Chennai First a Celebration. Positive News, Facts & Achievements about Chennai, Tamilians and all the People of TamilNadu – here at Home and Overseas
  • scissors
    January 3rd, 2018adminArts, Culture & Entertainment, Leaders
    Radha Viswanathan, vocalist and daughter of M. S. Subbulakshmi. | Photo Credit: K. Bhagya Prakash

    Radha Viswanathan, vocalist and daughter of M. S. Subbulakshmi. | Photo Credit: K. Bhagya Prakash

    Carnatic vocalist Radha Vishwanathan, 83, daughter of M.S. Subbulakshmi, who accompanied the legendary musician for nearly five decades on stage, died in Bengaluru on Tuesday night. “My mother Radha Vishwanathan breathed her last on Tuesday, 11.50 p.m. on January 2. She was suffering from pneumonia for the last few weeks but was mentally very active,” said her son V. Shrinivasan.

    “It was unbelievable to see my mother pass away to the strains of a beautiful bhajan. She asked my daughter Aishwarya to sing one of the famous numbers of MS, Sriman Narayana and as the song treaded on the words Sripadame Sharanu in the Charanam, my mother bid a permanent goodbye,” said an emotional Mr. Shrinivasan. Ms. Vishwanathan had taken a music class as recently as two weeks ago to Ms. Aishwarya, and was teaching her from her bed at home, he said.

    Ms. Vishwanathan had shifted base from Chennai more than a decade ago and moved to Bengaluru to stay with her son, and continue teaching music to her granddaughter. “My grandmother has taught me nearly 700 compositions and has asked me to carry on with the rich MS legacy,” said Ms. Aishwarya.

    Born at Gopichettypalayam in Tamil Nadu in 1934, Radha Vishwanathan was two years old when M.S. Subbulakshmi married Sadashivam and came into the family. “My world was my MS Amma to me, she guided me not just in music, she was the light to my path of life,” she had one told this reporter during an interview in Bengaluru.

    She is survived by her sons V. Chandrashekar and V. Shrinivasan; daughters-in-law Sikkil Mala Chandrashekar and Geetha Shrinivasan; and grand daughters S. Aishwarya and S. Saundarya.

    The cremation will be at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, said Mr. Shrinivasan.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> Entertainment> Music / by Ranjani Govind / Bengaluru – January 03rd, 2018

  • scissors
    December 29th, 2017adminEducation, Leaders, Records, All

    Former BJP State president, freedom fighter and educationist K. Narayan Rao, 88, passed away at his residence in west Tambaram on Wednesday.

    Narayan Rao became a member of the RSS during his college days and when the BJP took shape, he was persuaded by leaders to become the State unit’s first president.

    He also established ‘Kalaniketan’ in 1958 to produce movies.

    In June 1978, he took charge as secretary of JG National School.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Chennai / by Staff Reporter / Chennai – December 28th, 2017

  • scissors
    Special moment: Sanjay Khaitan, former international director, Lions Club, presenting the Lions Centennial Marquee Awards in Chennai on Sunday. | Photo Credit: K. Pichumani

    Special moment: Sanjay Khaitan, former international director, Lions Club, presenting the Lions Centennial Marquee Awards in Chennai on Sunday. | Photo Credit: K. Pichumani

    Centennial celebrations of The International Association of Lions Club-District 324-A1 held

    The Lions Centennial Marquee Awards were presented on Sunday to four eminent personalities on the occasion of the centennial celebrations of The International Association of Lions Club-District 324-A1.

    Industrialist Nalli Kuppuswamy Chetti (philanthropy), musician T.V. Gopalakrishnan, State Higher Education Secretary Sunil Paliwal (public service) and N. Ravi, publisher, The Hindu Group (journalism), were honoured.

    Centennial district governor K.S. Babai said all the four awardees had rendered service with dedication. “Whenever someone comes asking for a donation for a genuine cause, without any hesitation, Mr. Nalli Kuppuswamy offers help almost immediately,” she said.

    Speaking of Mr. Gopalakrishnan, she said his music was pure and divine and attracted millions across the world.

    “It is hard to find a person like Mr. Ravi, who has made a great contribution in the field of journalism,” she said, adding that he was an extremely simple person and fine human being.

    On accepting the award, Mr. Ravi said he felt honoured. A postal stamp was released on the occasion. Vijayalakshmi Thavva, district chairperson, centennial celebrations, spoke.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Chennai / by Staff Reporter / Chennai – December 25th, 2017

  • scissors
    Giving back: Indra Nooyi, chairperson & CEO, PepsiCo, with students and staff at the Madras Christian College.

    Giving back: Indra Nooyi, chairperson & CEO, PepsiCo, with students and staff at the Madras Christian College.

    Dedicates modern lounge for women on campus

    Indra K. Nooyi, chairperson & CEO of PepsiCo, and an alumna of Madras Christian College, dedicated a modern women’s lounge on the college campus on Monday.

    Ms. Nooyi, who did B.Sc. Chemistry (1971 to 1974) visited the college on Monday. She funded the renovation and modernisation of the Macnicol Lounge for Women.

    Addressing the students, she said: “I have benefited enormously from my education. My husband and I are now in ‘giving back’ mode to the institutions that made us what we are today. I had all my education in Christian institutions and we are planning to give back as much as we can. I am privileged to be back at the MCC and I wish I was young again to study here.” She said that the future of the country is in the hands of women and that they should be exposed to modern ambience.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Chennai / by Special Correspondent / Chennai – December 19th, 2017

  • scissors


    I’d always thought there was only one renowned Vedanayagam, a Tanjore Christian who expressed Christian thought in words sung to Carnatic music, a man of Tamil letters but who was known by two names: Vedanayagam Sastriar and Samuel Vedanayagam Pillai. Sriram V set me — and several others — straight recently on Pillai, telling us that Sastriar was a totally different person, born 50 years earlier. The straightening out offers me this opportunity to clear the air about the confusing Vedanayagams.

    Sastriar, born in 1774 a Roman Catholic in Tirunelveli, became a Lutheran, converted by the Rev Christian Schwartz, the tutor of Serfoji, heir apparent of Tanjore. Sastriar joined Serfoji in his classes and they became friends. Sastriar then went to study Theology in Tranquebar, at the seminary of the first Protestant Mission in India.

    While working in Mission schools in Tanjore, he began composing Christian lyrics to Carnatic music and writing Christian treatises. He was to write over 125 treatises during his lifetime, his best known the Bethlehem Kuravanji.

    When Serfoji became king, he made Sastriar his Court Poet. And Veda Sastrigal, as he became known, continued composing hymns and songs in praise of the Holy Trinity. This emphasis led to his falling out with the Court of Tanjore, but had him considered as the first Christian Evangelical Poet.

    The other Vedanayagam, Pillai as I’ll call him, is known as Mayavaram Vedanayagam Pillai. Born in Tanjore in 1826 a Roman Catholic, which he remained all his life, he got employment in the law courts in Trichinopoly after schooling. While working, he studied Law, passed the necessary exams and was appointed a Munsif in Mayavaram. Thirteen years of dedicated service later, he resigned when a new District Judge was appointed; a sick Pillai had not gone with the other sub-judges of the district to welcome him, an act misconstrued enough to cause differences with his superior. Early retirement gave him time for two fields he had become interested in — writing and Carnatic music.

    After translating several law books, he wrote a book he is still known for: Neethi Nool (The Book of Morality). Written in Tirukkural style, its couplets are on moral behaviour.

    Then, in 1879, there appeared the book that would make a difference to the Tamil literary scene. Titled Prathapa Mudaliar Charithram, it is considered the first Tamil novel. In a preface to later editions, he explains, “My object in writing this work of fiction is to supply the want of prose works in Tamil, a want which is admitted and lamented by all.” He also says his previous books were rich with “maxims of morality”, in this he was illustrating them with examples from life. This lengthy book focuses more on instruction in values than entertain as a romance. In 1887, his second, and last novel, Sugunambal Charitram, was published, but was not as successful. He wrote 14 other books.

    Moral education is what Pillai brings into his huge collection of songs. These songs, composed to no particular deity, are still popular in Carnatic Music concerts. In fact, Sanjay Subrahmanyan not so long ago gave an entire concert featuring Pillai’s Carnatic compositions.


    When the postman knocked…

    * Bhaskarendra Rao Ramineni who scours the Andhra Pathrika archives tells me that an obituary of Yakub Hasan says his wife Khadija Begum was a Member of the Madras Assembly and that Rajaji, paying tribute to his Public Works Minister in his 1937 Ministry, said that Hasan’s wife was from Turkey.


    That gives a clear cut answer to my speculation in Miscellany, December 4. Bhaskarendra also sends me a picture from the paper showing Khadija Yakub Hasan in Western clothes, a reflection of Ataturk’s modern Turkish women. Yakub Hasan, a founder of the Muslim Educational Society, represented the Muslim League in the Madras Legislative Council from 1916 to 1919. Later, he represented in the Council the Chittoor Rural (Muslim) constituency from 1923 till 1939. As Minister in charge of the PWD he played a significant role in the negotiations with Hyderabad on the Tungabadhra Project. He convened and presided over the first Khilafat Conference (1919) held in Madras and resigned from the Assembly over the Anglo-Turkish treaty (1920) which ended the Khilafat campaign to restore the Caliphate.



    * Who was the Arundale that Rukmini Devi married, asks T Saroja, in a letter about the Music Season, visitors from abroad and what they’d think of Kalakshetra’s problems. Arundale was no visitor to the Music Season; in fact, there was no Music Season when he arrived in India. George Sydney Arundale was a Theosophist from Australia whom Annie Besant had invited to head the educational programme in the Theosophical Society’s campus. The 16-year-old Rukmini Nilakanta Sastri (whose father was a Theosophist) met the 42-year-old Arundale and they fell in love, getting married in 1920, scandalising Madras Society. Whatever the criticisms about this Spring-Autumn marriage, together they were to change minds with their contribution to the classical dance scene in Madras. During a visit to Australia in 1926, they went to see Anna Pavlova dance. It was later said, Rukmini Devi was “a changed person from then … she wanted to be a part of the fascinating world of movement and expression.”

    From that desire was conceived Kalakshetra, the premier school for South Indian classical music and dance. Does it really have to cope with politicking casting a shadow over it ever since the passing of Rukmini Devi in 1986?

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

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Chennai> Madras Miscellany – Chennai / by S. Muthiah / December 18th, 2017

  • scissors


    Remembered at commemorations in Madras recently were two contrasting Gandhians. One, a man whose family I knew better than him, the other, I confess with regret, I had not even heard of. Of both I learnt so much subsequently, that two items in a column seem pitifully inadequate. If you hear about them again from me it will be because there are so many stories to tell about Dr Chandran Devanesen and Mahakavi Bala Bharathi Sankagiri Duraisamy Subramania Yogiar.

    Both were sons of scholars. Chandran Devanesen was the first professor at Madras Christian College who was the son of an earlier academic there, David William Devanesen, a Professor of Biology who later retired as Assistant Director of Fisheries. Devanesan Senior wrote prolificly on subjects ranging from oysters to Vedanayagam Sastriar, the evangelist poet of Tanjore.

    Yogiar’s father Duraisamy, fluent in Hindi, Persian and Urdu, lectured on the Holy Koran in English. Both imbued their sons with a yearning for knowledge and sharing it.


    The institution builder

    As the first Indian Principal of MCC, Chandran Devanesen is known for successfully transforming an institution influenced by Scots to one more Indian. But that exercise is not my focus. What is, is the little remembered founding of the North-Eastern Hill University in 1973. Starting from scratch in territory he knew little about, Devanesen developed in Shillong an institution to serve Meghalaya, Nagaland, Mizoram and, for a while, Arunachal Pradesh. He spent a year boning up on the Northeast before heading to it as Vice-Chancellor, but what he remembered best of that time was meeting this Central University’s Chancellor, Indira Gandhi, before leaving for his new home. The Prime Minister told him she trusted his vision and leadership on academic development, but “I can advise you on the tribal dynamics of the Northeast and its diversity.” He learnt more about the area in that one hour with her than in the year spent in libraries, he was to later recall.

    The first Chair he established there was the Mahatma Gandhi Visiting Professorship, the second the Dr Verrier Elwin Chair, remembering that expert on the tribes of much of India. From early in life Devanesen was interested in Gandhi. His doctoral thesis, titled ‘The Making of the Mahatma’, focussed on the first 40 years of Gandhi’s life. The thesis was dedicated to two ardent disciples of Gandhi, Devanesen’s uncles, J(oseph) C and (Benjamin) Bharathan Kumarappa, from the Cornelius family of Tanjore.

    Another significant Devanesen creation was the Estuarine Biological Laboratory by Pulicat Lake he helped Dr Sanjeeva Raj to set up. Devanesen did not live to see it come to naught in the new Millennium when Lake and surroundings, including environmentally sensitive islands, were despoiled by modern development. When he was alive he’d visit the Lab regularly with his family on weekends and return to Tambaram with a basketful of mud-crabs to distribute to faculty families. He considered the crabs, which Pulicat Lake has the highest yield of, the “greatest delicacy” on his menu. His Sinhalese wife Savitri’s Ceylon crab curry was always the “top” non-veg dish at dinners he hosted. Today, these mud-crabs are a ‘top’ export.

    The national poet

    Fair, 6-foot tall, chain-smoking Yogiar was a Gandhian who dressed in silk jibbas and white mull vaishtis and “sang in the voice of Kali”. Devoted to the Devi, he’d compose poetry almost on request but would always say, “The voice is mine/The singer is Kali”. His cornucopia of poetry and prose has been nationalised by Government, but what it’s done with the collection I have no idea.


    Yogiar was a polymath, described as a “scholar in English (which he spoke impeccably and accentlessly), writer in Tamil, one-time film director, sometime editor and all-time poet.” He was also a freedom fighter who spent nearly two years in gaol. In prison, Yogiar, author of Mudal Devi, wrote, inspired by a Malayalam writer’s work, his own version of Mary Magdalene. He also translated in Tamil Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat and in English a part of Kambar’s Ramayanam, titling it Seetha Kalyanam.

    As Editor-in-Chief with India Book House’s publishing division Pearl in the late 1950s, till his untimely death in 1963, he was prolific in translating Tamil and Malayalam classics into English.

    A regular reviewer for The Hindu of Tamil and English books, Yogiar would also analyse Gandhi’s and Periyar’s speeches for various publications, often critically. Several of his contrary views helped Periyar re-think his own. As Editor of Pudumai Pithan and other journals — the restless Yogiar kept changing jobs, from journal to journal, business establishment to establishment — he was known for his critiques of films and literature. But as Kannadasan said, Yogiar’s reviews hurt no one nor were they abusive; they only politely pointed out the faults.

    Inevitably filmdom beckoned. He worked on seven films. Writing story, dialogue and lyrics for the Ellis Dungan directed Iru Sagodharagal (Two Brothers) got him started in 1936. He then directed some of these, including his own Yogi Films’ Anandam (1941) for which he did everything but act or shoot. National poet Yogiar may have been, but his passion was Mother Tamil, which he once lauded: With the Comorin her lotus feet,/ Seven Hills as her golden crown,/ The bubbling Kaveri as her waistbelt,/ And the Three Seas paying obeisance,/ Holding the tall peaks of Vindhyas as Sceptre,/ Having Lanka as a blooming daughter,/ Our deity is Mother Goddess, / And our home is the land of Tamil, / The evergreen Maiden.

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

    source: / The Hindu / Home> Madras Miscellany> News> Cities> Chennai / by  S. Muthiah / December 11th, 2017

  • scissors

    Chennai-based industrialist C.V. Karthik Narayanan died on Wednesday morning in Chennai .

    He was 79 and is survived by his wife Uma, son Ram Gopal and daughter Gayathri.

    Narayanan, was Chairman of Ucal Auto Pvt Ltd and an independent director at Sundram Fasteners Ltd (SFL).

    He also spearheaded Standard Motor Products of India Ltd, which was an iconic brand in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

    Narayanan also served as President of Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (earlier called of Indian Automobile Manufacturers and Automotive Research Association of India) in 1980. He also played a key role at Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

    Narayanan is also known for his work in translating Kalki’s epic “Ponniyin Selvan” in to English.The other interesting facets of Narayanan include his love for the mridangam and trekking. He had told The Hindu that he wanted to explore the Chera history.

    “A true friend for many years, an industrialist par excellence, a very exalted person with many and varied skills. We will miss his guidance at SFL,” Suresh Krishna, Chairman and Managing Director of Sundram Fasteners Ltd. said.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Chennai / by Staff Reporter / Chennai – December 13th, 2017

  • scissors

    The two-minute video shows their latest ride, a two-hour journey to Cozhai village as part of the monthly mass contact programme where they disbursed Rs. 1.4 crore worth welfare measures

    Cuddalore District Collector Prashant M Wadnere on a local bus

    Cuddalore District Collector Prashant M Wadnere on a local bus

    Chennai :

    A video showing Cuddalore District Collector Prashant M Wadnere and his team of some 40 officials, including senior officers, travelling in an ordinary government bus has gone viral.

    The two-minute video shows their latest ride, a two-hour journey to Cozhai village as part of the monthly mass contact programme where they disbursed Rs. 1.4 crore worth welfare measures.

    The collector is seated on the first seat next to the front door.

    “More than saving fuel it’s more of logistics. This time spent with colleagues also helps in bonding as a lot of informal discussions happen. Unlike corporates, we don’t have such outing programmes,” the collector said.
    The collector who has been doing this over the last one year says this system also helps remove the fear ordinary people have about the district administration.

    “It’s also a confidence-building measure. People are now more forthcoming to speak to me,” he said.

    source: / NDTV / Home> Section> Tamil Nadu / by J. Sam Daniel Stalin / December 01st, 2017

  • scissors
    December 2nd, 2017adminLeaders, Records, All
    Six judges were sworn in on Friday taking the number of judges to 60 which is 15 short of the sanctioned strength

    Six judges were sworn in on Friday taking the number of judges to 60 which is 15 short of the sanctioned strength

    Chennai :

    By inducting four women additional judges on Friday, the Madras high court bagged the honour of having the maximum number of women judges on its rolls in the country. The court now has 11 women judges, overtaking the Delhi high court which has 10.

    The sanctioned strength of the Madras high court is 75, but it has only 60 judges now. This is the first time that the number of women judges in the court has entered double-digits, and four of them were sworn in at the same time.

    At least one-third of Tamil Nadu’s subordinate judiciary is taken up by women judges, as the state has been implementing one-third reservation for women.

    Among other high courts of comparable size, the Bombay high court has nine women judges at present, while the Allahabad high court has just six women judges of the sitting strength of 98.

    Of the six new judges sworn in by Chief Justice Indira Banerjee on Friday, Justice S Ramathilagam, Justice R Tharani, Justice T Krishnavalli and Justice R Hemalatha are women.

    Besides the chief justice herself, the chartered high court already has six women judges – Justice S Vimala, Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana, Justice V M Velumani, Justice J Nisha Banu, Justice Anita Sumanth and Justice V Bhavani Subbaroyan.

    The number would have touched the dozen mark, but for the decision of the Supreme Court to defer the selection of Sarojhinidevi, a senior district judge who had been recommended by the Madras high court along with the six selected candidates.

    Her name was delinked from 11 names recommended in two batches for appointment as judges of the high court, in view of a pending case.

    The apex court collegium had asked the high court to submit a status report on the matter. Since the pending case had been concluded in her favour, the high court sent the report to the apex court. Had she also been appointed, the strength of women judges in the high court would have touched 12, accounting for one-fifth of the sitting strength of judges in the court.

    source: The Times of India / News> City News> Chennai News / by A. Subramani / TNN / December 02nd, 2017

  • scissors
    November 30th, 2017adminLeaders


    He was a towering leader: TNCC

    Congress leader P. Vallal Peruman, who won three Lok Sabha elections from Chidambaram during 1984, 1989 and 1991, died at a private hospital in the city on Tuesday morning. He was 66.

    Peruman, a loyalist of former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, also represented the Kattumannarkoil Assembly constituency during 2001-2006 on the DMK’s ‘Rising Sun’ symbol but as a member of the short-lived Congress Jananayaka Peravai, floated by Mr. Chidambaram. He was the Congress’ Chidambaram candidate in the 2016 general elections but was unsuccessful. Peruman was a medical doctor, trained at the Thanjavur Medical College.

    A condolence note from TNCC president Su. Thirunavukkarasar highlighted Peruman’s stature as a Dalit leader.

    “His loss is not only a loss to the Dalit community but to the whole State,” he added.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Tamil Nadu / by Special Correspondent / Chennai – November 29th, 2017

  • « Older Entries