Dr. RM. Alagappa Chettiar
A commemorative postage stamp on the Birth Anniversary of Sir K.V.A.R. (Kottaiyur Veerappa Alagappa Ramanatha) Alagappa Chettiar, an Indian industrialist :
Issued by India
Issued on Apr 6, 2007
Issued for : The Department of Posts is proud to release a commemorative postage stamp on Dr. Alagappa Chettiar.
Stamp and FDC : Brahm Prakash
Cancellation : Alka Sharma
Type : Stamp, Mint Condition
Colour : Multi Colour
Denomination : 500 Paise
Stamps Printed : 0.4 Million
Printing Process : Photogravure
Printer : India Security Press, Nasik
Name : Kottaiyur Veerappa Azhagappa Ramanathan Chettiar
Born on Apr 6, 1909 at Kottaiyur, Sivaganga district, Tamilnadu, India
Died on Apr 5, 1957
- “Great men have humble beginnings”. Thus began the life and times of RM. Alagappa Chettiar, who was born on April 6th 1909, in Kottaiyur, Sivaganga district. His primary education was at the SMS Vidyasala in Karaikudi, and he went on to obtain his M.A. in Literature from the Presidency College in Madras. It was here that he had the fortune of befriending Dr. Radhakrishnan, a model teacher, who later became the President of India.
- At the age of 21, Chettiar became the first Indian trainee at the Chartered Bank in London. Soon thereafter he qualified for the Bar at Middle Temple, England and became a ‘Bar-at-Law’ and was cherished by the people of Chettinad. Adventurous in nature, he was awarded a pilot’s certificate at Croydon, England. With honorary doctorate degrees conferred upon him by both the Madras and Annamalai Universities, his passion for excellence knew no bounds. The British Government acknowledged his stellar record as a business entrepreneur when he was knighted in 1945 at the age of 37. He later renounced the prestigious knighthood when India attained independence.
- He launched his career by pioneering in textiles. His Empire consisted of rubber plantations in Malaya, tin mines in Burma, textile Mills in Kerala, Insurance companies in Calcutta, hotels in Bombay, theatres in Madras, a flourishing stock broking company and a private airline.
- In 1947, following India’s independence, he answered the call of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to industrialists to help educate India. He spontaneously offered to start a College of Technology in Madras. With able guidance and inspiration from Dr. A. Lakshmanaswami Mudaliar, the then Vice Chancellor of Madras University, The Alagappa College of Technology was established and affiliated to the University of Madras, offering undergraduate programs in Chemical Engineering, Textile Engineering and Leather Technology. His subsequent generous donations led to the establishment of a string of educational institutions in a 1000 acre campus in Karaikudi that included The Alagappa Schools that offered primary and higher secondary education for children, The Alagappa Polytechnic, The Alagappa Engineering College, The Alagappa Arts College, The Alagappa Teacher’s College, The Physical Education College, all of which formed the basis for the establishment of the Alagappa University in 1985 by the Government of Tamil Nadu.
- Apart from founding a galaxy of educational institutions, Dr. Chettiar gave generous donations to Annamalai University for establishing an Engineering College. The reputed Ramanujam Institute of Mathematical Sciences, in memory of the Mathematical Genius Ramanujam, in Chennai was the brain child of Dr. Alagappa Chettiar.
- Dr. Chettiar, at the instance of Mahatma Gandhi also founded the “Thakkar Baba Vidyalaya” which was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi himself. A township near Trichur called Alagappapuram, a Polytechnic and a Maternity Home at Trichur, the research department of Indigenous Medicine in Maharaja College, Ernakulam and Tamil Research Department of Trivandrum University stand testimony to his breadth of vision.
- RM. Alagappa Chettiar was conferred the distinction of Padma Bhushan by the President of India on January 26th 1956. Within a span of two decades, he demonstrated his versatility as a successful business tycoon and an intrepid academician with a vision to change the mere scrub jungle of Karaikudi to an educational Mecca. When he passed away prematurely at the age of 48, Dr. Alagappa Chettiar had redefined philanthropy and contributed more to the betterment of education in Tamil Nadu than any other person of eminence had done until then.
- At the tender age of 48, he succumbed to his illness and passed away on April 5th, 1957, but his legacy lives on.
- Text : Based on material provided by the proponent.