Chennai First a Celebration. Positive News, Facts & Achievements about Chennai, Tamilians and all the People of TamilNadu – here at Home and Overseas
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    In the past few weeks — as well as at a celebration — we’ve heard much about the splendid growth of the Chemplast Sanmar Group from scratch 50 years ago and of how over those years it had nurtured and then been nurtured by N Sankar, whose first job, unpaid apprentice, was on the day Chemicals and Plastics India opened its doors. To me, the happiest part of that success has been how the Group has returned much back to society, promoting education and training, community welfare and healthcare, greening and nature, sport and art, and even saving failing journals like Madras Musings. But one thing I missed in all this was the seeding of the group.

    (Clockwise) KS Narayanan (extreme left) and TS Narayanaswami (extreme right) at the Indo-Commercial Bank’s Vizianagaram branch in 1938

    (Clockwise) KS Narayanan (extreme left) and TS Narayanaswami (extreme right) at the Indo-Commercial Bank’s Vizianagaram branch in 1938

    Those seeds were first sown in the back of beyond, in the village of Kallidaikurichi in Tinnevelly District when Nanu Sastrigal entered textile retailing, then moved into financing. His eldest son SNN Sankaralingam Iyer took the business further and with landowners in Tanjore helped found the Indo-Commercial Bank in Mayavaram in 1932. SNN’s eldest son KS Narayanan (KSN) joined the bank in 1936, gaining experience while moving from branch to branch. He also became a close friend of TS Narayanaswami (TSN), who was with the bank. The two enjoyed a warm working relationship till Narayanaswami passed away in 1968. By then, they had moved beyond banking.

    In fact, KSN moved earlier. In the late 1930s, he was Madras-bound to shepherd a failing ink manufacturing unit, Nanco, that had been acquired. By 1941, it was a success. With a War on, he next turned to a commodity in short supply, rubber, acquiring a re-treading unit in Coimbatore. There followed the first foray into chemicals, a sick unit there making calcium carbide, Industrial Chemicals, being taken over.

    Meanwhile, SNN who had bought substantial acreage in Tinnevelly to farm, found it was limestone-rich. His thoughts turned to cement. And so was born India Cements in 1949, with Narayanaswami helping SNN set it up while KSN went to Denmark to train with cement major FL Smidth. At a time when India was yet to industrialise, this was a major venture. When TSN died, KSN headed India Cements till retiring at 60, in 1980.

    Why KSN and TSN decided to get into chemical products we’ll never know, but in 1962 they thought of manufacturing PVC. TSN went to the US and negotiated a joint venture agreement with BF Goodrich, a PVC major. Agreement led to starting Chemicals and Plastics India Ltd in Mettur, near Mettur Chemicals which would supply the necessary chlorine. The plant went on stream on May 4, 1967, the date the Golden Jubilee celebrations recalled. This was one of the first Indo-American joint ventures, also among the first with a multinational in South India. The story only grows from thereon.


    The death of a trainer

    Few knew him outside the two worlds he’ll sorely be missed in, those of printers and Salesians. They merged for Bro Julian Santi, who passed away recently, in the Salesian Institute of Graphic Arts he set up in Kilpauk in the late 1960s with help from friends and Salesians in Italy from where he arrived in 1957.

    We first met years later and, even after, it was infrequently, but for over 40 years I would meet ex-students of his. And they were generally a class apart. Most of us printers, and several abroad, preferred them when recruiting, because they came with two advantages: More machine experience than those from other printing schools, and they considered themselves craftsmen, not ready-made white collar supervisors, which many from elsewhere thought they should be because they’d got a few letters as suffixes. Training on the job and a strong work ethic, that a printer had to be a hands-on person, not necessarily a whiz in theory, was what Santi taught his wards. Few of our training institutions look at students that way.

    Was Santi a printer himself, was he SIGA’s Principal, I never discovered, but I did find out he was a trainer par excellence, a man who taught his wards the dignity of working with their hands. I hope he has rooted that culture deep in SIGA.


    When the postman knocked…

    Several items over the last six weeks have brought much mail and, happily, several noteworthy pictures. They’ll appear over the following weeks, one at a time, starting today to supplement the earliest, Marmalong Bridge.

    The Marmalong Bridge seen c.1900

    The Marmalong Bridge seen c.1900

    DH Rao for whom bridges, lighthouses and the Buckingham Canal are passions, sent me today’s picture. Rao had seen it at a Corporation of Madras exhibition where it was dated to 1900. Its caption added, “In 1966 it was dismantled and replaced with today’s bridge.” The caption also said that a plaque was removed and re-positioned at the bridge’s north end. That plaque, recalling Uscan’s contribution, is little cared for today and is almost hidden by road-raising.

    Rao adds he came across the following, written in 1829, by a French naval officer, J Dumont D’Urville: “An entire neighbourhood is reserved for Muslims and we go there by the Armenian bridge (Saidapet?) built on the river Mylapore. This bridge 395 metres in length (has) 29 arches of various sizes.”

    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> Society> Madras Miscellany / by S. Muthiah / May 15th, 2017

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    Industrialist and philanthropist P R Ramasubrahmaneya Rajha, chairman of  Ramco Group of Companies, died in Rajapalayam after a brief illness. He was 82.

    He leaves behind his wife Sudarsanam, son P R Venketrama Raja, daughters Nalina, Sarada Deepa and five grandchildren.

    Popularly known as the Raja of Rajapalayam, Rajha donned the Ramco chairman’s robe when he was just 27 years old, with just two businesses– Rajapalayam Mills (a textile mill) and Madras Cements (now Ramco Cements) with a single plant capacity of 66,000 tonnes a year.

    Today, the group has businesses spanning across, cement, textiles, software and roofing sheets with annual revenues of more than Rs 6,000 crore. The flagship, Ramco Cements, has a capacity to make 18 million tonnes of cement a year, cumulatively the textile business has 5 lakh spindles capacity, Ramco Industries has a roofing capacity of one million tonnes a year and Ramco Systems is also on a strong footing after stuttering for some time.

    “In the passing of Rajha, the cement industry has lost a stalwart. I have known him for more than four decades. He was one of the first in the industry to put up a dry process cement plant. A pious, religious person, he had a quiet and sober leadership style. All of us will miss him,” said India Cements vice chairman & managing director N Srinivasan.

    The group supports eight educational institutions in Rajapalayam including Ramco Institute of Technology.

    “He was one of the outstanding leaders known for his vision, values and philanthropy. His death is a great loss to Tamil Nadu and the country,” recalled TVS Motor Company chairman Venu Srinivasan.

    Rajha was deeply associated with temples and donated liberally to building new ones and renovating dilapidated temples.

    source: / The Times of India / News> City News> Chennai News / TNN / May 12th, 2017

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    Several visitors from abroad come every year looking for ancestors — something, meaning lineages, few Indians are interested in. I can only suggest to them the Archives or this church or that cemetery. But, what is a constant surprise is how much information they already have. And, providing an example were my latest visitors, Norman and Gwen Rider from the UK. They were looking for information about Charles Robert MacGregor Ferguson (1847-1920), the second great-grandfather of Gwen. This is what they’d already found:

    Charles Ferguson was the son of Private James Ferguson, 15th Hussars, and Harriet (Chinnema) Chinamal. They had married in Bangalore where Charles Ferguson was born and baptised. James Ferguson died there in 1849. Harriet Chinamal died in Madras in 1903 and was buried in St Andrew’s Kirk. Tracing her family is one of the Riders’ least-likely-to-succeed quests.

    The other quest is trying to trace Charles Ferguson’s career. He married Anne Elizabeth Ward in St Matthias’ Church, Vepery, in 1868. She died in Coonoor in 1878 after bearing him three children. He then married Alice Emmeline D’Abreu and had two daughters before she died the same year he did, when she was 64. Details about his career are scanty, also occasionally fanciful as in: “1861 — Lucknow. Government Survey Department, Post and Telegraph Department and became Postmaster General in Lucknow until 1902 and received a Government pension till the day of his death in 1920.” Joining service at 14? It was possible in those days for Anglo-Indian boys who’d learn on the job. But, Postmaster General sounds like gilding the lily. He was ‘Telegraph master’ in Pudupet in 1868, then, judging by family births and deaths (all listed), in Coonoor, Lucknow and Chittagong.

    The note on Charles’ retirement reads: “Government pension Yelagiri Hills area of South India. Joined a group of Scots families who farmed at Sunnybanks and Bethany where they were self-sufficient growing crops and keeping animals.” He died in Salem and was buried there. Norman Rider added that it was recorded that on his father’s death Charles was left in the care of his godmother, Maria Sandway, in Bangalore in 1849 and that, it was believed, sometime thereafter, that the boy was placed in the Madras Male Orphans’ Asylum (from which St George’s, Shenoy Nagar, grew).

    That’s quite a compilation from church and cemetery records and the British Library’s India: Select Births and Baptisms, 1786-1947 and India: Select Deaths and Burials 1719-1948. Even ‘select’, those must be quite some compendiums. But, for all that, the Riders still wonder whether there are Post and Telegraph and St George’s records to help them.

    The Riders are only a couple of the hundreds of persons from the UK and elsewhere who come in search of roots. With all the modern technology available, can’t some kind of network be established to help these searchers?

    A dance doyenne remembered…

    Kalakshetra and Nrithyodaya recently remembered someone who had made Bharatanatyam a significant part of the Singapore cultural scene for which she was awarded that country’s highest honour for artists, The Cultural Medallion, and was selected for its Women’s Hall of Fame. The remembrance was the passing away of that dance ambassador, 79-year-old Neila Sathyalingam, in Singapore, recently.

    ‘Neila Maami’, to all her students, did post-graduation and, later, taught, at Kalakshetra. She and husband S Sathyalingam, a talented mridangist, an alumni, and a teacher there, moved to Singapore in 1974 with his job and founded Apsaras Arts in 1977. Bharatanatyam and Carnatic music flourished in Singapore as Apsaras grew. That growth included Rukmini Devi-style dance dramas, Kannagi and Sivagami, her last, two memorable ones.


    The wedding of Suntharalingam Sathyalingam and Neila Balendra linked two of Colombo’s leading Jaffna Tamil families. Sathyalingam and I grew up together as neighbours, but none of that family’s love of music and dance rubbed off on me. Instead, I learnt about politics and ethnicity at the knee of that maverick Ceylonese politician, his father C Suntharalingam, a mathematics Tripos, too, who first used the word ‘Eelam’ in Parliament. None of his family was as committed to politics.

    …. and a young hero too

    The ambush of CRPF personnel in Chhattisgarh reminded me of a 60-year old action that Capt D P Ramachandran of the Colours of Glory Foundation narrated to me in great detail a while ago. In the 1956 ambush, a 30-plus patrol of the Sikh Light Infantry found itself surrounded by 500 Naga insurgents. Second Lieutenant Polur Muthuswamy Raman of North Arcot District had the choice to surrender or suicidally fight it out. The 21-year-old chose the latter. Four hours later, during which Raman was twice wounded, there was relief. Another patrol of Sikhs at a higher elevation, spotting their colleagues pinned down, fought their way downhill to join them. The link-up broke the insurgents, but Raman and Major Mehta Singh, who had led the other detachment, lost their lives.

    Mehta Singh received the Kirti Chakra, the second highest gallantry award for counter-insurgency action. Raman got the highest award, the Ashok Chakra. Proudly, almost six decades after its alumnus had laid down his life in Nagaland, the National Defence Academy named a new academic building the ‘Raman Block’.

    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> Society> Madras Miscellany – History & Culture / by S. Muthiah / May 08th, 2017

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    Palm leaf manuscript. | Photo Credit: Handout

    Palm leaf manuscript. | Photo Credit: Handout

    Palm leaf manuscripts reveal a history of slavery in Nanjil Nadu, now part of Kanniyakumari district

    “The severe drought has left us with nothing, not even gruel. Our legs and calf muscles have become swollen and we are not able to walk. So as suggested by the head of our family, we sold ourselves to Raman Iyappan.”

    A 1459 palm leaf manuscript faithfully records the grim story of a Kerala Samban magan, Avayan, his nephew Thadiyan and his sister Nalli, in the note prepared for their sale as slaves.

    The lush green fields of Nanjil Nadu, the rice bowl of erstwhile South Travancore and now part of Kanniyakumari district of Tamil Nadu, hide a history that cut across the social spectrum. Slavery was common in the region as recently as 200 years ago.

    Interestingly, while members of the Vellalas, a land holding community that wielded enormous influence during the reign of the Travancore kings, were sold as slaves, Dalits, who were also often sold as slaves, also owned land.

    A collection of 19 palm leaf manuscripts, part of the so-called Mudaliar Olaigal, reveals details of the practice. Written in Tamil script, the language of the manuscripts is mixture of Malayalam and Tamil, reflecting the composite culture of the region.

    “A manuscript recorded in 1601 that records the sale of land by two Dalits — Avaiathan and Konathan, who belong to the Pallar community — proves the claim that Dalits also owned lands,” said folklorist A.K. Perumal, who has translated and edited Mudaliar Olaigal, published by Kalachuvadu.

    The term ‘Mudaliar’ refers to the head of the family in Azhagiyapandiapuram in Kanniyakumari district. The community of Saiva Vellalas were conferred the title ‘Mudaliar’ by the Travancore kings and they ruled Nanjil Nadu on behalf of the kings.

    Late poet Kavimani Desigavinayagam Pillai copied a few manuscripts in 1903. In addition to records on slave auctions, they contain a wealth of detail on the revenue system, maintenance of irrigation tanks and rivers and professions of many communities.

    Chronicling a reality very different from the present, the manuscripts speak of wealthy Dalits.

    A manuscript from 1462 says one Sundarapandian Chetti borrowed four ‘kaliyuga Raman panam’ (money used in that period), from one Kesavan of ‘sambavar’ caste, a sub-sect of Dalits. A 1484 manuscript, when referring to the border of a piece of land, says it lies “south of [the property of] Perumparaian”, a big land owner from the community.

    Women punished

    “But in the case of Vellalas, the women sold as slaves were used as maids in their owners’ houses. Only a Vellala was allowed to own another member of his community as a slave and this was openly announced before the commencement of an auction,” said Dr. Perumal.

    The women slaves from the Vellalas were known as ‘Vellatti’. According to the Madras University Lexicon, ‘Vellati’ means a servant maid or slave.

    “Slaves from the upper caste were clearly differentiated from Dalit slaves. Vellattis were used for the housekeeping,” explains said Dr. Perumal, who collected the manuscripts from the Thiruvananthapuram archives.

    Women from upper castes were often sold as slaves after they were found to have had relationships with men from lower castes.

    Dr. Perumal said slave markets existed in Aloor ( present day Kalkulam taluk), Aralvaimozhi, Thazhakudi (Thovalam taluk) and Rajakkamangalam (Agastheeswaram taluk).

    K.K. Kusuman, who has studied the history of slavery in Travancore, had recorded that the price of a slave depended on the social hierarchy.

    The manuscripts contain records of the prices fixed for slaves. In the records, the caste of a slave is used as a prefix unlike the modern day practice in which a caste title is used as a suffix.

    Dr. Perumal said poverty was the reason for slavery.

    A 1458 manuscript records a slave as saying: “We sold ourselves because of poverty.” Another one, recorded in 1472, records the poignant story of a man pledging himself and his daughter as he was unable to repay a loan and interest due on it. Subsequently he is recorded as having become a permanent slave.

    Slavery was abolished in Travancore on July 18, 1853 by a declaration made by the King Uthiram Thirunal.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Tamil Nadu / by B. Kolappan / Chennai – May 08th, 2017

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    Honoured Dr Vikram Singh's work has been recognised with the BIRAC Gandhian Young Technological Innovation award.

    Honoured Dr Vikram Singh’s work has been recognised with the BIRAC Gandhian Young Technological Innovation award.

    This could be used in applications such as tunable laser, LEDs and white light display

    Dr. Vikram Singh, former research scholar in the Department of Chemistry, IIT Madras won the BIRAC Gandhian Young Technological Innovation (GYTI) Award 2017 for his work on producing white light emission using natural extracts.

    Dr. Singh and Prof. Ashok Mishra from the Department of Chemistry, IIT Madras used a mixture of two natural extracts — red pomegranate and turmeric — to produce white light emission. The researchers used a simple and environment-friendly procedure to extract dyes from pomegranate and turmeric.

    While polyphenols and anthocyanins present in red pomegranate emit at blue and orange-red regions of the wavelength respectively, curcumin from turmeric emit at the green region of the wavelength. White light emission is produced when red, blue and green mix together. This is probably the first time white light emission has been generated using low-cost, edible natural dyes. The results were published in the journal Scientific Reports.

    “We had to mix the two extracts in a particular ratio to get white light,” says Dr. Singh, the first author of the paper; he is currently at Lucknow’s CSIR-Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI). By changing the concentration of the two extracts the researchers were able to get different colour temperature (tunability).

    “When we mix the two extracts and irradiate it with UV radiation at 380 nm, we observed energy transfer (FRET mechanism) taking place from polyphenols to curcumin to anthocyanins, which helps to get perfect white light emission,” says Dr. Singh. For FRET mechanism to take place there must be spectral overlap between the donor and acceptor.

    Energy transfer

    In this case, there is a perfect overlap of emission of polyphenols with absorption by curcumin so the energy from polyphenols is transferred to curcumin. Since there is also a perfect overlap of emission of curcumin with absorption by anthocyanin, the energy of curcumin is transferred to anthocyanin.

    As a result of this energy transfer from one dye to the other, when the extract is irradiated with UV light at 380 nm (blue region of the wavelength), the polyphenols emit in the blue region of the wavelength and transfers its energy to curcumin. The excited curcumin emits in the green region of the wavelength and transfers its energy to anthocyanin, which emits light in the red region of the wavelength.

    “Because of the energy transfer, even if you excite in the blue wavelength we were able to get appropriate intensity distribution across the visual wavelength,” says Prof. Mishra, who is the corresponding author of the paper.

    Without turmeric

    Taking the work further, the duo produced carbon nanoparticles using pomegranate and to their surprise it was producing fairly green emission. So instead of using turmeric to get green wavelength, the researchers used carbon nanoparticles made from pomegranate extract. “We could get white emission, though it is not as white as when we use turmeric. It’s slightly bluish but well within the white zone,” says Prof. Mishra. “It is an attractive to use a single plant source to create white light emission.” The principle by which the pomegranate extract and carbon nanoparticles made from the extract is the same as in the case when pomegranate and turmeric extracts were used. The results were published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry C.

    Though this natural mixture of dyes can be used in a wide variety of applications such as tunable laser, LEDs, white light display, much work needs to be done in terms of photostability and chemical stability before it becomes ready for translation. Biosystems have an inherent tendency to breakdown and so this has to be addressed.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> Sci-Tech> Science / by R. Prasad / May 06th, 2017

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    Chennai :

    An 18th century chatram (choultry) in Thanjavur is now in ruins due to lack of maintenance and care. The Yamunambaal chatram , built by Maratha King Pratap Sinha (1739-1763) in Needamangalam, 30 km from Thanjavur, may collapse anytime if sufficient care is not taken immediately. Despite repeated requests from activists, the government has not taken any steps to preserve this architecturally-rich building.

    A couple of months ago, historian and archaeologist Ayyampettai N Selvaraj had filed an RTI petition to revive the historic importance of the building, but he didn’t get a proper answer from the concerned authority. “As this is a charity, we can’t give you the details you want,” was the reply from the collector’s office. The chatrams, introduced by Maratha kings, played a major role in accommodating people from other parts of India visiting Rameswaram, during their reign from 1674 to 1855. The chatram and village were named after the king’s wife, Yamunamba Bhai. The village was known as Yamunambal Puram and the choultry, Yamunambal Chatram. “The king constructed a palatial chatram and a lake here. He also raised temples for Shiva and Vishnu along with an Agraharam for the temple priests and supervisors,” he said.

    “When the Marathas ruled Thanjavur, they introduced charitable institutions, which were quite new and novel to this soil. Those days, pilgrims from the northern parts of India would reach Rameshwaram on foot, with carts, and it was difficult to meet out their basic needs in an alien soil. The Maratha rulers could understand the hardships the pilgrims faced and built at least 20 chatrams with a tank in Thanjavur alone,” said Selvaraj, who has excavated many ancient idols in and around Thanjavur.

    These chatrams were designed and constructed in the Maratha style. The main mandapam of the Yamunambaal chatram is designed as if it was pulled by horses and elephants with mahouts on their back with swords in hands. Granites were used in the construction, up to the basement. “The chatram may collapse any time. It’s now under the Thanjavur Collector’s jurisdiction. It’s high time action is taken to maintain the building,” he said.

    source: / The Times of India / News> City News> Chennai News / by M T Saju / TNN / May 05th, 2017

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    Virudhunagar Collector A. Sivagnanam and music composer Ilayaraja at the branch library at Tiruchuli.

    Virudhunagar Collector A. Sivagnanam and music composer Ilayaraja at the branch library at Tiruchuli.

    Education was important to create a knowledge-based society, says the music maestro

    A new branch library building, sponsored by Sri Ramanasramam in Tiruvannamalai, was dedicated at Tiruchuli on Tuesday.

    Music maestro Ilayaraja and Collector A. Sivagnanam lit the traditional lamp to mark the inauguration of the building constructed at a cost of ₹41 lakh.

    Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Ilayaraja said education was important to create a knowledge-based society. Libraries were the kind of institutions meant for continuous education of the masses, he said, adding children from rural areas should come forward to make the best use of the variety of books available in the library.

    They should become top civil servants, scholars and scientists to serve the nation, he said.

    District Library Officer S. Jegadeesan said various e-resources links would be made available in the library, established in two floors with computer and internet facilities, for the students to prepare for various courses and competitive examinations.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Tamil Nadu / by / Special Correspondent / Aruppukottai – May 02nd, 2017

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    Chennai :

    Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Tuesday presented Avvaiyar award for 2017 to Padma Venkataraman, chairperson, Women’s Indian Association (WIA) and daughter of former President R Venkataraman.

    The award which has been instituted to encourage women excel in social reforms, women’s development, communal harmony, arts, science, culture, journalism and administration, carries `1 lakh, a gold medal and a citation. She was chosen for the award in appreciation of her services to rehabilitation of the leprosy-affected for over 30 years.

    Thanking the Chief Minister, Padma Venkatraman recalled the services of WIA to the leprosy-affected and its work with the State government covering all 10 government-run homes, colonies and the community-based people.

    She said the award would strengthen WIA’s resolve to service society further.

    She lived for many years in Vienna, Austria, where she was, among other positions she held, a permanent representative of All India Women’s Conference to the UN, member of several non-profit panels accredited to the UN, such as Committee on Narcotics and  Committee on Disabled. She was also vice-president of a non-profit organisation, Committee on Women and president, United Nations Women’s Guild.

    source: / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Tamil Nadu / by Express News Service / May 03rd, 2017

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    That was a question I was recently asked in connection with a reference I had made to Umda Bagh and its links with education in the city for nearly 125 years. Good question, and off I went ahunting for information.

    Into the Umda Bagh campus moved c.1895 the Madrasa-I-Azam, the chief Muslim school in the South and which was established in 1849. This developed partially into a Government Muhammadan College with its own buildings in 1934.

    In 1948, the College was reconstituted as the Government Arts College for Men. The College moved to Nandanam in 1972 and a women’s college opened in its stead in 1974. This was named the Quaid-E-Millat Government College for Women, leaving many a student puzzling over the prefixed name, which I’m told means ‘Leader of the Nation’.

    A Tirunelveli Rowther, Mohammed Ismail went into business in the 1920s and became a leader in the worlds of leather and Madras commerce. That leadership led him into politics, in which he had shown interest from when, as a 13-year-old, he started in 1909 the Young Muslim Society in Tirunelveli.

    Nine years later, he founded the Council of Islamic Scholars and joined the Indian Muslim League. In 1946, he led the League’s Madras unit in the Assembly elections and became Leader of the Opposition. He was also elected to the first Lok Sabha, which simultaneously served as the Indian Constituent Assembly. And, an intriguing election that year was as the founding President of the Madras State Mutton Dealers’ Association, which he remained till his death 26 years later.

    When Pakistan was born in 1947, the Muslim League divided and an Indian Union Muslim League came into being. Mohammed Ismail was elected its first President. After serving in the Rajya Sabha from 1952 to 1958, he moved into Kerala politics with States’ Reorganisation in 1956. Leading the IUML, he won Lok Sabha seats in 1962, 1967 and 1971. He died a year after his last election, revered in both Tamil Nadu and Kerala as the Quaid-E-Millat, a leader who ensured communal harmony. Interestingly, his education had been in Hindu, Catholic and Protestant schools and colleges!

    Perhaps the greatest tribute paid to him was by Congress Chief Minister M Bhaktavatsalam who, describing his dignified and conciliatory behaviour in the Legislature, said he was “a model for all Opposition leaders”.


    When the postman knocked…

    V Mahalingam writes (Miscellany, April 17): “N Kannayiram went to the West Indies as a replacement for G Kasturirangan of Mysore who cried off because of groin injury and not as replacement for CD Gopinath.

    Also CDG didn’t opt out as he was not happy with the cricket board’s ways. He pulled out as he was suffering from collar bone injuries and he was replaced by L Adisesh of Mysore who also pulled out. Totally there were four replacements before the tour.”

    With this column’s word length now abbreviated, I don’t have the luxury of elaboration. But even then, there was no reason to link two entirely different sentences about Kannayiram and Gopinath except for the fact that they were adjacent to each other. Juxtaposition is not the equivalent of replacement! More interesting is my correspondent saying it was “collarbone injuries” that made Gopinath skip the tour.

    Reporting a long interview with Gopinath for the book Office Chai, Planter’s Brew — Gopinath approving every word of the final text — this writer stated: “(In 1952) Gopinath, being South Indian, was ‘rather strangely called Madrasi in a rather contemptuous way’ by other members of the team. This was an era when cricket essentially meant Bombay — and in Gopinath’s words, ‘…it was almost as if, if you came from Madras, you had no business to play cricket…’ He goes on that around then Gordon Woodroffe’s offered him a job — it was a time when the first Indians were being recruited by British firms — and he was mulling over it because he felt the remuneration was inadequate given his academic and sporting record.

    But his father, an old Imperial Bank hand, pointed out he’d get fair treatment in a British firm and could go far (he did; he became its first Indian Chairman). The interview then records, “Musing on the advice and his issues with (Indian) cricket, Gopinath decided to refuse the West Indian tour.” No mention of collar bone injuries anywhere.

    Subash Chandra Bose at the Tea hosted for him at the Beehive Foundry, Madras on September 3,1939. To his right is K S Rao, owner of the Beehive Group, and third from right (seated) a mystery man only recently identified by the owner of this picture. Standing is C. Audikesavalu Chettiar, Rao’s partner.

    Subash Chandra Bose at the Tea hosted for him at the Beehive Foundry, Madras on September 3,1939. To his right is K S Rao, owner of the Beehive Group, and third from right (seated) a mystery man only recently identified by the owner of this picture. Standing is C. Audikesavalu Chettiar, Rao’s partner.

    Ramesh Kumar, who’s kept the Beehive Foundry name going in its original Oakes & Co. premises on Popham’s Broadway (Miscellany, June 2, 2014), now Prakasam Salai, sends me today’s picture of yesteryear. It’s of Subhas Chandra Bose being hosted at tea at the Beehive premises on September 3, 1939. With him are Kowtha Suryanarayana Rao, the founder of the group that owns the premises, and his partner C Audikesavalu Chettiar, Ramesh Kumar’s grandfather. To Rao’s right is a person whom I wonder how many recognise, despite his being a well-known name in Tamil Nadu. He is Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Thevar.

    Rao founded the Swadharma Swaarajya Sangh (Orthodox National League) in 1913 for the “revival of the declining spiritual and cultural values of Bharateeya life, dharma and religion”, I wonder how much Bose or Thevar had in common with it? I also wonder, given the date of the felicitation, whether Bose fled to Germany from Madras; that was the day India was dragged into a World War.

    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> Society> History & Culture / Madras Miscellany / by S. Muthiah / May 01st, 2017

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    April 27th, 2017adminEducation, Records, All, Sports
    S Shrikrishna at a billiards tournament

    S Shrikrishna at a billiards tournament

    Chennai :

    I don’t have fear in my game,” proclaims S Shrikrishna. While this may seem a tad arrogant at first, he explains that it’s just a mantra he follows. “Both my father and coach once told me a line: ‘Don’t fear your opponent, make him fear you’. And that’s exactly what I try to do in every match; it has helped me succeed,” adds the Chennai lad.

    For those wondering, Shrikrishna is the National Junior Billiards champion. His next outing will be the ongoing 12th R Murugesh & Chintamani Memorial all-India Open Snooker Tournament in Erode.

    True to his word, the 17-year-old is not worried about things like his national champion status or the fact that he will be a home favourite in the upcoming tournament. “I don’t let such things bother me. This is the second time I’ll be participating in the Erode event and I know what I’m capable of. My focus is to improve match after match and not worry about what the opponent thinks of me or what strategy they will employ,” says Shrikrishna.

    His initiation into cue sports was when as a 10-year-old he witnessed his parents take to the green table at the Mylapore Club. But what happened after is more interesting. “When I saw my parents play, I knew I wanted to give it a try as well. But at that time the rules said that children below 12 aren’t allowed to play. My father then took the issue to the manager, who allowed me to play a few shots. That is when he realised I was good at it. They changed the rules immediately after,” says Shrikrishna who is a Class 11 student at National Public School, Gopalapuram.

    He performed consistently well, even entering competitions soon enough. “I joined my coach, Nadeem Ahmed at the Tamil Nadu Billiards & Snooker Association (TNBSA) premises soon after the Mylapore Club episode. Unlike others, I started competing a couple months after picking up the stick for the first time. It was only due to the support of my coach and father that this was possible,” he adds.

    Shrikrishna is entering a crucial phase in life; he is going to appear for the Class 12 exams next year. But Shrikrishna has it all figured out. “I can’t take a chance with my boards. The nationals will be next January, and that will be the last event I will participate in before the exam.”

    source: / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Chennai / by Ravi Iyer / Express News Service / April 27th, 2017

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