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History of MEF (Page 2)



The Marathi Sangh, Madras.

Those who wished to give primary importance to the development of Marathi among the objects of the fund began to press forward their proposal insistently. My request that they should wait for sometime before anything tangible can be achieved in that direction did not meet with a favourable reception at their hands. A few gentlemen belonging to the old Maharashtra Sabha and a few others who were for immediate language work on a large scale joined forces. Their point of view was pressed with much vigour and clarity by a committee member; but the Managing Committee, decided that the Fund should not start on new schemes of work when success was not reasonably assured with the resources then at their disposal. I suggested that a separate association may, if necessary, be formed with the sole objects of encouraging the study of Marathi. If it succeeded, the community would undoubtedly gain, and if it did not, the other objects of the Fund which were equally important would not be adversely affected. My suggestion was accepted and a separate institution was started under the name “ Marathi Sangh” at Triplicane. I was asked to be Secretary of that institution also, but I was unable to accede to the request, as the responsibility of being the Honorary Secretary of two institutions, both in their infant stages and requiring a great deal of attention, would have been too heavy for me.  I was, however  a member of the Managing Committee of the Sangh and continued to serve in that capacity as long as the Sangh was alive. During its short existence of about couple of years, it did useful work in arranging for periodical meetings and debates where the proceedings were mostly in Marathi. It also made some efforts, though unsuccessfully, to get back the small library which the Sabha had and the balance of the money in the hands of the Treasurer of the Sabha. But for want of the requisite enthusiasm the Sangha ceased to exist.


Before resuming the narrative of the progress of the Fund, I must record, very briefly, the history of another Maharashtrian institution which was started in 1918 and worked for five years.

After the Marathi Sangh ceased to function, the idea of doing something exclusively of the promotion of Marathi was revived in 1917 and an attempt was made to establish a Marathi library in Triplicane. After one or two meetings, an association called the “Marathi Library Association” was formed. Those connected with it thought of running a free Marathi Girls School at Triplicane, teaching only English and Marathi. The name of the association was therefore changed to “The Marathi Girls School Association". After some months even that name was dropped and the name “Maharashtra Association,” Triplicane, was adopted. Though originally started with a view to concentrate on the work of encouraging the study of Marathi, running a library, and running a free Girls School, the Maharashtra Association developed some other activities and formed the following section: the Mahila Sangh, the Young Men’s Branch and the Arts Section. Several members of the Fund were also members of the Association and gave considerable financial support to it. I was unable to join the Association as a member, though I attended most of the dramas staged by them and their functions to which I was invited. Several of my friends also did so.

In 1919, the Marthi-English Free Girls School had a strength of 34 pupils with one Teacher. Rent, establishment and other charges came to Rs. 581-10-9 (Rupees -Annas- Pies) that year, but it was practically impossible for one teacher to handle all the classes. The expenditure had to be met from members subscription which for various reasons were tending to decline. The essential weakness of the situation began to show itself. The ultimate closure of the school was thus a question of time. I was one of those who were skeptic about the wisdom of undertaking the large financial obligation of running a complete and efficient primary school without an adequate funded capital.

Secondly, in the circumstances of the community and the permanent interests of the children, I felt that a complete divorce of the local vernacular languages form the curriculum was not desirable. Needless to say that on this point there was a marked difference of opinion.

Their Second Annual report contained the following passage: “A worker for society needs must give an honoured place to differing minds in his scheme of social service. The Committee expects every member of the Maharatta community of south India who earnestly thinks about problems of  communal welfare to co-operate with it, and guide its deliberations, and make the Association representative of the future of our communal life and an effective central organization for the realization of our  progressive life.”

The Fund had already successfully organised itself for seven years on a provincial basis. The claim of the Association to become “an effective central organisation for the realisation of the progressive life of the community” naturally caused much embarrassment to members and to workers. Those assembled at the Seventh Annual meeting of the Fund in 1919 voiced a desire for the unification of all desirable communal activities and for better financial support. With the approval of the managing committee of the Mahratta Education Fund, I convened a meeting as Honorary Secretary of The Fund, at 4 p.m., on 28.09.1919 at the Sarada Hall, Triplicane, (the premises of the Maharashtra Association, Triplicane) of six members of the Managing Committee of the Fund, six representative members of the Maharashtra Association and three other gentlemen of the community interested in communal activities, with Rao Bahadur C. Krishnaswami Rao in the Chair. The object of the meeting was to explore all avenues of unifying all desirable communal activities and arrive at agreed conclusion in a spirit of give and take. But the Maharashtra Association had just an hour before held a special meeting and had given specific instruction to the representative chosen by them. After considerable discussion it was found that the proposal put forward by the Association were such as could not be accepted by the Fund, The meeting terminated without anything tangible to its credit except that both sides understood each other’s  view-point and agreed to differ. For nearly three years thereafter the supporters of the Association worked hard. But the School was soon closed down, the rented premises were given up, the library was shifted, and the Association it self ceased to work in 1923.

To the credit of the Association it must be said that the dramas enacted by the were well-attended and brought the community into living touch with the modern dramatic literature of Maharashtra. The actors who took part in the dramas had necessarily to read several dramatic works to choose the play and afterwards to get by heart the pieces for their respective parts. The library contained many good books and some members at least took a genuine interest in reading Marathi.

I do not say anything about the second Maharashtra Association started in 1928 as it is not within the scope of this article to mention anything about existing institutions serving the community in some    direction or other.


The supporters of the Maharashtra Association promoted a banking concern known as the Mahasashtra Nidhi Ltd., to carry on banking business and to make a suitable grant-in-aid annually to the Association after paying a reasonable dividend to shareholder who were mostly members of the community. After the Association became defunct in 1923, the rules of the Nidhi were amended so as to give to the Fund the grant-in-aid originally intended for the Association. After a few years there was mismanagement, and serious defalcations occurred. The Secretary and Treasurer absconded, and the Company went into voluntary liquidation. Far from the  association receiving any benefit from the Nidhi, this experiment cost the community  a great deal. The defalcation was to the extent of several thousands of rupees. The shareholder lost all the capital they had put in. the creditors and the depositors got back only a dividend of 9 annas in the rupee. Above all, the good Maharashtrian friends who agreed to serve as Directors were obliged to pay in all about Rs. 30,000 to settle with the creditors.

The failure of this institution brought to the forefront one of the most essential elements of the situation ; the paucity of workers in a field where capacity and efficiency count and the need to provide full safeguard in all financial administration.



Let me now resume the narrative of the Fund’s work and progress from 1912 to 1937 without any more digression. Reference has  already been made to the simple and elastic set of rules framed in 1913, with the ‘Objects clause’ stated in equally simple and elastic language. The rules were slightly altered in 1918. After the Sarada Hall meeting on 28.09.1919 proved abortive, the question of a further revision of rules was taken up, in connection with the registration of the Fund under the Societies Registration Act (Act XXI of 1860). I framed a set of rules which was accepted by the Managing Committee, with some modifications, and placed at an extra-ordinary general meeting held on 31.07.1920. With a few further modifications, the rules were adopted. The occasion was also used to place the memorandum of Association on a comprehensive footing. The fundamental ideas alone were incorporated in the memorandum, while matters of lesser importance and those relating to mere procedure were relegated to the Section of Rules and Regulation. In framing the Memorandum, the Fund was guided not only by its own experience of about eight years but also by the experience of previous institutions which had worked with similar aims. The result was that though there was an occasion to revise "the rules and regulations” of the Fund in 1935 to suit the needs of the time and its own expanded activities, there was no necessity to touch the Memorandum of Association, which was quit comprehensive and complete for all practical purposes.

The registration of the Fund in 1920 added greatly to the stability of the Fund and big donations began to flow in quit steadily.

Naturally the work of promoting educational advancement claimed the first attention. The clauses relating to this line of work are as follows :-

(1)  To promote the higher education of Marathi speaking boys and girls in colleges affiliated to the Universities of Madras and Mysore and in such other institutions as may be decided upon by the Board of Directors from time to time, by granting scholarship to poor and deserving students.

(2)  To afford all possible facilities to Marathi-speaking youths for the acquisition of commercial and technical knowledge by adopting such means as may be prescribed by the Board of Directors from time to time.

(3)  To afford all possible facilities to young men and women of the Mahratta Community for undergoing training, leading to professional careers such as Medicine, Engineering, Commerce Agriculture and Law in institutions that may be decided upon by the Board of directors from time to time.

(4)  To assist in all possible ways students belonging to the South Indian Mahratta community studying abroad.

The First clause relates to the grant of scholarship to poor and deserving students to promote their higher education in colleges affiliated to the Universities of Madras and Mysore. Under the provision that the Board of Directors can recognise other institution also, scholarships are now made available to student reading in College affiliated to the Andhra, Annamalai and Benares Universities. Of course, the recently started University of Travancore will also be added to the list at the next meeting of the Board of Directors.

The second clause does not refer merely to the award of scholarships. We desire to afford all possible facilities to Marathi-speaking young men and women to acquire commercial and technical knowledge. We have so far awarded scholarships tenable in commercial institutions like the Government School of Commerce, Madras and Technical Institutions like the Chengalvaraya Naicken’s Technical institute and the Engineering college at Madras. If suitable applicants are forthcoming, it is the intention of the Managing Committee to provide facilities for our young men to get proficiency in such subjects as Printing, Photography, Painting and Sculpture, Textile Industry, the Leather Industry, tailoring and other subjects. We feel that very soon the community will recognise the necessity and the great practical value of giving such education and training to our young men. The facilities contemplated by this clause will include boarding and lodging, securing places as apprentices paid or unpaid, and securing seats in such institutions whether in the Madras Presidency or outside. Of course, more honorary workers and more money will be required to make this part of the work as big a success as it deserves to be.

Equally important is the work of giving similar facilities to our young men and women for undergoing training leading to professional careers as indicated in clause (3) above. Already there is a specific endowment for promotion of medical studies and a number of our young men have received scholarships for medical courses. From our general funds engineering and commerce have both required and obtained adequate support. So far there has been no application for aid in the Agricultural college.

The fourth clause is even more ambitious. The idea is to assist in all possible ways students belonging to the South Indian Mahratta community studying abroad. This is not restricted to poor students only, even as the object clauses (2) and (3) are not restricted to poor students alone. I wish to lay emphasis on this aspect of the work as sometimes an erroneous impression is found among the members of the community that the Fund is only an eleemosynary institution giving money aid to needy and deserving college boys and girls. This impression has to be corrected whenever and wherever found. As an instance may be cited the recent award of a scholarship to a girl who is specialising in Indian Music by undergoing a course of training in the Music Diploma class conducted by the University. As another instance may be cited the case of a young qualified L.M.P. who was given a scholarship to undergo special Post Graduate Training in the School of Tropical Medicine at Calcutta. Recently a member from Trivandrum who belongs to an aristocratic and well-known family desires that the Fund should take upon itself the responsibility of looking after the higher education of his son at Madras, acting as it were the local guardian of the boy. This work will undoubtedly come within the scope of the Fund’s activities. The Fund has carried on much propaganda work among the members of the community, rich and poor, urging upon them the claims of higher education and technical education. This incessant propaganda for the last 25 years has borne rich fruit and it must be admitted on all hands that there has been a most encouraging response from the community to all these appeals and activities of the Fund.

The Fund has so far awarded scholarships to about 101 students to meet their College and School fees to the extent of about Rs. 20,000. It is one remarkable feature of this institution that scholarships awarded are returnable in very small monthly installments by the recipients after they begin to earn. Out of the 101 persons who have received aid, 26 past scholarship-holders have refunded in full and 24 of them have returned in part, the amounts received by them together with interest at a small rate. The total amounts so far refunded exceed Rs. 7,000. This ensures a regular source of income to the Fund, besides giving to the past scholarship-holders an opportunity to demonstrate in a tangible form their loyalty and gratitude to the Fund whose timely assistance enabled them to have decent starts in life. Further details of the scholarship-holders and their present position in life will be found in the succeeding pages.


The second main object of the Fund relates to economic advancement. The clauses relating to this topic are:-

(5) To ameliorate the condition of the Mahratta community settled in South India by the diffusion of useful knowledge among them.

(6) To concert such measures, as may from time to time be necessary for the advancement of the Mahratta community in South India, and to do all such acts as may be necessary and conducive for effectually carrying out the objects of the Fund.

Under the revised rules, the Managing Committee are required to set apart 10% of the net receipts for building up an Economic Amelioration Fund as provided for in Object (v) of the Memorandum of Association, provided that the total amount to the credit of the Economic Amelioration Fund does not exceed Rs. 1,000. The Fund has recently conducted an economic census of the Mahratta community, Brahmin, Kshatriya and others, resident within the city of Madras. The results of the census are given in the form of special articles in this volume. A number of volunteers have assisted the Fund in carrying out this difficult work to a successful conclusion. It is proposed to take a similar census in the mofussil also and to consolidate the results so obtained, in order that we may have a comprehensive picture of the economic position of the community all over the Presidency.

Lectures and debates on subjects like Unemployment, Co-operative Housing, Chit Funds, and the promotion of thrift, Banking as a career, Agriculture as a career, etc., have also been held from time to time. The Fund has also promoted the Maharashtra Building Society Ltd., which is a Co-operative Building Society registered under the Madras Co-operative Societies Act of 1932. The community has not as yet realised the scope and importance of this aspect of our work. The pre-occupations of the workers of the Fund in connection with the activities of the Silver Jubilee, the S.S. Raghavendra Rao’s Elementary School and the revision of the rules in 1935 have prevented them from concentrating upon this part of the Fund’s work. It is proposed to do in the near future intensive work in that direction. Members of the Building Society can build houses anywhere within the limits of the City of Madras on sites owned by them and the Society will advance loans to them for such building purposes out of finances lent entirely by the Government of Madras through the Co-operative Department. Recently the Madras Government have reduced the rate of interest charged for loans advanced to Co-operative Building Societies to 4 per cent per annum. This is a very attractive rate indeed an the Fund trusts that with the spread of further information on the subject, good results will be produced in the direction also.

Another imperceptible manner in which much good has come may be stated here. The frequent meetings and opportunities for social intercourse afforded by the Mahratta Education Fund have created a spirit of healthy social service and mutual support.


The next important object of the Fund is to promote the study of Marathi and to preserve the language in South India by:

  1. providing grants of money to educational institutions for meeting in whole or in part the salary of qualified Marathi teachers for giving instruction in Marathi as an Optional Vernacular and in Marathi Composition, provided no grant shall be made to any institution in which the number of Marathi-speaking pupils who benefit by such instruction is for two consecutive years less than twenty each year;

  2. running elementary schools for girls in suitable Mahratta centres, Marathi being the Vernacular in the curriculum of studies; provided no such school shall be run without at least twenty pupils on its rolls, unless special exemption as granted by the Board of Directors;

  3. forming libraries and reading classes for ladies an gentlemen in different centres for the purpose of studying Marathi Classics and otherwise improving their mother-tongue;

  4. maintaining a central library of Marathi books at Madras, and running free reading rooms at different centres for the benefit of the members of the Fund, to give them access to standard Marathi books and current Marathi newspapers, periodicals, etc.;

  5. encouraging candidates who sit for public examinations offering Marathi as one of the subjects by granting them special scholarships and by supplying them with text-books in Marathi gratis;

  6. arranging for periodical meetings and gatherings of Marathi-speaking people in different centres for the purpose of lectures, harikathas, etc., provided all the proceedings be in Marathi;

  7. doing such other acts as the Managing Committee may deem proper in this behalf.

The detailed methods of work indicated in the above clauses speak for themselves and require no further elucidation. Clause (7) has been frequently availed of by the Managing Committee to bring within the scope of the Fund’s work forms of activities not specifically covered by the remaining clauses. The same purpose has also been achieved by resorting to clause (7) of the Objects which authorises the Fund to concert such measures, as may from time to time be necessary, for the advancement of the Mahratta community in South India, and to do all such acts as may be necessary and conducive for effectually carrying out the objects of the Fund. All the works relating to the promotion of Marathi and the social, recreational and literary activities of the Fund are placed in the hands of a member of the Managing Committee who is to devote his special attention to this work. In this work he is assisted by a Committee called the ‘Language Committee’ which is nominated by the Managing Committee of the Fund and works under its general control. The Language Section of the Fund has been for several years arranging periodical meetings, Marathi kirtans, debates and other functions whenever possible. These have been generally well attended and members have evinced much enthusiasm. In work of this kind there are many limitations of a practical character which must be remembered. Some years ago the Managing Committee of the Fund opened correspondence with the Headmaster of the Hindu High School, Triplicane, with a view to get a Marathi teacher appointed to impart instruction in Marathi as an optional vernacular in place of Tamil or Telugu in the IV, V & VI Forms of the School. The arrangement suggested was that the Fund should initially pay the salary of a qualified Marathi teacher and after some time the educational department should be persuaded to make a special teaching grant to meet the whole or some part of the salary of the Marathi teacher. The Head master obtained the requisite statistical information. It was ascertained that Marathi-speaking pupils in the three higher forms were too few and even they were not prepared to give up Tamil as a Vernacular and study Marathi in its place. In the circumstances the Headmaster felt that there was no use in making an experiment and the idea was dropped.

The Fund has been maintaining a Marathi library in Triplicane and has been running a free reading room, where a few Marathi papers and journals are made available to the readers.


Another important provision in the Memorandum of Association is that the Fund shall not undertake any activity of a political character nor shall any part of its funds be utilised for such activities. This specific provision has made it easy for several Government servants to be members of the Fund and to take a prominent part in its activities.


Successive Managing Committees of the Fund have had before them the idea of running an elementary school where Marathi instruction can be imparted to boys and girls as part of the school curriculum. At the 9th Annual meeting held in 1921 the Fund agreed to take over under its own management the Marathi School at Tanjore then managed by Messrs. T. Sambamurthi Rao, V. Malhari Rao and others on the distinct stipulation that the local gentlemen should form themselves into a Branch of the Mahratta Education Fund and be in management of the School on behalf of the Fund, and that the financial responsibility of the Fund should not in any event exceed 25 per cent of its net annual collections. At that stage our Tanjore members were unable to shoulder the responsibility of managing the school; and it was naturally impossible for the Managing Committee of the Fund working at Madras to manage an institution at Tanjore without any recognised local branch to bear the responsibility and so the scheme had to be given up.

The Fund attempted the next best. In 1923 the Fund started the Mylapore Marathi Girls School. Pupils were taught only reading, writing and arithmetic in Marathi and the classes were held every Saturday and Sunday for two hours in the morning. The teaching was entirely in the hands of  four ladies who were good enough to render voluntary service with great enthusiasm. The classes were held for the first few months at the residence of Mr. R. Vasudeva Rao, Kutcheri Road, Mylapore, and thereafter by the kind permission of the management at the premises of the National Girls High School in Mylapore. There were about 50 pupils attending the school and the children were greatly benefited. After 18 months of useful work the school had to be closed down as two of the lady teachers left Mylapore, and the remaining two found it difficult to continue their work on account of personal inconveniences.

The brief success of the school and the closing thereof in the above circumstances, made the Managing Committee think of acquiring a running school at Triplicane and providing therein instruction in Marathi for one hour a day and depending wholly on paid teachers. With this end in view negotiations were carried on with Mr. Sundararaja Rao, the Head master and Proprietor of the Sama Rao’s Elementary School, Triplicane in the year 1930. Before the negotiations reached a definite stage, Mr. Sundararaja Rao died and the conversations were continued with his representatives. Arrangements were practically completed for the acquisition by the Fund of that school for the sum of Rs. 1,500 as a running institution ; but unfortunately when the deed of conveyance was presented to the vendors for their signature they went back on the arrangement and wanted a much larger amount. On account of the uncertainty in the matter of teaching grants and the award of compensation for aided schools, the Fund was not in a position to take undue risks in the matter and they waited for a more propitious  opportunity before they could take up that or any other school. In 1932,  the Madras Elementary Education Act was suitably amended and schools were permitted to levy fees from pupils and rules regarding teaching grants were framed and published. The Fund began to consider the question of acquiring an existing school in Triplicane, as the Sama Rao’s Elementary School had already passed into the hands of others.

While this was under contemplation, a new proposal came upon the scene. The following notice was issued by the signatories in a personal capacity with out reference to any existing institution :-

    “Dear Friend,

  We are calling a meeting of a few interested members of our community on Tuesday 16th instant at 5.30 p.m., at Sarada Hall, Triplicane, to discuss over a friendly cup of tea a scheme for

1)   starting at first an Elementary Marathi School with the help of the Corporation of Madras,

2)  conducting later on an Anglo-Marathi Middle School through private enterprise,

3)  providing later still a local High School with the services of a qualified Marathi teacher.

 We shall feel very grateful for your esteemed attendance and advice.

 Yous in service,

 T.A. Rama Rao,
 T. Appaji Rao,
 Rajaram Pingle,
 Krishna Bai Nimbkar



This notice was put in my hands at 4 p.m., on the very day of the meeting and I attended it. I explained to those assembled the facts relating to the repeated attempts of the Mahratta Education Fund to secure and to run a school at Triplicane with the object of imparting instruction in Marathi for one hour every day as part of the school time-table. Strong opinions were expressed on the part of some persons who were present, that any school that should be started, should be an exclusively Marathi School, imparting instruction in all subjects in the Marathi language without making any provision for teaching Tamil or Telugu. A very interesting debate then  followed.

I formulated the following objections to the proposal of a purely Marathi Elementary School:-

i) Government recognition will be difficult to obtain as there is no suitable inspecting staff with sufficient knowledge of Marathi.

ii) After the V Standard, pupils who pass out of the School will find it impossible to continue their Marathi studies for want of instructional facilities in the high Schools and it will not be possible or practicable for high Schools to make special arrangements to provide instruction in Marathi in all subjects in which instruction has to be imparted through the medium of the vernacular.

iii) In the keen struggle for existence, a good knowledge of the local vernacular is indispensable for young men and women domiciled in this province and exclusive instruction in Marathi will be found in the long run to be detrimental to their interests and will not give them the necessary equipment to survive in the struggle for existence.

iv) Parents living in and about Triplicane and willing to send their children to such a school will not be found in sufficiently large numbers, to warrant the starting or the conducting of a school where the medium of instruction will be Marathi.

v) The financial responsibility for the starting and the running of a school of the above  character will be too heavy to be undertaken by the Mahratta Education Fund or by any other organisation working for the general advancement of the community.

It was therefore agreed that the requisite statistics should be collected and a proper budget  framed before the subject could be further considered, So a committee was appointed to collect the necessary statistics and to frame a budget, showing the probable income and expenditure for the school. But unfortunately, the Committee did not function and therefore no report could be expected from them. Nearly two years elapsed and yet no report was placed before the community. In 1934 the Managing Committee of the Fund decided to acquire the S.S. Raghavendra Rao’s Elementary School, at Triplicane, and the transfer of management was completed on 12.05.1934.

At the meeting of the Managing Committee held on 20.05.1934 the following resolutions were passed :-

“Resolved that the following School Committee be constituted to be in charge of the administration of the School under the general control of the Mahratta Education Fund :-

1)   M.R.Ry. Rao Saheb T.K. Hanumantha Rao Avl., M.A., L.T., M.E.S. (Chairman).

2)  Mr. E. Vinayaka Rao, (Correspondent).

3) Srimati N. Ammani Ammal M.A., L.T., Asst. Professor of Physics, Queen Mary’s College, Madras, (Hon. Secretary).

4)  Mr. T. Ramachandra Rao, B.A.

5)  Mr. P. Subramanya Rao,

6)  Sow. Rama Bai (Mrs. R. Krishna Rao), and

7)  Srimati Indira Bai, B.A., L.T.

Resolved that the affairs of the school be placed in the hands of the School Committee with effect from to-day, subject to such resolutions as may be passed by the Managing Committee of the Mahratta  Education Fund, from time to time”.

The School receives a teaching grant of about Rs. 1,000 per annum from the Educational Department. There are now eight teachers in the School and five standards. One Marathi teacher is on the staff giving instruction in Marathi for about one period a day to every class. The School is located at No. 17, Parthasarathiswami Street, Triplicane, centrally situated with a large Marathi-speaking population around the school. The experience of the Fund for the last 3½ years in the management of the school has been quite satisfactory and encouraging. The Fund is contemplating to make the school  premises a suitable educational centre for the development of Marathi studies  among adults also. Already, several of the periodical meetings and gatherings of the Fund are held in the premises of the school and the reading room of the Fund is located in the school building. The School requires a building of its  own and there is every reason to hope that the community will give to this school all the material and moral support which it deserves.


Being a Central Association oganised on a Province wide basis, the Fund naturally desires to be linked to itself by bonds of mutual good-will and co-operation sister institutions concentrating on one or other objects of the Fund, whether working in the Metropolitan city or in the mofussil. For example, there may be a small boarding house for Marathi speaking children at a place like Proddatur. By that institution becoming affiliated to the Mahratta Education Fund it will have the advantage of its activities becoming better known to the members of the Fund and to the community at large through the annual reports regularly printed and circulated every year and through meetings and other means of publicity adopted by the Fund from time to time. The Fund will have the advantage of having a group of organised workers sympathising with the Mahratta Educatiion Fund in its work and acting in consonance with its ideals and methods of work. The Fund recognises that every local institution which does any part of the work which is included among the objects of the Fund is to that extent promoting the work of the Fund for the benefit of the community. With this end in view, the rules provide that institutions whose objects are the same, as one or more of the objects of the Fund, may apply for affiliation to the Fund and that affiliated institutions may be given such grants-in-aid as may be deemed proper and under such conditions as may be fixed by the Managing Committee. This provision while strengthening the one central organisation of the community will give moral, and, to some extent, even material support to individual institutions working in different centres in co-operation with the Mahratta Education Fund.


The rules also provide for the constitution of Branches of the Mahratta Education Fund in different centres both within the City of Madras and out-side. The rules provide for the constitution of a Local Committee and a Branch secretary to discharge such functions as may be allotted to the Branch by the Managing Committee from time to time. It is also provided that every Branch Secretary shall have notice of all meetings of the Managing Committee and the Board of Directors and he shall be entitled to attend any such meetings and to take part in the discussion without a right to vote. This will keep the Branches in intimate touch with the Managing Committee. Such branches are now functioning at Tanjore, Trichinopoly, Coimbatore, Cuddappah and Bombay. It is hoped that in other centres also branches will soon begin to function.


It is appropriate to refer to the valuable work done by a few of the important office-bearers of the Fund who are not with us now to enjoy the Silver Jubilee Celebrations.

Rao Saheb P. Ramachandra Rao, B.A., was the first Vice-President of the Fund and he held office from 1912 to 1920. In his death in 1920, the Fund sustained a serious loss. I must acknowledge with gratitude the great affection and kindness which he always showed me personally and to the Fund. He was a man of great moral earnestness, probity of thought, unsullied  character and integrity. He never spared himself or others in the proper discharge of duties undertaken. A man of cool and calm judgement, he had the courage of his convictions sublimated with a passionate idealism and he always did what he conceived to be right without being deflected by any fear of the consequences. His association with the Fund in the first eight years was an asset of inestimable value. It is a source of joy and strength to us to find that the members of his family continue to give to the Fund the same enthusiastic support.

Dewan Bahadur K. Krishnaswamy Rao, C.I.E., the first President of the Fund, remained in office for eleven years from 1912 to 1923, when he died. I must here record my deep debt of affection and gratitude to him. I still remember the way in which he listened to me in 1912 when I had more than one interview with him at his residence in connection with my proposals for the preliminary meeting held on 15th September 1912. I remember equally vividly with gratitude the very kind terms in which he proposed me as the first Honorary Secretary of the Fund on 15.9.1912. I was then only 21 and I felt somewhat diffident to accept the very heavy responsibility. He and Rao Saheb P. Ramachandra Rao pressed me to accept the office without any hesitation and said that I began with the blessings of two old men and promised to give me all their support and advice. To-day after 25 years, I realise that the blessings of those pious and great souls have been potent indeed. I learnt a great deal sitting at their feet. If Dewan Bahadur R. Raghunatha Rao influenced me in certain directions, Dewan Bahadur K. Krishnaswami Rao influenced me in certain other directions with equal and lasting effect. The Fund owes much to its first President. Of a conservative and God-fearing temperament, his very presence at any meeting created a spiritual atmosphere. His transparent sincerity and ever kind and affectionate speech touched the hearts of every one present. In his presence there was no question of any angry discussion or exhibition of any personal vanity or ill-temper. At no meeting have I seen him frown or say an angry word. He was an ideal President for any social service organisation. He gave a real spiritual touch to all our proceedings and placed the Fund’s work on a high level of moral elevation and purposefullness. The poor scholarship holder was not a needy boy requiring a few rupees but was a soul struggling for expansion under grave handicaps, to assist whom was to please yourself and to please God. I am painfully aware that sometimes our workers have fallen short of this high standard. I may be permitted to say that whenever I become personally aware of such a deviation in me or in my co-workers, I have made every effort in my power to set the correct level again. The next contribution of his to the Fund as a renowned administrator is naturally the high level of efficiency which he has taught the Fund to maintain since its  inception. While he forgot nothing, he was ready to forgive all. Only a man of his culture and spiritual ripeness could practise that rare virtue. Lesser men can only admire from a distance and strive to rise to that level in the fullness of time.

Dewan Bahadur R. Ramachandra Rao succeeded Dewan Bahadur K. Krishnaswami Rao on the latter’s demise in 1923. The second President of the Fund was a radical and a democrat by temperament and very different from the first President. For some time he had kept away from the movement holding that his national outlook was not consistent with his associating himself with any sectional or communal movement.  I had several interviews with him before I could convince him and enroll him as a life-member of the Fund. He had some hesitation before he could accept the Presidentship of the Fund  in 1923. When he was convinced, he rightly agreed to be the President of the Fund. He insisted upon the Committee meetings being held at the office of the Fund, which was the humble residence of its Secretary. His long administrative career continued to influence the work of the Fund in the direction of further efficiency.

Mr. C. Bheema Rao was one of those that attended the first meeting on 15th September 1912. He had been once, one of the active members of the Maharashtra Sabha, Triplicane. He was a cousin of mine, several years older than myself. He had much personal affection for me and immense faith in the schemes formulated for the establishment of the Fund. He agreed to be the Treasurer of the Fund. As Treasurer he set up a very high standard of efficiency which happily has been maintained by his successors in office. Though he was only a Treasurer, he placed his services unreservedly at our disposal and did a great many things involving very heavy work for popularising the ideals of the Fund and establishing it on firm foundations.

When I look back over 25 years, I recall to my mind the names of many good and kind friends who co-operated with the Fund and made its work so successful and who unfortunately are not with us to-day to participate in the joys of the Silver Jubilee Celebration. To recount in detail their names and their work will make this article too long. In the name of the community and on its behalf I shall only say here that the Fund will be for ever grateful to those good and active men and women for all that they have done to the Fund.

I have received the greatest kindness and support from my friends and supporters of the Fund who are happily with us to-day. It will be invidious  to mention any names. Let me only say that the very valuable work done by these tried and steadfast friends of the Fund has taken the Fund to the stage of its Silver Jubilee; and God willing, with their continued support, the Fund will reach the Golden Jubilee and the Diamond Jubilee as well in course  of time and many of our friends who are to-day rejoicing on the occasion of the Silver Jubilee will live to see and rejoice over the later jubilees as well.


The work of the Fund has not been altogether a bed of roses. Controversies there have been and some times they have been quite heated, the protagonists of different viewpoints taking very strong views and giving expression to them in equally strong words. As the Honorary Secretary and therefore the chief executive worker of the Fund I have been obliged to protect  with the utmost vigilance and enthusiasm the interests of the Fund ; and in doing so, I have always made every effort to be as impersonal as possible and to deal only with the differences in principle and in the methods of work or methods of controversy. I have given as Appendix A to this article the Twenty-fifth Annual Balance Sheet of the Fund which presents to the public the result of the Fund’s work for the last 25 years. Appendix B is the comparative statement of the progress of the Fund for the first twenty-five  years, giving every material information under important heads. As a central organisation incorporated under the Societies Registration Act, supported and backed up by the illustrious men and women who have worked as office-bearers, and with the loyal and grateful support of a body of nearly 100 past scholarship-holders who are keenly alive to what the Fund was done for them and what they should in return do for the Fund, the future of the Fund is assured indeed. In writing this history of the Fund, I have made every effort to record truly and faithfully all the material and relevant facts in a dispassionate manner. If any critic should feel that I have fallen short of the ideal set to myself, I would implore him to attribute the deficiency only to my pen and not to my heart. To me the work of the Fund has brought spiritual solace and I cannot adequately describe how much I owe to the Fund for the continued joy and spiritual comfort I have received in the discharge of my duties as the Fund’s Secretary. It is a source of even greater joy that many other co-workers have been also sharing with me the same feelings. With the continued services of tried and trusted workers, I pray that the Fund should grow in usefulness and the Mahratta community in South India should continue to give the Fund their utmost material and moral support and rally round it in a spirit of faith and hope for the lasting benefit of the whole community.

Our programme might seem ambitious, our work so far might not have come up to our expectations, but we continue our work in a spirit of hope and faith. May God bless this humble attempt to better out community !


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