Thursday, March 29, 2007

From "Veruddy" to "Virumbi"

From “Veruddy” to “Virumpi”
A creative transformative process with the Children.

“Veruddy” “The scarecrow” is the art of the ordinary people. “Veruddy” means “those who frighten”, this is also called as “Veruli” and “Konangi”.

The purpose of creating “Veruddy” is to scare the birds in the paddy fields and vegetable gardens. It’s also structured at building construction sites in order to protect from “Kannooru” the evil eye.

Creativity is not an asset of few specialist personalities. It’s a hidden, untapped wealth of all human beings. The creations of “Veruddy”, is a perfect example of creativity and the artistic ability of the ordinary people.

The creative work of Children which are based on the concept “Art of making Veruddy” will simply expose this to the people. It has the freedom to allow the hands and minds of children to go beyond the horizons of conventional creative spaces.

Conventionally the creation of “Veruddy” is focused to create a scare, but the creative process with the children transformed this as “Virumpi” meaning Loveable.

Making of “Virumpi” is a creative process with unending freedom of expressing inner feelings, humor, love and beauty, with discarded waste materials from the environment.

The ultimate objective of the creative exercise is to utilize only environmentally friendly materials to make the children aware of and indulge them into the activism of making the world free from environmental hazards.
The above creative activity was conceptualized by S. Jeyasankar and creatively facilitated by S.Nirmalavasan with the assistance of Third Eye Local Knowledge and Skill Activists.

Translating AJ

Prof. S Sivasegaram

I did not meet AJ Canagaratna, better known by his initials AJ, until 1984 since around 1960 when I was very young and not into serious writing or active politics, despite my strong views then on Tamil language and Tamil nationalism. Although I had the opportunity to meet AJ regularly during my school holidays between 1954 and 1960, as his house was exactly opposite my uncle’s on Third Cross Street, where I spent part of my school holidays, I cannot recall any conversation except polite acknowledgment, as AJ was very much an English speaker and I more comfortable in Tamil, and more importantly we had little in common.

AJ means many things to many people for no fault of his. He has been frank and sincere in his opinions which were rarely hard hitting, except under provocation. One such occasion that I remember was his confrontation with ‘Samudran’ in the ‘Lanka Guardian’ in the early 1980’s, when the latter was trying hard to defend his indefensible statements using rather subjective arguments, and AJ neatly ended the debate with a beautifully worded, sarcastic paragraph which I cannot readily recall, but amounted to saying “If all what you want is to claim victory in this debate, so be it. I have no time to waste on you”.

Quite a few anti-leftists in the Tamil literary scene then, spoke admiringly of AJ for this intervention, because they thought that AJ could be used in their battle against the Marxist line on literature. But AJ only did what was right and necessary: he challenged the arrogant intellectual dishonesty cloaked as Marxist literary theory. While AJ was not a member of any political party and did not declare allegiance with or sympathy for any, he was ideologically on the left, and his approach to politics as well as literature was essentially Marxist. While his anti-Marxist admirers saw a virtue in AJ’s not having a party affiliation, AJ himself did not consider it a virtue one way or the other. And the differences that he had with Marxists with party affiliations were hardly more than what was possible between two Marxists.

AJ was not an individualist and least of all selfish. Despite his strong views on a variety of subjects and stating his position unambiguously, he refrained from imposing them on others. Most importantly, he was a good listener and tolerant to difference of opinion. That did not, however, stop him from coming out with pithy remarks on pretentious positions. When a local group of writers sought to make a cult figure of Mauni, AJ came out with the phrase ‘mauni vazhipaadu’ sounding rather like ‘mauna vazhipadu’ meaning silent prayer.

He was not particularly approving of making cult figures of literary figures and also was not swayed by fads the way many members of the intelligentsia in Tamilnadu and quite a few Tamil intellectuals here have been. He recognised the value of realism in our context and, while being receptive to new ideas and being open minded, was not impressed by the postmodernist pretences he came across so that he suggested Terry Eagleton’s critical article on the subject for Murukaiyan to translate.

I specifically remember his responses to my criticisms of Sunthara Raamasaami’s much overrated novel, ‘je je – cila kurippukal’ and a rather pretentious work by SV Rajadurai, ‘ekcistenshalicam’. I was strongly critical in my review of the novel, but a little more guarded in my criticism of the latter work on an unfamiliar subject. Both met with hostile responses which were personally abusive, in the case of the novel from certain individuals who were seeking to build up the novel into an anti-Marxist classic in Tamil, and in the case of the latter, the author himself. I chose to ignore the former while my response to the latter on relevant aspects was refused publication.

When I met AJ in early 1984 in Jaffna, during my visit to address the Kailasapathy memorial meeting arranged by the Tesiya Kalai Ilakkiyap Peravai, AJ commented that my utterances on both books were a little incisive, but did not disagree with the points that I made–something that he had several weeks earlier told KA Subramaniam, with whom I was in touch because of shared political views.

I was in the UK from 1984 and had no direct dealings with AJ. He translated some of the new Sri Lankan Tamil poetry to English for publication in Saturday Review, and I was asked to translate a few by Pathmanabha Iyer. I undertook the task rather reluctantly and on the understanding that they will be checked by AJ before they were published. But AJ had not touched them, although I was sure that he could have considerably improved on my job. I had the identical experience nearly fifteen years later when I undertook a few more translations, this time for Selva Canaganayagam’s anthology. Some years later, when I translated an article by Nawwal al-Sadawi for Piravaatham, edited by Nuhman, AJ suggested some changes to me through Nuhman: I preferred the use of Tamil technical terms (like for example vediyoodu for shell) where available whereas AJ preferred the locally better understood English word as rendered in Tamil (shel rather than vediyoodu). I accepted AJ’s suggestion, but when the article appeared in print nothing was altered. I understood that AJ did not insist on the change.

AJ’s non-involvement in mass political work had its downside. During the testing times of state oppression and youth insurgency in the 1980s AJ was tempted to support the armed struggle and was disapproving of the Marxist Leninists for being critical of various aspects of the struggle and not demanding a separate state. After some years of first hand experience with militants of various hues he had become rather negative and pessimistic about the struggle. In my view, if AJ had been in active politics and associated with mass organisations, he would have taken a consistent line as was possible for many genuine leftists over years of political turbulence and chaos.

AJ’s known output fell far below his potential as a literary critic, theoretician and translator. Part of the reason is that he spent much of his spare time helping with other people’s work, and partly a lack of motivation. Whatever he undertook he did to perfection, and the two volumes of Reggie Siriwardena that he edited towards the tail end of his life when his health was failing are testimony to his attitude to work.
*Thirdeye is working on to publish a book on AJ!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Message from Mr Koïchiro Matsuura,
Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of World Poetry Day 2006, 21 March.
The world constantly changes across time and space, from day to day, from one place to another. And human beings are no exception, for we too are in transformation.

To begin with, our own lives as individuals are an exercise in adaptation. In their collectivities, peoples and their societies, cultures and civilizations change across the span of history. Human beings are enterprising agents of change, transforming their environments and, in the process, transforming themselves, thereby challenging any simple sense of a fixed, immutable human nature. And yet the human condition stubbornly remains and when, across time and distance, we recognize ourselves in others and others in ourselves, do we not recognize something enduring? Is there anything that captures simultaneously things in flux and things that do not change?
Of course there is, and that is poetry. Our languages, of course, are different and the ways in which we place words, phrases and sentences may vary, as do the forms and metres of our poetries. But poetry, through its diverse shapes and rhythms, draws us back to the dialogue of change and permanence in life itself.
Through language, we express our different beliefs, values and experiences, and the plurality of this flow of identities makes up humanity. Poetry is a bridge between individuals and groups, helping us to know and understand each other and, indeed, ourselves. It articulates – sometimes simply, sometimes with deep complexity – our fears, hopes, yearnings and forebodings. In its highest forms, poetry is capable of expressing a truth which captures the essence of our shared humanity. And the beauty of poetry reminds us of the artistic heights which humankind can reach.
This year, we are celebrating the centenary of the birth of the great philosopher-poet, Leopold Sédar Senghor. He wrote: “It is enough to name something for the meaning beneath the sign to emerge.” Poetry is the great way of naming the world, its permanent features and its transformations, in a manner that delights the human spirit. Let World Poetry Day remind us of this magical capacity of poetry in all its forms.

Mad Men on the Roof or Manufacturing IDPs

In the middle of a thick forest
There was a beautiful palace
In that palace resides
A prince, definitely brave
And surely with a beautiful princess

You, me and we, all alike
Love to hear these stories again and again
Fairytales we call these stories,
Again and again we love to hear these tales
Though we categorized them for children

But my story here is different
A different story entirely
I will narrate this story
Not to make others sleep or laugh
But to wake the senses-- all --including mine
And put an end to these stories
All over the world

Bright flares of the multi barrels
Engulf the city like waves of the Tsunami
And the intriguing sound they make
Crash into the sky and tear it apart
Multi barrels roar beside hospitals
Multi barrels roar beside schools
Multi barrels roar beside the chanthai
Multi barrels roar beside the kachcheri

The battles of the borders
Are executed in the city centre
And display the might of brave men
With brand new massacre machines,
The hands that produce
Manuals for the new world order

Bright flares of the multi barrels
Engulf the city like waves of the Tsunami
And the intriguing sound they make
Crash into the sky and tear it apart

Multi barrels roar beside hospitals
Multi barrels roar beside schools
Multi barrels roar beside the kachcheri
Multi barrels roar beside the chanthai

Women have deserted their homes and fields
Children have deserted their schools and playgrounds
Cattle have deserted and destroyed their grazing fields
The devastation of unharvested paddy fields
Mark the distorted life of the people

Bright flares of the multi barrels
Engulf the city like waves of the Tsunami
And the intriguing sound they make
Crash into the sky and tear it apart

Multi barrels roar beside hospitals
Multi barrels roar beside schools
Multi barrels roar beside the chanthai
Multi barrels roar beside the kachcheri

The hands that till land and create life
Were emptied, forced to be barren
And made dependent in a day
The hands and minds that create
Were uprooted, alienated
And reproduced as internally displaced
In order to manufacture them as
Democratic citizens of a unified state
Of the local Masters
And as a cheap labor force and a consumer mass
For the global conglomerates

Bright flares of the multi barrels
Engulf the city like waves of the Tsunami
And the intriguing sound they make
Crash into the sky and tear it apart

Multi barrels roar beside hospitals
Multi barrels roar beside schools
Multi barrels roar beside the chanthai
Multi barrels roar beside the kachcheri

My story here is different
An entirely different story
I want to narrate this tale
Not to make others sleep or laugh
But to wake the senses-- all --including mine
To put an end to these stories
All over the world

In the middle of the city
Oh sorry, excuse me…
In the middle of the thick forest
There was…


Tuesday, March 20, 2007



(The sound of drums can be heard. Sphinx comes dancing to the beat of “tha kinangkida thathinga thaththumi”. * )

(The dancer representing Oedipus comes dancing to the beat of drums from the opposite direction holding the mask against the face when needed.

Both confront each other unexpected.)

Sphinx: Hi, you human husk! I’m going to eat you up!!

Oedipus: Hey, you animal! Who do you think I’m? I’m Oedipus the King of Greece

Sphinx: King or fool, commoner or donkey it doesn’t matter to me!

Oedipus: In that case what is it that you want?

Sphinx: If you can solve the riddle that I tell you can go free, If not I will gulp you down my throat and burp.

Oedipus: All right then. Tell me the riddle I will solve it.

Sphinx: what walks on four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon and three legs in the evening?

Oedipus: Ha! That’s easy!! It’s Man!!!

Sphinx: Not only man, you have forgotten the woman.

Oedipus: When you say man the woman is also included in the word itself.

Sphinx: That is how you think

Oedipus: So,

Vioce1: Man discovered the fire

Voice 2: Then woman?

Voice 1: Man discovered the wheel

Voice 2: Then woman?

Voice1: Man discovered the steam engine

Voice 2: Then woman?

Voice 1: Man went to the moon

Voice 2: Then woman?

Sphinx: Do you realize now that you have forgotten the woman? When you say man it does not include the woman.

Poetry: (By Muriel Rukkeizer, an American poetess.)

Long afterwards,
Old and blind Oedipus walked the roads
He smelled a familiar smell
It was Sphinx.
“I want to ask you a question” said Oedipus
“Why didn’t I recognize my mother?”
“You gave the wrong answer” said Sphinx
“But that’s what made everything possible” said Oedipus
‘’No’’ said Sphinx
“When I asked you what walks on four legs in the morning, two at noon and three in the evening? You answered man”
You did not say anything about woman”
“When you say man” said Oedipus “you include women too. Everyone knows that”
“That’s how you think,” said Sphinx

Voice 1: Behind the success of every man stands a woman

Voice 2: No. Before the success of every woman man stands as a barrier.

Oedipus: now I understand that woman is not included in man, woman has been suppressed by man

Sphinx: Now, then what walks on four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon and three legs in the evening?

Oedipus: Human! Human!! Human!!!

Sphinx: All right you can go free. Go and tell this to everyone.

Haa….. (Yawning) I’m terribly hungry.

*Beat System of a particular warrior dance movement of the Traditional Thamil Theatre, Kooththu.

Written in Thamil by S.Jeyasankar
Translated by Lallini Tisseverasinghe

Third Eye Local Knowledge and Skill Activists Group

Money: The Almighty Liberator!

Money: The Almighty Liberator!
The Politics of Neo Liberalism

On the spot Unsure,
It may sound like
Another ad on Insurance

But it’s our life
The life
Hanging between life and death

Painting:Kamala Vasuki

There are movements for liberation
Waged Through war
There are movements for liberation
Waged Through peace
There are movements for liberation
Waged through war and peace
Or peace and war
There are…there are…there are…

Everything is hot, hot and hot
Everything is on the spot

On the spot admission
On the spot conscription
On the spot abduction
On the spot etc. etc.

Money; the Almighty Liberator
Clinically divides
The have and have nots

Money liberates the have
With the
On the spot admissions

And the have nots
Get the other

Money; the Almighty Liberator
Liberates, Liberates and Liberates!


Monday, March 19, 2007

Sans state support, Tamils rely on translations internet for global knowledge

Sans state support, Tamils rely on translations internet for global knowledge

Tamil knowledge systems readily acknowledge the importance of translations. In the past, there have been many voices articulating the value of translation in order that knowledge and information posited in languages other than Tamil is made accessible to Tamil language speakers.

However, effective translation of knowledge from one language to others is limited. This is due to the mindset of communities or people who transmit and receive knowledge through translations.

Translating knowledge is connected not only with sharing of knowledge and information but also with power. Power of the English language and its central role in the dissemination of information all over the world are simply because of the colonial and neo-colonial domination by the English-speaking nations and their systematic arrangements to maintain hegemonic control in the world.

On the other hand, contemporary developments in the Tamil language in Sri Lanka are solely connected with, and depend upon, the power of so-called ?ordinary people.? The Tamil language has little institutional support and the role of the Sri Lankan state is limited to mere rhetoric on popular platforms.

Similarly, translations too have a story or history that is solely dependent on the spirit of committed individuals and/or small groups who more or less sacrifice their very existence to work on translating texts, than to institutional support.

Though acknowledging the importance of translations, the tragedy of the Tamil intellectual tradition is its unawareness of the importance and centrality of translators for the expansion of knowledge. Translation is conceived of as an act of mechanical copying, and the cerebral input by translators is rarely taken into account. Translators are not considered artists or intellectuals, they are perceived as mere copyists.

The art of translation, or the practice of translation, is basically connected with a single word: ?why?? The power and meaning of the single word ?why?? is enormous. It is connected with existing systems of knowledge and social construction. It is a questioning of the existing environment for its limitations and its powerlessness.

In principle, translation is an act of sharing knowledge, information and socio-cultural values. Knowledge, information and values can be transmitted outside a group that subscribes to the same language only through translation. Since knowledge is power, translations empower those who would not have had the benefit of that knowledge because access to it was restricted by barriers of language.

At the same time, translation can be exploited by those in power for their own sectarian ends. A critical eye on the world news pages of the vernacular media reveals the politics of translation and its construction ? how it subtly navigates the reader to control thought and behaviour.
Therefore the art of translation makes an immense contribution to the manufacture of knowledge in order to control. But at the same time, this art could be used to liberate and emancipate a community from the shackles of oppression by strengthening and vitalising knowledge systems that support such progressive endeavours.

As mentioned above, the contemporary history of translation in the Tamil context is mainly the story of committed individuals and small groups. Those who are involved in the art are motivated by the importance of transferring information or knowledge, thereby empowering and enriching their own knowledge systems, while exposing theirs to world outside. Basically, translations into and from Tamil is an unrecognised act by invisible persons.

Despite their invisibility, these groups and circles are aware of the importance of translation and consciously regard it as a form of political expression. The role of the left movement in the 1960s and 1970s in this regard is commendable. Translations of Marxian and Maoist literatures on political and cultural issues, particularly literary works ? novels, short stories and drama ? from Soviet Russia and China were very influential in expanding Tamil speakers? knowledge of the world outside.

The upsurge of political nationalism among the Sri Lankan Tamils in the late 1970s and 1980s provided a boost to translations. The demand by Tamil readers for the artistic and political literatures of other groups resisting oppression gave a fillip to translations. Thus the political and cultural works of Palestinian, African and the other oppressed nations and communities were translated into Tamil.

The emergence of feminist activism in 1980s among the Tamils resulted in the translation of a considerable amount of literatures and influenced the transformation of the perspectives of the Tamil community.

From the 1990s, the rise of movements within civil society and resistance by small groups and individuals to globalization paved the way for influential translations of texts on political, social and environmental issues into Tamil.

Most translations were not directly of original works. They were translations of English translations. But a reasonable number of translations were made from the Russian language with the support of the Soviet government. Though very few, there are direct translations from other languages too.

English has become the platform for the transfer of global information and knowledge in ?alternative media? spaces too. But it has its own politics, despite being the most accessible and easily available route for global communication. However, the political question is to whom it is available and remains an easy path of communication. It is an issue that must be addressed when looking at different agents of oppression.

Another major influence on translation in the Tamil context is the emigration of Sri Lankan Tamils overseas in the late 1980s and 1990s and their reaction to its cause. The emigration of politically active youth and their life overseas in alien environments yielded new and strange experiences that are entering the Tamil knowledge system.

These youth, who are essentially non-native-speakers of English with hardly any formal, tertiary level education, are migrants to countries outside the English-speaking world. They have responded to their relocation in new environments by bringing into the Tamil knowledge system translations from the French, German or Dutch. Their compilation of dictionaries is an important feature of this practice. Once again, this too is a commitment by individuals and small groups who are mostly living marginalised existences in Tamil Diasporas.

The problem with such endeavours is that they are ad hoc and unsystematic. From time to time, social movements raise their voices in favor of institutionalised translation programmes, but such projects have not really got going.

A new feature in the field of translation is that of translation studies gradually entering the curricula of academic institutions, particularly institutions of higher education. The point to ponder is of course its attachment to departments teaching English, and English Language Teaching Units (ELTUs) in a variety of Sri Lankan universities. It is rarely that translation studies are attached to departments teaching Tamil.

This is the product of a lack of understanding of the uniqueness of translation studies. Translations are interpreted as being from English, to English, or through English. In actual fact however, translation is matter of knowing any two languages and the art of rendering effectively what is in one language in the other. Basically a person who has mastered at least two languages could be a translator.

Conceptalisation of translation as a part of other specialised fields in academics such as the teaching of English literature or language, and institutionalising it as a sub-unit of departments teaching English in academic institutions, will only lead to a distortion of translation studies. It will help strengthen English-centric knowledge construction and the dissemination of the colonial master plan, which still influences and controls academic programmes in post-colonial nations.

Distortion of the goal of translation studies also occurs due to a popular notion among first language speakers that they have nothing to learn in their mother tongue other than for formal examination purposes. The same fallacy has infected the minds of the intellectual community in academic institutions as well.

The lack of actual involvement by governments of newly-independent countries other than manufacturing political rhetoric on official language policy is a direct reflection of the actual state of politics in countries emerging from colonial rule.

The status of a language spoken by people relates directly to the economic position of the community speaking that language within a state, or a state within the international system. Economic dependency will result in mental dependence and limit the discussion of the use of native languages to rhetoric on political platforms.

Dealing with language issues in a practical way is directly connected to the questioning of existing systems, particularly in education and economics. Movements which raise the language issue for social liberation usually concentrate and celebrate its dignity in the past. In this, to some extent at least, they are engaged in a journey of linguistic reversal to an idealised past, which emphasise notions of the language?s purity.

It is rare indeed to encounter or recall prominence given to translation studies in such linguistic-based liberation movements. But translations have a major role to play not only in the enrichment of a particular language, but also in transforming the perspective of its native speakers by restructuring their knowledge systems.

Modern knowledge systems of the Tamils are colonial construction and English-centric. They are fundamentally the brain child of Thomas B. Macaulay the master craftsman of the Minutes on Indian Education.

Construction of the ?modern? world is basically the creation of western colonialism. Though the colonisers might have physically departed from the shores of their former possessions, they continue to maintain hegemony over our minds, with our consent. This is in reality the politics of ?independent? states or the postcolonial state.

Postcolonial states are busily engaged in number of conflicts, internal wars, liberation struggles, campaigns against international terrorism etc. Tamils in different parts of the world, but particularly Tamils of Sri Lanka, have become enmeshed in this web of postcolonial reality.

The most visible consequence of this reality has been overseas displacement and emigration of Tamils and their settlement in different parts of the world. It is these groups that form the Tamil Diaspora that are writing and translating literatures of the countries in which they live.

An important aspect of individuals and groups operating in the Tamil Diaspora is their independence. Their work is not an imposition by a superior force. It is decided and determined by the Tamils for the Tamils. The internet in Tamil, the small-circulation magazines and the mainstream media play an important role in this movement.

Tamils through the Tamil language are electronically connected to their brethren in every nook and corner of the world now. And these linkages are being used progressively too. The songs of popular Tamil cinema for instance are a bridge of the ?Thamil koorum nal ulahu.? It has bonded children in non-Tamil-speaking lands who are unfamiliar with the Tamil language.

The electronic medium that is globally interconnected is already in operation. With Tamil language-users connected through cyberspace, Tamils are experiencing the advantages of this global interconnectedness and access through the Tamil language to information and knowledge.
The crucial question is how Tamils are going to organise themselves to use this situation to achieve a positive space for members of that community living scattered around the world. How is the favourable atmosphere going to be exploited effectively to connect Tamils all over the world through the Tamil language? How is a generation of Tamils unfamiliar with their mother tongue going to be connected through the support of the Tamil internet?

Finally it will determine how we are going to manipulate cyberspace to transform Tamil knowledge systems to achieve a world in which all Tamils can live in freedom, unbound by the shackles of caste and creed and political affiliations.

By: S. Jeyasankar

Source: Northeastern Monthly - March 2007

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Hind side tragedies

Hind side tragedies
Or behind the thundering Mighty Barrels
Or the International Community and its Politics

Innocent people are suffocating
In front of the thundering mighty barrels
Innocent people are suffocating
From the hind side of the thundering barrels

Head is aching enough to blast the skull apart
Heart is beating to its maximum in the throat
Intestines thrusting out through the anus

The screaming of the child next door
Pierce through the thick cemented wall
And wounds the hearts and minds
It aches, aches and unbearably aches

The child vomits every time
When the artificial thunder echoes
Within the walls of his own home

The old ones are in terrible fear
Even to move to ease themselves

Innocent people are suffocating
In front of the thundering mighty barrels
Innocent people are suffocating
From the hind side of the thundering barrels

But it will be unlawful or undemocratic
When only the emissaries fell pray to it
Or got scratched by it or threatened by it
OR their interests are challenged by it

Otherwise all these exercises are routine
And games of “International Politics”
To divide and remap the people
According to “The New International Rule”


Saturday, March 10, 2007


Painting of Kamala Vasuki






In Thamil : Kamala Vasuki
Translated into English: S.M. Felix

Friday, March 09, 2007

BUD - A Little Magazine of the Children!!!

BUD is a little magazine was created by Third Eye Local Knowledge and Skill Activists Group in order to bring out the creative writing skills of the children in schools, Villages and in Children’s Homes.

The first of that kind issue was released from Vivekananda Girls Colleges, Batticaloa, Sri Lanka in 2006. The A/L 2008 batch students were involved in this creative writing program.

Bud, the little magazine was brought out through a regular writing workshop for more than two months with the facilitation of T. Gowreeswaran of Third Eye Local Knowledge and Skill Activists Group.

The cover was designed by S. Nirmalavasan of Third Eye from the works of children.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

March 8th Women’s Day

March 8th Women’s Day

It’s a day of celebration for women
Who waged a life different from men
Throughout the years
And throughout the ages

It’s a day of celebration even to men
Who realizes and understands
Women are also human being
Like them, the men

It’s a day of celebration for women
But definitely NOT a Special Day
For the promotion of goods
In the name of Women!

It’s not a mercantile day or a holiday!!!

It’s a day of celebration
Celebration of victories
Achieved throughout the years
And throughout the ages
Within the history of men

It’s a day of celebration to women and men too
To get rid from the burden on the shoulders
And in the hearts and minds of women

It’s a day of celebration
Of Her Story
Not to divide from his story
But to create our story

It’s her story
Written only with love and passion
Only with the help of color and line
And rhythm and tune
Words and lyrics
Laughs and claps

But strictly not with weapons
That brings mass or minor destructions
Or with the power of diplomacy
The worst and the vast producer of violence
Designed and disseminated by
Intoxicated minds of powerholic men

March 8th Women’s Day!
It’s a day of celebration
Of Her Story
Not to divide from his story
But to make the men aware other stories
In order to create our stories

It’s her story
Written only with love and passion
With the help of color and line
And rhythm and tune
Words and lyrics
Laughs and claps
Claps, claps, claps

March 7th &8th 2007

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Moondravathukann Seithi Madal-07

Front cover of the Thirdeye News Letter (Thamil)
painting and cover design by Susiman Nirmalavasan
A Publication od the Thirdeye Local Knowledge and Skill Activists Group.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Pillaiyar Parai

Pillaiyar Parai

Parai (Drum) is the ancient percussion instrument of the Thamils but the people who play the Parai are considered as outcastes of the hierarchic community of the Thamils.

It’s the tragedy of the Thamil community.

Because of Casteism and its oppressive nature the power of vibrant performance art is dying down silently.

The people who are talking of cultural identity boast the power of the vibrant art, the Parai (Traditional Drum) and Parai Mela Kooththu (Traditional Drum Dance) but in practice there are little effort and few voices are with it.

There are strong voices to celebrate the power of Cultural Identity but not cultural identities of the Thamil communities.

Parai is not an art of High Culture and not an inside art even in low cultures other than the cultural activities of the Paraiyar Caste.

Power of casteism is playing a killer instinct in the art of Parai or the Power of Parai.

The heart throbbing beats of Parai with the rhythmical movements are vanishing in the horaizon not because of elements outside!

Losing an ancient and vibrant art to casteism and withering of caste identities because of the Oppression of Casteism is the bigger challenge faced by the people who are celebrating caste differences.

There are cultural resistances throughout the years against the oppression of Casteism in the socio-cultural history of the Thamils.

Ironically most of the Gods and Goddesses of the Thamil Cultures are artists but it’s rare to see they are playing Parai, the instrument of the Paraiyar, the oppressed caste of the Thamils.

The Painting of “Pillaiyar Parai” by Kamala Vasuki is another attempt in the cultural history of resistance against oppressions.

Pillaiyar the Artist God of the Thamils came out from his Temple and play the Parai Melam Dance with the traditional drum player whom with his community was blocked to enter into the Temple.

This aroused the question, how can Pillaiyar play the parai?

It’s simple.

God Pillaiyar is a dancer and player of Mirudangam the percussion instrument of the high culture and Pillaiyar is the Master of Arts and Knowledge too.

It’s not brilliant enough to ask, how can Pillaiyar play the Parai?

If we are going to ask the question again and again, then it’s not the problem of the God Pillaiyar, It’s ours.

The question is how we are going to solve our problem and inherit a vibrant and ancient art into our cultures in order to build communities which are celebrating similarities and differences?


“Veruddy” the art of the “ordinary people” or “layman”

“Veruddy” the art of the “ordinary people” or “layman”

Creativity is not an asset of very few specialist personalities.

It’s a hidden or untapped wealth of all the human beings.

The creations of Veruddy, the scarecrow are a perfect example of creativity and the artistic ability of the “ordinary people” or “layman”.

The creative works of Children which are based on the concept of “Art of making Veruddy” will simply expose this to the people.

The above creative activity was conceptualized by S. Jeyasankar and creatively facilitated by S.Nirmalavasan