Though the British East India Company had set up shop in Madras (now Chennai) in the year 1639, it was only towards the beginning of the 19th century that they started spreading out of Fort St. George. As large parts of India started coming under its administration, the curiosity to learn more about India and its languages, customs, people, history, natural resources, started peaking. Literary societies, educational institutions and museums followed in due course.
On this walk we visit the Madras Literary Society (MLS). Founded in 1818 it is the oldest surviving subscription library in India today. With a history going back 200 years, MLS and its patrons/members have played a singularly important role in our understanding of South Indian history, art, architecture, epigraphy, geology, anthropology, natural resources, etc. We look at the journey of this famed institution, take a quick peek at some of the iconic books in its collection, and get a lowdown on how a motley bunch of volunteers are helping revive the Society to its former glory.
This guided tour is free.