I was touched beyond words on the 22nd Oct when I was about to leave for Coimbatore,when I received a call from Dr.Rama Subramaniam,a reknown Doctor & President of UK Tami Association…He said
“Suri..Tomorrow is your father’s 100th BIrth day!”I was under the impression that it is only in 2014!..He went on narrating how my father has moulded him and he owes so much to my father that he not only remembers him on his daily prayers,but made it a point to send a nice article for Dinamani to be published,as below:-Tribute to Rajah Iyer
Here are a few of the reactions from his old students on this article:-
1.Mr.Sekharan in Dinamani..”I owe my life to this great man.Was touched by this article.He not only shaped my life but made it possible for me to do my Graduation by opening a College in Ramnad itself as I am from a very poor family&cdn’t have afforded to go elsewhere.I was pleasently surprised when I got a scholarship in his name of Rs124 (which was a huge amnt in the 60s)from the Principal Mr.Messiahdas saying Rajah Iyer has donated all his amnt received from The President’s Award to be deposited&the interest to be paid to the Outstanding Poor Student of Ramnad in this college .If I have performed as a honest RDO in this area(Ramnad)it is all because of him.Such teachers never die!
2.Dr.Somu,Advocate&oldstudent:I have been living in Ramnad since 1952.Even as students,we used to respect him so much that none wd even try to go before him even on the roadside.Every citizen of Ramnad used to bow&salute this great man anywhere on Ramnad irrespective of whether they were his students or not.This respect he commanded with exemplary dignity by his selfless sacrifice all thro’ his life.Till date I am yet to see anyone else who commanded so much respect in that place.I am privileged to be his student!
3.”I was a witness in Feb 1974 when he passed away and when all the Party Flags,including the Communist Parties were half mast for 3 days.When the Funeral procession started,the Rajah Of Ramnad,Ramanatha Sethupathi,the DMK MLA,Satyendran and two others carried his body and kept it on a specially decoarted Open Truck..From his home to the Grave yard,a distance of 4 KM ,it took more than 5 hrs due to the crowds swelling on both sides shouting..”When can I see a man like him?”..an Old Student.
4.”Shri. Rajah Iyer is one of the greatest Head Masters. He was a great teacher, compassionate, easily accessible, loved his students, remembered all his students, sometimes he was teacher for two generations in the same family. He commanded respect from everybody. I still vividly remember him delivering the prayer address, teaching in the class. May his memory and fame last for ever.”..S.Krishnan Mumbai.
5.”I will not forget Sri. Rajah Iyer’s narration of the “Benhur” movie for us when I was his student in his SSLC class. I think he saw the movie in Madras or so during his official or other trip. He took the time for his students. He cared for his students, and indeed, he has given us something core in our values for sure along with the culture of our own little place Ramanathapuram that have molded many of our traits.” Rajan USA.
A Brief Note on Shri.Rajah Iyer:-
1.Born in a Poor family of 6 membes,h won Scholarship to do Graduation in American College&later Masters in Annamalai Univ.Late President was his close friend in Annamalai Univ.Both used to participate in Debates regularly.
2.Gifted Speaker even at a very young age in English&Tamil,he was picked by Raja of Ramnad in 1930 in Paramakudi&requested him to come to Rajah’s High School,Ramnad ,with an assurance that the Mantle of the school will be his sooner.
3.After a year in Rajah’s High School he had to go to Saidapet,Madras to do his Teachers Training with a young wife and his mother.He didn’t have money when the Rajah of Ramnad promised him that every month he will get his money on time a sum of Rs50 at that time!Never was a time there was a default.
4.When he came back,he was a prominent Teacher of Maths&English in the school,when Britishers spotted his talents in Maths and wantd him to join Income Tax Dept at an officer’s position even in the 30s.He refused all lucrative offers including Bank offers to show loyalty for the Rajah of Ramnad.
5.In 1945 when there was the vacancy for the HM’s position there were 3 equally qualifid contestants,Mr.M.Rajah Iyer,Mr.S.Narasimhan,&Mr.Rengasamy Iyengar.When he was selected by the Rajah,Narasimhan moved into MCT MUthiah School and Rengasamy Iyengar to NSMVPS School Devakottai.They continued to be very very close friends till the very last and each one made a great mark in their respective schools.
7.1962 he was very popular with South India Teachers Union apart from Srinivasa Varadan,he wanted to represent them in the council and Raja Shanmuga Rajeswara Sethupathi allowed him to contest.He won against 8 contestants including Dr.Alexander Gyanamuthu,Principal of Alagappa College and a member of the Univ Syndicate.
8.His dedication for Teachers was so sincere that this moving incident took place in 1968 when he was at his peak as an MLC when even CM Annadurai refused a DMK Candidate(Anbazhagan’s own brother Thirumaran wanted to contest against him but was denied DMK Tkt)against him :
I saw a blind teacher from Mandapam with an young girl helping him to my father Ramnad.M father lost his cool and shouted at him:”See if you again come on your pension matters to me,I will never help you.You pls tak it from me your pension matter is On To Priority and pls never ever come again..”
Blind Teacher:”sorry Sir,I will never disturb you again..”He left with that girl..
I got a shock of my life & asked my father
“Appa..How can you lose your cool to a Blind Teacher of all..?”
He smilingly said :”See This man is a teacher but blind from Mandapam.He had one daughter married to another teacher and both of them met with a road accident and died leaving this poor 8 yr old girl as his only escort in this World.But I have taken up his cause on Top Priority with Dir of Public Instructions for Pension.But he has been coming every week from Mandapam spending Rs4+4 just to see me..If I don’t shout he will again come next week..In his own interest to save that precious little money,I had to shout as I know how much that Rs8 means to him..!”
I was amazed.Well he not only got his Pension soon but was all along holding my father’s feet on his death,refusing anyone to take the body including the Rajah of Ramnda..shouting..
“My Deivam My Deivam..!”
For such a great man,you may ask me “What did you do?”
Ofcourse I cdn’t give him even a cup of Coffee when he was alive,but am happy God helped me to perpetuate His memory for poor deserving people in Thambaram Area thro’these Two blocks I was able to build in His name & my mother’s name in HIndu Mission Hospital:-
“Karmanyeva Dikarasthe,Maa Palchu Kadacana”…
“Do your Duty..Don’t look at the End results.”..
Lord Krishna II Chapter Gita