August 19, 2006

Madras Day : Involvement of youth

Here is the good news for Madras Day. Lots of youngpeople are asking us questions. Many others want to get involved. Wow!
The School-KFI is keen to send 12 students on the FortSt. George walk. Since I have time on my hands forTuesday morning (Aug. 22, 9.30 am), I will double up as the guide. This walk is exclusively for schoolstudents and we are willing to accommodate at least 75kids on that special tour.
Well, you can make this tour on your own but mmmmm. .. . you may not get to the army barracks or to the hidden ramparts. Nor will you get to imagine the whirr of ghosts that swish through the ruins at the far end of Snobs Alley.
A lot many schools have also signed up for the popular Heritage Project. To be hosted by six schools in different neighbourhoods - over150 students will spend six hours to put up a project from scratch - and weare encouraging them to bypass models of Central Railway Station and San Thome Cathedral and focus on the history of their own neigbourhoods or the condition of local canals or explore a heritage house.
You would agree that we need to get our children to know our city better. So that they grow up to have a say in its affairs.
Some of us are also blogging our own experiences in the run up to Madras Week ( Aug. 20 to 27).
A sort of behind-the-scenes journal.(
Feedback has been flowing in here ( and we’d love to have more!).
A senior gentleman wonders why we are making so much about ‘Madras Day’ and so much more about heritage buildings when his milk man and his maid have to be more bothered about the daily grind than a city’s celebration.
Another wants to know how a neighbourhood in North Madras can get up an event to celebrate the city.
I wouldn’t want to go into a debate on the pros and cons of‘Madras Day’.
We believe that we need to be proud of this city, warts and all, and that an event is an occasion to bring awareness, focus and re-generation.
If our young people are showing greater interest in our city, our seniors could do more.
Madras Day is not just about waving flags or illuminating public or important buildings. It is also an occasion for people to debate on issues and work on them.
I can’t think of a better one than a closer look, a discussion and follow-up on what the recent state budget has for this city.
Yes, there is a handsome budget for development of north Madras, of addressing the transport demand and civic issues.
But isn’t there a need for people to engage with ministers and bureaucrats on the budget as well as on the planning and implementation process?
On the blog, I receive a comment just now - on the need for strong city mayors with vision and courage to take Chennai forward. What do you think?
Perhaps if all our CEOs and community leaders got together and formed a ginger group-like body, things would be a little better.
Think of it - we haven’t seen this happen in Chennai. Why?

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