Appeal to to the Collector of the Nilgiris


Dharmalingam Venugopal

Stone House, Ooty is next only in importance to Fort St George in Chennai in the Heritage buildings of Tamil Nadu.

Stone House was the first building of the British Empire in a hill station. How Sullivan managed to build it is a mystery and a miracle. That it has survived to this day more or less in the same form is yet another miracle.

Sir Thomas Munro, the Patron-Governor of South India stayed in Stone House for two nights in 1826.

Missionary scholars like Rev.G.U.Pope had taught in Stone House

For over 70 years half of India was administered for nine months from Stone House. Viceroys and Governors had sat in council in Stone House.

After independence, Stone House became a temple of learning , thanks to the efforts of the local leaders and blessings of state leaders like Kamaraj and Rajaji.

Government Arts College was opened on June 17, 1955 by the then Governor Sri Prakasa in the presence of Education cum Finance Minister C. Subramaniam.

5000 people from all over the district who took out a procession from Gandhi Maidan to the College attended the function.

H.B.Ari Gowder, M.L.A and President of the Nilgiri College Committee welcomed. He said that the only hope of raising the standard of living of the people in the hills to the level of that of the people in neighbouring districts lay in educating the maximum number of children up to the highest standard as possible.

Minister C.Subramaniam pointed out that the government policy was to encourage only technical colleges and leave the responsibility for arts colleges to private initiatives. But government made an exception for Nilgiris because of the great enthusiasm of the local people to go to college.

The real credit for the college must go to the great leader Kamaraj who overruled all objections and the grand old statesman Rajaji who fully supported the cause.

Kamaraj’s dream of educating generations of Nilgiri people has come true and those who benefited by the collages have risen to great heights as government officials, doctors, bankers, businesspersons, agriculturists, engineers, lawyers, accountants and every field.

There cannot be a more important heritage in Nilgiris than Stone House.

Stone House deserves to be celebrated, promoted and preserved in this Bicentenary Year of Modern Nilgiris.

The building and the environs of Stone House today is not what it should be. No point in blaming anyone. But if the public and old students of the college could come together a great deal can be done for the historical campus.

By myself I cannot take up this huge initiative. I appeal to the public and the old students to come forward and form a Committee of Volunteers.



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