On 83rd Memorial day, visitors look forward to a restored Kaj Schmidt monument. T.S. Atul Swaminathan reports
On December 30, 2013, the memorial of Kaj Schmidt was honoured by lighting of candles and offering of flowers at his memorial on Elliot’s Beach.
The day marked the 83rd death anniversary of the Danish sailor, who died a gallant death saving drowning people.
His memorial, battered by time and abuse, has been in the news for sometime now for the efforts to restore it.
With the restoration work having gained momentum, historian and writer K. R. A. Narasiah said, “The monument has to be maintained properly once the renovation work is over. The Chennai Corporation should take steps to prevent people from scribbles on its walls.”
S. R. Prabhakar Rao, vice-consul, Royal Danish Consulate, Chennai, said the Danish authorities were keen on maintaining the edifice by fencing it and raising a garden with the help of corporate bodies.
He appreciated the efforts taken by social activists Kamakshi Subramaniam and T. D. Babu in pushing authorities towards undertaking the restoration work.
“We are looking forward to seeing a Schmidt memorial that has been restored to its old glory. After its restoration, the monument should be protected from all sorts of vandalism and declared a heritage structure,” the activists said.Additional boulders
T. Sathyamurthy of Reach Foundation says the foundation of the structure has been strengthened with additional boulders. Metal rods are being pinned to set right the cracks. K. Rajendran, an asariyar, said the flooring and laying of design stones were on. Restoration would be completed in two months.
K. Gopal, president, Urur Kuppam Fishermen Association, Besant Nagar, who was present on the occasion, recalled the various film scenes that were shot near the memorial.