The spectacular philanthropist, an industrialist, educationalist and an icon of inductive identity, Padma Bhushan, Arutchelvar Dr. N.Mahalingam arose to the world and made his first vision at 23rd March 1923 as a ward to Dr.Nachimuthu at Pollachi. To be at dotted note, Dr. Nachimuthu was the founder of “Sakthi Groups” and diversified the traditional practice of hiring bullock carts.
Dr.Mahalingam completed his schooling in Pollachi and as a next step he acquired his Bachelor of Science in Physics at Loyola college, Chennai in 1943. Then he continued to be an engineering student at College of Engineering, Guindy in 1945 and simultaneously as an AMIE in 1951, an MIE in 1975 and FIE in 1981 of the Institution of Engineers. Doctorate Degrees’ from Bharathiar University (Coimbatore), Anna University; Tamil Nadu Agricultural University and Madurai Kamaraj University, for his outstanding contributions. These provide an understanding of how much he valued learning.
Speaking of his involvement in politics, Dr. Mahalingam was introduced to politics in his early life as his father Nachimuthu was a politician and a municipal leader. This personality was a member of Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly for a span of 15 years — from 1952 to 1967— and played a key role in bringing about a number of development projects including the Parambikulam – Aliyar Project – Parambikulam Dam and Aliyar Reservoir- that helps irrigate the agriculture lands in the Pollachi region. He was elected to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly as an Indian National Congress candidate from Pollachi constituency in the 1952, 1957 and 1962 elections.
Apart from politics he was also an eminent entrepreneur. As the only son of Dr. Nachimuthu he contributed greatly to Sakthi Group of companies and made it reach its zenith. He found himself lucky to have started business during the planning era during the post-Independence phase of India. After the banks were nationalised by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, this entrepreneur found it a big boon to start businesses and expand as more and more banks were ready to lend money easily. Today, the Sakthi Group of Companies is a name to reckon with as it has forayed into sugar, distilling, automobiles, finance, etc.
The honorary awards for his everlasting services include:
Honorary Consul : 1989-92 from the Government of Mauritius.
Indira Gandhi National Integration Award : 1989 at the All India National Unity Conference, New Delhi.
Aram Valarkkum Annal : 1983 from Sri Sankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakodi Peedam .
Doctor of Laws : 1984 from Bharathiar University, Coimbatore .
Doctor of Science : 1988 from Anna University, Madras.
Doctor of Science : 2000 from Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore.
He was the founder of many institutions which serve to provide brighter individuals to the society. He is founder of many educational institutes from schools to autonomous institutions.Some of his educational institutions are Kumaraguru College of Technology, Coimbatore(popularly known as KCT), Nachimuthu Polytechnic college,Mahalingam college of engineering (popularly known as MCET)etc.
As for his interest in spiritualism,Dr.Mahalingam had an important association with Sri Swami Satchidananda, the Indian swamiji who emigrated to the United States of America and founded the Integral Yoga Institutes. Dr.Mahalingam was also greatly associated with Vethathiri Maharishi and his teachings. He was also an ardent follower of Ramalinga Swamigal alias Vallalar.
In most of his latter days,as a man of character, he went on to preach the principles of Vallalaar to enrich the society with pure souls and minds.
After leading an exemplary life, on Gandhi Jayanthi, 2014, While he was giving a speech about Vallalar at Chennai,the great soul left the mortal world only to become eternal in the minds of men.