Friday, 31 January 2014

Remembering the Bringer of Sweet Siruvani Water

C.S. Rathina Sabapathy Mudhaliar

For the present day Coimbatoreans, it is unimaginable to come across a patch of vacant land in R.S. Puram, which is a posh residential and busy commercial area in the city now. But, several decades ago, people were hardly ready to purchase residential plots there, as they feared that the place was highly unsuitable for human habitation!

Throwing light on this and various other aspects in Coimbatore’s history, Arangasamy, a literature and history enthusiast said:
“When I was a boy, I have seen announcements being made on megaphone inviting people to buy plots at cheaper rates in R.S. Puram”

 Arangasamy addressed on the title “The Contributions of C.S. Rathina Sabapathy Mudhaliar to the Development of Coimbatore” on Wednesday evening at the Thinkers Forum, a literary organization functioning in Bharatiya Vidhya Bhavan.

Dr. Arangasamy

Sharing from his memoirs on Rathina Sabapathy Mudhaliar, the former chairman of Coimbatore Municipality, who was instrumental in bringing the sweet Siruvani water to the city, Arangasamy noted that the present day R.S. Puram, which stands for ‘Rathina Sabapathy Puram’ was once a vast stretch of agricultural lands.

 “The busy R.S.Puram of today was once a 350 acre agricultural land. Though the municipal chairman Rathina Sabapathy
The busy R.S. Puram today
Mudhaliar announced that people could buy the plots on payment of the price even in installments, many did not come forward to purchase them due to the place being desolate”

The 78 year old Arangasamy, who naturally presented his speech in pure Kongu Tamil dialect, is a homeopath by profession and was one of the few, who spread the benefits of homeopathy, when the alternate medical treatment got introduced  in the city almost half a century ago.  

Tracing the settlement of Rathina Sabapathy Mudhaliar’s family in Coimbatore, Arangasamy informed:

“The ancestors of C.S Rathina Sabapathy Mudhaliar came to Coimbatore from Kancheepuram in 1796 as traders of cereals. When C.S.R’s grandfather Muthuranga Mudhaliar reached Coimbatore, the city was under the rule of Kurikara Madhayyan, a representative of the Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan” he added.

Listing out the various contributions of C.S.R to the development of the city, Arangasamy averred that bringing of Siruvani water to Coimbatore was his landmark service.

“In the thick forests, where Siruvani originates from the wild streams Muthikulam, Pattiyaru and Pambaru, CSR appointed a team of men under Zamedar Chinna Maruthasalam of Puliyakulam to look after the work ” informed Arangasamy, adding that even a street in Puliyakulam is still called ‘Chinna Maruthasalam Street’ in honour of his service.  

Recalling the demise of C.S.R in 1956, Arangasamy recalled:

“As C.S.R was an active office bearer in Justice Party, I saw rationalist leader Periyar E.V.Ramasamy participate in his funeral. I also remember the large crowds of people in front of C.S.R’s bungalow on Avinashi Road, where the luxurious hotel The Residency stands now”

Krishnraj Vanavarayar, Chairman, Bharatiya Vidhya Bhavan and Prof I.K. Subramaniam, Assistant Editor of the ten-volume Tamil Encyclopedia were among those present in the meeting.
Link to my article in The New Indian Express:




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