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M.A. Chidambaram, a multi-faceted personality

By Our Special Correspondent

CHENNAI, JAN. 20. A doyen of south Indian industry, M.A. Chidambaram, who passed away here late last night, was a multi- faceted personality, whose activities encompassed fields such as the arts, Tamil language, education, health and philanthrophy.

Born on October 12, 1918, Chidambaram, the third son of the late Raja Sir Annamalai Chettiar of Chettinad, began his association with industry at a very young age when he was first appointed Director of the Indian Aluminium Company Limited.

MAC, as he was popularly known, was connected with various industries like sugar, steel, automobile, shipping, fertilizer and others. Jointly with the Tamil Nadu government, he promoted the establishment of a fertilizer plant at Tuticorin, called the Southern Petrochemical Industries Corporation (SPIC). Till the very end he remained the chairman of SPIC which was the flagship of his family group of industries.

An amiable and courteous personality, M.A. Chidambaram's dynamism was particularly marked when as the Mayor of Chennai in 1955 he made several improvements to the administration of the civic institution and was mainly responsible for the installation of mechanical filters for the city's water supply system.

As one who took deep interest in the welfare of the under- privileged he established a home of destitute children which also provides them education and vocational training.

He was the Managing Trustee of Voluntary Health Services and was largely responsible for its development and growth. He founded the M.A. Chidambaram Charities in February 1963 for fulfilling several humanitarian objectives. While the MAC Educational Foundation was started in 1983, a medical foundation was also established the same year with the objective of providing medical relief to the poorer sections. He established the MAC Public Charitable Trust to support deserving institutions in the field of education, medical and cultural activities.

Keenly interested in sports, Chidambaram's first love had always been cricket followed by tennis. He guided the destiny of the Board of Control for Cricket in India as its president for a term and he was also the honorary treasurer of the Cricket Board for a record number of years. His services in building a cricket stadium at Chepauk in Chennai were duly recognised by the TNCA which named the facility after him.

He had been president of the Southern India Chamber of Commerce and Industry from 1951 to 1957. He was the builder of this premier chamber in the south.

M.A. Chidambaram's services to the welfare of the army and civil defence had been recognised by the Government of India which appointed him honorary colonel of the Indian Territorial Army. He was also the honorary consul general for the Philippines in Chennai.

For nearly 50 years, he served as the honorary secretary of Tamil Isai Sangam and contributed in no small measure for its growth and development. He was particularly keen to propagate the traditional nadaswaram instrument. A keen lover of animals, he had evinced interest in horse breeding and for several years was chairman and senior steward of the Madras Race Club.

Vajpayee condoles

NEW DELHI, JAN. 20. The Prime Minister, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee, today condoled the death of Mr. M. A. Chidambaram, a leading industrialist in the country.

In his condolence message, Mr. Vajpayee recalled Mr. Chidambaram's contributions to industry, sports and arts.

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