Violence in Indian History-Conference November 2013

Archive India Institute’s Second Annual International Conference

Violence in Indian history

Bangalore, November 1st 2013

Premodern India produced over 25,000 literary, religious, philosophical and scientific texts and hundreds of administrative documents, land records, trading charters, historical chronicles and genealogies. Close to thirty million manuscripts are now extant. Besides, India is home to nearly 75,000 inscriptions engraved on stones, rock-surfaces, temple-walls, copper-plates, pots, wooden panels and so on. Together, these constitute a stupendous corpus, providing much of the information upon which the reconstruction of premodern Indian history is based. The importance of these sources can hardly then be overstated. Nevertheless, much of these texts are not accessible to scholars and students today. Thousands of inscriptions remain unpublished, and the existence of hundreds of texts is yet to be acknowledged by way of catalogues and inventories. Many of the published materials are either expensive, or out of print, or preserved in special libraries which do not provide easy access to researchers. These difficulties have generated a need to develop an alternative in tune with the demands and requirements of our times. The Archive India Institute was established in order to address some of these difficulties.

Archive India Institute-Digitising the Textual Heritage of India

The institute aims to digitize the literary, religious, philosophical and epigraphic texts from premodern South Asia and make them available freely online to researchers as well as to the general public. It also seeks to promote research by way of organizing seminars, conferences, workshops and symposia on all aspects of premodern South Asian history, and by publishing books, booklets, periodicals, pamphlets and other forms of literature relevant to the study of premodern South Asian history. The Institute expects to emerge as a premier platform for sustained engagement with the rich archival corpus of South Asia leading to cutting-edge research poised to extend the horizons of our knowledge on the subcontinent’s past.


Contact Secretary, Archive India Institute, 146, 4 Cross

Venkatagiriyappa Layout, 5 Block, Doddabommasandra, Bangalore 560097

Ph: +919418162555; Email:



Tamil Documentation Conference April 2013-Sri Lanka

Tamil Documentation Conference – தமிழ் ஆவண மாநாடு

27-28 of April 2013- Colombo, Sri Lanka

Organised by Noolaham Foundation

This conference aims at identifying and discussing the goals that have been achieved so far and the goals that need to be achieved in the future in the areas of documentation, preservation and dissemination of knowledge. Educationists and researchers across Sri Lanka and from other countries will submit their research papers on the following themes at this conference:

  1. History, archaeological documents related to the heritages
  2. Audio, visual and photographic documents
  3. Individual personalities and institutions
  4. Documenting society
  5. Linguistic and literary documentation
  6. Knowledge sharing and education
  7. The role and uses of technology in documentation
  8. Digital libraries, websites and databases
  9. Cataloging and library science
  10. Art, cultural memory and documentation

பல்வேறுபட்ட துறைசார்ந்த விடயங்களையும் ஆவணப்படுத்தல், பேணிப்பாதுகாத்தல் மற்றும் அறிவைப்பகிர்தல் ஆகிய பணிகளில், இதுவரைகாலமும் அடையப்பட்ட இலக்குகளையும் அடையத் தவறவிடப்பட்ட இலக்குகளையும் அடையாளம் கண்டு, வெளிப்படுத்துதலை இம் மாநாடு நோக்கமாக கொண்டுள்ளது. இலங்கை மற்றும் பிற நாடுகளில் இருந்தும் பல கல்வியாளர்கள், ஆய்வாளர்கள் பங்குபற்றும் இம் மாநாட்டில் ஆய்வுக் கட்டுரை சமர்ப்பிக்க விரும்புவோரிடமிருந்து கீழ்வரும் விடயப்பரப்புகளுக்கு அமைவான ஆய்வுக்கட்டுரைகள் எதிர்பார்க்கப் படுகின்றன. இக்கட்டுரைகள் தமிழ் அல்லது ஆங்கில மொழியில் இருத்தல் வேண்டும். ஆய்வுக்கட்டுரைகளுக்கான விடயப்பரப்புகள்

  1. வரலாறு, தொல்லியல் ஆவணங்களும் மரபறிவுப் பதிவுகளும்
  2. ஒலி, ஓளி, புகைப்பட ஆவணங்கள்
  3. தனிமனித ஆளுமைகள், நிறுவனங்கள்
  4. சமூகத்தை ஆவணப்படுத்தல்
  5. மொழி இலக்கியப் பதிவுகள்
  6. அறிவுப்பகிர்வும் கல்வியும்
  7. ஆவணப்படுத்தலில் தொழினுட்பப் பயன்பாடுகள்
  8. எண்ணிம நூலகங்கள் [Digital Libraries], இணையத் தளங்கள், தரவுத் தளங்கள்
  9. நூல் விபரப்பட்டியலும் நூலகவியலும்
  10. கலை பண்பாடு நினைவுகளும் ஆவணப்படுத்தலும்

Noolaham Foundation
No 7, 57th Lane, (Colombo Tamil Sangam)
Colombo-06, Sri Lanka
Phone (Land): 0094 112363261

International Conference on Tamil Grammar 6/8 March 2013

Pasts in the Present: Tamil Grammar and its Contemporary Predicaments

-International Conference-

Date: 6th to 8th March 2013

          Venue: French Institute of Pondicherry
11, Saint Louis street

Time: 09.30 am

The French Institute of Pondicherry and the Central Institute of Classical Tamil will jointly organize a three day international conference ‘Pasts in the Present: Tamil Grammar and its Contemporary Predicaments’ from 6th to 8th March 2013.

At this conference the topics to be discussed and debated broadly range from: the Classical Tamil grammar, the issues in the teaching of this Classical Tamil grammar today and the relationship, creative writers have with reference to the Tamil grammar.

Researchers from different countries will participate in this conference. Prof. Prof. Y. Subbarayalu, Prof. P. R. Subramanian, Prof. Francois Gros, Prof. K. Rangan, Dr. Elisabeth Sethupathy, and writers such as Mr. Prapanchan, Mr. Dilip Kumar,
Mr. Sudhakar Ghatak, Mr. Kanmani Gunasekaran are among the key participants of this conference. Doctoral and Post doctoral research students from several Universities will also participate.

For more information:


தற்காலம்: தமிழும் தமிழ் இலக்கணமும்

(06.03.2013 – 08.03.2013)

பிரெஞ்சு ஆய்வு நிறுவனம், புதுச்சேரி


புதுச்சேரி பிரெஞ்சு ஆய்வுநிறுவன இந்தியவியல் துறையும், சென்னையிலுள்ள செம்மொழித் தமிழாய்வு மத்திய நிறுவனமும் இணைந்து 06. 03. 2013 முதல் 08. 03. 2013 வரை தற்காலம்: தமிழும் தமிழ் இலக்கணமும் என்னும் தலைப்பிலான பன்னாட்டு கருத்தரங்கினை, புதுச்சேரி பிரெஞ்சு ஆய்வு நிறுவனத்தில் நடத்தவிருக்கின்றன.


இக்கருத்தரங்கில் பழந்தமிழ் இலக்கணம் குறித்தும், தற்காலத்தில் தமிழ் இலக்கணம் கற்பிப்பதில் ஏற்படக்கூடிய சிக்கல்கள் குறித்தும், படைப்பாளிகள் தமிழ் இலக்கணத்தோடு கொண்டிருக்கும் உறவு குறித்தும் விவாதிக்கப்படவுள்ளன.  இக்கருத்தரங்கில் உலகநாடுகள் பலவற்றிலிருந்தும் தமிழ் ஆய்வாளர்கள் கலந்துகொள்கின்றனர்.  பேராசிரியர்கள் எ. சுப்பராயலு, ப.ரா. சுப்பிரமணியம், பிரான்சுவா குரோ, இரா. கோதண்டராமன், எலிசபெத் சேதுபதி முதலியோரும், பிரபஞ்சன், கண்மணி குணசேகரன் பெருமாள் முருகன் முதலிய எழுத்தாளர்களும் பங்கேற்கின்றனர்.  இக்கருத்தரங்கில் பல்கலைக்கழக ஆய்வு மாணவர்களும் கலந்துகொள்கின்றனர்.
இடம்: பிரெஞ்சு ஆய்வு நிறுவனம், புதுச்சேரி
நேரம்: காலை 09. 30
For more information:


New South Asian Digital Archive Projects

The Endangered Archives Programme is funding six new digital archives project in and related to South Asia:

  • “To survey the East India Company and Colonial archives of Jamestown, St Helena, South Atlantic” (EAP 524)

Pilot project (6 months) coordinated by David Richardson, University of Hull.

  • “The narrative and ritual texts, narrative paintings and other performance related material belonging to the Buchen of Pin Valley, India” (EAP 548)

Pilot project (6 months) coordinated by Patrick Sutherland, University of the Arts London.

  • “Preserving memory II – documentation and digitisation of palm leaf manuscripts, Kerala, India (EAP 584)”

Major project (18 months) coordinated by Sudha Gopalakrishnan, SAHA: Stirring Action on Heritage and the Arts.

  • “Digitising Malay writing in Sri Lanka” (EAP609)

Major project (24 months) coordinated by Ronit Ricci, The Australian National University

  • “Exploring land and society in pre-partition Sindh (1843-1947): collecting and copying endangered records of Sehwan Sharif and beyond” (EAP 553)

Pilot project (12 months) coordinated by Remy Delage, Institut Français de Pondichéry.

  • “Endangered Urdu periodicals: preservation and access for vulnerable scholarly resources” (EAP566)

Coordinated by James Nye, University of Chicago.



PILC Tamil Summer School 2013

The Puducherry (Pondicherry) Institute of Linguistics and Culture holds its regular Tamil Summer School from 22 July – 31 August 2013.

The summer school offers an intensive education in spoken Tamil language at basic and intermediate levels, and it combines classroom lessons with field visits so that the participants can practice at most their language skills in the course of studies. Registration is open from 1 March – 30 April 2013.

The Tamil Summer School was initiated in 1998 by the Department of Social Sciences, French Institute, Puducherry to offer training to language researchers in Humanities and Social sciences. PILC has been organising this course since 2004. The medium of teaching is English as well as Tamil. The TSS focuses on Spoken Tamil rather than on the classical and written forms being taught in European Universities. The level of spoken Tamil course is intermediate.

For practical details, please see their PDF here: TSS_application_2013 – tamilpudu13

Noboru Karashima’s keynote address-Tamil Studies Conference

Professor Noboru Karashima delivered the keynote address during the tamil Studies Conference, which took place in Toronto on the 11th and 12th of May, entitled: “The past as known from tamil inscriptions”, which was fascinating.


Inscriptions on stones or copper-plates, which occur in substantial numbers, are the basic source-material for the ancient and medieval history of India, as much of India lacks history books compiled in these periods. It is particularly so in the case of Tamil Nadu, as there remain in Tamil Nadu the largest number of inscriptions from the past. First I will explain this situation by showing the language-wise and chronological distributions of inscriptions. What sort of information can we obtain from those inscriptions and how can it be obtained? In order to elucidate these points, I will take up, as examples, my study of the two issues, namely, (1) the notion of the village community and (2) the challenge to the caste system in the past, made through the examination of Tamil inscriptions of the Chola period (10th to 13th centuries). First, the view expressed by Metcalfe, The Indian Village Communities are little Republics, having nearly everything that they want within themselves, produced later the theory of the Stagnant Orient or Oriental Despotism. There is a volume of inscriptional data on the nature of villages in the Chola period to question this understanding. Second, many people believe that the caste system has been well maintained in South India without much challenge since it was introduced from the North during the Pallava period until the beginning of the last century. An analysis of the imprecations in Chola and Pandyan inscriptions throws anew light on this issue. For such studies, the importance of statistical analysis of inscriptional data, the method of which I introduced into this field of study, need to be emphasized.

The website TamilNet, has covered the talk and uploaded the presentation, which can be found here: Karashima_paper_toronto_2012

Related posts in Clac:

Interview of N. Karashima by P.Menon, here.

“Epigraphical Study of Tamil Villages” by N. Karashima, here.

Tamil Studies Conference 2012: “Traces of the past”, here.


CFP- Lassnet Conference December 2012

International Law and Social Sciences Research Network Conference

University of Peradeniya – Sri Lanka.

December 14 to 16, 2012

The inaugural Law and Social Sciences Research Network (LASSnet) conference was held at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi in 2009. A subsequent conference was held at the Foundation for Liberal and Management Education in Pune in 2010. These conferences identified a number of priorities for the research, study and practice of law in South Asia. A key concern was to interrogate how law is conventionally taught, practiced, and researched as an autonomous and self-sufficient phenomenon. Those who regard law as autonomous believe it is capable of giving an account of itself. Law teachers, legal scholars, practitioners, and judges tend to treat the law as a discipline that can furnish principles to decide ‘hard cases’ by drawing on internal logics of consistency and coherence, with inbuilt protocols for determining legislative intent, fair procedures, and natural justice ensuring access to courts. What is ‘law’, properly so called, also tends to be narrowly conceived as what judges, legislators, or the police ‘do’ – ignoring the diffuse structures of power and governance, and practices of regulation, normalisation, and biopolitics that penetrate bodies and condition behaviour.

The notion that law is autonomous (legal formalism or legal positivism) has been subjected to sustained challenge over many decades by scholars who draw on social science methodologies. Broadly conceived, these scholars draw on epistemologies and pedagogies from the social sciences in order to explain that law is a social, anthropological, historical, and economic artifact which should be understood and studied as such. In South Asia, the research, teaching and practice of law that draws on the social sciences has been relegated to the margins.

LASS was constituted to consolidate the work done so far, to map the field of Law and Social Sciences in South Asia, and to build scholarly bridges between disciplines across the region. Its objective is to begin conversations, develop research, and create an archive of legal praxis that draws on the social sciences. In doing this, LASS seeks to be innovative in its deployment of social science methodologies, challenging existing socio-legal approaches that have almost exclusively focused on revealing hidden social determinants of the legal. LASS calls into question this social constructivist approach. It promotes research that examines how specific practices and relations of knowledge and power are constituted. If law a site where power/knowledge is constituted or exercised, how do we know this? If law is not the only site, then what sustains economic and political connections as seemingly disparate as the splicing of a gene and the growing of rice in a rural village? What research methods can be drawn from the social sciences to identify and explain the link between knowledge production, techniques of government, and the ever transforming multiple ways of being in the world?

Alongside these general priorities and questions which LASS has grappled with – we also recognise that Sri Lankan law, society, and economy gives rise to specific questions and problems. These are not unique to Sri Lanka, and are of wider significance to South Asia, and regions beyond in what is an increasingly globalised world. The conference in Sri Lanka seeks to promote research and discussion on a broad list of themes. The panels might focus on a particular theme listed below, including comparative discussions across South Asia. However, we are open to panels and papers that range beyond the listed themes:

1. Development – Development is seen as the solution to most woes in Sri Lanka, and in other postcolonial, post-war, and newly industrializing economies. Most critiques of development have merely stated that the process is one-sided, and that it enables yet more incipient forms of imperialism to emerge. Others have done discourse analyses focused on how development has become discursively and ideologically prominent. We encourage papers that are specifically focused on the particular processes through which ‘development’ unfolds and the forms of accumulation and dispossession characteristic of neoliberal capitalism.

2. Land – In addition to rights based approaches, we encourage papers that draw from recent debates in Sri Lanka and other South Asian settings about how ‘land grabs’ for special economic zones, tourism, or major infrastructure projects have impacted on local populations. What are the economic and social formations that promote and resist these patterns of appropriation?

3. Natural Resources and Mining – A key frontier of contemporary conflict is the extraction of natural resources, and the impact on local communities, economies, the environment, and political cultures. As the Indian Supreme Court put it recently in Nandini Sundar & Ors v Chhattisgarh (July, 2011), the extraction of natural resources by local and multinational corporations and the state deploys violence that mirrors the horrors of European colonialism and plunder that Joseph Conrad described in the Congo in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. How do social movements, and existing juridical structures resist or facilitate resource extraction? How do we break down the modern binary between the ‘natural’ and the ‘social’ to re-conceive and democratise the relation between community and the material world?

4. Trauma, Memory, Witnessing – Sri Lanka and numerous other countries grapple with the problem of the ‘truths’ of the past when seeking to attend to legacies of state and non-state violence, exile, dispossession, and displacement. Commissions of inquiry challenge the limits of conventional judicial approaches. But all acts of bearing witness grapple with the problem of re-presentation. What forms of witnessing and memory attend to trauma and conscious and unconscious legacies of the past? What are the memory practices of the law itself? Beyond juridical measures, what aesthetic and archival practices of writing, cinema, theatre, and visual arts attend to and breach memorial practices?

5. The State – While many discussions around globalisation marginalised the contemporary role of the state and its sovereignty – Sri Lanka, like many other countries, exemplifies the persistence and expansion of sovereign power. How does the state proliferate and mutate in the context of development economics, war, and conflict? What are the limits of liberal democratic constitutionalist approaches to the state? What are the limits of liberal democracy? How do the political theologies of sovereignty intersect with religious formations in the postcolonial state?

6. Struggles for Social Justice – How has law engaged with struggles of trade unions, student movements and other constituencies challenging state policies? How does trade union action in contemporary times relate to ideas of the working class and class formation? How do struggles around education relate to broader conceptions of democracy and social welfare?

7. Nationalism – Both Tamil and Sinhala Buddhist nationalism have been the midwives of social and economic disasters in Sri Lanka. Simplistic claims of rights to self-determination or federalism do not grapple with the underlying crisis of plural political existence. Nonetheless, sub-national selfdetermination, and national sovereignty continue to be asserted by progressive and reactionary political movements as a bulwark against social and political marginalization at the nation-state level – and the hegemony of capital, or the power of regional and international powers beyond the level of the nationstate. What are the underlying conditions and reasons for the persistence of nationalism over other forms of political mobilisation?

8. Feminist debates – While feminist interventions need to continue to tackle violence against women – LASS has consistently promoted approaches beyond analytics of victimisation. Papers considering questions of women’s labour in special economic zones and as migrant labour; women in war and in a militarised setting; and explorations of forms of women’s resistance are especially welcome.

9. Sexuality – what is the impact of nationalism on LGBT people? What lessons might Sri Lanka draw from the Indian experience and the advances made through debates on Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code or the Nepal Supreme Court decision on recognition of same sex orientation? What are the links between neoliberal capital and emergent forms of sexual citizenship in South Asia?

10. Subaltern – How can we begin a discussion on the ways in which the dominant theories/narratives of the law, the state and capitalism excludes discussion and access to subaltern classes? What has been the varying impact of law on caste structures in South Asia and what processes have over determined law’s engagement on caste issues?

11. Rethinking Civil Society – What constitutes civil society and what kind of role is there for civil society in relation to post-war reconciliation in Sri Lanka? What is civil society’s relationship to social movements, grass roots networks and public intellectuals? What are the local discourses of reconciliation, how do they engage questions of gender, class, caste and ethnicity, and how do they understand processes of reconciliation elsewhere in the world. How do approaches and critiques of human rights relate to the process of reconciliation? And what impact do interventionist international discourses such as Responsibility to Protect (R2P) have on the local political process?

12. Rule of Law – The rule of law in Sri Lanka was undermined by the armed conflict, militarization, Emergency and the Prevention of Terrorism Act. While there have been calls for a return to the rule of law in the post-war context, what are the challenges as well as limitations of constitutional propriety and rule of law with respect to social change and post-war transformation?

Abstracts of 250 words should be submitted to reach by 30th June 2012

The Law and Social Sciences Research Network (LASSnet) is anchored at the Centre for the Study of Law and Governance (CSLG) at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU)

Organising Committee
Mala Liyanage – Chair/Anchor, Law and Society Trust, Sri Lanka
Pratiksha Baxi – Anchor, LASSnet, CSLG, JNU, Delhi
Deepika Udagama – School of Law, University of Peradeniya
Ahilan Kadirgamar – Graduate Center, City University of New York
Stewart Motha – School of Law, Birkbeck, University of London
Gehan Gunatilleke – Centre for the Study of Human Rights, University of Colombo
T. Shanaathanan – Faculty of Arts, University of Jaffna
Sumathy Sivamohan – Faculty of Arts, University of Peradeniya
Liyanage Amarekeerthi – Faculty of Arts,Univesity of Peradeniya
Priya Thangaraja – Women’s Action Network
Kamala Sankaran – Faculty of Law, Delhi University
Siddharth Narrain – Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore
Neloufer de Mel – Department of English, University of Colombo
Jagath Weerasinghe – Postgraduate Institute of Archaeology, Colombo

Classical Tamil Summer Seminar 6-13 August 2012

10th Classical Tamil Summer Seminar 6-13 August – EFEO Puducherry



The study of Classical Tamil is not widespread or prominent in the West. The EFEO Centre can offer the opportunity of approaching the difficult material by reading and discussing texts and commentaries both with Indian and Western scholars. For the time being the EFEO still employs three Indian scholars of Tamil: R. VARADADESIKAN for Vaishnava literature, G. VIJAYAVENUGOPALas an epigraphist and T.RAJESWARI as a manuscriptologist. Western Tamil scholars have few opportunities to meet – for them the CTSS provides an occasion of intensive exchange and collaboration. The CTSS is intended to ensure, along with some basic philological training, the transmission of some of the ancient knowledge and literary vision of the pandits. Even though several institutions have manuscripts, collected with the intention of preserving Tamil cultural patrimony, this is not to say that these manuscripts have been studied or published. There is a need for researchers to do this work. This course is thus in a position to make an important contribution to the training of future generations of scholars, being centrally placed at the meeting point between continuity and renewal in Tamil studies.

For more practical information and the application, please read here.

International Workshop on Tamil Epigraphy 6-17 august 2012


Tamil Nadu, India, 6 to 17 August 2012


We are glad to announce our Ninth International Workshop on Tamil Epigraphy, to be held from 6 to 17 August 2012. Please note that the workshop will be held in Pondicherry and in Tanjavur in Tamil Nadu, India.

No registration fees are required, but each participant has to bear the cost of practical works and travelling to different sites.

The workshop will be held from Monday to Friday: morning 9.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. (lunch break), afternoon 2 to 4 p.m.

The participants have to arrange themselves their travel to India. The organisers will be pleased to help the participants to find accommodation in Pondicherry and in Tanjavur on request. We would be thankful to you if you could inform your colleagues and students about this workshop.

If you need more information, please contact:

EAP 458 progress report

EAP 458 Constituting a Digital Archive of Tamil Agrarian History

6 month progress report addressed to the Endangered Archives Programm


This report -which covers the first six month of our digital archives project (August 2011-January 2012)- was sent to our funding institution the EAP (British Library/Arcadia).


Recruitment, training and equipment


When the project began, we focused on the recruitment of our team. Unlike the pilot project, where we chose people we already knew to work with, we decided to send a recruitment announcements for the three positions to different teaching and research in Pondicherry and Chennai. We interviewed some 10 candidates and recruited three young men: Selvakumar, Muthukumar and Chandran. We also are recruited Krishnasami who was part of the EAP 314 team.


Since there were three new members to the project, time was spent making them familiar with what was accomplished during the pilot project, the objectives and requirements of EAP and of course training them to the specificities of our project. Training was given to the three new members in the field of digital photography, Tamil epigraphy, handling palm-leaves


In terms of equipment, we have acquired a Nikon D-90 camera, two Dell laptops, a stand, a measuring unit, one external hard-disk. The concept of our stand (purpose built wooden tripod) has attracted the interest of four research projects who asked us to share its blue print with them: EAP project 454 on Mizoram, Nolaham Foundation (a Srilankan based project on Tamil Manuscripts), EAP 191 on French Publications and a Unesco funded project on food and nutrition in India.


Progress of digitization


During these six months, we have largely focussed on digitization. Presently 13 collections have been digitized. The details of each collection are given in table below. These 13 collections amount to a total of 25 637 images. However, within 7 of the collections, some documents are not directly relevant to the scope of our project. These documents concerns issues related to literature, folk tales, traditional medicine, astrology. We decided to digitize them along with the documents of relevance since, if taken as a whole, they constitute indeed a collection. We therefore have to make the decision whether to discard them from the archive and therefore ‘tamper’ with the integrity of the original collection. Should the EAP ask us to remove them, we would give them over to relevant institutions or scholars without going through the process of identification (listing template). Our personal feeling is that these documents should be included. They have been till now preserved by their owners and are, in the same way as our ‘relevant’ documents, clearly vulnerable and rapidly deteriorating. Though beyond the scope of our ‘topic’, these documents inform us on other areas of cultural life and social representation. We wait for the decision of the EAP to handle this issue.


Coll. No


Type of Documents

No.of Photos

No.of photos on other topics



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

4 343

3 431



-39 palm leaves bundles: land deed, pattayams





8 palm leaves bundles:    EIC records




-44 paper files & 10 notebooks-835 Palm leaves :land deeds, TCL, auctions, judgments, temple documents, loans

12 151




-1 note book (judgement copy)




-1 paper file-1 bundle of palm leaves :land deeds




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

1 250




-paper documents: land deeds





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




-1 copper plate: land deed




-14 paper files-11 notebooks-6 bundles of palm leaves: land deeds, TCL, auctions, judgements, temple documents, loans

4 993

1 788



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

1 128

1 108



-1 bundle palm leaves :land deeds, TCL





25 637

9 039

Discovery of 2,200-year-old Tamil-Brahmi inscription

Muthukumar (CLAC) participates in the discovery of  a 2200 year-old Jain inscription

A short Tamil-Brahmi inscription carved out over 2200 years ago on a boulder in Samanamalai (Madurai district) was discovered recently by V. Vedachalam (Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department) and V. Muthukumar, one of our team members. To read more about the inscription and its signification, please read here

V. Muthukumar is pursuing his PhD in Epigraphy and Archaeology at Tamil University (Thanjavur). He has gained good experience in the field of archeology (Adhichanallur, Porunthal, Thandikudi) as well as epigraphy while working with the Saraswati Mahal library for the National Mission for Manuscripts.

Another Tamil-Brahmi inscription was found by other researchers in the Edakal cave (Kerala’s Wayanad district) at the beginning of the month of February. For now, opinions differ as to the possible date of the inscription. To read more, click here.

The IFP, which is hosting the CLAC project, also has an ongoing research project on Jaina Temples in Tamil Nadu:

Even though important on a historical point of view and still alive today, the Jain presence in Tamil Nadu, consisting on the one hand of ancient Digambara communities of the South, and on the other hand of immigrant merchant communities from Western India, is badly assessed. Temples of this region make up for a rich heritage still unrecognised. We wish to make a CD-ROM that presents the temples in their artistic and religious dimension, as an architectural heritage and living place, and that sheds light on the uniqueness of Jainism in Tamil Nadu. Read more…

Tamil Summer School 2012

Tamil Summer School in Puducherry

30 July 2012 to 8 September 2012

What is the TSS?

The Tamil Summer School is an intensive six-weeks course in spoken Tamil organised by the Puducherry Institute of Linguistics and Culture(PILC), a Govt. of Puducherry institution, known for its research activities, training programmes and workshops.

The course was initiated in 1998 by the Department of Social Sciences, French Institute, Puducherry to offer training to language researchers in Humanities and Social sciences. The Faculty of Linguistics, PILC has been organising this course since 2004.

The TSS is conducted every year in July-August. The medium of teaching is English as well as Tamil.

The TSS focuses on Spoken Tamil rather than on the classical and written forms being taught in European Universities. The level of spoken Tamil courses are offered: BASIC and INTERMEDIATE.

Why Spoken Tamil?

Tamil is an international language spoken in different countries like India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Singapore. It shows significant social and regional variations and is known for its diglossic nature, in as much as it possesses distinct written and spoken forms, affecting syntax, lexicon and phonetics. The TSS primarily aims at filling this important gaps in Tamil studies by offering students and scholars a summer programme stressing the spoken variety.

The TSS provides an opportunity

– for scholars to acquire linguistic tools to do field studies in Tamil.

– for those who are trained in the written form of Tamil and others to be able to efficiently communicate in Tamilnadu and other Tamil-speaking areas.

The TSS programme will be conducted for six days per week during a period of six weeks (i.e. from 30 July 2012 to 8 September 2012).

The course is based on materials both in English and Tamil designed specially for TSS 2012.

Basic level:

At the basic level spoken Tamil is introduced. Drills in pronunciation will be given by experienced professors. Basic vocabulary, grammar and conversational materials will be provided in the second phase. Tamil scripts and simple sentences are taught enabling the students to speak and read Tamil.

Intermediate level:

Spoken Tamil is taught with conversational materials throughout the course. Lessons in Modern Tamil Grammar will be given stage by stage with structures of Tamil sentences. Students will be trained to read primary level lessons, short stories and songs. Vocabulary lists will be provided for practice.

Fieldwork activities:

During the TSS, the participants will be taken out for field experience once in a week, so that they can interact with the local populance.

Lecture series:

Lecture-cum-demonstration related to Tamil Fine Arts and Culture will be arranged once in a week.

Eligibility- Basic level

Eligible participants are students or researchers from foreign or Indian universities or institutions, who have not studied Tamil. Preference will be given to research scholars.

Eligibility- Intermediate level

Eligible participants are students or researchers from foreign or Indian universities or institutions, who have studied written Tamil for atleast one year and have a good knowledge of basic grammar. Otherwise, they may be considered for

Basic level

N.B: According to the number, background and standard of participants, the appropriate level of the course will be adopted.


Enrolment starts on 1 March, 2012 and registration will be closed on the 30 April, 2012. Registration may be possible beyond 30 April under special circumstances.

For registration, particulars are required in the prescribed format and may preferably be sent by e.mail.

Kindly send it in advance to reserve your seat.

Registration fees for TSS 2012 will be Rs. 18,000 (Rs. Eighteen Thousand only). This includes the cost of the materials and field visits provided by us. Participants have to arrange for their accommodation. However, PILC will assist the scholars in finding the type of accommodation they prefer.

Your stay in Puducherry

Puducherry is a small Tamil speaking territory and city, 140 km from Chennai International airport and well-connected by rail and road. It has a very good tourist infrastructure with more than forty hotels and lodges. Cost of living is extremely moderate by European and even Indian standards.

For Information Contact:

The Director,

Puducherry Institute of Linguistics and Culture (PILC)

Women’s Polytechnic College Campus, Lawspet,

Puducherry 605 008, India

Tel: 0413-2255817 (Dir) 0413-2255827 (Off)


40th IIS World Congress



The 40th World Congress of the International Institute of Sociology will take place in Delhi, India, on Thursday, 16 February – Sunday, 19 February, 2012. The theme of the congress is:

After Western Hegemony: Social Science and its Publics.

To read more about the theme of the congress, click here.


5 sessions will be addressing related issues of memoryand archive:


Anamnesis: Memory, Time and Recital

Session Conveners: Claudia Tazreiter and Helen Pringle, University of New South Wales


The Archive and Its Afterlives

Session Convener: Baidik Bhattacharya, University of Delhi


Archives for Maintaining Community and Society in the Digital Age I

Session Convener: Keiji Fujiyoshi, Koyasan University, Wakayama


Archives for Maintaining Community and Society in the Digital Age II

Session Convener: Keiji Fujiyoshi, Koyasan University, Wakayama


Shards of Memory: Memorials, Commemorations, Remembrance

Session Convener: Radhika Chopra, University of Delhi






Review of Agrarian Studies

New Indian peer-reviewed journal


  The Review of Agrarian Studies is a new bi-annual peer-reviewed journal of the Indian Foundation for Agrarian Studies, a charitable trust based in India and established in 2003. The journal is published from Kolkata and appears both in electronic and printed form – the latter in collaboration with Tulika Books, one of India’s most important publishers of books in the social sciences. The Review of Agrarian Studies invites articles on agrarian studies – on the forces and relations of production in agriculture and in rural areas, on living standards, and on different aspects of social formations in the countryside. It also carries theoretical and empirical articles on social, economic, historical, political and scientific and technological aspects of agriculture and rural societies.

The online version is available for free at or

“Workshop explores village judicial practices” The Hindu

The Hindu published a report on the CLAC experimental workshop on the 24/11/2011

To read the article published by The Hindu, please see here: “Workshop explores village judicial practices

To read the full version of our press release, please see below:

Tamil village judicial bodies

The University of Pondicherry and the French Institute have jointly organized a two day Exploratory Workshop on village judicial practices. The workshop was inaugurated on the 14th of November by Professor D.Sambandam (Dean of Social Sciences, PU.). Over these two days, Justice David Annousamy, Dr Eric Denis of the French Institute, Professor V. Rogotham (Head of History), Professor K.Rajan, Professor Chellaperumal, addressed a team of over 20 elders from south central Tamil Nadu who discussed the procedures and practices as knowledge-holders of caste-based village judicial customs.

The objective of the workshop was to explore the contemporary practices of village judicial assemblies and thereby gain deeper knowledge on Tamil customary legal procedures which have been largely discarded by academic research and misrepresented in the media.

During the colonial period, Tamil customary law was never codified and by and large, the British judicial administration took the view of caste as a self governing body entitled to adjudicate according to custom.. Following Independence and the coming into being of the Constitution, the Indian State did not actually interfere with that age old arrangement.

Though there have been several attempts to set up government-sponsored local judicial assemblies (nyaya panchayat) as a door-step access to state justice, these have largely failed to be functional  in most Indian states. Instead, the traditional or non-state caste-based judicial assemblies have continued to adjudicate conflicts in a wide number of rural areas. The judgments passed by these traditional panchayats have not only co-existed alongside state courts but in many instances the decisions and judgments taken ‘under the banyan tree’ were recognized by the judges sitting in the courtrooms.

However this arrangement is under challenge in several parts of the country without suggesting any viable substitute. In Tamil Nadu, since 2003, several court cases have indicted ‘panchayattars’ that is the men who adjudicate in village judicial assemblies which have come to be labelled ‘katta panchayat’. Many of the participants in the workshop expressed their disagreement with this negative labelling and explained over the two day workshop how their judicial practices are based principles of natural justice, on evidence on deliberation among members. They aimed at helping the parties reach a reasonable compromise and in default to give a just decision based on reason which was in general well accepted.

The participants insisted that they should not be confused with occasional self styled panchayats working in semi-urban centres whose practice may be objectionable and intimidating

Justice David Annousamy, former judge from the Madras High Court and author of a number of publications in Tamil, French and English, who gave an insightful opening speech for the workshop opined that village panchayats were doing a yeomen service in solving a large number of cases quickly, that what they needed was an exposure to modern Human Rights.