Wednesday, June 11, 2014
This is the building where, in 1905, V. Krishnaswami Iyer founded the Venkataramana Ayurveda Dispensary. The name was probably a part-tribute to his father, Venkatarama Iyer, who was a munsif in the Thanjavur district. Krishnaswami grew up there and it was only after he completed his schooling that he came to Madras. He studied at Presidency College (where, unable to follow the British accent of his lecturers, he found it far more entertaining to spend his time on the Marina) and then at the Madras Law College.
Though he seems to have been academically rather average, he used his keen intelligence and quick wit to build a reputation as a lawyer. He earned quite well, too and was a benefactor to several institutions in the city, even setting up a few himself.
The Ayurveda Dispensary - which was also to serve as a teaching institution - was one of the beneficiaries of Krishnaswami Iyer's generosity. He set aside this building and then endowed the institution with a corpus of Rs.20,000. The dispensary continues to occupy the same space. Some parts of the dispensary / college are elsewhere, but close by. For Krishnaswami Iyer, this was one of the many things that he picked up, did something about and moved on!