How many books did the Chief actually write? When asked he would dismiss the question with a wave of his hand. If pressed he would be evasive but concede that the number was around forty. My guess is that he simply stopped counting after a while. To him it was the quality of the output, rather than the numbers, that mattered.
A few hours after his demise, Vikram Raghavan put up on Facebook a photograph of his collection of Muthiah’s books. The Madras Club library put up a similar display. The family had a collection, along with his typewriter and pens, placed close to where his body was kept on the day of his funeral. That got Karthik Bhatt to compile a list. I still suspect that this is incomplete and who knows, some more may emerge. But we did get to ‘around 40’.
Books on Madras
1. Madras Discovered; East West Books (Madras) Pvt. Limited; 1981 – this is now in its 8th edition (2018), as Madras Rediscovered, published by East West, an imprint of Westland Publications Private Limited (also available in Tamil).
2. Madras, the Gracious City; Affiliated East West Press; 1990.
3. Madras – Its Past and Present; Ranpar Publishers; 1994.
4. At Home in Madras; Overseas Women’s Club; 1995.
5. Madras that is Chennai, Queen of the Coromandel (illustrations by C.L.D. Gupta); Palaniappa Brothers; 2000.
6. Madras that is Chennai, Gateway to the South; Ranpar Publishers; 2005.
7. A Madras Miscellany, A decade of people, places and potpourri; East West; 2011.
8. The Dalliance of Miss Mansell and other stories; East West Books (Madras) Pvt. Limited; 1989 – enlarged as a fresh edition titled Tales of Old and New Madras in 2014.
9. Madras, Chennai: A 400 year Record of the First City of Modern India, Vols. 1, 2 and 3; Association of British Scholars; Vol. 1 came out in 2008 and Vol. 3 in 2019.
Books on Madras Institutions
10. Getting India on the move: The 150 year saga of Simpsons of Madras; Higginbothams Limited; 1990.
11. The Spencer Legend, East West Books Madras Pvt. Limited; 1997.
12. Parrys 200, A Saga of Resilience (with N.S. Ramaswamy); Affiliated East West Press Pvt. Limited; 1988.
13. The Spirit of Chepauk, The MCC Story; East West Books (Madras) Pvt. Limited; 1998.
14. All in the Game, A Pictorial History of the Madras Cricket Club, (with V. Ramnarayan); The Madras Cricket Club; 1998.
15. The Ace of Clubs, The Story of the Madras Club; The Madras Club; 2002.
16. 60 Landmark Years (with Sashi Nair and Ranjitha Ashok); L&T and ECC; 2004.
17. A Tradition of Madras that is Chennai, The Taj Connemara; The Taj Connemara; 2006.
18. 150 Years of Excellence, A Pictorial History of the University of Madras; (Muthiah was chairman of the committee that brought out this book); University of Madras; 2006.
19. A Work of Genius, the Senate House of the University of Madras; University of Madras; 2006.
20. Overcoming Challenge: The 125 Year Saga of Chennai Port, the Harbour that Men Made (with KRA Narasiah); Chennai Port Trust; 2007 (also in Tamil).
21. Moving India on Wheels, the story of Ashok Leyland (with K. Gopalan); Ashok Leyland Limited; 2008.
22. The Raj Bhavans of Tamil Nadu (edited by S. Muthiah); South Zone Cultural Centre; 2009.
23. The School in the Park, A Hundred Years of the Sacred Heart School (edited by S. Muthiah); 2009.
24. Down by The Adyar; Madras Boat Club; 2010.
25. The Madras Musings Silver Jubilee Book (edited by S. Muthiah, Sriram V. and Ranjitha Ashok); Chennai Heritage; 2016
26. Looking back from Moulmein (A biography of AMM Arunachalam); East West Books (Madras) Pvt. Limited; 2000
27. B.S. Abdur Rahman – A Visionary with a Mission; 2002.
28. Born to Dare, the life of Lt. Gen. Inderjit Singh Gill, PVSM, MC; Penguin; 2008
29. T.T. Vasu – The man who could never say no; Ranpar Publishers; 2016
In addition to the above biographies, Muthiah completed two others, which for various reasons did not appear in his name. The first was The Unfinished Journey, the life of M Ct Chidambaram Chettyar and the second a biography of K.V.Al.Rm. Alagappa Chettiar.
30. An Atlas of India; OUP; 1990.
31. Word in Indian English; Indus, an imprint of Harper Collins; 1991.
32. Rupa Book of Geography Quiz; Rupa Publishers; 1992.
33. The Splendours of South India (with Rupinder Khullar); UBS Publishers and Distributors; 1992.
34. A Planting Century, the first hundred years of United Planters Association of South India 1883-1893; Affiliated East West Press; 1993.
35. The Indo Lankans, Their 200-Year Saga; Indian Heritage Foundation; 2004.
36. The Chettiar Heritage (with Meenakshi Meyyappan and Visalakshi Ramaswami); The Chettiar Heritage; 2006.
37. Walkabout in Oz; Ranpar Publishers; 2012.
38. A Kodaikanal Icon, the 125 year old history of a Kodi landmark (the story of the Kodaikanal Club); Ranpar Publishers; 2012.
39. The Anglo Indians, A 500 Year History (with Harry Maclure); Niyogi Books; 2014.
40. A Chettiar Album (with Meyyappan Junior); The Chettiar Heritage; 2014.
41. Office Chai, Planter’s Brew (with Ranjitha Ashok); Westland; 2016.
At the time of his passing he was working on two more books, one on the Lawrence School, Lovedale and the other on the Sports History of Tamil Nadu. I am sure these, when published, will be fitting memorials to a man who documented so much, and so well.
After this article was written, V Ramnarayan sent details of yet another book –
Winning Through, Nine for the Cup (with V Ramnarayan), Business Publications, Delhi; 1999