S. Muthiah

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Subbiah Muthiah
Born (1930-04-13) 13 April 1930 (age 84)
Pallathur, Madras Presidency, British India
Nationality Indian
Occupation journalist
Known for books on the History of Chennai, conservation activities

Subbiah Muthiah, MBE (born 13 April 1930), is an Indian journalist and amateur historian known for his works on the political and cultural history of Chennai city.[1] He is a regular columnist for The Hindu and has written a number of books on the history and culture of Chennai, and is the founder-member of the Madras Book Club.

Early life and education[edit]

Muthiah was born in Pallathur, British India in a Nagarathar family on 13 April 1930.[2] His father, N. M. Subbiah Chettiar was a stockbroker and politician who served as a mayor of Colombo, British Ceylon and was one of the founders of the Ceylon India Congress formed in 1939.[3] He even stood for elections for the House of Representatives of Ceylon from the Nuwara Eliya constituency in 1947 and lost.[3]

Muthiah had his early schooling in Ladies' College, S. Thomas' Preparatory School and Royal College in Colombo[4] and completed his matriculation in India in 1946. Between 1946 and 1951, Muthiah studied arts and engineering in the United States of America and returned to Ceylon after obtaining his masters' degree in International Relations in 1951.

With The Times of Ceylon[edit]

On his return in 1951, Muthiah took up a job with The Times of Ceylon and served the newspaper for 17 years eventually rising to the second position in the newspaper's hierarchy and heading the weekly Sunday edition.[5] When the citizenship laws of the country were tightened in 1968, Muthiah, who was not yet a citizen of the country had to resign his position and move to India.[5]


On 7 March 2002, Muthiah was made a "Honorary Member of the Civil Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire".[6][7] The award was presented to him by Michael Herrige, British High Commissioner to India at a function in Chennai.[6]


At the inauguration of the 2009 edition of the Chennai Book Fair, M. Karunanidhi, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu regretted the fact that Muthiah's book Madras Rediscovered did not make even a passing mention of the tenures of C. N. Annadurai or himself.[8] Muthiah has also been criticised by Hindu nationalists for denying the alleged destruction of the Kapaleeswarar Temple in Chennai by the Portuguese government of Sao Tome de Meliapore.[9]


  • Muthiah, S. (1981). Madras Discovered. East West Books (Madras) Pvt Ltd. 
  • Ramaswami, N. S.; Muthiah, S. (1988). Parrys 200: A saga of resilience. East West Books (Madras) Pvt Ltd. 
  • Muthiah, S. (1989). Tales of old and new Madras: the dalliance of Miss Mansell and 34 other stories of 350 years. East West Books (Madras) Pvt Ltd. 
  • Muthiah, S. (1990). Madras, the gracious city. East West Books (Madras) Pvt Ltd. 
  • Muthiah, S. (1990). Getting India on the Move: The 150 Year Saga of Simpsons of Madras. Higginbotham's. 
  • Muthiah, S. (1991). Words in Indian English: A reader's guide. Indus. 
  • Muthiah, S.; Khullar, Rupinder (1992). The Splendor of South India. UBS Publishers' Distributors. 
  • Muthiah, S. (1993). A planting century: the first hundred years of the United Planters' Association of Southern India, 1893–1993. East West Books (Madras) Pvt Ltd. 
  • Muthiah, S. (1995). Madras, its past and present. East West Books (Madras) Pvt Ltd. ISBN 8185938245, ISBN 978-81-85938-24-0. 
  • Muthiah, S. (1997). The Spencer Legend. East West Books (Madras) Pvt Ltd. 
  • Muthiah, S. (1998). The spirit of Chepauk: the MCC story, a 150 year sporting tradition. East West Books (Madras) Pvt Ltd. 
  • Muthiah, S. (2000). Looking back from "Moulmein": a biography of A.M.M. Arunachalam. East West Books (Madras) Pvt Ltd. 
  • Muthiah, S. (2000). Madras that is Chennai, Queen of the Coromandel. Business Publications Inc. 
  • Muthiah, S. (2004). Madras Rediscovered. East West Books (Madras) Pvt Ltd. 
  • Muthiah, S. (2004). Changing Chennai: a symposium on the queen of the Coromandel. Singh. 
  • Muthiah, S.; Gopalan, K. N. (2008). Moving India on wheels: The story of Ashok Leyland. Ashok Leyland. 
  • Muthiah, S. (2008). Born to dare: the life of Lt. Gen. Inderjit Singh Gill, PVSM, MC. Penguin Books. ISBN 0670081884, ISBN 978-0-670-08188-2. 
  • Muthiah, S.; Sathyanarayanan, S.; Satish, Swapna; Sathasivam, Kumaran (2009). The Raj Bhavans of Tamil Nadu. South Zone Cultural Centre. 
  • Muthiah, S. (2011). Madras Miscellany: A decade of People, Places and Potpurri. Tranquebar Press. ISBN 978-93-8003-284-9. 


  1. ^ "Chennai". lifeinchennai.com. Retrieved 27 July 2009. 
  2. ^ Gautam, Savita (3 November 2002). "Crusader for Chennai". The Hindu. 
  3. ^ a b "Subbiah Muthiah". Viator Publications. 
  4. ^ Muthiah, S. "GO, THORA, GO; THOMIANS BECOME ASIAN SCHOOLS ROWING CHAMPIONS". St Thomas' College, Gurutalawa. 
  5. ^ a b Ghosh, Bishwanath (4 April 2011). "Muthiah Discovered". The Hindu. 
  6. ^ a b "Muthiah Honoured". The Hindu. 8 March 2002. 
  7. ^ Chennai Online
  8. ^ "Chief Minister inaugurates Chennai Book Fair". The Hindu. Retrieved 1 January 2010. 
  9. ^ Ishwar Sharan (1991). The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple. Voice of India. pp. 128–131. ISBN 8185990913, ISBN 978-81-85990-91-0. 

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