Arutchelvar Dr. N. Mahalingam
Arutchelvar Dr. N. Mahalingam, B.Sc., F.I.E., (March 21, 1923 – October 2, 2014), an eminent educationist and industrialist was born on 21st March, 1923 in Somanthurai Chittoor, a village in Pollachi Taluk, Coimbatore District. His father, Sri P. Nachimuthu Gounder established Anaimalai Bus Transport (ABT) and operated a fleet of buses and Lorries to cater to the needs of the public. Now, ABT is in its platinum jubilee year. He obtained his B.Sc. Degree in Physics (1942) from Loyola College, Madras and Diploma in Mechanical Engineering (1945) from College of Engineering, Guindy, Chennai. He became an AMIE in 1951, MIE in 1975 and FIE in 1981. He was the Chairman of the Institution of Engineers from 1964 to 1966.
Arutchelvar Dr N. Mahalingam was the guiding force and instrumental in the establishment of a number of educational institutions which include Nallamuthu Gounder Mahalingam College, Nachimuthu Polytechnic and Dr Mahalingam College of Engineering and Technology in Pollachi, Sakthi Institute of Technology at Sakthi Nagar in Erode, Kumaraguru College of Technology in Coimbatore, Palani Gounder Higher Secondary School, Mariammal Girls Higher Secondary School, Rukmaniammal Higher Secondary School, Sri Kuppanda Gounder Elementary School, Mariammal Elementary School and Kasturba Nursery School in Pollachi. Dr.Mahalingam was actively involved in the setting up of Institute of Asian Studies at Madras in 1981. He has also established V.M. Kailasam Hospital in 1983 and VHS Leprosy Hospital in 1988 at Sakthi Nagar.
He was a Member in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly for fifteen years and has also served as Chairman of the Tamil Nadu State Planning Commission. He was instrumental in the implementation of Parambikulam Aliyar Irrigation Project – the brain child of Sri V.K.Palanisamy Gounder of Vettaikaranpudur – providing irrigation to more than 4.5 lakh acres. He was Honorary Consul, Government of Mauritius during 1989 – 90. He is an eminent Rotarian and a Paul Harris Fellow.
Arutchelvar Dr N. Mahalingam – a pioneering industrialist of Tamil Nadu – has established several industrial units. Sakthi Sugars Limited at Sakthi Nagar, Sri Chamundeswari Sugars Limited in Mandya, Karnataka and Sakthi Soyas Limited in Pollachi are some of his notable industrial establishments.
Being a prolific writer, he has authored more than 40 books in English as well as in Tamil on a variety of topics like industrial development, education, agriculture, infrastructure, culture and the like. Apart from this, he has edited several books. He is also the Honorary Editor of the Journal Kisan World and a Tamil monthly, Om Sakthi.
Arutchelvar Dr N. Mahalingam was awarded the degrees of Doctor of Laws (1984) by Bharathiar University. Doctor of Science (1988) by Anna University, Doctor of Science (1999) by Tamil Nadu Agricultural University and Doctor of Science (2005) by Madurai Kamaraj University in recognition of his meritorious service to the society. He has also been conferred the Indira Gandhi Integration Award and is popularly called Arutchelvar. He was conferred with Padmabushan by government of India recognizing his services in the fields of agriculture, industry and education.