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Monday, April 12, 2021

the grand wise oldman bids adieu at 104 !! Triplicane is sad !!!

104 is a primitive semiperfect number and a composite number.  Be that it may – 104 and 12th Apr 2021 have given sadness too ! – for the grand oldman of Thiruvallikkeni is no more ! – renowned scholar and centenarian Mandayam Sri S Parthasarathi Iyengar is no more  He was born in 1917 – passed away peacefully at Hyderabad today at ripe age of 104! Triplicanites would for sure remember that brisk, measured walk of a grand progressive thinking oldman – who was adept in all modern gizmos including laptops.  .. yes, till recently, when we could meet him on the mada veethigal of Thiruvallikkeni divyadesam, he would walk briskly and more importantly walk his way to venues and travel by transport corporation buses and in trains (after hitting century of age !) – young and cheerful in mind !!!

Tracing back, he was a descendant of Pradhan Tirumal Row   (Row is anglicisation of a title similar to ‘Rao Bahadur.’) who was  given the post of Collector of Coimbatore. When the Wodeyar dynasty came back to power many years later, the British, according to a signed agreement, were to restore the post of Pradhan to Tirumal Row, but they reneged on their promise.

We all know and rever the famous Barathiyar illam where the greatest Mahakavi  Subrahmanya Bharathiyar   lived in Triplicane.   Bharati’s life was short; he pioneered modern poetry, was a great journalist, eternal optimist, fought British with flame, incensed people of the Nation.  We have read about a Tamil weekly ‘India’ launched in 1906 of which Bharati was the Editor.  This provided the correct platform for the flaming words of Bharathi  ~ this was owned by patriotic Mandyam Brothers—Tirumalachar and Srinivasachar—who were ready to spend their large inherited fortune in the cause of Indian Independence.   Sri S Parthasarathi is the son of Mandayam Srinivasachariyar of the magazine ‘India’. During that exile of Mahakavi in Pondy, their family had Aurobindo connection as well as  Mandayam Srinivasacharyar, Bharatiyar, and V.V.S. Iyer had philosophical discussions with Aurobindo.  

One of the relatives of this now late grand oldman  Sri Parthasarathi, Yogi Parthasarathy Iyengar, a great scholar with great vision and forethought, established Sri Saraswathi Bhandaram though which he supported many scholars and ensured publication of many sampradaya granthas for the first time.  Sri Yogi Parthasarathi Iyengar was invited to present a paper in the World Parliament of Religions at Chicago in 1893; did not go and yes, it  was attended by Swami Vivekananda whose 150th birth centenary is presently being celebrated.  Yet another relative Mr Alasinga Perumal helped and arranged the visit of Swami Vivekananda.

Sri S. Parthasarathi has contributed much and was the  guiding the Educational institutions of Hindu Sr Secondary School and century old Hindu Higher Secondary School, being a member in the Educational board of various Educational institutions including MOP college.   

in 2017

Throughout his life of 104 years,  Mr Parthasarathy Iyengar remained an exceptionally organized person, having been  a student of library science, having worked as librarian, keenly organising the things the way he has done his life.  He was the first director of the Indian National Scientific Documentation Centre. Apart from being a guiding  member of the Hindu Educational Organisation, he was an  active mentor of the Ranganathan Centre for Information Studies.

Sadly he breathed his last today, at ripe old age of 104 – having lived a life full of purpose, knowledge, affection, erudition and inspiration for all of us. 

On 28.11.2020 after completion of 9th decad of Thiruvaimozhi in the  uthsavam at Sri Nampillai sannathi, Thiruvallikkeni – Dr U.Ve. Mandayam Ananthanpillai Venkata Krishnan swami briefed the history of the place and its creators.  Way back in 1874, Saraswathi Bhandaram Committee had been constituted  with Yogi Parthasarathy Iyengar as secretary.  With great efforts they collated  manuscripts of works on Visishtadvaita and published them in the Saraswathi Bhandaram Press,  located in what is Komutti bungalow now.  Yogi Parthasarathi Swami who was born in Karthigai Avittam in 1840 (it was his 180th birth celebrations  – 3rd sashtiabda poorthi) brought in knowledgeable resources of grantham and also those who learnt printing technology for publication of rare granthas in book form.   

Mandayam Parthasarathi Iyengar walked his way to the place  as a special guest and part of family.  I had clicked a few photos on that grand occasion. Recall those happy moments when he was SYMA’s Chief Guest in 2013 on Republic Day Flag hoisting and on many more occasions at Gangaikondan mantap and elsewhere.

In his parting, Triplicane has lost a ‘rare jewel’ – who was young and cheerful throughout his life, adapted himself to modern changing times, briskly walked his way everywhere and would be remembered by thousands of us.

Triplicane bows in tribute to this grand old man.

With profound grief and regards – S. Sampathkumar


(first  and last  photos credit : Mrs Revathi; rest mine) - above me with the grand old man at SYMA medical centre in 2013


  1. உள்ளம் உருகும் செய்தி. அனைவரின் மரியாதையும் உறித்தாகுக..பல சமயங்களில் பல நீ சொல்லி கேட்டிருக்கிறேன். தொகுப்பாக சரித்திரம் போலவே அமைந்துள்ளது. அவர் காலத்தில் இருந்து அவருடன் பேசி படம் எடுத்துக்கொண்டதே பாக்கியம் தான். மிகவும் சிறப்பாக உள்ளது.

  2. அவரது புகழ் வைணவ உலகம் மட்டுமன்றி பாரத தேசமுமே பாடும்