Dhyan Chaand – Birthday

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Legendary Hockey Player

Dhyan Chaand, the legendary Indian hockey player is counted among the greatest sportsmen this country has every seen.

‘Hockey ka Jadugar’

The greatest hockey player the world has known. Known for his great ability to score goals, he was nicknamed ‘Hockey ka Jadugar’.

‘The Wizard’

Internationally, he was called “The Wizard” for his great ability to control the ball. His name was verily synonymous with hockey.

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Dhyan Chaand, the Hockey Wizard

Dhyan Singh was born on August 29th, 1905 in Jodhpur.

Practicing under Moon light

He later got the name “Chaand” as he used to practice hockey under moon light, Moon in Hindi is Chaand. We should remember that there were no flood lights in those days.Thus came about his name Dhyan Chaand.

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Dhayanchand practicing under moonlight

From Moonlight to Limelight

From being under ‘moon light’, Dhyan Chaand soon came under international limelight.

1927-Folkstone Festival

He displayed his skills against the British Hockey team at the London Folkstone festival, scoring 36 of India’s 72 goals in 10 matches.

1928-Summer Olympics in Amsterdam

In 1928, the Indian Hockey Team participated in the Summer Olympics in Amsterdam, Netherlands. In this tornament, Chaand helped India gain a victory score 3-0, by scoring 2 goals.

Dhyan Chaand 3Gold Medal of Amsterdam Olympics                      Dhyanchand in action during the Amsterdam Festival          

Wizard of Hockey

Dhyan Chaand’s impeccable control over the ball was such that, people soon started having doubts as to whether he had hidden a magnet in his hockey stick. The ball always seemed to stick to his hockey stick when he was playing. Once, during Indian hockey team’s sojourn to Japan, the Tokyo hockey officials had a similar doubt. They broke open his stick to see whether there was a hidden magnet within. Such was his magic!

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Dhyan Chaand scoring a goal

Playing with Walking Stick

In another amusing incident, a lady from the audience asked Chaand to play with her her walking stick. He was able to score goals even with that walking stick.

1932 Olympics in USA

In this Olympics, the Indian hockey team defeated the United States 24-1. Dhyan Chaand scored 8 of these goals and made it a one sided contest.

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1933 The most memorable moment

Interestingly, the most memorable moment for Dhyan Chaand according to him was in a match in which he did not score a goal. This was the Beighton Cup final of 1933. The contest was between Calcutta Customs and Jhansi Heroes. In this closely fought match, Dhyan Chand provided a crucial pass for the only goal of the match won by Jhansi Heroes.

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Jhansi Team with the Beighton Cup

1935 Tour of New Zealand and Australia

This was another memorable tour for Dhyan Chaand as he scored 201 of the total 584 goals by the Indian team in 43 matches. Needless to say, the Indian team crushed their opponents.

Meeting Don Bradman

During this tour of Australia, Dhyan Chaand met Don Bradman, the legendary Australian cricketer. After seeing Dhyan displaying his skills, Bradman paid his tributes to the Indian hockey magician remarking, “He scores goals just like we score runs in cricket.” That was the consistency and ease with which Dhyan Chaand scored goals.

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                 Don Bradman                                                Dhyan Chaand   

1936 Olympics – Hitler impressed

Even the Nazi dictator Adolph Hitler, who was a prejudiced person and a supremacist, was impressed by Dhyan Chaand’s skills. In the 1936 Olympics held in Berlin, Dhyan Chaand led the Indian Hockey Team. In the first round of the final, Indians lead German 1-0. In the second round, the Indian team managed 6 consecutive goals.

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Dhyan Chaand displaying his magic during the Berlin Olympics

At this moment, the Germans resorted to body play, trying to win by foul means. Dhyan Chaand was injured as he broke one of his teeth. He however continued to play.

Hitler who was in the audience couldn’t see his team being crushed. He left midway.

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Adolph Hitler at Olympics, 1936

During the course of the match, the Germans sensed a foul play at the ease with which Dhyan Chaand was scoring, inspite of his breaking his teeth. He was ordered to change his stick. The magic however continued and Indians won the final 8-1.

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Dhayan Chand, the hero of Berlin Olympics

An invitation to become German

The next day Hitler called Dhyan Chaand for a meeting. Hitler offered him German citizenship for his scintillating performance in 1936 Berlin Olympics. He was also offered a senior position in the German military. Dhyan Chaand however refused saying, “India is my India”.

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            Hitler                                  Dhyan Chaand

After World War

In the subsequent years from 1939, no matches could be played as the World War-2 was on. After the Word War, Dhyan Chaand continued to display his magic. He hit 61 goals in 22 matches against East Africa.

Post Retirement

In 1948, Dhyan Chaand retired from the sport. The glory of Dhyan Chaand did not fade. Many statues were erected in his honour. The citizens of Austria erected his statue with four hand and four sticks, displaying his control over the ball.

The astro-turf hockey pitch at the Indian Gynkhana Club in London has been named after Dhyan Chand.

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The Dhyan Chaand astro turf hockey pitch, London

In his own country, a statue of his can be found near India Gate, Delhi. Many such statues in honour of Dhyan Chaand can be found all across the country.

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  Dhyan Chaand Statue, India Gate     

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                                                Dhyan Chaand Statue, Jhansi         Dhyan Chaand Statue, Vishakapatnam

The Indian Government has issued a stamp in his honour in 1980.

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Stamp on Dhyan Chaand

Dhyan Chaand’s birthday is also observed as National Sports Day India. The Dhyan Chaand Award has been institued by the government in his memory.

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Dhyan Chaand Award

The Gentleman – Good husband

Inspite of his greatness, Dhyan Chaand was simple at heart. An incident with a fan shows his strong roots in Indian culture. In an exibition match that he played at Prague, a lady fan who was impressed at his game, came upto him and requested to allow her to kiss him. Dhyan Chaand politely refused saying, “I am a married man”.

Rush of Pakistani fans at Lahore station

Sometime after 1947, Dhyan Chaand was in Lahore railway station as part of the Indian on their way to Peshawar, to travel from thereon to take part in Joshan celebrations, Afghanistan. Hundreds of Pakistani fans rushed to have a glimpse of Dhyan Chaand. There was much rush at all stations as many trains arrived late by 4 hours at Peshawar.

A forgotten hero

It is sad that we have forgotten such a hero. A fitting way to remember and honour him would be confer Bharat Ratna on him. That will an apt tribute to this great sportsman.

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Radhashtami

Radha was born at noon on Sukla Paksha Ashtami of Bhadrapada month, i.e on the 8th day of the increasing phase of the moon in the month spanning across August – September, in present times.

This day falls 14 days after Krishna Janmashtami and is celebrated with much gaiety in the birthplace of Radha at Barsana and also all over Braj Bhumi as Radhashtami.

Of all the Gopis that Krishna used to play with, Radha was His favourite and Krishna was everything to Radha.

Concepts and Misconceptions on Radha

Some have explained Radha as a concept that denotes pure love and devotion. Various forms of art have depicted Krishna and Radha as a couple. Some stories tell us that Krishna married Radha.

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Some others describe Radha as a married woman, older to Krishna, who was enamoured by Krishna and sought Krishna’s company. Some have even gone to the extent of writing derogatorily that Radha was a concubine.

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 Radha and Krishna

In modern times too, Radha has been described by a few, even in learned circles, as a Gopi who had a live-in relationship with Krishna.

Radha and Krishna were together only in Vrindavan, before Krishna left for Mathura, never to return to Vrindavan ever again. Krishna then was less than twelve years old.

How could Krishna, a child who may not have attained puberty, not yet in his teens, have had a live-in relationship?

Such statements evidently show a deliberate suppression of real fact while blowing out of proportion an incorrect interpretation of the context and concept of Radha and Krishna relationship.

Such misconceptions could also have set in due to picturizations that show Krishna not as a 10 to 12 year old lad but instead as a young handsome man while in the company of Radha and the Gopi.

Comprehending the true essence of such picturizations, needs an indepth understanding of the meaning of “Radha”.

Meaning of Radha

Ra means to give, to yield. Dha means to leave, to let go, to wish to give, to wish to gain, to strive after, to fix mind upon. These two syllables when joined together as “Radha”, give a very interesting interpretation.

It is only when we “give in” and “let go of ourselves” with “our mind fixed upon” the truth, can “we gain” the realization of the true self within ourselves as well as the universal divinity. If we hold back, there is no gain.

The word Radha, aptly suggests that we give ourselves in, fully, to realize the divinity that encapsulates us and this whole universe, of which we are but a part.

Radha thus embodies the act of complete and unconditional surrender, which is also known as Sharanagathi, surrendering at the feet of the divine. Pure Bhakti, devotion, is when one unconditionally gives oneself unto the other.

Historical Radha

Radha has been accorded historical status by various accounts. Legends state that Radha, the Gopi, was already a married woman when she met Krishna.

The husband of Radha was a senior trusted soldier in the army of Kamsa, the wily king of Mathura. Kamsa had deputed Radha’s husband to battle in the far ends of his kingdom. It is probably then that Radha spent her time with the local children, especially Krishna and participated in their playful deeds.

To misconstrue this association beyond this, from an immoral perspective, would be incorrect, given the facts of the story.

The birth place of Radha is Brahmasarin, which is now known by the name Barsana. This place is about 45 kilometers from Mathura. Radha’s husband’s name was Abhimanyu. Jatiladevi was her mother-in-law and Kutiladevi, her sister-in-law.

Radha’s father was Vrushabhanu and mother, Kirtida. These information are available in Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Padma Purana, Narada Purana and Garga Samhita.

More on Radha and Krishna in our book, “Historical Krishna-Vol 3 – Facets of Krishna”.

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Ayyankali – Birthday

Ayyankali birth

Leader of socially downtrodden

Ayyankali was one of the foremost leaders of the socially downtrodden community who fought for their rights. He undertook many reforms to end the injustice that this community was facing in the society then.

Birth

Ayyankali was born at Venganoor, the present day part of Trivandrum, Kerala in 1863. He was born in a family called Cheramar.

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Ayyankali

Discrimination against the socially downtrodden

At that time, the socially downtrodden were forbidden from walking freely on roads. They were not allowed to take part in normal activities of life as society considered them untouchable.

Fighting against untouchability

Ayyankali began his revolt against the evil of untouchability by bringing together the socially downtrodden to fight against these discriminatory practices in the society.

Meeting Guru

Ayyankali soon met his Guru Ayyavu Swami who was against the caste system. Ayyankali was inspired by his Guru to further spearhead his movement against social discriminations.

Fighting for Education

Fighting for the cause of education for the neglected socially downtrodden children who were not allowed to study in school, Ayyankali started a school at Venganoor for socially downtrodden children.

Raising demands for equal rights

Stepping up his voice for equal rights for the socially downtrodden, Ayyankali called for the boycott of agriculture and farming by the socially downtrodden until certain demand were met. These demands were:

  1. Right to Education for socially downtrodden children
  2. Allowing socially downtrodden to have tea in tea stalls
  3. Resting hours for labourers during their work
  4. Abolishing the in-kind wage system and bringing in cash system.

Inspite of being illiterate

It is noteworthy that Ayyankali carried out all these activities inspite of being an illiterate. It was his impeccable organizing skills that made this possible.

Support from Narayana Guru

As his efforts for bringing the socially downtrodden on an equal platform gathered steam, he received support from many prominent leaders. One of them who assisted Ayyankali in his endeavours on social reforms was Sri Narayana Guru.

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Narayana Guru

Efforts bearing fruits

Ayyankali’s efforts soon began to fructify. In the year 1900, socially downtrodden were allowed to travel freely on public places. In 1914, the educational restriction on the socially downtrodden children was lifted and they were allowed to join schools. The many social restriction on socially downtrodden women also disappeared as people began to accept the socially downtrodden into mainstream society.

Starting Sadhujana Paripalana Sangam

In 1907, Ayyankali started a new association called Sadhujana Paripalana Sangam for the cause of human rights and social justice. Many projects were undertaken by this association for economic and educational growth of the socially downtrodden.

Nominated to Assembly

Ayyankali was nominated to the Travancore assembly in the year 1910.

As a leader known for his great leadership qualities, Ayyankali continued to play a major role in the development of the socially downtrodden in the next three decades of his life.

Ayyankali passed away on June 18th, 1941.

After life Impact

Ayyankali had a great impact on various sections of the society even after his life time. In Kerala, he is considered on the same league as Sri Narayana Guru.

The government of India has released a stamp in his name.

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Legacy still stands tall

In 1980, the then prime minister Indira Gandhi unveiled a statue of Ayyankali in Trivandrum.

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Statue of Ayyankali, Trivandrum                             Indira Gandhi                                           

Just as his statue, the legacy of Ayyankali continues to stand tall among various sects of the society, especially the socially downtrodden community.

Dronacharya

On this day Dronacharya awards, which was instituted in 1985, are given away to those achievers in the field of sports.

Great Acharya

Dronacharya was the acharya, teacher of the Pandava and Kaurava.

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Dronacharya

Parasurama as Guru

He had Parasurama as his Guru, from whom he obtained all great weapons, as also the art of using them.Dronacharya soon became one of the foremost teachers in military strategies warfare of his times. He was called to train the royal princes of Hastinapura, the Pandava and Kaurava.

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Parasurama

Guru Grama

He had his teaching centre, between Indraprashtha and Kurusketra. This place through the ages was called Guru Grama, the village where the Guru had set up his training academy. Even in the times of Takshashila, this place was famous in warfare training. Later through times, the word grama was referred to a gaon. This place is today’s Gurugaon, in North India.

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Dronacharya training the royal princes

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Gurugaon

Dronacharya, etymology

How did this acharya get the name ‘Drona’?

Dronam means a pot and Dronar is the one born from a pot. He was called Drona as he was born from a pot, which in modern parlance, can be viewed as a test tube.

Test Tube baby?

Probably he was a test tube baby. His birth, in this land, is counted among those Vichitra Janana, extraordinary birth.

Dehradun, house of Drona

Dronacharya married Kripi, sister of Kripacharya, the royal preceptor of Hastinapura.

Dehradun, etymology

Dronacharya used to live with his wife near a cave in Dehradun, Uttarkhand. The word Dehra is derived from the word Griha, meaning house. Dun, Doon, Dron, refers to Drona, who lived here. Dehradun thus literally means, “the house of Drona”.

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Dehradun

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Dronacharya cave, also known as Tapkeshwar Cave

Tapkeshwar temple

At the cave, also known as Drona Gufa, is located the Tapkeshwar temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva.

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Idol of Tapkeshwar Mahadev Temple in a natural, Dehradun

Ashwathama

Horse voiced

Ashwathama was born to Drona and Kripi near this cave. When Ashwathama was born, he cried like an Ashwa, horse and so he was named Ashwathama, meaning horse voiced.

Chiranjivi, physically immortal

Ashwathama propitiated Lord Shiva and secured many powers, including the boon of Chiranjivi, immortality, from the Lord. It is believed that, Ashwathama lives even today.

In Kurukshetra battle

Dronacharya fought the Kurukshetra battle which commences 22nd Nov 3067 BCE. from the side of the Kaurava army headed by Duryodhana. He was made the commander-in-chief of the army after Bhishma was mortally wounded.

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Dronacharya as commander-in-chief of the Kaurava Army

Img courtesy: Wikipedia

Dronacharya was killed in this battle by Dhrishtadhyuma of the Pandava army.

Dronacharya Award

As he was a great teacher in the field of archery, the government of India, department of sports has instituted the sports award in the name of Dronacharya.

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Dronacharya Award

Even today, when the names of ancient acharya of this land are recalled, the name of Dronacharya is taken with reverence.

‘Micchami Dukkadam’

Paryusana Parva is a 10 day Jain festival normally observed in the month of August – September. The last day of this festival is observed as repentence day, the day of Micchami Dukkadam.

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Period after initial rains

It is during this period when after the initial spell of rains, small plants are sprouting all over the ground, and minute insects are busily moving around.

Ahimsa

The Jain tradition is known for its concept of Ahimsa. Thus, by staying in a place, the Jain Muni avoid trampling on these very small creatures, following the principle of Ahimsa.

A day of repentence

The 10th day of this period is a day of observance of repentance.  On the 10th day of this observance, the members of Jain community come together, repent for some of their misdemeanours and apologize for their harsh words to others. A noble practice that has been practiced thought the land, through the times.

‘Micchami Dukkadam’

The last day, the 10th day of Paryusa festival also coincides with the Churthi of Shukla Paksha in the month of Bhadrapad. It falls on the same day as Ganesh Chaturthi.

The Jains seek forgiveness from friends, family and all living creatures, with the phrase, “Micchami Dukkadam”, which is a Prakrit phrase, meaning “may all the evil that has been done be fruitless”.

This phrase is chanted with the request, Please forgive me for any harm I have done to you, intentionally or unintentionally.”

Celebrating Ganesha with Knowledge

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The festival Ganesha Chathurthi has arrived, the festival to invite the divinity Ganesha to our homes and bless our homes with prosperity and happiness.

Ganesha is a fun loving, dancing, frolicking divinity from the Indian pantheon. Ganesha has been symbolically and graphically illustrated and modelled in different forms, from riding on His vahana, vehicle, the mouse Mooshika, to the modern day figurines, showing Him speaking on the phone, typing on the computer etc. Interestingly, all these caricatures seem to suit Him well and only go to make Him dearer and more loveable.

Ganesha

Who is this Ganesha?

His name Ganesha, has two components, Gana plus Esha.

Esha means “the lord of”.

Gana stands for count, numbers, multitude. Which is why, the subject mathematics in the Indian knowledge system is known as “Ganitham”. The name Ganesha denotes Him to be the lord of multitudes and numbers and the faculty that is needed to count, deal with multitudes, is knowledge, intellect.

It is this intellect which can help man overcome obstacles as man’s obstacles primarily stem from his mind.

Ganesha is therefore also called Vigneshwara, the one who removes obstacles. And to channelize our mind, our thoughts and energies in the right direction to ensure successful completion of any task, we pray to Vigneshwara before we embark on any important activity, before all beginnings.

With this intellect to discern good from bad, knowledge and strength to overcome obstacles and act wisely and purposefully, it is but natural man will be endowed with prosperity. Hence Ganesha is also considered to usher in prosperity and good luck. And to embody the humility that should go with all these wealth and wisdom, He is also called Vinayaka or the humble, approachable one.

Such a concept of praying for mental strength, wisdom, prosperity and to ward off all obstacles before embarking on any important activity, is not unique to the Indian culture alone.

Janus and Ganesha

In ancient Rome too, the pre-Christian era had a divinity known as “Janus.

This Janus was a divinity who was propitiated to, during all beginnings. Images of Janus were also installed on doorways as a guardian. This  Janus had 2 faces, one to look at the past and one to look at the future.

Janus

 The God Janus

Janus and Ganesha both seem to be associated with two faces.

Ganesha had a human face before He got an elephant face. There are many interesting similarities between Janus and Ganesha including the aspect that phonetically their names are also similar. Janus is also a divinity associated with numbers, which is why, the first month of the calendar is named January after Janus.

Ganesha, Ganesha Everywhere

It is not only in Rome, but in different other parts of the world, that we find the knowledge, appreciation and reverence to the concept denoted by Ganesha.

We have sculptures of Ganesha in Central America, Persia, Afganisthan, China, Japan, Thailand, Cambodia and in many other South-Eastern Asian islands.

Kangiten Ganesha

Kangiten Ganesha, Japan

Ganesha as warrior

Depiction of Ganesha as Warrior in Persia

Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world and forms the major part of the south eastern archipelago. The currency, the Rupiah note of Indonesia too, has an image of Ganesha, depicting him as a divinity for numbers and knowledge.

Indonesian currency

From this example, we can see that the concept of Ganesha was prevalent far and wide from faraway Central America to Europe to Asia, more than 2500 years back itself.

This commonality and the prevalence of the concept of Ganesha across the world, brings to our attention that Ganesha is not just a Hindu divinity in the limited sense, but a divinity of knowledge and numbers, not just of India but of the multitudes across the world.

On this Ganesh Chathurthi, let us repledge ourselves to bring forth this knowledge so that, we can unite all the people of this world so that this world can once again grow as a knowledgeable society,  apart from just counting its monies, its luxuries and its several goodies.

Ganesha with all His multitude of forms, symbols and stories, is a concept, Tattva, epitomising the winning formula for a good mind, intellect, knowledge, strength and prosperity, which is the direction we all need to progress in.

 

Madras Day

A City’s Birthday

People celebrate their birthdays. Here, a city celebrates its birthday. The city of Madras was founded on August 22, 1639. This day is celebrated as Madras day.

Events

On this day, many events are held focusing on the history and cultural heritage of the city and Tamil land in general. Many groups, communities and companies come forward to organize events on culture, music, food, poetry, and talks, on the history of the city.

East India Company

Land from Raja of Chandragiri

On this day, the British East India Company, represented by Francis Day, purchased land from Raja of Chandragiri, near Tirupati, to build Fort Saint George on the Coromandel Coast.

 

Madras Day 1Francis Day                                     East India Company Logo               

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Chandragiri in India Map                                                Chandragiri fort

Dynasty of Padmavati Devi

It was a daughter of this Chandragiri dynasty, Padmavati Devi whom Lord Venkateswara married.

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Princess Padmavathi of Chandragiri dynasty

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Lord Venkateswara & Goddess Padmavathi

Why Francis Day chose this place?

Francis Day decided to set up their camp at the estuary of the Cooum River, probably because, his lady love, a Portuguese girl, was in the Portuguese settlement of Luz, which was around 5 kms down south, along the same beach.

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Cooum River

Luz – Light

‘Luz’ is a Portuguese word, meaning light. When the Portuguese were one evening, searching for a suitable spot in the Coromandel coast, they saw a ray of light on shore and decided to move their ship and set up their trading camp there.

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Coromandel Coast

This place is now remembered as Luz church.

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Luz Church

This beach between Fort Saint George and Luz is the famous Marina beach of Chennai.

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Marina Beach, Chennai

British Trade Post

This piece of land soon grew into a fledgling town, primarily a British trading post operating out of Fort Saint George.

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Fort Saint George

Chennaipatnam

The word Chennai comes from Chennaipatnam. The word patnam in Tamil means town.

Patron Divinities

The word chennai comes from the two patron divinities of this region, Chenna Malleswara and Chenna Kesava. The word Chenna itself finds more usage now in the Kannada language, meaning good, that which augurs well. This shows how people, language intermingled and were composite, even few centuries back.

Similarly, we have the word Vishakapatnam in northeast, with the word patnam, meaning town.

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Vishakapatnam

Madras – Madrassa – Thousand lights

The name Madras could well have come from a madarasa, a school of Islam that was then situated at a place now known as thousand lights. It was then called Airyam Vilaka, for, Madarrasa was well lit, every evening, with thousand glistening lamps.

Birthplace of Indian Army

In 1746, there was a war in the outskirts of Madras called the Adyar War. It was fought between the French commanders who had thousand soldiers on his side against the local Nawab who has a 10,000 strong army. The local Nawab was routed at the Adyar Estuary. The handful of British who were present there were bystanders during the war.

Major stringer Lawrence who was present then collected all the local soldiers post this battle, made them into a fighting force and called them the Madras Army.

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Madras Army

Not of Recent Origin

While the British might have set up their colony here only in the year 1639, this place of Chennai has ancient antiquity.

Adi Shankara visits Chennai

Tiruvottiyur

2500 years ago, Adi Shankara visited the area around Chennai. When he came, he visited the Devi temple at Tiruvottiyur, which is today in North Chennai.

Madras Day 7Adi Shankara                                                 Tiruvottiyur Devi Temple

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Adi Shankara with his four disciples at Tiruvottiyur Devi Temple

Mangadu

He also visited the Devi temple at Mangadu. The word Mangadu means mango groove, Manga meaning mango and Kadu for forest.

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Mangadu Devi temple

Both these Devis at Tiruvottiyur and Mangadu were in their ugra, ferocious form. Adi Shankara through his penance made a sri yantra in front of both Devis, to bring down their ferocity and make this place habitable for the locals.

Alwars

Alwars who lived around 1500 years have visited Chennai. One of the Alwar, Bhoothath Alwar was born in west of Chennai.

Around Chennai, there are over a dozen temples that have poems sung by Alwars, called Pasuram in Tamil, when they visited these temples.

 

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The 12 Alwars

Nayanmars

Nayanmars who also lived around 1500 years ago, also visited the Chennai region.

Nayanmars, who are devotees of Shiva have visited many Shiva temples in this region.

Infact, one of the big festivals of Chennai, is the carrying of the 63 Nayanmars in palanquin, around the Kapileshwar temple and its tanks, annually, in the month of March.

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Kapileshwar Temple, Chennai

This festival is popularly known as Arvathi Muvar, named after 63 Nayanmar saints.

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Arvathi Muvar, 63 Nayanmars being carried in chappram, palanquin procession

Ancient Antiquity

The antiquity of this area having continuous habitation for the last 2500 years and more is available to us through poetry, archaeology and monuments.

Recent Antiquity

It is only the British component of Madras, which grew around Fort Saint George, which is of recent antiquity of 375 years.

Chatrapati Shivaji visits Chennai

Chatrapati Shivaji, in his conquest of the south, came upto Chennai. He prayed at the Kalika temple on 16 October, 1677.

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 Chatrapati Shivaji Plaque at the Kalikaamba temple

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Kalikamba Temple, Chennai

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 Shivaji statue found at Kalikambal temple gopuram

British paid honorariums to Shivaji

During this visit to Madras, the British sent him gifts, honorariums, which in the local language is called “Kappam”, twice within a month, to his camping site near the Kalikambal temple, which is to the west of Fort Saint George, which was then the entry point to Madras.

They did this as a good will gesture requesting him not attack their trading post saying that they were only peaceful traders.

Madras First

As the East India Company and the British rule of India slowly grew from Madras. Madras has many firsts to its credit.

·   First Allopathy Hospital in India

·   First Muncipal Corporation in India

·   First Centre of Technical Education In India

·   First English type school

·   First Astronomical Observatory

·   First native infantry regiment

·   Great Trignometrical Survey which measure the size of India, which survey incidently found the Mount Everest to be the tallest peak, started their first survey from Chennai

·   First Railway track for demonstration purpose was laid here

·   Madam Tussads wax museum famous now, was brought to Madras for display, before finally being housed in London.

Becoming a Major City

This town continued to grow over the centuries. Around this piece of land, has grown the modern city of Madras, known as Chennai today.

Madras Day is an occasion to remember the glorious heritage of this city that has evolved over millennia.

Madras Day 8