Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91

Vol. XXVII No. 11, September 16-30, 2017

Are we celebrating Madras Week in a vacuum?

A point of view

I appreciate Madrasis (Chennaites?) who celebrate the Madras Week with enthusiasm.

I have been following the celebration for the last few years. I have felt that it is being done in vacuum. I got the same feeling this year too.

Obviously, we are celebrating past Madras and its heritage and tradition and not present Chennai or possible future Chennai.

One thing that is very clear is that Madras Week is celebrated by a selected few who belong to upper and middle income group. Those who celebrate are not representative of the present day Chennaites, whom we call the ‘Common Man’.

The celebration is not creating enthusiasm amongst vast section of Chennaites, since there is nothing to celebrate as far as the present Chennai is concerned. As you walk on the road, you cannot but see overflowing sewage, people urinating on the road and half naked drunkards lying on the road. Are we to celebrate this?

Should we confine ourselves just to be proud of the past ? Does such celebration of the past glory have any significance for the present and the future?

It has been lamented that the Government of Tamil Nadu is not supporting the Madras Week celebrations. Obviously, recognition is sought for the celebration from the Government in principle and some fund support too. The Government does not have the face to celebrate the happenings in present Chennai and, therefore, it is reluctant to play its role in celebrating the past, which would reveal the difference between the past and the present in a glaring manner. Would any government of the day subject itself to such humiliation?

It is high time that we not confine ourselves to celebrating the glory of the past Madras for a week and then wait for the next twelve months for the next year’s Madras Week celebration. The enthusiasts should fix targets to improve conditions to the level of their ability for the next twelve months, before celebrating the next Madras Week, so that they can celebrate the past and also the present to some extent next year.

Have we planned any purposive programmes for the next twelve months, particularly involving the youth and poor and deprived section of society, who are as much residents of Chennai as those presently celebrating Madras Week?

N.S.Venkataraman
Nandini Voice For The Deprived
nandinivoice.com

EDITOR’S NOTE: Mr. Venkataraman obviously does not follow the variety of programmes being offered during Madras Week celebrations. They include both the past and the present (this year much more of the latter). These programmes range from looking at Madras’s problems by think-tanks to programmes in schools of all levels all around the city, certainly in no vacuum.

Madras Day/Week/Month has from the first never sought government support nor any kind of funds from anyone. It has only called for VOLUNTEER activity and perhaps Mr. Venkataraman should next year initiate some such activities of his own with discussions on the problems he lists and have the voices of the ‘common man’ he wants to be heard, heard? As for Government participation, it has never been sought by any of the participants, but that is no reason why any celebrations organised by it should not be welcomed.

As for the problems Mr. Venkataraman mentions, every city in India has them; doesn’t Mr.Venkataraman seen any positives in our city? Does he only see the deprived? Don’t they see this city as their home, a place of opportunity, a place they migrated to in search of a better life?

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