The C.P. RAMASWAMI AIYAR FOUNDATION
Estd: October14, 1966
Status: Registered Society
Chennai The C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation
1 Eldams Road, Alwarpet,Chennai 600018
Telephone: +91-44-24341778 ; Fax: +91-44-24351022
Kanchipuram Brahma Mandiram
6 & 7 Lingappa Street
Telephone: +91-44- 27260450, 27230112
Damal Village Errattai Brahmin Street
Kumbakonam 13 A Mettu Street,
All the above properties were gifted to the Foundation by Sir C.P.’s son, Mr. C.R. Pattabhi Raman.
The C.P. RAMASWAMI AIYAR FOUNDATION was established in 1966, after the passing away of C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar, to continue the work of Dr. C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar, to serve the interests of the community at large and to promote Indian culture and education, research and socio-economic development.
The Foundation is situated in the Grove, the ancestral home of Dr. C.P., which was gifted to the Foundation in 1967 by the late Shri C.R. Pattabhi Raman, eldest son of C.P. and former Advocate and Minister of Law, Government of India. The Foundation has field offices at Kanchipuram and Kumbakonam.
To provide innovative and specialized education within the Indian cultural ethos
To improve the social, economic and cultural lifestyles of diverse populations
To strive for excellence
PROPERTIES OF THE C.P. RAMASWAMI AIYAR FOUNDATION
The Grove, Chennai
The C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation is situated in “THE GROVE, which has a very interesting history. It was purchased in stages. It was part of an extensive property once called 'The Baobab’, named after a rare African tree in its midst. It belonged to John Bruce Norton, father of the famous Barrister Eardley Norton, who, in turn, sold part of it, around the year 1875 to P. Chentsal Rao Pantulu, the first Registrar General of Madras. The latter sold part of the land to Conjeevaram Venkatasubbaiyar (who signed as Venkata Subbiah, in official documents, according to the Andhra custom), and C.R. Pattabhirama Aiyar (C.P.'s maternal grandfather and father). The house on the original plot was sold by Chentsal Rao to a famous Unani physician, father of Sir Mohammad Usman, C.P.'s contemporary.
At the time of the purchase, the property was vast, and included the northern part of the present C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar Road on the east, Seethamma Road (named after his wife) and adjoining properties to the south. The area surrounding Mowbrays Road (now T.T.K. Road) consisted of paddy fields (where rice was grown even till the 1950s). A water-channel flowed through the southern side of the property connecting the Mambalam and Mylapore tanks. In 1903, a tank was built adjoining Mowbrays Road. A line of casurina trees and Chentsal Rao's plantain garden demarcated the western boundary.
At the time of purchase, in 1882, a part of the building already existed adjoining Yeldham's Road (now Eldams Road). There were also godowns, coach sheds, horse stables, cow-sheds and outhouses in the vast garden area.
On this vast plot purchased by Pattabhirama Aiyar and his father-in-law in Rangammal's name, the enlarged present building was added in 1885-86 and re-named 'The Grove' after the extensive grove of trees in the area. In the 19th century, 'The Grove' property was home to deer, jackal, palm civet, peacock and even leopard (the last seen on quite a few occasions). In fact, the whole area between Alwarpet and Mylapore consisted of paddy fields and jungle. It was for this reason that the house was built right next to the road, as the gardens were considered unsafe to walk through at night.
The porch and entrance were built in the Grecian style / popular in the 19th century. There was a strong room where the cash box and jewellery were kept.
'The Grove' was maintained in its original form by C.P.. However, in 1923-24, the central hall, kalyana-koodam, was reinforced by steel girders imported from England and mosaic was introduced for the flooring. It was at this time that western-style bathrooms were introduced. (The house achieved the dubious distinction of being one of the earliest houses in Madras to have flush-out toilets which drained into one of the city's first septic tanks!)
The ceiling of what is now the library was imported from Belgium. The flooring here and the marble used elsewhere in the building were imported from Venice in 1923. The four tall black pillars in the central hall are of Burma teak.
This house was known to the local people as the house of the 'naalu kudirai vandi' (four-horse carriage), because of Pattabhirama Aiyar driving in such a carriage, something looked up to with admiration in those days.
A kalyana koodam, hall for marriages, had been built in the centre of the building, but for three generations after it was built, there were no daughters in the family. Surprisingly C.P.’s granddaughter Shakunthala was the first to be married in this hall built for weddings.
The most impressive part of the house was a beautiful drive-way from Mowbrays Road entering into the portico. It was surrounded by statues, a fountain and a swing.
In 1935-36, a suite of rooms was added on the first floor where, for the first time, RCC beams were used. In spite of these additions, the house retains its old-world look and charm to this day. ‘The Grove’ was gifted by C.P.’s eldest son C.R. Pattabhi Raman to the C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation.
Brahma Mandiram, Kanchipuram
Brahma Mandiram in Kanchipuram was gifted by C.R. Pattabhi Raman to the C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation. The house itself belongs to the Vijayanagara period (15th-16th centuries), about 500 years old, and has been preserved to showcase a lifestyle of an age gone by, an age of spiritualism and sages, where simplicity and beauty were the hallmark of existence. The house, with its wall paintings and beautiful pillars, belonged to a family of land owners of Damal village, maternal ancestors of C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar. C.P.’s grandfather did something revolutionary in the 19thcentury: he gave the house and his other properties to his only child, a daughter, in an age when girls did not inherit property, an age when they sat behind the purdah, in zenanas, which can be seen in this building. The daughter Rangammal became a powerful matriarch, and has been immortalized in Rangammal Vidyalaya, the primary school established by the C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation in the adjoining part of the house. On Raja Veedhi (street), another of her homes now houses the SSKV Girls’School.
Brahma Mandiram now houses the Shakunthala Jagannathan Museum for Kanchi.
13 A, Mettu Street, Kumbakonam
In 1941, Sir C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar donated one of the 9 houses owned by his father in Kumbakonam - a house property located at T.S. No. 500, Ward No. 3, Door No. 13A, Mettu Street, to Kumbakonam Municipality, to run a primary school. The Kumbakonam Municipality ran the Sir C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar Nursery & Primary School till it was closed down in 1999-2000 after which the building was kept vacant.
In the meantime, the unused property had become a den for many anti-social activities. Residents of the locality and public literally were hoping that something would happen to restore the school and re-start educational activities. Being his native place, our PRO Mr. N. Srinivasan appraised the Kumbakonam Muncipal Council about the run-down state of the school and misuse of the property. The Council of Management of the C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation passed a resolution requesting the return of the land and building to the C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation, Chennai, for starting a school. Finally, the Municipal Administration Department of the Government of Tamil Nadu, vide their G.O. (2-D) No.5 dated 01-02-2005, agreed to the transfer of possession of the building to the C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation, retaining ownership by the Municipality, for running a school. The area is about 12,000 sq. ft., of which the school building occupies about 5,000 sq. ft., and the building was in a very bad condition. After taking it over, the Foundation undertook repairs and massive renovation of the building.
INSTITUTES ESTABLISHED BY THE FOUNDATION
Cultural & Educational
Dr. A. Lakshmanaswami Mudaliar
Mr. S. Chitra Narayanswami
Mr. M.V. Arunachalam
Mr. S. Viswanathan
Mr. A.R. Jagannathan
Dr. Sarojini Varadappan