Tag Archive | south India

Musically yours, from Jaffna

It is an  old article  about a youngster from Jaffna. Hope he reaches his endeavors in due course.

SRINIVASA RAMANUJAM The Hindu Chennai, January 27, 2016

miruthangam

Meet Sri Lanka-based 21-year-old Thuvarakan, whose covers of Tamil songs are gaining popularity on social media.

In all his music videos, T. Thuvarakan is a picture of concentration. Playing two keyboards simultaneously, his fingers deftly search for the right note, not missing them even on one occasion. A big fan of Tamil film music, the 21-year-old’s most recent videos are that of hit Kollywood songs, including ‘Thalli Pogathey’ (Achcham Enbadhu Madamaiyada), ‘Thangamey’ (Naanum Rowdy Dhaan) and ‘Aaluma Doluma’ (Vedalam).

What’s so special, you might ask. Thuvarakan is doing all this in his nondescript room at Jaffna, Sri Lanka, where he was born and lived through three civil wars — in 1995, 2000 and 2006. And, he can play a dozen instruments, including the mridangam, tabla, morsing, violin and guitar. “Jaffna is famous for its culture. But due to the conflict, musicians here do not have access to technology like our counterparts in the Indian film industry. Of late though, the signs are encouraging; people are trying to produce their own albums and short films,” he says.

His passion for music started when he was just three. His father, a singer, was his inspiration at that time. “I started listening to Tamil film songs in my childhood. My father, who is also my first music guru, taught me the popular ‘Kanne Kalaimaane’ song,” he recalls in an e-mail interview. Soon, Thuvarakan was enrolled for mridangam classes, an instrument in which he showed promise.

In 2012, even as he struggled with his studies, he formed a music band called Vaanavil. Consisting of 18 members, the band plays Carnatic, English, Tamil and Sinhala songs. The reach of the band might be restricted, but Thuvarakan seems to be making use of social media to get noticed. “In Jaffna, we have very less media support; they do not give priority to Tamil musicians,” he writes. “We are dependent on social media to reach our talent to the world. It also helps us get exposed to different styles of music.”

After finishing his Ordinary Level Exam, Thuvarakan got a chance to use social media to his advantage. His first independent release was a song he composed for his school cricket match. Buoyed by the appreciation he received, Thuvarakan did a cover version of the ‘Yaendi’ song from Puli and uploaded it. “I got a lot of positive feedback for that,” he says. Soon, he was working on other covers of songs from hit Tamil films. The youngster, who considers Ilaiyaraaja and A.R. Rahman, as his role models, dreams of becoming a composer in the Indian music industry someday. “I will finish my university education in four years and then shift to Chennai to make my dreams come true,” he says.

Check out his work at facebook.com/T.Thuvarakan

Krishna’s Butter-Ball – Travel Stories (1)

Mamallapuram is a place in South India situated ~ 60 km south of Chennai (Madras). Travel time by car takes approximately an hour from Chennai. Historically Mamallapuram was a busy seaport and now a tourist attraction. Tourists flock the place to view famous rock carvings and temples (rathas) which were carved in granite during 7th– 8th century. It is one of the many world heritage sites in India and also an archaeological site of the Tamil Nadu state.

 

Butter ball

Apart from the carvings, there is a large ball of stone balanced on hilly slope positioned as if it may roll down any minute.

Krishna's Butter ball  (photo: Saba-Thambi022015)

Krishna’s Butter- Ball  at Mamallapuram (Front view)                                                           (photo: Saba-Thambi022015)

Tourists taking photos at the butter-ball (Photo: Saba-Thambi Feb 2015)

Tourists taking photos at  Butter-Ball                                            (Photo: Saba-Thambi Feb 2015)

According to the tour guide, the rock has been there for many centuries. During British occupation in the eighteen hundreds the rock was tested against gravity to see if it could be rolled away from its position. They also used roped elephants to pull it down but the ball never moved an inch!

The locals coined the rock “Krishna’s butter ball” as Lord Krishna was notorious for stealing the butter balls in his younger days. Even though the rock looked like a ball from one side, the view from another side tells a different story.  The side view reveals the elongated part the rock hence the center of gravity well and truly balancing the rock without falling!

Side view of the Butter-Ball (photo: Saba-Thambi)

Side view of the Butter-Ball (photo: Saba-Thambi)

Nowadays the rock has become an attraction where tourists pose for photos as if they were preventing the rock from sliding down the slope. The rock was never free to take a photo without anyone in the background. It was also providing shade for the tourist to stay away from the hot sun.

From Khalil Gibran to JFK and to MGR – விருந்தினர் பதிவு : காலீல்முதல் வாலிவரை

Hi Friends

My guest -blog # 3 on Naalu Vari Note (நாலு வரி நோட்டு) was published a fortnight ago.

The blog is written in Tamil Language relating to four-lined lyric for a Tamil movie.

 Here is an English blurb of my Tamil post:

“And so my fellow Americans!

Ask not what your country can do for you;

Ask what you can for your country.”

 Many of us have heard the above political prose delivered by John F Kennedy (JFK), the President of the United States of America. JFK delivered these lines in his Inaugural address to the Congress on the 20th of January 1961.

Photo portrait of John F. Kennedy, President o...

 JFK – photo credit: Google images

Ever since this quote has been echoed in every corner of the globe and have repeated again and again mostly by the politicians. The famous lines are still popular even today after fifty-two years!

The inaugural address of JFK (4.00 – 4.30 seconds)

The origin of the lines

The world always associated/associates the viewpoint  with JFK only. Did JFK really write those 30 seconds ideology?  Has he borrowed it from someone else? 

Generally, political leaders employ script-writers to pen their messages. Theodore C. Sorenson (TCS) was appointed as JFK’s script writer. Half the world never  heard of Sorenson either.

So where did JFK – TCS borrowed the school of thought?

Some may argue that it was the influence of JFK’s school teacher.

But the evidence leans towards Khalil Gibran (1813 – 1931).  Khalil Gibran was born in modern day Lebanon and migrated to United States as a youngster. The literary writer Gibran was well versed in Arabic and English Languages. He was well known for  his artistic talents. His literary works were popular among the Arabic and English-speaking world.  JFK believed to be a fan of  Khalil Gibran.

 In 1925, Gibran wrote a literature titled “The New Frontier”.  (http://leb.net/~mira/)

 

Khalil Gibran (1813 – 1931) photo credit: Google images

In The New frontier he aimed at the then political scene of the Middle Eastern countries:

 “Come and tell me who and what are you.

Are you a politician asking what your country can do for you?

Or a zealous one asking what you can do for your country?

If you are the first, then you are a parasite; is the second,

Then you are an oasis in a desert.”

 Now you could figure out the connection.

Tragically  the world lost JFK to  a gunshot. JFK’s epitaph carries the above prose in the Arlington cemetery. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:JFKInauguralInscriptionGravesite.jpg

 

MGR (South Indian Cinema)

The same lines, what JFK uttered were used in a Tamil cinema song. The lyricist Vaali penned it for M. G. Ramachandran (MGR).  The Sri Lankan born (then Ceylon) MGR migrated to India during his young age and in later years became an actor.

MGR systematically used the silver screen as his political pedestal. His movies, specially the songs in his films carried the sentiments of a common man. His movies struck a chord with the average citizen and attracted the public towards him. 

The actor-producer & Director eventually became the Chief Minister of the State of Tamil Nadu (South India) in 1977. He was the first actor, elected  to govern in India and he may well the first male actor turned statesman to govern a state or country. The American actor Ronald Reagan became the President of USA four years after MGR came to power. MGR served  three terms in the Office.

 The Tamil song was written in 1972 for the movie “Naan Yen Piranthaen”(Why was I born?)

First line of the song started with the movie-title and the late T.M.Soundrarajan rendered his voice to the music of Shankar Ganesh.

 For those who could read Tamil, below is the link for your perusal.

விருந்தினர் பதிவு : காலீல்முதல் வாலிவரை.

Tamil week to Monsoon Journal

Re- published on  Monsoon Journal,Canada.

http://www.monsoonjournal.com/ArticleFiles/Archives/Arch_on_1-May-2013/Archive_1-May-2013.pdf

Article  on Monsoon Journal (Page 43- may 2013)

Article on Monsoon Journal (Page 43- may 2013)

Memories of Yesteryears (2): P.B. Sreenivas (1930-2013)

By Saba-Thambi

P.B. Sreenivas (Sep 22, 1930-Apr 14, 2013)

Early last week when my spouse turned from the computer to give me the sad news of the veteran play back singer P.B. Sreenivas (PBS)passing away, the news didn’t hit me at that time until 48 hours later as I was listening to PBS songs as usual.

As a fan of Tamil movie melodies PBS’s soothing voice has been in the background of my growing up big time!

Baby-boomer generation of children, born between 1946 -1964 from the Indian sub-continent are accustomed to listen to songs on the short- wave radio, from a “tea-kadai” or barber saloon on their way to school unless the family was privileged enough to own a LP record player or the good old big armed His Masters Voice gramophone. This was the pre-era of audio tapes, compact discs, MP3 or MP4. Baby -boomers of that era from Jaffna heavily relied on the commercial services of the Radio Ceylon (now SLBC) and Trichy, Chennai and Vivitha Bharathi radio stations from South India for their daily dose of melodious entertainment.

for further reading click Ever green melodies of P.B.Srineevas remembered

Ever green melodies of P.B.Srineevas remembered

My article on  PB.Srineevas was published on Tamilweek.com
21 April 2013, 9:40 pm

Memories of Yesteryears (2): P.B. Sreenivas (1930-2013)

By Saba-Thambi

P.B. Sreenivas (Sep 22, 1930-Apr 14, 2013)

Early last week when my spouse turned from the computer to give me the sad news of the veteran play back singer P.B. Sreenivas (PBS)passing away, the news didn’t hit me at that time until 48 hours later as I was listening to PBS songs as usual.

As a fan of Tamil movie melodies PBS’s soothing voice has been in the background of my growing up big time!

Baby-boomer generation of children, born between 1946 -1964 from the Indian sub-continent are accustomed to listen to songs on the short- wave radio, from a “tea-kadai” or barber saloon on their way to school unless the family was privileged enough to own a LP record player or the good old big armed His Masters Voice gramophone. This was the pre-era of audio tapes, compact discs, MP3 or MP4. Baby -boomers of that era from Jaffna heavily relied on the commercial services of the Radio Ceylon (now SLBC) and Trichy, Chennai and Vivitha Bharathi radio stations from South India for their daily dose of melodious entertainment.

for further reading click Ever green melodies of P.B.Srineevas remembered

விருந்தினர் பதிவு : கண்ணதாசனின் அந்தாதி

Distribution of Tamil speakers in South India ...

Hi Viewers

Below is my fist post in Tamil Language, my mother tongue. The alphabets of Tamil would look like curly scribbles for  a  non Tamil reader. Tamil Language is  one of the oldest language spoken in South India, North & East Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Singapore.

The opening song in the Oscar-winning movie  “The life of Pi” is in Tamil and part of the dialogue is also taken in Tamil.

 

Cover of "Life of Pi"

Cover of Life of Pi

The post below describes  two lyrics from a  South Indian Tamil movie and discussing the grammar behind it.

விருந்தினர் பதிவு :கண்ணதாசனின் அந்தாதி.

An Antipodean Raj

Hello Readers

I would like to share the article below  which was published in “The economist”. The article explains the geographical links between Subcontinent and Australia million years ago.

regards

Saba

 

Genetic evidence suggests that, four millennia ago, a group of adventurous Indians landed in Australia

Jan 19th 2013 |From the print edition – The Economist

http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21569688-genetic-evidence-suggests-four-millennia-ago-group-adventurous-indians

THE story of the ascent of man usually casts Australia as the forgotten continent. Both archaeology and the genes of aboriginal Australians suggest that a mere 15,000 years were required for humanity to spread from its initial toehold outside Africa, on the Arabian side of the straits of Bab el Mandeb, to the land of Oz. The first Australians thus arrived about 45,000 years ago. After that, it took until 1788, when Captain Arthur Phillip, RN, turned up in Sydney Cove with a cargo of ne’er-do-wells to found the colony of New South Wales, for gene flow between Australia and the rest of the world to be resumed.

This storyline was called into question a few years ago by the discovery, in some aboriginal Australian men, of Y chromosomes that looked as though they had come from India. But the details were unclear. Now a study by Irina Pugach of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, in Leipzig, and her colleagues, which has just been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has sorted the matter out. About 4,000 years before Captain Phillip and his merry men arrived to turn the aboriginals’ world upside down, it seems that a group of Indian adventurers chose to call the place home. Unlike their European successors, these earlier settlers were assimilated by the locals. And they brought with them both technological improvements and one of Australia’s most iconic animals.

Dr Pugach came to this conclusion by studying what are known as single-nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs. These are places where single pairs of the genetic “letters” that make up DNA often vary between individuals. (The letters themselves are chemical bases of four varieties, which pair up in specific ways, and which encode the instructions for making proteins, and thus living creatures.) SNPs act as markers for blocks of DNA that get swapped around during the process of sexual reproduction. Examining their pattern can therefore reveal a person’s ancestry—both where those ancestors came from, and when they lived.

East India company

The first thing to emerge from Dr Pugach’s SNP analysis, which compared the DNA of aboriginal Australians with that of people from New Guinea, South-East Asia, India, China, West Africa and Europe, was that previous estimates of the time Australia was settled are about right. The ancestors of the first Australians, New Guineans and Mamanwa (a group who live in the Philippines), arrived in the area some time before 36,000 years ago, when the SNPs suggest the three lines parted company. This marked the original colonisation of an area which, though now an archipelago, was then mostly dry land because so much of the Earth’s water was locked up as ice in the extended polar caps of the last glacial period (see map).

The first colonists would thus have needed boats to cross some narrow seas in order to settle this land. But since their ancestors would have required similar craft to cross Bab el Mandeb, no technological improvement would have been required for them to do so.

Dr Pugach, however, also discovered something else. There is a pattern of SNPs in aboriginal Australians that is not found in people from New Guinea or the Philippines. But it is found in some Indians—particularly in Dravidian speakers from the southern part of the subcontinent. That discovery both meshes with the Y-chromosome data and enriches it, because the pattern of the SNP data meant that she and her colleagues could calculate when the Indian genes (and thus the Indians who carried them) arrived in Australia.

The answer is 141 generations ago. Allowing 30 years a generation, that yields a date of 2217BC. Obviously, this is not a precise date. But it is probably good to within a century or two. And that is interesting for two reasons. One is that the 23rd century BC is slap-bang in the middle of the period when Indian civilisation was emerging. The other is that it coincides with a shift in both the culture of Australia and the composition of the continent’s wildlife.

The bronze-age Indus valley civilisation, which reached its peak of development between 2600BC and 1900BC, is less well-known to outsiders than its contemporaries in China and the Middle East, partly because no one has managed to translate its written records. But it was no less successful, and it led—just as those two other areas did—to an urban culture that resonates today.

One technology it managed to develop was seaworthy ships, rather than mere boats, and Indus valley states used them to trade with their Middle Eastern neighbours. Such ships could have provided the means to get to Australia, either deliberately or by accident, for by then the sea had risen close to its modern level.

Archaeological evidence suggests that the Indus valley civilisation did not extend into the area where the telltale SNP patterns came from, so any connection is speculative. But many anthropologists believe Dravidians were once more widespread than they are today. (There is, for example, a group of Dravidians living south of Quetta, in Pakistan, on the edge of the territory occupied by the Indus valley civilisation.) In any case, Dr Pugach and her team could find no sign of the relevant SNP pattern in South-East Asia. That suggests the people who brought it may have travelled directly across the Indian Ocean, rather than coasting through what is now Indonesia. If so, they probably came by ship, rather than boat.

Pin it on the dingo?

The shift in Australian life came in three ways that can be seen today. One was that tools changed. It was not a case of metalworking being introduced, so an organised expedition of settlers from one of the Indus valley states can probably be ruled out. Rather, aboriginal culture, which had hitherto depended on the large and relatively crude stone tools of the palaeolithic, suddenly started using the smaller and finer ones of the neolithic. Whether the new arrivals did not know how to work metal, or merely lacked the equipment or sources of ore to do so, remains to be established.

The second shift was gastronomic. Sadly, the archaeological record has yet to reveal tandoori ovens or fossilised chapatis in Australia. But it does show changes at this time in the ways that cycad nuts—an important crop that Australians had long cultivated by the “fire-stick” method of burning vegetation that competes with the trees that bear them—were processed. Such nuts contain toxins. After about 2000BC several methods for removing these toxins, such as leaching them out with water and fermenting them away, spread through Australia. To this day, cycad nuts are familiar food in Kerala, in southern India. There, they are detoxified by being dried in the sun or by the fireside.

The third thing that arrived in Australia at this time was the dingo. The origin of these wild dogs, which are believed to have outcompeted and exterminated the native thylacine (also known as the Tasmanian tiger, because it lingered into modern times on that dingo-free island), has always been obscure, though their resemblance to certain breeds found in India is well known. Dr Pugach’s discovery suggests they may have come directly, on board ship. However, the existence of similar dogs in New Guinea and parts of South-East Asia complicates that explanation.

Whatever the truth turns out to be, though, this discovery is an intriguing piece of a jigsaw whose completed picture will reveal that truth. It is also an illustration of the power of modern genetics to write and rewrite the history books.

From the print edition: Science and technology