Walking around Chennai a few months ago, one of the things that jumped out at me was this: why are so few roads named after women? I then went on a personal mission to find them. This was surprisingly hard, since they are few and far between; but this obsession grew into The Roads Project and a search for the women of Madras.
Kanchana Venkatesh, who worked as a summer research intern at Prajnya and I looked for roads (and Nagars) that were named after women – REAL women, not goddesses – and did some research on who they were, their stories, their lives, and the contributions they made to Madras or India. While the rationale for some of the road names is fairly obvious (for example, Besant Avenue houses the Theosophical Society), others are fairly obscure (e.g. Rani Annadurai Street).
The first of our Roads Project posts will appear on the 14th of August (tomorrow) and then everyday for the next three weeks!
You can also see how these roads are maintained (by and large, not very well!) and where they are. The next time you pass any of these roads, or wander into a Nagar named after a woman, we hope you will remember who she is and what she has accomplished. If we missed the road, we hope you will write in and tell us! Send in an entry in the same format as these posts, and we may even publish it under this rubric!
We present the results to you as part of Madras Week – this is a perfect opportunity to get to know the women of Madras.