a prominent member of the last Congress-led government. He has been the Finance Minister since May 2004, except for a three and a half year stint – initially November 2008 – as Home Minister, in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Chidambaram returned as Finance Minister in July 2012, succeeding Pranab Mukherjee, who took office to become the President of India.
Early life and family
Chidambaram was born to Kandanur L. Ct. L. Palaniappa Chettiar and Lakshmi Achi in Kanadukathan in the Sivaganga District in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. His maternal grandfather was Raja Sir Annamalai Chettiar, a wealthy merchant, and banker in Chettinad. Chidambaram has two brothers and one sister. His father’s business interests covered textiles, trading, and plantations in India. He aims to concentrate on his legal practice and stayed away from the family business. Chidambaram’s mother, Lakshmi Acchi, was the daughter of Sir Annamalai Chettiar, a banker, and merchant, and was given the title of Raja by the British Raj. Annamalai Chettiar was the founding entity of Annamalai University and United India Insurance Company Limited. His brother Ramaswami Chettiar was the founder of Indian Bank and the co-founder of another major bank.
He is married to Nalini Chidambaram, daughter of Justice (Retd.) P.S. Kailasam, Supreme Court, and Mrs. Soundra Kailasam, a renowned Tamil poet and author, who is a senior advocate practicing in the Madras High Court and in the Supreme Court of India. He has a son, Karti P. Chidambaram, who accomplished graduation with a BBA degree from the University of Texas, Austin, and a Masters in Law from the University of Cambridge. Karti, a Congress Party’s AICC member, is active in Tamil Nadu state politics. Karti is married to Dr. Srinidi Rangarajan, a well-known Bharathanatiyam dancer and medical doctor, working with the Apollo Group of Hospitals in Chennai. Karti and Srinidhi have a daughter, Aditi Nalini Chidambaram.
- Chidambaram was not so interested to join his father’s business. He was more towards the legal practice. He commenced practicing in the Madras High Court. By 1984 he was a senior advocate. His offices were in Chennai and Delhi. Gradually he became a practicing lawyer in the Supreme Court and other High Courts in India.
- Chidambaram was a Union Leader for MRF, and with time he paved his path up in the Indian National Congress party. In 1972 he was the representative of All India Congress Committee or AICC. From 1973 to 1976 he was the Youth Congress President in Tamil Nadu.
From 1976 to 1977 he was the Pradesh Congress Committee’s General Secretary in Tamil Nadu. In 1984 he was first elected as a member of the 8th Lok Sabha from Tamil Nadu’s Sivganga Constituency.
In 1985 Chidambram was the All India Congress Committee’s (Indira) Joint Secretary. In September 1985 he was made the Union Deputy Minister of Commerce. In 1991 he was chosen for the third time as a member of the 10th Lok Sabha.
From 1991 to 1992 and from 1995 to 1996 he was the Union Minister of State for Commerce. In 1996 he was chosen for the fourth time as a member of the 11th Lok Sabha. From 1996 to 1998 he was the Union Cabinet Minister of Finance. Chidambram was additionally given charge of Company Affairs and Law & Justice. Till April 1997, he retained the charge of Company Affairs.
In 1998 he was chosen for the fifth time as a member of the 12th Lok Sabha. In 2004 Chidambram was elected for the sixth time as a member of the 14th Lok Sabha. From 23 May 2004 to 30 November 2008 he remained the Union Cabinet Minister of Finance.
From December 2008 to 2009 he was the Union Cabinet Minister of Home Affairs. In 2009 Chidambram was elected for the seventh time as a member of the 15th Lok Sabha. From 23 May 2009 to 31 July 2012 he was the Union Cabinet Minister for Home Affairs.
From August 2012 to May 2014 Chidambram was the Union Cabinet Minister of Finance.