Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91
Vol. XXVI No. 20, February 1-15, 2017
It could have been a model protest were it not for the miscreants who queered the pitch on the final day. It was an expression of resentment that was a model to follow in many ways – no violence, no harassment of women, minimum disruption to traffic and, above all, the political elements kept at bay. The rest of the country watched in amazement, until it broke up in predictable fashion. As to who was responsible for the chaos that followed, that merits investigation. Meanwhile, the Marina is clear, for the nonce.
We add that qualifier chiefly because of some statistics that have emerged concerning our State. Apparently, Tamil Nadu is the most restive among all the States of India. It witnessed a staggering 20,450 protests in the last one year. The closest that others have managed are 13,089 (Punjab) and 10,477 (Uttarakhand). That notches up another first to our tally, though it is not certain whether we ought to be celebrating it. What is also amazing is the difference between the State and the rest of the country. When we thought all along that our State is one of the peaceful backwaters where people go about their routine activities, not giving much thought to public expression of inner angst.
Angst it certainly appears to be, for how else can we explain this statistic? It points to a deeper malaise and the sooner those in power address this, the better.
It was an amazing experience at the Marina on the night of -January 22nd. The protest was entirely peaceful and people from all walks of life were present.
‘Pride in my city’ is the very basic mind-set that needs to be created, if heritage is to be preserved in Madras that is Chennai. This was emphasised at a recent meeting the Chennai Chapter of INTACH held with NGOs,
The Stenographers’ Guild is located in T. Nagar, one of the busiest parts of Chennai, just a stone’s throw from a major bus depot and Mambalam Railway Station, from which shoppers continually spill out, heading for the huge jewellery and sari shops nearby. Yet down the dead-end lane on which the Guild is located there is a sense of stasis and even decay, though that may come from the rubbish dump that the municipal corporation has allowed to come up on the opposite side. But this picture-and smell-may be deceptive.
Outside Ravi’s house I meet ‘King’ Bala. Bala is probably thirty, is almost six feet tall, has a velvety black complexion and the largest eyes I have ever seen on a man- the whites of those thickly fringed eyes seem to stretch back to the Milky Way. After Ravi introduces us, I ask Bala, “Why are you called King?”