Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91
Vol. XXXII No. 21, February 16-28, 2023
The decision to erect a pen-shaped memorial off the beach for the late Kalaignar M. Karunanidhi, former CM of Tamil Nadu has run into protests from environmental activists, fishermen, and also the political opposition. While the latter would rank low on credibility (we are quite sure that they would not oppose a similar memorial for their leader), the opinion of those with concern for the environment and also fishing, as also safety cannot be taken lightly, especially given the record of our coastline as regards weather and other natural phenomenon. More importantly, it is necessary to draw the line somewhere as regards monuments and memorials, though that is as much as a national malaise as it is here.
Last fortnight, public consultations were held over the construction of a pen-shaped memorial in the sea. The very conduct of the event showed that politics is the same all over the country – the party in majority had its members in attendance whose sole job was to heckle those expressing opposition to the memorial and also if necessary, hold up the proceedings. This was followed by some in power, who ought to know better, stating categorically that the memorial will anyway be built. The activists have however it would appear, dug in for a determined fight.
Court rulings prevent the allocation of any fresh land on the Marina for the construction of memorials. Thus, both J. Jayalalithaa and M. Karunanidhi were buried on land carved out of Anna Square, the vast campus that houses
It is usually the rainy seasons that bring forth mosquitoes, but Chennai is troubled by an unusual infestation that shows no signs of waning, even months later in February. Areas adjoining water bodies tend to be affected the most, but the current scenario seems to buck this trend, too – no place it seems, public or private, adjacent to water bodies or otherwise, is spared the scourge
For many of us who have travelled across this landmark for most of our lives across decades, this flyover holds a bouquet of our stories and memories.
In fact for many, many years, ‘flyover’ meant only one structure, even after the other juniors came up. Anything beyond ‘the flyover meant’ out of town, for somehow, this became the centre point of the city as I saw it.
At a time when the proposed pen memorial on the beach is the subject of much debate, it is worthwhile to dwell briefly on the history of statues and memorials on the Marina. The first memorial of any kind to come up on the beach was that of Queen Victoria, unveiled in 1887, on the occasion of her completing fifty years as monarch. It was funded by Gode Narayana Gajapati Rao, the Zamindar of Vishakhapatnam, sculpted by Joseph Boehm, and unveiled by the then Governor, Lord Connemara. It still stands
On January 23rd last month, an eager audience gathered before the facade of the Madras Literary Society, awaiting the sunset. A light show was to be projected upon the building in honour of the 60th anniversary of the Elysée Treaty – a treaty of friendship between France and Germany that was signed at Paris, in 1963. As for the choice of venue, the honour fell to the Madras Literary Society because the organisers wanted a heritage building that represented diversity in art and legacy.