Ever since the Corporation election results were announced I had planned to write this brief article. I was held back only because I could not locate the photo of Kamakshi Jayaraman, the second woman mayor of Madras. I knew I had squirrelled it away somewhere when I wrote the history of the Corporation of Chennai, a book that never saw the light of the day. Finally, I found it yesterday at the bottom of a book cupboard.

Tara Cherian, inaugurating a Corporation School in 1957, courtesy Corporation of Madras 1957 handbook

Considering that ours is the oldest city corporation in the country, we do have many interesting records apart from being the first of course. The mayors themselves would each merit a detailed study, considering that most of them were outstanding, one way or the other. Some were very colourful characters as well. But this year what is of interest is that we have a mayor who has set a record by way of being the youngest to assume this office. She also happens to be only the third woman to hold this office. The first was Tara Cherian, champion hockey player, social worker, and holder of another unique record as Mayor – she and her husband Dr PV Cherian are the only husband and wife duo to have held office as Mayors, he in 1949/1950 and she in 1957/1958. 

Kamakshi Jayaraman, Mayor 1971/1972, courtesy the Corporation of Madras Independence Day Silver Jubilee Souvenir

The second woman Mayor was Kamakshi Jayaraman, who was in office from 1971-1972. By then elections to the Corporation were fought on party lines and she was elected as a DMK candidate. 

R Priya, Worshipful Mayor (2022-), pic courtesy The Hindu

The present incumbent Ms R Priya too is from the same party. We wish her well in her endeavours.