class before he joined the Pudukottah College. Soon after leaving
college, he went on a tour to Europe. After his return, he settled
down at Kanadukathan to look after the large baning business
he inherited from his father. He received practical training
in banking under his father and passed through a course of apprenticeship
in the Indian Bank, Ltd. Of which his father was one of the
foremost promoters. He also made an analytical study of economics
under Dr.Gilbert Slater.
About 1912, he migrated to Madras where he was at once recognised
as a generous and public spirited young man with a bright future
before him. He was a Director of the Indian Bank, Madras, and
Presidnet of the South Indian Chamber of Commerce. If today
the South Indian Chamber of Commerce is a very influential body,
it is in no small measure due to the late Sir Muthiah Chettiar
who was its President for oven seven years.
During the last Great War of 1914-1918, he threw himself
into its successful prosecution and gave Rs. 70,000 to the
War Fund. It was while he was Sheriff that H.R.H. The Prince
of Wales visited Madras and he had the hopnour of presenting
to His Royal Highness the Presidnecy's address of welcome,
enclosed in a magnificient casket. His numerous philanthropic
activities including the gift of Rs. 50,000 to the Madras
Tuberculosis Fund earned him a knighthood in 1922. He was
an elected member of the Madras Legislative Council for several
years and also sat in the Central Assembly for a time. He
was connected for some time with the Madras Port Trust. These
brought him into activer contract with men and affairs of
every sphere of national activity, and opened up for him,
fields of service where he made effective and useful contributions
to public life.
Apart from the banking and commercial world of which he was
the ornament for over a decade, he was connected with numerous
public institutions of an educational and cultural character.
He was a trustee of the Pachaiyappa's Charities and gave freely
of his time and guidance to its management. He evinced a keen
interest in the management of the Pachaiyappa's High School,
Chidambaram, where he had studied up to the Matriculation
class. He became a member of the Hindu High School Committee.
Years ago when the financial condition of the Sir M.C.t.M.High
School, then C.R.C.High School, was very bad, fears were entertained
that it might have to be closed. At one time when the payment
of teacher's salaries fell into arrears, he donated Rs. 2,000
towards the payment. In May 1929, he signified his consent
to take over the management of the school but before he could
do so, he passed away. His son Mr. Chidambaram Chettiar, also
a member of our Committee, kept the promise made by his father
and saved the school. He gave the school a new name Sir M.Ct.Muthiah
Chettiar High School after the name of his revered father.
To our school, Sir M.Ct.Muthiah Chettiar was contributing
annualy a handsome sum to be given as scholarship to the deserving
students. His worthy son is still continuing it.
Sir Muthiah Chettiar had a personality, remarkable for its
charm. He was polished in the extreme, in word, thought and
deed and never expressed himself in harsh language. Well-read
that he was, he took immense delight in poring over books
in his leisure moments. He was a regular member of the Cosmopolitian
Club where he was known to be an amiable, kind-hearted and
sincere fgriend and was very much liked for his suavity of
manners and cheerful temper. In short, he was well-known as
an enterprising banker, a keen businessman, a generous philanthropist
and a very polished gentleman of culture.
To the regret of many he passed away on 19th July 1929 at
the young age of forty-two, leaving behind, two sons, the
elder of whom Mr. M.Ct.M.Chidambaram Chettiar has inherited
his father's genius in full measure and whom God has endowed
with everything that makes for happiness in this world.