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Vol. XXXI No. 9, August 16-31, 2021

Archives: Vol. XXXI No. 9, August 16-31, 2021


A Fitting Gift for Madras Day

by The Editor

A Fitting Gift for Madras Day

It is not often that a book gets to make it to the first page of Madras Musings. In fact, the late Chief would maintain that book reviews need to be in their proper space somewhere in the middle of the magazine. But even he would, we are sure, make an exception when it is Madras Week and two of his close friends, namely Manohar Devadoss and Sujatha Shankar have collaborated on a wonderful book on the city. Yes, Madras Inked, Impressions of an artist and an architect, is now ready and having perused it, we feel that there could be no greater tribute to the architecture of our city than this.

Chennai and its environs have been a crucible of construction styles from time immemorial. Where were the first cave shrines of the Pallavas sculpted? Right here, in Mamandur. Where was Indo-Saracenic as envisaged by the British given form? In the city. Where did Art Deco make its appearance in India as early as in 1938 – in George Town with the L.M. Chitale designed Oriental Insurance Building. Where, outside of Chandigarh is one of India’s finest examples of modernism? In Royapettah and we are referring to the Music Academy. Sadly, we must also acknowledge that today Chennai can also boast of some of the ugliest buildings possible. But be that as it may, our past was glorious. This book seeks to capture some of that glory in ink – drawings and words.


Madras Week 2021

Madras Musings Virtual Talk/Lecture Series

(Timing: 6.00 to 7.00 pm on all days unless otherwise specified)

Links for accessing all programmes will be updated by August 18, 2021 on


Tough task: State faces multiple barriers in covid-19 vaccination drive, puts its best efforts forward

by Our Special Correspondent

Tamil Nadu is seeing an increase in fresh Covid-19 cases, with most districts including Chennai reporting a marginal spike in daily positive numbers. The TN Health Minister Ma. Subramanian explained the trend in a quote to India Today on July 30th — “The number of new Covid-19 cases in Chennai has been increasing in the last three days because the number of RT-PCR tests has increased. Chennai reported 122 cases on Monday, 139 on Tuesday and 164 on Wednesday. More than 24,000 RT-PCR tests were done in the district of Tamil Nadu which is the total in certain states (sic).”

That the State has ramped up testing for Covid-19 is a good sign. It is a necessary step, given that covid numbers are seeing a worrying surge in the neighbouring state of Kerala.


It’s a dog’s life: Chennai needs to take better care of its stray dogs

by Padmaja Jayaraman

“There can be wild animals and pet animals. We believe there should not be the concept of street animals [in society],” observes Shravan Krishnan, an animal rights activist. He believes that the city’s stray dogs are domestic animals that deserve a place in our homes but are instead on the streets because their situation has been poorly managed.

A 2010 study of the Animal Birth Control (ABC)-Anti Rabies (AR) programme authored by Dr S. Chinny Krishna (Co-founder, Blue Cross of India) says that the Madras Corporation used to follow a ‘catch-and-kill’ strategy to control the population of stray dogs dating back to 1860. Dog bites and other public complaints provoked the Corporation to shoot the animals, which were feared to be rabid. Lethal drugs, electrocution and poison were also used to do away with stray dogs.

However, this approach failed to keep their population in check. In his study, Chinny Krishna points out that the strategy only served to improve the life expectancy of the surviving dogs by reducing the competition for resources. There are other flaws in this approach, too. “If all stray dogs were to be eliminated, there would be a huge surge in the population of rats,” points out animal rights activist Hema Kalyan.


Quirky Eye

The Chairman

It is quite common in our city to see motorcycles being used for anything and everything.The number of chairs stacked here must be a record of sorts.

The Chairman