They say Chennai is just a city but Madras is an emotion. A city deserves to celebrate its birthday. And Madras, that is Chennai certainly deserves it. A small group of people who love this city launched a unique celebration in 2004.
The founding day of Madras is considered to be August 22, 1639. It was on that day, in that year, that a sliver of land, where Fort. St. George stands today, was transacted by the East India Company.The deal was struck by Francis Day, his ‘dubash’ Beri Thimmappa, and their superior, Andrew Cogan, with the local Nayak rulers. It is believed that this deal was made on August 22, 1639. Out of the fort, grew settlements. Then the villages around it were brought together. And then, the old and new townes linked up. And then we had the city.
Madras Day was an idea that three people put together – the city’s famed historian, S. Muthiah, journalist Sashi Nair and publisher Vincent D’ Souza. Later, they have been joined by three others – senior journalist and editor Sushila Ravindranath, journalist and website entrepreneur Revathi R and entrepreneur and writer-historian V. Sriram.
Madras Day focuses on the city, its history, its past and its present and the core team motivates communities, groups, companies and campuses in the city to host events that celebrate the city.
Heritage walks, school exchange programmes, talks and contests, poetry and music and quiz, food fests and rallies, photo exhibitions and bike tours and more are the ways in which the city is celebrated. Some of the interesting events being held in the city are:
- Cycling Yogis is organising a Heritage Ride along the Adyar River on August 20 from 5 am to 10.30 am at Santhome High Road. Registration is Mandatory
- Forum Art Gallery in association with Kreeda presents The Art of traditional Games – An exhibition of artwork and the traditional games of Chennai. The exhibition will open with a short talk on the traditional games of Chennai by Kreeda and will be followed by an informal play session. The games will be available for play at the gallery during the duration of the exhibition. Exhibition will be on view from 19th to 31st August
- Padmapriya Baskaran, heritage blogger and researcher and Aalayam Kanden Trust will be curating a walk that traces a heritage trail through West Mambalam on 12th of August from 7 to 8.30 am.
- The Nawabs of Arcot moved to Madras in the 1760’s and built their palace at Chepauk, thereby influencing the development around that area. Beginning from the Chepauk Palace, a special heritage walk by Kombai S Anwar takes you through the various monuments in and around Triplicane area associated with the Walajahi Nawabs on August 20, 6 am to 9 am.
- A special talk on The Magic of Textiles of Madras by Sreemathy Mohan organised by PTI
You can find further details here.