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VOL. XXIII NO. 18, JANUARY 1-15, 2014
Our Readers write

Syllabus additions?

'The Striped Terror of Bandipur’ is how the late Kenneth Anderson would have described the tiger which was creating panic in and around Bandipur–Nagarhole forests recently, before it was captured.

Anderson, who lived his whole life in Bangalore, was a lover of wildlife and a hunter of man-eating tigers and leopards. He hunted in the forests of the then Mysore, Madras, and Hyderabad States in the early 1920s and 1930s.

His descriptions of the jungles of Coimbatore, Salem, Mysore, the Wynaad and Nilgiri forests are masterpieces and show the deep love he had for the Indian jungle and its inhabitants.

Books like Nine Man-eaters and One Rogue, The Call of the Man-eater and The Tiger Roars, make wonderful reading for people of all age groups and can be considered classics.

Speaking for myself, they, along with the books of Jim Corbett, have ingrained in me and my family a deep love for the wildlife and the forests of our country.

There is a wrong impression among armchair naturalists and conservationists that hunters like Anderson and the great Jim Corbett contributed to the destruction of our wildlife.

A few years ago when my daughter was studying in the 12th Standard of the ISC stream, I was delighted to see that the narrative of The Thak Man-eater by Jim Corbett was in the English syllabus.

A true tribute to the Great Hunter.

I do wish such a honour could be conferred on the works and writings of Kenneth Anderson also, by including them in the English syllabi of our schools.

S. Rajaram
62/1, Tamarai Flats, M.E.S. Road, East Tambaram, Chennai 600 059

Some reactions

The latest Madras Musings issue (December 16th) has more than one item for me to react to. I shall be brief:

1. “Readability Please”

A pill for the physician. The picture on page 2 (What’s this) is not readable.

2. A Search for Identity

The give and take of culture is a universal experience. Malaysia, a Federation of Sultanates and a professed Islamic State, has many Hindu customs and usages, apart from the fact that the Bhahasa has drawn from Sanskrit copiously. The Sultans’ coronations have many Hindu customs. The orders of the Sultans (Federal and State) are issued in the name of Paduka. Government communications carry the slogan “In Paduka’s Service”. (This used to be the practice when I was posted there.)

3. Tamil Theatre

My father was an amateur actor with the group called Government Officials’ Party, presided over by C. Ramanujachariar. The party had many talented actors, like Murugesa Mudaliar, and T.N. Pattabhiraman. The female roles were played by men. Their plays used to be stayed in the Museum Theatre, Egmore. One of their most successful and oft-repeated plays was Nandanaar.

T.G. Ramamurthi
10, Veerabadran Street Nungambakkam, Chennai 600034

Pondy Bazaar spirit

Regarding your report on banners blocking roads and pavements (MM, December 16th), I recall that the World Bank, a few years ago, remarked that Chennai was a good example of how a city can reduce the area for vehicles and pedestrians!

I hope the Chennai Corporation acts to remove banners in the same spirit as they did good work to remove shops from the pavements of Pondy Bazaar.

Senior citizens like me find it difficult to walk on the roads where VIPs pass through every day because of the banners.

R.T. Namasivayam

A Bharatidasan tribute

With reference to the article on the Buckingham Canal (MM, December 1st) the canal had literary immortality conferred on it by Bharatidasan, widely held as the greatest Tamil poet after Bharati.

His poem, (translated below by me) describes his trip to Puducherry in a boat on the canal. Not only does he describe the natural scenes on the way in his own inimitable manner but, true to his wont, expresses his rage and sorrow over the plight of the boatmen.

Those who love and cherish the golden days of the canal may be happy to learn this literary memorial to it.

The Jaunt to Mahabalipuram

About 15 years ago, at 4 o’ clock one evening, several friends and I boarded a boat on the Buckingham Canal and reached Mahabalipuram next morning by 9. The time during the passage passed pleasingly. However, a man striding on the shore, pulling forward the boat, and another pushing the boat from behind with a long pole, was a pitiable sight. This song was composed then, describing that sight and some of the attractive scenery.

Bharatidasan, 1934

At Chennai, a channel,
To Puduvai extending,
In it vessels plying,
Like comely swans floating,
Some friends dear and I
Having embarked on one,
The boat did leave Chennai,
The pace fast picking up.

Towards the southern way
As on we did progress,
All over the surrounding wide
We spied the sun spray gold.
Fixing our foreheads bent,
Gazing at the water clear,
We rejoiced at the wonder,
The water – all sky brilliant!

Opening the folio that spoke of
Zephyr from Sanjeevi mount,
Some pages of Tamil sweet,
Having poured, out of love great,
In the wandering sky and into our ears,
A comrade did pause.
Then did the red star
Us cruelly deceive.

Like a wheel thrown,
By a bull obstinate sore,
Transgressing its nasal cord,
And running into a mire adjacent,
Did topple the solar round!
The vast space all around
Darkness covered! On went the boat.

In the surrounding vast
A sight we did behold before.
A palmyra dwarf and a date-palm,
Drooping, its spathe,
Speaking words soft,
Stalk arms leafy entwining,
Laughter unbounded, did
The palmyra shower-a-clinking!

Lifting our gaze to the utmost,
Towards the eastern sky,
Some light on us did fall,
The full moon night we noted.
Where the orbic moon cool?
We awaited thus its advent.
Like a king riding a camel
Appeared the moon by a tree.

O tell! Why the pearly face
Did turn full rubicund!
So much anger, O Moon!
Who up in you did raise?
Thus we asked and the Moon
In our hearts retorted, see thou.
When turn we did and gaze
Our hearts did throb in pain.

His hands holding the rope,
we saw a man, pulling the dhow,
A rope in his hands two,
We saw a man pulling the dhow.
Unbearable the sight,
Along the shore he staggers.
Back bent, another does,
Suffering, push the boat huge
Like a hill, holding a pole
With one arm, coming behind.

Reaching goodly pleasure, the shore,
For anyone ever this world over,
Is by way none but the assistance
Lent by shoulders strong of toilers.
Times twenty this declare we.
The moon, too, its heart rejoicing,
Did rise, pearly light strewing.

Stood high the lady, Sky,
A garment of blue round wrapped.
Orb of night, full white, her seeing,
And pulling by hand her pearl-string,
Strewing around, the sides four,
Heaps of stars bedazzling,
The Milky Way now fading,
The shores by morn we reached,
Mamalla’s town, great king.

Dr. T.R. Suresh
Santham Health Centre
27, Dr Ambedkar Road
Chennai 600 024

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In this issue

Still waiting for a Tree Act
What does the Metro Plan for RSRM Choultry
Sadir to Bharata Natyam
The Madras Balloon
A Further Look at our Trees
Krishnan and his Tamil Writings
Headlines & Tailpieces

Our Regulars

Short 'N' Snappy
Readers Write
Quizzin' With Ram'nan
Madras Eye
Dates for Your Diary


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