(3) His parents and his birth

Counted amongst the Iyengars, and resident in Bellur, were Sheshamma and her husband, a school teacher by the name of Sri Krishnamachar Iyengar. When Sheshamma fell pregnant, the ’flu pandemic had yet to hit India. But by the time she was ready to deliver, it was at its peak. On Saturday December 14th, 1918, due to the efforts of the suffragettes, British women were at last able to stand as candidates for a general election and to vote. The first woman elected was the Irish nationalist Countess Markievicz of Sinn Fein, although she could not take up her seat for she was in jail. But since she was not in any case prepared to swear allegiance to the British Crown, the point was moot.

At 3 am in the morning of that same day, Sheshamma gave birth to her 11th child. But since she had in the mean time contracted the ’flu, her new arrival was weak and sickly, and few held out much hope for his survival. Sheshamma’s latest child was a boy—an Iyengar. He was given the names Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja.