The house of Luz
The passing away of Dr. Alladi Ramakrishnan, the noted mathematician who founded the Matscience Institute in 1962, made me recall that day when he invited me to see how well he had maintained the family home, Ekamra Nivas, on Luz Church Road. I have no doubt that it will continue to be well maintained, as houses built in the huge garden of Ekamra Nivas for family members are still their homes.
This huge property was once part of a much larger property that belonged to Sir C.V. Ananthakrishna Iyer, a former judge of the Madras High Court and Chief Justice of the Cochin High Court.
Ananthakrishna Iyer, who grew up in poverty, was known to be careful with money. Yet, on a “sudden whim”, he bought up much of Luz Church Road. He then, on another whim, sold much of what he had bought to Sir Alladi Krishnaswami Iyer and Ekamra Nivas came up on that purchase. He is said to have remarked, while making the sale, “Fools build houses for wise men to live in.”
In the little land he was left with on Luz Church Road, Ananthakrishna Iyer built his own house, Anantha Sadan, which still survives but in a sad condition. It is a sorry contrast to Ekamra Nivas. When Ananthakrishna Iyer retired, he retired from Anantha Sadan, too, and went to live in his village.
Ananthakrishna Iyer and Alladi Ramakrishnan were not only close friends but also juniors under P.S. Sundara Iyer. It was on Luz Church Road that Sundara Iyer, too, had his house, Sri Bagh. The house still precariously survives, part of the Amrutanjan campus, which was developed on the Sri Bagh grounds.
It was in Sri Bagh that the famous Sri Bagh Agreement that led to the founding of Andhra Pradesh was signed. Next to the house was Aratha Kuttai, a pond that was subsequently developed as what it is today, Nageswara Rao Park, named after the founder of the Amrutanjan empire.
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