Collections 11 to 23 digitised !!

Collections 11 to 23 (August 2011- January 2012)

 

Coll. No

Location

Type of Documents

No.of Photos

No.of photos on other topics

11

Erode

-98 palm leaves  bundles : land deeds, EIC records, pattayams

4 343

3 431

12

Erode

-39 palm leaves bundles: land deed, pattayams

908

884

13

Madurai

8 palm leaves bundles:    EIC records

148

14

Madurai,

-44 paper files & 10 notebooks-835 Palm leaves :

land deeds, TCL, auctions, judgments, temple documents, loans

12 151

1002

15

Theni

-1 note book (judgement copy)

152

16

Madurai

-1 paper file-1 bundle of palm leaves :

land deeds

61

17

Erode

-50 Bundles of palm leaves, -176 paper documents and 3 note book :sanjaram, land deed

1 250

554

18

Madurai

-paper documents: land deeds

382

272

19

Madurai

-2 notebooks: TCL-1 copper plate : land rights

77

20

Madurai

-1 copper plate: land deed

2

21

Madurai

-14 paper files-11 notebooks

-6 bundles of palm leaves: land deeds, TCL, auctions, judgements, temple documents, loans

4 993

1 788

22

Madurai

-8  paper files-1 notebook : land deeds, TCL

1 128

1 108

23

Madurai,

-1 bundle palm leaves :land deeds, TCL

42

 

 

Total

 

 

25 637

9 039

 

 

 

 

 

TCL:Tamil Customary Law

EIC: East India Company

Workshop invitation distribution

The first  Clac experimental workshop, which will take place on the 14th and 15th of November in Pondicherry University, is bringing together 21 men from various villages and localities to dicuss village judiciary practices and customary law.

As per local custom regarding invitation, we had to pay a personal visit to each of the men in order to hand over by hand the invitation, doing otherwise would have been considered careless and even rude.

Here are a few photos from the invitation tour which was done by the members of the team (Krishnasami, Selva Kumar, Muthu Kumar and Chandran)

Tavamani Tevar in front of his house © EAP 458
Tavamani Tevar receiving the workshop invitation © EAP 458
Virumandhi Tevar in his shop © EAP 458
Virumandhi Tevar's shop in Karumathur© EAP 458
Thangapandi receiving invitation © EAP 458
On the road to the next panchatattar© EAP 458
Meeting with Manirasu on the side of the road© EAP 458
Manirasu receiving invitation © EAP 458
Inside Servaikkarar Tevar's house© EAP 458
Servaikkarar Tevar receiving invitation© EAP 458
Solaimalai Maravar receiving invitation© EAP 458

Collection 11 in progress

 

Krishnasamy examining letters to be digitized with the document holder in his living room. Our "home-made" portable photo stand is in the lower right hand corner

We are presently working on a large collection belonging to the family of an Anuppa Goundar Zamin family in Madurai district. The documents we are digitizing will eventually become “collection 11”.

The Zamin’s documents have been stored in a relatively neat and orderly fashion, unlike some collections where the documents were balled up together, which is making the digitization process less complicated and time consuming.

One of the two chest holding the family documents being opened for us....

So far we are not able to estimate the number of documents kept in the two wooden chests. During the first set of digitization around 1 000 photos have been taken. As is often the case in our project, the document holder is not quite sure of the contents of many of his documents.

...and the contents dispersed on the floor...

This first set of digitized documents is being painstakingly identified by Selvakumar, Muthukumar and Chandran who joined the project a month ago. The collection contains a vast majority of paper documents.  Among these a fair amount of land related documents (village leases, land sales, rentals, auctions, etc.), dispute documents (complaints, judgments, legal notices, etc.).

Though there are very few documents in English, the earliest document among those identified so far is a handwritten notice in English from dating from 1802 . A notebook dated from 1867 presented by the Madurai District Collector contains a number of handwritten copies of copperplates which were apparently lent by the Zamin to the British officer for the purpose of reproduction. The copperplates reproduced are said to have been issued by Tirumalai Nayakkar arounf the 1660s, thus latter that the copperplates of Collection 1 (which have been authenticated by the Archaeological Survey).

The second phase of the digitization process should be completed by the end of the month of October.

Here are a few more samples from the fieldwork and the collection:

 

 

 

A taste of golden rice …

Straying somewhat from the purpose of this research project, but delightful nonetheless, here is an appetizing artifact photographed among a vast collection of objects and documents dating from the golden years of the former Palayakkarar (later Zamindar) family of Uttukuli which we met last week during a document field search in Kongu Nadu :

 

Front side....

 

 

... et bon appetit !

 

Several gold leaves still remained in the leaflet, not so tasty after all…

 

Digital proof of trust

Most of the time we digitise a collection directly in the house of its owner. However, on one occasion the document holder allowed us to take his forefathers’ documents back the the IFP in Puducherry. The importance this document holder gave to our project was particularly gratifying. This was, however, not so surprising as Tavamani Tevar’s documents, which have been digitized as Collection 1, were at the very inception of the project.

 

From left to right: V. Krishnasamy, Zoe Headley, Tavamani Tevar and the late R.K. Kannan, © EAP 314

 

Though he insisted we take all documents with us, we declined to take the three 17th century copperplates with us, lest something should happen to them while in our custody. The paper, notebooks and palm-leave documents were in such a bad state that we thought it best to work on them in the IFP itself.  Though the document holder was prepared to lend s the documents unconditionally, we did not want to just walk out with them and thought it best to leave with him some kind of proof or acknowledgment that we had borrewed over 600 of his documents. The simplest way we found was to photograph the passing of the documents from Tavamani Tevar to ourselves, take a print of the photos in the nearby town, and return these to him before leaving his village.