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Vol. XXX No. No. 11, October 1-15, 2020

Archives: Vol. XXX No. No. 11, October 1-15, 2020


A New Capital for Tamil Nadu?

by The Editor

The last few weeks have seen a renewed debate on whether the State needs a new capital. This is of course one of those topics that are periodically dusted, discussed and then put back on the shelf. But nevertheless, it is a matter that merits attention, especially in the present circumstances. It must however be pointed out here that after having been aired, all talk on this has died out for now, but we never know as to what can take focus, especially with Assembly elections due next year.

The ongoing Covid crisis has shown that congestion is one of the chief causes for the spread of the disease. And there can be no denying that Chennai is a densely packed city. Concentrating further development in the same area therefore makes no sense and if there is to be progress of the same kind in other parts of the State, a new capital may be the best way to go about it. As was recently said by M.G. Devasahayam, a retired IAS officer, the State needs a counter magnet to Chennai.

The topic as we said is not new. The late MG Ramachandran first raised it in 1980 and indicated that his preference was for locating the new capital between Trichy and a Thanjavur, though he opined that Madurai could also be an alternative. The DMK trashed the idea which was rather surprising given that it’s then leader M. Karunanidhi was from Thirukuvalai, not far from Thanjavur. Earlier in this millennium, the late J Jayalalithaa brought up the subject once again and said the new capital would be near Mamallapuram. This was not a great plan given that it would merely extend Chennai and add to the woes of congestion. Happily, that idea was not proceeded with.  Now it appears Madurai and Trichy are once again the contenders.

In terms of political sentiment, both towns are good choices, they have been important centres in Tamil history. They are also relatively centrally located within the State unlike Chennai which is in the northernmost tip. It must be recalled here that Chennai or Madras as it was then made perfect sense as a capital in colonial times, located as it was centrally in a Presidency that extended all the way to Odisha. Developments since the 1930s have made Chennai a very distant capital for much of Tamil Nadu.


Remembering SPB

by Baradwaj Rangan

How on earth do you write about SPB? How do you contain the vastness of his accomplishments, the vast pleasures he has brought us, in a couple of thousand words? Is it even possible for mere language to express what this man has meant to so many music lovers? All this has been on my mind for the past few days, as we kept getting news about the singer’s deteriorating condition. And this morning, I was talking to my video producer about this. He’s a millennial, a self-confessed “not a songs guy”, and he said he knew SPB as Prabhu Deva’s father in Kadhalan.


Marina Snapshots – 1962

The Covid 19 lockdown has had its truly positive(!) outcome too. As we were organizing the cupboards at home, my mother and I sifted through several albums and photographs. It was like striking gold when we found some lovely pics of Madras clicked by my father in 1962 when he was 33 years old. Photography was his favourite hobby.

S. Srinivasan had graduated with Geology major from Presidency College, Madras and gone to the USA for higher studies. Having achieved the distinction of becoming the 25th person in the world to secure a Masters MPE in Petroleum Engineering, and gaining experience in the US oilfields, he returned to serve his motherland, inspired by his earlier interaction with India’s Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. He joined the ONGC in Dehradun and worked in the oilfields in western and eastern India.


An innovative role model – Winner of the CBSE Teacher Award 2020

By Varsha Venugopal

Shoba Raman

Chennai is proud to count two of its own among the 38 teachers who won the prestigious CBSE Award to Teachers this year – Shoba Raman, principal at Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School, Mylapore and Dr. S. Deepa, science teacher at G.K. Shetty Vivekananda Vidyalaya Ambattur West. Recognizing their yeoman service as teachers, Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal conferred a merit certificate and a cash prize of Rs. 50,000 to the two teachers in a virtual ceremony.


United India Colony Days – III

by Ramanuja Iyer (

(Continued from last fortnight)

I had started my B.Sc at Vivekananda college, and was still not sure of what to do with my career, but I knew that I had to make something work to get our family out of the woods, and my elder brother was already pitching in on that front. This meant that romance had to take a backseat, but I kept enjoying the eye to eye meetings. I would walk one extra stop to catch 12-B (bus route) from the Liberty cinema instead of from Trustpuram, just so I could walk via her house for a glimpse. As I was also the vegetable shopper at home, it also provided me with an opportunity to walk to that side of town. There were days when I must have walked around Circular Road a few times just to catch a glimpse;

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