Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91
Vol. XXIX No. 5, June 16-30, 2019
80-60-40 – that was what the invitation read, inviting us for a celebration at The Hotel Breeze on the Poonamalle High Road. This was the year 2010, the invitation was from Thiru Muthiah. I could not figure out what this meant until I reached the hotel and asked him. It turned out to be a witty pun, in keeping with his trademark sense of humor – 80 referred to his age, 60 his wife’s age and 40 was the number of years they had been married. Thiru Muthiah and his family were great hosts and the guests enjoyed an excellent spread of Chettinad and Sri Lankan food.
I have known Mr. Muthiah for 30 years since my Rotary days in 1989 and my term as the Secretary of the Association of British Scholar.
I invited Mr. Muthiah to a meeting of the Rotary Club of Ambattur at Taj Coromondel, where he highlighted the need for celebrating Madras Day. Those were early days. His voice was virtually the lone one for Madras Day, which was started much later in 2004.
I suggest that we institute a Madras Muthiah Memorial (MMM) Oration in Thiru Muthiah’s honor. We could have an oration on his birthday or during Madras Month during which he inspired us all by organising talks by eminent professionals from different fields every year.
Professor Dr. N. Pandiyan
Professor and Head of the Department of Andrology and Reproductive Medicine,
Chettinad Super Speciality Hospital
In the passing away of Mr. Muthiah, the nature lovers of Chennai (that is Madras) have lost a great friend and well-wisher. He was very keen that the natural heritage of Chennai be preserved for posterity. Towards this, he would unhesitatingly publish many of the natural history articles pertaining to the flora and fauna of Chennai, whether they be original articles or those which have been published in Blackbuck, a journal of the Madras Naturalists’ Society that has a rather limited readership compared to MM. Several of our members are indebted to him for getting a wider publicity for their nature conservation efforts. A couple of weeks after the publishing, an honorarium would promptly be received by the writer.
Mr. Muthiah was very much concerned about the preservation of the Pallikkaranai marsh. MM has several articles published about it and what little of the marsh that has been finally preserved is in no less measure due to the awareness created by people like Mr. Muthiah. He had a sympathetic ear to civic problems created by the stray dog menace and presented the views of both the dog lovers and critics. I recall many pieces in MM which put forth views on the problem of crows and feral pigeons that keep multiplying along with the human population. Articles on the avenue trees of Chennai and past botany of Chennai and Tamil Nadu always found a place in MM. The preservation and maintenance of the various gardens of Chennai were also highlighted.
We, the members of Madras Naturalists’ Society, gratefully acknowledge Mr. Muthiah’s significant efforts in preserving our nature heritage and thank him from the bottom of our hearts. We will miss him.
Dr. A. Rajaram
Madras Naturalists Society