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Vol. XXXII No. 22, March 1-15, 2023

Heritage Watch: The Petrus Uscan Plaque

It was in February 2018 that we last wrote about this historic plaque. For those not in the know, it records in three languages the munificence of the Armenian merchant Coja Petrus Uscan, who in 1728 funded the first bridge across the Adyar. Known as the Marmalong (Mambalam) Bridge, it has since made way for the present Maraimalai Adigal Bridge but the plaque with its inscriptions in three languages – Persian, Latin and Armenian – survived after a fashion, much neglected and partly buried under the ground.

In 2018, with Metro Rail work inching alarmingly close to the plaque, Madras Musings contacted the then Managing Director of CMRL, Pawan Kumar Bansal IAS and requested that it be protected. The response was positive, and the plaque was taken care of. However, we were told that its eventual fate would be decided by the Highways Department under whom the bridge itself is.

We are now happy to report that the plaque has not only been lifted, but it has been given pride of place, with a proper mounting for it in such a fashion that the inscriptions are once again visible fully. It is necessary to express our gratitude to the Highways Department, CMRL, and the ASI for what has been done. May the plaque flourish.

Our OLD shows the plaque as it was a couple of decades ago. Our NEW shows it as it is now.

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