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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Streets of Chennai / Triplicane ~ heard of Ganall Street

Chennai has lanes and by lanes ….. and all Streets bear a Name.  What is in a Name ? one might tend to ask.  A Street Name is the primary identity…  Good that all Streets have their names written afresh now.  The Corporation authorities are providing a fresh coat of yellow paint with black letters.  Some of the Streets have a history behind them…

Remember the Amy Jackson starrer ‘Madrasapattanam’ where the vintage Madras was brought alive.. ‘the film showed the dobikhanas, flowing canal, old villagers and more’

Unlike Andhra Pradesh and some other States where Streets are numbered, Tamil Nadu has names for the Streets. Many Streets are named after National leaders, local leaders who lived in that place and more.. there are many names of British vestige and names which nobody understand, why and more so ~ why they continue to be so.   It can be more confusing as the State Government, a few decades back, decided to remove the ‘caste names’ resulting in some confusion and some duplication. In Triplicane, you had Arumuga Achary St., and Arumuga Maistry St – both becoming ‘Arumuga Street’.  Did Dr Nair road become Dr road ?

Recently, the Hindu wrote about the two decades of  struggle by a group of residents to change the ‘horrific’ name of their street – it is a street in Royapettah area named as ‘Kolaikaranpettai’ [literally Murderers’ den].  The residents felt too embarrassed when they had to state the name in public as public would laugh at them, the minute the address was spoke about. 

Chennai has no freshwater rivers [not to speak of Adyaru; Coovum and Buckingham canal]  ~ Buckingham  canal is no longer a water body – a flowing one at that – it contains filth and waste and after the construction of MRTS stations at Lighthouse, Triplicane and Chepauk is more constrained than ever before.  You might be surprised to read that  Buckingham Canal is a 421.55 kilometres (261.9 mi) long fresh water navigation canal, running parallel to the Coromandel Coast of South India from Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh to Villupuram District in Tamil Nadu. This  canal once connected most of the natural backwaters along the coast to the port of Chennai (Madras). It was constructed during the British Rule  and was an important waterway during the late nineteenth and the twentieth century.  History has it that it was earlier known as Cochrane's canal, the first segment of the canal was constructed as a saltwater navigation canal in 1806,  financed by Basil Cochrane. When the canal was opened, it was named Lord Clive's Canal and later as Buckingham Canal connecting it to Governor, the Duke of Buckingham and Chandos.

Now this Street Name is intriguing, more for the mistakes, the board contains rather than anything else.

Canals are man made channels for water and in all probability, this street adjacent to Buckingham canal nearer Triplicane MRTS station  most likely was named as  ‘Canal Street’ after the canal. The Name board reads ‘Ganall, Street’ – the comma between Ganall and Street is also a mistake.  It branches off Sunkuwar Street, the name of which  in Tamil  is written as ‘Sunkuwar Ther’ – perhaps meant to be Theru – Theru would mean Street; Ther would only mean Car [Temple Chariot] at that…. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
17th Feb 2013.

1 comment:

  1. I stumbled upon your blog while researching for my Project: SIGNAGES AND ETYMOLOGY OF STREET NAMES IN TRIPLICANE.
    Being an outsider to Chennai, This is highly challenging for me. If you can provide me with any assistance to give me an insight into Triplicane's History, I'll be grateful :)