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    December 31st, 2012adminArts, Culture & Entertainment

    A band of poverty-stricken villagers from Kanchipuram district in Tamil Nadu have found life-support through the Gurukulam Kattaikkuttu Sangam which has been training them in performing folk arts apart from providing basic education to their children.

    Kattaikkuttu is a rural theatre form of Tamil Nadu and Therukoothu a form of street play with music and dance. Though their profession is not be lucrative, the villagers of Punjarasantanaal have devoted themselves to reviving these art forms.

    Recently, the National School of Drama (NSD), New Delhi, organised a chain of shows in Chennai. The performers are mostly students of 10th and 12th class along with some ex-students of the institution. However, many students have had to leave education to go back to agriculture which is their hereditary occupation. Traditional Koothu families don’t encourage their wards due to the hardships involved in being a professional theatre performer.

    “We don’t have a fixed salary. At times, we get around Rs 10,000 for one performance and maybe Rs 2,000 for the next two. But I never took any other job. I want to keep this art form alive in me,” said Radhakrishnan, one of the performers.

    Dr Hanne M. De Bruin, the facilitator of the Sangam and wife of P. Rajagopalan, the moving force behind the Gurukulam, says that a lot more has to be done. “If we could win the hearts of the city people, I’m sure they’ll travel to the rural areas to see Koothu theatre,” she added. This will be helpful for the performers as they spend many hours travelling. They will have time for agricultural activities. The Koothu performers ended their city tour last month with the play ‘Raam Ravana’.

    (Wriddhaayan studies at the Asian College of Journalism, Chennai.)

    source: / Home> On Campus/ by Wriddhaayan Bhattacharya /

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    December 30th, 2012adminArts, Culture & Entertainment

    Kanniamma with her beads.

    One overcast evening, in a corner of North Mada Street, Mylapore, I meet Kanniamma who tells me she has just returned from Delhi. “I buy all the materials for these necklaces from the North,” she says, pointing to colourful strings of beads hanging from the steel-frame of her pavement-shop.

    “People told me that stones and beads are very good there; so for the past 10-15 years, I have packed food, take a train and travelled there to bring back plenty of beads.”

    Beads costs Rs. 500 per kg wholesale, and Kanniamma can make about a dozen necklaces from it. “But there’s no big profit in this; I sell the necklaces for Rs. 50 or Rs. 60,” she says, adding that her son and daughter are also in the same trade. “But they also collect paper and plastic, to earn a little extra.” .

    Born into a family of bead-sellers, Kanniamma learnt a good many bead patterns from her parents when she was a little girl. “You need exceptionally good eyesight to string the tiny beads. You also need to keep changing the designs and beads, otherwise you can hardly make any money.”

    Adjusting her dress — Kanniamma’s usual attire is a handmade long-skirt and blouse, with a dhavani — she attends to a customer who is looking for navaratna malais. When the customer leaves, a disappointed Kanniamma wonders aloud if hers is only a sightseeing shop. “Business is bad today,” she says, because although several people, on the way to the Kapaleeswarar temple, stop by to look at her wares, no sale is made. “I haven’t even earned even Rs.100; on days like this, there’s no money to eat.”

    Sitting down next to her husband — with whom she converses in their language (“It has no script; it’s only a spoken tongue”) — Kanniamma tells me that their lives revolve round their shop. “We are from Tiruvanmiyur; but for the past 15 years, I have been selling beads near the temple. We sleep here, use the public conveniences, and buy food and eat.” The festival season is a little kinder to Kanniamma. “Everybody here knows me; during Navarathri, I even get orders for necklaces. But I’m careful never to undersell my stuff. This is very demanding work; my neck hurts, as I constantly bend over to string the tiny beads,” she says, pointing out to some new designs, made with tiny blue-green beads, and a transparent glass necklace, tasselled with orange.

    As we speak, the wind tugs at the bead necklaces and the evening sky darkens; slokams can be heard from the Kapaleeswarar temple, while Kanniamma’s radio plays old MGR songs. “I like MGR and Chiranjeevi songs; I can understand Telugu too,” she tells me with a smile. When Kanniamma travels to source beads, her grand daughter — among the few in the family who is educated — helps out with the shop. “But she dropped out in the 7th Std when her friends stopped going to school.” And then Kanniamma attends to a small girl looking for pink beads.

    (A weekly column on men and women who make Chennai what it is)

    source: / Home> Arts>  Crafts / by Aparna Karthikeyan / December 30th, 2012

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    December 29th, 2012adminArts, Culture & Entertainment, Records, All

    It was recently announced that thirty six artistes from across India, in the fields of Music, Dance, Theatre and Puppetry have been selected for an Indian National Award – The Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards for the year 2012.

    The legendary South Indian music composer Ilayaraja will receive an award under the section of Creative & Experimental Music. The 79 year old maestro has composed over 4500 songs in various Indian languages including Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Hindi and Marathi.

    The General Council of Sangeet Natak Akademi, the National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama, New Delhi held its meeting held on 21 December 2012 where it elected three eminent personalities in the field of performing arts for the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi fellowship.

    Grammy Award-winning percussionist T. H. Vinayakram from Tamil Nadu is one of the three personalities. He is the first South Indian musician to be awarded the Grammy for Best World Music Album for his participation in Mickey Hart’s Planet Drum, in which he played ghatam and morsing.

    The honour of Akademi Fellow has been conferred since 1954 and Akademi Award since 1952. They not only symbolize the highest standard of excellence and achievements on a national basis, but also recognize sustained individual work and contribution to the practice and appreciation of the arts through performance, teaching and scholarship.

    The full list of Akademi Fellows and Akademi Awardees for the year 2012 are listed below.

    Akademi Fellow (Ratna)

    Smt N. Rajam

    Shri T. H. Vinayakram

    Shri Ratan Thiyam

    Akademi Awards (Puraskar) for the Year 2012


    Field of Activity – Music

    Shri Rajashekhar Mansur (Hindustani Vocal)

    Shri Ajay Pohankar (Hindustani Vocal)

    Shri Sabir Khan (Hindustani Instrumental – Tabla)

    Shri Bahauddin Dagar (Hindustani Instrumental – Rudra Veena)

    Shri O. S. Thyagarajan (Carnatic Vocal)

    Shri Mysore M. Nagaraja (Carnatic Instrumental – Violin)

    Shri K. V. Prasad (Carnatic Instrumental – Mridangam)

    Shri Illayaraja (Creative & Experimental Music)

    Shri Bhai Balbir Singh Ragi (Other Major Traditions of Music – Gurbani)


    Field of Activity – Dance

    Smt Priyadarsini Govind (Bharatanatyam)

    Shri Vijay Shankar (Kathak)

    Shri Vazhengada Vijayan (Kathakali)

    Shri Vedantam Ramalinga Sastry (Kuchipudi)

    Smt Sharmila Biswas (Odissi)

    Shri Jai Narayan Samal (Chhau)

    Shri Painkulam Damodara Chakyar (Kutiyattam)

    Shri Jwala Prasad (Music for Dance)

    Smt Aditi Mangaldas (Creative & Experimental Dance)


    Field of Activity – Theatre

    Shri Arjun Deo Charan (Playwriting)

    Smt Tripurari Sharma (Direction)

    Shri Waman Kendre (Direction)

    Shri Parvesh Sethi (Acting)

    Smt Nirmal Rishi (Acting)

    Shri Purisai Kannappa Sambandan (Acting)

    Shri Murari Roychoudhury (Music for Theatre)

    Shri Ghulam Rasool Bhagat (Major Traditions of Theatre – Bhand Pather)


    Traditional/Folk/Tribal/Dance/Music/Theatre and Puppetry

    Shri Goru Channabasappa, Folk Music, Karnataka

    Shri Kinaram Nath Oja, Suknani Ojapali, Assam

    Shri Prem Singh Dehati, Folk Theatre, Haryana

    Smt Sulochana Chavan Lavani, Maharashtra

    Shri Mattannur Sankaran Kutty Marar Thayambaka, Kerala

    Shri Govind Ram Nirmalkar Nacha, Chhattisgarh

    Shri Heera Das Negi Mask Making, Himachal Pradesh

    Shri Prafulla Karmakar Traditional Puppetry, West Bengal


    Overall Contribution / Scholarship in Performing Arts

    Smt Nandini Ramani

    Shri Arun Kakade

    source: / Home> News /

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    Idaippadi Amudhan

    Anuradha Pathippagam, 9 Jalakantapuram Road, Idappadi — 637 101 Price: Rs.145

    India during the British Raj brought some colourful personalities into limelight; Thomas Munroe is undoubtedly one of them.

    Amudhan has done meticulous research on the role played by Munroe in the Kongu region. The writer has relied on historical records from the district manuals and gazetteers of Salem and Coimbatore, besides the biographies by G.R. Gleig, Alexander Arbuthnot, John Broadshah, P.R. Krishnaswamy, M. Arokiasamy and K.K. Pillai, as well as, three editorials of The Hindu from 1878 to 1978. What makes this book absorbing is the way he has strung the incidents together.

    Munroe’s love for India, and particularly Dharmapuri in Salem district, comes out loud and clear. He considered seven years of his work in the area as a golden period.

    For being posted in Dharmapuri, Munroe showed his gratitude to George Kippen in Fort St. George. Later as Governor, he helped I.M. Heath to establish Salem as the source for iron ore exports. He did not spare officials, whether British or Indian, who had indulged in corruption.

    While Munroe introduced the ‘ryotwari’ system for direct payment of taxes by farmers, he fought with his own masters to reduce taxes on weavers. As Deputy Collector, Salem, Munroe had insisted that the Collectors are fluent in local language of the people. Later, he also distinguished himself in the British Army, during wars in the region.

    Enriched with letters to his parents, siblings and friends, the book reveals the character of the protagonist. In his letter to his brother James living in Krishnagiri, Munroe wrote: “Do exercises daily in the morning. Be nice to your colleagues in the Army. Along with Maj. Cuppage and Capt. Irton and others, go round the place; it is helpful for body and mind. You would come to know more about the people. Please ensure your expenses are manageable within your salary, but don’t be a miser.”

    Munroe faced challenges from his own men in the latter part of his life. However, William Thackeray and Charles Carpenter were closer to him. Novelist Thackeray’s fictional character ‘Colonel Newcome’ is none other than Munroe, quotes Amudhan. Carpenter’s sister was married to novelist Walter Scott. Carpenter died in Salem and his cemetery is found near Salem Collectorate.

    Munroe married when he was 53 to a girl who was 30 years younger. In his letter dated September 15, 1795, Munroe replied to his sister who had found a girl for him, thus: “Even if we marry, I cannot assure her that our married life would be pleasant. While my wife would love to play the melody of flute into my ears, she would show her wrath on servants instead, whenever she is angry with me.”

    The final chapter when Munroe contracts cholera and succumbs to it in Gooty, is moving. The book presents an intimate picture of Munroe with authenticity.


    source: / Home> Arts> Books / by Charukesi / December 27th, 2012

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    December 28th, 2012adminArts, Culture & Entertainment

    Sri Abeeshta Varada Perumal adorned with Muthangi.  / Photo: B. Velankanni Raj / The Hindu

    Karappankadu near Madukkur in Pattukottai taluk, Thanjavur district, has a famous Vaishnavite temple called Abeeshta Varada Perumal temple or Devaperumal temple. Karappankadu is one among the Panchagramams in Thanjavur district. Other places are Nammankurichi, Puliyankudi, Serankulam and Peravurani.

    How the temple came into existence at Karappankadu is an interesting story. Legend has it that a group of Vaishnavite scholars, that travelled from Kanchipuram to Thirupullani, in Ramanathapuram district, had to stay in a forest near Pattukottai for a night. The chieftain of the area, Karuppan Devan, was attracted by the devotion of the scholars towards the Lord of Kanchi – Varadaraja Perumal – and asked them to stay in that place itself.

    The scholars stayed in the place and named it after the chieftain i.e., Karuppankadu which later became Karappankadu. The scholars, however, longed to see Varadaraja Perumal of Kanchipuram. It is said that Perumal appeared in their dream and asked them to take His idol, which was lying buried at Moorthiyambalpuram near Vaduvur, and that the place can be identified with the Garuda flying over the sky. After having found the idols of the Lord and His consorts, the scholars built a temple and installed the idols. As the Lord fulfilled the wishes of the scholars, He is called ‘Abeeshta Varadan’ (one who fulfils the wishes of His devotees).

    Karappankadu is also the birth place of Vaishnavite saints such as Singaperumal Swamy, Desika Varadachar Swamy, who later became Sri Rangam Jeer and Venkatachar Swamy.

    On December 22, this year, a devotee of the temple, V. Thiruvenkatasamy, son of Varadachariyar, has offered Muthangi to moolavar Deva Perumal, Pakkathu Nachiyars and moolavar Perundevi. He also offered stone-studded crowns to Moolavar Abeeshta Varadan and His consorts. Hundreds of people witnessed the event and worshipped the Lord and Goddess.

    source: / Home> Arts> History & Culture> by G. Srinivasan / December 27th, 2012

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    December 28th, 2012adminEducation, Records, All

    K. Ramakrishnan, chairman, K. Ramakrishnan College of Engineering, receiving the award from Governor K. Rosaiah. / Photo: Special Arrangement .

    The special award was given as part of the St. John Ambulance’s Iyarkai Mission 2012 programme

    K. Ramakrishnan, chairman, K. Ramakrishnan College of Engineering, received a special award from K. Rosaiah, Governor, for enrolling and imparting training to 1,000 students as volunteers of St. John Ambulance (India), Tamil Nadu.

    Vijaya Ramakrishnan received a similar award on behalf of K. Ramakrishnan College of Technology.

    The special awards were distributed as part of St. John Ambulance’s Iyarkai Mission 2012 programme of creating volunteer force in the colleges and imparting training to them.

    source: / Home> News> Cities> Tiruchirapalli / by Special Correspondent / December 28th, 2012

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    Mu.Mohan, State chairman, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry Builders’ Association of India, visiting a stall at Buildrock-2012 exhibition in the city on Tuesday. / Photo: R.M. Rajarathinam / The Hindu

    The exhibitors believe that in the backdrop of power shortage, people will give a serious thought to making purposeful investments

    For those contemplating solar power for homes, commercial buildings and industrial establishments, all roads should lead to Buildrock 2012 exhibition presented by Builders` Association of India at the grounds of Dhanalakshmi Srinivasan School near Karur Bypass Road.

    The exhibition featuring various other aspects of home right from electrical, flooring, pipes, roofing, water heating and storage, plywood doors and interior decoration promises to serve as a one stop spot for keen planning and budgeting prior to commencing construction.

    In the backdrop of power shortage and indications that the situation may not turn to normal for at least the next couple of years, the exhibitors of solar energy products believe that constructors will give a serious thought to make purposeful investments.

    Solar panels of various sizes along with their power generation capacities are on display. Realtors and builders of residential apartments have also sought to make their presence felt.

    According to J.Sankaran, chairman, Buildrock, about 50 per cent of the 66 exhibits at Buildrock 2012 showcase new products.

    Be it aluminium coated galvanised sheets or low-weight concrete blocks with higher sturdiness and efficiency, visitors will be quick to learn the advantages of the products, organisers promise.

    State Chairman, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry Builders’ Association of India, Mu Mohan inaugurated the exhibition in the presence of Chairman of Tiruchi Chapter Jawagar and Secretary M.Thirusangu.

    From the perspective of consumers, the exhibition is being organised at a time when there are price fluctuations in the cost of construction materials. The exhibition will be kept open for public until December 30.

    source: / Home> News> Cities> Tiruchirapalli / by Special Correspondent / december 26th, 2012

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    December 26th, 2012adminArts, Culture & Entertainment, Records, All

    Coimbatore :

    “Each one of us in the family has a common surname- Coimbatore,” says CB Karthikeyan a software engineer at the family reunion of more than 150 family members at Thudiyalur. He says that this must have been attached with their names as the name of the place.

    Karthikeyan was participating in the family get-together of three generations of 94-year-old, T Subbalakshmi. All children, their spouses as well as their grandchildren put together a number more than 300. This is the 9{+t}{+h} time they are organising their family reunion.

    T Subbalakshmi, a retired teacher from a government school near Gandhipuram had 22 children out of which 17 remain. All of them have Coimbatore as their surname. “This has been so for a long time in the family,” she says. But for her this is one of the many reasons special for her family.

    “Nowadays there are hardly any joint families. I too live with one of my sons and his grandchildren at Kovaipudur. But all of them coming together for a family get-together is an achievement,” she says with pride. From one of her granddaughter who came all the way from Malaysia  to the youngest child of the family, many of them have showed up for the get-together. C Priya Suresh, who is a special educator in Malaysia, says that they had organised the get-together on Christmas as it is a holiday and every family member could be a part of it.

    From kabadi to ‘Murugadi’, where the blindfolded participants compete to break a pot and talks on cultural values, all where done according to Subbalakshmi’s wishes. Subbalakshmi who was a second grade science and history teacher says the present generation has many things to learn from the older generations. “Unity and cultural heritage are aspects which today’s generation does not know,” she says.

    Even at this age she reads newspapers and books without using spectacles. She attributes this to the healthy food of those days and the long miles she used to walk to her farm everyday.

    source: / Home> City> Coimbatore / TNN / December 26th, 2012

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    December 25th, 2012adminEducation

    Karthikeyan Vaitheeswaran with his friend Siva

    Karthikeyan, who did a business management course from Victoria University, is now one of its successful alumni.

    Armed with a Masters in NGO management (1997-99) from Madurai Kamaraj University, I started my career in the non-profit sector in Chennai. I specialised in livelihood development of the poor. With four years of experience, I understood that a sustainable model of income generation is the need of the hour to eradicate poverty. I felt the need to do a business management course which would help me in assisting people in developing sustainable income generating activities.

    I searched for a university offering business management course which is flexible in subjects offering a variety of specialisations, affordable and of shorter duration. Finally, I found the MBA course at Victoria University (VU), Melbourne, which catered to my expectations. VU has 10 campuses in Australia and I chose City Flinders campus located in the centre of Melbourne. IDP Chennai helped me in the application and visa process. I got an education loan and landed in Melbourne in February 2004. With a semi-urban background from Trichy, it was a culture shock and I felt alien in a new land. Everyone had their own space in terms of privacy and busy with their work. With spoon feeding at home and at college in India, I felt I was not cared for. Later, I understood that, I have to be more expressive of my needs to the concerned authorities.

    The orientation program for the fresher’s was useful in getting to know about VU and student life in Melbourne. Students Service Centre (SSC) of VU was helpful in guiding me in understanding the life in a multi-cultural environment like Melbourne. It helped me find a place to stay in, part-time jobs and the use of public transport. . I started working in a gas station in a night shift.

    Personal attention

    The professors understood my background and abilities and provided extra attention. International exposure and industry-academia experience of the professors helped me in understanding the international arena of business.

    I did some of the assignments with senior level business executives and presentation of the assignment work enhanced my public speaking and personality skills.

    After the first semester, I felt that VU is the best place to study. I started feeling more confident and had complete freedom to do what I likewhile respecting and recognising others . Today, I am networking with some of the leading business executives across the world.


    I should also mention about the library in VU. It is a store house of knowledge with thousands of books and has subscription to hundreds of international journals. VU encourages students to take part in sports, cultural and community activities. I was part of the Melbourne Tamil Sangham and volunteered in its development activities.

    While I was in the last semester, the focus was on how to market myself. VU helped me in improving my writing skills, reorganise my resume and gave me ideas on career options.

    After completing MBA, I returned to Chennai in 2005 and joined the United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO) as Project Officer.

    My management studies in VU helped me in managing the time-bound community development projects and excelling in my career. At present, I’m working with the ILO Country Office for India in New Delhi as National Project Officer.

    I can see the change in myself after my studies in Australia. I have been making use of the management skills acquired in Victoria University towards building sustainable livelihoods of the poor and marginalized people.

    VU has featured my story as one of the International Success Stories on its website which motivates many Indian students to study in VU and understand the education system in Australia better.

    In August 2011, I was awarded the “2011 Australian Alumni Excellence Award for Community Service”by the Australian Government. I am proud to be a VU Alumni.

    source: / Home> News> Education> HeadStart / by Karthikeyan Vaitheeswaran / December 24th, 2012

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    Madurai :

    Kodaikanal block in Dindigul district has received Rs 37 lakh under the  Integrated Horticulture Development Scheme  (IHDS), as against Rs 6 lakh during the previous years, to augment vegetables and fruit production in the region. This is the highest allocation that this block has received under the IHDS.

    According to S Raja Mohamed, deputy director of horticulture, Kodaikanal, understanding the importance of horticultural crops which require minimum water for their cultivation compared to paddy, sugarcane and other food crops and to meet the requirements of farmers in the block, the state government has sanctioned an increased allocation of Rs 37 lakh.

    He said there was a need to increase the area under the highly remunerative as well as the nutritionally rich horticultural crops, especially fruits and vegetables, and also motivate farmers to grow fruit plants in their gardens. An area of 1,270 hectares under fruits and vegetable crops was to be developed with this fund, during the current fiscal under IHDS. The scheme carries an attractive subsidy.

    Under IHDS, farmers can get high-yielding as well as hybrid seeds such as carrot, beans and peas at 50 percent subsidy for a maximum of half a hectare per farmer and high-yielding fruit plants like avacado, acidlime, plum grafts, peach grafts, pear grafts and coffee seedlings at 50 percent subsidy to the maximum of one hectare per farmer, he added.

    Vegetable seeds like beans procured from the National Horticulture Research Development Foundation (NHRDF) , Hubli, Karnataka, and carrot seeds procured from the National seed Corporation, were being distributed to needy farmers in Kodaikanal.

    Farmers can enroll their names in the National Agriculture Insurance Scheme (NAIS) for banana and potato crops in the block. All farmers including share croppers and tenant farmers growing notified crops in the notified areas are eligible for coverage. Kodaikanal, Pannaikadu and Thandikudi firkas are notified under this NAIS  in Kodaikanal block for rabi season.

    source: / Home> City> Madurai / TNN / December 25th, 2012

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