Sunday, February 22, 2009

Madras Presidency War Fund Raffles

Today's item focus on contribution from Madras presidency during world war II.

At its greatest extent, Madras Presidency included much of southern India, including the present-day Indian State of Tamil Nadu, the Malabar region of North Kerala, Lakshadweep Islands, the Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions of Andhra Pradesh, Brahmapur and Ganjam districts of Orissa and the Bellary, Dakshina Kannada, and Udupi districts of Karnataka. The capital was at Madras, now known as Chennai.

In 1908, the province comprised 22 districts each under a District Collector. Today, we cover North Arcot, Ramnad, Tanjore and Madura districts under British rule.

North Arcot

North Arcot district formed a key province in the then Madras Presidency, under the control of the Nawabs of Arcot. During world war II, North Arcot held a grand raffle to aid the war plane fund.

As shown above, the raffle was held at 1st Dec, 1940. The ticket price was 4 annas. North Arcot had Mughal/Muslim influence and they tried to imitate the Hyderabad's Nawab fund raising campaign. As we know, Hydeabad had raised funds for 2 squadrons of Splitfire airplanes. Nawab of North Arcots also tried the same. Even though, they were not as successful as Hyderabad.


Another district under Madras presidency which issued raffles for victory in war was Ramnad. Ramnad or Ramanathapuram (as it is known) is close to Rameshwaram, one of the main pilgrim centres in India.

This is where the difference in war raffles start showing. If you notice Ramnad had issued Victory raffles of denomination 1 Rupee in Tamil not English. Perhaps the reason could be that the area is close to Sri Lankan peninsula. And, both the sides of ocean, Tamil population was predominant with not much influence of English in those era. These were still hard core Tamil place.


While Madura or Madurai as it is known had issued raffle in aid of warplane fund in demonination of 8 Annas in both English and Tamil language. Perhaps, the reason lies in the fact that Madurai is one of the oldest continually inhabited city in the Indian peninsula with a history dating all the way back to the Sangam period of the pre-Christian era. And, the very fact that it was accomdating to change in culture over period of time (the reason of survival), that it had adapted English language also.

Well! Madurai is major tourist attraction in Southern India. It is also referred as Temple city. Madurai's cultural heritage goes back 2,500 years, and the city has been an important commercial center and has conducted trade as far as Rome and Greece since as early as 550 B.C.E.


And the last item that I want to present belongs to another oldest place in Southern India: Tanjore.

Tanjore or Thanjavur (as it is known) is one of the oldest cities in India and has a long and varied history dating back to Sangam period. The city rose into prominence during the rule of the Later Cholas when it served as the capital of the Chola empire. After the fall of the Cholas, the city was ruled by the Pandyas, Vijayanagar Empire, the Madurai Nayaks, the Thanjavur Nayaks, the Thanjavur Marathas and finally the British!

Shown above is image of raffle issued by Tanjore District war committee to aid H.E. the governor's war fund. The draw date was 8th Dec 1940. The denomination of ticket was 8 Annas same as Madura warplane fund raffle.

Now, Thanjavur is an important center of South Indian art and architecture. Most of the Great Living Chola Temples, an UNESCO World Heritage Monument are located in an around Thanjavur.

For any tourist coming to Southern India, a visit to all these places: Madurai, Tanjore and Rameshwaram is a divine experience, specially for people having interest in history, architecture and civilizations. These places are rich in culture and offer variety of memoirs to be taken back home.

I guess, I should become another ambassador of "Incredible India!" campaign run by Toursim department of Govt. of India :D

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Is there anymore information you can give on this subject. It answers a lot of my questions but there is still more info I need. I will drop you an email if I can find it. Never mind I will just use the contact form. Hopefully you can help me further.

- Robson

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