Posts Categorized: Arts & Culture

Two Poems by V.I.S. Jayapalan

translated from the Tamil by Shash Trevett, Harvard Review Online, Boston, MA, USA, December 5, 2023 One Night in Frankfurt Packed like litter in the belly of a pregnant sow, a group of men from Jaffna lie seemingly lifeless in a room in the heart of Frankfurt— their bodies curled in blankets wrapped tight like… Read more »

Caste System in Medieval Tamil Nadu

Not Manusmriti, British—caste system in medieval Tamil Nadu solidified after Cholas fell by Anirudh Kanisetti,, March 24, 2024 Middle castes reveal a complicated social history. Caste is rooted in politics, not just religion Illustration of the castes and tribes of South India | Representational image | Commons As always with India’s historical debates, the… Read more »

Arwi: The Lost Language of the Arab-Tamils

by Kamala Thiagarajan, BBC, London, February 12, 2024 Coastal towns across southern India still reveal how medieval travellers once used the power of language to further trade and forge deep connections. One warm summer evening in 2008, when Mohamed Sultan Baqavi was a 26-year-old student at Arabic College in the South Indian town of Vellore,… Read more »

How to Capture Birds of Freedom

Picturing Tamil Women at War  by Vindhya Buthpitiya, Trans Asia Photography, Vol. 13, Issue 1, May 1, 2023 Abstract This article examines the uses of images of women fighters of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam during and after the Sri Lankan civil war (1983–2009) to explore the contrasting mobilizations of visual representations of… Read more »

Uduvil Girls College’s Bicentenary

by Dr. Thayalan Ambalavanar, Jaffna, February 7, 2024 Report Tuesday morning (6th February) saw the inaugural function of the Bicentennial celebrations of Uduvil Girls’ College in their college hall. The program was titled ‘Anthizo’ which in Greek means blossom. It was 200 years ago that a young American missionary, Harriet Winslow, started this school which… Read more »

President in the North, Governor in the East

by A. Nillanthan, January 13, 2024 [Translated from the original Tamil by Google Translate with improvements by the Sangam editor.] At the same time as the President visited the North to celebrate the New Year, his Governor in the East staged a huge cultural festival. The President met various people in the North: entrepreneurs, university… Read more »

The Fearlessness of Kanji

by Pallavi Pundir, Eater, New York, January 2, 2024 How a simple rice dish became a Tamil symbol of resistance in Sri Lanka Photography by Steephan Sansigan; Interpreter: Gowthami Thillainathan The plan for a surreptitious meeting had been in the works for weeks. On the morning of November 7, Mariyasuresh Eswari got in touch with a… Read more »

Why Stand-up Comedy has had a Slow Start in Tamil Nadu

This could be because satire is already deeply ingrained in the State’s popular culture. by Siddarth Muralidharan, Saatvika Radhakrishna, Frontline of The Hindu, Chennai, November 16, 2023 In May 2019, the BBC published an article titled “Nesamani: Who is he and why is the world praying for him?” The reason the #PrayForNesamani hashtag had become… Read more »

Alapara Club: Is the Taste of Jaffna Changing?

by Nillanthan Maha, November 11, 2023 On the 4th, a party was held at Dilco Hotel, Jaffna. The Jaffna Municipal Council administration and the concert have contacted the hotel management and inquired about the event. The hotel management has given the contact information of the Colombo-based company called “Shuttle Vibe” which organizes the event. Some… Read more »

Deeper Sufferings

Many Tamil writers from Jaffna peninsula have written both prose & poetry. But their readings have largely remained within smaller groups. Artists from Sri Lanka have also spoken through their creations by T.M. Krishna, The Telegraph Online, Calcutta, India, September 29, 2023 In 2011, when I travelled in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka, I… Read more »


by Himali Innis, Granta, May 11, 2023 When Nisha performs the burial ceremony for AJ, her 26-year-old son, she has to imagine his body lowering into the earth. Without a body, cremation is impossible. This ceremony, instead, is a commingling of the Christian traditions practiced by Nisha’s husband Sam, and the ancient Hindu rites of… Read more »

Idol Politics: Knowledge and Action

by A.Nillanthan, March 25, 2023 In the North, more than three statues have been opened in the last one week alone. Along with Nataraja statue, Valluvar statue, Sangliyan statue, there is a bell obelisk in Tirunelveli market. We looked at the politics behind these idols in last week’s article.The religious politics behind these idols should… Read more »

Journey of a Civilization – Study Program

by Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America (FeTNA) We would like to welcome you all for the final week of our Journey of a civilization study program Concluding remarks: Mr. Balakrishnan R IAS (Retired) Time: 9:00 PM to 10:30 PM EST Zoom Link You are Invited to attend the Grand Finale of the 10… Read more »

Cynthia Shanmugalingam’s Fantasy Dinner Party

Minnette de Silva, Akwaeke Emezi and M.I.A. The British-Sri Lankan chef and founder of Rambutan provides sweet Egyptian cucumbers; a demon queen provides the soundtrack by Cynthia Shanmugalingam, Financial Times, London, June 25, 2022 From deep inside my ear I hear that unmistakable alarm: the anaemic, shrill buzz that means it is mosquito hour. The… Read more »

May 31-June 4, 1981: Five Days of State Terror in Jaffna

by Santaseelan Kadirgamar, Transcurrents, June 4, 2011, also posted in Colombo Telegraph, February 3, 2013 Two years after the end of the war in Lanka*, without a political solution in sight, it may be appropriate to look back at events that occurred 30 years ago. 31 May to 4 June 2011 marks the 30th anniversary… Read more »

Noolaham: Preserving Lanka’s Tamil Language Heritage Digitally

by Shannine Daniel, The Sunday Times, Colombo, May 29, 2022 The Noolaham digital library was initially a Tamil language “virtual library” which contained documents, books, manuscripts, videos, photos and other material in the Tamil language. Established in 2005, it has since expanded to include books and other documents in Sinhala, English, Sanskrit, Dutch and French…. Read more »

Behind the Lyrics of Rathna Sri Wijesinghe

by Yamu, Colombo, July 21, 2021 It was the early 80s. Born into a Sinhala, Buddhist family in the South, Vineetha Samarasinghe Gunasekara fell in love with Balasingham Nadesan, a handsome, young Tamil man from the North. Poets are not always born, nor are lyricists. Therefore, it’s quite rare to come across someone who is a poet and a… Read more »

Moving Bodies, Navigating Conflict

Practicing Bharata Natyam in Colombo, Sri Lanka by Ahalya Satkunaratnam, Wesleyan University Press, April 7, 2020 Moving Bodies, Navigating Conflict is a groundbreaking ethnographic examination of dance practice in Colombo, Sri Lanka, during the civil war (1983–2009). It is the first book of scholarship on bharata natyam (a classical dance originating in India) in Sri Lanka,… Read more »

The Bharatanatyam Dancer as Transnational Interpreter

At home in the world? by Janet O’Shea, TDR: The Drama Review, UK, 2003 Bharatanatyam Dancer as Transnational Interpreter The stage lights come up gradually as a bharatanatyam dancer, costumed in a tailored silk sari and beautifully adorned in jewelry, walks out from backstage. In a manner neither formal nor completely relaxed, she walks downstage… Read more »