S. Ramaswami Mudaliar

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Raja Sir Savalai Ramaswami Mudaliar
Personal details
Born (1840-10-13)13 October 1840

Raja Sir Savalai Ramaswami Mudaliar CIE (1840–1911) was an Indian merchant, dubash, politician and philanthropist who was known for his wealth. He was also one of the early leaders of the Indian National Congress.

Early life[edit]

Ramaswami Mudaliar was born in 1840 to a building contractor from Pondicherry.[1] His father had been declared insolvent and moved to Madras in order to escape creditors.[1] Ramaswami Mudaliar joined Dymes and Co. and soon rose to become its dubashand As dubash, Ramaswami Mudaliar amassed a huge fortune.[1]


Mudaliar was known for his philanthropic activities in Madras Presidency. He established choultries at Park Town near Central railway station and one at Thirukazugukundram in memory of his first wife Ranee Thyal Nayagi Ammal hospitals in Madras Royapuram,Thirukazhgukundram, Cuddalore and Kanchipuram apart from a library in Madras [2] He built a child-care hospital in Cuddalore which is presently being maintained by the Cuddalore municipality.[1] In 1884, Mudaliar started a choultry near Chennai Central railway station.[1] This Choultry survived till the 1969s latter taken over by AG &OT of Madras High Court and the charities are continuing till today.[1]

In 1902, Mudaliar was chosen to represent the city of Madras at the coronation of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra scheduled for June that year.[3] The coronation was postponed when the king fell ill, and Mudaliar returned to India in July,[4] missing the re-scheduled coronation the following month.

Indian Independence Movement[edit]

Mudaliar was associated with the Indian National Union and was a part of its 1885 three-member delegation to England.[5] He was also associated with the Indian National Congress in its early stages.[6]

Mudaliar also participated in the third session of the Indian National COngress held at Madras in 1887.[7] He was a part of the welcoming committee.[8] A resolution was moved demanding more representation for Indians in the administration.[9] Ramaswami Mudaliar endorsed the resolution and spoke:

Gentleman, while we are humbly praying out Government to grant us some small representative element in the Government, we have actually got full-blown representative institutions flourishing in this country under our very noses. I do not know whether you are aware how they are flourishing in Pondicherry and other places which are subject to the French government. England will not as yet allow us the smallest modicum of representative institutions, but in Pondicherry every man has a right to elect his representative. He enjoys manhood suffrage![7]

On the third day of the Madras session, Mudaliar moved an amendment suggesting that the question of establishing a Public Service COmmission be postponed to the next session.[10] Ramaswami Mudaliar also participated in the fifth session of the Indian National Congress held in 1889.[11] He also participated in subsequent sessions of the Indian National Congress. In the 1894 Congress, he proposed Alfred Webb for the presidency of the Congress and he was duly elected.[12]


Mudaliar died in 1911 at the age of 71 and was buried at his private burial ground at Kilapuk Garden Road Kilpauk, Chennai. His statue was erected by his friends which is kept in the Choultry.[1][2]

Legacy and honours[edit]

Ramaswami Mudaliar was made a Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire on June 6, 1885.[13] He was also awarded the titles of "Rao Bahadur".[1] In 1886, he became the 158th Sheriff of Madras, the first Indian to hold the post.[1] He was knighted on 14 February 1887 in the Queen's Golden Jubilee Honours List.[1][14] The title of Raja was conferred upon him as a personal distinction, i.e. it was not hereditary since he was a non-royal, by Her Most Gracious Majesty. It was conferred on 1 January 1891[15][16]

Mudaliar's birthday is celebrated each year through a public function at his choultry opposite to Central Railway station .[1][2] The function is organised by Ramaswamy Mudaliar charities which is managed by AGOT of Madaras High Court.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "The Raja Forgotten". The Hindu. October 11, 2004. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Ramaswamy Mudaliar remembered". The Hindu. October 14, 2008. 
  3. ^ "The Coronation". The Times (36754). London. 29 April 1902. p. 10. 
  4. ^ "The Coronation". The Times (36821). London. 16 July 1902. p. 10. 
  5. ^ Indian National Evolution, Pg 136
  6. ^ Indian National Evolution, Pg 186
  7. ^ a b Besant, Pg 62
  8. ^ Besant, Pg 51
  9. ^ Besant, Pg 60
  10. ^ Besant, Pg 65
  11. ^ Besant, Pg 81
  12. ^ Besant, Pg 183
  13. ^ Great Britain India Office (1905). The India List and India Office List. London: Harrison and Sons. p. 146. 
  14. ^ "No. 25673". The London Gazette. 15 February 1887. p. 788. 
  15. ^ The golden book of India, page 258: [1]
  16. ^ Narrative of the celebration of the jubilee of ... queen Victoria ... in the presidency of Madras, page 230: To be..etc.[2]


  • Amvika Charan Mazumdar (1917). Indian National Evolution. Madras: G. A. Natesan and Co. 
  • Besant, Annie (1915). How India Wrought for freedom. Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing House.