Saturday, July 26, 2014
School in the middle
As one of the earliest planned settlements of the city of Madras, during the 1730s, the designers of Chintadripet had thought of several amenities, including deities from the "old" city of Madras, for the convenience of its residents. However, they do not seem to have paid much attention to education - in the formal sense, as we know it now. It is not as if such schools were unknown; the 'Madras System of Education' was exported back to England from St George's School in the century before Chintadripet was a gleam on the banks of the Cooum.
The oldest school in the Chintadripet areas is the 170 year old Chintadripet Higher Secondary School. This one in the picture is of a much more recent vintage. In the late 1940s, there was a need to expand one of the existing schools run by the Kalyanam Chetty family (who had funded it). It was then that Rao Bahadur Ganapathi Pillai, a Councillor of the Corporation of Madras, came forward and offered his property to house the school. He had only one condition: that the building should never be demolished.
The construction of the times being quite solid, the building remains in fairly good condition. Even though it is crowded by its neighbours, the Chintadripet Middle School continues to run from this building - named "Ganapathi Buildings" after its benefactor!