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Vol. XXXII No. 13, October 16-31, 2022

Our Readers Write

‘Toilet’ usage

Since when has toilet become a dirty word? And why? What is wrong with the word? It is no longer toilet. It is now ‘rest room’ (and sometimes ‘wash room’). An example is Chennai airport. People seem to be embarrassed to use the word toilet. ‘Where is the rest room’ is what one hears. Is the concerned person looking for a room to take some rest?

It is interesting to note that there is a sign in Madurai Railway Station that says ‘Train Ticket Examiners Rest Room’. One can find similar signage across the railway network. Soon people will exclaim ‘How nice! An exclusive facility to relieve oneself.’

Mumbai airport continues to use toilet (and so does Dubai). Let us standardise. There is nothing wrong with toilet. Let us bring it back.

B. Gautham
137, Wallajah Road
Chennai 600 002

PS:On an entirely different note – is it golu or kolu?

Travelling comfort in Chennai

Travelling to Chennai Kamaraj airport is a pleasure now-a-days. While traveling to the airport at Chennai the transport facility is at par with foreign countries. Air passengers can travel by Chennai Metro from Anna Nagar metro station and reach airport most conveniently. It is just less than 20 mins of metro travel and fare is Rs 30/. We can just walk into the Domestic and International Terminal.
There are indicators every where and you are led straight away to the counter to get the boarding pass and further process. So point to point in less than one hour. This particular arrangement is fantastic planning and hats off to the one who planned this in Chennai. It is time to have such planning in other airports as well for the convenience of air passengers. We have progressed well. One should not be a critic always. Appreciate what ever is good and the Metro connectivity to Airport is excellent. It reminds me of the arrangement provided in Singapore’s Changi airport.

C.K. Subramaniam
1595 J Block Anukul Apartment
Annanagar West
Chennai 600 040

Reg. Luz Church Road

My classmate and good friend in his letter to MM (Oct. 1-15 2022) has pointed an omission in my article on Luz Church Road Memories. This prompts me to convey a second omission. Just a little ahead of Kasturi Seshagiri Rau’s house, in a small house, lived three persons known then by the name of ‘Travancore Sisters’ – Lalitha, Padmini and Ragini. This was prior to their joining films.

Indukanth Ragade

Quote correctly

You have misquoted the Bard in your Short N Snappy, MM, October 1, 2022. The lines should be:
And this our life exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything.

T. Rajagopalan
Fmr. Education Correspondent
The Hindu

Kappal Sattiram, a palm-leaf manuscript of the 17th Century

by Anantanarayanan Raman,

Kings of medieval Tamizhagam crossed the seas either for trade or for conquest. Extant Tamil literature indicates that the kings ruling between the 6th and 13th Centuries led maritime expeditions using sail boats (paai-mara-k-kappal), each measuring 70-100 x 20-30 muzhams from the ports of Mamallapuram, Arikamedu, Kaveripoompattinam, Nagapattinam, Kayalpattinam, Alagankulam, Periapattinam, and Devipattinam.

Fig. 1. Cover page of Kappal Sattiram (1950), edited by T.P. Palaniappa Pillai.

Two ‘unnamed’ tamizh palm-leaf manuscripts (PLM) that referred to ships and ship building by unknown author(s?) and of unknown date were hand copied as palm-leaf manuscrips in Tarangampadi (Tranquebar, Trankebar, Nagapattinam District) under the patronage of Dinamarakka Dubasi Kaalingaraya-p-Pillai. ‘Dinamarakka’ was the Tamizh corruption of ‘Denmark’ implying that Kaalingaraya was ‘fluent’ in Danish (therefore, a Dubasi ) in 1698 AD. The copied PLMs were named the Kappal Sattiram (KS) when done with Kaalingaraya’s financial support. The KS includes references to various materials pertainent to shipping, such as timber and ropes used in ship building, further to some other notes on building of ships. It also inlcudes some remarks on astrology (not astronomy), since it was considered pertinent to the Tamizh sailors of those days.

Fig. 2. Details of published manuscripts.

The KS available as PLM were edited and printed on paper by the Government Oriental Manuscripts Library (GOML), Madras in 1950. T.P. Palaniyappa Pillai of Sri Venkateswara Oriental Institute (presently, The Oriental Research Institute, Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati) edited the two PLMs and organised them as one book (Pillai, T.P.P., Editor, Kappal Sattiram (Kappal Sastiram), Government Oriental Manuscripts Library, Madras, 1950, p. xxii + 36) (Fig. 1). T. Chandrasekharan (General Editor, Madras Government Oriental Series and Curator, Government Oriental Manuscripts Library, Madras) indicates in the introduction (fifth unnumbered page from the fly leaf) that Palaniappa Pillai carried out this task using the PLMs archived at the GOML (Fig. 2). A detailed commentary on KS by Panikkar and Srinivasan published in 1972 is available (Panikkar, N.K. and Srinivasan, T.M., 1972, Kappal Sattiram: A Tamil Treatise of Shipbuilding during the Seventeenth Century, Indian Journal of History of Science, 7, 16–26).

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