Malcolm Adiseshiah

Malcolm Adiseshiah

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Category: Education

Malcolm Adiseshiah Profile

  • Name:
  • Malcolm Adiseshiah
  • Born:
  • April 18, 1910
  • Died:
  • November 21, 1994
  • Father:
  • Paul Varanasi Adiseshiah
  • Mother:
  • Grace Nesamma Adiseshiah
  • Awards:
  • Padma Bhushan (1976)

Malcolm Adiseshiah Biography

Malcolm Adiseshiah is a polymath and an educationist who received Padma Bhushan Award by the Government of India for his outstanding services. In recognition of his outstanding contribution, UNESCO has awarded The Malcolm Adiseshiah International Literacy Prize every year from the year 1998.

He was born on 8th April 1910. His parents are Paul Varanasi Adiseshiah and Grace Nesamma Adiseshiah. His father was professor of philosophy and his mother was a musician. He studied at Voorhees High School and got double promotion and completed his secondary school when he was thirteen. Then he studied BA at Loyola College in Chennai. He started to teach in the St. Paul’s College in Calcutta.

He worked as a lecturer in St. Paul’s College of Calcutta University from 1930 to 1936. He married Helen Paranjothi. He got his doctorate degree and then in 1940 he joined Madras Christian College in Chennai. He was the head of the department of economics when he was only thirty years of age. He remained there till 1946. He had a son and a daughter through Helen. In 1946 the marriage broke. He fell in love with Elizabeth Pothen, the history professor of Madras Women’s Christian College and married her.

He served as the Associate General Secretary of the World University Service in Geneva from 1946 to 1948. He started the Madras Institute of Development studies for undertaking research. He was the member of the group of economists that planned the Ten Year Plan for industrial investment before the independence of India.

He took up the duties of Vice Chancellor of the Madras University on 1st August 1975. He gave autonomy to the two post graduate centers of the University of Tiruchirappalli and Coimbatore. He started the Tamil Nadu Board of Continuing Education in 1976. He was the Chairman of the Non-Formal Education Curriculum Preparation Committee in 1976.

He was offered to serve as the Governor of Goa but he refused to part with his MIDS. Later he was offered the Governorship of Tamil Nadu. But he was reluctant to take up the position and did not accept this offer also. He was nominated to Rajya Sabha in 1978. He loved Tamil language very much. He served as the President of Tamil Nadu Council for Science and Technology from 1984 and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Reader’s Digest from 1978 to 1984. He died on 21st November 1994. 

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Updated: August 24, 2011

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