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Vol. XXVIII No. 18, January 1-15, 2019

Archives: Vol. XXVIII No. 18, January 1-15, 2019


City celebrates despite Govt. indifference

by The Editor

The annual December Music Festival has been in progress in various pockets of the city during the next couple of weeks showcasing concerts of both classical music and dance. It is a niche event given the miniscule numbers that follow these arts, yet it has an inordinately high profile. The Season as we know it has been going on for over 92 years now. It is also one of the reasons as to why Chennai was given the creative city tag by UNESCO last year. A couple of years ago, The New York Times listed Chennai among 52 must-see cities of the world and cited the annual music and dance festival as one of the principal reasons for its inclusion. Yet, the Government remains completely indifferent to The Season, as it is referred to.

Cut to August when we have Madras Week celebrations. It is much smaller as compared to the arts season and is at present even more niche. But it has greater potential for it has in it the seed of a citywide festival. All it takes is awareness that the city is celebration-worthy. This has been going on for over a decade now. It has over a 100 independent events each year. The unique aspect is that unlike the music/dance festival, this has no barrier to entry by way of knowledge of arts, finances, etc. Anything and everything that focuses on the city can be interpreted as a celebration. While it has a lesser profile as compared to the December celebrations, there is no doubt that it is here to stay. An allied event, of greater vintage is the Mylapore Festival that too has become an annual feature in the city’s cultural calendar. This too has not merited any Government attention.

There is perhaps no other city of India that has two such festivals. Yet it is a mystery as to why there is such indifference to them in Government circles. Madras Week has been dubbed elitist. The cultural season is perhaps not consideration-worthy as it is increasingly associated with a certain community that is not a vote bank. We can, of course, keep building excuses for anything and everything that is a private initiative. But the point is that both these events are continuing to be held.


Page 1May there be peace on earth and goodwill unto all – my favourite greeting card this year, from Sunita and Ram Shahaney.

Not the happiest of nursing scenes

by T. Rajagopalan

Florence Nightingale, the Lady of the Lamp, gave respectability to nursing and left her footprints on the sands of time. It was she who made nursing a valuable part of medicine. Every patient, after being under the surgeon’s scalpel, is cared for on his or her road to recovery by nurses. What a noble profession!


Mahadevan – and Tamil-Brahmi

Continuing T.S. Subramaniam's tribute to the great scholar Iravatham Mahadevan.

(Continued from last fortnight)

Page 5_1Mahadevan in quest of Tamil-Brahmi script at Jambai.

It was the discovery of an extremely important Tamil-Brahmi inscription at Jambai, near Tirukkoilur, that revealed Mahadevan’s determination to get at the truth of a controversy that surrounded this discovery. The Jambai inscription was important because it proved that the “Satiyaputo” mentioned by Emperor Asoka in one of his rock edicts was none other than the Atiyaman dynasty, which ruled from Tagadur, modern Dharmapuri.


A Happy New Ear

by N.S. Parthasarathy

Entering a new world of sounds and noises, it is difficult to resist sharing the experience with fellow senior citizens who are about to seek a hearing aid or have recently adopted one. The first thing I did, upon wearing this device, was to warn my friends of my enlarged faculty with the slogan: Speak carefully! I can now hear everything. It is only fair that they are warned of their being overheard.

Indeed, I could hear everything. I could hear birds chirping on tree branches; in recent years I had not seen many birds in the City, leave alone hearing them chirping on tree branches. Leaves rustled with cinematic sound effect as simulated in movies. We had known that the neighbouring couple were not on good terms, but now I knew every detail of their differences. The ceiling fan seemed to swish at high rpm as if it were part of a turbojet plane about to take off. Kitchen mixies and washing machines in the neighbourhood seemed to be tangoing in harmony. The young thing upstairs is practising Bharata Natyam pounding her feet on the floor with martial gusto to misra chapu thala in dhuritha kaala and I could keep the thala and spot the missing beats.