Join DSCI and the Chennai committee at the Annual Gandhi Memorial Lecture! The speaker this year, Prakash Kumar Ph.D., Associate Professor of History at Colorado State University, will be presenting his lecture on “The Gandhian Voice: Protest Movements in India”. Learn more
India Movie Night: Bollywood Film: Aisha Discussion led by Dr. Vinnie Piturro and Dr. Jim Aubrey Date: March 12, 2013, Tuesday Time: 7:00-9:00 pm Where: Sie Film Center, 2510 East Colfax Avenue Tickets: will be $10 each, available at Learn more
The Denver-Chennai Sister Cities Committee cordially invites you to The 2012 Annual Mahatma Gandhi Lecture Gandhi in Madras Gandhi in Chennai Speaker: Andrew Muldoon Ph.D. Sunday, October 7, 2012 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Refreshments and discussion will follow Learn more
Please join us as we celebrate the Chennai Committee with our 25 for $25 dinner at Jai Ho Restaurant, 3055 S. Parker Rd., Aurora, CO 80014 on Sunday, March 4, 2012 at 5:30pm. The $25 price includes a non-alcoholic beverage, Learn more
When: September 11, Sunday at 4:00pm Where: Denver Film Center, 2510 East Colfax Bombay is a story of love between a Hindu and a Muslim who become caught up in the religious riots of the early 1990s (in Tamil, Learn more
The Chennai Committee meets on a monthly basis. The meetings are usually potluck dinners at members’ homes. Please see the calendar of events for meeting dates and times. Chairperson: Karin Schumacher Phone: 303.321.1634 Email: email@example.com
From 1636 until the year 1999, Denver’s 7th sister city was known as Madras but in the year 1999 the name Madras was officially changed to Chennai. Why is the name Madras or Chennai? Here are some speculations and facts.
Madras, the desolate and isolated coastal sandy beach, was selected as a trading center for the East India Company run by the British merchants during the 1630s. The British, to a large extent, are responsible for the present shape and structure of Chennai. Andrew Cogan and Francis Day, two officers of the East India Company, recommended this isolated and desolate sandy beach to be developed as the future headquarters of the East India Trading Company in South India.
The hard-drinking, enthusiastic gambler and lusty womanizer, Francis Day, with the support of his partner, Andrew Cogan, played a very key role in selecting and selling this location to the company authorities. Besides the professional wisdom of establishing the trading headquarters in an isolated coastal area and thus assuring both easy access to the trading center by sea and security from the local public, Day, according to reports and rumors, also had some very personal reasons in selecting this sight because this happened to be the location of his mistress’s residence.
Cogan and Day identified a large area where a plantain garden was flourishing under the stewardship of one Portuguese family for the company fort. The plantain garden and the surrounding area were occupied and cultivated by a Catholic named Madarasan. In the negotiations with Madarasan to secure the lease for this place, Madarasan demanded that the place where they planned to build the factory town should be named after him (Madarasan Patanam). Thus the land where Fort St. George was built was called Madarasan and later Madaras and then Madras.
Even though Madarasan had the lease of the land, the land was actually owned by a ruling family of that area known as Vinayaks. The company needed to get the permission of the Vinayaks before starting the construction for the headquarters. The Vinayaks, in turn, wanted to call the area Chinna Patanam after their father, Chinnappa. So the people living in the newly developing area of Fort St. George called it Madras while the Tamil purists called it Chennai, a short version of Chinnappa Patanam.
There is also a third theory about the name Madras. It was reported that before the arrival of the British within the present boundaries of Madras, there was a Muslim settlement in that area and, as part of the flourishing settlement, the Muslim community also established well-known educational institutions which are called Madarsah, the Persian word for schools and colleges. So the place where Madarsah was located came to be known as Madras.
Chennai, became Denver’s seventh sister city in 1984. Near the tip of India on the Bay of Bengal, the scent of sandalwood floats in the warm air of this city which is considered the Hollywood of India. From 1636 until the year 1999, Denver’s 7th sister city was known as Madras but in the year 1999 the name Madras was officially changed to Chennai.
In Denver, the Chennai park and a special peacock named Krishna at the Denver Zoo remind us of our sister city. In Chennai, the Denver House provides a home where people from Denver can visit and stay.
To fulfill the mission of the Sister Cities, The Denver-Chennai Committee sponsors a variety of programs every year:
Ghandi Memorial Event: Beginning in 2001, the Chennai Committee began presenting an annual Gandhi Memorial lecture to the Denver residents in October. It is timed to coincide with the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. This lecture series is made possible by a generous endowment by Ms. Dolly Simon, the Honorary Secretary of the Indo-American Association.
Lectures: The members present lectures on India with slides to church groups, students of senior and junior high schools and other organizations. Book discussions: The Committee sponsors book discussions on an ongoing basis. Some examples are discussions on Dr. Deepak Chopra’s Ageless Body and Timeless Mind, Thakkoor’s Freedom at Midnight, Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom.
Cultural presentations: Shows of Indian music, dance and fashions with food bazaars. Every year, the Committee presents for the public at least one such event.
Exchange Programs: Youth exchange in which students from Denver visit Chennai and the Indo-America Association acts as their hosts during the length of such stays. Indian students are sponsored for higher studies in American colleges and universities.
Delegations: When special events are taking place in Chennai or in Denver, official delegations are sent to the respective cities. When the local or federal government decides to send a delegation to explore future business or trade relations with the sister city, the sister city members provide the necessary introductions to the members of the Denver delegation.
Special Events: Special events are events planned by the Denver Sister Cities International or the City of Denver in which all the sister cities participate. Some examples: In 1996, the Mayor of Denver, Hon. Wellington Webb decided to open the city hall as a place to exhibit art and craft works from the nine sister cities to enhance the opportunity for the people of Denver to have a greater appreciation of the people of these nine affiliates. The Denver-Chennai Committee volunteered to mount the first exhibit in March 1996. Hon. Mayor Wellington Webb and First Lady Wilma Webb opened this exhibit in the City Hall in March and the exhibit was on display until June 1996.
The Mayor requested that each of the Sister Cities mount a permanent display case in the city hall. In the permanent display case for Chennai, the Chennai Committee placed, among other things, a bronze statue of Gandhi made by Professor Gopal of the Chennai Arts and Crafts College. This statue is modeled after the one in Tobi Stock Square in London, where the Mahatma is depicted in a sitting position holding a book. An image of this London statue is shown on Indian television in the beginning of parliamentary news every night.
The Denver-Chennai Committee provides support for events sponsored by the Denver Sister Cities International such as the International Convention or the upcoming 50th anniversary celebration of the Sister Cities International.
Support of Fund-Raising Efforts: Gathering signatures from the people in the neighborhood to name a park honoring one of the sister cities. The Chennai Park next to the Indian Creek was born as a result of gathering signatures from that neighborhood by members of the Denver Chennai committee chaired by Mrs. Frances Walloch.
Following an earthquake in the sea bed of the Indonesian coast, Denver’s Sister City, Chennai, India, was devastated by the SE Asian tsunami on December 26, 2004. At least 6,000 people in the Chennai area died and homes and livelihoods were destroyed.
Denver Sister Cities International immediately responded to our Sister City’s needs and organized several fundraisers in the Denver Metro area, including a successful event with KHOW 630 Radio at the Denver Press Club* on January 5, 2005. This well – attended event included appearances by Mayor John Hickenlooper and Governor Bill Owens, as well as support by KHOW radio hosts, Dan Caplis and Craig Silverman, Rocky Mountain News columnist, Penny Parker, and Frontier Airlines.
Over $60,000 has been raised for short-term relief, all of which has been sent to Chennai. Denver Sister Cities International chose to donate all fundraising proceeds to Chennai – based nonprofit, Udavum Karangal~, or My Helping Hands, a Government of Chennai-approved nonprofit with a lengthy history of helping orphans and poor villagers. These proceeds will contribute to the rebuilding of villages in recognition of the Denver – Chennai Sister City relationship. Denver Sister Cities International plans to adopt 100 families on the Chennai coast, with an initial cost estimate of $500 / family. This amount will go towards long-term relief of constructing new homes and providing medicine, food, clothing, and utensils for cooking.
If you are interested in becoming involved with continued fundraising efforts for our long-term commitment to Chennai, please contact the DSCI Office. Denver Sister Cities International will also continue to accept monetary donations for this project, with checks made out to the “DSCI Chennai Tsunami Relief Fund”:
Denver Sister Cities International
2480 W. 26th Avenue, Ste. 20-B
Denver, CO 80211
For more information, visit:
My Helping Hands (Tsunami Relief)
The Chennai Committee meets on a monthly basis. The meetings are usually potluck dinners at members’ homes. Please see the calendar of events for meeting dates and times.
Chairperson: Karin Schumacher