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Vol. XXXIV No. 2, May 1-15, 2024

Archives: Vol. XXXIV No. 2, May 1-15, 2024


Finally, a (Notified) Heritage Act in place

-- by Sriram V

And so a long battle winds to a close. The Tamil Nadu Government informed the High Court of Madras that it has notified on March 1, 2024, its Heritage Commission (Amendment) Act 2017 and that the same has come into effect on that date. With that, the decks are finally cleared on having a Heritage Act in place for the entire State. While much of Government-owned heritage continues to survive and will certainly benefit from the Act, the same cannot be said of heritage structures in private hands. Most of them have vanished and what survives can be saved only if the Heritage Commission that should now be in place moves quickly.

It has taken seven long years for the notification of an Act and even that needed Court intervention. If you consider that the Heritage Act itself was originally passed in 2012, it has taken 12 years! What is now needed is action. The Government has informed the Court that it expects its Heritage Commission to be in place by July 2024. Much however will depend on what is the composition of this body. Going by the experience of earlier Heritage Conservation Committees in existence, the members are likely to be almost all from Government departments or institutions under Government supervision and patronage. If this can be avoided and there is a reasonable representation of outsiders with experience in conservation, much can be achieved.

One of the tasks that the Commission will need to take up is listing of heritage structures in the State, classifying them in terms of degree of importance and most importantly, notifying the list so that buildings within its purview come under protection in the eyes of the law. The Commission can save considerable time at least as far as heritage within Chennai


Low Voter Turnout – Is it solely due to Voter Apathy?

-- by Varsha V.

On April 5, the Election Commission (EC) convened a meeting at New Delhi with Municipal Commissioners and District Election Officers (DEOs) from select districts. Chaired by Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar, the conference was aimed at augmenting voter turnout in parliamentary constituencies by increasing engagement and creating the conditions for voters to be self-motivated in exercising their franchise. Various ideas were outlined as part of the Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) programme, such as hosting events at public spaces, collaborating with residents’ associations, leveraging social media and more. The event was attended by Chennai officials too. They identified areas in the city with historically low polling percentages and rolled out multiple campaigns ranging from outreach to student clubs and residents’ associations to rallies and signature drives. Despite the efforts, the Lok Sabha Election 2024 held on April 19 saw disappointingly low voter turnouts in all three of the city’s parliamentary


Heritage Watch: The Heydays of Cinema Theatres

A newspaper of 1973 was being perused in connection with some other research when the reverse revealed the city entertainment column. It is published alongside and for those who cannot read Tamil it gives the full list of functioning cinema theatres in the city and outskirts. There are 66 theatres in all and shows what time and technology can do to what was


Remembering C. Ramakrishna

-- by Shobha Manickam,

Last evening, while taking a stroll around our apartment building garden, I saw the potted bougainvillea plant full of peach and pink blooms! I had received the plant cutting from Mr. Ramakrishna’s farmhouse on one of our visits, some years ago.

My warm association with Mr. Ramakrishna began thanks to the mangoes from his farm, which I had bought one summer in May. Amazed and thrilled with the delicious taste and variety, I thanked him and gave him my feedback. He proudly replied that his farm, full of mango-laden trees,


Shedding new light on Harischandra (1932) and Galava Maharishi (1932)

-- by S.A. Muthuvel,, translated by Varsha V.

This article is an attempt to learn more about Harischandra and Galava Maharishi, the 100 per cent Tamil talkies that followed in the wake of Kalidas. The period of study is one in which there were no magazines dedicated to film; in fact, the print media of the time hardly accorded much importance to cinema, so it is challenging to unearth new evidence on our subject. The only credible – and therefore crucial – source available is an interview given by Sarvottam Badami

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