It is here that Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Thevar and Dalit icon Kakkan studied
The contribution of religious institutions in imparting academic education to the masses is something that cannot be repudiated. Like many other places of Tamil Nadu, Madurai too has quite a number of educational institutions established by religious bodies. Prominent among them is the 168-year-old Pasumalai Higher Secondary School (PHSS) run by the Church of South India.
Situated in a sylvan setting at the foothills of Pasumalai, the school was the alma mater of Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Thevar and Dalit icon P.Kakkan, according to its alumnus N.Sethuraman, president of All India Moovendar Munnani Kazhagam and founder of Meenakshi Mission Hospital and Research Centre here.
The institution stands testimony to the service rendered by American Missionaries in the 19th century. A souvenir published during the sesquicentennial celebrations of the school in 1995, states that the American Missionaries were originally working among the Tamils in Sri Lanka.
It was in 1834 that the Mission asked Levi Spaulding, a missionary, to visit South India and explore the possibilities of spreading the message of God. Then he landed at Devipattinam along with three Tamilians from Jaffna, toured extensively and started working from here on July 21, 1834.
Since the people in those days had many superstitious beliefs, the missionaries felt the need to educate them before preaching religious tenets. A theological seminary was established at Thirumangalam near here on September 4, 1842, and it was headed by Rev.William Tracy, who later came to be called the Father of Pasumalai.
When the missionaries wanted to shift the seminary to a bigger place, Blackburne, the then Principal Collector of Madurai, offered them the present site at Pasumalai.
The seminary was shifted on March 4, 1845, and the same year the PHSS was started.
Two years later, New England Church was constructed on the premises and the school was also used for conducting kindergarten classes.
Even now, the church stands tall there, after the renovation works undertaken in 1991. It is also used for conducting classes as the existing main school building, constructed in 1931, was not sufficient to accommodate the growing number of students. “When I took charge in 2004, the student strength was around 750, but today it is 1,637,” said school correspondent V.Chandrahasan.
He said the feat could be achieved with the support of Rev. M.Joseph, Bishop of CSI Madurai-Ramnad Diocese, and the school teachers. Headmaster D.Dhanapalan pointed out that a majority of the school students now were from poor families.
Yet the school had been winning laurels in every sphere of education with the assistance provided by its alumni, he added.
Two regular classrooms and one smart class room with LCD projectors have been constructed in the school with donations from Madurai Mayor V.V.Rajan Chellappa, also a former student.
The classrooms have been named after his father Veluchamy Vathiyar. Mr.Chellappa’s son V.V.R.Raj Satyen sponsored the renovation of a basketball court on the campus.
School’s Assistant Headmaster G.P.Navamani, recipient of State Government’s Best Teacher Award, said the teachers and the students contributed money to construct a classroom block named after the school’s illustrious correspondent Rev.Lloyd Lorbeer, who served in different tenures between 1919 and 1947.
“We have been told that those days the missionaries lived in bungalows built on the hillock. One day, Mr.Lorbeer found his wife dead at home. Yet, he attended the school as usual and did not disclose the news to anyone until the bell rang in the evening to announce the end of school hours. Such was the dedication of the teachers of this school,” he said.
Stating that the school has dedicated teachers even now, Mr.Dhanapalan pointed at another Assistant Headmaster K.Alagesan who had offered Rs.10,000 from his personal funds to a student who scored full mark in Chemistry in this year’s Plus Two examinations.
— Mohamed Imranullah S.
The institutionstands testimony to the service rendered by American Missionaries in the 19th century A theological seminarywas established at Thirumangalam near here on September 4, 1842
The institutionstands testimony to the service rendered by American Missionaries in the 19th century
A theological seminarywas established at Thirumangalam near here on September 4, 1842
Blackburne, the then Principal Collector of Madurai, offered the American Missionaries the present site at Pasumalai and the seminary was shifted on March 4, 1845, and in the same year the PHSS was started