Penning down the past

Record of Kajang’s history: Tanarata International Schools students (from left) Rahulan Vasudevan, history teacher Vijay Pal Singh, students Ashweta Kaur Josan, Low Shin Ling and Diya Chandnani looking through the Kajang and its Surrounds book. — Photo by LOW BOON TAT

THERE is much more to Kajang than just its famous satay or flash floods and traffic congestions.

The town has a long history, from the time large numbers of people settled there during the boom of the coffee, rubber and tin industries.

Determined to keep a written record of Kajang’s rich culture, heritage and development, the students and teachers of Tanarata International Schools have released a coffee table book titled Kajang and its Surrounds.

The project, the brainchild of the school’s managing director Amitabha Guha, involved more than 70 students from Year 8 and 9, who conducted research and interviews over a year.

They were guided by teachers from the History, English and Business departments.

Tanarata International Schools history teacher Vijay Pal Singh said the project was the school’s first attempt at publishing a book.

“As far as I know, there are no comprehensive books on Kajang’s history or its development through the ages,” said Vijay.

The 134-page book is divided into seven sections and traces Kajang’s history over the past 200 years, from its people to the buildings, notable events such as the Great Kajang Flood, as well as places of interest.

It also touches on surrounding townships such as Putrajaya and Bangi.

Along with interesting first-person accounts from long-time Kajang residents who have seen the town grow, the articles are also accompanied by black-and-white and coloured photographs.

Diya Chandnani, 16, one of the students involved in the project, said they conducted interviews, did research at libraries and online resources, and compiled all the information.

“It was a very interesting experience and involved a lot of work, but it was fun.

“We got to talk to a lot of different people and their opinions on various issues as well as the development of the township.

“It definitely helped us to understand Kajang better,” she said.

For Diya, an interesting experience was talking to plantation workers who used to work in estates in Kajang.

“They shared their experiences on the early days and how it was very different back then.

“If you wanted to attend school, you had to travel all the way to Kuala Lumpur.

“Today, Kajang has many good schools,” she said.

Vijay said many of the students did not know about the place’s history, although Tanarata was located within Kajang.

The project, incorporated into the students’ curriculum, was a good experience for them as they could learn history, geography and business, said Vijay.

“There is not much initiative to preserve Kajang’s heritage.

“We hope that this book not only acts as a coffee table or history book, but a historical record.

“Many of these places will otherwise be knocked down and forgotten over time,” he said.

The book is sold at RM100. Those who wish to get a copy can call Tanarata International Schools at 03-8737 7366.

For details, visit the school’s page at

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