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    September 21st, 2017adminArts, Culture & Entertainment
    Art Director GK

    Art Director GK

    Chennai :

    Veteran film art director Gopi Kanth, better known as GK, died in Chennai in the early hours of Thursday due to a heart ailment. He was 60.

    G K was admitted to Apollo Hospitals on the Greams Road on Saturday. He breathed his last in the hospital around 12.30am.

    G K is survived by wife Nagavalli, a son and a daughter.

     G K had worked with stars like Raninikanth, Kamal Haasan and Vijay in films such as ‘Baba,’ ‘Arunachalam,’ ‘Avvai Shanmugi,’ ‘Thiruppachi’ and ‘Sivakasi’.

    The body was brought to his home at Valasaravakkam here (No 16, 2nd Street, Anbu Nagar, Sridevi Garden, Valasaravakkam.)

    source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Chennai News / by Abdullah Nurullah / TNN / September 21st, 2017

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    MGR: A Life R. Kannan Penguin Random House ₹499

    MGR: A Life R. Kannan Penguin Random House ₹499

    In his centenary year, a perceptive biography presents MGR with all his achievements and faltering, his personality and politics

    M.G. Ramachandran never ceases to fascinate. In the 30 years since his death, there are signs to show that his popularity in Tamil Nadu has not declined. If a digitised version of one of his movies from the 1960s is released, it still runs to packed houses. It is his centenary year, and the same veneration that he commanded among his followers seems to prevail even among a generation that could not have seen him in his heyday.

    R. Kannan’s informative biography brings out the major reasons for the MGR phenomenon: an everlasting reputation for charity, the trust he inspired in the masses that he stood for their welfare, and his carefully cultivated image as a do-gooder. What makes this a perceptive account is that it rarely descends to hagiography, and touches, albeit in a nuanced way, the man’s undoubted shortcomings.

    Early episodes in MGR’s life accounts are revealing. Much of this part is perhaps drawn from MGR’s own memoirs and from contemporary accounts, but what Kannan offers is the first cogent narrative of MGR’s early years, the debilitating poverty in which he grew up, the role of his mother and brother in shaping his outlook in life. The portrayal of Ramachandran’s poverty-stricken life as a child theatre artiste makes for a moving read. Too poor to go to school, he and his brother lived through ordeals and torments in a theatre company as they had no other means of livelihood. MGR had early exposure to both the survival throes and the petty jealousies of an incipient theatre and cinema career. These experiences informed his welfare-centric policies several decades later as chief minister.

    Tinsel world stories

    Many pages are devoted to MGR’s experiences in the tinsel world, understandably so, as this was the medium that was used to project his image. Initially used by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam to draw crowds, he was somehow catapulted into the political limelight due to various factors. His mentors in theatre and politics were not his only influences. Even those who saw him as a threat and still others who underestimated his rise in the party, were also indirect motivators for his aspirations.

    Almost all of MGR’s film songs were written with an eye on his emerging political career. Even though this is well known, the author’s engaging account — as well as free-wheeling translations — of the various songs that made him a hero, a revolutionary, a friend of the masses, a philanthropist, a teetotaller and the scourge of evil, helps in understanding the direction in which he was heading in politics.

    There is a lot about his career in cinema, but somehow, there seem to be too many details about how he signed up particular films and how he landed a certain role. There is not enough about many other aspects of his film career, including his directorial ventures and his insight into various trades in the industry. Given the build-up in the biography about his career trajectory, the account of his three successive stints as chief minister can be seen as sketchy. As this part is narrated mainly through public events and major political developments, the reader does not get a full insight into the functioning of MGR as an administrator. At the same time, the author does convey the essentials. One gets a sense of how MGR did not believe in the core Dravidian principle of rationalism and opposition to religion, of how he lived in perpetual fear of the Centre and how tax investigations influenced his political decisions.

    Chief minister’s diary

    As chief minister for 10 years, he relied on intuition and the unique connect he had with the masses in making major announcements. Of course, there were blunders and long phases of inactivity, economic and administrative stagnation and political uncertainty because of his bouts of illnesses. The transition from a person who managed to run a relatively clean government to one who allowed corruption to acquire huge proportions has been captured. The extent to which the liquor trade and the privatisation of engineering and medical education contributed to it is amply clear in the account.

    Nearly a century ago, E.M. Forster contrasted the western or English character with that of the easterners. “The Oriental has behind him a tradition of kingly munificence and splendour,” he wrote, contrasting these qualities with the “middle class prudence” of an Englishman. Forster would have been delighted had he met someone with MGR’s reputation for munificence.

    But MGR had other qualities that monarchs are famed for. He rewarded loyalty and punished disloyalty. He rarely brooked dissent, although political heavyweights within his party did take him on occasionally. Farmers and government employees, political rivals and the media, all bore the brunt of his authoritarian style, although he sometimes tried to balance the strong-arm tactics with occasional sops. He was whimsical to a fault, once attempting to undermine caste-based reservations by introducing economic criteria and then rolling back the decision and raising backward classes quota from 31% to 50%. This biography does not miss any of this.

    When writing about a larger than life figure, one tends to place more emphasis on the aura and mythology around the person and less on the man himself. R. Kannan manages to tease out a balanced picture of the man, with all his idiosyncrasies and foibles, his achievements and faltering, his personality and politics.

    MGR: A Life; R. Kannan, Penguin Random House, ₹499.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Books> Reviews / by K. Venkataraman / September 16th, 2017

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    September 19th, 2017adminArts, Culture & Entertainment
    Author Geeta Dharmarajan receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award

    Author Geeta Dharmarajan receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award

    From feminism to storytelling and mythology to war, the second edition of the Ooty Lit Fest embraced the power of the word.

    Amid the joy of the written word, the hues of the pages, the illustrations and publications, a sense of gravity was palpable among authors, publishers and the audience. Unsurprisingly, the second edition of the Ooty Lit Fest held in the Nilgiris Distict Library expressed concern over the growing intolerance of expressed opinions, loss of lives of journalists and free thinkers, politicisation of the media and how non-compliance was unacceptable in the present scenario. Authors and moderators in every panel discussed the importance of helping the younger generation realise the importance of compassion.

    The keynote address was delivered by Padma Shri Geeta Dharmarajan, founder-director of Katha, who was also presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award. She expressed concern about the ever-widening gaps between children in rural schools and elite ones. “Stories are a great equaliser, as all children love stories, books and storytelling.” She reiterated the importance of a movement to initiate and set up community libraries with local readers and storytellers.

    Twelve sessions spanning two days had authors and audience deeply engrossed in the state of the written word, new stories and folktales, myths and autobiographies. A session on Feminisms of India saw some very powerful thoughts being expressed. Authors Bama and Urmila Pawar stressed on the trials of Dalit writing while Samhita Arni focussed on mythology and how the perspectives of those stories promote male dominance and hegemony.

    Bhama spoke about her autobiographical work Karukku. “I did not write with the idea of publishing. I just followed my thought process. Writing in my village dialect also happened unconsciously. I would be writing about my present when a sudden thought would take me to the past. It was like ‘sitting on a swing, moving forward and backward’. It started a new genre of writing. Many women told me that the book inspired them. All I can say is please write. Your stories have to be told; your voices have to be heard.”

    Samhita Arni had two books on display: Sitas’s Ramayana and The Missing Queen. While the first is a graphic novel for children, the other questions gender bias and double standards in society. “How we tell our stories shapes the beliefs of the next generation,” said Arni. Arni thinks our stories must instigate children to question gender, caste divisions and unfair practices. “It is important to look for stories told through the oral traditions in indigenous societies. You will find so much variety with local beliefs and interpretations. That is how I wrote Sita’s Ramayana.” The book is a collaboration with Moyna Chitrakar, a scroll painter in the Patua folk art tradition. The art of scroll painting, was restructured to the graphic novel format and Arni wrote the text.

    An interesting dialogue with Gopalakrishna Gandhi titled “A look at the literary vehicles of our freedom struggle” brought home the fact that books are not the only vessels of thought. We need to take into account the songs, newspapers reports, especially those of publications like SwadesamitranMathrubhumi, and Mook Nayak. When asked about the books that shaped his thoughts, he warned, “No book should become a Bible. Just read it with its strength and weaknesses.” In another session, author Vithal Rajan said, “I searched for stories about the role of the Indian Army in World War II or all the battles that the British fought and discovered that all leadership roles and victories led by Indian army soldiers were deliberately left out of the documentation by the British. However, they do exist in the homes of the soldiers.” He called for NGOs and historians to look at the possibility of documenting these stories and bringing them into public arena to fill the gap of 500 years of Indian valour during the British Rule.

    Dharmarajan said, “At Katha —with various partners like CRY, Amazon, His Holiness The Dalai Lama, and others —we are re-introducing the Each One Teach One concept in urban schools. When children learn to teach another child, there is empathy, compassion, sharing of knowledge which lays a strong foundation for future society.”

    Vanamala Viswanatha, Visiting Professor at the School of Education, Azim Premji University, Bengaluru, took the stage in the last session titled “Gamaki and the Life of Harishchandra”. She has translated Harishchandra Kavyam written by Raghavanka. Using the Gamaki or kaavya vachana, a form of storytelling that involves singing as well, she moved the audience to tears with her beautiful rendering of the story.

    “We want to keep the festival small, cosy and intense,” said Geetha Srinivasan, one of the. “Jerry Pinto, our advisor, helped us to connect with the authors and formulate the sessions. The Fest wishes to attract new authors, unheard voices and authors who write for a cause. May be we will have a fest of women authors only…and may be one for children as well. We are lucky to have the Nilgiris District Library, which inspires us to conduct more such events.”

    Referring to Viswanatha’s session, Srinivasan added, “We must possibly think of having this kind of a session from a different language and culture each year. It strikes a chord and brings back to the forefront values that are important and all but forgotten.”

    Lives of Dalit women

    Urmila Pawar’s Marathi autobiography Aaidan (The Weave of My Life: A Dalit Woman’s Memoirs) weaves the stories that she heard into her story. The name Aaidan is derived from the Marathi word for basket. She chose the name because her mother was a basket maker and also because the lives of different members of her family, her husband’s family, her neighbours and classmates “are woven together in a narrative that gradually reveals different aspects of the everyday life of Dalits and the manifold ways in which caste asserts itself and grinds them down.”

    Translation woes

    Mini Krishnan — Editor Translations at Oxford University Press — moderated a session called The Translator, The Translation and The Translated. “The importance of a good partnership that a translator must have with the author and the publisher cannot be over emphasised,” she said. “The translator must understand the emotions and the nuances of languages and the characters, translate, send to the author a few times till author is satisfied that the meaning is right. There are times when the trust is so high and things go well. There are many a translation work that has failed when the relationship and trust never manages to establish.”

    Vanamala Vishwanatha talked of the difficulty when the text is an epic or classic and there is no author to consult. In such case, the partnership with language experts, historians and research become important guides to ensure that the translation remains true to the original. Bama recalled how her book was translated into French without checking with her and how it was in total contradiction to what she had written.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Books / by Archana Dange / September 18th, 2017

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    Narayanan Kumar receives Foreign Minister’s Commendations

    The Consulate General of Japan awarded the Foreign Minister’s Commendations to Narayanan Kumar, president of the Indo-Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IJCCI), on Tuesday.

    Seiji Baba, Consul General of Japan, who presented the certificates of commendation, said Mr. Kumar has contributed significantly to the development of Japan-India relations, especially in business cooperation, as well as the dissemination of knowledge, culture and information about Japan.

    “He has done this through a number of programmes of the IJCCI, including publishing Gateway Newsletter and establishing the Centre for Japanese Studies. He visited Japan as the head of an IJCCI delegation and met Kiyoshi Odawara, the Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs,” he added.

    Mr. Baba also noted the contributions made by IJCCI to promote business relations between the two countries.

    Mr. Kumar said,“I really hope business cooperation between the two countries will reach great heights,” he added.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Chennai / by Staff Reporter / Chennai – August 30th, 2017

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    What do you know about Campbellabad, I was asked the other day. Thinking I still knew the Political Geography I had once specialised in, “It’s a town in Pakistan,” I casually answered. Only to be told it’s a 300-year-old village in Tuticorin District. When my caller wanted to know whether what the locals had told him, that it was named after a Madras Governor, was correct, I was a little more careful. “I think Governor Campbell was some time later but let me check,” I hesitantly answered.

    So achecking I went. And found Sir Archibald Campbell was Governor from 1786 to 1789, not quite 300 years ago. But I also found that there was another Archibald Campbell, a Madras Civilian from 1896 to 1937. He has been involved with the raising of the Mettur Dam (1925-934), retired as Chief Secretary and had served on the Boards of Revenue and Irrigation. He was more likely to have had something to do with land settlement for which the Muslim settlers could have named their new village after him. But that was just 100 years ago.

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    Later that day, who should I bump into but Civilian Campbell — or at least a bust of him in the 1901 banqueting hall of the Freemasons of Madras. He had been an ardent Freemason and started the Sir Arthur Campbell Lodge in Madras in 1930. This was the first Lodge where both Europeans and Indians could be members, on condition each spent at least six months a year in the others’ country (Miscellany, March 11, 2013).

    While the bust and I looked each other in the eye, the voices swirling around us talked of the August celebration of 300 years of English Freemasonry with the consecration of the first Grand Lodge of the English Order in London. There was that number again, but this time the records showed the date was indeed 1717. Thirty-five years later, the Grand Lodge of Madras was consecrated. From then on, till the British left India, virtually every British official who was anyone in Madras was a Freemason, it would seem.

    Two winners of honours

    Two residents of Madras many decades ago whom I met recently were on quick visits to the city. To me the link between them were the honours they’d won, rather more distinguished and national in the case of one, rather more local in the case of the other. But both were greeted with the same warmth and enthusiasm by their former colleagues on the occasion of the 150th year celebrations of their respective affiliations.

    It was while visiting his old school, Lawrence of

    Lovedale, as a distinguished guest that Paul Sabapathy from Birmingham heard that he had been honoured for the third time by the Queen of England. An OBE in 1995 for urban regeneration, a CBE in 2004 for his contribution to business and higher education was being followed by a CVO (Companion of the Royal Victorian Order) for his services as Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands.

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    As Lord Lieutenant, he was the Queen’s personal representative in the area from 2007 to 2015. It could well have been a knighthood if an email of his had not been leaked. In it, after a visit to the Pakistan consulate in the city, he was critical of the Pakistani community of Birmingham. Apologising, then stepping down was not enough.

    Sabapathy, who went to Birmingham 53 years ago, soon after graduating from Madras Christian College, had a rather remarkable record in Britain. He was the first non-white to be a Lord Lieutenant (a 550-year-old institution), chairman of a British University (Birmingham City U), and a President of the Walsall Chamber of Commerce.

    Unlike Sabapathy, Demitrius Sarandis was no public figure except in the small world of rowing in India. And in the even smaller world of the Madras Boat Club (MBC) he was welcomed for all he had achieved when he was a member (1958-1962).

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    Sarandis, from Greece, came out as a 22-year-old to Madras in 1957 to monitor the machinery that his company in the UK had supplied to the South India Flour Mills. While first living in that legendary chummery Chesney Hall, and then closer to the Club, he established an enviable record becoming the MBC’s Captain of Boats within three years. He’d never rowed in his life till a fellow resident at the chummery made him a member of the Boat Club. There, some thought him too small, others, seeing his scanty hair and luxuriant moustache, thought him more aged than he was and too old (35) to row successfully. But taught by the boat boys, he rowed competitively for the first time in 1959. Beating KR Ramachandran, reckoned till then the best Club sculler, Sarandis went on to team with him and win the Pairs too. In three years, his trophy cupboard was full. But then, faced with visa problems, he had to go back — and greater honours were not to be his.

    The chronicler of Madras that is Chennai tells stories of people, places and events from the years gone by and, sometimes, from today

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Madras Miscellany> Society / by S. Muthiah / July 31st, 2017

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    Veera Santhanam   | Photo Credit: Special_Arrangement

    Veera Santhanam | Photo Credit: Special_Arrangement

    Veera Santhanam, the master of semi-figurative paintings and a strong supporter of the Sri Lankan Tamil cause, died here on Thursday. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.

    “We — Aathimoolam and Santhanam — worked for the Weavers’s Service Society, launched by Pupul Jayakar with the support of Indira Gandhi,” said noted painter Marudhu, a friend of Santhanam. Santhanam was from Uppiliappankoil and drew inspiration from traditional colour patterns, particularly south Indian puppetry and wall paintings.

    “We are all the students of great master Dhanapal. While we studied in Chennai, he went to the art school in Kumbakonam,” said Mr Marudhu.

    He worked closely with all Tamil Nationalist groups and participated in protests in support of the Sri Lankan Tamil cause. He had also acted in a few films.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News>Cities> Chennai / by Special Correspondent / Chennai – July 14th, 2017

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    Records show that it was Sullivan who had laid the groundwork for establishing Ooty

    Records show that it was Sullivan who had laid the groundwork for establishing Ooty

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    HIGHLIGHTS

    • The Nilgiri Mountains was in possession of the British since 1800
    • Collector John Sullivan had laid the groundwork for establishing Ooty

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    About 190 monsoons ago, the Board of Control of East India Company, on the recommendation of governor Sir Thomas Munro, gave its stamp of approval to establish a hill station on the Nilgiris primarily to revitalise sick soldiers. And what is known today as the ‘Queen of Hill Stations’ was established on July 6, 1827.

    “The Nilgiri Mountains was in possession of the British since 1800. It was only after collector John Sullivan’s visit to the hills in 1819 that the idea of developing a station on the hills for the sake of sick soldiers came about,” says Venugopal Dharmalingam, director, Nilgiri Documentation Centre (NDC), a trust recording the history of the Nilgiris.A factor that greatly helped this idea was the appointment of Sir Thomas Munro as governor of Madras Presidency . “To learn the tragic irony that Munro met his untimely death on the very day, July 6, 1827, at Pattikonda in Andhra Pradesh, is saddening,” says Dharmalingam.

    Records show that it was Sullivan who had laid the groundwork for establishing Ooty. He had made repeated requests to the Madras government from 1820 to set up a hospital in the hills. To convince his superiors, Sullivan created a sense of the English countryside  by building colonial-style bungalows, well planned roads, introduced English vegetables, trees and fruits. Till that time sick soldiers and officials had to go to England or Mauritius or Cape Town for rest and recuperation.

    “It is interesting to learn that the Board in London could not believe that so near to the Coimbatore was a cold and salubrious place which was the dream of every British suffering in the hot, disease-ridden plains,” says Venugopal, adding it was only in 1826, the recommendation came through when Munro visited Nilgiris and saw for himself what Sullivan had been exalting about.

    Munro sent his recommendation in May 1827 to the board stating that though the Nilgiris may not be suitable for setting up a hospital, but officers of the civil and military services could visit the hills on their own for recovery. “To reinforce his proposal, Munro argued that a sum of Rs 170 lakh had been spent in the previous three years to send sick officers to England.”

    Stating further the healthfulness of the Nilgiris had not been correctly assessed by the young medical officers, Munro’s recommendations thus go, “It seems therefore advisable that we should station permanently on the Hills a Medical Officer qualified to make the necessary observations on the climate”.

    Thus was born the hill station, to heal the sick British soldiers, and which till date has remained one of the most popular retreats for tired souls.

    source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Chennai News / by Shantha Thiagarajan / TNN / July 13th, 2017

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    He cracked the Rajiv assassination case; helped identify bomber Dhanu

    Renowned forensic expert, Pakkiriswamy Chandra Sekharan, who helped investigators crack the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case and played a seminal role in getting back the stolen 1,500-year-old Pathur Nataraja idol from the U.K., died here on Tuesday.

    He was 83 and is survived by his wife and daughter.

    A former director of the Tamil Nadu Forensic Sciences department, Prof. Chandra Sekharan was awarded the Padma Bhushan.

    An acknowledged expert as well as a pioneer in some forensic techniques, Prof. Chandra Sekharan deconstructed the suicide bomb attack on Rajiv Gandhi in May 1991.

    He made the sensational disclosure a day after the assassination that the killer was a woman who acted as a human bomb.

    He pieced together tattered pieces of denim fabric to conclude that the assassin was wearing a vest or jacket in which a bomb could have been packed.

    He proceeded to reconstruct the belt bomb as well as its two-switch circuitry, one to switch on the mechanism and the other to detonate the RDX bomb.

    K. Ragothaman, the chief investigating officer, recalled Prof. Chandra Sekharan’s great help. The forensic expert obtained the roll of film from a camera used by Hari Babu, a photographer who was killed in the explosion, to get pictures of the fateful public meeting.

    “But for those 10 crucial photographs, we would not have been able to detect the case. While video footage taken minutes before the explosion was suppressed by none other than the then Intelligence Bureau Director, Prof. Chandra Sekharan preserved the valuable evidence and gave it to us,” Mr. Ragothaman said.

    D.R. Kaarthikeyan, former CBI Director and Chief of the Special Investigation Team that investigated the Rajiv Gandhi assassination, said Prof. Chandra Sekharan had enormous knowledge in forensic science and his service was of immense help in the case.

    Tracking Nataraja

    He used both forensic science and traditional knowledge in establishing India’s claim over the Nataraja idol at the Royal Court of Justice in the U.K.

    After the idols were stolen from the Viswanatha Swamy temple, they were hidden for some time in a haystack. Termites devoured the haystack and in the process left their ‘galleries’ on the idols. The idols were later unearthed, but the Nataraja idol alone was sold and it found its way to London. “Though the idol was cleaned a couple of times, the lower part was left untouched and I spotted the termite nest. I used that to win the case,” he once told The Hindu.

    He was a much sought-after expert witness, appearing in courts across India, as well as in the United Kingdom, Singapore and Sri Lanka for both prosecution and defence.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> National / by Special Correspondent / Chennai – July 11th, 2017

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    Whether it was to celebrate Madras’ August birthday or not, Vikram Raghavan, a regular contributor to this column from the American capital, a Madras history buff, and a collector of Madras memorabilia, has just picked up the Thomas Daniell aquatint of Fort St George seen here. Thomas Daniell and nephew William were in India from 1785 to 1793 (Miscellany, April 21, 2008) and published in Britain between 1795 and 1808 “a monumental work”, Oriental Scenery, with 144 prints of Indian scenes. Of these, half a dozen are of Madras. A few more are of Mamallapuram, Tanjore, Madura and Rameswaram.

    My favourites, one of which I would like to get a real-life glimpse of, are two of the earliest pictorial representations of sport in Madras. A print of the Assembly Rooms on the Race Course at Madras hangs in the Fort Museum. The other is of Cricket in India, an original aquatint which is with a private collector in Calcutta who once sent me a poor transparency of it. As this representation was dated 1792, it was probably done in Madras because that was when the Daniells had left Calcutta and were here. And if that was so, the match was at The Island, the only grounds for the game at the time.

    In the picture, the bowler is shown bowling under-arm, the practice then; the bat is a club-like implement like a baseball bat; many of the fielders wear coloured trousers and the scorer is sitting a little wide off gully. A cow ambles about in a corner of the field in the foreground and at the left, by a few trees, is a tent, probably the pavilion. All this is really recognisable only if the picture is seen large. So take my word for it! It was sailors from East Indiamen, locally stationed British soldiers, and East India Company Writers and younger merchants who introduced the game in India. The first recorded cricket activity in the country dates to 1721, when visiting sailors played a game in Cambay, Gujarat, “to divert ourselves”, according to ship’s captain Nicholas Downton.

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    As for the Assembly Rooms, they were a kind of grandstand and clubhouse a little south of today’s racecourse where “entertainments” were held, a ball organised for every race day evening; the races were in the morning, then it was off to work and back again for waltzes and minuets. The first reference to organised sport in Madras, racing at St Thomas’ Mount, is in 1775.

    As for Vikram’s original colour-engraved aquatint, it dates to 1797 and is titled South East View of the Fort St George, Madras. The scene was probably viewed from somewhere near Royapuram. It shows masula and other boats, four men pulling a boat through the surf, and ships well out to sea in Madras Roads. Madras Harbour was many years in the future.

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    When the postman knocked…

    Clarifying my Institute of Mental Health (IMH) story (Miscellany, June 26) is my Australian correspondent, Dr A Raman, whose hobby is Madras medical history. His research deserves a book one day. Meanwhile, a more accurate story from him than mine about what began in Purasawalkam in 1794 as ‘The Madras Madhouse’ run by Valentine Connolly. It was a leased building (at ₹825 a month) to which Surgeon Maurice Fitzgerald succeeded, holding charge until 1803. James Dalton took over, rebuilt the facility and ran it till 1815 as Dalton’s Mad Hospital. Its cases included ‘circular insanity’, later described as ‘manic depressive illness’ and today as ‘bipolar illness’.

    Government involvement started in 1867 with approval for a facility to be called the Madras Lunatic Asylum (later called the Government Mental Hospital and from 1978 the IMH). The Asylum, raised in the 66.5 acres of Locock’s Gardens, Kilpauk, opened in 1871 with 150 patients and Surgeon John Murray as Superintendent. By 1915, there were 800 patients, 80 per cent of them civilians. About half the cases were classified as ‘mania’, about 20 per cent as ‘melancholia’ and about 25 per cent as ‘dementia’. ‘Criminal lunatics’ were kept segregated.

    Cycling Yogis will mark Madras Week with a booklet called Cycling Trails. It includes 40 trails with details about what to see on them. Every trail in the booklet has been cycled on by the compilers over the last year. Some of the trails which caught my attention were called ‘Madras the First’, ‘Madras the Oldest’, ‘Historic Residences’, ‘Mahatma Gandhi’ and ‘Police Heritage’. For booklets, contact ramanujar4u@gmail.com, then make use of them during Madras Month.

    This is not about Madras at all, but strange things happen around us all the time. And the recent strike by our Government medicos drew Don Abey’s attention to it. He refers to the Government Medical Officers’ Association in Sri Lanka calling off their agitation in mid-strike when the National Movement for Consumer Rights threatened “it would stage ceremonies in front of the homes of GMOA executive committee members to invoke God’s curses on them for holding hundreds of thousands of patients to ransom!” Powerful are the threat of death-threatening curses and pleas of consignment to Hell!

     The chronicler of Madras that is Chennai tells stories of people, places, and events from the years gone by, and sometimes, from today.

    source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Society> Madras Miscellany – History & Culture / by S. Muthiah / Chennai – July 10th, 2017

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    “After obtaining permission from Tamil Nadu government, the restoration project was taken up in coordination with TELC The bungalow has now been restored without affecting the original structure,” she said adding that the bungalow had been converted as a museum

    Nagapattinam :

    A heritage bungalow occupied by German-born Danish missionary Bartholomeus Ziegenbalg, who set up the country’s first ever printing press in 1712, has been restored and converted as a museum at nearby Tarangambadi.

    Francke Foundation, Halle, Germany, has sponsored the restoration work and museum project in coordination with Tamil Evangelical Lutheran Church  (TELC),  Jasmine Eppert, project manager of the museum, told PTI.

    Ziegenbalg’s translation of the New Testament into Tamil in 1715, and the New Jerusalem church that he and his associates constructed in 1718, are still in use today.

    Eppert further said Francke Foundation wanted to preserve Ziegenbalg’s legacy and came forward to restore the bungalow where Ziegenbalg lived in Tarangambadi.

    “After obtaining permission from Tamil Nadu government , the restoration project was taken up in coordination with TELC. The bungalow has now been restored without affecting the original structure,” she said adding that the bungalow had been converted as a museum.

    “Articles used by Ziegenbalg, including remains of the printing machines used by him, models of the typeface letters, books have all been collected and put up in the museum. The museum will be inaugurated on July 15,” she said.

     

    source: http://www.outlookindia.com / Outlook / Home> The News Scroll / Nagapattinam – July 06th, 2017

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