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(ARCHIVE) Vol. XIX No. 21, february 16-28, 2010

Historic Residences in Chennai - 36

(Sriram V.)

Sasi Vilas
94/229, RK Mutt (Brodie’s) Road, Mylapore

To the less-affluent citizens of Madras in the early years of the 20th Century, Dr. M.C. Nanjunda Row (1862-1921) was a veritable angel. Coming from Mysore, he had qualified at the Madras Medical College and was appointed Assistant Professor. An insulting remark about Ayurveda by an European made him resign his job and take to private practice.

Sasi Vilas was his home. Almost completely hidden by trees, it is a two-storey structure, with a large central hall. Arches dominate the facade of this house. Swami Vivekananda, before his tour of America in 1893, visited it and met Dr. Row here. Another important event that took place in this house was the marriage of Sarojini Chattopadhyaya to Dr. Muthyala Govindarajulu Naidu. The couple’s first child, Padmaja Naidu, who became Governor of West Bengal, was born here. Subramania Bharati was a close friend of Dr. Row and it was with the latter’s help that he managed to evade arrest by the British and escape to Pondicherry. Dr.  Row was an ardent follower of Theosophy and counted Madame Blavatsky, Col. Olcott and Annie Besant among his friends.

Dr. Row opened a clinic for the poor in Triplicane and named it M.C.N. Eclectic Dispensary. Medicines were sold here at very reasonable prices. He was also very supportive of the Ramakrishna Mission in its early years. It was in one of his properties in Mylapore that the Mission’s Students’ Home was first set up. A deeply religious man, he had the ancient temple to Thiruvalluvar in Mylapore renovated at his own expense and also built a sub-shrine there, dedicated to the poet’s wife, Vasuki. (Courtesy: Kalam­Kriya.)


In this issue

Planning for better days for the Cooum
Pedestrian safety – a matter of low priority in Chennai
Three men, a sidewalk and a morning Tamil paper
After the SVS days – the slide
Historic Residences of Chennai - 36
Other stories

Our Regulars

Short 'N' Snappy
Our Readers Write
Quizzin' with Ram'nan
Dates for your Diary


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