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

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.