December 2010


In this Issue

New Publications

Project Evaluation

Board Meeting

From the Narikurava Digital Community Archive

From our Chennai office

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Gives to NFSC

You can donate online to strengthen the National Folklore Support Centre.

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Events Calendar:

December 3, 2010

Marupakkam along with NFSC will screen Panthibhojanam and Scribbles on Akka at 6.00 p.m.

December 9, 2010

Public lecture by Shubha Ranganathan, Department of Humanities and Social Studies, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, on Using Narrative Approaches in Research and Therapy at 6.00 p.m.

December 13, 2010

Tamil Nadu Thiraippada Iyakkam along with NFSC will screen the film Mata Hari (1985) 108 mins/ col Director : Curtis Harrington Writer : Joel Ziskin Stars : Sylvia Kristel, Christopher Cazenove and Oliver Tobias at 6.00 p.m.

December 14, 2010

Tamil Nadu Thiraippada Iyakkam along with NFSC will screen the film The Seduction Of Mimi (1972) 120 mins/col Director:Lina Wertmuller, Starring : Giancarlo Giannini, Mariangela Melato, Gianfranco Barra, Agostina Belli, Luigi Diberti, at 6.00 p.m.

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NFSC Portal for Journals:

We have uploaded the latest edition of Indian Folklife.

The 10th issue of Indian Folklore Research Journal is due for publication in our Journal Portal by December 2010. Full archives of all our journals are available in the Journal Portal.

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Interested in Volunteering?

We invite volunteers who can contribute online or at the Centre. Online volunteers can help with our website and wiki as contributors or editors. Volunteering at the Centre would involve helping organize programmes or workshops in colleges, schools or corporate houses. 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.

Those of you interested in volunteering with community media initatives, please visit Video Volunteers.

They have interesting opportunities for those enthusiastic about working with and making a difference in economically backward communities.

Dear Readers,

The month of December is upon us with its cold mornings and we have more than one reason to celebrate! We are very happy to announce that Peter Claus who is part of the international editorial board of Indian Folklore Research Journal has generously donated $10,001 to the NFSC corpus fund. We are profoundly grateful for his gesture of faith and support. We seek his continued guidance and blessings.

New Publications:

The last month has been an extremely busy and a thoroughly satisfying month for us. We have finally finished three of our long term initiatives. Yes dear readers! You read right! Our three publications – The photography book ‘Seraikella Chhau’ and the two dictionaries in ‘Jenu Nudi’ and ‘Vaagriboli’ have been successfully released!

The Jenu Nudi dictionary is a compilation of Jenu Nudi lexicons with their closest English approximations and the vaagriboli dictionary consists of transliterations in five languages and the nearest English approximations of each Vaagriboli lexicon. They will enable children from the respective communities to grasp English much better and encourage them to use their ‘home language’ officially, without fearing criticism from those outside the community.

The dictionaries have been published with a vision to make the education system more sensitive to linguistic differences between students from the marginalized communities and others. We are aware that the publication will not bring about immediate change. This is only the first step in our goal. We intend to follow up this publication with workshops and training sessions for teachers in how to use these dictionaries and publish more volumes that include descriptive and graphic images for certain words which do not have corresponding English translations.

The Seraikella Chhau photography book is unique. It explores photography as a tool in representing a dynamic art form that is in a crucial stage of transformation. Photographs taken on photo sessions organized specifically for this purpose have been interwoven with archival photographs taken during our fieldwork in the community. We have also borrowed old photographs from the family archives of the royal family of Seraikella. All these together are organized as a visual narrative that conveys a meaning of its own. The English text supplements the narrative. The book also contains a DVD that is a compilation of significant audio-visual data we have gathered during our field work. It is this visual nature of the book that makes it accessible to the members of the community, irrespective of their literacy status. The photography book was released by our trustee Deborah Thiagarajan and the first copy was received by Niyati Mehta, Program Officer of the Tata Education Trust. The excitement of the community members during the release function was palpable and stands testimony to the effectiveness of the narrative.

All three publications are a result of our two year long data collection and interaction with the field. Our Community Digital Archives have been recognized by the UNESCO as a good model for preservation of intangible cultural heritage.

Project Evaluation:

On November 26, 2010, a project evaluation of the Seraikella Chhau Digital Community Archive was undertaken. Our trustees K.Ramadass, Dadi D. Pudumjee, Deborah Thiagarajan, Molly Kaushal, N.Bakthavathsala Reddy, Y.A.Sudhakar Reddy and M.D.Muthukumaraswamy closely followed the work progress at the archive through interactions with the field collaborator Tapan Kumar Pattanayak and our colleagues at the field – Ashish and Sanjay. The evaluation process began with the release of ‘Seraikella Chhau’ photography book that was followed by a seminar on Seraikella Chhau, where eminent Gurus such as Shyama Pada Nanda, Sushantha Kumar Mahapatra, Sunil Dubey, Brahjendra Kumar Pattanayak and Tapan Kumar Pattanayak and scholars such as Raja Prathap Aditya Singh Deo presented papers. The Seminar gave a brief introduction to the dance form, the techniques and nuances involved and the future of the dance form. This was followed by a detailed interaction with the members of the citizen committee and the field coordinator Tapan Kumar Pattanayak. The work progress of the Digital Community Archive was closely examined and queries regarding hours of documentation, method of documentation etc were clarified. A possible work plan for the next year was projected and challenges involved in the documentation process and the functioning of the archive, probable solutions etc were discussed and reviewed. The evaluation process ended on vibrant note with dance performances by various tribal groups such as Ho, Mudari, and Santali.

Board Meeting:

On November 27, 2010, a board meeting of the board of Trustees was held and the same members of the board who were present for the evaluation of Seraikella Chhau Digital Community Archive, attended. The board discussed in detail the work progress in the Seraikella Chhau Digital Community Archive, the project output of all the three community archive projects and the North Eastern Fellowships.

It was suggested that the storage facilities of DV tapes at the Seraikella Chhau Digital Community Archive be improved, with backup copies of all tapes and DVDs. More workshops in mask making process were recommended to include eager, young artists who might not hail from families that are traditionally involved in the art. The ‘Jenu Nudi’ and the ‘Vaagriboli’ dictionaries were considered significant beginnings in interventions with the educational system at the grass root level. It was suggested that this dictionary be followed up with further publications that include graphics and sketches of the words that referred to specific plants, trees and other objects that do not have appropriate English translations. The work plan projected was discussed and approved.

From the Narikurava Digital Community Archive:

Our colleagues at the Narikurava Digital Community Archive have also been quite busy organizing public screenings and such civic engagement programs. The recent documentary on ‘ herbal medicines of the Narikuravars’ was screened across the settlements where documentation was undertaken. The documentary was well received by the community. They were very happy with the representation of their heritage. Their response was documented and added to our collection at the archive. Interviews with the subjects of the documentary were also conducted and duly documented.

From the Chennai office:

Colleagues at the Chennai office have been busy organizing folklore awareness programs. Last month, in collaboration with Loyola college, Chennai, such an event was organized at Women’s Christian College, Chennai. It began with a paper presentation by Ms.Vidhya, professor at the Loyola college on folklore, the importance of its preservation and the need to create more awareness. This was followed by a cultural program by the students of Loyola college. Thappattam, Oyilattam and such folk performing arts were presented. The event ended with the participants taking a collective decision to promote and create more awareness about folklore, with more such programs organized collaboratively with NFSC and other colleges.

So that’s all we have for you dear readers! As always, we welcome any suggestions/feedback/criticism you might have. Please feel free to drop us a mail anytime! Don’t forget to checkout our new publications! Follow our website to catch the first glimpse of them and order them online at our online shop.

We will catch you next month!


- Bhargavi Narayanan

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, folklore advocacy with public programming events and digital technology with applications to voice the cultures of the marginalised and historically disadvantaged communities. 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.

The NFSC is a member of the Credibility Alliance. For information on the NFSC Board of Trustees, Staff, Annual Audit Reports and details of programme development, click here. To unsubscribe from this newsletter, mail You can also give feedback, suggestions or criticism at NFSC, 508, Fifth Floor, ‘Kaveri Complex’, 96, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Nungambakkam, Chennai 600 034, Tamilnadu, India

Phone: 044-28229192, 044-42138410, 044-28212706

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