Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Who's the man?

It is one of the shopping hotspots of Chennai, but how it came by its name remains a mystery. The pavements along Sir Theyagaraya Road are chock-full of anything that you would ever need in life. Someone said of Harrods; "If you ask them for an elephant meat sandwich, they will ask you what kind of bread you would like". The traders of Pondy Bazaar would go further than that, I reckon and offer you the entire range of elephants, from African to the woolly mammoth. Of course, if you were showing off, you'd probably end up with the meat of some local mammal, which may not be the case at Harrods.

Who was the 'Pondy' of the bazaar? Was it a contraction of 'Pandian' the dynasty that ruled over Madurai of yore? Was it because the first traders came from Pondicherry - one version has it that a certain Devaraja Mudaliar from Pondicherry built the first shops on Sir Theyagaraya Road and called it Pondy Bazaar? Or, as a school mate averred, long years ago, is it a corruption of the lingerie that's one of the fastest selling items on the pavement?

Some years ago, the state government declared that the original name of this market - 'bazaar' in Hindi, 'angadi' in Tamil - is 'Soundarapandianar Angadi'. Conveniently, they did not mention what Soundarapandianar's claim to fame is, so I'm guessing he must be some party big shot's ancestor!


13 comments:

Tifossi said...

lol...damn funny

sansmerci said...

good research.. i never thought bout this.. there is even a soundarapandian store in t nagar i guess?

Shantaram said...

>> Tifossi>> :)

>> Sansmerci>> That's right! Didn't think about it being a connection.... will have to figure that one out!!

bitterscotch said...

now thats an interesting bit of trivia. thanks

Shantaram said...

>> Arun>> You're welcome ;) Haven't seen a photoquiz from you recently?

chorinchath said...

Pondicherry may sound to be the logical conclusion or else it would have been Pandi bazar

Shantaram said...

>> Chorinchath>> Oh, those British! Can't even say 'Pandi' properly...

saalai said...

the man soundrapandian was one of the founding fathers of justice party and rationalist movement

saalai said...

Though the area got its name from the Self-respect movement leader W.P.A. Soundara Pandian, its name was subsequently shortened. Hereafter, the Pondy Bazaar would be called the Soundara Pandian market place.

Vaish said...

Ugh tell me about it! It is such a pain when the officials insist on us refering to the area as Soundarapandianar Angadi. I shudder thinking about our next story on the area!

Shantaram said...

@ Saalai: You're right, and the man's statue is not far away from this police station...

@ Vaish: Tough one! What kind of story, BTW?

Paul Mathew said...

I too have wondered on occasion where the 'Pondy' came from. Whether you are right or wrong, or whether good old Sundarapandy's anscestors had something to do with it or not, it certainly makes interesting reading. Thank you. Great stuff !

Shantaram said...

@ Paul: Can't be anyone else - and there's a statue of his close to the police station, too!