A convenient spot from which to trade-that was all the British wanted when they first landed on a sandy spit off the Coromandel Coast. Fate intervened and from that narrow strip of land grew Fort St George and the nucleus of the city of Madras. This book traces the growth of Madras from 1639 when Francis Day and Andrew Cogan persuaded the East India Company to set up a base here to 1947.
The history of Madras-renamed Chennai in 1996-is linked with the destiny of the country; finding the populace to be willing subjects, the East India Company's trading venture soon became a mission to rule. The book answers many questions: Was every Englishman honest and just? Why is there no record of prominent Indians of the era? Where have the Armenians and Jews, once the backbone of the city's commerce, gone? The author brings to light several forgotten gems of history and recounts with pride the antecedents of several Madras institutions such as the Corporation of Madras, the Elm industry, and the trail blazing newspapers and magazines of the time. Engagingly told with interesting anecdotes, the book brings to life the characters who shaped the history of the city.
Born in Orissa, K R A Narasiah had his early education in Tamil Nadu. He joined the Indian Navy in 1949, qualified as a marine engineer and sailed with the Navy for ten years. After leaving the Navy in 1963, he sailed in the merchant navy for some time before joining the Visakhapatnam Port in 1965 as a marine engineer. He retired as Chief Mechanical Engineer in 1991 after serving in that capacity for five years. During his service with the Navy, he was deputed to the Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast to stand by the modification of INS Vikrant, India's first aircraft carrier, and took charge as its flight deck chief. While he was at the pore, Narasiah's services were requisitioned by the Navy for the liberation of Bangladesh. He took part as a combatant sailor.
A consultant to the Indian Ports Association after retirement, Narasiah was invited in 1994 by the World Bank to be a part of the mission for the Emergency Rehabilitation Programme of Cambodia, where he served till 1996.
Narasiah has authored more than 100 short stories in Tamil. They have been published in three volumes, of which two of them have won State Government and other awards. His book on sea trade, Kadal Vazhi Vanikam, and the history of Madras in Tamil, Madrasapattinam have both won Tamil Nadu state awards under the category of history, Kambodia Ninaivugalin travelogue category and Sollonapperu in short stories collection category. Madrasapattinam also won an award in Chidambaram last year. Narasiah has co-authored with S Muthiah 125 years of Chennai Port, published in both English and Tarnil. He has nvo sons who both live abroad. He lives in Chennai with his wife.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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