(Sir Thomas Munro gave to South India its Revenue and Police administration and its Educational system. Very few of us remember him and many are ungrateful by choice. It was also Governor Munro who made the Nilgiris a Health Resort. Ironically, as fate would have it, he died within a year of deadly cholera. The following is his recommendation to make Nilgiris the first Hill Station of the British Raj)
The Nilgiris for a Sanatorium.
28th May 1827.
The Board have already refused the offer made by Mr. Sullivan of his House on the Nielgherries as an Hospital for European soldiers in consequence of the Report made by the Medical Board of its not being
adapted for that purpose. But though I am satisfied that it is unfit for an Hospital I think that it might be of great use in furnishing accommodation for sick Officers. Even if we had a good Hospital on the Hills the want of supplies and the difficulty of bringing them from below would render it almost impossible to provide in a suitable manner for the wants of sick soldiers. This can never be done even in the most limited manner until supplies become easily procurable by its being an object
for private dealers to provide them.
The most likely way to attain this end would be by giving every facility to Officers of Civil and Military Service to visit the Hills for the recovery of their health. They require no assistance from the public but shelter from the weather. They can find their own supplies and the constant residence of a certain number in succession would gradually encourage Bazarmen in the low country to make it their business to supply all their wants. As the building of Houses on the Hills is from the want of materials and workmen of every kind attended with much difficulty and delay, I propose that we should rent Mr. Sullivan’s House for two or three years. It is better built than any house that is likely to be erected on the Hills for some time and would furnish accommodation at once for eight or ten Officers.
The Reports of Medical men on the climate of these Hills which we have hitherto received are highly favourable to its healthfulness, especially in restoring constitutions enfeebled by climate rather than broken down by disease. It is highly probable therefore that many young men would be saved by a year’s residence on the Hills who would otherwise be inevitably lost, and that many Civil and Military servants whose constitutions have suffered from a residence of some years in the country would by a residence of some months on the Hills obviate the necessity of going home. If only a very small proportion of these Officers could be restored to health by a temporary residence on the Hills instead of a Voyage to Europe the charges incurred by Government would be amply repaid.
Nilgiri Documentation Centre