Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91
Vol. XXX No. No. 12, October 16-31, 2020
As per our country’s Finance Ministry, Covid is a thing of the past and all is set for economic growth. As per the Health Ministry, we are likely to have a vaccine by early 2021. A subsequent statement to the effect that we ought to follow the vaccines of masks and social distancing did not sound so hopeful though. In a fit of what was probably euphoria, our city’s Corporation suddenly declared that there were no more containment zones. And then within a week, as many as 70 streets were barricaded, one half of them being in Ambattur zone alone. In the meanwhile, the series of Unlocks is unfolding relentlessly, the latest being the opening of cinema theatres with 50 per cent occupancy. All of these are sending out conflicting signals which does not give those in charge of administration a great image.There may have been a strategy behind the lockdown although giving people just four hours to prepare for it does not look so good in retrospect. The explanation for the closure is that it gave the State Governments time to prepare for the eventual outbreak. Whether that was achieved is a moot point – what is happening all around shows a state of unpreparedness and plenty of reactive and not proactive steps. This has only put a whole lot of front-enders – health workers, civic personnel and law enforcers – at enormous risk. In the city, the current buzz is that hospital beds can be had only with difficulty and that some of the health facilities have taken over hotels to cater to the surplus numbers. True, the number of fatalities is still reassuringly low but the number of those falling ill does not seem to be in any hurry to taper off.
One major development of the right kind has been the decision of the Corporation to stop barricading houses containing those afflicted with the virus. A lot of news reports, including a lead in Madras Musings had appeared on how risky this practice is, and it is good that the civic body has taken cognizance. But there are complaints prevalent over the enumeration of those infected, with at least one lawyer filing a case in the High Court of Madras claiming irregularities in the identification of Covid cases, the documenting of the patient’s economic status and then the decision of whether to keep the
In the second article in our series on the pandemic’s impact on Chennai’s economy, Madras Musings takes a look at Kollywood, our vibrant film industry.
With Covid-19 necessitating a non-negotiable curb on social gatherings, the film industry has understandably taken a blow. The sector has been affected in myriad ways – production, until recently, was at a standstill with no shoots taking place; theatres find themselves empty and film content itself is learning to adapt to changing tastes.
The pandemic has made things harder for an already struggling film industry. “Many movies take upfront advances and sometimes they don’t do well at the box office.
I first got a call from L. Ramachandran immediately after the lockdown was lifted. He was a photographer he said, and he had been going around the city between March and June 2020 taking pictures of various places. He had shown the collection to Mr. N. Ram of The Hindu, who he said had asked him to contact me.
Watch a match live on TV, read minute-by-minute updates on the web, catch all the action on an app, check tweets from players, and like their pictures on Instagram. That’s how the present-day sports fan follows his or her favourite game. The newspaper is, perhaps, the least preferred source to find out how that match ended. But, there was a time when the written word dominated the discussion. The hard-core sports lover’s quirk was to flip the paper over and read the Sports section first before turning it around to read the front page. And, if you grew up in the 1940s and 50s, the newspaper was your only window to the world of sport.
Sir S. Subramania Iyer, legal luminary and former acting Chief Justice of the Madras High Court was a noted public crusader, a nationalist at heart and an ardent Theosophist. Though he commanded much respect amongst the British for his legal acumen and public spiritedness which resulted in several titles and also a knighthood, he did not shy away from speaking out against their policies and actions concerning the governance of our country on many occasions. One such resulted in him renouncing his knighthood and Dewan Bahadur title in the face of the hostile reaction of the Government of India to a letter written by him to President Wilson of the USA.