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

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

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

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)

E.mail: pilc@vsnl.com, pilc@md3.vsnl.net.in

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