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Profile of College



Pachaiyappa's College, Chennai is the offspring of a superlative act of private philanthropy of its progenitor, Pachaiyappa Mudaliar, who had made himself a master financier and merchant prince when he was just 22 years old. Around this age many of us are in the threshold of our collegiate educational career. We must be inspired and motivated by the preciousness and large-heartedness of the benevolent founder.

This College had its genesis in the famous Will of Pachaiyappa Mudaliar. Pachaiyappa was born, posthumously in 1754, of poor parents. He grew up in poverty and rose by his own force of character to be the most opulent man of his time but who finally bequeathed all his wealth for the service of God and humanity. It was at Kumbakonam on March 22, 1794, having a premonition of his premature demise, that he drew up his renowned Will "dedicating, with full knowledge and hearty resignation, all his wealth, in the absence of any male issue, to the sacred service of Siva and Vishnu and to certain charities at various temples and places of pilgrimage, to the erection of religious edifies, to bounties to the poor, to seminaries of Sanskrit learning and to other objects of general benevolence."

In those days Wills were rare and obscure and their legitimacy, importance and significance were not correctly comprehended and appreciated. Exploiting this apathetic situation, successive executors of Pachaiyappa's Will flouted the provisions of the Will and embezzled large sums of money covered by the Will. On being apprised of this delinquent and reprehensible conduct, Sir Herbert Crompton, the then Advocate-General moved the Supreme Court of Madras which passed a decree upholding the validity of the Will and directing the person liable for performance of the charities to ensure religious services and also render an account of the funds with accumulated interest, amounting to many lakhs of Rupees. However, the execution of this decree posed stupendous problems since the person against whom the decree was passed was a squandermaniac and could remit only a small fraction of his enormous dues. Fortunately at this juncture, Mr. George Notron succeeded Sir Herbert Crompton as Advocate-General. This proved to be a shot in the arm for the ardent votaries of Pachaiyappa's benefactions. Norton, evincing extraordinary prudence and personal interest, transcending the requirements of his official designation, succeeded in salvaging a huge quantity of jewels and thereby realising in respect of the claim a total sum of about 8 lakhs of Rupees. On an application by Norton, the Supreme Court of Madras passed another decree in 1841, directing that the surplus money left after fulfilment of religious bequests for which one lakh'of Pagodas or four and a half lakhs of Rupees was earmarked, ought to be utilised for establishing educational institutions in various parts of the Presidency, especially in the city of Madras. The general management of the charities, according to the Scheme of the Supreme Court, as directed by the Board of Revenue, became vested in a body of 9 Hindu Trustees, to translate into reality the benevolent services envisioned by the munificent philanthropist.


The Board of Trustees had their first meeting on October 9, 1842. They had several more meetings subsequently and chalked out distinct programmes of action to accomplish the tasks entrusted to them. In January 1842 a primary school was started bearing the name of Pachaiyappa's Central Institution with the objective of providing free education to poor Hindus in the elementary branches of English literature and science, with instruction in Tamil and Telugu. The school functioned in a rented building on a rent of Rs. 20/- per month. This was the beginning of Pachaiyappa's College. On October 2nd, 1846, the foundation stone of "Pachaiyappa's Hall", as it was called, was laid by George Norton in a grand, colourful and glittering function. It is most fitting that George Norton is hailed as the Second Founder of Pachaiyappa's Charities in recognition of his yeoman services to the cause of education. The magnificent hall was built in 3 1/2 years, on the model of the temple of Theseus in Athens. This hall is a landmark in the busy locality of George Town. In the vicinity of this hall, twelve, classrooms were built to accommodate 600 students. The new building was inaugurated on March 20, 1850 in a grand function, attended by a large number of European and Indian intelligentsia. The Pachaiyappa Central Institution began functioning in the new building in 1850.

Very soon the school grew in popularity, exceeding the expectations of the Trustees who were forced to rent another building on a rent of Rs.100/- a month. The primary school was elevated to a High School. The Hindus of Madras made strident demands for college education. At that time there were only two colleges in Madras City, the Presidency College and the Madras Christian College. Both were elitist in character, providing expensive education, accessible only to the aristocratic people. Responding to the rising demands of poor Hindus for college education, the Trustees started intermediate classes in 1880, affiliated to the Madras University, i.e., the school became a second-grade college. Again responding to popular pressure and acting on a suggestion from Mr. John Adam, the then Principal, the Trustees raised the College to a first grade college in 1889 and separated it from the High School and B.A. courses were started in some arts subjects.

The Golden jubilee of Pachaiyappa's Institutions was celebrated on November 26,1892 in Pachaiyappa's Hall. Lord Lansdowne, the then Viceroy of India presided.

Growth of the college in terms of new courses was rather sluggish in the few years after the Golden jubilee Celebrations. The Diamond jubilee (60 Anniversary) was celebrated in a grand fashion on November 21, 1902, Lord Pentland, the then Governor of Madras presided over the celebrations. In his impressive speech, the Governor referred to the special qualities of Pachaiyappa's institutions. He said that the college and the school were "no ordinary educational institutions of ordinary origin and ordinary growth. They have several unusual and highly important characteristics. In the first place, they owe their existence to the munificent endowment made by a single private individual; in the second place, they are purely Hindu institutions, managed by Hindus for Hindus with the smallest possible assistance and interference of the part of the Government. And in the third place, they lay claim in a very special manner to aims and Objects of the highest importance. The often declared object of the Trustees is to provide a national education to make the college a seat of culture."

The dawn of the new century culminated in the generation of a new awareness of the growing importance of science subjects whose phenomenal advances touched every aspect of life. Realising that a college bereft of science education was doomed to extinction, B.A. courses in Mathematics and Physical Sciences were started and spacious laboratories were constructed. There was also a strong feeling that the hustle and bustle of Esplanade made it unsuitable to house the college and the accommodation of the college was woefully inadequate to meet the growing student strength. To start with, a hostel for 150 students was built at a cost of 4 lakhs of Rupees in Chetput and completed in 1921 the year which witnessed the appointment of the first Indian Principal, Professor M. Ruthnaswami. Two more blocks were added to the hostel in 1953 to meet increasing demand for rooms.

The idea of shifting the college from squalid Esplanade of salubrious Chetput was a non-starter owing to paucity of funds. In 1933 the College conducted a raffle which fetched Rs.50,000/- which served as the nucleus of a fund for construction of new buildings. The Government of Madras sanctioned a substantial building grant. Finally on March 22, 1939, Lord Erskine, the then Governor laid the foundation stone for the new buildings which were completed in 1940. The new buildings which were the envy of educational institutions in the state were declared open on August 12, 1940 by Sir Arthur Hope, the then Governor. Dr. Sir. A. Lakshmanaswami Mudaliar who was president of the Trust Board for 3 years successively planned and executed this new building project in a masterly and exquisite fashion. The triumph of this building project is largely attributable to the profound genius, laudable foresight and lionistic efforts of Dr. A.L. Mudaliar who was fittingly described as a second Pachaiyappa by Dr. D.S. Sarma, the then principal of the College. In the meantime Honours courses had been started in a number of arts subjects.

The centenary of the college was celebrated in a glittering function in february 1942. Governor Sir Arthur Hope presided and Dr. Rajah Sir M.A. Muthiah Chettiar, President of the Trust Board delivered the centenary address. Utilising the increased accommodation available, a large number of new courses in Arts and Sciences at the Bachelor's, Master's and Honours levels were started greatly augmenting the quality, variety and utility of the education imparted in the college.

The Post-Centenary Silver Jubilee of the college was celebrated in gala fashion in March 1968. The Chief Guest of the function was none other than Perarignar Dr. C.N. Annadurai, an illustrious alumnus of the college who rose to be the Chief Minister of Tamilnadu.

A resume of the college in third half-century of its existence is a chronicle of the addition of new courses from time to time. The Post-Centenary Golden Jubilee of the college was celebrated belatedly but in a grand manner in May 1994 with a number of new buildings declared open by Dr. (Selvi) J. Jayalalitha, the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Tamilnadu. Thanks to the new additions, the college presently offers B.A. in Tamil, English, Economics, History, Philosophy and Corporate Secretaryship, B.Sc. in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Botany and Zoology, B.Com; M.A. in Tamil, English, History and Philosophy; M.Com; M.Phil, programmes in Tamil, English, Economics, History, Philosophy, Commerce, Mathematics, Chemistry, Botany and Zoology and Ph.D. programmes in Tamil, English, History, Philoso­phy, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Botany and Zoology. Recently, responding to the demands of modern times, job-oriented courses have been started on self-financing basis in the Evening Classes. These are B.Sc. in Computer Science, M.C.A. In order to facilitate grant of approval by the All India Council of Technical Education, the affiliation for the M.C.A. course has been changed from Evening Classes to the Day College in a rare and unique gesture by the University of Madras. In sequel to the introduction of job oriented courses, BCA, BBA, B.Com.(Bank Management) and M.Sc. (Information Technology) courses have also been affiliated to the University of Madras.

It would be naive and foolhardy to presume that the growth and progress of the college have been an unhindered phenomenon. The college had to weather a storm of problems besetting it. Any building is apt to suffer deterioration due to constant use and aging. The buildings of this college are no exceptions to this law of Nature. The weathering course in some of the building is in need of renewal. Repairs to and renovation of electrical installations brook no delay. The sanitary facilities have suffered deterioration.

This college has produced eminent leaders in all spheres of national life. It is a Titanic leader in the comity of educational institutions in the country.

It is poised to celebrate the Post-Centenary Platinum jubilee in the year 2002.

We would be guilty of grave ingratitude if we fail to pay homage to the memory of Pachaiyappa Mudaliar, philanthropist par excellence and non pareil who endowed his entire wealth to the noble cause of religion and education. We also owe a deep debt of gratitude to the successive Trustees, A.G. & O.T.s, Principals and the staff both teaching and non-teaching who spared no pains to make it possible for the college to develop to the present dimensions.

Report 2004-2005

Report 2005-2006

Report 2006-2007

Report 2007-2008

Report 2008-2009

Report 2009-2010


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