Posts Categorized: Arts & Culture

Fundraising for Tamil Chair at Harvard University Harvard University has endorsed the idea of a Tamil Chair in their Department of South Asian Studies. The following note, was part of a letter received from Harvard University: “We are very pleased to convey to you our desire to support the establishment of the first Sangam Professorship in Tamil Studies at Harvard University…. Read more »

Handmade: Stories of Strength Shared thru Recipes Food is their life and a language they are at ease with. So what better way to tell their story than through food? So much more than just a cookbook, HANDMADE tells the stories of 34 women of Sri Lanka, in the time of war, before and after, through food. With beautifully transcribed stories… Read more »

Celebrating a Bountiful Harvest

Thai Pongal, the agrarian festival of the Tamils, will be in full flow around the country today. It is a festival celebrated not only in Sri Lanka and India, but all over the globe where Tamil populations are concentrated. It is essentially a festival of thanksgiving by farmers after their first harvest of paddy, but… Read more »

Review of “Alapparungkarunai”

Tonight I saw a beautiful Tamil Ballet of Tagores performed exquisitely by the Kokuvil Kalabhavanam free in aid of the Faculty of Medicine’s Student Hostel. It was organised by the Alumni of the Faculty of Medicine.  I went expecting to hear some song and dance. To my surprise the play was so well choreographed with… Read more »

Poetry in the Face of Oppression

by Gowri Koneswaran, ‘The Alignist,’ December 22, 2015 The first of Tamil poet and professor R. Cheran’s escapes was in July 1979, the day the Sri Lankan government enacted the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and immediately began arresting members of the country’s second largest ethnic group — including him and his roommates. A university… Read more »

Interview with M.I.A.

by Tamil Guardian, London, December 21, 2015 Tamil Guardian exclusive interview with rapper and musician M.I.A. following the release of her latest track and video on the 27th November 2015. Sometimes friends of M.I.A. (aka Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam) tell her, just make what you want to make. “But every time I make something, this is… Read more »

ICES: Impact of Displacement on Dowries

ICES Impact-of-Displacement-on-Dowries-in-Sri-Lanka-Feb-2015-1-FINAL-POSTED Four Case Studies The below four small case studies conducted for this desk research corroborate the literature and illustrate some of the issues women recurrently face due to conflict-induced displacement. Their stories provide evidence that marriage, dowries, loss of guardians and assets have major implications on leading a normal life.   Trincomalee Case… Read more »

A Public Library in Sri Lanka Welcomes New Readers

by Julie McCarthy, National Public Radio, Washington, DC, August 19, 2015 Listen to the Story A Public Library in Sri Lnka Welcomes New Readers Jaffna Library 4:24 Rising two stories and capped by three domes, the Jaffna Public Library looks a bit like a stately wedding cake. Gleaming white under the Sri Lanka sun, the… Read more »

The Palms Of Jaffna

Sri Lanka’s troubles hover over Dheepan In his seventh feature film, Dheepan, which won the coveted Golden Palm award at the 68th Cannes Film Festival recently, 63-year-old Jacques Audiard makes love, not war.Despite the fact that the film begins in war-torn Sri Lanka only to make its way into what can be described as a… Read more »

A Tiger Burns Bright At Cannes

Jacques Audiard’s Dheepan, the story of a former Tiger’s second life in France, rendered partly in Tamil, has won the Palme d’Or at Cannes  by Gautam Bhaskaran,, India, May 29, 2015 Most journalists predicted that Todd Haynes’ lesbian drama, Carol, or Hsiao-hsien Hou’s The Assassin, a historical 9th century account of intrigues in the… Read more »

Writings of Tamil Tiger Women

Translations of some of the writings of iyakkam women — Writings of Tamil Tiger Women Iyakkam I will wait … by Samarvili (In “Velichcham” Pearl issue marking 25 years of publication, 2001. Note: Kin in this poem refers to fellow comrades.) Midnight… Vultures surrounded the village. Dozing villagers sacrificed to the demon. My eyes blinded in… Read more »

Variety: ‘Dheepan’ Review

Audiard supposedly came down to the wire to finish “Dheepan” in time for Cannes (where the print screened lacked final credits), and while the version shown here doesn’t lack the director’s typical technical polish (especially in the sleek widescreen cinematography by Eponine Momenceau), some additional time in the editing room might help to smooth over the movie’s rougher patches.

What keeps “Dheepan” engaging throughout is the tremendous charisma of the performers — not only Antonythasan, whose brooding intensity suggests that Dheepan’s real war is the one raging inside him, but Srinivasan, an Indian stage actress also making her film debut here, who is achingly tender as a young woman forced to become a wife and mother when she has barely figured out who she is herself.

How English Ruined Indian Literature

India, if it is to speak to itself, will always need a lingua franca. But English, which re-enacts the colonial relationship, placing certain Indians in a position the British once occupied, does more than that. It has created a linguistic line as unbreachable as the color line once was in the United States.

‘A Cartoonist of His Times’

Readers – We need help locating the citation for the booklet of cartoons entitled ‘A Cartoonist of His Times,’ probably published in 1994. An established publishing house would like to publish one of the cartoons in the booklet & will not do so without permission, so we need to identify the artist who drew the… Read more »

Pongalo Pongal 2015

பொங்கலோ பொங்கல்         பாடு வோம் பாடு வோம் பாட்டுப் பாடு வோம் ஆடு வோம் ஆடு வோம் ஆட்டம் ஆடு வோம்   புதுப் பொங்கலோ பொங்கல் தமிழ்ப் பொங்கலோ பொங்கல் தைப் பொங்கலோ பொங்கல் தைதைப் பொங்கலோ பொங்கல்   சக்திதரும் சூரியனின் பொங்கலோ பொங்கல் பச்சரிசி அச்சுவெல்லம் பொங்கலோ பொங்கல் மஞ்சள்கொத்துப் பானையிலே பொங்கலோ பொங்கல் இஞ்சிக்கொத்துப் பானையிலே பொங்கலோ பொங்கல் புதுப் பொங்கலோ பொங்கல்……. பாடு வோம் பாடு… Read more »

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.