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

Vol. XXVIII No. 22, March 1-15, 2019

Pavithra’s Perspective

Pavithra Srinivasan is a writer, journalist, artist, translator, columnist and an editor and is fascinated with History.

The forgotten King

Every foray into north Chennai revealed a new facet of the city to me, along with delicious tidbits. I’d decided on a modified version of “spirit-travel” to aid me – as in, I decided to let the spirit of Madras guide me to wherever it wished me take me. Perhaps it was everything I’d read about the city subconsciously prodding me, but I kept re-visiting NSC Bose Road, diving into tiny lanes and alleys each time. And though I found plenty to intrigue me, something, I felt, was missing.

Until, one afternoon, walking by the congested Flower Bazaar Police station, marveling at the rickshaws, cars, autos, cycles, pedestrians squeezing through the narrow road and the posters randomly plastered across what seemed like a white pedestal amidst a forest of bikes, I looked up – and saw a statue. Clearly British, shrouded in ermine, armed with sceptre and staring stonily into the distance.

I scrambled to discover who this personage might be, and struck pay-dirt almost at once: this was King George V who ascended to the British throne in 1911, and in whose honour this section of Madras, originally referred to derogatorily as Black Town, had been renamed George Town. I read comments that because of who he was, the statue should be removed – but when I saw the king surveying the bikes, cars and milling people, I only felt a sense of pity. For an emperor, he was completely alone. I wanted to capture that sense of isolation. Standing in the bright sun, yet shrouded in shadow.

Details about the miniature: Black and White; Pen and Ink.
Dimensions: Approximately: 3.5” X 5”.

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