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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Home > The Tamil Heritage - History & Geography > A Video Essay on Tamil

A Video Essay on Tamil
M. V. Bhaskar and K. T. Gandhirajan [also in PDF]
[see also Temple Mural Paintings of Tamil Nadu - M.V. Bhaskar and K.T. Gandhirajan]

19 June 2006

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In south India is a culture with a continuous literary tradition more than 2000 years old. With 80 million speakers, Tamil is one of the few languages besides Greek that is both classical and modern. This video essay outlines in images and music the development of the rich Tamil culture and writing systems. The origins of its earliest written script, found on cave walls, is a mystery. Some say it descends from the still undeciphered Indus script used 4000 years ago in modern Pakistan and northwestern India and that the Indus people spoke Dravidian, ancestral to Tamil

The Archaeology Channel ( www.archaeologychannel.org ), a non-profit, streaming media channel for archaeology-related content, founded by the Archaeological Legacy Institute (ALI), Eugene, Oregon, USA, is webcasting Part 1, produced and directed by M. V. Bhaskar and co-directed by K. T. Gandhirajan.

On the first day that UR went online - June 19, 2006 - it drew 8639 visitors according to Mr. Richard D. Pettigrew, the founder of ALI. The second day had 9942 hits. "While the video has been attracting an approximate average of 10000 visitors daily, Indian visitors rank #10 among all those coming to the page. Why?" wonders Dr. Pettigrew.

Originally produced at the instance of Dr. E. Annamalai, former Director, Central Institute of Indian Languages and now Visiting Professor Emeritus, Yale, the 26 m video tracks - through music and images, and archaeology and literary history - the first 800 years of the known history of Tamil.

'Semmoothai' - a play staged on the red palai dunes of Terikkadu in southern Ramanathapuram by Dr. Murugaboopathy and his theatre group Manal Magudi invokes UR.

Antediluvean myth, the art of interpretation (tinai), epochs of poetry, Brahmi caves, Asokan Brahmi, Vatteluttu, Grantham, modern Tamil script, ancient petroglyphs, Indus script, Jaina influence and medieval Hinduism are the broad themes explored.
There are performances in the video, each good enough to stand on its own without the rest of the video - an Amba or Temmangu style rendition of Silappadikaram by Poompuhar Sellakkunju at the confluence of Kaveri and Bay of Bengal, Silappadikaram in classical dance ballet by Sreelatha Vinod, a 'numerical' prayer by the devotees of Mel Sittamur Jinalayam, Tirumurai by Tiruppanantal Tyagaraja Oduvar and instrumental performances (Bugiri, Kuval) by Karikkiyur Irulas.
The video is a "successful conversion of a verbal and emotive content into a captivating visual and aural content", says E. Annamalai.

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