August 2009


Table of Contents

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Online Learning

NEW! Register now for the ‘Introduction to Cultural Studies’ course offered by NFSC Director M.D. Muthukumaraswamy online.

Self-registration is open till the end of August on our online learning site.
The course is taught fully online. There is no course fee.

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Events Calendar

August 11
Folk tunes of Kongu Nadu, A lecture by A.Bhageerathy, 6 p.m.

August 14
Screening of film ‘Our Family’ by Anjali Monteiro & K.P.Jayasankar, distributed by Magic Lantern, 6 p.m.

August 26
NFSC film ‘What Nila Said’ & Tamilnadu Thiraipada Iyakkam (TTI) film ‘Le Secret’ (Virginie Wagon / France / col / 120 mins), 6 p.m.

August 27
TTI film ‘The lives of others’ (Florian Henckel / German / 2005 / col / 137 mins), 6 p.m.

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NFSC Portal for Journals

The next issue of Indian Folklife on Naga Folklore is now up on the wiki.

A new issue of Ishani on the development process in Nagaland is now up on the portal for journals.

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NFSC’s New Research

The NFSC is doing extensive documentation of Therukoothu as part of the Kanchipuram research project. Fieldworkers Arun Bose and Manivannan have recorded more than 80 hours of Bharathakoothu performances at Thusi village near Kanchipuram.

Recently, they have covered the release of the text of the Nallapillai’s Bharatham at his birthplace. This version of the Mahabharatham as written for Therukoothu debuted in the Varadaraja Perumal Temple in the 18th century. The book release also saw a rare coming together of eight of the Bharatha Prasangiar who recite the Bharatham in afternoons before the all-night koothu performances.

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Volunteer at NFSC

We invite volunteers who can contribute online or at the Centre. Those interested in volunteering can register online here or send in profile, bio-data, letter of interest, areas of work and experience and commitment of time to the address provided below.

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Looking back, looking ahead

Dear Friends,

The National Folklore Support Centre has been through a process of introspection – from the board meeting at the end of May to the workshop on ‘Towards a Higher Education of Inclusion, Collaboration and Community Engagement’ held in early July. We have embarked on projects to present a consolidated view of the work we have done towards establishing Digital Community Archives.

Looking ahead, Tata NorthEast Fellowships were awarded to Nongthombam Meenakumari Devi to document the dance tradition of the Roungmei community of Manipur and Syed Sajjad Ali to document the folklore of the Chakma community following interviews with the selection committee.

Read on for presentations from the workshop and more on the various ways and directions our future work will take. Below is a sample of Gondi art – a representation of goddess Bangari Devi – that you can access on our wiki here.

Bangari Devi in Gondi Art

Workshop on Higher Education

The workshop on Higher Education had more than twenty participants from diverse backgrounds. You can find these presentations from the workshop online:

A lecture on ‘Culture and Ecology’ by Professor D. Narasimhan from the Madras Christian College presents new insights about major changes in the natural environment effected by human settlement.

Malarvizhi, Program Officer (Publications), NFSC, described NFSC’s experience with the use of social media and the insights we have received along the way into collaborative cataloguing on the Internet and archiving in the presentation titled ‘Using social media for presenting documentation on marginalized communities’.

Another presentation to have been made by Nirmalaa Shrethar during the visit to the Narikuravar Archive at Villupuram could not be held as scheduled but is now available online. The various games played by Narikuravar children in the Ashakulam settlement, Villupuram, are described here with rules, diagrams, methods of play and photographs in a slideshow titled ‘Games People Play’.

Community Archives

We screened the videos of the World Gypsy Music concert held at the Ashakulam settlement recently to the community at the Narikuravar Archive during the workshop. The videos received an enthusiastic response with children singing and dancing along with the same gusto they had displayed on the day of the concert.

As part of the proposal to publish a multi-media book on the archival work completed for each of the six archives – book plans have now been put up for the Jenukurubar Archive, the Narikuravar Archive, the Gond & Bhunjia Archive, Orissa, the Seraikella Chhau Archive, Jharkhand, the River Nila Archive, Kerala, and the Gond Archive, Madhya Pradesh.

Fieldworkers Rayson K. Alex and S. Rajasekar are now working with the Jenukurubar Archive in Karnataka and have linked to some of the multi-media content the book for the Jenukurubar Archive would have on this page. You can find an update on activity at the Archive among them, besides presentations on the tree houses built by the Jenukurubar and their honey collection. They will also be screening the documentaries that have been produced out of the documentation of the life and culture of the Jenukurubar to hamlets during their fieldwork. The documentaries were released at an event organised at the archive recently.

You can follow the links from for regular updates on the archives.

Bringing Culture to Ecology

As part of our pioneering project to collate the ways in which environment produces and is produced by culture, we are in the process of collecting and animating 300 folk tales and narratives. We have currently commissioned Nayaka-period style Tanjore art from artist Balaji Srinivasan for this.

You can see some of the folktales here. All of them relate to animals, birds or plants that we will be describing at length in the Encyclopaedia Indica Kids: Culture and Ecology.

You can find updates on NFSC activities on our Twitter stream at

- Malarvizhi. J
Programme Officer (Publications and Communication) NFSC

National Folklore Support Centre (NFSC) is a non-governmental, non-profit organisation, registered in Chennai, dedicated to the promotion of Indian folklore research, education, training, networking, and publications. The aim of the Centre is to integrate scholarship with activism, aesthetic appreciation with community development, comparative folklore studies with cultural diversities and identities, dissemination of information with multi-disciplinary dialogues, folklore fieldwork with developmental issues and folklore advocacy with public programming events. Folklore is a tradition based on any expressive behaviour that brings a group together, creates a convention and commits it to cultural memory. NFSC aims to achieve its goals through cooperative and experimental activities at various levels. NFSC is supported by grants from the Ford Foundation and the Tata Education Trust.

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