Indian Philanthropist Raja Annamalai Chettiar Biography
Raja Sir Annamalai Chettiar KCSI also known as S.R.M.M. Annamalai Chettiar ( Satthappa Chettiar Ramanathan Chettiar Muthaia Chettiar Annamalai Chettiar ) 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 not a king but an influential businessman and a prominent banker while his brother Ramaswami Chettiar was a founder of the Indian Bank and a member of the Madras Legislative Council from 1909 to 1912.
S.R.M.Annamalai Chettiar was given the title Diwan Bahadur by the British King for the valuable services rendered to the Crown. Later on the occasion of the King’s birthday on 2 June 1923, Annamalai Chettiar was conferred the honur of knighthood. In 1929, Annamalai Chettiar was conferred the title of hereditary Rajah of Chettinad by the King of England. Annamalai Chettiar was the first Rajah of Chettinad.
Annamalai Chettiar Early Life
After his schooling, Annamalai Chettiar joined his family business. During the Course of his business, Annamalai Chettiar visited some of the countries in Southeast Asia. Annamalai Chettiar also spent a considerable time in England. On his return home, Annamalai Chettiar became the head of the civic body of Karaikudi, also member of several local organizations and the District Board.
Annamalai Chettiar Career
In 1916, Annamalai Chettiar transferred from local affairs to the Legislative Council of Madras Presidency, where Annamalai Chettiar sat for 3 Years. In 1920 Annamalai Chettiar stood for election to the Council of State, established under the Montagu – Chelmsford Reforms, and was returned for the general constituency ( the whole of the Presidency ) at the head of polls.
Annamalai Chettiar 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, Annamalai Chettiar with others founded the Indian Bank.
Annamalai Chettiar 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. Annamalai Chettiar was of the firm view that education was the primary need for the Country.
Annamalai Chettiar made 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.
With all these institutions forming a splendid nucleus for Annamalai University and it came into existence on 1 January 1929 with the passing of the bill and 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 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 Annamalai Chettiar led a deputation to London and Paris in 1935. Even while immersed in other affairs, his thoughts were always with the Annamalai University at Annamalainagar.
Its development and expansion was his master passion. His devotion to music, especially Tamil music was another of his passions. The movement and the impetus that Annamalai Chettiar gave to Tamil Music were hailed by all. Annamalai Chettiar died on 15 June, 1948.
Indian Posts and Telegraphs Department is privileged to issue a commemorative stamp in his honor. Indian Posts and Telegraphs Department is privileged to issue a commemorative stamp in his honor.