Published: 20th April 2019
The man behind Madras Day, S Muthiah passes away at 89
Muthiah was the principal organiser of the annual Madras Day celebrations and the founder-President of the Madras Book Club
For historian S Muthiah, Madras was his muse. This raconteur of Chennai passed away, a week after his 89th birthday - it goes without saying that the city will surely miss him and his writings about it. And therefore, the fact that he wrote a column, three days before his death shouldn't come as a shocker to anyone.
The first to announce his death was historian Sriram V. He wrote, "Farewell S Muthiah - The Chronicler who kept Madras history and heritage alive for decades. My guru, guide, philosopher and friend."
A renowned journalist, cartographer and historian, Muthiah initially worked with Times of Ceylon for almost two decades, after which he moved to Chennai to take up a job in TTK Maps as a cartographer. He worked towards preparing tourist guides and books on South India there. Later, he wrote his first book Madras Discovered. He went on to write 18 books after that. In 2002, Muthiah was made an Honorary Member of the Civil Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
Long before writers and artists romanticised the concept of handwritten letters and typewriters, S Muthiah used them to express his musings. In fact, it was only three years ago that he learned to use a computer. He was also against the idea of using cellphones and depended on landlines for all his calls.
He is survived by two daughters Ranjani and Parvathy. His wife Valliammai Achi passed away six years back