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Showing posts from June, 2016

The Alavandar case

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A case that shook Madras in 1953, all for a pen……
The Telugu Komati Chetties had been trading in Madras for a long time and were pretty good at it, holding privileged positions with the British in the pre independence days, well located in the (China town) Parry’s corner and Broadway environs of old Madras. The kothwal market or the Kothachawady was something which owes its origin to them, so also many of the old businesses and shops, which old timers frequented. But this is about an unsavory character of their lot, one Alavandar who traded in pens, plastic goods and sarees and his timely demise, if I may term it so. This Alavander, a namesake of the great Vaishnavite philosopher, was no good man, but a philanderer, often preying on young women. As it transpired, in the autumn months of 1951, he chanced upon a young girl of 22, named Devaki Menon, who visited the shop he worked in (it still exists) called Gem and Co to buy a fountain pen. Such pens were much treasured in those days an…