Lafond was an Anglo-Indian of the 1860s. He was also probably the first among non-Europeans to rise high in the Madras police force. He became Deputy Commissioner. His track record is of a kind that today’s politicians would have loved. In 1860, he, under the instructions of his boss Boulderson, stood aside to watch the Wesleyan Mission being ransacked by ‘majority’ community members. The latter were protesting the conversion of Vijayaranga, who in turn claimed he was changing over voluntarily.
The Government of Madras was not amused and strictures were passed against Lafond. Vijayaranga converted in any case and became a lay priest or something of that kind. But, and here is where the mystery is, Lafond is remembered in a street just behind the Zion Church in Chintadripet. Only his spelling as can be seen, is causing a lot of confusion, or should we say conpusion?
Whoever painted that sign knew enough French to realise that D is often silent when appearing at the en of a wor. And we have no ‘F’ in Tamil (oh Puck!). The B instead of P is probably a #bathma or #kogul.
Then came the realisation that Lafond was not French. But we still have no F and so…
But why is he remembered at all?