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When the postman knocked



A. P. Patro

BRINGING ME up-to-date with names I've mentioned in recent Madrascapes are Readers Mrs. N. Shanmugasundaram, former Principal of Queen Mary's College, and T.M. Sundararaman. Correcting me on Ebrahim Peermohammed & Co (September 24), Mrs. Shanmugasundaram tells me that Mohammed Ali Zinna who started Zinna & Co., had two sons, Ali Mohammed Zinna and Peer Mohammed Zinna, who renamed the business using their names jointly. The shop was well-known for its imported chairs, but also sold imported crockery and cutlery. After the death of the brothers, the business was renamed Zinnasons by their sons. The family were neighbours of hers, writes Mrs. Shanmugasundaram who adds, "As far as possible they married locally, into other Gujarati Muslim families, and, so, considered Madras their home".

* Reader Sundararaman, referring to my mention of Yeshwant Vecumsee (October 15), recalls his father Hiralal Vecumsee Shah who insisted the firm's advertisement should always be on The Hindu's front page by the side of the masthead. This was a constant for years - and was probably the best recognised advertisement in the paper, my correspondent surmises.

* Keshav Bagh (Madrascapes October 29) was the home of Sir A.P. Patro, I've been told by many. Patro, a zamindar from Berhampore, now in southern Orissa, was a founder member of the Justice Party and Education Minister in its first two governments (1920 and 1923). He was knighted during his first ministerial tenure, no doubt for what was said of him in a later assessment: "He took education to the door of the villager and habituated him to the necessity of literacy." Patro began his political career with the Congress and in 1915, it was pointedly noted, was the only non-Brahmin in the All-India Congress Committee. In 1928, he led before the Simon Commission the Madras Legislative Council Committee that sought autonomy for the provinces and dominion status for India.

S. MUTHIAH

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