Thursday, December 30, 2010
Monday, December 27, 2010
குறிப்பு: தனது அயரா உழைப்பால், அனைத்து வகைகளிலும் அரும் பாடுபட்டு, பற்பல நாடுகளில் கண்டெடுத்த மகாத்மா பற்றிய பல்வேறு படசுருள்களையும், மகாத்மாவின் ஆசிரமத்தில் எடுத்த கோப்பு காட்சிகளையும் மூலாதாரமாக கொண்டு இப்படத்தை உருவாக்கியவர் திரு.அ.கருப்பன் செட்டியார் என்கின்ற எ.கே.செட்டியார் ஆவார். 2010-ஆம் ஆண்டு அவர் பிறந்த நூற்றாண்டாகும்.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Image Courtesy: http://newspapers.nl.sg. Image's copyright ownership is with National Library, Singapore.
"A DONATION OF 10,000 rupees, equivalent to $6,400 has been given by Mr.M.S.M.Meyyappa Chettiar (right), proprietor of the Chettiar banking firm of M.S.M.M. in Ipoh அண்ட் Sitiawan, to the F.M.S War Fund. Mr.Meyyappa Chettiar is at present in India but the gift was sanctioned by him at the request of his brother Mr.M.S.M.M.Alagappa Chettiar (left), who is the local head of the firm of M.S.M.M. A former chariman of the Karaikudi Municipality in the Ramnad District, South India, Mr.Meyyappa Chettiar, during his term of office, installed a water plant for his district at his own expenses. He instituted a free school for girls (the Sri Meenachi School) which has an enrolment of over 500 pupils, a maternity home for the poor and a dispensary".
Friday, December 17, 2010
We (Chenna-ites) all know how cramped the book stalls are (causing lack / absence of standing space for visitors to browse the books) at the Chennai book fair. Many visitors simply do not enter some of the stalls after having to see so many people packed in to so little space.
Is anyone in BAPASI reading this note ?
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Dates => http://bapasi.com/2011bookfair_DT.asp [ 4/Jan/2011 to 17/Jan/2011 ]
Rules & Regulations => http://bapasi.com/rules_regulation_2011.pdf
Countdown : 21 days to go.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
There seems to be enough write up here available already about the place, however, this trek was just a one day affair -- we covered three pools and in CTC's parlance this trek was marked 'N75 Easy'.
Tidbits from the trek that stands etched in my memory (fading but working still) :
1. What happened to that canine that followed us all the way up to pool I ? what happened to her after that ? wasn't she interested in pursuing in other pools ?
2. Those huge swamp of butterflies was definitely lovely to watch. Thought they were common crow but I don't think am correct. Does anyone know their exact common name / scientific name ?
3. I may again visit the place, not for trekking but to the Surutupalli (Lord Shiva in reclining posture) temple.
4. My new found eagerness to learn swimming.
5. Seeing the 9-year old Mahesh matching his dad's pace (infact, he outpaced many of the adults in that trek), showed no sign of tiring, enjoyed every second of his trek. At this point, I recall what I had read, about few months back, a quote of Konrad Lorenz, Nobel prize winner in Physiology in 1973, that to teach humans to care for nature is to start when they are young.
6. Need stamina (I had enough for this easy trek), and a good pair of walking shoes (which am surely lacking) for such treks.
7. Are there any old records (dated 18th or early 19th century) about the geography of Nagalapuram ? It will be interesting to read writings from that period.
8. I believe there should be two (not just one) emergency kits -- one with the leader and the other with the sweeper.
9. How nice it would be to know / hear about the place, its flora and fauna during the trek ? This is sure to kindle souls of good 'nature' (pun intended) for further exploration.
10. I was told that the altitude of the mountain path covered in the trek could be between 500m - 600m. Does anyone know the exact details ?
Photos from this trek can be seen from:
Friday, August 27, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Speaker : Dr.Satyabhama Badhreenath, Superintending Archaeologist, ASI, Chennai Circle
On : Saturday 21/Aug/2010
On the occasion of Madras Day 2010, this inaugural lecture on Fort St.George was accompanied with an exhibition of prints, aquatints, etchings and engravings from the collections of Mr.V.Narayan Swami and the Foundation.
This is the gist of her talk consolidated from my notes. As usual, if you notice factual errors and mistakes please blame it on me.
In the quest to find good quality muslin cloth, English East India Company looked at several places on the East coast -- Machilipatinam was their first option but the Dutch traders had a thriving trade already established with the locals, so, their search began again. Through local connections, the Nayak at Poonamallee ceded a strip of land opposite the shore to Francis Day and Andrew Cogan. Interestingly this was their first acquired territory in India which served to be the 'very bounce of the empire'.
Fort House was one of the first buildings but it had to be reconstructed after being hit by a storm. Fortification wall and many other structures were added over a period of time. In the initial years, the company allowed people of various nationalities to reside inside the fort and conduct trading activities - this included, Portugese, Armenians.
Dutch movements triggered the English instincts to upgrade military preparedness inside the fort -- defensive architecture, unhindered supply of water, food and other essentials to manage eventualities, and ramparts, fortification walls were some of the focus areas.
Dr.Satyabhama Badreenath lecturing on Fort St.George
Some of the famous personalities associated with the fort -- Robert Clive, Arthur Wellesly amongst others. Next to Clive's House the company had given a place to Nawab of Arcot but he was then moved out (that's how Chepauk Palace came to be).
King's Barracks is one of the earliest barracks in India, was constructed in 1755 and is about 1,00,000 square meters. It is a very simple building with big columns and large verandas that facilitate cross-ventilation. First floor was used by the company authorities while the ground floor was used for storage needs.
Flag mast inside the fort is one of the tallest in India, it is made from the hull of a ship that wrecked near the coast of Madras. [ Note from Mr.K.R.A.Narasiah: This was possibly constructed during Yale's times, it was originally on the south eastern side and that wrecked ship could have been 'Royal Adventure'].
As part of the talk, she shared a set of slides with the audience (hall was almost full except for one or two empty chairs) and spoke about some of the restoration efforts carried out to repair the area underneath the flag mast, Banqueting Hall in Clive's House, Chaplain's House, and one of the earliest houses inside the fort where the work is in progress. For the ASI, this is really a challenging task with the available resources because these structures deserve continual attention and care.
Fort exchange building, now housing the Fort Museum, is an interesting piece of heritage structure. In the initial years (this is in the starting years of English East India Company) this building was used for auctions. In view of the business requirements, for better acoustics the ceiling was designed with grid patterns that look like virtual prisms. Showing an image (scanned from a book) of a tea auction house where the auction would be at the top floor of the building while the bids were conducted from the ground floor. She said fort exchange interior is modeled on such auction houses. Very interesting indeed.
Thanks to Dr.Satyabhama Badhreenath for sharing her knowledge on the fort. It would have been really good if there had been more youngsters in the audience. As usual CPR staff were courteous, guests were served coffee, photo exhibition on old Madras was really well done.
Really wonderful morning session, Thanks to Madras Day.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Starting with the Fort where it all started ... A walk inside Fort St.George followed by a talk on the same subject. Walk was led by Vincent D'Souza and the talk was by Dr.Satyabama Badreenath because both were on the same day, in the morning of Saturday Aug/21/2010. Well, I couldn't have asked for more, its all etched in my memory forever.
On a pleasant Saturday morning, after much waiting at the gates (Courtesy: Chennai City Police) we stepped in to the Fort -- group was about 15 in size. Part of the group was an elderly citizen and few kids with their parents. Cornwallis cupola, Fort exchange building (now serving as museum), Fort house (one of the earliest houses in the campus), Army Parade ground, St.Mary's Church, Former Town Hall, Admiralty House, Madras Arsenal, Moat (could see trains in the Fort Railway station), King's Barracks were some of the landmarks covered in the walk; Vincent would tell us the significance about each of them while some of us listened, some took notes / snaps.
Some interesting notes:
Old street names have been retained and the names are put up in legible big letters -- some of the names are York street, Gloucester street, Middle street, Inner street, Charles & James street, Choultry street.
Tombstones inside St.Mary's Church are worth documenting. There is a tombstone for Sir Thomas Munro and so many more.
Former town hall is now Army recruiting zone and Hospital.
Next to the Fort House is the York street. Vincent prompted to bend and sit on our knees to see the arch that led straight to the blacktown of olden days.
Admiralty House built by an Armenian is named Clive's Corner -- as soon as you enter this compound, just raise your neck to see a round plaque which reads "Robert 1st Lord Clive lived in this building in the year 1753 truly great in arms and in council". A portion of this building is now occupied by the local ASI office.
King's Barracks, one of the largest in Asia, is now used for storing provisions (cartons after cartons after cartons) to meet the local army and navy requirements.
Behind the King's Barracks is the Queen's Barracks.
Fort Museum is open from 8am to 5pm (these are the current timings) and is a must visit for anyone interested in heritage, history.
Thanks to Vincent's persistence, we made it to the Fort St.George and it was worth traveling from Nerkunram to Fort -- I joined the group at 7:10am delayed because of traffic diversion near Ripon Building, took detour via Basin Bridge.
Part of the group were two foreign citizens.
Opposite the Fort museum is placed guns captured by the British from various campaigns.
Many old buildings inside the fort are in dilapidated condition. One hopes the powers-that-be shows interest in their restoration and put them back to sensible use.
Name plates installed on the base holding the guns can be hardly read.
Below you will see the picture of a plaque (erected in 1968) that commemorate's the 250th anniversary of the naming of Yale College.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Author: Himanshu Prabha Ray
Author has detailed, in the 9 chapters , the birth and growth leading to the establishment of Archaeology as a discipline of study in colonial and post-independent India set in the backdrop of Sir Mortimer Wheeler taking over as Director-General of ASI, his contributions to Indian Archaeology.
Now, let us move to the tidbits.
1. First scientific excavation was done in 1784 Thomas Jefferson, the third President of United States.
2. Earlier name of Rajpath-Janpath is Kingsway-Queensway (carfax).
3. A zoological museum was setup in Madras Christian College, Madras in 1838.
4. Rudyard Kipling's source of information about Buddhist sculpture came from his father Lockwood Kipling who has been a curator of Lahore Museum.
5. Efforts to develop a museum in Madras began in 1819 but did not materialize until 1834 until Madras Literary Society 'requested the government to setup a museum of economic geology'. In 1851, the museum was started in the College of Fort St.George, later shifted to the present site (Egmore) in 1854.
6. First museum collection initiated by the Asiatic Society in 1796.
7. Wheeler, while talking about Indians who had worked with him in various excavations, has special mention for A.Aiyappan, the Superintendent of Madras Museum. 'as a colleague'. Aiyappan, an ethnologist and a student of Malinowski, had accompanied Wheeler to the finds of Arikamedu.
8. The chapter on conservation policy has some interesting details about the policies followed, rifts between CPWD and ASI over who should undertake conservation of the Taj Mahal, memos exchanged between the concerned departmental officers about the legality / illegality of wearing shoes or overshoes by visitors to Taj Mahal, twisting of history by 'guides' and the excessive rates they charged the visiting American officers from USA Air Depot.
9. Snippet of correspondence between ASI Superintendent and the Collector of Chingelput over the protection and conservation of Megaliths in chapter 6 is quite disturbing to read. This extract is part of exchange dated 15 March 1945 and sites the indifferent attitude of governing authorities in allowing quarrying to be done in localities where 'the monuments of the character specified here are particularly found'. Examples of these localities are, Nanmangalam, Guduvancheri.
10. Appendix has two tables A6.1 and A6.2. Former lists 05 sites in the Sriperumbudur taluk for the protection of Megalithic cists and cairns under section 3 of AMP Act of 1904 dated 13 September 1946 and the latter 13 sites in Ponneri and Tiruvallur taluks for the protection of Megalithic cists and cairns with bounding stone circles under section 3 of AMP Act of 1904 dated23 January 1947. All these sites were part of Chingelput district.
If this was the situation 60 years ago, nobody knows what happened to all the finds / excavations in these sites ? How they could have survived the quarrying ?
Friday, February 26, 2010
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
It's wondering to note what kind of problems CWT could have faced had he not changed his name ? This led me to search for answers which some of you might be already aware of but will share with you as is (without any comments or observations):
1. This reference (partial text extract is given below) is from a Google mailing list : http://groups.google.com.mt/
"Why did C. W. Thamotharam give a Hindu name in Madras?
Prof. R. Hoole gives a reason
"I recall how my ancestor Charles Winslow Kingsbury with the “home name” Thamotharam, despite his accomplishments as one of Madras University’s first 2 graduates in 1857 (and of getting the higher mark of the two ) renamed himself Chirupitty Wairawanathar Thamotharampillai when he went to Madras Presidency.
This ensured that
a) he had access to the Sangam-era Ola manuscripts in the mutts that he is credited with restoring,
b) he kept his original initials and
c) he removed obstacles to his becoming Rao Bahadur and, as chief justice, Regent in Puthukkottai. To maintain this farce he only had to whisper to his Jaffna friends on arrival in Madras not to let on that he was a Christian in Jaffna. (See S.R. H. Hoole, 1997; ibid.).
Such was the disadvantage of a Christian in India in learned circles."
2. I believe the extracted text is part of another article written by Ranjan Hoole, one of C.W.Thamotharapillai's kinsmen. His article is very elaborate and the main subject of his article is quite different. Here is the URL to the seven page article,
Extracted text reproduced in the first point is taken from Ranjan Hoole's article (URL given above) -- last para in the first page of this article.