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Will the legacy of one the most influential figures in the kingdom endure?
IN 1936, when the French first launched the “Transindochinois” railway service linking Hanoi with Saigon, there were gala celebrations, sports competitions and commemorative stamps galore â€“ all presided over by the debonair Governor-General and the Vietnamese Emperor, Bao Dai.
NEARLY four years ago, the south Indian city of Chennai (capital of Tamil Nadu) was under water. The worst floods in living history – the result of cyclones from the Bay of Bengal – had reduced this manufacturing and services powerhouse of eleven million to a standstill as brackish water lapped at the wheels of the planes parked at the Anna International Airport. The human tragedy was substantial, with over 500 deaths and some 1.8 million people displaced.
HISTORIANS deal with the past. As the architects of our collective memory; they record, document and preserve. History can never be objective because like any form of storytelling, there’s always a writer or narrator who selects, edits and crafts the source material. Biases are therefore to be expected. The best we can do is to be aware of their existence.