Learn more about the Promoters:
RAJAH SIR ANNAMALAI CHETTIAR
- Born: September 30, 1881 in Sivagangai District, India
- Died: June 15, 1948
- Nationality: Indian
- Occupation: The Rajah of Chettinad, Philanthropist, Industrialist, Aristocrat, Banker, Educationalist, Patron of the Arts
- Spouse: Rani Lady Seethai Achi
- Parents: S.R.M.M. Muthiah Chettiar (father)
Raja Sir Annamalai Chettiar KCSI was born on September 30, 1881 at kanadukathan in the Sivagangai District of Tamil Nadu, India. His father, S.R.M.M. Muthiah Chettiar, was a rich landlord, influential businessman, and a prominent banker. He was married to Rani Seethai Achi and Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar was their son.
After his schooling, he joined the family business. During the course of business, he visited some countries in Southeast Asia, and also spent a considerable time in England. On his return home, he became the head of the civic body of Karaikudi, also member of several local organizations, and the District Board.
In 1916, he transferred from local affairs to the Legislative Council of Madras Presidency, where he sat for 3 years. In 1920 he stood for election to the Council of State, established under the Montague-Chelmsford Reforms, and was returned for the general constituency (the whole of the Presidency) at the head of the polls. He held his seat in the Council for three consecutive terms, always by election and every time at the head of the polls. With his natural bent for finance, he with others founded the Indian Bank. He was also appointed a governor of the Imperial Bank of India at its inception in 1921 and continued as one of its directors almost to the end of his life.
Raja Sir Annamalai Chettiar was of the firm view that education was a primary need for the country. He made up his mind to found and endow a college at Chidambaram. Sri Meenakshi College was formally opened in 1920. To the Arts College was added the Sanskrit College and a Tamil College in 1927. Soon an Oriental Training College followed by a College of Music was established. All these institutions formed a splendid nucleus for Annamalai University, and it came into existence on 1 January 1929 with the passing of the Bill. It started functioning from July 1929. In recognition of his unique services to the cause of learning, a Knighthood, and the distinction of a hereditary Rajah of Chettinad was conferred on him.
Rajah Sir Annamalai Chettiar was deeply concerned over and made persistent efforts to safeguard the interests of Indians in Burma and French Indo-China. For this purpose he led a deputation to London and Paris in 1935. Even while immersed in other affairs, his thoughts were always with the University at Annamalainagar. Its development and expansion was his passion. His devotion to music, especially Tamil music, was another of his passions. The movement and the impetus that he gave to Tamil music were hailed by all.
He died on 15 June 1948. The Indian Posts and Telegraphs Department issued a ommemorative stamp in his honor.
DR. RAJAH SIR MUTHIAH CHETTIAR
- Born: August 5, 1905 in kanadukathan, Sivagangai District, India
- Died: May 12, 1984
- Political party: Chairman, Justice Party (India)
Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar was a banker, educationist, philanthropist and politician from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. He was the first Mayor of Chennai. His father Rajah Sir Annamalai Chettiar was also a famous educationist and along with him he founded the Annamalai University in the town of Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu. He was also the third Nattukottai Chettiar to be knighted, the first two were his nephew and father. The Government of Tamil Nadu honoured him with the title Tamil Isai Kavalar.
He was born on August 5, 1905, son of Rajah Sir Annamalai Chettiar, the Rajah of Chettinad and a distinguished member of the Nattukkottai Nagarathar community. He studied mostly in Madras, graduating from the Presidency College, Chennai in 1922. He then went to Burma on his family’s business, acquiring expertise in banking.
As a banker
He became a member of Madras Legislative Council, representing the South Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry with which he was associated for 50 years, and was elected its President in 1941. He was appointed member of the Provincial Banking Enquiry Committee (1931). In 1929, he became a member of the Corporation of Madras and was elected Mayor in 1933 and 1934. In 1943, he was elected president of the Federation of the Indian Chambers of Commerce and industry. He was associated with the Imperial Bank of India (now the State Bank of India) and the Indian Bank.
As an educationist
Interest in education was part of the family heritage. He was associated with his father in making Sri Meenakshi College, Chidambaram, the nucleus of Annamalai University. While pursuing his political career as Chief Whip and Legislative Assembly Chairman of the Justice Party, he retained his interest in education. In 1936 he was appointed Minister-in-Charge of education, Public Health and Excise, and was also the pro-Chancellor of Madras University for over a year. He remained on the Board of Management of the Pachaiyappa’s Charities for 33 years. He was also on the Syndicate of the Madras University and the Board of Management of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, for some years. In 1948 he became Pro-Chancellor of Annamalai University which expanded to include the faculties of Education, Fine Arts, Culture, Law and Medicine. Two UGC Centres of Advanced Study in Marine Biology and Linguistics came into being. The Engineering and Technology Department developed into a Post-Graduate Centre. The Muthiah Polytechnic, Annamalainagar, and the Annamalai Polytechnic, Chettinad, were established.
He was interested in the study of Tamil language and Tamil literature, Tamil music and culture. His services to the cause of Tamil earned him the title of Tamil Isai Kavalar.
He earned the reputation of being a sensitive Parliamentarian, impartial and balanced, as a leader of the opposition in 1939 and when he held charge of Local Administration and Hindu Religious Endowments. He was the first Mayor of Chennai (then called Madras) when the Mayoralty was reinstated for the Corporation of Chennai in 1933. The Mayoralty had been earlier removed in 1792, when the act made Madras as a Municipality. In 1946 he was elected member of the Constituent Assembly at New Delhi.
Awards and legacy
He was knighted in the 1941 King’s Birthday Honours, and was invested by the Viceroy of India on 24 June 1941. He also had the rare honour of hosting a lunch in Chettinad House for Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh. While the Government of India bestowed on him Padma Bhushan in 1973, the Tamil Nadu Government honoured him with “Tamil Isai Kavalar” title in 1979. New York World University awarded an honorary doctorate to him in 1982. He died on May 12, 1984 in Madras leaving an impressive record of interests and achievements. Indian government honoured him with a postal stamp issues on him memory on December 21, 1987.
Tamil scholar honoured – The Hindu
Awards presentation ceremony marks 102nd birth anniversary of Muthiah Chettiar – The Hindu
A generation apart – The Hindu
Encomiums on Raja Muthiah Chettiar – The Hindu
DR. M. A. M. RAMASWAMY (CHANCELLOR)
- Born: 30 September 1931
- Marital Status: Married on 6 February 1952
- Qualifications: B.A., D. Litt. (Honoris Causa). Educated at Vivekananda College, Chennai; conferrred D. Litt. (Honoris Causa) degree by Annamalai University, Chidambaram for outstanding contribution in the field of sports in 1979, Alagappa University, Karaikudi in 1996, Pondicherry Central University in 1997 and Anna University, Chennai in 2001.
Shri M.A.M. Ramaswamy, a politician from Janata Dal (Secular) party, is presently a Member of the Parliament of India representing Karnataka in the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian Parliament. Dr. M.A.M. Ramaswamy has been a great inspiration in developing the Annamalai University after his father Raja Sir Muthiah Chettiar and his grandfather Raja Sir Annamalai Chettiar. He is the current Pro-Chancellor of Annamalai university. The present Pro Chancellor Dr. M.A.M. Ramaswamy was nominated by the Chancellor to succeed his father as Founder Pro-Chancellor of the University. With the insight of a skilled entrepreneur, the organisational capability of an executive, the versatility of a venturesome industrialist, and the qualities of leadership and organization, he has continued to show the same care and guidance for the growth and development of the University with a sense of devotion and commitment.
Thanks to his guidance and encouragement, several new courses like Biotechnology, Bioinformatics, and job-oriented courses have been started in various Faculties and the Directorate of Distance Education. As a patron of sports, he has paid attention to the growth and development of the Physical Education Department, by adding to it the enviable Tennis Complex, the Gymnasium and Sports Laboratory.
The University which started with only seven departments in 1929 has, over the last 75 years, developed into a mighty institution of higher learning with nearly 48 Departments, in all 9 Faculties. This is one of the very few institutions in India with all the Faculties located in the same campus. The University can be proud of a well equipped Central Library and Laboratories providing very good facilities for taking up research projects, for Ph.D. and Post-Doctoral work. Several Research Projects have been undertaken by various Faculties funded by several agencies including the State and Central Governments. A close interaction has been developed between the institution and the neighbouring industries for promotion of research and training programmes.
Dr. M. A. M. Ramaswamy is a true sports enthusiast, though his energies have been mostly concentrated on racing. He was the President of the Indian Hockey Federation and during his stewardship, India won its first and last World Cup hockey championship. Indian sport is poorer because his obsessive indulgence has not spread to other sports. Such is his zeal and passion for the sport of horse-racing, that his stables have earned the unique distinction of winning more than 320 classics, a feat that is unlikely to be bettered in a hurry.
SHRI. M.A.M.R. MUTHIAH (Trustee)
The most striking quality of this visionary businessman is his ability to lift the spirits of all those around him to higher realms of endeavour. The son of Dr. M.A.M.Ramaswamy , grandson of Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar and great grandson of Rajah Sir Annamalai Chettiar, he inherited a glorious legacy and took the House of Chettinad to greater heights of excellence. Every single activity of this 3000 Crore Rupee Business House bears the stamp of quality, integrity and reliability. As Managing Director of Chettinad Cement Corporation Ltd., he made inroads into Concrete Technology and brought about high production with sustained growth. Sri M. A. M. R. Muthiah is also the Managing Director of Chettinad MBF Hi Silica (P) Ltd. and Director of Chennai Container Terminal (P) Ltd.