Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91
Vol. XXVIII No. 16, December 1-15, 2018
While the IIT-M has observed that the workmanship in the Metro Rail (MM, November 16th) was bad, it would have put the IIT, and also your correspondent, in better light, if a root cause analysis for poor workmanship in this country had been carried out by them and explained to the readers.
We live in a country where no robust system of education, training and certification of technicians and workmen exists for many of the engineering trades, particularly those related to buildings and Civil Engineering,
Shoddiness and poor workmanship are therefore a given under these circumstances.
It remains a miracle how the Metro Rail and its contractors got the project up and running to the level that we see.
I believe they deserve our congratulations and not criticism for their efforts.
I am happy that the most emi-nent humanitarian doctor has been remembered (MM, November 1st). My father was a cousin of Dr. Rangachari who flew to Tiruchi in his private aircraft to attend on my grandfather.
The first S in my initials pertains to Sarukkai though I was not born there. It is a hamlet of the famous Kabisthalam of Moopanar’s. Some ten years ago, I visited the village and was distressed to see the ruins the agraharam had become. Our house had been razed to the ground and Dr. Rangachari’s house which was next door was in a dilapidated condition with a huge banyan tree dividing the house into two. The only solace was to see the great philanthropy of Kamala Rangachari who had helped to build a Public Health Centre and a veterinary hospital in the village. She had donated liberally to many good causes.
It is a pity that the road named after Dr. Rangachari had to shed its caste identity to become Dr Ranga Road.
The story of Pachaiyappa Mudaliar is heart-rending. In UK, I saw the houses of Wordsworth, Coleridge, Dryden et al. preserved as they were in the Lake District.
The article on Dr. S. Rangachari (MM, November 16th) made an inspiring reading. My father Dr. T.M.B. Nedungadi who passed out of MMC in the early 1930s must have missed being taught by Dr. Rangachari who is reported to have left government service around 1917. However, doctors of my father’s generation must doubtless have been inspired by the skill, dedication and accomplishments of the ‘Flying Doctor’.
It is however painful, to see the pathetic condition in which the statue of the good doctor is ‘maintained’ in the premises of MMC, with generous rivulets of bird’s droppings cascading down from the top, a fate shared by even emperors of yore.
Obviously neither the present generation of faculty and students of MMC nor the staff of General Hospital spare even a glance at the memorial to the legendary doctor. Will the authorities take some action to restore some dignity to the statue?
Indians, despite their penchant of sticking to age-old practices, are quite innovative in their use of the English language (MM, November 16th) Vote bank, desi, paratha, thali, child lifter (rather than kidnapper) and prepone are such innovations that have found space in the Oxford English dictionary, the holy grail of the language. But for years before they gained such recognition in our newspapers, we never noticed them as different, because we had become accustomed to them.
During the 1971 War on the Eastern Front, I shepherded a bunch of foreign media persons who wanted to see some of the captured areas. After trudging a couple of miles, looking at a few bodies, shot-up tanks and a bullet ridden train, the night was gloomy. I appreciated it when one of the resourceful military men with me took out a bottle of whiskey and passed it round, literally rousing our spirits. An American correspondent based in Delhi chatted with me about life in India and the Indian media.
I came to realise our quaint Victorian usages only when he asked me, “Captain, why are your leaders when they die not cremated according to your media, but are always ‘consigned to the flames’ just as your Army jawans are not killed but martyred?”
This is in response to a letter published by Dr. G. Sundaram on pillboxes (MM, November 16th). During my stay at Port Blair (1975-1978), I have seen large number of pillboxes all along the shore and elsewhere constructed by the Japanese during World War II to protect themselves from the British Naval ships. Some of them were very large with provision for mounted guns. They were very strong structures.
Dr. D.B. James
Principal Scientist (Rtd)
37, Sadasiva Metha Street,
Metha Nagar, Chennai 600 029