One of the most important landmarks, but long forgotten, is being spruced up, much to the delight of a small section of residents of Pallavaram and lovers of Tamil history and literature.
The house of renowned Tamil scholar, Marai Malai Adigalar, on Chavadi Street is being renovated and the works are expected to be completed in a few months. An inspection in December 2008 by Santhosh K.Misra, then Kancheepuram District Collector, set the ball rolling for carrying out the improvement works on the house, built in 1911.
The house in which the eminent scholar lived there till his death in 1950 has been tastefully built and the scholar himself is reported to have shown a lot of interest in every aspect of its construction. A stone plaque at the house states that the Central and State government and the South India Saiva Siddhantha Sangam had donated Rs. 40,000 to purchase the house in 1962 to make it as a ‘Marai Malai Adigal Kalai Mandram.'
The ground floor serves as branch library of the Local Library Authority. A sum of about Rs.15 lakh was sanctioned for renovation works. The building has been given a fresh coat of whitewash and old tiles have been replaced with new ones. The furniture and other household articles have been left untouched and undisturbed.
Welcoming the move, residents of Chavadi Street were quick to add that not many were aware of the importance of the house and the occupant who had lived there more than six decades ago. S.P.Gandhi, Secretary of Pallavaram Small Traders Association, said while the ground floor could be used for the library, the first floor could be made as a memorial of the eminent scholar. He said the bust of the scholar, which was knocked off its pedestal during monsoon in 2008, was moved to the open air auditorium.
Urging the Kancheepuram district administration to speed up the renovation, he also appealed to them to provide landscaping around the buildings. There should be more activities in the form of debates, literary events and competitions for school and college students. Unlike the city, not many suburban localities had places that could serve as a hub for such activities, Mr. Gandhi added.