Madras Week, which started off as Madras Day six years ago to celebrate the founding of the city on 22nd August 1639, now looks like becoming Madras fortnight. This year though Madras Week will be celebrated between the 16th and the 23rd of August it looks like the celebrations will begin on 15th August itself and carry on till the 31st. For the small band of volunteers who began this concept, the response from corporate and public citizens of the city has given enormous satisfaction.

 

This year, the hotels of the city will, as usual be enthusiastic participants. The Taj Coromandel, the Taj Connemara, the Raintree, The Park and the Welcomgroup Park Sheraton Hotel and Towers will be hosting various programmes. We are hoping that they will also host exhibitions and organise food festivals. Schools with heritage clubs are already talking about hosting events and competitions centring on the city as their theme.

 

Plenty of heritage walks are being organised this year. At Madras Musings, we will be conducting heritage walks around the beach area over one weekend of Madras Week. In addition we are planning special thematic heritage walks around the subjects of “Swami Vivekananda in Madras”, “Some dubashes of Madras” and “The Justice Party”. More details on the schedule and itinerary will be published in the issue of Musings dated 1st August 2009. As has been the practice in past years, Madras Musings will be hosting eight talks at various locations, on subjects related to the city. We are also hoping that like last year, we will be able organise talks in North Chennai as well.

 

Mylapore Times, led by Vincent D’Souza will be organising a wide range of events for Madras Week. These will include walks, quiz contests and talks. A tentative list is provided alongside and further details will be regularly updated on the site www.themadrasday.in Sashi Nair has been our man for West Chennai. He has been organising events in that part of the city at the Green Park Hotel and other venues such as the Jaigopal Garodia School. We are sure that he has very many interesting events planned this year too.

 

INTACH is planning an exhibition on coins dedicated to the memory of Raja Seetharaman its active member who was killed in an accident last year around the time of Madras Week. This year, the American Embassy and the Alliance Francaise are planning a series of events to commemorate Madras Week. In addition a whole host of other organisations such as Rotary Clubs and bodies such as the Indo American Association are planning out their own events. A group of dancers are coming together to choreograph and perform the People’s Park Vazhi Nadai Chindu, a synopsis of which first appeared in Madras Musings a couple of years ago. This will be staged on the 16th of August at the Tag Centre to an invited audience. The Madras Book Club on the 19th is releasing a book titled “The Madras School of Orientalism” which is a collection of articles written on the 18th century movement that saw the establishment of Tamil as a classical language many years later. The Roja Muthiah Research Library will be organising an exhibition on the theme of Gandhi in Madras during the week. As these lines are being written, more events are being discussed and finalised.

 

       A few people interested in the history of Madras that is Chennai have been responsible for encouraging the celebration of the founding of the city by schools, colleges, various organisations and groups of like-minded individuals.  Participation is purely a voluntary effort by those wanting to organise programmes during the Week.  The role of the informal group of co-coordinators is only to encourage such participation, try to organise publicity for the events and, where possible, arrange venues.  Growing from about 15 events in the first year, last year’s celebrations included about 100 programmes, including talks, quizzes, exhibitions and performances, all centred on

the theme ‘Madras’. 

      

This information is being put out well ahead so that organisations/individuals/ volunteer groups who wish to celebrate the founding of this city can have ample time to plan their events. Madras Musings can provide advisory help where needed. For any queries please contact editor@madrasmusings.com . You can also see the website www.madrasday.in for details.