Mumtaz Ali Khan, popularly known as Sri M, world-renowned spiritual leader, author, thinker and educationist hails from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. His forefathers were Pashtuns, who moved from Peshawar to erstwhile Travancore as bodyguards to the Maharaja. He was born in 1948 in a fairly affluent family. At the age of 19, he joined the Ramakrishna Mission at Belur Math, without informing his parents, after writing his exams.
Later, the young man wandered throughout the length and breadth of Bharat, particularly the Himalayas. From Hardwar, he travelled by foot to Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. One day, while walking along the rough terrain beyond Badrinath, he came across a cave called Vyasa Guha. It was here that he met his master, Maheshwar Babaji, who induced him into a deep meditation. Then came a stint as a trustee of the Krishnamurti Foundation, where he met and married a Saraswat Brahmin. He now lives in Madanapalle in Andhra Pradesh, where he started a school for the economically deprived and the backward.