When Gandhi rode a Madras bus

Gandhi had a close-knit but somewhat tumultuous relationship with Madras which in over fifty years he would visit twenty times. In 1896 Gandhi first visited Madras and newspapers reported that he ‘read out’ a protracted speech which the crowd at Pachaiyappan hall was patient enough to hear fully. 20 years later and a satisfactory orator…

A demon from the sea. The Emden bombing.

Today is the 104th anniversary of the Emden bombing of Madras. It was after a gap of more than a century that Madras was being attacked by an enemy and it caused a lot of flutter Unlike the later world war india was not a participant and had the least inkling it would be attacked….

Individual Sathyagraha movement

“No quantity but quality please. And I assure victory” said Gandhi promoting his latest  method to needle the British empire. The radicals in Congress wanted to launch a mass Civil Disobedience Movement and get everyone onto the streets, but Gandhi insisted on “Individual Satyagraha’. The sathyagrahis had to be approved by Gandhi himself. After serving…

1947: A Madras story

What was it like to live in this city the year India celebrated its much-awaited independence?Seventy years have passed since that momentous date. One that changed the lives of billions living and those yet to be born. But what was Madras like during the historic year of 1947? And what did everyday life look like?…

Hindi nahi hai !

In February 1940, Governor Erskine issued what was perhaps his last order before demitting office and one close to his heart. It was a communiqué retracting compulsory Hindi tutoring in Madras schools. It was three years before, in one rare lowering of the barriers by the British that the Congress came to power. The Governor…