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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Thiruvallikkeni Thiruvizha – a Cultural fete – 2014.

Thiruvallikkeni Thiruvizha – a Cultural fete – 2014.

20th Dec 2014 provided entertainment and a chance to think of the glory of the land they live in, for the residents of Thiruvallikkeni – in the form of ‘Thiruvallikkeni Thiruvizha’ organized by Sri Ustav.  Through this festival they sought to celebrate the cultural heritage.  Culture, History, Religion, Heritage, Patriotism, Tradition, literature and the like can be founding points of greatness of a place – Triplicane has them all.

Here is the description found in an old book :  In the palmy days, vessels heavily masted and armed for defence sailed and gently reached  ________________ during July
-      Undulating sapphire sea
-      Line of white in surf upon shore
-      Strip of golden sand
-      Dark foliage
~ and the dash above is ‘namma Madras’ [aptly described by Azhwar as வந்துதைத்த வெண்திரைகள் செம்பவள வெண்முத்தம்] - the land of first territorial acquisition by British East India, even before Bombay was ceded and Calcutta was found.  ….. and much before that Madras existed our Triplicane.

Thiruvallikkeni  (Triplicane)  is  more ancient than the city of Madras.  This is the place located strategically closer (less than half a km) from the Marina beach off the Bay of Bengal owing its name to the sacred Lily pond (Thiru alli (lily) keni (pond) of Sri Parthasarathi Swami Temple, a great Vaishnavaite centre – brundaranya kshetram of the puranic scriptures.  According to Talboys Wheeler – ‘beyond south of Triplicane was native – where British had no dominion’ at that point of time. 

Triplicane is the land of Temples, the land visited by Swami Vivekananda, the land where Mahakavi Barathiyar, U.Ve. Swaminatha Iyer, Maths Genius Ramanujam, legendary writer Sujatha lived.  One of the earliest hospitals – Gosha hospitals, and the earliest educational Institution Presidence Collge besides century old Hindu High School Kellet, NKT group of educational institutions exist. 

This year the Triplicane Cultural Festival was well organized by Mrs Uthra Sarang, Mrs Shobhana, Mr SR Parthasarathi and a group of enthusiastic volunteers.  There were stalls – there was competition for drawing kolam on the streets – a procession highlighting the culture.  An attractive podium was erected in front of theSri Parthasarathi Swami temple.  

The Chief Guest for the evening was Mr Sudhangan, well known Journalist, writer and TV anchor.  He started his career with Disaigal, worked in Kumudam, Junior Vikadan, Dinamani, Tamilan Express at various phase of career.  Has been a political analyst in many TV debate.  He lived in Triplicane and studied in Hindu High School.

The other guest was the nonagenarian (born in 1920) Dr. V.V. Ramanujam.  Versatile in Tamil, English, Sanskrit and Telegu, he has written many books and ran Sampradhaya magazine ‘Yathiraja Paduga’ for more than 3 decades.  He specialised in ‘Inorganic Chemistry’ – studied in Tulane University, New Orleans in 1958 and was honoured Sigma Chi (USA).  For years he taught in Loyola and Madras University and his lab manual ‘Inorganic semi micro qualitative analysis’ has seen many reprints.

Next was Sadagopan, fondly remembered for his depiction of ‘Mannar & Company’.  Chitralaya Gopu studied in Chingleput alongwith his friend Mr CV Sridhar.  He ran United Club – has penned dialogues for more than 60 movies including Kalayna Parisu, Kathalikka Neram Illai, Nenjil Or Aalayam, Ooty varai uravu, Galatta Kalyanam, Patti sollai thattathe and has directed 27 movies – the most famous being ‘Kasethan kaduvulada’ – the great hit ‘Jambulingame jadathara’ was sung by another famous Triplicanite Sri K Veeramani. He has been conferred with ‘Kalaimamani’.  He directed the serial ‘Washingtanil thirumanam’ too.  Mrs Lalitha, Cine and TV artiste, who is doing great work in Triplicane with her ‘Pasumai organisation’ in keeping the streets of Triplicane litterfree was also on the dias. 

Yours Truly dwelt at length on the glory of Triplicane.  Last year, I had spoken on 3 ladies who impacted the lives of many at Triplicane – they were Dr Mary Anne Dacomb Bird (Scharlieb) of Gosha hospital; Sister Subbulakshmi and Vai Mu Kothai Nayaki Ammal.  This year it was on a person whose letter during first World War to US President Woodrow Wilson asking to offer conditional support [only if UK were to agree to free india]

In the month of Margazhi, divine songs will reverberate and in all Vaishnava temples, Thiruppavai will be recited early morning.  In Sabhas, there will carnatic music festivals.  The sabha started in 1900 by Manni Thirumalachar – Sri Parthasarathi Swami Sabha of Tripicane is perhaps the pioneer sabhas.  As we walk in Raja Hanumantha Lalah Street from Pycrofts Road, as we pass Sri Kamakala Kameswari temple, an old building stands with name ‘Mani Aiyar hall’ – it belongs to Theosophical society.  It was here the 2nd conference of Madras Music Academy was held in 1930 which later paved way for margazhi uthsavs.  It is named after Dr Sir Subramania Iyer, the 1st Acting Chief Justice of Madras High Court.  It was Sri Aiyar who wrote to Woodrow Wilson !

On the banks of Buckingham canal, on the not used road, after Victoria hostel remains a red building where public have no access.  This place known as The Lodge in 1880 was the residence of Principals of College of Engineering which later shifted to Guindy.  Here lived Henry Davison Love of Royal Engineers who earlier worked in PWD, Railways and then became Principal of the Engg College. He wrote manual of Hydraulics and chronicled ‘Vestiges of Old Madras’ providing accurate details of our City from 1640-1800. 

There was group singing, bharata natyam on stage, a video on old and new Chennai, besides the aerial photography taken during last year fest. The programme was complete with the ‘Theru Koothu’ on ‘Krishnan thoothu’ by Kalaivani Nataka Mandram.  Triplicanites turned out in large numbers, enjoyed and encouraged the performances on stage. 

Kudos to the Organisers for the neat good show and the effort in promoting the culture.   

With regards ~  S. Sampathkumar

22nd Dec 2014.

PS :  This is not a summary of all events - covers mainly the procession and the stage function ..