V.K Krishna Menon

Vengalil Krishnan Krishna Menon OR V.K Krishna Menon was a lawyer, publicist, Indian nationalist, diplomat, statesman, foreign policy advisor, and member of India’s Parliament. The Time magazine called him the second most powerful man in India. His fluency, brilliance, outspoken behavior and highly sharp personality, were much talked about. A close friend of Jawaharlal Nehru, Menon was often considered to a very influential person in Indian polity. He led the overseas wing of the independence movement. Menon even launched the Indian League in London. He was the co-founder of the Penguin Books.

Born 3 May 1896
Died 6 October 1974 (aged 78)
Education Presidency College, Chennai,Madras Law College,
University College London,
London School of Economics
Role 17 April 1957 – 31 October 1962 (Defence Minister of India)

Early Life

V.K Krishna Menon was born in Kozhikode, Kerala. His father Komath Krishna Kurup was an influential lawyer while his mother was the granddaughter of Raman Menon who had been the dewan of Travancore from 1815-1817. He received his early education at Zamorin’s College, Kozhikode. He graduated from Presidency College, Chennai, with a B.A. in History and Economics in 1918. While in Madras Law College, he came in touch with Theosophy and was actively involved with Annie Besant and the Home Rule Movement. A leading member o the Brother’s Service, Menon went to England in 1924. He was awarded M.A. in Psychology with First Class Honors from University College and M.Sc. in Political Science with First Class Honors from the London School of Economics.

Personal Life

Menon lived a life of simplicity and minimal needs. He stayed in a single room house and mostly used public transport for him conveyance. He only drew a salary of rupee one. Often described as brilliant and arrogant, he was also well known for his excellent oratory skills. His eight hour long speech ay United Nations Security Council, defending India’s stand on Kashmir is still considered an epic one. A vegetarian and a non alcoholic, he remained a bachelor all his life.


After India gained independence, Krishna Menon was appointed as the high commissioner to United Kingdom. In 1952, he took in charge of the Indian delegation in United States and held the position till 1962. He became the member of Rajya Sabha in 1953 from Madras. In 1956 he became a member of the Lok Sabha and was made the defence minister in 1957. He even played a key role in the freedom of Goa and its annexation to the Indian Territory.

V.K Krishna Menon died on 6 October 1974 at the age of 78. In 2013, a blue plaque was placed at 30 Langdon Park Road, in Highgate, London by English Heritage, commemorating Menon.

V. K. Krishna Menon

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