Shri. R. Shankar stated his public life as a teacher and lawyer. He turned to politics with the birth of the Indian National Congress in Kerala State. Shri. R. Sankar emerged as a political leader during the end of the Nivarthana agitation. He has also participated in the freedom struggle and was arrested and put in jail. After India's independence, he focused to strengthen the Congress party. Later, took a break from the Congress party and began to work with the SNDP Yogam and his works helped to bring backward class communities into the fold of the Congress party. He served SN Trusts and held positions such as General Secretary, President and Chief of the SN Trusts. Under his leadership, the SNDP Yogam gave emphasis to the field of education and started many educational institutions.
Shri. R. Shankar was the third Chief Minister of Kerala during the period 1962-1964. He has also served as the deputy Chief Minister in the Ministry of Pattom Thanu Pillai, during 1960-1962. He was born to Raman and Kunchali Amma on 30th April 1909 in Kuzhikkalidavaka village, Kottarakkara. He completed his formal education in a Primary School, Puthur and later continued in an English School in Kottarakkara. He earned degree in Chemistry and worked as a school teacher for a short period of time. After that, he went for getting degree in Law from Thiruvananthapuram Law College and practiced as a lawyer in Kollam District Court. Later, he became the General Secretary of KPCC. He was the General Secretary of the SNDP Yogam for 10 years and served as its President for one year.