Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91
Vol. XXVI No. 14, November 1-15, 2016
Grin & bear it
Charukesi’s agony about the ugly walls of Madras is honest but nothing can be done about it. The Tamils of Chennai and Tami Nadu have lost their aesthetic sense and allow the walls be uglied by the politicians, film-wallahs, magazines and even by the annual December music men. Not an inch is left free.
Politicians disfigure the walls with their birthday announcements months in advance. I have not seen this kind of brazen nonsense anywhere in India. By and large, the city presents a dirty facade, yet no one is concerned about it. The Government and the corporation are indifferent even to the order of the courts.
Autos charge as they like. No one wears helmets. Traffic rules are left to the whims of the police.Well. We just have to bear it all with a grin.
A sickened reader
Sriram’s column MMM is sickening to the core. It is full of sarcasm, the cheapest form of humour. It reveals his sick mind. I suggest he consult a psychiatrist.Till then please do not carry his sick column. Or please delete my name from your mailing list.
Editor’s Note: You have the choice to read MMM or not. Our advice is don’t read him, but continue reading the rest of MM, if you feel that way. Or don’t read that too and read only MMM, in which case he should be flattered! Assuming you do read the rest of the paper, we will continue sending the paper to you till you write a formal letter asking us to stop sending it to you.
I was surprised to see my name (albeit in its translated format a very old joke as long as I can remember from my 1st Standard in school) “mentioned in despatches” in MMM’s column. More surprised because I do not recall referring the problem of noise invasion from Royapettah YMCA to Madras Musings, at least over the last one year. I have long since given up on it after a rather acerbic (from my side) exchange of letters with the then Chennai City Police Commissioner, (the present DGP/TN) about a year ago. Of course, the replies from the police were from the level of the Inspector, the Commissioner being too exalted a person to waste his time on such mundane trivia as noise pollution.
What however, surprised me the most is the statement ..“as to what MM can do about it, is beyond MMM’s comprehension.” Being a niché publication with a limited though influential readership, I thought the least that Madras Musings can do is to run an article on the blatant violations of noise pollution norms ( such as they are) in this city to awaken the conscience of those in authority. After all, if an attitude of resignation is adopted, why bother to publish articles like “Whom are we voting for”? Perhaps a letter from the Editor Pearl Sir to the Commissioner of Police and the Corporation Commissioner may elicit a more cogent and informed response than the rank bureaucratic nonsense and obfuscations that I have received so far from the lowest functionary in the police hierarchy authorised to sign letters, in response to my RTIA queries.
There is however one matter in which I feel Madras Musings should take some interest. The stink and filth in front of the Bhattad Tower where Madras Musing’s office is located show no signs of abating. The political party that spearheads the Swachh Bharat campaign, whose local office is located in the building, to which I addressed a letter recently has not even acknowleged it. Probably it seems to wallow in the scent. Other occupants of the building, unfortunately, do not seem to care.
Probably I should approach our proactive MLA of neighbouring Mylapore and ex-City Police Chief Dance King for a solution.
a.k.a Young Lion
3/1, Kesari Kuteeram
22, Westcott Road
Chennai 600 014
Jesuits in Madras
Further, the features on the Jesuits in Madras (Madras Musings, September 16), Jesuit chronicler Louis Frois (November 16, 1559) has stated that Fr. Cypriano (Cyprian) was “the first Jesuit to reside and die in Mylapore”. He spent ten years in Madras (1549-59). His funeral was conducted by the Franciscans who seemed to have already had an oratory in Mylapore. Fr. Cypriano was succeeded by Fr. Francis Pisa in 1563 and he started pastoring several Indian Christians who had been attending the Church of St. John the Baptist since 1566. There was also an asylum for orphan girls, and a small hospital at Mylapore under the care of Jesuits.
At the time of the consecration of the Church of the Mother of God, “meant only for Indian Christians”, by A. de Valignano, the Jesuit General’s Visitor in 1575, there was a priest who did not know Tamil but was being assisted by a Catechist from Mannar (Tuticorin Coast).
There were about 2000 converts. Fr.Valignano’s future support, including the sending of three Jesuit priests, enabled them to start a school for more than 200 children, with a class of Latin too. It is on record that in the 1500s the Jesuits baptised about 3000 more adherents.
In the following years emerged more Catholic churches. There were altogether seven of them which were destroyed during Golconda attacks (1646 & 1662), first abetted by the English and later by the Dutch, “thus aiding the Moors”.
Venkata II, the vassal of Vijayanagar initially at Chandragiri and later at Vellore, welcomed the Jesuits to his court in 1599. He granted them an annual revenue of 1000 gold pieces for their expenses. There were four Jesuits, including Fr. Rubino (Madras Musings, October 1,). Fr. Rubino along with Roberto de Nobili worked (1609) that the missionaries should adapt themselves to Indian customs. By the end of 1611, the Jesuits withdrew from Vellore and Chandragiri following the premptory order of Philip III of Spain (and Portugal) who it was said, had received a very slanderous report about the activities of the Jesuits.
As noted (Madras Musings, October 1st) Beschi was certainly the most distinguished of the Jesuit missionaries to the Tamils. Chanda Sahib, the Nawab of Carnatic, bestowed on Beschi many privileges including the award of a tax exempt inam and also granted him “the pomp and pageantry of a potentate”. Beschi was constantly a sharp and pungent critic of the Protestants but he sought to excel them through Tamil literary pursuits in the elucidation of Christian faith. An internationally renowned Protestant historian, Bishop Stephen Neill (also well versed in Tamil), had this to say (1985) on Beschi’s contribution: Europe in India has never produced works more distinguished by scholarship and elegance than these.
P.S. To add a personal touch, I can still recall, the vivid and delightful manner in which Fr. Lawrence Sundaram (mentioned in connection with Dhyana Ashram) used to handle Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night at St.Joseph’s College, Tiruchi in the mid 1960s.
Rev.Philip K. Mulley