Madras, the mother of Chennai


madras1_post_2This title might seem a bit strange for those of you who are not originally from Chennai or you must be familiar with Chennai only for the past decade or may be two. But for the people who are residents to this historic city would have already understood what I am trying to convey just by taking a glance at this title. Why should someone stress so much on a simple name change from Madras to Chennai. It’s just a name.Right? No. If you think that it’s just a name change, I promise you that at the end of this blog, you are going to change your opinion. Every mother sacrifices a lot in her life to make her child into a successful person. She melts herself like a candle to light up her child’s life. Just like any other mother, Madras has sacrificed a lot to bring out the Metropolitan City of Chennai that we all know and praise about today. To get a grip let’s start from the year 1947. Madras was a beautiful city with its British styled buildings, it’s culture, its people and most importantly , the infamous Cooum river that flowed through the heart of the city which provided its residents not only with clean drinking 2002091900080201water but also with an environment that can only be compared with heaven. Its even hard to think of a Cooum river with clean water without garbage at its banks and without the pungent smell that will literally make your tummy upset in a second. Its so ironic that Cooum actually means “a beautiful girl”. Sadly its now synonymous to “sewage drain” that carries the entire sewage of this city to the sea. That was one of the greatest sacrifices she made for her children, the current residents of Chennai. A sacrifice that can never be undone by anyone. Well it was just a start. She did not stop there. She was ready to sacrifice anything to make her child happy and to make her child grow. Madras was ripped off from its beautiful greenery in the tramname of industrialization and expansion. We cannot disagree that the growth of industries in and around Chennai brought all its laurels  but it also stripped Madras of its beautiful sceneries that cannot be brought back. I once asked my grandfather what made him shift to Madras from his village and his answer was what inspired me to write this post. He said “I was standing at the banks of Cooum river one evening and saw the city of Madras and its development on the other side of the bank. It was one heck of a sight that made up my mind and that’s why I moved to Madras”. Damn!! I can only imagine how it would have been those days. The early 50’s to the mid 60’s saw a lot of changes in the city one of which was the removal of Tram transport system in Madras that went bankrupt in the year 1953. Its funny that Madras was the first city in India where the electric trams were introduced. Unfortunately it had to be the first city in India where the tram system was shut down once and for all. The current outskirts of Chennai were once farming villages  in the outskirts of Madras. ripon-building-oldThe British were attracted towards Madras so much that even some proclaimed it as the London of India as it’s city structure resembled that of London as Cooum flowed through the city just like Thames in London. Their obsession with the city made them construct  the first city corporation outside London which is commonly known as the Rippon building today. After the independence, Madras saw a lot of changes. It was the time when the Port of Madras started to flourish and one of the most famous banks in India of that period, the Madras bank which was later changed to The State Bank of India also started to spread its wings paving the way to the economic growth of Madras. But unfortunately, nothing in this world comes without a price. So mother Madras paid the price for all these developments by sacrificing some part of herself for the betterment of it’s people. For every step Chennai made towards progress and prosperity Madras had to step down and pave the way.  It was in the 90’s when Madras was renamed to Chennai officially. A completely changed city that has come a long way to reach where it is today.A journey which also played a major role in the independence movement. Even though the city has changed it’s name the people of Chennai are still referred to as “Madrasi” all over the country. A true Chennaite will always have an emotional bond with Madras. A bond that can never be broken by anyone. Madras will always be a mother to Chennai and every Chennaite for ever and ever. The road to Chennai was laid down on top of the sacrifices of Madras.I would like to end this post with a quote that justifies this entire post.“Chennai is a city, Madras is an emotion”.

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