Bab’s Flash, The One Man Army Photographer of Coimbatore

Europeans travelled all the way to India in order to create portraits and sceneries. Many of them specialized in street life. The rich and the powerful commissioned them to produce enduring pieces. A lot of facts and fiction have been spun around the lives of these creators. Movies and novels have been made on this subject. In fact, the author Gayathri Prabhu in her book ‘Untitled’ has strung together a fine story based on the times of Tipu Sultan. The story is based on the life of a painter who…

Ayya’s Innovative Policy Changed The Face of Education In South

T S Avinashilingam Chettiar, A Visionary With A Mission T.S.Avinashilingam Chettiar (Ayya) was born in the May of 1903. He came under the influence of Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi. These influences led him to lead a life of dedication and service. He spearheaded the freedom movement in Tamilnadu from the year 1930 and was repeatedly incarcerated (1930, 1932 , 1941 and 1942). Ayya was elected to the Central Legislative Assembly in 1934. It was 1946 when he was elected to the Madras Legislative Assembly and he became…

Kovai Kizhar C.M.Ramachandran Chettiar, A Multifaceted Personality Par Excellence

Kovai Kizhar C.M.Ramachandran Chettiar was writer, leader, learner and teacher all his life. He was the President of the Cosmopolitan Club for a few years. He lived on Trichy road and Late Prof T.A.Venkatachalam used to recall the academic help and mentoring received from him in connection with Tamil during his school days. Prof T.A.Venkatachalam accompanied Kovai Kizhar C.M.Ramachandran, five of his relatives and visited Sri Lanka at the dawn of the Republic. Kovai Kizhar has written a book about this experience. He had attended a Tamil conference and given…

Celebrating Coimbatore’s Heritage On World Heritage Day

Coimbatore – The gift of Noyyal is the home to a lot of heritage. The Palakkad gap has blessed the city with salubrious weather. Thanks to this route a number of international travelers have visited the region. The territory was thus able to break all the barriers and move ahead. Let us celebrate the heritage of Coimbatore by revisiting it on this occasion. The two tiered clock tower is a fine piece of heritage. This century old building which houses the clock tower is the ‘autograph’ of Coimbatore. Yes, the…

‘Pettai’ And ‘Kottai’ That Existed In Composite Coimbatore District

Forts were very important those days. The strength of a kingdom was based on its defense mechanism. Mythology and history are full of forts. Kumbalgarh fort is endowed with the second longest wall in the world. The forts of Chitorgarh, Jodhpur, Amber, Delhi, Agra, Gwalior, Jhansi and the mighty forts of the Marathas are legendary. Shivaji’s general Tanaji lost his life while capturing the Sinhagad fort in the year 1670 AD. The Chandragiri and Golkonda forts are famous even today. Kingdoms were made and lost because of the forts held…

Vysial Street Residents Keep Traditions Alive On Ugadi Fest – Part II

A number of people would read the ‘Thula Cauvery Mahatmeeyam’ and have a bath in the River Noyyal or visit Srirangam during the Tamil month of Aippasi. Its a time when the waters of all the rivers are brought to River Cauvery by the North East Monsoons. Bathing in the waters of this sacred Cauvery is supposed to remove all our sins. Its a time when we are made to be aware of all our flaws and a correction process is put in place. Some people do not eat onions…

Vysial Street Residents Keep Traditions Alive On Ugadi Fest – Part I

The followers of Goddess Vasavi Kannika Parameswari hail from the Telugu speaking parts of our country. They migrated during the rule of Vijayanagar. These people have maintained their tradition while also adapting to Tamil culture. The Kula Devatas or family deities of these Telugu speaking people who moved over are fully located in Tamilnadu. The first tonsuring and ear piercing ceremonies of their children are done in these temples. These sacred thread wearing people pray in temples which are maintained by priests who do not wear the sacred thread (poonul).…

Festivals And Customs of Jewellers From Vysial Street – IV

The people of Vysial Street were known for the festivals and customs. Come adi month or ashadam in Telugu, the women will begin to get busy. They will begin to purchase the essentials required for the festival season. Cotton, turmeric, banana fibre, cooking ingredients, oil and ghee for pooja, sambrani, rope needed for the tying up of plantain to the mandapams, bangles, arecanuts, fabric, blouse materials, kumkumam, turmeric pods etc., The women of the household will begin to assemble the hardware required from their lofts, storerooms, cupboards and lockers at…

The Much Sought-After Pickle Making ‘Akkas’ @ Vysial Street Neighbourhood

Food helps us understand the cultural exchanges and commercial connections. The mercantile community was among the earliest to try out new items. They had the unique advantage of doing so for they dealt with the ingredients on a day to day basis. Items like Bengaluru pulusu, soup charu etc., were the outcome. Soup charu was full of English veggies and it was had with bread crumbs. Mysore charu was much preferred as a welcome break. It was an interesting type of rasam. Pickling was another art. The huge and wealthy…

Vysial Street Telugu Speaking People’s Food Culture (Part II)

The mercantile community of Vysial Street celebrate a number of festivals at their Vasavi Kannikaparameswari Temple. The Navarathri is used to be the time when eleven types of flavoured rice would be served to the people of the locality. Puliyodharai, Thakkali pandu annam, Pongal, chakkara Pongal, thenkai annam, nimma pandu annam, podi annam, kadambam annam, perugu annam etc., used to be cooked and served to thousands of people. The flavoured rice used to be packed in plantain leaves with old newspapers as the external wrapper and distributed from the entrance…