Monday, November 8, 2010

White man!

Well, I give up. He has lent his name to one of the better-known roads in Chennai (and also to a locality in Choolai), but I haven't been able to get much information about this man. It is said that he was the first Commissioner of the Corporation of Madras from the ICS - that steel frame of the Raj - but even with that lead, there does not seem to be much information available about this man.

Even his statue, in the main corridor of Ripon Building, where he once had his office, has been painted over so many times that his features have become rather difficult to discern. Just like the man himself, the statue also seems to blend into the wall - only the railing stops you from ignoring it altogether. Complete whitewash, I say!



Hi Shantaram,

Nice to see you back!!!
The statue is that of Conran Smith who was indeed the first ICS Commissioner of the Madras Corporation..

Am trying to gather more information on this person..

Shantaram said...

@ Karthik: Thank you, it is good to be back! Yes, it is Conran Smith (he's identified on the statue's base). Missed his name in the post, entirely inadvertently. Talk about being fated to be anonymous!!

Do let me know when you have something more on the man!

P.N. Subramanian said...

Thanks to Shri Karthik for the disclosure.

Unknown said...

It's a long time since the original comment was posted, but someone might see this! Eric Conran-Smith was my grandfather, if anyone is really interested in more information about him, please do contact me! Deborah Gill

Shantaram said...

Hello Deborah.

I've been so much behind on this blog that I am just getting around to responding.

You've commented anonymously, so I'm not able to figure out how to get in touch. My mail id is

I hope you get to see this!