“The simplest act of kindness is far more powerful than a thousand heads bowing in Prayer”.
These immortal words of Mahatma Gandhi have seen a truer meaning in PSG & Sons’ exemplary charity evinced in founding and nurturing Sarvajana Vidhyasala. This was renamed as Sarvajana High School (1939), Sarvajana Higher Secondary School (1978) and PSG Sarvajana Higher Secondary School (2002).
At the time of the inception of the school during 1924, there were no proper transport and infrastructural facilities in Poolaimedu, which means a mound with abundant poolai flowers (later called Peelamedu).
Poolaimedu circa 1924
Children, after completing their schooling till 4th Form (now called Standard IX), had to go to Coimbatore town to pursue their higher studies. Getting admission in city schools and commuting between home and school were very challenging and so the people of Peelamedu yearned for a High School in their own locality. In such a state of affairs, admission was denied even to one of the descendants of the PSG Family. It was the last straw on the camel’s back.
Thanks to PSG brothers who changed the entire scenario. A meeting was convened on Thursday, the 20th of October, 1921 at the Elementary School, Poolaimedu to arrive at a solution for the children’s future. It was an occasion of Deepavali (Diwali). In Tamil, Deepavali means an array of lights to illuminate the homes. It is note-worthy that the meeting held on the day of Diwali, did illuminate this agrarian land, Poolaimedu and did transform it into an educational and industrial hub. It was proposed to found a high school for the people of Poolaimedu. This move was seconded by many others.
PSG Ganga Naidu agreed to contribute money on behalf of the PSG Family for constructing the school building. Even people below the poverty line were ready to provide support in the form of building materials and human resources.
It was also decided to name the school as “Sarvajana Vidhyasala” as suggested by PSG Venkataswamy Naidu, the eldest son of P.S. Govindaswamy Naidu. The term ‘Sarva’ means ‘all’ and ‘Jana’ means ‘people’. Admission to all children irrespective of caste, creed, religion, social and economic status became the guiding principle which is being followed in letter and spirit till date.
In addition to the PSG Brothers’ lion’s share, help started pouring in from the neighbouring towns of Tirupur and Udumalpet. With the support of all the well wishers, the foundation stone was laid on 01.05.1922 by Mr.A.P. Pathro, the then Education Minister of Madras Presidency.
Foundation Plaque Inscription
The Foundation Stone of Peelamedu Sarvajana Vidhyasala, was laid by His Excellency Honourable Rao Bahadur Shri A.P.Pathro, MLC, the then Educational Development Minister of our Madras Presidency on 1.5.1922.
Construction work went on in full swing under the personal supervision of all the four brothers of the PSG Family, and Diwan Bahadur PSG Rangaswamy Naidu, the second son of P.S.Govindaswamy Naidu in particular. Building materials were outsourced – Teak wood from Burma (now Myanmar) and iron bars from England. It became the talk of the town. Lime mortar was ground in proper proportion under the watchful eyes of the PSG brothers in order to maintain uniform quality to ensure the strength of the building. People from different parts of the town and neighbouring villages flocked in large numbers to take a look at the school building at various stages of construction. The onlookers were astonished and wonderstruck to see the magnificence. To digress a little, even now one can see the teak wood staircase in the frontage of the school and the iron bars with the word ‘England’ (meaning to say that manufactured in England) inscribed, in the roof of the main building rooms.
Teakwood Staircase with 26 steps denoting the letters of the English Alphabet (A to Z) – maintained and used till date
Roof showing I-beam imported from England with Inscription
Eventually, the school as visualized by the four PSG brothers came into existence and the dream turned into a reality. It was inaugurated by Shri Venkatrama Iyengar, Member of the Legislative Council, Madras Presidency on the 4th of June 1924. It was consecrated by His Holiness Ramananda Adigalar of Kaumara Mutt at Saravanampatti, Coimbatore.
PSG Rangaswamy Naidu shouldered the responsibility as Managing Trustee, with Mr.V.Ramachandra Iyer, as the first Headmaster of this prestigious institution.With seven teachers and 170 students, the school started functioning. Hostel facility was also provided to the needy students.
The then hostel students and staff of Sarvajana Vidhyasala
Staff and Students of PSG & Sons’ Charities Hostel
Nobel laureate, Rabindranath Tagore, rendered his own composition “Jana Gana Mana” in the school meeting in September 1926. Since that day, it became the school song which had been sung every morning in the prayer meeting. Thus, the school has the unique honour of singing Jana Gana Mana which was later proclaimed as the National Anthem of our country on 24th January 1950.
The school grew from strength to strength. There was development in the infrastructure, increase in the strength of the teachers and the students. The hard work of administrators and the faculty bore fruit and culminated in the development of the school into a Higher Secondary School in July 1978.
Batch of students who appeared for Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) Examination in 1931-32 along with Shri G.Krishnan (Treasurer, PSGR Memorial Trust), Shri K.E.Narayanaswamy Naidu (Member, PSGR Memorial Trust)
Wide Angle View
PSG Sarvajana Higher Secondary School prides itself on being the pioneer in the field of education since its inception particularly with regard to supporting the children from underprivileged sections of the society and achieving great success not only in their examinations but also grooming them as responsible citizens later in life as well. It would be no exaggeration to call this traditional institution a trailblazer. To conclude, the first educational institution, PSG Sarvajana Higher Secondary School, has certainly become the piece de resistance of PSG & Sons’ Charities rendering yeoman service to society.