The first decade of the 20th century could bring to the minds of the historically and nationally aware, the many high points in the development of our Indian societies. Those were the years when social reformists were questioning such practices as child marriage, subjugation and illiteracy among women.
Sir C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar an eminent statesman and lawyer was strongly advocating for bringing a Bill in the legislature to make education for women, an inalienable right. In that same decade, Diwan Bahadur Sri Somasundara Sastriyar, a Deputy Collector and his friend Sri Ramanatha Sarma founded a Society – called The Hindu Girls’ School Union, in their native town of Kanchipuram for championing their cause. This parent body founded the first Elementary School in the neighborhood, exclusively for girls. This School was then called Hindu Girls’ School.
The first Headmistress was a zealous educationist fired by the ardor of providing literacy to young women. She was the legendary Kumari Parvathammal. Septuagenarians of the town recall that this highly inspired lady would go from door to door persuading parents to share her vision. Mrs. Vasantha, now 75, recalls the effectiveness of her elementary school education under the illustrious Parvathammal. “She was an inspiring personality.We got a wholesome education at elementary levels not only in Arts & Craft but also in spoken English.” She recalls, “it was quality education”. So popular and widely recognized her services were that the School itself was for decades to come, known as Parvathammal School. It is hard to imagine today the nature of the task to maintain a school exclusively for educating young girls in those days. The school received no grant or support from Government and it was a constant struggle for survival. Sustained solely by the conviction of the courageous founders and the many large hearted donors they inspired, the institution was forging ahead.