Tamils - a Trans State Nation..

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C

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Tamils - a Nation without a State

Facets of Tamil Diaspora Conference

Organized by Indology Department, French Institute of Pondicherry
and Department of Tamil Literature, University of Madras, Chennai.

14th to 16th March 2007


Prof. V. Arasu, Department of Tamil Literature, University of Madras
Kannan. M, Department of Indology, French Institute of Pondicherry

About the Conference

" Today Tamil is classical, contemporary and is spread worldwide. Through migrations spanning a few centuries - of slaves, labour, kings, professionals and refugees, Tamil is prevalent in many parts of the present day world.

Some diasporic communities, without language but with traces of culture search desperately for their roots (Reunion, Mauritius, South Africa, West Indies etc.) while others, retaining the language and culture try to carve a unique identity for themselves in the place where they live. (Malaysia and Singapore).

We also have those who try hard to retain a certain "idea" of their culture despite being totally cosmopolitan in their day to day lives (Tamils of North America). Some others, burdened and branded by their language and culture fight for a cause, for their homeland or try to escape from it (Tamilians of Sri Lanka). More importantly, how could we afford to forget history - the diasporic experiences, recorded (in the inscriptions) in many parts of the world?

Together these diverse experiences have done their best to make Tamil global and to find a place for it in the world republic of letters.

Such engagements manifest multiple dimensions in relating to the so-called center of Tamil Culture - the state of Tamil Nadu, in India.

The proposed International Conference organized by the Department of Indology, French Institute of Pondicherry and the Department of Tamil Literature, University of Madras will engage with such dimensions - to explore and understand the issues and problems of the 'Tamil Experience in Other Spaces'."

Conference Presentations [also in PDF]

Prof. Francois Gros, EPHE, Paris "Tamil Diaspora - An Academic Perspective"

Prof. P. Shanmugam "Migrations of Tamils in early and medieval periods"

Prof. M. A. Kalam "Where were Diaspora till 1990s?"

Prof. Knut Axel Jacobsen "Ritualization in the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora in Norway"

Dr. Brigitte Sebastia "Ārōkkiya Mātā of Velankanni in France Competition and expression of Tamil identity in the Catholic activities of the Franco- Pondicherrian community"

Prof. Christian Barat "Tamil Culture in Reunion Islands" Dr. Florence Callandre "La confrontation de la créolisation et de la tamoulisation dans les mondes malbar de La Réunion et des Seychelles"

Dr. Gaëlle Dequirez "Sri Lankan Tamils in France: the role of businesses and associations"

Dr. Anthony Goreau "The diasporisation: a tool for understanding the different Tamil historical trajectories"

Mr. Sugumaran "State of Refugees in Tamil Nadu - A Report "

Prof. A. Marx "Refugees, Law and Tamil Politics"

Documentary Film on Poet Vilva Rathinam Dr. Mounaguru "Theatre of the Tamil Diaspora"

Dr. Mangai "Diasporic Existence and Theatre"

Dr. Chitralakha Mounaguru "Identity in Diaspora - a search through Eelam Tamil Literature"

Dr. Ko. Palani "Theatre activities of Tamil Diaspora"

Ms. Uma Sankari "Miles apart - yet together - Net as a link between widespread Diaspora"

Dr. Ra. Srinivasan "Internet based activities of Tamil Diaspora"

Mr. Rajesh "Reading Tamil Diasporic Aspirations from Homeland: A Study of Few Tamil Diasporic Websites"

Dr. V. Arasu "Towards a discussion: The need to construct a curriculum incorporating writings from Tamil Diaspora"

Dr. A. Ekambaram "Novel im by Shobha Shakti and Violence against Tamil people"

Dr. Y. Manikandan "Poetry of the displaced"

Dr. Va. Mu. Se. Andavar "Reflections: Tamil Short Stories from Malaysia"

Dr. Se. Yogaraja "The State of Women in Tamil Diaspora - a view through Literature" Ms. V. Geetha "Young women's perceptions of being Tamil - an account of Interactions"

Documentary Films on Theatre

Dr. Zainab Basheer "Being Tamil in Canada"

Dr. Preetha Mani "Being in Tamil in United States"

Note on Participants:

1. .
3. Prof. Knut Axel Jacobsen, Dept. of the History of Religions, University of
Bergen, Norway
4. Prof. M. A. Kalam, Dept. of Anthropology, University of Madras, Chennai.
5. Prof. Christian Barat, Director, Dept. Language and Civilizations of the
Indian Ocean, University of Reunion, Reunion.
6. Dr. Florence Callandre, University of Reunion, Reunion.
7. Dr. Elisabeth Sethupathy, Head, Tamil Section, Department of South Asia,
8. Dr. Gaëlle Dequirez, INALCO, Paris
9. Mr. Sugumaran, Human Rights Federation, Pondicherry.
10. Prof. A. Marx, Presidency College, Chennai.
11. Prof. Mounaguru, Dept of Fine Arts, Eastern University, Batticola, Srilanka
12. Dr. Mangai, Dept. of English, Stella Maris College, Chennai.
13. Dr. Chitralakha Mounaguru, Dean, Dept of Languages, Eastern University,
Batticola, Srilanka.
14. Dr. Ko. Palani, Dept. of Tamil Literature, University of Madras, Chennai.
15. Ms. Uma Sankari, Sub-Editor, Thenseide, Chennai.
16. Dr. Ra. Srinivasan, Presidency College, Chennai.
17. Mr. Rajesh, Dept. of Humanities, IIT, Chennai
18. Prof. V. Arasu, Head, Dept. of Tamil Literature, University of Madras,
19. Dr. A. Ekambaram, Dept. of Tamil Literature, University of Madras,
20. Dr. Y. Manikandan, Dept. of Tamil Literature, University of Madras,
21. Dr. Va. Mu. Se. Andavar, Pacchaiappar College, Chennai.
22. Ms. V. Geetha, Editor, Tara Publishing, Chennai.
23. Dr. Zainab Basheer, University of Toronto, Toronto. Canada.
24. Dr. Preetha Mani, Dept. of South and Southeast Asian Studies, University of
California, Berkeley.
25. Dr. Brigitte Sebastia, IFP, Pondicherry.
26. Dr. Yogaraja, Dept of Fine Arts, Eastern University, Batticola, Srilanka
27. Mr. Anthony Goreau, University of Bordeaux III, Bordeaux, France.

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