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I have been blogging gently this month, primarily at Sepia Mutiny, while wanting to finish a draft of my monograph on Mira Nair. My buddy Narayan contacted me after a post a few weeks ago with regards to Vinay Lal's "one other Indians, " and I suggested he give consideration to writing up a guest post. These is the fact that post.
Guest Article by narayan
We, Eli & Hi
Madraspatnam / Medras / Chennai
Phonetics and orthography had been at odds if the British called the town recently labeled as Chennai. In 1639, aspects associated with Honourable East India Company (HEIC) hoping to get a foothold regarding South-Eastern coast of Asia, the Coromandel, leased land from regional Nayaks at Madraspatnam, a name of questionable origins. S. Muthiah, the popular-historian of Chennai, in the admirable and informative book "Madras Rediscovered”, claims it was by all reports "a God forsaken destination … a narrow shielded peninsula [sic], but a site without a safe landing-place". Francis Day, the junior factor, who had been "a hard-drinking, enthusiastic casino player and lusty womaniser", completed the deal, justifying their choice utilizing the report your hinterland supplied "excellent long Cloath and better cheape by 20 percent than everywhere else”. Plus ça modification! Muthiah credits the senior factor, Andrew Cogan, with "encouraging the boisterous time, making the first formal landing, creating the initial strengthened factory which was to develop into Fort St. George, and colonizing the area – the result of which business is Madras today". Neither Cogan and Day, nor their particular Indian aides, Thimmappa and Nagabattan, tend to be memorialized anywhere in the town.
My 1980 day at Medras (which native previously pronounced it otherwise?) ended up being condemned right away, a favor to a well-meaning uncle. We invested the early morning on the verandah of a mansion, stretching-out courteous discussion with a taciturn woman, a scientist with a PhD from Europe, past marriageable age like myself. She also had a well-meaning uncle as I quickly surmised. I had to capture a bus to Pondy in four hours and was determined to hold back it out. Viewing the sly antics of a chhipkali into the bushes external assisted. There was a quick interview aided by the aging father, then your special meal when it comes to potential son-in-law. She insisted on accompanying us to the bus section in their chauffeured Ambassador with cloth-covered chairs. In her relief at my departure she became voluble, pointing completely landmarks for me once we skirted Marina seashore, usually the one destination I remembered from periodic family trips in youth. At one-point she pointed to a big brick construction and said, "And that’s Yale’s ice-house". Moments later we reacted, "exactly what can you mean – Yale?" "you realize, Yale – from college. He had been Governor right here."