Vedaratnam Pillai was born on 25th February 1897 in Vedaraniam to salt merchants Appakutty Pillai and Thangam Aachi.
He belonged to the Saiva (vegetarian) Pillai community. Vedaratnam Pillai was deeply influenced by Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel, and Rajaji.
He joined India’s Freedom Struggle as a teenager. In 1930, with Rajaji, he Organised Tamilnadu Salt Satyagraha like Dandi March. British Government which made him pay triple the damages: a fine, time in jail, and confiscated his land and property.
Arrested several times and spent several months in prison.
Elected three times as a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) of Madras State. He donated all his MLA salary to Shri Ramakrishna Mission. In 1946, he founded the Kasthurba Gandhi Kanya Gurukulam in Vedaraniam.