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Unbelievable! A Government project to build a dam that cost 15% less than the budget estimate. It happened in British India in 1862 for the construction of Pooniar Annicut on the Pennar river in (1973) South Arcot District. I am not able to identify this dam in modern-day Tamil Nadu, which one is it now? PS: I found this page in one of the old Lifco Publishers Private Limited stotra (religious hymns) books.

During every visit to Fort St. George Museum, I learn something new about the British era. It may be because I keep forgetting most of what I saw the next day of the visit! It was 2010 when I had last visited the Fort St.George Museum which is in the same compound as that of the Tamil Nadu State Government’s Secretariat. Today after my meeting at the secretariat, I had some time to spare, so I visited the museum. There is an entry fee of Rs.25 per person (Indian Citizens) collected by Archaeological Society of India (ASI) who own and…

The South Asian monsoon, past, present and future. A story of famines and trade, science and cupidity, by the Economist This is a wonderful article in the Economist magazine (sorry, you may need a subscription to read it in full) giving an introduction to monsoons in India and a historical overview of the water crisis in India. I understood more about the North East (Summer) and the South West (Winter) monsoons than whatever I have read in my school textbooks. The report also gives explains in simple terms how Jet Streams works, what is El Nino, and why cyclones are…

Reading an article in The Economist about the state of affairs in #SouthAfrica, it occurred to me that the word apartheid, meaning of which we all know, could’ve been a combination of two simple words – apart and heid. “Apart” meaning is well known. “Heid”, I guessed was a form of “herd” like in “they were herded into a bus”. The full word was to mean “to keep the herds apart”. Looking up the etymology for the word Apartheid, I have guessed almost correct. The word comes from Afrikaans, roots of which are from the Dutch word “Apart” and English…

The future of architecture is culture. Philip Johnson In a culturally rich country like India, you will find influences of art, history and mythology everywhere, except in one place – yes, you got it right – the shopping malls that have come up in all the cities – they are all “air-conditioned, sanitized, standardized” and devout of creativity. So when I saw the posting about a culture walk being done by Mr Sriram V titled “Stories of South India” at Chennai’s newest shopping arcade,  the VR Mall, Anna Nagar I was intrigued. If anyone can narrate elements of history in…