College of Fort St George's river gate
College of Fort St George’s river gate

One of the oldest public libraries in India, the Madras Literary Society dates to 1817, when it began as an adjunct to the Asiatic Society. It became closely associated with the College of Fort St George that functioned on College Road between 1812 and 1854. The latter was set up chiefly to teach local languages to the Englishmen who joined East India Company service. The vast campus (presently occupied by the Directorate Of Public Instruction) was therefore where the first studies of Indian languages – Sanskrit, Tamil, Hindustani, Kannada, Telugu and Malayalam were taken up. This was where the first Dravidian proofs, that the south Indian languages were classical in their own right, independent of Sanskrit, were first presented. The campus remains a memorial to FW Ellis who first translated the Tirukkural to English. The MLS, which is the sole survivor of what was once the College, now houses more than 83,000 books and is badly in need of funds to digitise them. The walk aims to raise awareness about this cause and the proceeds will be donated to the MLS. Curated and conceptualised by historian Sriram V, the walk, on Jan 16, will start at 6.00 am and end at 8.00 am. Charges : Rs 750 per head. This can be paid online at

You can also transfer the amount to our bank account, the details of which are given below:

Account Name: Past Forward
Account Type: Current
Bank Name: The Federal Bank Ltd
A/c No. 12820200104237
Branch: Royapettah

If you are doing a transfer, please send us an email to giving us the details as to which walk has been paid for and how many in each.

If you still make your payments the heritage way, you can drop off a cheque payable to Past Forward at the following address:

c/o HVK Systems,
2&3, Bhattad Tower
30, Westcott Road
Royapettah, Chennai 600014

Participation is restricted to the first 100 registrants.