Saturday, November 12, 2016

3 Madras Literary Society event on 19 November 2016 !

The next  event at the MLS will be held at 1130 am on Saturday 19 November 2016. It includes the award of two grants by Mr PK Belliappa, IAS (Retd) for the restoration of rare books in our collection, on behalf of the Association of British Scholars and his family Trust. Additionally, Mr S Muthiah, well known to all, will talk about  'Three 19th. Century Pioneers of Knowledge from Madras- William Lambton, Colin Mackenzie, and Francis Buchannon- Hamilton.'

2. Details are given below. As usual, admission is free to members, and a modest Rs. 50 is sought from non members who come. We would naturally greatly value contributions from members too.

 The MLS will receive two grants of Rs. 25000/- each from Mr PM Belliappa, IAS, (Retd) to help our programme to restore rare books in our collection. His academic achievements include post graduate degrees in Economics, English and Law. He was a Research Fellow at the Centre for South Asian Studies, Cambridge University, and also obtained a Diploma in Development Administration from Manchester University.

 A distinguished civil servant of the Tamil Nadu cadre, Mr Belliappa served in a variety of challenging assignments in the State, the Centre and in PSUs in the course of a career spanning 35 years. This included participation in Indian delegations to International institutions like the UNIDO, the World Bank, and service as Chairman of International Workshop on Clean Technologies organised by the Regional Institute of Environmental Technology Singapore, a European Union-sponsored institution.

 The first grant from Mr Belliappa is from his family Trust, established in honour of his father, Mr PK Monappa, who joined the Madras State police as a subordinate officer and uniquely went on to head the police services of Madras, Hyderabad, and Mysore states! The Trust is especially known for funding the post graduate education of a bright student from South India in the UK every year. This year it has gone to a young man who will explore nuclear science at Cambridge. His family, like Mr Belliappa's, is self made.

 The second grant will be made by Mr Belliappa on behalf of the Association of British Scholars, whose Chennai chapter he headed after retirement. ABS is a pan India organization helped by the British Council to bring together Indians who have had the opportunity to study in the UK, and have made significant contributions to India after returning. In this assignment he played a big part in creating a three volume gazetteer highlighting the role of Chennai in forging modern India. Mr Belliappa’s role in fostering Indo- British ties was recognized by the award of an honorary MBE. 

 Mr S Muthiah, a valued member of the MLS, is well known as the historian of Madras, though he modestly says he is only a story teller. Born in Ramanathapuram, Mr Muthiah grew up in Sri Lanka, where his father became the mayor of Colombo. Following college in Chennai, he went on to study engineering and International Relations in the USA, and served in Sri Lanka before migrating to India. Both in Sri Lanka and in India, Mr. Muthiah has made his name as a journalist, historian, cartographer, and Heritage Activist. His special love for the British connection with Chennai is so well known that listing his numerous contributions would be a case of carrying coal to Newcastle; less known is the  seminal three volume ABS gazetteer on Chennai that he piloted. He too has been recognized for his lifetime work by the award of an honorary MBE.

 Mr Muthiah's talk will focus on three British military officers of the East India Company who started projects of national importance at Madras- Col William Lambton, who initiated the Great Trignometric Survey in 1802, and passed away in harness at Hinganghat; Colin Mackenzie, justly celebrated for the Mackenzie Papers, which laid the foundation for modern study of South Indian history; and Dr Francis Buchannon- Hamilton who served in the war against Tippu and went on to master medicine, botany, and zoology- the Alipur zoo in Kolkata is testimony to his work; 

Please do come if you can.
Best wishes.
Mohan Raman


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