Thursday, August 17, 2006

Guindy War Memorial - my thoughts

Driving home after paying property tax at the ramshackle municipality office in Ramapuram near Guindy last week, I happened to pass the Guindy War Memorial. I have always wanted to visit this spot and I wanted to do it this time. I was not sure if I would be let into the memorial or if an entry fee would be charged. I decided to take a chance and called a worker who was trimming the grass in the memorial and asked him if I could enter. He asked me to check with the person in charge. I was looking for the person when a man with a beaming smile came forward and asked what I wanted. "Ulla varalama?" I asked. "Vaanga saar. Vandi koduvandirkingla? Orama park punnunga." I had never expected the caretaker to be so nice. I asked him if they charged entrance fees and he said no, because the memorial is being maintained by the British Government (Is that true?). I walked in through the side entrance (the main entrance has been blocked because of maintainance work) and entered a different world.

This memorial is the cleanest and greenest patch of land in the middle of all the concrete structures that have been built in the name of development. 

I walked around the memorial looking at the name tablets- there were soldiers from Africa, Austrailia and Britain, young men of different regiments aged between 19-24 who died serving the Queen in various conflicts of World War 2. I saw names of Sierra Leonians, Nigerians, Aussies and Brits. All the tablets were neatly arranged in the order of relegion.

There is also a structure dedicated to soldiers who died during WWI. What struck me however was  that this memrial is dedicated to Muslim, Christain and Jewish soldiers, all sharing the same space. How nice is that? Can we imagine the same thing now, in a time of conflict where relegions are turning on each other and certains relegions are getting stereotyped in the name of terrorism?

Go visit the memorial if you folks have time. Its on the way to the Nandambakkam Trade Center. Ask people for the Guindy War Memorial and they will point you to the place.Technorati Entry is free, the place is calm and transports you back to the past- rewind 61 years.

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Blogger Karthik Narayan said...

Ulla varalama

2:19 PM  

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