Tamil Nadu scholar's house in shambles

Tamil Nadu scholar's house in shambles

The house of “Mahamahopadhyaya” U Ve Swaminathan Iyer (1855-1942), a great Tamil scholar, is in a shambles now.

He travelled extensively to collect rare Tamil manuscripts in the latter half of 19th century, transcribed and published them to bring to light the treasures of the classical “sangam age” of Tamil literature.

Located on a busy street at Thiruvateeshwaranpet at Triplicane area here, the nondescript
house where “U Ve Sa,” as Iyer was fondly called, lived during the most productive years of his literary life, has come under the hammer after a private builder purchased the house from his descendents.

“We don’t know why U Ve Sa’s descendants sold off the house and moved out some time back,” said a neighbour to Deccan Herald. “The family has been extremely reticent to even talk about it,” the neighbour added. Through one of windows facing the road, passers-by look in dismay as part of the quadrangle inside has already been pulled down.

Initially, it was a smaller, traditional “Madras-tiled house,” and was later expanded, the neighbour explained. Iyer had moved into the house in 1904, after he joined the Presidency College in Chennai as a Tamil Teacher. He paid a monthly rent of Rs 20 then.

Later, he bought the house and lived there till 1942, before moving to Thirukakazhakundram in Kancheepuram district during the fag end of his life.