Madras Week, an annual feature that hosts a series of events in celebration of the birth of the city and all that makes up its essence, is seeking more support from schools, colleges and local groups this time, to convey a more hyper-local feel. “We plan to have a lot of programmes in Tamil,” Sujatha Shankar, Convener of INTACH Chennai, said at a press conference.
To be held between August 21 and 28, the fete, which was started 13 years ago, had only 20 events or so in its early years, but now, with more than 150 events scheduled, the organisers want to reach out to a wider audience. That’s where schools and colleges will come in.
“Schools like Vidya Mandir and PSBB have a strong heritage club. In fact, some schools have already planned their calendar, keeping Madras Week in mind. Also this time, we are encouraging Corporation schools to form similar clubs and participate in the events,” said Sujatha.
INTACH will be organising a talk by Dr Crispin Brainfoot, an expert in South Asian Arts and Archaeology from University of London on ‘Building temples in the Tamil Renaissance: Colonial architecture and Chettiar patronage in the Madras Presidency 1870-1920.’
There will also be a walk dedicated to the Madras High Court and an essay writing competition on ‘Icons of Chennai’. “This includes personalities and institutions that have contributed to the city in various fields.
The last day of submission is July 25 and entries can be in English and Tamil,” said Sujatha. Vincent D’Souza, one of the founders of the event also discussed the participation of schools and colleges. “Students of a college in Sowcarpet have decided to map two streets in their locality. Also this year, a local group has decided to back the ‘Madras Gana Contest’.
This is something I have been working on for a while.” The organisers also want to involve neighbourhood groups. “We want volunteers to host programmes. We will offer them advice on how to go about it and help them with venues if needed. We’d like to see more neighbourhood events. For instance, somebody had done a walk on Harrington Road, re-living its history,” said S. Muthiah, historian.
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