Wednesday, December 16, 2015



In the year 1963 I and K. Srinivasan, a lecturer in Chemistry of the College were at NCC OTS (Officers Training School, Kamptee, near Nagpur) undergoing our pre-commission training to become NCC officers of our College. A fellow trainee from a College in North India who got to know us well during those three months was curious about how the two of us (Hindu - Brahmins) could be working in a Christian College. I had to tell him that The American College is much different from many Christian Colleges in India. Besides its location in a predominantly Muslim area - Gorippalayam - with majority of students and faculty were Hindus. I told him that we were both students of the College. A special feature in the College is the dome of the College chapel shaped almost like (in shape and size) the dome of the mosque in Goripalayam the cross replacing the crescent as the only difference. 

In the year 1952 when I was in the second year in the College many of the Heads of the Departments were non-Christians - Prof. V. Subramaniam (English), Prof. Karnega Konar (Tamil), Prof. T. Natarajan (Mathematics), Prof. N.R. Krisshnamurthy Iyer (Physics), Prof. P.S. Lakshinarayanan (Chemistry). Mr. C. R. Narayanaan (Botany), Mr. P. Vanchinathan (Hindi), Mr. Gopala Pillai (Malayalam) were the senior most or the only members of their department. 

The Vice-Principal and Professor of Logic & Psychology Prof. Devaraj G Paul, the Head of the Departments of Economics and History Prof. C I Philip and the Librarian Mr. Solomon Physical Director Mr. John S Edward were the only Christians. 

This situation changed gradually and when I retired from the College in the year 1994 I and Prof. P S Srinivasan were the only two non-Christian Heads of the Department of PG and UG Physics in the College.. 

A small digression: Prof. Karmegha Konar used to ride to the College in his chauffer driven bullock cart that used to be parked near the Faculty room. Another interesting feature about him is three generations in his family, he, his son Prof. Krishnan and grandson Prof. K..Elango had served the college in the same department. 

The PG Chemistry Department is unique in its own way: Prof. M. Lakshmanan was the first Head of the Department. After his contract period was over Prof. P S Laksshminarayan was holding fort for a short time as the Cpllege tried three others (one from overseas, two from Kerala) as Heads of Department but they all lasted for short periods. I am sorry I don't now remember their names. The position was given to Dr. Mohamed Sheriff. who held the fort as Additional Professor-in-charge of the Department till Dr. A R Venkitaraman returned from overseas. When Dr. Venkitaraman retired Prof. C B Jawhar Singh was the Head of the Department. He was followed by Dr. P M Sundaram and Prof. Narayanan. 

The Department was thus ruled by Hindus and a Muslim for more number of years than Christians! 

Why I recall these is the secular nature of the College should not be forgotten. 


A small addition: In para 2 after the name of Prof. P>S>Lakshminarayanan please add: Prof. S.R. Mallikarjunan(Commerce). 



--------------------- ---------------

 Dear VS, 

I enjoyed reading what your active mind has dug up now from American College's history to discover it to have been a Christian institution of secular virtues, secular here in a positive, not pejorative, sense. 

Since you and I joined American College in the same year (1951), we are both privy to facts of the College then and thereafter. So I hope that I can make some corrections in the facts as remembered by you: 

1) Prof. Karmega Konar had retired in 1951 and his son, Mr. K.A.Krishnan, had forthwith joined his father's Department as a Lecturer while Prof.Jothimuthu had taken over the Headship. 

2) Prof.Mallikarjunan was the Professor-in-charge of the Commerce Department. I don't find his name mentioned in your write-up. 

3) Was not Prof. K.J.Joseph the Head of Zoology when we joined in 1951? If so, his name has to be added in the second paragraph. 

4) Prof.P.S.Lakshminarayanan opted for voluntary retirement in 1959 and so was not with the College when Prof.Lakshmanan retired in 1965 or so (?). 

5) Prof.C.B.J.Singh was followed by Prof.Stanley Edward, Prof.Narayanan, Prof.A.S.Rajendran and Prof.Thomas Jeya Bose as P.G.Heads of Chemistry before Prof.P.M.Sundaram's turn came. But I understand the context for your omission of the names that I have resurrected. 

With kind regards and greetings of the season to you and Raji, 


Tuesday, December 15, 2015


Dear Sam: 

Please include this news in American College web page you are maintaining. Thanks. Austin as a great friend of many in the College, a great sports man and an NCC officer though the news reporter describes him as a Professor. His wife Freda was the Physical Director in LDC. VS

ராமநாதபுரம் அருகே மனைவி இறந்த சோகத்தில் கணவரும் இறந்தார். ராமநாதபுரம் சிங்காரத்தோப்பைச் சேர்ந்தவர் ஆஸ்டின் வேதமுத்து, 88. முதுகலை பட்டதாரி. மதுரை அமெரிக்கன் கல்லுாரியில் பேராசிரியராக பணியாற்றினார். 

பெங்களூரூவைச் சேர்ந்தவர் பிரிடா , 84. முதுகலை பட்டதாரி. மதுரை லேடி டோக் கல்லுாரியில் பேராசிரியையாக பணியாற்றினார். இருவரும் காதலித்து 1956 மே மாதம் ராமநாதபுரத்தில் பெற்றோர் சம்மதப்படி திருமணம் செய்து கொண்டனர். இதன்பின் பணியில் இருந்து விலகிய இருவரும் 1968ல் கனடா சென்றனர். அங்கு ஒரு பள்ளியில் இருவரும் உடற்கல்வி ஆசிரியர்களாக பணியாற்றி ஓய்வு பெற்றனர்.

2006 லிருந்து ராமநாதபுரம் அருகே பிரப்பன்வலசையில் அவரது தம்பி ஸ்டீபன் ஜெயசீலனுடன் ஆஸ்டின் தம்பதியினர் வசித்து வந்தனர். வயோதிகம் காரணமாக இருவருக்கும் உடல் நலக்குறைவு ஏற்பட்டது. இந்நிலையில் டிச., 12 இரவு 8.30 மணிக்கு பிரிடா ஆஸ்டின் இறந்தார். நேற்று காலை 8 மணிக்கு உடல் அடக்கம் செய்ய முடிவு செய்திருந்தனர்.

மனைவி இறந்த சோகத்தில் இருந்த ஆஸ்டின் வேதமுத்து டிச., 13 இரவு 8.30 மணிக்கு இறந்தார். இருவரின் உடல்களும் ராமநாதபுரத்தில் அடக்கம் செய்யப்பட்டன.ஸ்டீபன் ஜெயசீலன் கூறுகையில்,“ காதல் திருமணம் செய்துகொண்ட தம்பதியினர் இருவரும் 59 ஆண்டுகள் இணைபிரியாமல் ஒற்றுமையாக இருந்தனர். இருவருக்கும் இடையே சிறு பிரச்னைகள் கூட வந்ததில்லை. குழந்தை இல்லாத குறை ஒன்றுதான். எங்கு சென்றாலும் சேர்ந்து சென்ற அவர்கள் இறப்பிலும் பிரியாமல் சென்று விட்டனர்,”

Friday, November 27, 2015



Occasionally I get lost in my thoughts of the good old days and I feel like putting down my thoughts and sharing with friends. My recent thoughts were on the variouss (S's) at PG Physics department of America College. The write up could be of interest to many.

Letter (initial) S and P G Physics:

1. It was SJS (Principal Savarirayan) who was responsible for the ceration  of the PGP the first S

2. Dr. Riesz's arrival confirmed the starting of PGP. The South Indian tongue could not pronounce the soft z and so he was called Riess and he becomes the second S

3. Prof. E.S. Moses the Head of UG Physics at that time did not wish to associate with PGP decided to stay with UG and offer all help and support to PGP is the third S.

4. Prof. A J Harris  with strong S in his name becomes the fourth S 

5. My self known as VS became the fifth S

6. P. S. Srinivasan of UG Physics though he remained as the full back for a long time occupied the Chair as Head of PG Physics before his retirement and is the sixthS

7G. Srinivasan who joined the PG during the second year of PG Physics and later became an internationally well known astrophysicist is the seventh S 

8. When GS left for USA and he was replaced by S. Srinivasan also from Madurai College the eighth S

9. Along with SS came T S Subramamyan also from Madurai College. Though his work was mostly in UG he spent all his spare time in PG with his friend SS and worked on odd projects of Prof. RPR and is the ninth S 

10. There was a fresh recruitment after advertisement in news papers. Dr. K. Srinivasan from Annamalai University, a second Ph.D in the department next to Dr. Riesz. at the time if his recruitment became the tenth S

11. Prof. S L Dart of Claremont Colleges, Claremont, California was in Madurai on two occasions for about one year each as head of PGP when Dr Riesz was away on 
 leave/furlough. Though no one knew what his initial S meant he is the eleventh S

12. K. Santosh  Rajkuma, an old student was made an exclusive demonstrator in PGP and later served the Department of Applied Sciences becomes the twelfth S  

13. I left for USA a K.S. Srinivasan, our old student, was appointed and he became the thirteenth S

14. There was a n expansion in the department, M.Phil was introduced. J. Sethuraman who later became Dr. JS through a faculty improvement program (FIP) of UGC became the fourteenth 

15. R. Simon another old student of PGP who later became Dr. Simon through UGC FIP is the fifteenth S

16. Sudhavadani another old student joined the Department of Applied Sciences under the umbrella of PGP became the sixteenth S

17. A.S.K. Moses another old student of PGP, son of Prof. E S Moses is the seventeenth with initial in his name.

18. S. Sowmianarayanan, another old student UGP and of Madurai College was with DAS for a short time is the eighteenth S.

Looking at this one could take a bet that if one has the initial S he or she had a good chance of serving PGP in those days.

M A Samy was the only exception to this rule. It was his choice.

DPJ, CMD, JJP, GB, KSN, KVK (K V Krishnan), AN (Arulraj Navamani). JD (J.  Danrita) and few others I might  have missed are exception to the S rule. They are less than 50% of those in PGP who were covered by the S rile.

How is this study without any record in my hand? Is my memory good? With kind regards. If any name is left please forgive me.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015




My friend, student, colleague 


had passed away yesterday - 
12th Aug. after a hard struggle. 

My respects to him.
Share the grief with his family & friends.



Dr.N.Rajasekar, Registrar of Madurai Kamaraj University did not attend the 135th Sports Day of the College today, as the Chief Guest. 

We have no information about the exact communication shared between him and Dr. Christober, the ‘Principal’ of the American College; but, the news is that the Sports Day went on with Mr. Jegadeesan from the Madurai Chamber of Commerce as the Chief Guest in the place of the Registrar who had excused himself from attending the event.

This blog considers Dr. Rajasekar’s move as objective and profoundly pro-active and we greatly appreciate his sensitivity to the issues and concerns that we had just raised. It gives us a ray of hope as till recently we had only seen the university officials being too obliging to Dr. Christober. 

We respect the Registrar’s sense of propriety on the issue and do thank him for the same.

[This post has been thankfully e-mailed to:]