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01 Mar 2024, Edition - 3153, Friday

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Unmasking Of ‘The Manchester’

Arun Shankar


Around the globe, each and every city is identified, recognized and reputed not just for its treasured wealth and the urban fabrics, but also for its deep rooted history, architecture, cultural heritage and the social context of the much subjected city. When viewed in a macroscopic level, there are exemplary cities that are known for its agricultural production, industrial agglomeration, technological creation or contribution etc. One such city happens to be Coimbatore. The city, for its rich textile production, since the industrial revolution by Robert and Thomas Stanes, got an opulent pump in the domain of recognition and acknowledgement, as a leading industrial city. Eventually, over the period of time, it got to be titled, “Manchester of South India”.

The big embodied word “Manchester” not only uplifted the morale of Coimbatore, but also did it set a standard for the city’s outlook and profile. With the establishment of Stanes motors, industries and subsequent schools in and around the city of Coimbatore, the revolution was said to have topped and triggered its pace. On deeper examination, it could be understood that this elevation or the so called revolution happened due to the growth of cotton in the city, which apparently led to the ostentatious outpour in the textiles. On a side note, the city is also regarded as the “Pump City of Asia”, for, it supplies pumps in larger quantities, very dominantly, throughout the spectrum of the Asian continent. On having narrated the glory and greatness of the city with respect to the industries, on a serious note, it is high time to introspect the accuracy and correctness in having the city titled, “Manchester”.

Further, taking the stances of a devil’s advocate, it is undoubtedly agreed that the city holds deep rooted culture, contains very old temples and a discretely unique slang in the language of Tamil. The city is said to have a temple of age 1500-2000 years in terms of richness in heritage and history. The accent and dialect of Coimbatorean Tamil has been regarded as the most respectful and elegant forms of communication when put in comparison with other slangs of the same language, Tamil.

Excluding or convincingly pretermitting the marvels of the grand old legendary temple of Perur and the renowned culture ought to be understood as a phenomenon where water is made thicker than the blood, so as to voluntarily or involuntarily suppress the significance of motherland. It is against the morals of humanity, to address the city, a ‘Manchester’, not for the nature blessed resources that could redefine the city, but for the inconceivable man-made cherished wonders. The tracks and trails of the British rule being celebrated over the history and culture portray the city’s hardship and alongside, give an impression as if the city has nothing for itself, but the foreign contributions, to be known for.

As long as the statement, “India for Indians”, said by Swami Dayananda Saraswathi is found to be fragile in terms of understanding, titles such as Manchester could well prolong to exist for denoting the greatness of a place which has better contextual enriched contents. It is not to be understood wrong to address the city of Coimbatore, “Manchester of South India” until it is for the wealth and richness it has got in the deep seeded and rooted history and not for the British remains and residues.

The author is Arun Shankar, Architectural Journalist

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are the author’s own

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