Monday, December 27, 2010

Knowing the Classics: Participating in a Literary Tradition: Prof. Blake Wentworth

Tamil Paaramabariyam
(Tamil Heritage)
invite you and your friends to a lecture on
Knowing the Classics: Participating in a Literary Tradition
by
 Prof. Blake Wentworth
at 5.30pm on Saturday, 1st, January, 2011
at Vinobha Hall, Thakkar Bapa Vidyalaya, T Nagar, Chennai - 17
Abstract:

What makes classical Tamil literature classic, and for whom is this true?  Caṅkam literature, the Rāmāyaṇa of Kampaṉ, and select Cōḻa period masterpieces might well be the prime contenders today, but was this likewise true for Tamil literati of previous centuries?  There is a rich history of poets beyond the Cōḻa period, masters such as Iraṭṭaiyār, Cēṟai Kavirāja Piḷḷai, or Antakakkavi Vīrarākava Mutaliyār, all of whom worked decisive changes in the Tamil literary sensibility.  How did they envision the tradition they upheld?  I would like to share the texts and biography of the great seventeenth-century poet Andhakakavi Vīrarāghava Mutaliyār, analyzing his life and work in order to understand how he and his audience understood the literary, and what they took to be classic.  What did a poet of this era think literature was for, what were its powers, and how did it relate to the texts that had come before? For Andhakakavi, too, had his exemplars, and by knowing who they were, and how they were to be invoked and transformed through the poet's creative art, we can better understand what it meant to say that someone had the gift of poetry once the Tamil Śaiva tradition had already recognized its classics. 

Blake Wentworth is a lecturer in Tamil and Religious studies at Yale University.  His work concentrates on the theistic religions of south India, with a particular focus on their Tamil and Sanskrit literary expressions.  At present he is working on a critical study of the Tamil Ulās, a literary genre that depicts the processions of gods and heroes.  His translation of Sundara Ramasamy's Oru Puḷiyamarattiṉ Katai (Tamarind History) is forthcoming from Penguin India.  He leads the Kamparāmāyaṇa translation project for the Murty Classical Library of India, and is translating the text's first volume, The Rāmāyaṇa of Kampaṉ: Youth.

RSVP:
A. Annamalai: Gandhi Study Centre - gandhicentre@gmail.com; 94441-83198
Badri Seshadri: Kizhakku-p-padippakam - badri@nhm.in; 98840-66566
TK Ramachandran, IAS : TN Slum Clearance Board - tkramachandranias@hotmail.com; 99406-41144
S. Kannan: Bank of Baroda - 2498 5836)
S. Swaminathan: Marg Constructions - sswami99@gmail.com; 2467 1501
R. Gopu, writergopu@yahoo.com, 9841724641
T. Sivasubramanian, siva.durasoft@gmail.com, 98842-94494

Monday, November 29, 2010

Indian Scluptures - Katherine Brobeck

Tamil Paaramabariyam
(Tamil Heritage)
invite you and your friends to an interview of
Katherine Brobeck
(An American enthusiast of Indian sculptures):
Interviewer
S. Swaminathan
(Tamil Heritage Trust)
at 5.30pm on the 4th of December, 2010
at Vinobha Hall, Thakkar Bapa Vidyalaya, T Nagar.


About Katherine Brobeck:
Katherine Brobeck (67 years) is an enthusiastic aficionado from the US. Her present major interest is sculptures of Tamilnadu, with special emphasis on those belonging to the Pallava, early Chola, Muttaraiyar and Irukkuvelir periods. She has been traveling extensively and presently on her 13th visit to India. Here is a brief autobiographical sketch.
“I am 67, born and raised in the SF bay area, California, my father was an engineer at Oak Ridge project, World War II; then chief engineer at University of California, Berkeley Radiation Laboratory. I was admitted to a good college, studying music, but dropped out in '63, no direction, floundered until mid-80s when I re-discovered a love of India, Sabhu as 'Elephant Boy' in the early Korda film, & rekindled in the old USA book, “Ripley's Believe it or Not. . . opening with sadhus at Kasi, performing extreme tapas: following the sun cross the sky each day until blind, holding up one arm until muscles atrophied, etc.  [I was only 8] but that extreme quest for GOD inspired me. Winter '93-94 worked in a small orphanage in eastern Gujarat, Bilimora, and after that felt confidant to travel all over India to ancient, obscure sacred sites.
“I work as a clerk in a public library in New England, USA. Every other year I go to India. I've now travelled extensively in India 12 times -- Dwarka to Sundarbans, Madurai to Delhi.
“My greatest joy is to look hard at each image and notice each telling detail. 'Faces' make the greatest impact on me - even if the body is fine, if the face is inexpressive, I'm not be too impressed. I'm quite fussy in judging something '1st rate.'  I know little of the classic aesthetic but judge by my own responses. I would like to help out in preservation [of early murthis especially], in any way I can.
“On my trip Jan '07, I was inspired by Narthamalai, Kodumbalur, Sendalai, Kudimiyanmalai, Thirugokarnam, Keezhaiyur & the two koils at Tirumayam. My two favorite temples in all India are Vijaylaya Cholesvara, Narthamalai; & Malegitte Sivalaya, Badami, Karnataka.
“There are also many murthis I can't identify which I would love to know about, their puranas, etc.”

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

ASTRONOMY (PART I of 2) - R. Gopu

Tamil Paaramabariyam
(Tamil Heritage)
invite you and your friends to a lecture on
ASTRONOMY (PART I of 2)
by
 R. Gopu
at 5.30pm on Saturday, 6th, November, 2010
at Vinobha Hall, Thakkar Bapa Vidyalaya, T Nagar.
Abstract:

Astronomy may be described as the earthly pursuit of celestial objects. It has inspired brilliant science and also fooled brilliant scientists. It is perhaps the oldest, most organized and most methodical of sciences, but it has influenced and in turn been influenced by religions, superstitions, politics, wars and importantly, mathematics. It has gone through brief periods of brilliance and long periods of stasis. Astronomers have started some wars and stopped at least one.

Indian astronomy has its roots in the Vedanga jyotisa sastra. It was later developed under several siddhantas like the Surya Siddhantha, Paitamaha Siddhantha and Vaasishta Siddhantha, until the arrival of the great astronomer, Aryabhata, whose works provoked admiration, commentary, refutation, correction and a school of astronomy that lasted over a thousand years, especially in Kerala.

The oldest civilizations of Mesopotomia, Egypt, Greece, India, China and Meso America performed methodical observations of the night sky. They have left us a wealth of interesting artifacts, literature, symbols. It is fascinating how much their methods have differed even though the objects of their observations have been mostly the same.

The first lecture will discuss Astronomy of Ancient Cultures, their Number systems, calendars, interpretation of celestial events and cultural perceptions. It will also discuss the development of zero in different cultures and ancient astronomical instruments, and lost and languishing manuscripts.

The second lecture on Indian Astronomy will discuss the major phases in Indian astronomy and the works of geniuses like Aryabhata, Varahamihira, Brahmagupta, Bhaskara, Paramesvara and Nilakanta Somyyaji; the various schools, debates and controversies that raged over a thousand years (some still continue); influence of Babylonians and Greeks, effect on Arabs, Persians and Europeans.
______________________________________________________________________________________
RSVP:
A. Annamalai: Gandhi Study Centre - gandhicentre@gmail.com; 94441-83198
Badri Seshadri: Kizhakku-p-padippakam - badri@nhm.in; 98840-66566
T. Sivasubramanian: siva.durasoft@gmail.com; 98842-94494
S. Swaminathan: Marg Constructions - sswami99@gmail.com; 2467 1501

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Naval Mutiny - Narasiah and others

Tamil Paaramabariyam
(Tamil Heritage)
invite you and your friends to an Interactive Session honoring Sailors (and Heroes)
Mr. Amirapu Ramarao, Mr. Achanta Ramarao and Mr. Gabriel
Anchored by
Mr. Narasiah
at 5.30pm on the Gandhi Jayanthi Day (2nd October, 2010)
at Vinobha Hall, Thakkar Bapa Vidyalaya, T Nagar.

Abstract:
1. Amirapu Ramarao: A senior marine engineer; trained in Dufferin in the early forties, went to sea and was in a ship which was sunk by the Japs off Cuttack; some survived by sheer grace of God; one among them being Ramarao, who was badly scorched by fire from the incendiary shell yet with determination swam to catch hold of a raft and reached shore after several hours of struggle. The Nurses when they saw him didnt believe that he would survive as he was badly scalded. They took him to a military hospital in Cuttack and later sent him back.  He continued to serve till he became Chief engineer, and later joined the South Indian Railway to take over as Marine Superintendent at Mandapam to look after the ferries of the Boat Mail.  His son also is a mariner Capt Suresh Amirapu.

2. Achanta Ramarao: A marine engineer, and also from T S Dufferin, served several years at sea. He is the son of the illustrious lady Rukmini Lakshimapathi! She encouraged him to go to sea when she herself was fighting the British and jailed! When she sent him she seems to have told him that as and when India becomes independent India would require specialists and therefore he should join Dufferin! He says he was saluting the Union Jack when she was in Vellore prison for defying the British!  Incidentally Capt Suresh amirapu has married Achanta Ramarao's daughter! They have more than a dozen mariners in the family of Orthodox Telugu Brahmins!

3. Mr Gabriel: A petty officer of the erstwhile Royal Indian Navy, joined the mutineers in 1946. The great Naval Mutiny which hastened the Independence of India. He was jailed in Vizag and when he was to be released, the authorities saw that he had a photograph of Gandhiji in his cell!   When asked to remove he refused and was asked to serve further 10 days in prison which he gladly did.

Aren't we proud of them!

Just imagine the bandicoots in the name of politicians, corrupt, spoiling the name of the country!

And we STILL HAVE SUCH PERSONALITIES  who we should salute on this occasion of the day of the occurrence of Gandhiji!

RSVP:
A. Annamalai: Gandhi Study Centre - gandhicentre@gmail.com; 94441-83198
Badri Seshadri: Kizhakku-p-padippakam - badri@nhm.in; 98840-66566
TK Ramachandran, IAS : TN Slum Clearance Board - tkramachandranias@hotmail.com; 99406-41144
S. Kannan: Bank of Baroda - 2498 5836)
S. Swaminathan: Marg Constructions - sswami99@gmail.com; 2467 1501

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Adichchanallur: Rea’s Excavation to Re-excavation by T. Satyamurthi


Tamil Paaramabariyam
(Tamil Heritage)
invite you and your friends to a talk by
Dr T. Satyamurthi
(Former Superintending Archaeologist
Archaeological Survey of India
on
                        Adichchanallur: Rea’s Excavation to Re-excavation
at 5.30pm on the 4th of September, 2010
at Vinobha Hall, Thakkar Bapa Vidyalaya, T Nagar.



Abstract of talk:
The later part of the last century witnessed many significant archaeological discoveries in India. In post-independence period explorations conducted in India had yielded good results and Archaeologists could encounter as much as 250 sites of Indus culture. Some major excavations in these sites also established the fact that Indus civilization had spread over an area more than that it was originally concluded.
However in the south very few excavations were conducted. However, the aim here was to trace the root of Iron Age culture and record its ramifications. The superimposed iron copper materials in the southern Indian sites had added more complexity to the magnitude of the problem of identifying two different metal age cultures. Among the many such sites that had yielded both the metals the series of sites explored by Alexander Rea (1904) on the banks of Tamiraparani during the beginning of the last century draw our attention to find a solution to the problem. He had discovered as much as 38 sites from Tirunelveli to Mukkani in Tuttukudi District with in a distance of 50 km. Adichchanallur is one among them.
These excavations had proved that the ancient site at Adichanallur is the most extensive site that yielded numerous cultural assemblages of that period. Besides skeletal remains, potteries of various kinds, implements and weapons of iron, bronze ornaments, gold diadems were encountered by Rea. Many antiquities had striking similarity with their counterparts discovered in ancient sites like taxila and Rairh as in the case of metal mirror. The bronze mirrors of ancient sites in India including North West have are comparable with Adichanallur findings. In short the discovery had revealed the indigenous origin from a common place. Nevertheless the burial relics and the habitation remains got mingled and the excavation could not establish a civilization of far excellence.
The re excavation during 2004-2005 after a period of hundred years by the present author had yielded many results to establish the existence of a metropolitan settlement here. The people here excelled in many technologies including metallurgy. Applied Art also nourished here and the site formed a model to many settlements in the south. The lecture deals many facets of ancient Indian proto-historic civilization.



About the speaker:
Thyagaraja Satyamurthy (1946) hails from Chidambaram the famous temple town of Tamil Nadu. His father, being a freedom fighter, had trained him in many Swadesi crafts including spinning and he learnt Yajur Vedic chanting in traditional methodology under the Guru Chidambaram Natesa Sastrigal. After his degree in physics he opted to study post-graduation in Sanskrit in Annamalai University. He continued his research in ancient Dharma Sastras under the guidance of Dr.C.V.Venkatesan and the subject of his doctoral thesis was “Evolution of Concept of Dharma in pre puranic literature”. He was a rank-holder in the Institute of Archaeology, New Delhi (1972-73). He had his training in iconography and Art under Dr Sivaramamurthy and K.V.Soundararajan.
During 1970 he was appointed as Curator in the Museums Branch in Archaeological Survey of India and had reorganized many Museums including Red Fort, Khajuraho, Halebid, Purana Qila, Padmanabhapuram Mueseums. He was a successful archaeologist and administrator in ASI and recorded his ability in Vadodara, Bhubaneswar, Thrissur and Chennai circles. On deputation to Government of Kerala as Director, he reorganized the Department of Archaeology with vibrant activities.
Among the archaeological excavations he participated, the sites in Krishnajanmasthan at Mathura, Purana Qila in New Delhi and Ayodhya are worth mentioning. Under his leadership the megalithic site in Mangadu (Kollam District); Adichchanallur (Tuttukudi District) and Salvankuppam, near Mamallapuram were excavated.
His contributions include the scientific dating of Kerala megaliths, defining the habitational and burial areas in Adichchanallur and discovery of early pre-Pallava temple dedicated to Muruga in Mamallapuram. The discovery of paleo-tsunami deposits, for the first time in Indian sites in the excavations, gave a new momentum in the field of geophysical sciences. He could successfully digitally document the Chola murals in the dark chambers of Thanjavur temple and displayed them.
He has authored five books including the architecture of Chidambaram Nataraja Temple. He has contributed more than sixty research articles in various internally reputed journals. As art historian he has visited many museums in United States and Reunion Islands. On an invitation from the Srilankan government, he prepared a master plan for rebuilding the fallen Kedarevara temple at Manthai.
After his superannuation he is guiding REACH FOUNDATION, a voluntary youth organization, engaged in conservation of built up heritage.


RSVP:
A. Annamalai: Gandhi Study Centre - gandhicentre@gmail.com; 94441-83198
Badri Seshadri: Kizhakku-p-padippakam - badri@nhm.in; 98840-66566
TK Ramachandran, IAS : TN Slum Clearance Board - tkramachandranias@hotmail.com; 99406-41144
S. Kannan: Bank of Baroda - 2498 5836)
S. Swaminathan: Marg Constructions - sswami99@gmail.com; 2467 1501

Friday, July 30, 2010

ஏ.கே.செட்டியார் பற்றி ஞானாலயா கிருஷ்ணமுர்த்தி

2010_August_Gnanalaya_Krishnamurthy_Invitation

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A unique website on the Mahabharata - Arvind Venkatraman

Tamil Paaramabariyam
(Tamil Heritage)
invites you and your friends to a programme of
Presenting a unique website
on the Mahabharata
hosted by
Jijith Nedumari Ravi
by
Arvind Venkataraman
at 5.30 pm on the 3rd of July, 2010 (Saturday)
at Vinobha Hall, Thakkar Bapa Vidyalaya, T Nagar.

About the presentation
The epic Mahabharata is remarkable. This, along with Ramayana, knits the culture of pan-India. It has stirred imagination of people from all walks of life, from philosophers, artists etc to common folks. We have here an instance how it has kindled the creative urge of 21st century techy. Using the English translation of the encyclopaedic work by Ganguly available on-line, Jijith Nedumari Ravi, an NRI in the US, developed a remarkable site, for Mahabharatha, called Ancientvoice.
A composition of the size of Mahabaratha has numerous characters, places, animals, weapons etc. Ancientvoice offers better search facilities and novel feature of indexing all unique nouns. Thus the analysis thereof becomes interesting.
Jijith, apart from offering the text and the indexing, has gone further in researching the epic to come out with illuminating articles, illustrative maps and paintings. He has also probed the epic scientifically and has come up with various hypotheses. These hypotheses are thought-provoking. Irrespective of the person's subscription to the hypothesis, these would induce the readers to look at the epic from a fresh perspective and often leading the view to examine the epic in a new light. The says:
This website is a wiki site like Wikipedia, but contains much more features than a Wikipedia. It contains within it the whole of Mahabharata wikified containing more than 2000 wiki pages and more than 200,000 hyperlinks. It contains 7500 plus categorized pages dedicated to each noun in Mahabharata. It contains videos, images, digital maps (Epic India), Google maps (Epic India) and animations related to Mahabharata, created by the author. It also contains many articles authored by the author and his research material which was the result of 20 years of research into Mahabharata.

Arvind would introduce the site and highlight the features of the site. He would try to make the programme interactive.
This would be followed by a discussion on what other activities can be taken up on similar lines and what value we could bring.
For your information:
Jijith’s site is www.ancientvoice.wikidot.com
Jijith himself has put on the net an introductory PPT which can be accessed at http://ancientvoice.wikidot.com/local--files/new-visitor-page/Ancient%20Voice.pps
Ganguly’s translation of the Mahabharata may be found in the site www.Sacred-texts.com
 
About the speaker:
Arvind, an IT professional from Chennai, is interested in history, Tamil poetry and art, especially, temple art. He dabbles in photography and shares his photographs in Picasa at http://picasaweb.google.co.in/arvind.venkatraman, which has close to 100 albums covering mostly temples of Tamilnadu. He likes to read both fiction and non-fiction, spends a lot of his time on the internet and has travelled widely, both within India and abroad. He is also an avid follower of classical movies - English, Tamil, Hindi.
He is very keen in embarking on projects documenting various heritage sites in Tamilnadu and making it available on the net for public. He is keen to enlist support on this regard.
He lives in Ekkatuthangal with his wife and his twins - daughter and son. His email ID is arvind.venkatraman@gmail.com.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Ejji Umamahesh - A Congenital Sybarite

Tamil Paaramabariyam
(Tamil Heritage)
invites you and your friends to an evening with
Ejji Umamahesh
(A Congenital Sybarite)
presented by
Chithan
(Editor: Yugamayini)
at 5.30 pm on the 5th of June, 2010
at Vinobha Hall, Thakkar Bapa Vidyalaya, T Nagar.
 
(Biodata of Ejji as PDF is attached)
 
RSVP:
A. Annamalai: Gandhi Study Centre - gandhicentre@gmail.com; 94441-83198
Badri Seshadri: Kizhakku-p-padippakam - badri@nhm.in; 98840-66566
TK Ramachandran, IAS : TN Slum Clearance Board - tkramachandranias@hotmail.com; 99406-41144
S. Kannan: Bank of Baroda - 2498 5836)
S. Swaminathan: Marg Constructions - sswami99@gmail.com; 2467 1501

Friday, April 30, 2010

Ninaivin Nagaram, A Documentary by A. Sashikanth

Tamil Paaramabariyam
(Tamil Heritage)
invites you and your friends to the screening of a Documentary
Ninaivin Nagaram
(City of the Mind)
produced by
A. Sashikanth
at 5.30pm on the 1st of May, 2010
at Vinobha Hall, Thakkar Bapa Vidyalaya, T Nagar.

The producer says:
I have made two documentaries, Ninaivin Nagaram and Kelai Draupadai, both are connected with the Mahabharata koothu. The first deals with the history of the region around Senji which gave rise to a unique Mahabharata festival celebrated in over 200 villages in Tamilnadu. The documentary is of 75 minute duration. This will be shown during this programme. The later is a visual celebration of the festival and runs for a little more than two hours and can be screened at a later time.
Ninaivin Nagaram
This documentary, that would be screened, deals with the history of the region around Senji which gave rise to a unique Mahabharata festival celebrated in over 200 villages in Tamilnadu. The film is a meditation on memory, mythology and history.
A war which happened in the 6th century AD, between the Chalukyas and the Pallavas seems to have left quite a mark on the minds of the people, and is the earliest memory celebrated in this festival. The asuran called Vatapi, a metaphor for Badami and hence of the Chalukyas figures in a lot of narratives around this festival. The festival seems to have started as a record of the Pallavas initial defeat at the hands of the Chalukyas and their subsequent regrouping and victory over the Chalukyas.
Pothu Raja, the popular way in which the Pallava kings were known becomes the first ‘ellai sami’ or guardian deity of Draupadi and hence the people, as Draupadi is seen as the symbol of all people affected by war.
As this region went through a series of wars and was conquered numerous times by many armies, all the memories of those troubled times found its way into the mythology of this festival. Mutthal Ravuttan, a Muslim general becomes the second guardian deity of Draupadi, referring to the Bijapur invasion; and Pormannan, a reference to the Vijayanagar kingdom which ruled this place from the 13th to 15th century AD, becomes the 3rd guardian deity of Draupadi.
The last straw on the camel’s back was the permanent settlement act brought out by the British in 1803, where they created ‘Zamindars’ who were basically tax collection agents for the British and the exorbitant tax which they expected from the people, and the barbarity with which they went out to collect the tax from the people. The people unable to pay the taxes and unable to resist the British, migrated enmasse from this region, and what was once a huge metropolis in the 16th century, was according to the British census of 1871 a ruined city with only 571 people. The memory of this can be seen in the Ballad of Desingu Rajan which has been composed 100 years after his death, where Desingu is venerated as the King who resisted paying taxes to the Nawab of Arcot.
The resonance of this exile of the people from their own land can be seen in this festival -which I would like to call a festival of exile with hope of a return.
I am giving below the twin documentary I have produced, for your information
Synopsis of Kelai Draupada
In over 200 Villages in Tamilnadu, the Mahabharata is performed as a festival. In this, for 20 days and 20 hours per day, the Mahabharata is narrated as a story, performed as a villager ritual and enacted as ritual theatre. The Mahabharata is seen as an anti-war text, and listening to the Mahabharata one is meant to introspect as to what causes conflict and strive for ‘samarasam’ or peace and harmony. The central position of this festival is that ‘rigid’ identities like caste, gender, power lead necessarily to conflict and the question the festival poses is whether one would like to have rigid identities and war or fluid identities and peace. The festival becomes a space where you affirm your individual identities and ‘transcend’ them. All castes in the village have a role to play in the festival and in some villages the Muslim community also participates as one of the deities of this festival is Mutthala Ravuttan, a Tamil Rowther Muslim. The festival has been performed for over 1300 years and is an important document of the social structure of pre colonial, what is currently called, Tamilnadu.
The Mahabharata which is performed is also a doubled text; it is both the Sanskrit text and also the Mahabharata, or the record of wars, which have been endured by these villages. The Mahabharata which is remembered here is a record of the resilience of the people and an affirmation of their will to live through troubled times.
This festival is of a long duration – from 10 days to 40 days and contains a number of elements – narration of the literary Mahabahara epic by Villipuththur Azhwar, rituals involving the icon of Draupati and theru-k-kooththu of the relevant episode at night. In this kooththu there is the mingling of the serious and the profane.
----
About myself
An alumnus of Film and Television of India, Pune, I worked for 15 years in Calcutta as a cinematographer shooting 10 features and over 200 documentaries. Chief credits would be ‘Kaal Abhirati’ [Bengali feature, Dir. Amitabh Chakraborty, National Award for best experimental feature, 1991], ‘Yugant’ [Bengali feature film, Dir. Aparna Sen, Best Bengali Film, 1995]. I have been directing and shooting independently for the past few years and the last 3 years have been devoted to research and shooting of these 2 films. They were made possible by a grant from The India Foundation for the Arts, Bangalore.

S. Sashikanth (kanth.sashi@gmail.com)

RSVP:
A. Annamalai: Gandhi Study Centre - gandhicentre@gmail.com; 94441-83198
Badri Seshadri: Kizhakku-p-padippakam - badri@nhm.in; 98840-66566
TK Ramachandran, IAS : TN Slum Clearance Board - tkramachandranias@hotmail.com; 99406-41144
S. Kannan: Bank of Baroda - 2498 5836)
S. Swaminathan: Marg Constructions - sswami99@gmail.com; 2467 1501

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Great Penance Panel - Dr. Balusamy

Tamil Paaramabariyam
(Tamil Heritage Group)
invites you and your friends to a talk on
the Great Penance Panel
of Mamllapuram
by
Dr S Balusamy
at 5.30pm on the 3rd of April, 2010
at Vinobha Hall, Thakkar Bapa Vidyalaya, T Nagar.


About the Talk
Open-air bas-relief is a novel innovation by the Pallavas, unique only to Mamallapuram. It has not been reproduced anywhere else in India since then. Amongst the bas-reliefs in Mamallapuram, the greatest is 'The Great Penance'.

Some scholars have interpreted this as Arjuna's Penance. The ascetic in penance is seen as Arjuna, who wants as book from Lord Shiva, the Pasupathastra. Few other scholars interpret this scene as Bagiratha's Penance. After failed attempts Bagiratha's father and grandfather, Bagiratha succeeds in his penance and convinces Ganga to come down. The only person who can hold the force of Ganga is Lord Shiva, and Bagiratha continues his penance and gets Shiva to gently receive Ganga and then pass her on to the earth.

Which of the two stories above is depicted in Mamallapuram? Some scholars even think the whole panel is a slesha - it is a single panel representing both the stories.

Dr Balusamy has a fresh perspective. For him, The Great Penance Panel holds much more. He concurs that it is Arjuna doing the penance and it is Shiva offering the Pasupathastra. But according to Balusamy, the sculptors of Mamallapuram have attempted something much bigger.

In the process, Balusamy has meticulously catalogued every character in the large panel: every animal and bird, every celestial being and every human. Balusamy shows that the animals there are not depicted randomly. They all belong to a specific place and they have been carefully selected and depicted there.

Why is the 'hypocritical cat' carved there? What is the idea? Is it simple humour? Balusamy has a clear answer to this.

Balusamy's work is truly a work of a great scholar and yet easily accessible to the lay men. His work on The Great Penance panel has been published as a book in Tamil by Kalachuvadu.

Dr Balusamy is well known to the Tamil literary world through his pseudonym, Barathiputhran and presently teaches Tamil in the Madras Christian College.
 
RSVP:
A. Annamalai: Gandhi Study Centre - gandhicentre@gmail.com; 94441-83198
Badri Seshadri: Kizhakku-p-padippakam - badri@nhm.in; 98840-66566
TK Ramachandran, IAS : TN Slum Clearance Board - tkramachandranias@hotmail.com; 99406-41144
S. Kannan: Bank of Baroda - 2498 5836)
S. Swaminathan: Marg Constructions - sswami99@gmail.com; 2467 1501


Monday, March 1, 2010

A Quest for True Learning and the Rebirth of a Village - KB Jinan

Tamil Paaramabariyam

invites you to an illustrated presentation on

KUMBHAM:
A Quest for True Learning and 
the Rebirth of a Village

by 
 KB Jinan
at 5.30pm on the 6th of March, 2010

at Vinobha Hall, Thakkar Bapa Vidyalaya, T Nagar.

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KB Jinan is the founder of KUMBHAM, an artisan community that has rehabilated itself from the brink of losing its craft, and is now redefining it for the modern world. KUMBHAM is located in Aruvacode, a hamlet near Nilambur in Malapuram district of Kerala. Today KUMBHAM can claim that it has facilitated a product range of over 500 designs including kitchenware, garden amenities, furniture, office ware, murals, landscaping products and other accessories. Mr Jinan states that one his goals is not merely showcase terracotta as nostalgic substitute for plastic and steel, but as a state of the art material, to create wholesome products, both aesthetically pleasing and extremely useful. To those of us in the general public, to whom terracotta is just unpainted pottery, this is revelatory and thought provoking.

Mr Jinan says his quest began as a search for identity, authenticity and self-redemption. It was voyage prompted by deficiencies of formal education, a sense of loss of innate cultural sensibilities. It culminated in the founding of KUMBHAM, engaging a community of potters whose craft was in its death throes, which helped them realize their latent creativity and skills, whose products are sought after.

Mr Jinan's hypothesis is that learning is a biological process, not just a cultural activity. He believes that formal education sets up a conflict between an innate impulse and forced learning process. It is this restoration of learning at Aruvacode that he believes is his true accomplishment, and the revival and renaissance a consequence thereof.
 
Atached are a few terracotta compositions of KUMBHAM. For further information about KUMBHAM and Mr Jinan's ideas: you may peruse the following web sites.
www.re-cognition.org
www.kumbham.org
http://my.opera.com/jinankb/blog/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/terracotta_murals/sets/72157594503980465/
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RSVP:
A. Annamalai: Gandhi Study Centre - gandhicentre@gmail.com; 94441-83198
Badri Seshadri: Kizhakku-p-padippakam - badri@nhm.in; 98840-66566
TK Ramachandran, IAS : TN Slum Clearance Board - tkramachandranias@hotmail.com; 99406-41144
S. Kannan: Bank of Baroda - 2498 5836)
S. Swaminathan: Marg Constructions - sswami99@gmail.com; 2467 1501

Monday, February 1, 2010

Paintings of Ajanta: Ajanta’s Textile Heritage

Tamil Heritage Group
invite you and your friends
for the second part of a two-part serial talk on
Paintings of Ajanta:
Ajanta’s Textile Heritage
by Bhushavali Natarajan & S. Swaminathan
on 6-2-2010 (Saturday)
Time: 5-30 PM
Venue:
Vinobha Hall, Thakkar Bapa Vdyalaya Complex
58, Venkatanarayana Road, T. Nagar, Chennai – 600 017

About the talk:
The mural paintings of the Ajanta caves are unique. As for as the sculptures or temple architectures are concerned, more than one can compete with for the first position, but the paintings here have no parallels.
Covering a span of about eight centuries, one can see the beginning of the Ajanta art tradition that reaches maturity and becomes baroque before declining. This Buddhist art is the earliest in India and was also the inspiration for religious art in India and the entire south and south-east Asia.
Though religious in nature, the paintings here reflects the secular society too, which is their special feature. For example, the textiles that we find on the walls of Ajanta are truly amazing. We find that a host of very sophisticated techniques, like sectional warping, tie-dyed yarn, block printing, ikat – single & double, bandhani etc, have been in vogue as can be seen in the paintings and the tradition, which is at least fifteen centuries old and is still living.
We are celebrating this truly indigenous religious art and its textile heritage of Ajanta in two sessions. On the 2nd of January, 2010, Thiru Swaminathan gave an overview of the paintings of Ajanta, to provide a background. In this second session, he will be assisting Bhushavali, a textile designer, to showcase the textile heritage of the Ajanta paintings. In this second talk there would also be an exhibition of modern textile that is found in Ajanta to show the continuity of this heritage.
About the speakers:
S. Swaminathan taught Mechanical Engineering in IIT-Delhi and is a culture-enthusiast and, after retirement in 2000, concentrates in heritage-related activities.
Bhushavali Natarajan is a young textile designer working in Karur.

RSVP:
A. Annamalai: Gandhi Study Centre -
gandhicentre@gmail.com; 94441-83198
Badri Seshadri: Kizhakku-p-padippakam -
badri@nhm.in; 98840-66566
TK Ramachandran, IAS : TN Slum Clearance Board -
tkramachandranias@hotmail.com; 99406-41144
S. Kannan: 98414-47974)
S. Swaminathan: Marg Constructions -
sswami99@gmail.com; (Res)2467 1501; (Off 24347458)