About our Founder
The origin of the college is traced back to the LAST WILL and TESTAMENT of the born-to-serve man, Calavala Cunnan Chetty Garu. He had the divine grace of being a doyen in the Arya Vysya community. The seer was so service minded that his WILL says, “…. the bulk of my properties should be utilized for charities and that my name should be perpetuated not by descendants but by schemes of public benefactions which I am anxious to organize and provide for”. To fructify his vision, he established a Public Charitable Trust ‘Dharmamurthi Rao Bahadur Calavala Cunnan Chetty’s Charities’.
Smt. Calavala Seethamma Garu whose willing co-operation and selfless magnanimity made it possible for Dharmamurthi to create the Trust. She was an inspirational life partner to our Founder. The great man was of the view that education alone could uplift the downtrodden. He himself had established several Schools at various places in Chennai. He was also maintaining a library for use by the poor students. Not content with the educational services, he was also running ayurvedic dispensaries and free choultries. He was also a prominent member of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).
Dr. Annie Besant has conferred the title ‘Dharmamurthi’ on Sri Cunnan Chetty posthumously.
In the words of the great Tamil Poet “Mahakavi Bharathiyar”, Sri Rao Bahadur Calavala Cunnan Chetty Garu” stood as a doyen in establishing the “Dharma” during those days and the spirit of equality in other religions should be spread in educational institutions founded by him. He prayed Goddess “Parashakthi” to bestow Her Blessings on him to fulfill this desire. (Reference: Mahakavi Bharathiyar’s Book titled “Nambikkai”). The residents of Triplicane honoured this philanthropist by conferring on him the title of “Kodai Vallal”. The citation of “Rao Bahadur” was conferred by the British Government for his service to society.
Life and Times of Sri Dharmamurthi Rao Bahadur Calavala Cunnan Chetty Garu
‘A Beacon of Light’
- Our beloved Founder, Dharmamurthi Rao Bahadur Calavala Cunnan Chetty Garu was a great philanthropist. He dedicated himself for the upliftment of the society.
- He was born into the Calavala family in the year 1869. After his higher education from Pachaiyappa’s College and the Madras Christian College, he took over M/s King & Company, the family business.
- During his life time, he established two schools at Tiruvallur and Perambur and founded a Sanskrit College, Primary School for Girls, Middle School at Chintadripet, and gave financial aid to many schools in and around Chennai. In 1969, in commemoration of centenary birth year of Founder, a College at Pattabiram and a School at Kilpauk were started.
- He established a library for the benefit of the students of the city of Madras.
- He started Ayurvedic Hospitals in Triplicane, Nungambakkam and Nellore.
- He personally supervised feeding of the poor and needy.
- He extended help to the Ramakrishna Mutt at Mylapore by an annual grant.
- He was instrumental in starting evening schools for adults in economically backward areas.
- He made arrangements for the distribution of milk to poor children in his house at Govindappa Naicken Street.
- A sum of Rupees Seventy Five Thousand was spent annually on the charitable endowments in the 1920s. He donated Rupees One Lakh to Pachaiyappa’s Trust.
He held many posts in various organizations such as
- Director of Indian Bank.
- Trustee of Pachaiyappa’s Trust Board
- Member of South Indian Chamber of Commerce.
- Member of the Governing Body of Hindu High School, Triplicane.
- President of Pappi Chetty Raghaviah Chetty Charities.
- Trustee of Sri Kanyaka Parameswari Devasthanam.
- President of Mylapore Sangeetha Sabha.
- Patron of Young Men’s Education Society.
- President of Arya Vysya Sangam.
- President of Arya Yuvajana Sangam.
- Member of Chennapuri Mahajana Sabha.
- Director in Madras Anjuman.
- Treasurer of Madras Pinjrapole.
- Member of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
- As the one of the Vice-Presidents, he gave large monetary assistance to the Madras Social Service League.
- He showed great interest in the development of industries and deputed students on scholarship to Bombay for industrial training.
- He participated in public life. He gave a brilliant lecture as the Chairman of the Reception Committee of the Provincial Conference at Kanchipuram during 1918. He was offered a Membership in the City Corporation Council.
Last Will and Testament
Our Founder was so service minded that his ‘Will’ says “that the bulk of my properties should be utilized for Charities and that my name should be perpetuated not by descendants but by schemes of public benefaction which I am anxious to organize and provide for……….”. He made his final will and testament on 19.7.1920, by which he bequeathed his entire property for the cause of education and other charitable purposes and established a Public Charitable Trust ‘Dharmamurthi Rao Bahadur Calavala Cunnan Chetty’s Charities’ with the willing co-operation and selfless magnanimity of his better half Smt. Calavala seethamma Garu.
Our Founder firmly believed in ‘SERVICE TO HUMANITY IS SERVICE TO GOD’
The great Tamil Poet “Mahakavi Bharathiyar” in his book titled Nambikkai talks about the magnanimous attitude of our founder. To quote from the book “Sri Rao Bahadur Calavala Cunnan Chetty Garu stands as a doyen in establishing the ‘Dharma’ during those days and the spirit of equality in other religions should spread in the educational institutions founded by him. He prayed Goddess “Parasakthi” to bestow Her Blessings on him to fulfill this desire.
Dr. Annie Besant, Mr. Justice T.V. Sheshagiri Aiyar, Mr. S. Kasthuriranga Aiyangar, Mr. C. P. Ramaswami Aiyar, Mr. S. Satyamurthi, Dewan Bahadur D. A .Govindaraghava Aiyer, Rao Bahadur T. Rangachariar, Mohamed Sadulla, Badshah Saheb, C. Venkatarangam Naidu, and many prominent citizens of Madras paid fitting tributes to late Calavala Cunnan Chetty Garu at the Memorial Meeting held on 5thAugust 1920.
Sri Cunnan Chetty was conferred the title “Dharmamurthi” posthumously. The citation “Rao Bahadur” was conferred by the British Government for his service to society. The residents of Triplicane honoured him by conferring the Title of ‘Kodai Vallal”.
Motto of our Educational Institutions is ‘CHARACTER, CULTURE, CITIZENSHIP’
Dharmamurthi Rao Bahadur Calavala Cunnan Chetty’s Charities –A concise chronicle
The Mission of Dharmamurthi Rao Bahadur Calavala Cunnan Chetty’s Charities is to provide simple life- changing care for the betterment of the poor, disadvantaged and the deprived irrespective of caste, creed or religion, by extending educational support, and by providing medical succor. The Charities engages in multifarious acts to reach out to the society and to fulfill the axiom of the revered founder – Service to Mankind is Service to God.