August 21, 2016
Chennai: A name that brings good old memories and smile on everybody’s face ‘Madras,’ now Chennai, will turn 377 on Monday.
In the run up to Madras Day celebrations, a long list of programmes planned by a group of volunteers, including historians, are on since August 17.
The city was believed to have been founded on August 22, 1639. A British-era name that brought with it a lot of charm and memories associated with it, Madras was renamed Chennai by the DMK Government in 1996.
What was once believed to be a sleepy hamlet, Chennai has now transformed into a bustling metropolis dotted with skyscrapers, malls and IT offices stretching beyond the city limits, even as the young and old hobnob with their choice of filter kaapi and cappuccinos.
While a group of heritage lovers came together to celebrate August 22 as Madras Day lining up a series of events including heritage walks, exhibition of old photographs, film screenings and culinary sessions, TV and radio channels aired special programmes.
The topics on which the walks, talks and shows are based include the city’s origin, Armenians in Madras, forest conservation, temples and churches besides cartoons to attract children and many more.
Madras or Chennai is not only known for its sumptuous spicy food, but also for the Marina, billed as the world’s second longest beach, the Tamil cinema industry whose icons include M.G. Ramachandran, Sivaji Ganesan, Rajnikanth and Kamal Haasan.
The city has the rather unenviable record of being bombed by a German ship, Emden, in 1917 during the first World War, that tested the then British rulers’ resolve though it did not cause much damage to the city.
Since then, Emden has found a place in the Tamil lexicon, meaning someone who is determined and bound to create trouble.