TAMILISAI MOVEMENT

In 1943, Tamil was good to speak in but not to sing? Ironically a bias had crept into a system brought on to break biases. The Carnatic music Sabhas that had sprung to be the patrons of regional music- a post hitherto held by the zamindars soon fell a trap to their own pomposity. In…

DURGABHAI DESHMUKH

When in 1941, 32 year old Durga graduated she was perhaps the eldest in the passing out batch of Madras Law College. But her years of youth had indeed been well spent in the freedom struggle. In the 1930 Salt Satyagraha Movement at Triplicane beach, held parallel with the Dandi march, Durga actually kick started…

When there was counterfeiting , in reverse !

It was actually a counterfeiting in the reverse. When the intrinsic value of metal within a coin became more valuable than the established denomination itself, people started hoarding coins in Madras as elsewhere in the country. No wonder for there was a world war going on and feud usually was a Glutton for metals. Copper…

The Queen from Alwarpet

The Madras racing season of 1943 had just begun. In Madras, bets were being made on the horse’s haste even when the Mughals were ruling in Delhi. But the Madras race club was not just a sporting space. The rich and famous did not come from afar to devote their hours to watch equine sprints…

REFUGEES SEEKING A DESERTED TOWN

Ironically when long term residents were fleeing a fast emptying Madras, a new set of refugees took sanctuary in that city. Rangoon in Burma suffered aerial bombardments on the Christmas day 1941 when 40 Japanese Zero bombers wreaking havoc. One lakh people died and their bodies lay uncleared for days. Tamils were the commercial backbone…

1940 – The year of Fires

Fires of a world war were raging across the globe, but 1940 was a year of three famous blazes in Madras, which in a way rewrote the history of the town. The New Year started with a fire which gutted the Congress run All India Khadi and Swadeshi exhibition, whose organization had been compared in the…

BUTCHERING A ZOO

Madras had a long tradition of exhibiting animals and boasted of a choicely-kept menagerie from the Nawab times. The zoos were seen later as the symbol of British Empire’s economic power as it built a global empire. The earliest public zoos was established within the Egmore museum premises giving rise to the term ‘uyir college’…