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Vol. XXXIII No. 13, October 16-31, 2023

Our Readers Write

A misattribution

A letter titled TMP and Dr. A.L. Mudaliar published in Vol. XXXIII, No 11, September 16, 2023, was misattributed to Mr. K. Balakesari, when it was written by Mr S.S. Rajagopalan. We regret the error.

Associate Editor

Jayendra Panchapakesan – A socially conscious filmmaker

(Vol. XXXIII No. 12, October 1-15, 2023)

Superb. All admiration for Jayendra and his dedicated team.


Can heritage be commemorated with plaques instead of renaming roads?

(Vol. XXXII No. 12, October 1-15, 2023)

Ideally, these plaques should be supplanted with QR codes which can redirect to a more detailed writeup on the history of the place as well as the people associated with it – not just text, but also images and audio files. I have seen these used abroad very effectively.


Vincent’s Jottings

Help us with someone to take Spoken English classes, the nun had asked. It was a query she had posed a few times this year. And I promised to help. The nun was the headmistress of a Thamizh medium, middle school in the south side of our city. I had arranged some resources and resource people over recent times, for this school. And I was glad I managed to locate a teacher now.

Sheila got back to me hours after she had taken her first session at the school. She had done some homework. She had visited the school the previous week, spoken to the ‘English’ teacher, picked up a copy of the text book that Std. 8 students follow and got a feel of the campus too.

Sheila has been coaching small groups of children at her home, doing her bit of sharing her skills when she found the time. In doing this, she managed to share life skills among her wards and these had an impact on the auto driver’s son whom she coached had gone on to excel in the public services exams and got a good job in the government.

Sheila had agreed to handle classes at the school which had sought my help because it was not far from her residence. Day One with the group of some 40 children — boys and girls, opened up the real world. Though a handful could express themselves in simple English, all of them got into the groove as Sheila told them simple stories, posed a few questions, tickled them with light asides and spoke about crows and bees, roaming cows and garbage on the streets.

The Day One session set the tone for this collaboration that should run for a few weeks. We asked the English teacher to sit through the session so that she got a hang of interesting ways of handling a class. She had obviously handled her classes mechanically. Read from texts, asked the teens to repeat after her and then, got them write some lines or paragraphs from the text.

Sheila said all the students were excited with the Day One session and wanted to know if she would be back soon. She had to juggle three sections of Std. 8 in the weeks ahead. We can only light a lamp now. This experience once again highlights two issues. The sub-standard basic education that is being promoted in many schools. And the lack of involvement of the community in a few campus projects.

If people from the neighbourhood around our schools that need resources can light a lamp – take classes, impart skills, hold craft workshops or promote games – small changes can take place. Teens in these schools perhaps need just those sparks, those leads, the triggers, that can get them going. If you have the inclination to share your skills and experience, school campuses will be welcoming you. Go over. – Courtesy: Mylapore Times.

Tracing Madras — Justice Junction

The image portrays the junction of Broadway, N.S.C Bose Road, and Esplanade Road. The chamfered facade of the Law College at this junction never fails to catch my eye when I cross the structure. The junction, in fact, has many iconic buildings close by, especially ones related to the judicial field. Not just the large structures, but also bustling law offices, stamp shops, printout shops, and many more. It is not uncommon to see augustly-robed lawyers dramatically walking along the street as they tend to business.

The Madras High Court and the Madras Law College – rooted in history – found their home at the crossroads of Prakasam Salai, ­Esplanade Road, and NSC Bose Road. In October 1888, the Madras High Court’s construction began. It was designed by Henry Irwin and completed four years later. The Law College had a slightly different journey. It ­began with seven years of nomadic existence at the ­University of Madras. A vision for it to be near the High Court led to a new home designed by Henry Irwin. On January 9, 1899, the College settled into its permanent residence. This marked a transformative shift, as it transitioned into a full-time ­institution, forever altering the landscape of legal education. These architectural marvels now grace the ­cityscape in all their splendid glory. However, the Law College has now shifted elsewhere, leaving its erstwhile home the High Court to extend its offices into.

Its Indo-Saracenic design is a testament to architectural brilliance. The High Court was subjected to a German ­shelling in 1914 and stands as a resilient symbol of our past. The High Court structure is a thing of beauty with painted ceilings and stained glass doors, showcasing the local craftsmanship and also the skill of renowned contractor of the British era, namely Namberumal Chetty. The Law ­College is no less when it comes to detailing.

This is a junction that has nurtured Legal Minds. Honoring Tanguturi Prakasam Pantulu, Prakasam Salai, Broadway is named after this freedom fighter, emphasizing his valour. But what of the heritage attached to the name Broadway? It is funny how even after so much time we still use Broadway to address it – clearly, this is a name that sticks. On the other hand, despite Chennai’s renaming in 1996, the court holds onto its original name. The Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly seeks its renaming to the High Court of Tamil Nadu, a fitting tribute to its statewide jurisdiction. What is your opinion on this?

– Ar. Aafreen Fathima S.K

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