Chennai

Ex-principal recalls the golden period

The Pachaiyappa’s College set a trend by starting a Parent-Student-Teacher Association. The concept was later adopted by several other institutions in the State.

The concept was introduced by Purushothaman Kamalakar Rao, the Principal of the college between 1989 and 1994.

According to teachers, it was the golden period in the history of the college, which later earned notoriety for student unrest.

Mr. Rao, who did his intermediate at the college, completed his graduation in Madras Christian College and joined Pachaiyappa’s College as a lecturer.

In November 1989 he took over as the Principal and held the post until retirement in 1994. During the five years of his tenure as Principal, the students did not indulge in strikes.

Pachaiyappa’s College had a strong student’s union and many of its alumni from both the AIADMK and DMK had honed their skills in politics by being in the union. Over the years though the union became unruly.

“He scrapped the student’s union and elections,” recalled N. Shettu, his student and currently a Syndicate member at the University of Madras.

Mr. Rao recalled, “By 1991 the college had received a bad name as rowdy’s college. I assured the boys I will not kill democracy but allow indirect elections. I asked each department to elect a student. These students held a meeting with me in which I asked them to conduct an election to the Students Union. The boys understood and I got an assurance from the students that they would not go on strike. For five years we had no strike at all.”

His tenure also saw the college receive substantial funds to improve infrastructure. The college added buildings worth ₹1 crore. “I met Nalli Kuppusami Chetty, Sivanthi Adithan, M.A.M. Ramasamy and M. Chidambaram, who contributed funds and five-six buildings were constructed. It reduced the space crunch in the college,” he said.

Mr. Rao, who has authored 10 books in Zoology, was also instrumental in getting ₹2 lakh grant from the University Grants Commission, which helped set up a museum of specimen for animals for the Zoology Department.


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Printable version | Oct 15, 2021 5:03:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/ex-principal-recalls-the-golden-period/article23764848.ece

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