Ammembal Subba Rao Pai was a visionary whose philanthropic zeal continues to touch the lives of innumerable people even today. A lawyer and a banker by profession and an educationalist and social reformer by temperament, he was foremost among the pre-independence luminaries who shaped the future of Dakshina Kannada District.
Ammembal Subba Rao Pai was born on 19th November 1852. He completed his schooling in the Government High School Mangalore. He finished his schooling and joined the Madras Law college. Following the demise of his father in 1871, he returned to Mangalore and successfully practiced law.
His concern for social upliftment lead to the establishment of Canara High School Mangalore in 1891. He encouraged women education which was a revolutionary step considering the views of people regarding women education at that time. Thus was born the Canara Girls High School in 1894. He founded the Canara Hindu Permanent Fund in 1906, now known as Canara Bank, one of India’s leading banks, to help the people mobilise their own resources for self help.
He was also instrumental in starting the Musti fund to which women contributed towards the functioning of schools by keeping aside a fistful of grain every day. He founded the Gowda Saraswat Brahman Parishad to help the people of GSB community. This committee raised a “Poor boys education fund” which helped the education of deserving but poor boys. ASR Pai was a visionary who always motivated education.