Friday, December 31, 2010

THE MAN AND HIS LEGACY A portrait of PSG Govindasamy Naidu

Great legacies have mostly had humble beginnings. But, they have all been ignited by a grand dream. One such simple dream that has enriched generations in this entire region is the legacy of the PSG family and its institutions.

Coimbatore today is known nationally for its industries and educational institutions, which were founded and patronised by its enterprising people. If one were to go into the past to study the origin of the early industries and educational institutions, the PSG legacy will weave a beautiful story.

The founder
The P.S.G. family, belonging to the Kammavar sect of the Naidu community, traces its history to Periya Veedu Venkatarama Naidu in the later part of the 18th or the beginning of the 19th centuries. The letter `P' in P.S.G. is derived from Periya Veedu, `S' after Sama Naidu, the third son of Venkatarama Naidu, and `G' after Govindadamy Naidu, the second son of Sama Naidu.
The Origin of the family could be traced to its forbear Sri Venkatarama Naidu who belonged to the family of 'Periya Veedu' (The big House) related to the 'Mailati Gothra' of the 'Kankallar' group belonging to the Ubbayathi Kammavar Community of Naidus. Sri Venkatarama Naidu had four sons by name Tharmakartha Muthu Naidu, Linga Naidu, Sama Naidu and Rangaswamy Naidu. It is from the third son, Sri Sama Naidu that the P.S.G. Family has directly descended. The 'P' in the famous triplet 'P.S.G'. refers to the name of the house, and the 'S' in it to Sri Sama Naidu.

It was P.S. Govindadamy Naidu, the founder of the legacy, who gave Coimbatore its four illustrious sons — P.S.G. Venkatasamy Naidu, P.S.G Rangasamy Naidu, P.S.G Ganga Naidu and P.S.G Narayanasamy Naidu.

The Naidu family, like many others in the region, were simple farmers in Peelamedu. P.S. Govindasamy Naidu inherited about 14 acres of land, of which more than half were dry lands.
He then slowly started trading in cotton and tobacco, earning a name for his integrity, commercial insight and acumen. The family slowly established a sizeable cotton trade with many of the mostly British-owned mills in the city. With the flourishing trade, they acquired land, which they irrigated with the help of oil-powered engines and were the first to use tractors in their farms. A ginning factory was also established in 1911.

It was 1918, a war was going on and disaster struck the PSG family. Trade took a beating and P.S. Govindadamy Naidu passed away.

At that stage, it was Ganga Naidu who stressed the need for the family to establish a spinning mill. After much persuasion, the family yielded to his enthusiasm and the Sri Ranga Vilas Ginning, Spinning and Weaving Mills was started in 1922, the fourth mill in Coimbatore.

Enterprising brothers
The enterprising P.S.G brothers were also the first (in 1931) to use electric power from the Pykara Electricity System, replacing the older technology of generating power through steam engines.

Their courage and forethought has continued till date, with the family having many such firsts to its credit.

The businesses of the P.S.G family started to grow and flourish and now, one can see its descendants running a diverse pool of large industries.

Foray into education
Those days children had to travel by foot into the town for education. Locals felt the need for a school in the Peelamedu region, and with this in mind, the P.S.G family in 1921 took the lead along with the people of the area.

Three years later, on June 4, 1924, the Sarvajana School was inaugurated by Venkatraman Iyyangar, the then member of Council of State.

In a land where giving and serving is a way of life, the PSG brothers were no different. The illustrious sons of P.S. Govindadamy Naidu took a historic decision to divide their wealth not into four parts, but into five, with the fifth to be willed to charity.

Drawing inspiration from the educational Pachaiappan Trust and `industrial' Chengalvarayon Trust, they formed the P.S. Govindadamy Naidu and Sons Charities. This was registered on January 26, 1926.

The PSG Charities was different in that its trustees wanted it to be self-sustaining and forward thinking. P.S.G Rangasamy Naidu was the initial torchbearer and the trust's first managing trustee, with the other brothers concentrating on commerce.

The facade of the Sarvajana School
It is said that the trust took its form and shape under him. This visionary, termed the trust's architect, was conferred the prestigious British India honour of Dewan Bahadur in 1941.
Technical institute

The P.S.G. Trust and its institutions continued to grow and in 1926, the foundation stone was laid for the P.S.G Industrial Institute. Soon, others things followed.

In 1940, P.S.G manufactured the first baling press for the textile industry; in 1947, it set up the first private arts college with the efforts of P.S.G. Ganga Naidu, and in 1951, established the College of Technology.

After a gap of three decades, the Institute of Medical Science and Research came up in 1985. What is most noticeable is that the institutions always worked in relation to reality, producing and providing products and services needed for the industry.

For institutions, especially those with a charitable orientation, to not only stay afloat but also be progressive even 75 years later, is an achievement.

Making a mark
Many tall personalities have originated from the P.S.G line, from the great educationist G.R. Damodaran to G. R. Govindarajulu and Chandrakanthi Govindarajulu and the late G. Varadaraj. Many in the P.S.G line continue to make a mark in many areas like educationist Dr. D. Padmanaban, industrialist Rajshree Pathy and racer Narain Karthikeyan.

Many others in the family run successful industries and also have established other trusts and institutions for the benefit of society.

The thousands who have been educated in these institutions have become entrepreneurs, academics and professionals, contributing and enriching society in their own way.
Post a Comment