Friday, 22 July 2011

Selaiyur Hall- The details


People have come, people have left,
But Selaiyur remains as an immortal entity
Which has always shaped lives
And will, forever, do so.”

- Finny Rajan Abraham
                        Chairman (2005-06)                                 

Establishment: 29th January, 1937

First Warden: Rev. A.J. Boyd

First General Secretary: Mr. C.J. Mathew Tharakan (1937-38)

First Chairman: The late Mr. A.M.S. Ameeruddin (1963-64)

The Selaiyur story:

It was in 1930 that the Madras Government decided to set apart 390 acres from the Selaiyur reserve in Tambaram, for the purpose of relocating the college to a more spacious setting from its original base in George Town. As per the recommendations of the Lindsay Commission on Christian Higher Education, the Missionaries who built the college, decided to establish Halls rather than hostels, which would function as semi-autonomous units in a democratic manner, with residents being given the power to manage their own affairs with the help of a student cabinet. The Hall system was an innovation in India and which was modeled on the hoary institutions of Oxford and Cambridge. It has been exceptionally valuable in promoting brotherhood and acquiring wonderful values and culture, besides giving the residents a sense of responsibility.
The ‘first tree' of Tambaram was cut on 5thJanuary 1932, commencing the construction of the new campus.  Incidentally, among the various Halls, Selaiyur Hall buildings were the first to be completed in 1937.  Friday 29th January, 1937 heralded the beginning of the great journey at Selaiyur Hall when a group of students, faculty and old students slept overnight for the first time. Selaiyur along with St. Thomas’s was built with 4 balcony rooms at the 4 corners, which today are given to the Chairman and General Secretary of the hall, along with ex-cabinet members or Mighty Selaiyurians.
Selaiyur has always occupied a pivotal position in shaping MCC life. There is an essential difference between the common hostel system and the hall, because one has a personal relationship with all others.
Selaiyur Hall was and still is one of its kind, being the chief fore-runner among the Halls ever since it came into existence

Entrance to Heaven

How the name came about:

There is an interesting story behind the naming of Selaiyur Hall. The first hall to be named was Bishop Heber Hall, as it was already functioning with that name as a hostel in Royapettah.  Therefore, Dr. A.G.Hogg, the Principal of the College invited suggestions from students and faculty for naming the other two halls. Some of the names suggested were Vandalur Hall, Coromandel Hall, St.Anderson's Hall, Thiagaraya Hall, Gurukul Hall, Shantiniketan Hall, New Town Hall, Cosmopolitan Hall, Centenary Hall, St.Thomas's Hall and Selaiyur Hall among others.  Of course the last name was chosen, and thus Selaiyur Hall attained complete hall status with its name being fixed. Since then every MCCian when told about Selaiyur is reminded about the hall, rather than the actual place that exists in Tambaram.

The D-Block

The Hall Song and Hall chant:

Like all the halls on the MCC Campus, Selaiyur Hall has its own hall song and hall chant. The Hall song was written and composed by Rev. G.C. Martin, Selaiyur Hall’s second warden.


If you come to Tambaram and if you want to stay, sir (twice)
Come to good old Selaiyur Hall (thrice)
And be a gentleman, sir.
For we are the boys of Selaiyur Hall (twice)
And if you want the best of all
Come to Selaiyur, sir.

Selaiyur has a remedy for every kind of evil (twice)
Food, fun and friendship (thrice)
But study is the devil, sir
For we are the boys of Selaiyur Hall (twice)
And if you want the best of all
Come to Selaiyur, sir.

If you are looking everywhere for someone to injure, sir (twice)
Try a game of basketball (thrice)
Where broken bones are sure sir
For we are the boys of Selaiyur Hall (twice)
And if you want the best of all
Come to Selaiyur, sir.

If you meet a frightful bore whose talk you cannot endure, sir (twice)
Send him off to Heber hall !
Send him off to Thomas' hall !
Send him anywhere at all
But not to Selaiyur sir
For we are the boys of Selaiyur Hall (twice)
And if you want the best of all
Come to Selaiyur, sir.

The person lives in Tambaram from youth till he is mellow (twice)
Lives as he ought to live (thrice)
And leaves a jolly good fellow
For we are the boys of Selaiyur Hall (twice)
And if you want the best of all
Come to Selaiyur, sir.
For we are the boys of Selaiyur Hall (twice)
And if you want the best of all
Come to Selaiyur, sir.


1.     If you come to Tambaram
And if you want to stay, Sir:                               
Come to good old Selaiyur Hall
Come to good old Selaiyur Hall
Come to good old Selaiyur Hall
And be a Gentleman, Sir.
For we’re the lads of Selaiyur Hall
The jolly good lads of Selaiyur Hall
And if you want the best of all
Just come to Selaiyur Sir.

2.        If you know a frightful bore
Whose talk you can’t endure, Sir:
Pack him off to Heber Hall
Shoo him off to Thomas’s Hall
Send him anywhere at all
But not to Selaiyur Sir.

3.        If you’re feeling down and out
With exams around the corner:
Cheer up with a Selaiyur smile
Pass it down the rank and file
Take the tests in royal style
For that’s the Selaiyur way, Sir.

4.        If you’re from that other Hall
You’ll need to have a bath, Sir:
Dive into the Selaiyur pond,
Dip into the Selaiyur pond
Duck into the Selaiyur pond
And get that odour of, Sir.
.        If you want a bite to eat
Selaiyur food’s a treat, Sir:
Carbohydrates, fats, proteins,
All the basic vitamins
And drinks to celebrate our wins,
And that’s the Selaiyur fare Sir.
          Neighbours often visit us
For a taste of heaven, Sir:
Dissidents from Heber Hall
Fugitives from Thomas Hall
Lonely hearts from ‘should we tell?’
All pining for the Hall, Sir.
          If the utmost refinement
Is Utsav or Octavia:
Take a look at Moon Shadow
Gauge the range of Moon Shadow
Feel the spell of Moon Shadow
And watch your culture grow, Sir.

Those hallowed passages


The Hall chant was composed by the late Prof. G.K. Mathew. A hard-core Selaiyurian till the very end, Prof. Mathew has the unique distinction of having served as the General Secretary of the Hall during his student days, and as the Warden thirty years on. He passed away in March 2011, just months before the official publication of his book, 'The Wind and the Rain'. 
Every recital of the hall chant showcases the vigor and gusto of a Selaiyurian, also highlighting the pride a Selaiyur resident takes in being a member of the hall:

Go Selaiyur, go Selaiyur, go Selaiyur, go
Selaiyur hall is on the move
Heber, Thomas in the loo
If you want to have a ball
Come to good old Selaiyur hall
Whiskey, Ginger, Soda pop
Selaiyur hall is on the top
Ye-ho, Selaiyur Ye-ho Selaiyur (Thrice)

The significance of our Hall motto and emblem:

The Selaiyur hall motto, ‘Esse Quam Videri’ comes from latin, and means ‘Sincerity, not sham’, ie.’ To be, rather than to seem’. Year after year, the newly arrived residents are taught the underlying significance of this motto and its meaning which teaches them the real essence of what being a gentleman is all about.
The Hall emblem, known as the ‘Coat of Arms’, consists of a shield, incorporated with an anchor surrounded by a rope. Sculpted into it, above the anchor are 3 images, of a lotus, laurel leaves and a torch, which stand for purity, victory and truth respectively. The hall motto at the base completes the emblem.  The emblem is a perfect representation of all the values Selaiyur hall stands for, and what the residents essentially absorb during their time in the hall.

The Governing body:

Selaiyur Hall has followed the British parliamentary system, reflected in its cabinet and its manner of functioning, ever since the hall was set up in 1937. The cabinet each year consists of:

THE PRESIDENT- It is the Warden of the hall who is also given the role of President each year. He is also the nominal executive of the various hall procedures. The conveners of the Finance Committee and Appraisal Committee are appointed in consultation with the President. The maintenance of discipline, decorum and efficient conduct of the Hall system is also his responsibility. It is his duty to conduct the Hall elections smoothly with the help of the Election Commissioner. The first session of the General Body meeting each year is also to be addressed by the President.
The hall cabinet is headed by:


The Chairman is not a part of the cabinet, rather only plays the role of an appointed leader of the hall, and a mediator between the cabinet members and the residents. The Chairman presides over all the General Body meetings. His other duties include conducting all the traditional events in the hall such as oath taking ceremony for the new residents, the terminal dinner etc. He is also responsible for upholding the traditions and discipline of the hall and representing the hall in all matters related to the college.

The student representatives in the cabinet are (in order of power):








It is the responsibility of all the above members to successfully carry out their duties for which they have been appointed to the best of their abilities, with the support of the hall residents.

The current members of the cabinet are:

PRESIDENT: Dr. J. C. Prasanna

CHAIRMAN: D. Joel Gnanaraj            


SECRETARY FOR DEBATES AND LITERARY ACTIVITIES: Jovan Joseph                                                                                                                               Antony






There is a Jury Committee and an Appraisal Committee appointed at the beginning of each year, which is responsible for ensuring that the cabinet is doing its duties properly and looking after the welfare of the residents. General Body meetings are held at the beginning of each year, and also throughout whenever it is necessary to pass any major budgets. All meetings in order to be conducted require a 2/3rd majority of hall residents to be present, and also a decent floor attendance is essential. Marshals are appointed in order to maintain the decorum of the floor and each meeting witnesses a lively exchange of questions and answers between the cabinet members and the floor.

The spiritual haven of the hall is located right above the hall entrance, and functions in a large and spacious room, aptly called the Prayer Hall. Selaiyur takes its prayers very seriously, and there is also a Prayer Secretary appointed each year, who besides having his own notice board, takes care of the daily prayers, and also in organizing the annual Christmas program of the hall.

Where characters have been moulded over the ages

Scholarships offered by the hall:

The following scholarships are available for all Selaiyur hall residents who excel in academics:
Rev. Gavin Martin Memorial Scholarship (2 Scholarships)
Criteria: 1. Residents from an economically weak background.
               2. Good Academic Records.
Instituted by the four children of Rev. Gavin Martin (former Warden, Selaiyur Hall)
Dr. G.J. Phanuel Memorial Scholarship (2 Scholarships)
Criteria: 1. Christian Residents from an economically weaker background.
               2. Good Academic Records.
Instituted by Mrs. G.J. Phanuel
Prof. Bennett Albert Scholarship Endowment (2 Scholarships)
Criteria: 1. Residents from an economically weak background.
               2. Good Academic Records

Kurian Abraham Memorial Scholarship (2 Scholarships)
Criteria: Residents with Good Academic Records
Instituted by the daughter of Mr. Kurian Abraham, Ms.Leela A.Ittycheria
The residents who are applying for the above mentioned scholarships should not have faced any disciplinary actions either in the college or in the Hall.

Selaiyur Hall’s various assets:

·       The hall is divided into 4 main blocks, A, B, C and D. There is also an E-block behind the hall for Post-Graduate students and sportsmen. Each block has a block-captain and block vice-captain to look after its affairs. The current Block captains are:

A-BLOCK: P. Christopher (Room No. 19 A)
B-BLOCK: Sanjay George Varghese (Room No. 38)
C-BLOCK: Simon Sajan John (Room No. 57 A)
D-BLOCK: Vimal Paul (Room No. 57B)
E-BLOCK: Terry Paul Kenyan (Room No. 201)

·   There is a photo-gallery situated between the A and B blocks downstairs. It consists of the photos of each year’s residents beginning from 1950-51. There are also separate photos of each year’s cabinet. A carom room lies adjacent to the photo gallery. The C and D block downstairs plays host to the table-tennis courts.

·        PASTURES GREEN, the official Selaiyur periodic news-letter, began circulation in 2008-09, and keeps the residents informed and updated on all the activities taking place within the hall, be it normal or quirky. 

·        THOTS is the annual hall magazine published at the end of each year which gives a detailed report of the Hall’s achievements in that year. Its origins lie in 'SELAIYURIAN', the Hall magazine in vogue in the 70's.

·        A number of literary and debating activities regularly occur within Selaiyur’s walls, which help enhance the creativity and thinking prowess of the residents. These include:

Parnassus – Formal discussion club of the hall

Buzz - Informal meetings conducted to discuss about random issues

Fresher’s inter-block competitions

Inter-block competitions

The historic Pond

     Selaiyur also has its own movie club, ‘REELITY BITES’ with regular screenings of various internationally acclaimed movies. These screenings are attended by important personalities from the film world.

·        Kamban Mandram is the hall Tamil association, a platform for tamilians as well as students well-versed in tamil to showcase their talents. The Kamban Mandram has its own cabinet appointed each year and they play an integral part in the College Tamil literary and cultural scene. The current Kamban Mandram Chairman is Y.Savari Sylvester

·        STEPS is a one-of a-kind initiative held to educate the mess workers.

·        Conceptualized a number of years ago, it finally took shape in 2010 as Selaiyur Hall saw the first get-together of its former residents through the first proper meeting of the Selaiyur Hall Old Boys Association (SHOBA). 

SHOBA 2010

     SHOBA 2011: In order to commemorate 75 years of Selaiyur's coming into being, the current batch has planned a SHOBA meet on December 10th 2011, a grand reunion to which all former Selaiyurians are duly invited. 
·        Conveners and co-conveners are appointed for all sorts of committees in the hall for all outdoor and indoor games. There are also committees appointed for maintenance of the garden, playing music and movies and also for the gym.

·        The outdoor and indoor stages are used regularly to hold hall meetings or for entertainment purposes.

·       An amoeba-shaped pond situated in front of the mess adds a scenic touch to the hall premises.

The Hall interiors- Path to Table Tennis Courts

The Prof. Bennet Albert Integrated Knowledge Centre:

1993 was the year in which Mr. Tini W. Korah, the Chairman, and Mr. Kushalappa, the General Secretary conceptualized the idea of a proper library, not the dilapidated structure that existed in the photo gallery, rather a properly built, compact place to enrich one’s mind and help take just another step to give every Selaiyurian an asset within his reach. Constructed between A and B block upstairs and consisting of only books then, that very library has evolved into what is today known as the ‘Prof. Bennett Albert Integrated Knowledge Centre’, thanks to the efforts of the 2007-08 cabinet, and today boasts of 2 computers with broadband connections, a beautifully designed gypsum ceiling with integrated lighting and a lively atmosphere just like any top-class internet cafĂ©, that too within the walls of Selaiyur.
The IKC is also the base for the all-round wi-fi connectivity in Selaiyur Hall, the first time that a wi-fi connection was set up anywhere on campus.


The jewel in Selaiyur’s crown undoubtedly is its annual inter-hall festival, MOONSHADOW. A celebration of hall and campus life in MCC, MOONSHADOW sees all the different halls pitting their wits against each other in a variety of events, both literary and cultural, in order to attain the coveted MOONSHADOW shield. Begun by the Selaiyur L & D department consisting of the L & D secretary Mr. Shiv Seechurn and other Selaiyurians, Moonshadow was begun under the same name in 1979 and attained 33 years this time around.

Moonshadow Logo

September 3rd 2011 saw Selaiyur Hall, one of the three men’s residential halls on the Madras Christian College campus, play host to its annual inter hall festival, Moonshadow.

Tradition dictates that the week before Moonshadow should be dedicated to the Torch ceremony, which involves the passing of a torch between the other 4 halls on the MCC campus ala Olympic style, before finally reaching Selaiyur on the day of the event. This is done so as to promote the spirit of unity, friendship and brotherhood between the Halls, with Moonshadow being the only Hall festival involving literary and cultural events that is conducted on an inter-hall level.
Preparing a compact schedule for the events is an arduous task indeed, as it has to be ensured that none of the events clash with each other despite being held simultaneously. The outdoor stage is reserved for the cultural events, and Moonshadow 2011 saw enthusiastic participation from all the Hall residents, in events such as Mime, Dance and Light music. Egging the participants on were the residents of each hall who made sure that a lively and festive atmosphere was created, essential to creating the perfect energetic ambience with which Moonshadow is generally associated. This was the first year since the inception of Moonshadow that the hosts, Selaiyur, were not participating, citing the need for fair play, and thereby avoiding the chance for controversy to arise and this only encouraged the other Hall participants to put in their best efforts as they knew the judgments would be completely unbiased and based on their performances alone.
Even the L and D events were conducted without a hitch and created a lot of excitement amidst the participants who eagerly contested for every point, and the final battle for the L and D shield witnessed some nerve-wracking intellectual battles indeed.
Eventually, there was only one winner, including both Entertainment and Literary, and that happened to be St. Thomas’s Hall, who with their horde of talented residents laid claim to every event that was conducted for Moonshadow 2011. It was indeed a proud moment for the Thomasians as they walked up onstage to collect the coveted Moonshadow Overall Shield from the Principal, Dr. R. W. Alexander Jesudasan.

St. Thomas’s Hall, winners of Moonshadow 2011

It was only two years back that Moonshadow was a three-day event, leaving ample time for each event to be conducted smoothly, and allow MCCians to ready themselves for the rock show, meant exclusively for the third day. However, a very debatable decision from the College saw the duration come down to just one day from last year onwards, making it a very cramped and tight affair, and so the events had to be completed by the afternoon to allow the much awaited rock show to take place. However, to overcome this setback, everything about Moonshadow 2011 had been planned to the hilt. The Selaiyurians, keeping in mind that this was the 30th edition of their beloved Hall festival, wanted to make it a very grand one indeed, and so for this purpose, for the first time, Moonshadow saw a band from Delhi, The Circus, take centrestage.

Moonshadow 2011 poster

A jam-packed venue saw the many hundred students being enthralled by a brilliant musical performance as The Circus made Moonshadow its own, and needless to say, the animated youngsters were only too happy to soak in the dynamic singing and guitar work that the band unleashed upon them. Immense hard work, detailed planning and an unmatched entertainment program made sure that Moonshadow 2011 would be remembered for all the right reasons in the coming years.

Hall Day:

A typically bright Hall Day

The Selaiyur Hall Day is the annual climax to every great year that Selaiyur is witness to. Residents are permitted to bring guests to visit their rooms, and a variety of programs are held. A special dinner is also provided. Each Hall day has a specific theme attached to it, which is painted on the outdoor stage to be viewed by all residents and provide inspiration. The current theme is 'Alta Alatis Patent', meaning, 'The sky is open to those who have wings.'

Selaiyur’s achievements over the past 5 years:
·        Won the Sports Day shield in 2005-06.
·        Won the Galarompics shield in 2008-09 and the fresher’s march past at Galarompics in 2008-09 and 2009-10.
·        Won the MOONSHADOW overall shield in 2008-09, and the cultural shield in 2009-10.
·        Were College Fashion Show winners in 2009-10
·        Were selected as best hall on campus in 2009-10.
     College Auditions and fashion Show winners for 2011-12.     
     Galarompics winners for 2011-12.
     Conducted Inter-Hall football tournament after two years in 2011 named as 'Football De Batalla', finishing runners-up to Heber.
     New football field constructed behind C and D block in 2011.

Future Plans:
·        Complete integrated networking within the hall, with installation of a new server and to facilitate super-fast wi-fi.
      Brick re-laying
·        Renovation of Tennis court
·         Air-conditioned Integrated Knowledge Centre with 3 new computers.
·        Total renovation of bathrooms
·        Starting a Selaiyur hall theatre club
·        Photo gallery renovation


As it is rightly said about Selaiyur Hall,
“One arrives at Selaiyur as a boy,
But leaves as a complete gentleman”