Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91
Vol. XXV No. 15, November 16-30, 2015
It can’t be as bad as the figures indicate
The downslide has been so fast that it is unbelievable. Exactly a year after Tamil Nadu was rated the best among Indian States in a survey done by the magazine India Today, it now ranks 20th. The sharp fall has been essentially due to its faring badly on infrastructure. While we may take such surveys with a large pinch of salt, there can be no doubt that there is plenty of scope for improvement. It is also an indicator of how fast things can change and how quickly other States are sorting out their issues. We, on the other hand, appear to be in a comfort zone that we would do well to come out of.
To quote from the survey – Tamil Nadu suffered “the steepest fall from grace since the study was first launched in 2003. The fall was scripted by the state’s abysmal performance in three categories – it dropped from top to 21st position in agriculture, from third to 13th in education and 11th to 17th in infrastructure.” There have been some consolations – on investments we have moved from 20th to 9th position. We have also moved up from 17th to 9th position on governance. On some new criteria, introduced this year, such as inclusive development, environment and cleanliness, our record is at best middling – we score respectively 21, 8 and 10.
In the light of what happened recently, any reference to the Gujarat model (suddenly discredited) would probably be met with a few laughs but as the survey credits Gujarat with being the best State overall, it would be best to know what succeeded there.
The monsoons are giving us of their plenty for a change and the newspapers report that the citizens are already wearying of the rainfall. And yet, for most of the year, we read about and experience acute water shortage for all of which we blame scanty rainfall. Given that Chennai’s monsoon barely lasts a month and is inconsequential when you compare it with rains that cities such as Kolkata and Mumbai receive during their monsoons, why is it that our metro collapses at the first sighting of a cloud?
One of the most striking aspects of St Mary’s in the Fort is the number of funerary monuments, commemorative plaques, intramural tombstones and statues that dot its interior. Going through each one of them is perhaps a chore best left to epigraphers and historians, but some of them do merit a second look. Before we go on to them, however, a word about the hidden altar of the church would be in order.
In recent times, the Cooum has gone from being looked at and described as an eyesore, a garbage dump, an unholy mess, and other such unflattering epithets to being spoken with respect and reverence as a sacred river which, in years gone by, was a veritable lifeline that supported people who lived along its course.
The headline confidently asserts that “Tamilians Discovered New Zealand”. The video on Youtube
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVXmBkEfq2A), posted by one Rameswaram Rafi, consists of slides of an intriguing object that was found in the Maori village of Vengeri (no, Rafi, definitely NOT a Tamil name!) sometime between 1836 and 1840 by an early missionary called William Colenso. What gives the bell its so-called Tamil origin is the inscription.