Indian Philanthropist Rajah Muthiah Chettiar Biography

General Studies Question Bank CD Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar was a banker, educationist, philanthropist and a short time politician from the Indian State of Tamil Nadu. Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar was the first Mayor of Chennai. His father Rajah Sir Annamalai Chettiar was also a famous educationist and along with him Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar found the Annamalai University in the town of Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu.

Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar was also the third Nattukottai Chettiar to be Knighted, the first two were his nephew and father. Government of Tamil Nadu honoured him with the title “Tamil Isai Kavalar”.

Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar Early Life

Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar was born on August 5, 1905, son of Dr. Rajah Sir Annamalai Chettiar,The Rajah of Chettinad and a distinguished member of the Nattukottai Nagarathar Community. Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar studied mostly in Madras, graduating from the Presidency College, Chennai in 1922. Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar then went to Burma on his family’s business, acquiring expertise in banking.

Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar as a Banker

Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar became a member of Madras Legislative Council, representing the South Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry with which Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar was associated for 50 Years, and was elected its President in 1941.

Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar was appointed member of the Provincial Banking Enquiry Committee (1931). In 1929, Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar became a member of the Corporation of Madras and was elected Mayor in 1933 and 1934.

In 1943, Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar was elected president of the Federation of the Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry. Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar was associated with the Imperial Bank of India ( now the State Bank of India ) and the Indian Bank.
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Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar as an Educationist

Interest in education was part of the family heritage. Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar 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 Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar was appointed Minister – in – Charge of Education, Public Health and Excise, and was also the pro – Chancellor of Madras University for over a Year. Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar remained on the Board of Management of the Pachaiyappa’s Charities for 33 Years.

Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar 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 Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar 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.

Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar 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.

Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar Politics

Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar earned the reputation of being a sensitive Parliamentarian, impartial and balanced, as a leader of the opposition in 1939 and when Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar held charge of Local Administration and Hindu Religious Endowments.
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Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar 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 Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar was elected member of the Constituent Assembly at New Delhi.

Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar Awards and Legacy

Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar was knighted in the 1941 King’s Birthday Honours, and was invested by the Viceroy of India on 24 June, 1941. Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar also had the rare honour of hosting a lunch in the 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.

Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar died on May 12, 1984 in Madras leaving an impressive record of interests and achievements. Indian Government hourned him with a postal stamp issues on him memory on December 21, 1987.

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