LK Ananthakrishna Iyer did his BA (1883) from the University of Madras and obtained his Doctorate (hc) from University of Breslau, Germany. His specialization was in anthropology. He was the Superintendent of Ethnography (1902) and Deputy Inspector of Schools (1908), Cochin State. He was Head, Department of Anthropology, University of Calcutta (1921-33).
Academic and Research Achievements: Iyer had the unique opportunity of investigating the ethnography of one of the rare areas of the world in which conditions were ideally suited for the stratification of the different components of society as in South India, in general, and Kerala, in particular. He studied such societies first hand with all advantages of a scholar belonging to this area. He described, in detail, the traditional origin, ceremonial rites, religious beliefs, occupations, and so forth of tribes commencing with jungly kadars to fishing tribes, Izhuvans and Kammalans. He also studied all the parameters of higher castes ending with Tamil and Nambudiri Brahmins. He made anthropological studies on Syrian Christians of Malabar, Cochin and Travancore. He published his results in a series of memoirs. He wrote two volumes/ monographs on Cochin Tribes and Castes (1908-12).
Other Contributions: Iyer was Honorary Member of Scottish Anthropological Society; Corresponding Member of Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, Bureau of American Ethnology; and Anthropological Society (Bombay). He was also an Associate Member of Asiatic Society (Calcutta) and a Member of Mythic Society (Bangalore), Eugenic Society (London), and Intermediare Sociologique (Bruxelles).
Awards and Honours: Iyer was recipient of Rao Bahadur (1921); Officer d' Academie of French Academy of Sciences (1935); Dewan Bahadur, and was the President, Anthropology Section of Indian Science Congress (1913) and Oriental Conference on Anthropology. He was a Foundation Fellow of Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore; Honorary Fellow of Anthropological Societies of Florence, Vienna and Cologne.