October 2010


In this Issue

Our upcoming publications


Encyclopaedia Indica

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Gives to NFSC

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

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Events Calendar:

October 1, 2010

Marupakkam along with NFSC screens Take Note (Dir: Elite Zexer; Country: Israel; Duration: 17 minutes; Short film Language: Hebrew with English subtitles) and She Write
(Dir: Anjali Monteiro, K.P.Jayasankar; Country: India; Duration: 55 minutes: Documentary; Language: Tamil with English subtitles)
at 6 p.m.

October 14, 2010

Guest lecture by
Michael Watson
, Burlington College, Vermont, USA, on ‘Indigenous and Mixed Race Healing Traditions in the Time of Obama’
at 6 p.m.

October 19, 2010

Tamil Nadu Thiraippada Iyakkam (TTI) along with NFSC will screen the film Portrait of a Beauty/2008 /South Korean film directed by Jeon Yoon-soo / 108 minutes/Col. at 6 p.m.

October 20, 2010

Tamil Nadu Thiraippada Iyakkam (TTI) along with NFSC will screen the film A Very Long Engagement / 2004 / French romantic war film, directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet / 127 minutes/Col. at 6 p.m.

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NFSC Portal for Journals:

We have uploaded a collection of articles by Prof S. Carlos on NFSC Books & Monographs titled “Collected Articles on South-Indian Folklore”. This is our second collection on NFSC Books and Monographs. The first book to be uploaded was Prof Simon Charsley’s “Madiga and Dalit”. As you all must be aware that this service was launched as there is no existing software to help authors and scholars to publish their books and monographs on-line. Keeping with our tradition for innovation, we have customized the open journal system to do the same. You too can send in your proposals to muthu@indianfolklore.org.

The 9th issue of Indian Folklore Research Journal is out and has been uploaded on our Journal Portal. Full archives of the Indian Folklore Research Journal and Indian Folklife are available on the Journal Portal.

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Volunteer at NFSC:

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 organise 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.

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Hello readers!

The month of October 2010 is here! And with it, so is our newsletter! Those of you thinking, “ah, here we go again” think again, sit straighter and take notice: for there is nothing ordinary about this newsletter!

Our upcoming publications:

This month – the October of 2010 is very special for us. Guess why? It is the month when our three major projects – The Vagri-Boli dictionary, The Jenukuruba dictionary and the Seraikella Chhau photography book, culminate. Yes, dear readers, this month, we will successfully complete all the three publications for the community archives. It has been a long and hard process, and today we wish to revisit and share with you, our reasons for conceiving these projects in the first place.

The three new publications are by far, some of the most important resources of our archival projects. As an organization committed to the promotion and preservation of folk traditions, our efforts at the field, are towards creating community archives that are active ingredients of dynamic culture. However, if any archive has to belong to the community, in spirit, the data has to be carefully classified, annotated and made retrievable, in the native languages of the communities concerned.

It is towards this end that we started working on these three projects and it has not been an easy task. It has taken us over two long years to get this far, simply because the native languages are threatened, with speakers switching over to using neighboring languages. Also, the two languages we were dealing with, are themselves, creoles of two or more languages. However, since we had the advantage of working with two experienced linguists – Prof.Srinivasa Verma and Kikkeri Narayan, the task was considerably easier that what it would have been otherwise.

The dictionary projects were originally intended to improve the database of the spoken language so that the documented material can be classified and described. Since the collection ended up being much more extensive than what we imagined, we transformed them into a dictionary projects.

The dictionaries are multilingual and are organized such that they can be accessed in several orders. Our vision is to take these dictionaries to the schools, make them part of their curriculum and encourage children of the communities to use them.

Simultaneously, we are planning to initiate research and documentation of the educational status of children in these communities. Once these processes are regularized, we hope that the competence and language skills of the children will be on par with the children from English medium and regional language schools. This, we believe, will be an extraordinary intervention at the grass root level, that empowers the children of the communities and builds their linguistic capabilities, creating a level playing field in the presence of children from other cultural backgrounds.

The Seraikella Chhau book, on the other hand, is a totally different venture altogether, in the sense that, it explores photography as a research tool. The resource material will be bilingual and therefore accessible to all members of the community. Conceived very much in the line of our previous publication “Vagri Material Culture” this book will also be a community resourse book.

All three publications have not been easy to conceive and execute. For example, it has taken us these last two years of extensive research to understand the social and artistic processes that govern Seraikella Chhau. Each project has been time consuming and laborious with no easy shortcuts. However, it has been an extremely satisfying project as it is one more significant step towards our dream of creating a world where people have their own archives that can be classified, updated and retrieved in their own languages.

Though the process of preservation of culture should eventually rest with the community itself, support and encouragement from outside is essential for it to be sustainable. In this regard, we appeal to all of you, dear readers, for your kind support. Please do purchase our publications at our online store.

And, speaking of publications, don’t forget to watch out for our quarterly issue of Indian Folk Life! Edited by Douglas Knight, the theme for this issue is very dear to NFSC. It revolves around the invisible passage of tradition through family and community, the transmission and transformations it involves. Each article is as stimulating as it is engaging and the result is an extraordinary issue you simply cannot miss! Follow our Journal Portal and read the articles online. If you need a hard copy of the issue, please write to us here and we will send it to you pronto!

In the meantime, you can visit our online photo archive. yes! we now have an online photo archive that can be accessed by one and all! Currently it has only 4 albums but many many more are being uploaded and will be available soon! For a sneak peak of our photo archive, click here.

NFSC News:

Wait! Don’t think all we have to offer this month are just publications! We have in store for you, a very special guest lecture by Michael Watson, Burlington College, Vermont, USA, on ‘Indigenous and Mixed Race Healing Traditions in the Time of Obama’. As a shamanic healer, educator, mental health clinician and artist of mixed Native American, Michael Watson holds magical keys to certain almost invisible doors we have long forgotten. Do join us on October 14, 2010 at 6 p.m. We promise an intriguing, thought provoking dialogue!

And now, for our regular round of film screenings: Jointly organized by Marupakkam, on October 1, 2010, 6:00 p.m., we have a double treat!

“Take Note” – the story of Anna, a new migrant from Russia to Israel and an unsuccessful army commander. Her strong will to fit in leads to volunteer and take command over the mess hall clean up. As her self-confidence and ability to control the soldiers are challenged, she loses her faith in the system and in herself.

“She write” - A documentary film that weaves together the narratives and work of four Tamil women poets – Salma, Kuttirevathi, Malathy Maitri and Sukirtharani.

With Tamil Nadu Thiraippada Iyyakkam, On October 19, 2010, 6.00 pm, watch Portrait of a Beauty/2008 /South Korean film directed by Jeon Yoon-soo / 108 minutes/Col.

And don’t miss A Very Long Engagement / 2004 / French romantic war film, directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet / 127 minutes/Col, on October 20, 2010, 6.00 pm.

Encyclopaedia Indica:

Encylcopaedia Indica will soon be coming with an interactive website. Plans are afoot to make the website more reader – and kid-friendly.

Plans are also underway to publish our research material in Tamil as well! However, it will be sometime before we make it all accessible on the internet. So in the meanwhile, you can read the Tamil Poetry Blog of M.D.Muthukumarasamy.

And don’t forget to check out NFSC Lore either! It is slowly but steadily building up a formidable collection of folktales. Want to know Why the crocodile has a wide mouth? or about The story of the first white fish? Well… read on!!

So, dear readers! Please do write to us and share your views. We will write again, next month.

Hasta la vista!

- 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 info@indianfolklore.org. You can also give feedback, suggestions or criticism at info@indianfolklore.org 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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