The Nilgiris benefactor remembered

Sir Thomas Munro

British Governor of Madras Presidency , Sir Thomas Munro, who wrote into history the Nilgiris as the first Hill Station of the British Raj on the day of his untimely tragic death was remembered today on his death anniversary at a meeting here today. This year also marks the 190th year of his visit to the Nilgiris.

Explaining the significance of the day, Mr. Dharmalingam Venugopal , the Director of the Nilgiris Documentation Center, which had organized the function, said that it was on this day in 1827 the Governor in Council in Madras, headed by Sir Thomas Munro finally recommended to the Court of Directors of the East India Company to establish the Nilgiris as a convalescing station for invalid British soldiers which paved the way for establishing the first Hill Station of the British Raj at Ootacamund.

Though John Sullivan, the builder of modern Nilgiris, had been campaigning for such an official status ever since he set foot on the hills in January 1819, it was only after the personal visit of Sir Thomas Munro to the hills in 1826 the proposal to establish a sanitarium on the hills became a reality.

Shri. Murali Rambha, the Superintendent of Police, the Nilgiris, who was the chief guest said that it was the authority of government headed by Munro more than the enthusiasm of Sullivan, who was a mere Collector, that laid the foundations for a British Hill Station in the Nilgiris.  

Recalling the great contribution of Sir Thomas Munro and others like Sir Arthur Cotton to the development of Rayalaseema region of Andhra Pradesh where Sir Thomas Munro served as District Collector before assuming office of the Governor, Mr Murali Rambha said the people there continue to be benefited till this day by those projects.

Sir Thomas Munro

The farmers, who were mere workers, won the right to their land only after Munro’s reforms, said Mr. Murali Rambha and added that Munro’s administration is considered to this day as the ideal administration. He further said that even now people like Munro are remembered in the Rayalaseema area in folk songs and stories or by naming the children after him. 

Congratulating the Nilgiri Documentation Centre for its ongoing efforts, Mr. Murali Rambha urged that it was essential for the local people of Nilgiris to recognize and remember the contribution of such great administrators to preserve the beauty and environment of the Nilgiris. 

Whether the Nilgiris could be made more popular and beautiful 100 years hence or allowed to decline from pollution, climate change and degradation would depend on how far the local people prefer to follow the traditions inspired by people like Sir Thomas Munro and John Sullivan, said Mr. Murali Rambha.
Representatives of Make Ooty Beautiful, Nilgiri Library Book Club, Nilgiri Educational and Research Foundation and Sullivan Court participated.

Dharmalingam Venugopal
Nilgiri Documentation Centre

Dharmalingam Venugopal

The Honorary Director of the Nilgiri Documentation Centre is Dharmalingam Venugopal, a native of Nilgiris, an Economist and an Environmental Activist and founder of Save Nilgiris Campaign and Managing Trustee of Nilgiris Documentation Centre.

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