31 October, 2020

Chennai Diary

Chennai continues to have a robust image and is still, as the song goes, Madras nalla Madras

Chennai Diary
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Madras-ville

Although its politicians tend to dull its shine (2G, Jayalalitha’s antics), Chennai continues to have a robust image and is still, as the song goes, Madras nalla Madras. Some see it as the education capital of India, some as a medical tourism hub, others as the most industrialised state of the south—although its power crisis takes the sheen of this claim; or, with its clutch of car companies, call it the Detroit of Asia. It is a pulsating, cosmopolitan megalopolis, which has a nightlife that belies its conservative image. The revenue from liquor (sold by the government) in the last financial year was Rs 18,000 crore; during the recent five-day Deepavali fete, Rs 250 crore worth of booze was downed.

Years ago, hearing Hindi or seeing a woman in a ‘churidar’ (as salwar kameezes are called here) was rarer than rare. The booming IT and construction sectors make the anti-Hindi agitation that put DMK chief M. Karunanidhi on the map a receding memory though politicians continue to make anti-Hindi noises come...

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