Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91
Vol. XXXIII No. 8, August 1-15, 2023
Madras Day, Madras Week, Madras Month, call it what you will, is back. Here we are, celebrating our city and all that it stands for. Begun around 19 years ago by S. Muthiah, Vincent D’Souza and Sashi Nair, it now has a dedicated band of people who conduct events during the month of August, which was probably when the English first came here in 1639 and gave the growth of what was Madarasapattinam and its subsequent adjunct Chennapattinam a major fillip. That said, Madras Day is not a celebration of the founding of the city (it was not founded out of nothing) and it is not a day out for Raj apologists. It is a celebration of a thriving city.
What is heartening is that Madras Week celebrations have been going on for over nineteen years. And it has acquired adherents. There are some schools, a few colleges, a couple of consulates and embassies, some heritage enthusiasts, a corporate house or two and of course a larger presence on social media. What it seems to lack is more by way of organisers. The same faces keep coming back year after year.
It has often been argued that the annual December Music Season suffers from the same malaise – the same organisers, the same performers, and the same audiences. But that can be true of a classical art, which by its very name indicates a small section of society. But can it be true of a city? Surely in a vast metropolis there ought to be more people wanting to conduct events and celebrating the place that defines their lives?
And no, by that we do not mean we need more ideas on what to conduct by way of events. The present set of people involved have their hands full by way of what they do and if people have ideas and suggestions on what can be done otherwise, they ought to implement them as well. There is also a variety that keeps thinking that Madras Week has a body of organisers. This is a fallout of the Sabha mentality – that you need an organiser to conduct such events. Madras Week has always been free of that – anyone with an idea can implement it in whatever way they want. If they need any advice those who are already celebrating Madras Week will be happy to give it. But we don’t need any armchair suggestions, thank you very much.
We have a set of naysayers as well. This group keeps crying itself hoarse that Madras Week is elitist, celebrates the colonial, and is restricted to a few. Nothing can be farther from the truth than that perception. But what can we do with such pre-conceived notions? Ignoring them would be the best. Getting these people to organise what in their view would be non-elitist, non-colonial and open to all would be even better. But so far that lot has not shown any inclination for any positive action. Carping seems to be more their way.
And so, if you have an idea for Madras Week – get out there and implement it. If you need any help, contact us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you already have an event in place please do email email@example.com and the information will be up on www.themadrasday.in. We will also be glad to receive your feedback when you participate in any event.
For its part, Madras Musings will be organising a set of seven programmes between August 21 to 27. The events will be open to all and the details will soon be up on www.themadrasday.in and also www.madrasmusings.com. We look forward to seeing you at the events.