Krishna Unny, I Year B.A. History
They say Chennai is a city, Madras is an emotion.
This year’s theme for the Madras Week Celebrations, one of the best events organised by the History and Tourism department of Stella Maris College, was ‘Madras 378’ commemorating the age of Madras.
The celebrations commenced on the 28th of august with the inauguration ceremony and setting up of the exhibition and stalls, and continued till the beginning of September.
The stalls included the traditional food stall which sold kulli panniyaram, rava ladoo, murukku, beetle rice, red rice, pineapples, aaval, buttermilk, rosemilk, sonpappadi, puttu and channa among several other delicacies.
There was a ‘petti kadai’ as well where items including butter biscuits, kammarkattu, elanthapalam jam, Sakkara mittai, kadala mitta and pulipu mittai were kept for sale.
The Philately stall showcased myraid stamps from the British Crown to the stamps with pictures of the Great Mutiny, and even a personalised stamp booth just for the students.
The stamps were a great hit and drew several students, and it definitely helped bring out the dying art of Philately to the eyes of the youth.
The ‘Cinematic Madras’ stall was quite an interesting one where the students displayed charts with pictures and information about old cinema theatres and studios like AVM, Gemini, Sathya etc. and few theatres like Albert, Devi, Kabali, Pilot, Kamadenu, Elphinstone etc.
The traditional games stall was also put up, consisting of paramapadam, thayabas, ashtapada, palanguli, kalanga, nondi, bambaram, goli, adupuli: games that are nowadays alive only in the rural interiors of the state.
Another stall called ‘Knowing the Unknown’ had a model of the Marina Beach and the Promenade, and the ‘Madras Alphabetically’ stall had a list of all the prominent buildings in Chennai from A to Z (from Amir mahal to the Zeon church). There was also a list of all the streets in madras like Sterling road, Pycrofts road and Red hills road with their history and the stories behind each of them.
There was also a military history stall which was based on important events in our military history that took place in Madras. The sepoy uniform, the growth of the regiment and the old weapons used in the wars, the air crafts, the ships, the differences between an English soldier and an Indian soldier’s uniform and many more were explained to the viewers.
A game on the pioneers in the cinema industry was also organised and the students managed to put up a bioscope showing videos focusing on old Madras.
A photo booth named padampidipu dabba was set up, where a few of the students themselves dressed up as Bharatiar and MGR and posed with the amused students. It also had cut outs of admirals, Brahmins, a catamaran and a backdrop.
The private collectables stall had old lamps, pens, bells, clocks, time watches etc. dating back to more than 200 years, and proved to be an eye opener for the students as it helped them learn a lot about the collection and preservation of antiquities.
On the 29th of August, colleges from all over Chennai were invited to participate in the Madras Quiz and a Doodle Designing competition. Several colleges including Ethiraj college, Loyola College and MOP Vaishnava College took part in the Quiz which was blessed with active participation, from both the quizzers and the audience.
A seminar on Water Management and ‘Conservation Of Rivers through Dancervation’ and several heritage walks were also organised on the following days where visitors were allowed to walk around the campus and breathe in the rich history of the college that is as old as independent India.
Not only was the entire event well organised and well executed, the feedback received from the guests, visitors, teachers and students were overwhelming. It was a huge success thanks to the effort put in by the students and volunteers from the department and the faculty.
The Celebrations are held annually by the department and the students are already eagerly looking forward to Chennai 379.