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Madras turns 380: A nostalgic journey from old Madras to modern Chennai


Chennai, Aug 22: Madras, a city deserves to celebrate its birthday today. From a sleepy hamlet, Chennai has now transformed into a bustling metropolis dotted with skyscrapers, malls and IT offices stretching beyond the city limits. It is an eventful journey of 380 years, for the city with charm.

File photo of Madras

The city was believed to have been founded on August 22, 1639. A British-era name that brought with it a lot of old world charm and memories associated with it, Madras was rechristened Chennai by the DMK Government in 1996.

Madras, or Chennai, is not only known for its sumptuous spicy menu but also boasts of the sandy Marina, billed as the world's second longest beach, the multi-million rupee Tamil cinema industry whose icons include M G Ramachandran, Sivaji Ganesan, Kamal Haasan and Rajnikanth.

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A German ship that rocked Madras

The city has the rather unenviable record of being bombed by a German ship, Emden, in 1917 during the first World War, that tested the then British rulers' resolve though it did not cause much damage to the city.

Since then, Emden has found a place in the Tamil lexicon, meaning someone who is determined and bound to create trouble.

Chennai now a major metropolises

Today Chennai has emerged as one of the four major metropolises in India and stands tall with impressive strides in education, health care, IT, history, tourism, automobile industries and movies.

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The city can also boost of being the second largest IT hub in the country, next to Bangalore. Ashok Leyland, Hyundai and Ford have set up manufacturing units in and around Chennai. So also have Nissan and German luxury marque BMW.

The city has emerged as the second largest film production centre of the country behind Mumbai, with over 45 studios and also the 'medical capital' of India, with a large number of corporate hospitals coming up.

Chennai woes

Chennai has one of the world's fastest-growing economies, but it's out of the water and unscheduled power cuts. Chennai's population has more than tripled in three decades and nearly two-thirds of the population in Chennai, face a severe water crisis.

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