Sunday, September 9, 2012

The S-bend

Okay, so it is not really the ‘S’ bend. It would have been nice to get the Adayar river to heed the conventions of the Roman script, but the river has its own mind.

Few history textbooks of record it, but the Battle of Adayar was also one of the arms in the S-bend of the city’s history. When the French turned the British out of Fort St George, the Nawab of Carnatic thought he could do the same to the French. Knowing that the French army was only around 2,000, mostly native soldiers, the Nawab thought they would be no match for his force of over 10,000. He did not realize that the spahis (or siphais, or sepoys), trained by the French, fought to a different drummer than that of his force. The Nawab was crushed; European training and discipline trumped native daring and courage. The battle thus finalized a template that would be used by the British to hold the country together for a couple of centuries after that.

There is a different march on the river these days. A decade ago, a picture like this would have shown very few buildings. One hopes they remain the only constructions even in the years to come!

No comments: