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Madras and Her Hidden Letters

Folklores are oral archives from the past, it can or cannot be true. Francis Day and his purchase of Madras is such a tale. This small-town talk conceives the notion that the city is sprouted from a love affair. It was the 15th century when the freedom fleeted and coloniser’s fabrics flourished in India. The British decided to plant a new factory in the south peninsula and commissioned Andrew Cogan assisted by Francis Day on the mission. Francis Day set on his journey to find the perfect fit for the British settlement. Madras did not have a natural harbour, and for a long period, huge ships had to wait to find a timely tide to port the ship. Madras was fenced by the Dutch, Portuguese and French, and it is pretty unlikely to commence a city amidst its enemy neighbours. Madras was not easy to maintain, it burnt holes in the pockets of the East India Company, and Francis was often questioned by the crown on the movements of money. They say, he landed for a lady in the coastal land, struck by the strings of love, Francis put his search at a standstill, closed his compass, fixed a place that no land pioneer would pick, and got drunk on love and displaced the political play.

Dear Francis,

Why didn't the treacherous sea with no dock seize your search?

Didn't your rouge rivals in the neighbourhood nudge you not to seek here?

Was it not audible that you were accountable for your poisonous pirate pounds?

How did the obvious odds offer to your odyssey?

What was it that made you mount a metropolitan?

Did her colours really blind you? Or it is the sound mystery of the secret love that one cannot comprehend?

Oh Madras, you land of love! How many stories do you have in store? Were you born out of love or did you carry it in your womb?

About the Author:

Anushri Muthusamy is a Public policy student based in Chennai. She is passionate about history, society, poltics, cities and cultures. She has previously published articles on indigenous political poetries and the financial dynamics of gender.

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