Wednesday, September 26, 2012
At the very basic level, this bridge connects Blackers Road to Adithanar Salai across the Cooum. Adithanar Salai was earlier known as Harris Road and it would not be out of place to call this one the Harris Bridge; not that it was known as such earlier, but other connects spring from Harris and he has to be introduced sooner than later.
The road was named for George Francis Robert Harris, 3rd Baron Harris, who was the Governor of Madras from 1854 to 1859. If nothing else, his term as Governor saw the massive upheaval of the political landscape after the First War of Indian Independence in 1857. Madras was largely untouched by that rebellion (was the quelling of Vellore Mutiny still fresh in memory?) to the extent that Governor Harris sent almost the entire Presidency army out to lift the siege of Cawnpore. He oversaw the transfer of Madras from the British East India Company to Queen Victoria before his tenure as Governor ended in 1859. In the meanwhile, he is also said to have introduced 'Devil's Pepper', which he brought over from his earlier position as the Governor of Trinidad. There is some speculation about this variety going on to become the Bhut Jolokia.
Compared to that culinary connect, it is a much more straightforward connect between this bridge and Mumbai Schools Cricket. Harris Shield, for the winner of the inter-schools cricket tournament in Mumbai is named after Governor Harris' son, George Robert Canning Harris, the 4th Baron Harris. The 4th went on to chair the meeting which launched the Imperial Cricket Conference in 1909; it is tempting to think that Master Robert would have learnt the rudiments of his cricket in Madras!