Monday, May 23, 2011
The Rajah at the choultry
Were he alive today, he'd be getting on to his 170th birthday, which is what the Wikipedia entry on him seems to indicate. Rajah Sir Savalai Ramaswamy Mudaliar, KT CIE has been away from us for over a century, but during his time he was a big enough philanthropist for his name to be seen in several places over Chennai. People miss it because it is in a narrow band on the choultry. They miss it because the initials "R.S.R.M." in Government RSRM Lying-In Hospital in Royapuram means nothing to them. His place of burial in Kilpauk, where he once owned a vast stretch of land, is probably inaccessible now.
This statue, erected by his friends, is probably the only one in the city. The man who was given the title Rajah as a personal distinction - rather than as a hereditary keepsake - keeps a watch over one of his favourite gifts to the city from right inside it!