Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91
Vol. XXVIII No. 15, November 16-30, 2018
Let us make it quite clear at the outset – we are delighted that the city has a metro rail service in operation, albeit a mere fraction of what ought to have been running by now. Those who use the facility profess to be quite happy with it – it saves time, the stations are clean and Chennai Metro Rail Limited has also organised some kind of last-mile connectivity by pressing into service local auto-rickshaws and taxicabs. But what is of worry, apart from the high fares, is the shoddy workmanship of the stations and the numerous technical glitches that the actual operation itself suffers from. True, the latter can be teething troubles, but not the former. There is really no excuse for poor quality construction.
Take the case of Malligai Poo Nagar on the banks of the Adyar River near Meenambakkam. Residents have been complaining about dumping of garbage along the bank. The settlement does not have the luxury of municipal garbage collection service. The spot has become a dump yard and breeding ground for diseases. Their community toilet was “razed by the civic body three years ago” and a new one is yet to come up. They have no toilets and are forced into open defecation.
As part of the integrated Eco-Restoration Project, the river had to be fenced to prevent encroachment on its banks, to keep them clear for periodical dredging and to control flooding in times of heavy rain. As there is encroachment, eviction is necessary, say officials. Although this Project was announced 15 months ago, there is no resettlement plan nor are Malligai Poo Nagar residents seeing any sign of getting the elementary necessities to live life with dignity.
If you happen to pass by the General Hospital in Park Town, you cannot resist the temptation to halt for a while to study an imposing statue near the main entrance. The engraved marble below reads:
Dr. S. RANGACHARI m.b. & c.s.
Surgeon and Physician
In memory of his
rare medical skill
and boundless humanity
erected by a grateful public.
The statue of Dr. Rangachari is a fitting tribute to his invaluable contribution to the medical profession and was the first in the city to be installed for this reason with funding by a grateful public. In a short span of time he rose to dizzy heights and came to be recognised as one of the greatest doctors in India.
Rangachari was compared with Gautama Buddha for his unlimited compassion. For him a patient needed solace and healing, no matter whether he was rich or poor. He did not care for money, but it came pouring in. Rangachari’s success was phenomenal because he surpassed in all the three branches his contemporaries who were undisputed leaders: Dr. A. Lakshmanaswamy Mudaliar in Gynaecology, Col. (Dr.) Pandalai in Surgery and Dr. Guruswamy Mudaliar in General Medicine. This fact can never be overlooked and this makes him an all-time great.
Rangachari was born in Sarukkai village in April 1882. His father, Krishnamachari, who was in government service named his son Raja Srinivasa Iyengar, after his grandfather, but he preferred to call himself Sarukkai Rangachari, a name destined to become legendary.
My first ever introduction to the famed Stella Maris College was sometime during my childhood – mostly as a result of my mother being a former student. My fascination for this college, established on 15 August 1947 and managed by the Society of the Franciscan missionaries of Mary, remained with me all through my adolescence. The college’s origins were in San Thomé, and they moved to their current location on Cathedral Road in 1960 – and although I lived so far away so as to be almost in a different town, I took every chance to travel along the road, first to gaze at the buildings but later, for another reason altogether – their art.