For he is, without a doubt, a pillar of the Chettiar community, commanding the loyalty of hundreds of followers who feel at a loose end each time he is in trouble. The foster son of MAM Ramaswamy, the octogenarian patriarch of the Chettinad family that runs a Rs 4,000-crore business empire, has alleged that former BCCI chief and Ramaswamy's cousin AC Muthiah has created documents with Ramaswamy's thumb impressions in an apparent attempt to transfer wealth. Moratorium on Lakshmi Vilas Bank to be lifted on November 27, MHA's new Covid guidelines: All you need to know, Kerala, Bengal accept Centre's borrowing option to meet GST shortfall, BrahMos hits target with 'pinpoint precision' during test fire, 7 Skincare and beauty products that are worth giving a shot, Terms of Use and Grievance Redressal Policy. To call him an indifferent aristocrat is a tempting pretence. By contrast, Ramaswamy, say people close to him, was easygoing and unambitious. Ramaswamy had an older brother Muthiah, upon whose death in 1970 at the age of 40, Ramaswamy inherited the title Kumar-rajah of Chettinad and Chairmanship of the Chettinad Group of Companies. A grand disused staircase leads up to Muthiah’s wing of the house; unsmiling portraits of Ramaswamy’s father Sir MA Muthiah Chettiar, the first Mayor of Madras, sport fresh garlands; scores of racing trophies sit neatly arranged incabinets. Muthiah, his wife and children shall not perform any of the obsequies or ceremonies relating to my death,” was what Ramaswamy wrote in his will. Muthiah could not have hoped to escape unscathed from this war of his own seeking: charges of criminal intimidation were filed against him after his men allegedly attacked an aide of Ramaswamy; more recently, Income Tax officials raided the Group’s premises, including the palace, after following Ramaswamy’s accusations that they had been evading Service Tax. Ramaswamy finally turned to HD Deve Gowda, who gave him a JD(S) ticket and got him elected to the Upper House from Karnataka in 2004. At 84, he is no longer the man with the spry gait and the trademark lucky tie who went gallivanting from one race track to another, cheering on the horses responsible for his remarkable haul of victories—over 3,000 cups and counting. He is a great amateur sportsman, having dabbled in hockey and tennis and everything in between,” Mohan says. (She hosted her foster son Sudhakaran’s fateful wedding at the Chettinad Palace grounds in 1995, a year that proved portentous for the two young men who stepped foot in the palace for the first time, and for their adoptive parents.) “We had enough wealth, lots of companies and institutions created by our forefathers. Growing up, did Ramaswamy or his brother, the late Kumararaja MAM Muthiah, feel fettered by privilege and the weight of the past? It was during his tenure as head of the Indian Hockey Federation that India won its only World Cup in Kuala Lumpur (1975) and gold at the Moscow Olympics (1980). Can’t Share Details of Missing Troops Along LAC: MoD Ullekh NP, Bruce Wannell: Ode to an Orientalist William Dalrymple, Siddharth Singh Muthiah declined to be interviewed for this story. “Bolo, bolo, he insisted. “The Ayyappan temple in MRC Nagar built by him stands testimony to his religious faith and his spirit of charity. “He has a canny eye—perhaps the best in the field—and yet he gives the jockey a free hand,” Suraj says. There is something implacable about Ramaswamy, even if he can no longer cut a bold figure in a tailored suit alighting from his Mercedes. As it turned out, they wouldn’t be the ones to stage a coup. I needed another Rs 18 lakh. For the octogenarian who was still hurting from the state government’s takeover of Annamalai University, India’s first private university founded by his grandfather in 1929, of which he had been pro-chancellor since 1984, this was yet another blow to the family’s reputation. The great doors of the Chettinad Palace in Chennai, I am told, are always open and the hearth never goes cold, feeding dozens of staff and visitors kozhi curry and rice, idli and filter coffee, through the day. There was no need,” he says, with rare candour. “He is not just a great judge of horses, but also a compassionate man who treats his jockeys well,” Narredu says. While Ramaswamy is regarded as highly competitive, jockeys say he is too much of a gentleman to directly upbraid them for losing. “It was a happy, contented marriage,” he says. “Once you are in, it seems quite pointless. Veteran industrialist, former parliamentarian and the last King of Chettinad, MAM Ramaswamy died on Wednesday evening at Chennai’s Fortis Malar Hospital. We were rewarded with perks we could have never imagined before. Ramaswamy immediately wrote two cheques for Rs 9 lakh each and attached a note: ‘With my love and affection’. “I am healthy otherwise,” he claims, even if his swollen feet and the bottles of pills dotting his room suggest otherwise. AC Muthiah dismissed the allegation. I left the management to capable professionals, I would sign where required,” Ramaswamy says. India, Around the world and many more.. Can’t Share Details of Missing Troops Along LAC: MoD. It feels magnificently bare now, the cool marble floors and the polished teakwood ceilings and doors pristine as on the day it was built, even as pieces of the past beckon from the walls. I enjoyed myself for six years. When an assistant of Ramaswamy became too influential, says a Chettinad Cements employee, Muthiah decided he could no longer white-knuckle his way through his father’s growing army of attendants. Like his marriage to his uncle’s daughter. Not even his friendship with AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa could ensure a nomination. When Achi, a connoisseur of exotic Chettinad fare, managed the house, it was filled with merry noise and the smell of food, flowers and incense, an old-timer reminisces. But age isn’t the only reason he lives a curtailed life, Ramaswamy says. I told him his son would turn out okay. CHENNAI: The palace wars have broken out again. We are just 1.5 lakh people in the world; we are like the Parsis: rich and very few,” he says. I later repaid him, but I can never forget his generosity or the conversation that followed. As a hockey administrator in the 1970s, Ramaswamy is said to have hosted an unforgettable 30-course dinner for the Indian team in Bangkok after it lost to Pakistan. Jockeys who have worked under him say it is a pleasure to ride his horses, despite the pressure that comes with the job. Watch- ing derbies on television, his leather recliner rocking gently as though mimicking an ambling horse, is a more accessible pleasure. As I watch him tune into the evening’s racing event on his TV, I take his leave in the certainty that he could not be more at peace. ‘Measure even what you throw into the river’, goes an old Tamil saying that best applies to Chettiars, a mercantile community infamous for holding its money close. A.C. Muthiah The feud between Ramaswamy and Ayyappan dates back to 2006, the time of Sigappi's death. “Six hundred is just a number. 24 Jun, 2015. In this historic ambience, the circle of time seems to spin a little faster, spitting out perfectly coined memories, shredding notions of permanence and rearranging relationships like old furniture handed down through generations. A story goes that when the boys returned from Moscow loaded with electronic gadgets, Indian Customs officials quickly rang Ramaswamy, who readily agreed to pay the duty on the goods. Between him and his brother Mallesh, the Narredus won a hundred Classics for Ramaswamy. “I often joke, asking him why he doesn’t take me as his foster son. One day, when he was 19, his parents and his uncle summoned him home early from work. Ramaswamy always fancied himself a modern-day royal, spending much of his time pursuing an expensive passion for race horses—“It costs Rs 5 lakh to maintain a horse these days,” says the undisputed turf mogul of India—and patronising other sports including tennis and hockey. “Whatever the reasons, when he decides, you can’t change his mind. I walked up to him and told him he could win if he calmed down. S Mohan, the retired judge, remembers a time when he was more impulsive. Narendra Modi has declared war on black money. “And that is what endears him to his friends.”. The two have since fallen out twice, but Narredu says he cannot unthank Ramaswamy. Sometime in the 1950s, Mohan was refereeing a game of tennis at the Madras Law College between a young Ramaswamy and a top-ranked Tamil Nadu player.