Posts Categorized: Arts & Culture

Be Tamil – A Poem

Be Tamil – a poem by NM [PDF] A Poem: Be Tamil… The brief notes below will be informative and is of relevance to the poem. The poem has the phrase “sprouting gopurams”. The  well known Yugoslavian Tamil researcher Kamil Zvelebil, writing about the period that followed the ubiquitous sprouting of gopurams said, “Tamil became “the… Read more »

Learning to Cook South Indian Food

by Lavanya Ramanathan, ‘The Washington Post,’ November 3, 2014 A decade ago, after just a few ill-fated and highly self-esteem-damaging attempts to learn my native South Indian cuisine, I threw in the rice cooker. Really. I chucked my tiny four-cup nemesis into a dumpster, and with it any illusions that I’d ever make dosa, please… Read more »

Critiquing Nationalism

Tagore recognises the problem of races as the most menacing of the issues faced by India, making our history a continual social adjustment rather than one of organised power for defence or aggression or the rise and fall of dynasties as in the case of most other countries. Social regulation of differences with a spiritual recognition of unity has been the twin strategy for her to cope with her ethnic multiplicity. Tagore is sharply critical of the rigidity of social stratification in India and the resulting crippling of her people’s minds, the insularity of world views and the perpetuation of hierarchies. But he is even more critical of the West where “the national machinery of commerce and politics turns out neatly compressed bales of humanity which have their use and high market value; but they are bound in iron hoops, labelled and separated off with scientific care and precision”…

Whatever hopes of world peace, the dismantling of the Soviet Union and the rhetoric of globalisation had raised for the unthinking have been erased by the post-1980s genocides in Bosnia, Somalia, Iraq, Sri Lanka and Gujarat…

Tagore circumvents the issue of civilisational hierarchy by contrasting civilisations through their respective capacities for handling difference and sees history proceeding through the effects of one civilisation on another, thus placing civilisations symmetrically rather than in a progressive hierarchy. Tagore provides an alternative to the narrative modes of his time by directly critiquing the basis of the global modern located in its homelands in the West through the counter-universal. He neither privileges the “difference” of the post-colonial world nor critiques universalism itself as an embodiment of Western culture; “instead he interrogates the basis of a universal, modern Western project of nation-making by posing a counter-universal derived from his location in the East”. He invokes the East as an ensemble of non-instrumentalist modes of social relationships which can supply the principles for an alternative to the “Nation”, a Western creation.

Kannagi-Pattini – a Symbol of Resilience to the Women Left Behind

‘Invoking the Goddess’ Exhibit One heat-stunned afternoon, I climbed onto a bicycle and started pedalling through the streets of Jaffna. That weekend the city blushed with a great sun and I swerved my bicycle over to the shadowy parts of the streets as I pedalled. Women walked alongside the roads, wearing bright coloured saris and… Read more »

Draupadi’s Shades of Dark

by Lora Tomas, ‘Himal,’ Kathmandu, September 12, 2014 We were welcomed by nine supposedly different representations of Durga’s various aspects, all exact lookalikes. Standing upright, one next to the other, they resembled a crew of Bollywoodised flight attendants: blindingly white and tawdry mannequins with flagrantly rouged lips stretched into Mona Lisa smiles. It seemed as… Read more »

Give Me Permission, Our Country

‘Vidai Kodu Naade’ by Jessica on the Super Singer Junior TV program in Chennai from the film 2002 “Kannathil Muthamittal” with music written by A.R. Rahman This is a song sung by an Eelam Tamil teenager Jessica living with her parents in Tamil Nadu for her grandmother, who is currently living in Canada. Jessica’s song… Read more »

Legend of Ponnivala

PRESS RELEASEFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE “Legend of Ponnivala” airing in India on Thanthi TV – Animated epic series premiered February 15 – GORE’S LANDING, ON (February, 2014) – India’s Thanthi TV has released the launch dates for the long-awaited animated series “The Legend of Ponnivala.” The original 26-episode series premiered in Tamil on Thanthi at 5:30 p.m…. Read more »

Cooking Blogs

Some interesting food & cooking blogs.  Please suggest your favorites to be added to the list. Sri Lankan Cusine at http://srilankancuisine.wordpress.com/…includes such essentials as Jaffna curry powder. My Tamil Kitchen at http://mytamilkitchen.com/ Sri Lanka Recipes at http://www.srilankanrecipes.info/recipes/index.aspx Rice and Curry at http://riceandcurry.wordpress.com/ The Feast for All at http://thefeastforall.com/ Malini’s Kitchen at http://www.infolanka.com/recipes/index.html Tamil Festivals is no longer active, but has many… Read more »

The Good Men of India

Let me introduce the Common Indian Male, a category that deserves taxonomic recognition: committed, concerned, cautious; intellectually curious, linguistically witty; socially gregarious, endearingly awkward; quick to laugh, slow to anger. Frequently spotted in domestic circles, traveling in a family herd.

Bad History Mars Indian Movie On Rajiv Gandhi’s Assassination

Divyakant Solanki/European Pressphoto AgencyDemonstrators in Mumbai, Maharashtra, demanding a ban on the film “Madras Cafe” on Aug. 22. The movie “Madras Cafe,” which opened in India and elsewhere in the world recently, seeks to chronicle the Sri Lankan civil war through the events leading up to the assassination in 1991 of former Prime Minister Rajiv… Read more »

‘Uncivil War’

Passionate, committed, and deeply humane, these poems bear witness with unflinching honesty to the horrific violence of the Sri Lankan civil war. “Indran Amirthanayagam is above all the poet of the bloody Sri Lankan conflict and division. His work honours the sufferings of the living and the injustices dealt the dead, and for any reader,… Read more »

A Movie’s Killers Are All Too Real

If those murders are less well known than others (like the Khmer Rouge slaughter in Cambodia a decade later), it is partly because Indonesia has not undergone the kind of public reckoning that often follows such catastrophes. “History is written by the winners,” muses one of Mr. Oppenheimer’s subjects, who led a right-wing death squad in North Sumatra. “And we are the winners.”

He and his former colleagues, who still keep in touch and occasionally socialize with one another, lead comfortable, even privileged lives. Some serve in provincial or national governments. They speak at rallies of Pancasila Youth, a nationalist paramilitary group still apparently popular — and also still feared — for its role in wiping out suspected Communists almost 50 years ago.

Perhaps the most startling thing about the killers in “The Act of Killing” is that they seem to have no interest in denying, excusing or minimizing their crimes. On the contrary, they are candid, even boastful about what they have done, and eager to share their recollections of torture and murder. “Never forget” is traditionally the slogan of victims fending off revisionism, indifference and the passage of time, but in this case the killers themselves seem most interested in keeping the memory alive.

On the Sacrificial Ideology of the Liberation Tigers

…The concept of tiyakam, abandonment (of life), i.e. a rather specific Indian form of martyrdom, is cultivated by both male and female fighters. A martyr of the LTTE has not chosen like the Christian martyr to suffer in the mind the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. He has taken up arms against the sea of troubles trying to end them by opposing them. The concept of tiyäkam that has its roots in the last section of the Bhagavadgitä was revived in the struggle for independence of India…

Resistance and Martyrdom

by Peter Schalk, TamilNation.org, UK, 1997 Professor Peter Schalk has written extensively on subjects related to the struggle for Tamil Eelam. This essay is excerpted from* Martyrdom and Political Resistance : Essays from Asia and Europe (Comparative Asian Studies, 18)  edited by Joyce Pettigrew published by VU University Press for Centre Asian Studies, Amsterdam. The book  is essential reading for… Read more »

Archaeological Sites Plundered

The North-Central and Wayamba Provinces are the worst affected. Since the war ended, archaeological and historical sites in the North and East are subjected to relentless pillaging.

Broken Paradise

Presenter Lakshmi Holmström MBE is a widely acclaimed translator of Tamil fiction and poetry. A collection of her translations of Cheran’s poetry is to be published this summer, titled ‘In a Time of Burning.’

War Crimes and Curry

http://nofirezone.org/trailer Publishing a book about a highly charged ethnic conflict in which tens of thousands have died is no path to a peaceful life. You only need to look at the racial abuse and filthy language in the comments sections of online sites frequented by Sri Lankans to see how intense the emotions still are…. Read more »

Haunted by Her Yesterdays

“Haunted by her yesterdays” is a new film by The Social Architects. There will be selected screenings on Friday to mark International Women’s Day, after that we will be working to make sure as many people as possible can see it. Watch this space for details…..Haunted by her yesterdays This documentary tells a story of silent… Read more »