Thursday, 29 August 2013

British Council joined the Madras Week celebrations this year to commemorate the history and heritage of Madras.

The key programme on Madras Day, 22 August 2013, was the day long seminar at Amir Mahal, the official residence of the Nawab of Arcot and his family.

The seminar ‘Wallajah, Pigot and Tanjore: Did they transform trading to expansionism?’ is very much a niche topic and was attended by Historians, History teachers and other audience interested in this topic.

HH Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali, Prince of Arcot digitally inaugurated the seminar and delivered the Inaugural Address. During the inauguration speech the Prince of Arcot said, ’Madras is home to a diversity of people of different States, languages, cultures, traditions and they have all contributed immensely to the city. And what better way to celebrate it than Madras Day’.

Stephan Roman spoke on his research topic Madras Conspiracy. He spoke about the events that took place under the Madras Presidency between 1771-1778 that led to the invasion of the principality of Tanjore in 1773 and the consequences of which were the overthrow of the Rajah of Tanjore, the coup against Governor, Baron George Pigot, in 1776 by members of the Madras Council, and the crisis that this directly precipitated for the East India Company in both India and in England (1776-78).

Reputed Historian and Writer on Madras, S. Muthiah said, in many ways Pigot was a tragic figure. “The tragedy of Pigot was buried in St.Mary’s church in an unmarked grave. Many years later the body was found during an excavation’, he said. ‘It could well be said that it was under Pigot that a trading house began to dream of becoming a ruling power’, Mr.Muthiah added.

S. Anwar (Writer, Photographer and Filmmaker) during his presentation on the ‘Wallajahs and Madras’ explained how there was religious harmony amongst people during colonial periods.

British Council Chennai had initiated a series of competitions as part of Madras Memories to reach out to a wider audience through the digital medium beginning of the month. There were blogging competitions, old Madras photo identification contests and quizzes on various topics of history of old Madras.

Additional details on Madras Memories can be found here. The winners from our Madras week contests were presented with their prizes at the event.

For more information, kindly contact 42050600 or e-mail

About the British Council

The British Council creates international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide. We are a Royal Charter charity, established as the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. Our 7,000 staff in over 100 countries work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year through English, arts, education and society programmes.

The British Council is recognised across India for its network of 9 libraries and cultural centres. We offer a range of specialised projects in arts, education, exams, English language and society to audiences across India and more than 100,000 members. We also provide access to English language training and learning for both students and teachers, offer UK qualifications in India and enable opportunities to study in the UK.

We also manage prestigious scholarships and training awards, including the Jubilee scholarships, the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan and the Charles Wallace India Trust awards. Our English language teaching centres in Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Kolkata provide a range of general and business English classes, specialised skills based programmes and young learner courses. We work with a wide range of Indian partners in cities all over India enabling British and Indian experts to meet and collaborate and to nurture mutually beneficial relationships.

A quarter of our funding comes from a UK government grant and we earn the remainder from services which customers pay for, education and development contracts we bid for, and from partnerships.