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

Vol. XXXI No. 1, April 16-30, 2021

Archives: Vol. XXXI No. 1, April 16-30, 2021


Special issue commemorating S. Muthiah

S Muthiah

This special issue commemorating S. Muthiah features the following authors and their books:

  • Ranjitha Ashok and Biswajit Balasubramaniam, Chennai Latte, A Madras Brew, East West Books (Madras) Pvt Limited, Chennai, 2005
  • D.P. Ramachandran, Empire’s First Soldiers, Lancer Publishers and Distributors Pvt. Limited, New Delhi, 2008
  • K.R.A. Narasiah, Madras, Tracing the growth of the city since 1639, Oxygen Books, Chennai, 2008
  • S. Muthiah and K.R.A. Narasiah, Overcoming Challenge, The 125‑year saga of a harbour men made, The Chennai Port Trust, Chennai, 2007
  • Sushila Ravindranath, Surge, Tamil Nadu’s Growth Story, Westland Limited, Chennai, 2016
  • Bishwanath Ghosh, Tamarind City, Where Modern India Began, Tranquebar, Chennai, 2012
  • Nirmala Lakshman, Degree Coffee by the Yard, a Short Biography of Madras, Aleph Book Company, New Delhi, 2013
  • Kavita Watsa, Brahmins and Bungalows, Travels through South Indian History, Penguin, New Delhi, 2004
  • K.R.N. Menon, A Madras Merchant’s Life and Times, Cinnamonteal Publishing, Goa, 2012
  • V. Ramnarayan, (extracted from) The Spirit of Chepauk, The MCC Story, 150 Years of a Sporting Tradition by S. Muthiah, East West Books (Madras) Pvt Limited, Chennai, 1998

We thank all the authors for having so kindly permitted us to print extracts from their works.



by Ranjitha Ashok

Madras Musings – S. Muthiah’s brave little tabloid, that refuses to toe the standard newspaper line. Steering clear of politics, religion, scandals, strife, scams, that Page-3 explosion of I-centric neediness, and general gloom and doom.

‘What’s left?’, you ask?

Well, The Chief, and Madras Musings, have always known there was a great deal, actually.


A Guest Editor to pay tribute to our Founder

by The Editor

It is two years since our founder S. Muthiah left this world. But he continues to be recalled almost every day by those who value our city’s history and heritage. Certainly, for us at Madras Musings, he is a living presence, challenging our creativity, spurring us to put our best foot forward and above all ensuring we strive to continue to maintain the standards that he set in the bringing out of this magazine.

And so when it came to an issue commemorating two years of his passing, the chief question that faced us was about what we could present in it. We had carried enough tributes in the first issue after he passed on and then once again in the first anniversary edition. That was when the idea came that we could probably have a guest Editor. And who better than Ranjitha Ashok who for several years worked very closely with S. Muthiah?


From Madras to India, the Story of the Indian Army

S. Muthiah as my inspirational icon

Capt D P Ramachandran

I am an accidental writer, who happened to pen my battlefield experience in a narrative and was lucky to see it published. Later, Mr. Muthiah roped me in to do the essay on military history of Madras for the compendium on the city he was working on. I guess he was impressed by my completing the assignment well within the timeframe and conforming to the parameters he had set for writing the essay. Ever since that, he always made me feel more of a competent writer than I imagined myself to be, enquiring, whenever we met, what I was writing, nurturing a feeling in me that I ought to be writing instead of idling my time away.


Trade in Madras, via the sea

Urging me to write the history of Madras in Tamil

K.R.A. Narasiah

Sometime in 2003, once when I casually mentioned to Mr. Muthiah about my book in Tamil getting an award from the Tamil Nadu Government, in the category of history, he asked as to why I should not try to write the history of Madras in Tamil. That gave me the urge to write and late in 2005, when I had completed my draft on the Tamil book Madrasapattinam, I took the manuscript to Mr. Muthiah, who was clearing my doubts about the history of the city when I was writing. I told him that it would be nice if he could write a foreword for the same. He instantly agreed with one condition that he would do it in English and I should render it in Tamil.

In a week he called me to collect the foreword. He said he liked the work a lot and had mentioned in the foreword, “. . .I really know of no one who covered so long a period of Madras history as comprehensively as Narasiah has done in this book.” And ended with a statement, “. . .May I hope they now bring out an English edition as well?”