CHENNAI: The now Chennai but former Madras always has a special place in everyone's heart. Madras has always been a land that had shown various sides of its rich culture, its scenic views, technological advancement and much more.
Being the capital, Chennai has always been the spotlight serving as an cultural, commercial, cosmopolitan , educational and entertainment hub not just for Tamil Nadu but the entire south.
As Madras turns a year older tomorrow, let's take a look at its history:
Madras was derived from madraspatnam, a land bought by the British East India Company and had plans to settle in the coastal area in 1963. The area was located in Tondaimandalam between Pennar river in Nellore and Cuddalore.
Initially, the land was ruled over by the Chola and Pallava eras. Later under the the Vijayanagara Dynasty, Francis Day of the East India Company along with Damerla Venkatadri Naick on August 20, 1939 travelled to visit the Vijayanagara King Peda Venkata Raya asking to obtain a small piece of land in the coastal region.
They had asked for a piece of land were they would build a warehouse and a factory for their trading needs. The British East India Company was pretty much given a wasteland were they built Fort St. George, a settlement for the British residents, factory workers and merchants.
Over time , the settlement grew where the old and the new town were linked together bringing in the villagers and even the Portuguese and Dutch settlers.
As per a treaty signed by the British and other Europeans with the Nayaks, they were allowed to paint their buildings white which represented 'White Town', a place were only Europeans were allowed to live. Non British merchants too started settling near by white town after signing an agreement to settle near White town which was later referred to as 'Black Town'.
Madras than came to its rise with the combination of the white town and black Town. Fort St. George even todays play an important role as it serves as a historical structure but also is home to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly. The structure also serves as an office for the Chief Minister.
The though of Madras Day came into existence when a group of writers and a famed historian S. Muthiah decided that the city too needed its own day to celebrate its magnificent history.
They chose August 22, 1939 as its founding day and made it become an annual event. The year 2004 marked its first ever celebration of Madras Day.
The British government has then sponsored for the Madras Day celebrations and a special tercentenary commemoration volume were issued presented with essays on Madras city.
An exhibition was also inaugurated by Diwan Bahadur SE Runganadhan, the Vice-Chancellor of the Madras University displaying pictures, portraits, maps, records and coins. A short play writing competition was also organised for Madras Day.