Madras Week Particular | Fabricated from Chennai

Fabricated from Chennai! Who would have thought that this could be a headline. It appears to indicate that instances have certainly modified. When that redoubtable chronicler of Madras S. Muthiah was round he would typically say that Chennai or Madras was no one’s metropolis. It’s nothing however a metropolis constructed by immigrants from the countryside all of them wanting to return to their ooru at some stage in time or the opposite was what he mentioned. A technology later there’s a full set of people that at present declare Madras or Chennai to be their dwelling. Their root. Their id. On this event of Madras Day 2023 we, by way of this complement, attempt to establish what Fabricated from Madras is all about.

Mr. Muthiah himself in his ultimate version of Madras Rediscovered (2018) sums up what the town actually means and I quote: “Madras at present, to the shock of the technology of the Nineteen Thirties, has grown right into a metropolis, but it surely nonetheless has not be- ing in a position to shake off its small city environment. Life remains to be, for essentially the most half, leisurely, gracious and mild, even when business and commerce have introduced nice hustle and bustle. The saree and plaited, beflowered hair are nonetheless elements of the town scene, dhotis are nonetheless seen outdoors the worka- day world. The symbols of religions are as a lot evident on individuals as in buildings; nowhere is a spot of worship quite a lot of minutes stroll away. The battle to maintain a little bit of greenery thriving in reducing backyard house remains to be valiantly fought. The seashore remains to be a favorite outing and Take a look at cricket with its leisurely tempo is as a lot appreciated as the moment selection supplied by Chennai Tremendous Kings.”

He added: “A lot is passing, a lot altering within the current. However for all that Madras continues to retain its everlasting appeal. Maybe it’s the lack of hurry, the absence of a sense of harried competitiveness. Or maybe it’s only a passionate attachment to previous world traditions and courtesies. Madras is the previous that can be catching up with the current the place the Bharatanatyam dancer is as a lot at dwelling on the Music Academy stage as she is within the discos being added to the leisure scene each few months or the sambar and curd rice connoisseur at house is the gourmand in nice eating areas that provide a plethora of worldwide delicacies. However for all of the change, the traditions of a conservative previous and recollections of wonderful yesterdays stay an intrinsic a part of the material of a metropolis of at present drawing up nice plans for tomorrow.” Chennai at present is a metropolis of change. And but, Chennai appears to be carrying with it quite a lot of its previous. It’s this which makes Chennai distinctive. There are cities of India which have embraced modernity, abandoning their historical past and antiquity. There are cities which proceed to stay resolutely prior to now. Chennai is neither. It takes two steps ahead after which turns again to guarantee that it’s previous remains to be coming alongside, catching up.

The Hindu has been a part of Chennai since 1878. That could be a good distance again. The Hindu has since then seen Chennai belie all predictions by Cassandras and develop. The next pages subsequently have a look at altering and steadfast patterns of Chennai over generations as seen within the columns of The Hindu.

V. Sriram, writer and historian

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