Famous Civil servant and first Indian Chief judge of Chief Court of Mysore, Thumboo Chetty - no memorial for him in Tamil Nadu !!

If you have been a resident of Chennai for a long time and if you happen to visit the Paris Corner or the nearby High court complex built by the British, you might often hear people mention about Thmbu Chetty (also spelled Thumboo Chetty) street, an important commercial center. Have you ever thought about who Thumboo Chetty was and why the street is named after him? 

 T. R. A. Thumboo Chetty (Trichinopoly Rayalu Arakiaswamy Thumboo Chetty; April 1837 - 19 June 1907) was a man of great repute. A well accomplished man, he had the distinction of being the first Indian Chief Judge of the Chief Court of Mysore. Besides, when Sir K. Seshadri Iyer, the famous Dewan was on leave or on a long assignment, it was Thumboo Chetty  who officiated  for him  and carried on the official duty with dedication and care. 

Sir Thumboo Chetty, Famous Civil and Judicial servant  of Mysore  en.wikipedia.org

Born in April 1837, in  a Catholic family (sixth child)  in Trichinopoly (Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu), he was brought up with care and due attention to his education by his parents. His father  Desayi Royalu Chettiin was in the employ of  a Mercantile Firm - Griffith's and Co. ,as a Chief Book keeper and was held in great esteem in the local Christian community.  When he was 12 years old, he lost both his parents, however, his relation brought him  and other kids with care and attention. He had his education in English  in the famous Free Church Mission Institution (later renamed Madras Christian College).
 Maharajah Jaya Chamaraja Wadiyar of Mysuru.swarajyamag.com

 Upon leaving the school, Thumboo Chetty became an apprentice in  Mercantile Firm, Griffith's and Co., where his father,  had worked for a long time. He married  Rajamma, the daughter of one  Ponnoo Chettiar and his wife Sinnammalle,  In December 1855, he  got a  job in the  Public Service Dept.  as  a clerk, and later became an indexer, in the Office of the Quarter Master General of the Madras Army. In 1862, Thumboo Chetty being the  manager of the first Madras Legislative Council got a chance to move closely with the Legislative  secretary  John Dawson Mayne, an eminent barrister. John Mayne,  who happened to be the  Professor of Law in the Madras Presidency College, was quite impressed with Thampu Chetty and advised him to study law. Upon his advice, he joined the law college and completed his law degree in 1866 and won the first prize  for his  proficiency in law.

After his stint as a judge in the Court of District Munsiff (under the Madras High Court) of Purghi, Bellary- 1866-1867, he soon became  Sheristadar of the Judicial Commissioner's Court at Bangalore in 1867.  It was in the year1879,  he was appointed as  the  District and Sessions Judge of Nandidroog Division, the first Indian  to get the highest Judicial post in those days. For the next five years he presided over many court cases and gave correct judgement without deviating from his line of duty. He excelled in this post and won the appreciation of the British administrators and law officers. 

The Mysore Kingdom was under the British and in 1881 Rendition took place on account of severe criticism in the British media and public. Subsequently,  the young Maharajah became the ruler and Thumboo Chetty was nominated as an   ex-officio Senior Member of the Maharajah's Council  Chamarajendra Wodayar was the ruler.  When the Chief Court of Mysore, the highest court of appeal in the kingdom, came up in 1884 to offer fair justice to the people, Thumboo Chetty was among the three judges appointed by the Dept. of Judiciary; later, in  July 1890, he became the first Indian Chief Judge of the Chief Court of Mysore., a distinction earned by this hard-working man who had a roller-coaster life earlier. At that point of time the Raj offered jobs to the educated Indians and they were  subaltern in nature. Soon he was awarded the covetous tittle  "Companion of the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire in 1895."

When Sir K. Seshadri Iyer, the dynamic diwan of  Mysor  was in charge and carried out many reforms, civic improvements, etc  in the kingdom . Thumboo Chetty  was an active member of the administration  and officiated for him on three different occasions, in 1890, later in 1892, and 1893. In 1894. When  Maharajah Chamarajendra Wodayar suddently died,  his eldest son Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV was a minor at that time, Mr. Thumboo Chetty's  was nominated  in 1895 as the Senior Member of the Regency Council of Mysore of Maharani Kempa Nanjammani Vani Vilasa Sannidhana,  indeed a crucial and difficult time.To continue his services as a full-time Councillor, Thumboo Chetty was relieved of the post of .the Chief Judge on 4 November 1895.

Dewan  Seshadri Iyer, who had served the state since 1 January 1883, owing to his personal health issues, resigned the office of Dewan and President of the State Council
Sir Tghumboo Chetty, officiating Dewan of Mysore. commons wikipedia
on 18 March 1901. On the same date, Thumboo Chetty, Member of the Regency Council, was granted leave prior to his retirement. This is the story of a man who toiled all through his life right from the bottom of the rung and gradually and  with determination rose to various positions of eminence in the civil services. His humble beginning as  a clerk in Madras to the post of  the first Indian Chief Judge of the Chief Court of Mysore, and later an important member of the Regency Council  is an inspiration to the young minds who can succeed in their lives by dint of hard work, commitment and unalloyed integrity.  For such a great man -it is very unfortunate thst  there is no memorial in his native states -Tamil Nadu, once part of Madras Presidency. 

The electrification projects for Bengaluru  was initiated way back by the late Diwan Sir Shehadri Iyer.. This project would have dropped off midway or stopped but for the efforts of Thampu Chetty. Being the officiating Diwan of Mysore in the 1800s, he and Diwan P.N. Krishnamurthy were instrumental in breathing life to the Sivasamudram Hydro-electric  power plant, an important project envisioned  by the late Diwan Sir .Seshadri Iyer. This innovative project  made Bengaluru, the first city in India, perhaps in Asia  to be electrified. 

Many public servants in those days gave due importance to  philanthropy and Thumboo  Chetty's family was no exception to it. His wife  Rajammah in 1898 started the Rajammah Thumboo Chetty Girls’ School in Narainpillai Street, Shivaji Nagar and a dispensary in her husband's name on 24 December,1898. His 4th son Sir Bernard Thambu Chetty, an  alumnus of Central College and St Joseph’s College, entered the Mysore Civil Service in 1904 and later became Huzur (private)secretary to the ruler of Mysore in 1924. A little known fact is the popular Neo-Gothic styled St Philomena’s Church in Mysuru (1936) funded by the Maharajah owes its origin to him.