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

Vol. XXV No. 10, September 1-15, 2015

Archives: Vol. XXV No. 10, September 1-15, 2015


Investors arrive in a wonderland

by The Editor

When they come, they will be taken through some carefully groomed areas. We refer to the Global Investors who, when they land sometime next month for the much awaited meet, will get to see certain parts of our city at their best and brightest. Civic works are progressing at a rapid pace to meet the deadline. We are happy at this and agree that some amount of showcasing is necessary to attract foreign business, but if all this is to be mere window dressing, will they not at sometime wake up to the sham? Or is it that their money will be committed by then and so it really will not matter what they think?

The late M.S.S. Pandian often referred to the three faces of any urban settlement – exhibition, museum and backyard. The authorities are now working overtime to take care of the first and second elements. If newspaper reports are to be believed, 55 lucky roads are coming in for some pampered treatment. These are the ones that lead to five star hotels, some heritage buildings (!!!) and the Nandambakkam Trade Centre, which is the venue for the event. The select set of thoroughfares is being re-laid; they will have pedestrian and other markings done in colour and also have stagnant water drained. Though this is not mentioned, we are fairly certain that traffic lights on these “40 bus routes, 15 interior roads and ten highways” will also be working and there will be policemen in attendance, all gleaming in uniform and waving luminescent batons. No doubt, the investors on seeing all of this will believe that the rest of Chennai is also just so. What more could we ask for?

If that settles the exhibitions, the museum part is already handled, for fifty heritage buildings have been selected, all along the key roads, of course, for a facelift and illumination. It is like dressing up grandfather to meet your friends when they come home. A quick nod of greeting and then let us get on with the rest of the show.

If Bharat Insurance Building is painted on the front and illuminated, it really will not matter that the structure has been without a roof for ten years, or will it?


Smart cities – at what price?

By A Special Correspondent

The Centre’s deadline for the release of its first list of 100 smart cities is rapidly approaching. Each State has been allotted a certain number of towns that it can recommend for this tag. Tamil Nadu, as one of the most urbanised States of the country, has the second largest number to identify – 12 – being next only to Uttar Pradesh which, owing to its size, has 13. The question uppermost in the minds of urban planners and others interested in holistic development is whether the race for being declared smart will mean sacrificing other and more pressing objectives.


Know your Fort better

Sriram V.

Charles Street, on which the Great House that we saw last fortnight stands, also has some other stately buildings. Strolling further south on it, pause at the last house on the right, just before the erstwhile San Thomè Gate of the Fort that now leads to the Military Police headquarters. One half of that stately home has completely collapsed, while the other barely stands, held in place rather ironically by the roots of a huge banyan tree growing out of it. If you peer closely at a slate panel on the extreme edge of the house you can make out just three letters of an inscription. These read ‘TON’ and they are all that remain of the full text that once read “Colonel the Hon. Arthur Wellesley, later 1st Duke of Wellington, lived here – 1798.” Yes, this was indeed the residence of the man who would one day defeat Napoleon and also become Prime Minister of England twice.


Meet Supdt. Le Fanu, a ’20s Madras ’tec

by A Staff Writer

Recently discussed at the Madras Book Club was a new detective story series of special note because the stories are based in Madras, a first for a foreign author and a first in a Madras-based setting being published abroad. Brian Stoddart, the author, is an Australian academic, the detective is Supdt. Christian Le Fanu, ips, Madras Police, the setting is Madras in the 1920s, and the publisher is in Hong Kong. A Madras Miasma is the first in the series, The Pallampur Predicament is the second, and a third is on the way.


Funding the small transporters

by R. V. Rajan

Rivers themselves do not drink of the water they carry
Trees do not eat of the fruits they bear
Clouds do not partake of the rains they produce
For, the riches of the good are utilised for the welfare of others.

Sriram V, the author of this book* on Sundaram Finance Limited (SFL), brought out on the occasion of the Diamond Jubilee of the Company, quotes the above translation of a Sanskrit verse to describe the manner in which T.S. Santhanam led his life and steered Sundaram Finance Ltd. of the TVS Group.