Read the fascinating narration of Sri. E. Vinayaka Row tracing the origin of MEF. It is ironic that 100 years back also the DMs were grappling with the same issues we are now facing viz, how to preserve our culture and language. In all probability the community was facing the same issues 200 years back also. Will the DMs of 100 years in future also have the same concerns ? Or will the community no longer exist ? Despite the rudimentary communication facilities then existing, the earlier generations did make efforts to preserve our culture and language. The message to the new generation from Sri. Vinayaka Row's article is clear. Are we capable of leveraging the new technology platforms to strengthen our culture and language ? More importantly do we want to do it ?
The contents of this section are from the
Silver Jubilee Souvenir 1937 of Mahratta Education Fund, Chennai
THE HISTORY OF
THE MAHRATTA EDUCATION FUND, MADRAS
FOR ITS FIRST TWENTY FIVE YEARS
Mr. E. VINAYAKA ROW, B.A., B.L.
Honorary Secretary, Mahratta Education Fund, from 1912 to 1937
We are deeply indebted to Mr. E. Vinayaka Rao for this long and illuminating article dealing with History of the Mahratta Education Fund and allied Institutions. No one is better qualified for the task than Mr. E. Vinayaka Rao who has been the Hon. Secretary of the Fund, unanimously elected for the last twenty-five years continuously from 1912 to 1937. - ED.
With a prayerful heart, I rejoice that I am vouchsafed the pleasure of writing the history of the Mahratta Education Fund for the first quarter of a century of its useful existence. In presenting this history, I shall only be partially redeeming my debt of gratitude to the members of the Fund for the uniform kindness, unfailing co-operation and cordial affection which they have always shown me.
The reader may be interested to know something about the main currents of thought that ushered the Fund into existence. Born in 1891 almost within a stone’s throw of the palace walls at Tanjore and brought up in what may be well regarded as an ideal atmosphere typical of the best culture and traditions of Tanjore, early in life I became intimately familiar with the conditions of life of the Mahratta community of Tanjore.
Some of the Maharanees, wives of the late H.H. Sivaji Maharaja, the last ruler of Tanjore, were living in seclusion in the palace enjoying their modest pensions and decent incomes from their private properties. Several other member of the Royal Family were also living in the Palace. The good old forms were kept up, though they were only the tattered remnants of old magnificence and splendour. A few elephants were still swaying in the outer courtyard. Morning and evening the play of Nawbat and Nagara went on as usual in the front gate of the Palace. The armed sentinels stood at the main entrance leading to the inner quadrangles from day to day, looking with philosophic indifference on the covered vehicles conveying gosha ladies related to the members of the Royal family, and moving in the out drawn by pairs of horses or pairs of bullocks. A few half-sleepy sepoys were furbishing up now and then the pieces of fire-arms and military accouterments that were left in the armoury. A few learned pandits were working in the Saraswathi Mahal Library, deciphering and copying the famous old manuscripts in palm leaves and crumbling old country paper. In another suite of rooms, dusty old record bundles were arranged and rearranged and a few clerks were leisurely examining the musty old papers and cadjans to unearth the palace copy of some ancient grant, or pedigree, or order of precedence or point of ceremonial. The Royal traditions were kept up, though on a much reduced scale. The astrology, the doctor, the musician and the scholar each had his share of Palace patronage in such measure as the depleted finances could permit. The Palace was not then open to the mere tourist and sight-seer. The big hall containing full-size paintings of the Maharajahs of Tanjore from 1676 to 1855 was eloquent in its very silence and the pictures seemed to tell the sad story of the rise and fall of the Tanjore Raj. Day in and day out, the old watchman at the main entrance rang the hour bell with melancholy precision, announcing as it were the hourly receding into the dim past of the palmy days that were. One after another the old Ranees passed away. So did many other members of the Royal family. The end of one establishment meant the destitution of a large number of families of clerks, dependents and poor relatives and a diminution of patronage to a number of pandits, priests, doctors, musicians, painters and the followers of fine arts. This side of Tanjore history made a deep impression on me as I had frequent opportunities of going into the Palace and spending hours at a time within its walls.
I vividly remember with gratitude the long historical accounts which I had about Tanjore affairs from several old family friends. One of them, happily alive now, is closely related to the Royal family and gave me very faithful accounts of the last days of Sivaji and the cultural history of Tanjore after the annexation in 1855. With the decline of the fortunes of the Royal House began also the decline of the fortunes of the nobility, Brahman, Kshattriya, and others. Outside the Palace walls the story of Tanjore was not less melancholy. By temperament and equipment, the noble houses of Tanjore were not ready to change over to the new order of things which the Annexation meant. One after another, the noble houses went down, their mansions were mortgaged, their lands were alienated, and their sons and daughters were driven to a life of chill penury. It was most painful to see this slow but sure grinding of good, noble and generous men and women, whose only fault was that the new times sprang upon them with lightning speed and they were not alert enough to save themselves.
The condition of the commoners was not so bad. But it was bad enough. A few families had already gone out of Tanjore and had obtained good situations in British service and in Indian States. Many of them won laurels as administrators and educationists. On account of their ability and high character, the Mahratta Community retained the universal esteem and respect in which it had been held. They still regarded Tanjore as their headquarters and hoped to spend their last days after retirement in their dear old city. Many middle class families at Tanjore continued the cultural traditions. In most middle class homes there was music of one kind or another. In their leisure hours men loved to sing to the accompaniment of the melodious Thambur. Some practiced on the Mridanga, some on the Veena, and some other on the Gotu Vadhya. The Ganapathi festival, annually celebrated in West Main Street, attracted huge crowds of music lovers, when men rivalled with one another to show their skill. The love of the fine arts among the common folk gave ample opportunities to professional musician, pipers, bandsmen, the exponents of the famous art of Bharata Natya, pith workers, florists, etc., to distinguish themselves. The great Maharashtrian scholars pursued their studies in Sanskrit and Marathi, largely depending upon their modest private incomes. Every year, Maharashtrians from all over India halted at Tanjore on their way to Rameswar. At Tanjore they always had a warm welcome. Such of them as were musicians gave their performances and listened to Tanjore music with rapt attention and all had enormous cultural gains. Such of them as were Sanskrit or Marathi scholars gave and listened to many discourses, to mutual advantage. After the famous Vishnu Bava Morgaumkar made his famous Kirtans at Tanjore years after year, a regular stream of Kirtanakars form all over India visited Tanjore and blessed the people with their Kirtanas, and they in turn received the homage of the people and their patronage, which in terms of money continued to diminish with the decrease in the material resources of the people. Men like Rajwade came and collected Marathi manuscripts of historical value. I have myself listened to many Marathi kirtans of the famous Ramachandra Bava of Benares and attended some of the musical performance and Bharata Natyams of some of the celebrities in their respective arts. I saw before my eyes all this sweetness and all this grandeur passing away, with nothing worth mentioning to take its place.
In my own house where I spent most of my vacations, the morning programme included a group study of some great Marathi classic like Dasa bodha, Gnaneswari, Ekanathswami’s Ramayana, etc., Verse by verse these great books were read and explained in Marathi to a large group of listeners young and old. Every Saturday and every Ekadasi there was Marathi Bhajan. The sound of the cymbal and chipri used to fill my soul with inexpressible joy. My own grand-aunt, who by the way did not know to read or write, knew by heart literally hundreds of Abhang, Padas, Ovis, Bhupalis, etc., which she used to sing every morning in most delightful tunes. The cult of Pandharpur was verily a living reality. In the bhajana hall, over the pictures of Rama and Krishna, there hung the portrait with only the loin cloth of Sri Samarth Ramdas Swami. The story was often repeated to me, and every time I loved to listen to it with the same joy, as to how Ramdas Swami came all the way to Tanjore, when there were no railways, to found Big Mutt at Tanjore. I loved to see the copy of the great Dasabodh written or used by Ramdas himself still happily preserved by the family in-charge of the Mutt. I knew that this great saint was the spiritual guru of the great Sivaji himself. I remember the occasion when the Sivaji janmothsav was celebrated at Tanjore. The picture is unforgettable. The portrait of the great national hero was put in a howdah on a Palace elephant. There were camels, horses and uniformed retainers in front. The Palace nobles including the two grandsons of the last ruler walked in procession, along with a large crowd of Maharashtrian and non-Maharashtrian citizens. To my young mind Maharatta history and Maharatta traditions acquired a new meaning and a new fascination. The rapidly growing impoverishment of the community and the intellectual stagnation and decay that appeared to have set in had also a pathetic significance to me. A good many old families had lost all, and were leaving Tanjore for good in search of employment elsewhere. With the meager knowledge of Mahratta history that a boy of sixteen could have had in 1907, I had a special sense of pride in being a Maharashtrian. At the same time, I had a passionate desire to understand more the history and the problems of my community and to do my bit of service to stem the advancing tides of economic distress and intellectual decay and to arrest the process of regression from true Maharashtrian culture and traditions which had already set in.
Before beginning the history of the Mahratta Education fund it will be appropriate to give here brief accounts of the history and activities of the previous institutions that strove for the improvement of the Marathi Language and for the preservation of Maharashtrian culture and traditions in South India.
THE MARATHI VACHAN MANDIR, TANJORE
Naturally the earliest attempt in this direction was the one made at Tanjore in the Eighties of the last century. I am informed that the attempt then made was to have a central organisation at Tanjore for the benefit of the community and it functioned for some time without leaving any permanent results. The details are not available. After that failure, some enthusiastic ladies and gentlemen again organised an institution called the ‘Marathi Vachan Mandir’ at Tanjore. This institution was running reading classes for adult men and women, where Marathi classics were read and explained. It was also running a free Marathi Girls School where instruction was given in Marathi by a paid teacher assisted by a few voluntary teachers. Under the inspiring guidance of Rao Bahadur C. Nagojee Row, who was then Inspector of school at Tanjore, the Mandir was conducting Marathi classes for the benefit of boys and girls reading in the recognised schools at Tanjore, the classes being held every Saturday and Sunday for two hours in the morning in one central place. By 1910 these classes had ceased to be held and the reading classes for adult had been practically discontinued. The girls’ school alone was being conducted on a small scale owing to the indomitable energy and enthusiasm of Rao Saheb T. Sambamurthi Rao, (The author of the Marathi inscription of the Tanjore temple) and his talented wife.
THE MADRAS MAHRATTA ASSOCIATION, 1888
Perhaps about the same time, a big attempt was made on the same lines at Madras. The Madras Mahratta association which appeared to have been founded in 1883 had ceased to work, but it was revived in 1888. I obtained full particulars of this institution some time after the founding of the Mharatta Education Fund. In1913 I had personal conservations with Mr. T. Venkasami Rao, who was the secretary of the Madras Mahratta Association in 1888. He was good enough to put into my hands the only printed copy available of a scheme for the reorganisation on a proper basis of the Madras Mahratta Association which was put before the public by him in may 1889. The copy is preserved by the Fund and forms very interesting reading. But he was not in a position to give me a copy of the rules of the said Association. By pure accident I got a copy of the rules in July 1937 and I found it as interesting as it was instructive.
The following were the office bearers:-
(1) A.A. Srinivasa rao Saheb Esq., Jagirdar of Arni.
(2) Rajah Sir T. Madhava Rao, K.C.S.I
(3) Dewan Bahadur R. Raghunatha Rao
(4) Dewan Bahudur T. Venkaswami Rao
(5) Mr. K. Rajah Rao
(6) Mr. A. Ramachandra Rao
(7) Mr. T Ranga Rao
(8) Mr. R. Balajee Rao, B.L
(9) Mr. C. Ramachandra Rao Sahib, B.L
(10) Mr. T. Ramachandra Rao
(11) Mr. D. Rama Rao
(12) Mr. C. Ramachandra Rao, B.A., B.L
(13) Mr. T.M. Annaswami Rao
(14) Mr. C. Hanumantha Rao
(15) Mr. Balvant Trimbuck Sahasrabudhe
(16) Mr. A. Raghavendra Rao
(17) Mr. A. Sarvothama Rao
(18) Mr. M. Balakrishna Rao
(19) Mr. T. Venkaswami Rao
(20) Mr. A. Raghavendra Rao
In addition to the above 20 office-bearers, there are 41 names in the list of ordinary members. I find among the ordinary members here, Mr. P. Ramachandra Rao, B.A., who later on did yeoman service to the Fund as vice-President, Mr. D.R Balajee Rao who became one of the life members of the Fund and was a vice-President for some time, Mr. T. Rangaswami Rao who became a patron of the Fund and whose executors made a munificent endowment to the fund ear-marked for the S.S. Raghavendra Rao Elementary School, and Mr. Kashirasagar Rajagopala Rao who happily is still a member of the Fund and most appropriately responded to the toast of the community on the occasion of the Foundation Day in 1937.
The object of the Association was to encourage Marathi Literature by:
Holding meetings and discussion in Marathi in view to the gradual development of the language.
Opening a library and Reading Room
Delivering occasional lectures.
Awarding prizes for Marathi Literary productions.
Establishment schools for regular instruction, for preparing students to make Marathi their Vernacular in the University Examinations.
An Association started under such influential auspices with brilliant men in charge of the management, when the community was in affluent circumstances and the mother tongue was spoken in a much purer form than now, could not but have produced some positive result. They were able to persuade the University of Madras to include Marathi as a subject for examination from the Matriculation to the M.A. Degree Examination. Be it noted that at that time such a recognition had not been accorded to Marathi even by the Bombay University. Secondly, they started a middle school in Rajah Hanumantha Lala Street, Triplicane, where there were classes from the infant standard to the third from. In this school an attempt was made to teach everything in Marathi. The library was located in the school premises and all the meetings were held there.
The Association presented an address to His Highness the Maharajah of Travancore on 26.02.1888. Both the address and the reply to it contain very touching sentiment and I think I may appropriately give the same here in extenso:
“May it Please Your Highness,
“We, the Member of the Madras Maharatta association, thus wait on your Highness, with the utmost cordiality and respect, to welcome your Highness to this Southern capital of India. With unfeigned pleasure we recognise in your Highness the representative of one of the most ancient Hindu Royal houses. Your beautiful and ever-green country is still the home of a happy, contented and loyal population. Your Highness is the worthy successor of a series of rulers renowned for learning, refinement, piety and benevolent solicitude for the welfare of their subjects. You have already variously manifested your wise resolve to maintain the high character of the Travancore administration, and to help on the progress of your subjects by every means which providence has placed in your hands. We have every assurance that the highest objects of your ambition is to obtain the love of your people. May the mild radiance of your countenance shine on your country and be a blessing to it for a long series of years. May all your wishes, as a paternal ruler, be fully crowned with success. We as members of the Marathi nationality, naturally derive satisfaction and pride from the well known circumstances that the Marathi language has been the adopted language of successive rulers of Travancore, and that several Mahratta gentlemen have been among their most faithful and devoted Ministers ; the last and not the least of whom is your Highness’s present Dewan, with sentiments of respect and esteem, and with reiterated best wishes, we remain,
The Members of the Mahratta Association”
His Highness replied:-
I will begin my reply to your address at the point where you concluded it. As I said at Tanjore, the Southern home of the Maharattas, the state of Travancore is much indebted to your intellectual race for some of the best Dewans who have administered its affairs and to more than to the distinguished politician, sir Madhava Rao, who came into Travancore a scholar and left it a statesman of renown, to carry into the service of two sovereignssuccessively of his own race, the benefit of the knowledge and experience he had acquired in the land of the Perumals, which he had first stamped with the impress of his genius and sound practical wisdom so indelibly that fifteen years of other administration have left unshaken the foundations of good government, which he had laid deep and board. In selecting Rama Rao as my Dewan, I am free to confess that I was not moved so much by the fact of his being a Mahratta, and a realation of Sir Madhava Rao, as by the fact that he was his apt pupil and co-adjustor, who, after him, had administered large divisions so successfully that I felt was the best fitted to assist me to build on the lines which his distinguished relative had laid down, and which his Royal pupils, my illustrious predecessors and their administrators, had been glad to work upon. You have evoked the expression of this sentiment by the allusion made in your address, and I am glad you have given me the opportunity of thus publicly acknowledging the gratitude I owe for services rendered to my predecessors – services which have rendered my own duties to my subjects comparatively easy. I wish it, however, to be distinctly understood that I do not by any means underrate the services of those who followed him in office, one of whom, his worthy class-mate and friend, is nobly doing for pudukotah what Sir Madhav Rao did for Travancore. Having discharged this duty, I will now proceed, Gentlemen, to thank you and that I do most sincerely, for all the kindly sentiments you have so feelingly expressed. I am very happy indeed to have the pleasure of meeting you here. Allow me in return to wish you happiness and every prosperity. A nation with a history like yours, which can in the present day, produce such remarkable men as Rajah Sir T. Madhava Rao, Dewan Bahadur Raghunatha Rao and others, whom I have lately met in Tajore and Poona, need have no fear of being beaten in the great race for a position in the front ranks of civilisation, which is vigorously being run all over India”
In May 1889, the Secretary of that association made an attempt to organise a central association which was not successful. He told me with sorrow that gradually the work of the Association dwindled the library fell into disuse and the school had to be closed down after a few years of lingering existence. There was not money enough and there were not pupils enough to run the institution even as a primary school. Soon the association passed into the limbo of oblivion. I have often wondered why an Association started under such influential and wealthy auspices and in time so propitious should have failed so soon. But it is a pity that it did fail.
THE SOUTH INDIAN MAHRATTA BRAHMINS ASSOCIATION, MADARAS
Long after the failure of the Madras Maharatta association, another effort was made to organise the community for its general advancement, by Mr. P. Ramachandra Rao, who started the South Indian Maharatta Brahmins Association, madras. I had the pleasure of discussing with Mr. P. Ramachandra Rao long after the Mahratta Education Fund itself was started a copy of the memorandum and Articles of Association of the south Indian Mahratta Brahmins' Association. He told me that notwithstanding his best efforts the Association had failed though the objects were quite comprehensive as regards the development and preservation of the Marathi Language and cultures and its usage and traditions. The experience gained by Mr. P. Ramachandra Rao in the working of this Association was, however, of considerable use to the Maharatta Education Fund of which he was the first Vice –President, for nearly eight years.
THE MAHARASHTRA SABHA, MADRAS
Yet another Madras Association that blossomed for a brief while and thereafter ceased to live was the Maharashtra Sabha, Madras. On 18.10.1904 the Dasara day of the year, a few Maharastrians living in and around Triplicane met together and started the Maharashtra Sabha, Madras with the object of bringing together the scattered members of the Marathi speaking community and to encourage the study of Marathi language and literature. Dewan Bahadur R. Raghunatha Rao, was elected President, though he had by then permanently settled down at Kumbakonam. The membership was not large and the Sabha arranged for occasional lectures and conducted a reading room subscribing for the Hindu and the Kesari news papers. The Sabha was located in a rented room in the Davanotsava Bungalow at Triplicane. A small Marathi Library was therein maintained for some time. Kirtans in Marathi were arranged whenever there was a suitable opportunity. Sivaji Janmostav was celebrated for about four years. In 1908 the Indian National congress was held at Madras and Dewam Bhadur K. Krishnaswamy Rao was the chairman of the Reception Committee. Mr. G. K. Gokhale attended this congress. The Sabha invited Mr. Gokhale to tea and there was a reception accorded to him in April 1909. Mr. P. Ramachandra Rao presided over a function when prizes were distributed to girls who showed proficiency in Marathi. Notwithstanding the encouraging start, the enthusiasm for the aims and objects of the Sabha waned and in the course of 1909 the Sabha ceased to function and became defunct.
MARATHI MANDALI, KUMBAKONAM
In 1907 I joined the Government College at Kumbakonam. A few friends ivited me to attend a meeting of Marathi Mandal that had just been started. The veteran leader Dewan Bahadur R. Raghunatha Rao, of revered memory, was the president. His grandson was a class-mate of mine and so I had frequent opportunities of meeting the Grand Old Man. He attended the meetings of the Mandali and moved with the young men as if he were one of them and without any reserve. The object of the Mandali was to encourage the study of Marathi and to arrange for meetings and debates for the benefit of the young men of the community. There was an apology of a reading room. In my opinion the best part of its work was the frequent opportunities young men had to have long and intimate talks with their President, the great leader and statesman. Personally I benefited a great deal. Some of us desired him to teach us the elements of politics. He taught us several passages from Burke’s reflection on the French Revolution in his own inimitable manner, enriching the conversations with personal anecdotes. In these conversations we learnt from him a great many things in Mahratta history. His illuminating talks on many aspects of Mahratta culture had a special value as he was a practical man of action with progressive ideas and of an intensely religious disposition. His was one of the formative influences that led me to the work of the Fund and I am ever grateful to him for all that he had done for me. I left Kumbakonam in January 1909 to join Pachaiyappa’s College, Madras for my B.A Course. I heard from my friends that the work of the Marathi Mandali gradually declined and had ceased to function about the end of 1909.
THE BEGINNINGS OF THE FUND
While I was at College I read many books on Mahratta history and the enthusiasm which I had as a member of the Marathi Mandali, Kumbakonam continued to grow though I could not then take any part in any such activities for there were none at Madras. After I graduated in April 1911, I spent a good deal of my leisure to consider the question of organising the community for meeting effectively the economic, educational and cultural problems which called for urgent solution. I had several discussions with prominent men of the community in and out of Madras and I had also talks with many men, young and old, rich and poor, who occupied different stations in life. I tried to understand from persons who were connected with the previous institutions the nature of their objects and activities and tried to discover the reasons for their failure. In matters of this kind the historical outlook is especially valuable. After nearly a year’s work I came to certain tentative conclusions:-
(a) Immediate provision should be made for the educational advancement of the community so that every one, rich or poor, received enough of education, general or technical, to make a decent start in life.
(b) Economic amelioration should be striven for by the promotion of thrift, the spread of co-operative ideas, the diffusion of modern ideas among men and women, and above all the spread of a sincere desire to render un-selfish social service among the men and women of the community.
(c) The scattered members of the community had to be organised on a provincial basis with Headquarters at Madras and branches in different mofussil centres, and periodical meetings and gatherings should be arranged for, to celebrate all festive occasion and to give opportunities for social intercourse to have Kirtans and Bhajans in Marathi.
(d) The study of Marathi should be encouraged by marinating libraries and reading rooms and providing in some measure for Marathi instruction in recognised aided schools.
THE FOUNDATION OF THE FUND
15th September 1912
I invited a few leading Mahratta gentlemen of Madras to meet together at 4 P.M on the 15th September 1912 at the residence of Rao Sahib P. Ramachandra Rao at Egmore, to hear my suggestions on the lines mentioned above and to see what could be done for the betterment of the community. The following gentlemen were present:-
Dewan Bahadur K. Krishnaswami Rao, C.I.E., Retired Dewan of Travancore.
Rao Sahib P. Ramachandra Rao, Chief Interpreter, High court.
Mr. T.V Thuljaram Rao, Proprietor, Scottish Press, Madras.
Mr. A. Krishnaswami Rao, Dy, Examination of Accounts, Accountant-General’s Office, Madras.
Mr. S. Sankara Rao, Accountant, P.W.D., Madras Division.
Mr. P. Raghava Rao, Retired Tashildar, Madras.
Mr. T.T. Bhavaniswami Rao, B.A., L.T. First Assistant, Madrasa-I-Azam, Madras.
Mr. P. Subba Rao, Madras Records Office.
Mr. R. Lakshmana Rao, Head Clerk, Revenue Board, Madras.
Mr. C. Bheema Rao, Jewellers, Sowcarpet, Madras.
Mr. S.M Punathambekar, Asst, Superintendent, C.N. Technical Institute, Vepery.
Mr. R. Krishna Rao, “Jamna House,” Mylapore.
Mr. E. Vinayaka Rao, Lecture in Mathematics, Pachaiappa’s College, Madras.
Dewan Bahadur K. Krishnaswami Rao was voted to the Chair. The chairman called upon me to place before the meeting my suggestions and scheme of work. I stated in broad outline the main aspects of the problem, my tentative conclusions aforesaid and the lines on which solutions should be attempted. After a full discussion in which every one participated, it was unanimously resolved to start immediately an institution for the purposes aforesaid. The rate of subscription was fixed at one pie in the Rupee of a member’s income. A committee was appointed to enroll members, to collect fund, to invite suggestions from all over the Province and to convene a bigger meeting to settle finally the details as regards the name, office-bearers, etc. The first Committee consisted of Mr. T.T. Bhavaniswami Rao, B.A., L.T, Mr. R Krishna Rao B.A., Mr.C. Bheema Rao and Mr. E. Vinayaka Rao B.A with Mr. E.Vinayaka Rao as the Honorary Secretary. Thus was born the Mahratta Education Fund and I entered upon my duties as its First Honorary Secretary.
THE GENERAL MEETING ON 2-2-1913
To consider the Report of work done by the Committee and the suggestions sent by mofussil gentlemen, to frame a constitution and to elect office –bearers, a general Meeting was held at 3-30 p.m., on Sunday 2nd February 1913 with Dewan Bahadur K. krishnaswami Rao in the chair. The suggestion received from mofussil members and sympathisers were read out and then an interesting discussion followed. It was said that the old Maharashtra Sabha might be revived and the new objects proposed for the Fund incorporated in the objects of the older association. Another suggestion was made that the development of Marathi language and Literature should be the chief object of the Fund and should be given the position of primary importance. It was also suggested that special importance should be given to primary education. All these points of view were discussed at great length and the conclusion was arrived at that the objects clause of the Fund should be drawn up in a simple and elastic form so that all the legitimate activities of the Fund on the lines mentioned above could be covered. As finally drawn up the object of the Fund was stated as follows :-
“The object of the Fund shall be to afford facilities for the education of Mahratta youths in the Madras Presidency and the Province of Mysore by meeting their college and school fees, and if funds permit by arranging for their boarding and lodging, and also to encourage the study of Marathi.”
A set of simple and elastic rules was also framed.
Out of several competing names suggested, the name “The Maharatta Education Fund” was accepted as the most suitable and expressive of the object and methods of work adopted by the Fund. A Board of Directors of 19 members, of whom 12 were permanently residing out of Madras, was constituted. The Fund was organised on a province-wide basis. From the start, great stress was laid on the most meticulous accounting and audit, and no one can deny that this is one of the bed rocks on which the Fund’s progress and prosperity are founded. Thus was the new vessel christened, declared sea-worthy and put out on the high seas, manned by a crew of seasoned seamen.