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Academic year 2007-08:
150 year celebration special:
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Life Sketches

Dewan Bahadur K. Krishnaswamy Rao, C.I.E.

Life Sketches - Image Not Available The late Dewan Bahadur K. Krishnaswami Rao was the President of the Hindu High School Committee for over a period of 13 years. The Hindu High School was then grolwing rapidly in importance as one of the best educational institutions in the Province. It was said of the late Dewan Bahadur that whatever he touched became golden and when once he made up his mind to associate himself with any organisation, he unreservedly placed his services at the disposal of the organisation.

Mr. Krishnaswami Rao was born at Salem in the year 1845 when his father, the late Mr.Kanchi Venkata Rao, was the Huzur Sheristadar of the Salem Collectorate. Within a couple of years
thereafter the father was transferred to Kurnool, and the family accordingly moved to to that place. Here, after a very few years Mr.Venkata Rao died in harness, leaving two sons, young Krishnaswami and his elder brother the late Mr.Kanchi Subba Rao. Soon after this calamity, Mr.Subba Rao who was then about 20 years old, secured employment and with his samll income maintained the family and educated his young brother. When Mr.Subba Rao was transferred to Nellore as a Tahsildar, the young Krishnaswami was placed in the Venkatagiri Maharaja's High School for his education. From here, he went over to Madras and joined the Government High School(now known as the Presidency College) and passed the Matriculation Examination. Being too poor to afford a University education, he was obliged to discontinue his further studies, but was fortunate to procure early enough a footing in the District Court at Nellore as a Translator. On account of his dilignece, extreme intellignece and quick despatch of work and above all his urbanity and suavity of manners, he rose to the position of Head Clerk in that court. Not being satisfied with his samll equipment, he studied and passed very creditably the Pleaders' Test and the Criminal Higher Examinations, and was conceiving an idea of relinquishing his appointment to become a lawyer. The then District Judge coming to know of this rebuked him for his madresolve, as he found in the young man talent for things higher. A short time thereafter when a few Munsiffs were appointed, Mr.Krishnaswami Rao was one among them. After serving as a District Munsiff in a number of districts, he became the chief Justice of Travancore in the year 1884.

After serving for nearly 13 years as the chief Justice of that State, he was finally appointed Dewan of that State in the year 1897. For about 6 years he administered the State with remarkable tact and judgment, and easily earned the approbation of the Suzerian Government, who conferred on him the title of Companion of the Indian Empire having already a few years before conferred on him the title of Dewan Bahadur. Ultiamtely he retired from service in the year 1903 and settled in Madras.

Endowed with abundant physical and mental energy, though 60 years ol, Mr.Krishnawamy Rao could not remain idle and enjoy rest. He found that he was wanted everywhere and very soon found himself connected with many public and private institutions, for whose further advancement he that the present success and eminence of the United India Life Assurance co., Ltd., the Madras Central Urban Bank (as it was then known), The S.M.S.O. Nidhi, Triplicane, is all due entirely to his sagacity and lead.

In addition to the institutions above named, he was also for very many years the president of the Hndu High School Committee, Triplicane, the Mahratta Education Fund , Mylapore, and the National Fund and Industrial Association, Mount Road.

He was fist co-opted as a member of the Hindu High School Committee. Very soon he was elected President on the demise of the late Rao Bahadur Singarachariar in 1909. Till 1923, he continued to be the President. On that Committee he was happily associated with the late Dewan Bahadur M.O.Parthasarathy Iyengar, the late M.Rangachariar and the late Venkataranga Rao who all took parental interest in the progress of the institution.

Over and above all these diverse activities he was also taking from time to time active interest in politics. He ws the President of the Madras provincial Congress Committee at one of their Annual Assemblies at Ranipet and on another occasion he was the Chairman of the Reception Committee of the Indian National Congress at one of its sittings in Madras under the Presidentship of the late Dr.Rash Behari Ghose. This noble gentleman fell sick and breathed his last on 2nd February 1923 with the whole town mourning his loss. So much was he loved and esteemed, that the Sheriff called for a public meeting at the Victoria Public Hall to give public expression to the great loss sustained by the City in his passing away and to concert measures to perpetuate his memory. A sum of about Rs. 6,000 was collected and with that amount a scholarship was instituted by the University to commemorate his memory.

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