Why is it the district of Kanyakuamri, situated at the southern tip of India, continues to occupy the first place in literacy rating?
All of you may give a thousand reasons. I am sure none of you will concur with my finding.
When I went through the earlier history of the district, I discovered an important fact. A girls’ school was established in Agastheeswaram Taluq (a revenue subdivision) in the year – hold your breath – 1819. The name of the village? Nagercoil. The name of the school? Duthie School for girls. Social sciences teach us that the literacy rate of a society is directly proportional to the literacy level of the women in that society.
A century later, about a fifty metres down the same road, the SLB government school came into being. What is SLB? Sethu Lakshmi Bai – the regent who ruled the princely state of Travancore from about 1925 to 1932.
In 1893, Scott Christian College became a full-fledged college affiliated to the University of Madras. These three facilities were chiefly responsible for the fast development of education in the area which is now known as Kanyakumari district which was a part of the state of Travancore until 1956. Nagercoil is the capital of Kanyakumari district – perhaps that is the only district in Tamilnadu where the name of the capital and that of the district are different.
Apart from the Duthie Girls’ Higher Secondary School, the SLB Higher Secondary School and the Scott Christian College, another land mark we brag about is the Clock-Tower which also came into being in the year 1893. Very few people know about the connection between the name Duthie and the clock-tower. An European missionary by name Rev. Duthie presented the clock in the tower to the king of Travancore who installed it in the tower specially built for it.