How Burma Sold us the Bazaar.
I recently met with a chennai veteran who told me this interesting backdrop to the Burma Bazaar of Chennai, which accounts for most of our media hightlights, that I thought I’d share it with y’all.
So, here’s how the story apparently goes. Back in the days, around the time when we had just gotten our independence, there were quite a few people from the region who were working in plantations in Burma. There was a sizeable working population that was from India, and life went on. When a new emperor/king took over Burma, as a means of doing what Srilanka started off to do as well, the government wanted to increase the chances of locals getting employed, so kicked out all the non-burmese population out of the country. Quite a few countries interfered and so did India, especially TamilNadu.
Out of humanitarian concern, the govt of tamilnadu setup a strip of land, where the refugees could sell whatever posessions they had – most of them were plantation equipment, so that with that money they could start a living. This was around 1962. The selling still goes on :)
How much of this is true, I am not sure, but it certainly rings true from whatever research I’ve done. Have you heard any other story? Can someone add to this, if they do more?
This city has such a rich heritage of the past. Would love to dig up more stories like this.
Photo Credit: The Hindu.