Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Megam


மேகம்

சூரிய தந்தையும் கடல் அன்னையும்
பெற்றெடுத்த வெண் பஞ்சுக் குழந்தை

வெளிர் நீல வானத்தின் வெள்ளை ஆடை
"விசா" இல்லாத உல்லாசப் பயணம்

தீட்டப்படாத ஓவியங்களின் அணிவகுப்பு
மலைகள்ளனிடம் கொஞ்சி விளையாட்டு

மழையாய் மீண்டும் பூமியில் சங்கமம்
தொடர்கிறது ஈசனின் தீரா விளையாட்டு

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Devaneya Pavanar


Hi

There is a link to my car being in the garage and this article. Curious to know why? Last week I was travelling along with my friend way back home from office and near the Porur signal we saw a Maruti Car carrying the caption “Irrupai Tamizha Neruppai Irunthathu pothum iduvarai Seruppai” meaning “Rise O! Tamils from the clutches of slavery and become a fire” and the name below the statement was “Pavanar”. This kindled my interest in finding out who is this “Pavanar” and the result of the same is culminated in the form of an article about him. My respect towards tamizh language has increased manifold after reading about his theory. Want to know more? please read on..


Devaneya Pavanar (1902 – 1981)


Gnanamuthu Devaneyan Pavanar was born on 7 February 1902 in Sankaranayinar Koil, Tamil Nadu to his parents Thiru.Gnanamuthu Devendrar and Paripuranam Ammaiyar. He was educated in the C.M.J. High School, Palayankottai, S.S.L.C. (1916-1918) and trained as a teacher in Madras University. He married in 1930 and had four sons and one daughter, the daughter being the fourth child. He worked as a Tamil teacher in several High Schools, 1922-1944. During this time, he pursued autodidactic studies of Dravidian philology and comparative linguistics.
He was Tamil professor at Municipal College, Salem, 1944-1956. From 1956-1961, he was Reader in Dravidian Philology at Annamalai University. He was a member of the Tamil Development and Research Council, set up by the Nehru government in 1959, entrusted with producing Tamil school and college textbooks. From 1974, he was director of the Tamil Etymological Project, and he acted as president of the International Tamil League, Tamilnadu. (U.Tha. Ka.)

In his 1966 Primary Classical language of the World he makes some extraordinary claims - for example he argued that the Tamil language is the "most natural" (iyal-mozhi) and also a proto-world language, being the oldest (tol-mozhi) language of the world, from which all other major languages of the world are derived. He believed that its literature, later called Sangam literature and usually considered to have been written from 200 BCE and 300 CE, spanned a huge period from 10,000 to 5,500 BC. He was also a staunch proponent of the "Pure Tamil movement" and initiated the Etymological Dictionary Project primarily to bring out the roots of Tamil words and their connections and ramifications. Devaneya Pavanar composed many musical pieces (Isaik kalambakam) and many noteworthy poems, including the collection of Venpa. The title Senthamizh Selvar was conferred on him by the Tamil Nadu State Government in 1979, and he was also addressed as Mozhi Znayiru (மொழி ஞாயிறு) "Sun of language".

"Lemuria" according to Pavanar, connecting Madagascar, South India and Australia (covering most of the Indian Ocean). Mount Meru stretches southwards from Sri Lanka. Pavanar's Vadamoli Varalaru argues that hundreds of Sanskrit words can be traced to a Tamil origin, and at the same time he insisted that pure Tamil equivalents existed for Sanskrit loan words. He claimed that Tamil is a "superior and more divine" language than Sanskrit. In his view the Tamil language originated in "Lemuria" (இலெமூரியா Ilemūriyā), the cradle of civilization and place of origin of language. He believed that evidence of Tamil's antiquity was being suppressed by Sanskritists.

Pavanar's timeline for the evolution of mankind and Tamil is as follows:

Period
Pavanar Theory
500000 BC - origin of the human race
200000 to 50000 BC - evolution of the "tamilian" or "homo dravida"
200000 to 100000 BC - beginnings of Tamizh
100000 to 50000 BC - growth & development of Tamizh
50000 BC - Kumari Kandam civilisation
20000 BC - a lost tamil culture on easter island which had an advanced civilization
16000 BC - Lemuria submerged
6087 BC - Second Tamil Sangam established by a Pandya King
3031 BC - A Chera prince wandering in the Solomon islands saw wild sugarcane and started cultivation in Tamilnadu
1780 BC - The third tamil sangam established by a Pandya King
7th Century BC - Tolkappiyam, the earliest extant Tamil Grammar

Pavanar is of the view that there is no other language in the whole world as Tamil, that has suffered so much damage by natural and human agencies, and has been done so much injustice by malignant foreigners and native dupes. The general belief that all arts and sciences are progressively advancing with the passage of time, is falsified in the case of philology, owing to the fundamental blunder of locating the original home of the Tamilians in the Mediterranean region, and taking Sanskrit, a post-Vedic semi-artificial composite literary dialect, the Indian Esperanto, so to speak, for the prototype of the Indo-European Form of Speech. Westerners do not know as yet, that Tamil is a highly developed classical language of Lemurian origin, and has been, and is being still, suppressed by a systematic and co-ordinated effort by the Sanskritists both in the public and private sectors, ever since the Vedic mendicants migrated to the South, and taking utmost advantage of their superior complexion and the primitive credulity of the ancient Tamil kings, posed themselves as earthly gods (Bhu-suras) and deluded the Tamilians into the belief, that their ancestral language or literary dialect was divine or celestial in origin.

In a chapter entitled Tamil more divine than Sanskrit, Pavanar gives the reasons why he judges Tamil to be "more divine" than Sanskrit, arguing for "Primary Classicality of Tamil". Poet Bharathidasan hails Devaneya Pavanar as the "King of all Tamils" (எந்தமிழர் எல்லார்க்கும் வேந்து). As per the book The Cultural Heritage of India; vol. V: Languages and literature (Ramakrishna, states that "but for his (Pavanar's) efforts the purity and antiquity of Tamil might have been a myth." The Central Plan Scheme for Classical Tamil of the Centre of Excellence for Classical Tamil recommends "To publish the translated but not yet published Sattambi Swamigal's Adhibhasa which seeks to establish that Tamil is the most ancient language. When published, it will provide an impetus to Pavanar's findings"

The literary works and books of Pavanar have been "nationalised" by the Government of Tamil Nadu in the course of the "Golden Jubilee year of National Independence" (2006). This means that the copyright for Pavanar's work is now owned by the state of Tamil Nadu, his legal heirs having been compensated financially. G. Elavazhagan of Tamilman Patippakam has brought out all the works of Pavanar for his centenary celebrations, 2000-2001. M. Tamil Kudimagan, Ex-Minister for Tamil Development, Govt. of Tamil Nadu. Madurai, in the preface to the 2001 reprint of Primary Classical Language of the World writes that "We are the followers of Pavanar and we are implementing the ideals of Pavanar in all walks of life". In the foreword to the same volume, Pavanar's assistant and disciple R. Madhivanan claims that Prof. Hakola (Finland), Prof. Levitt, M.B. Emeneau (U.S.A.) and T. Burrow (UK) approved Pavanar as an etymologists of great repute. The great Tamil scholar Maraimalai Adigal glorified ‘In the study of words Pavanar’s work is unique and he is unrivalled unmatched.” And continues into a eulogy to the effect that ‘It was a matter of surprise when the scientists came forward to split the atom. Now it has become still a matter of much more surprise when Pavanar came forward to split the root of words till the origin of human speech. His primary classical language of the world is an eye-opener for the linguists regarding the mother tongue of man. No reviews of Pavanar's linguistic works in mainstream academia are known. He does however figure in works on language activism and national mysticism and of Indian nationalism.
Awards and honours
A Silver plate presented to him by the Tamil Peravai, Salem in 1955 in appreciation of his service to Tamil. A Copper Plate presented to his by the Governor of Tamil Nadu 1960 in appreciation of his contribution to the collection of administrative terms in Tamil. A Silver Plate presented to him by the South Indian Saiva Sinddhanta Works Publishing Society, Thirunelveli Ltd., in 1970 in appreciations of his research work in Tamil philology and etymology. Official centenary celebrations of Pavanar were held at Sankarankoil (5 February 2002) and Gomathimuthupuram (6 February) of Tirunelveli district and at Chennai (8. February), attended by the Minister for Education and the Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam. In February 2006, a commemorative stamp of Devaneya Pavanar was released by the Postal Department in Chennai. In October 2007, a memorial was installed at Madurai by the Government of Tamil Nadu in honour of Devaneya Pavanar.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Visit to Kanchi Mutt & Orirukkai


I had made couple of visits to the temple town of Kanchipuram however I could not go to Kanchi Mutt the Kamakoti Peetam of Sri Adi Sankaracharya. Legend is that Sri Adi Sankaracharya established the peetam some 2500 years ago and placed one of the five spatika lingas got at Kailas and placed the "yoga linga" for his own personal worship and that of his successors at Kanchi. There was an inner call to me to visit Kanchipuram and I pulled one of my old friend who worked with me in LMW, Coimbatore to accompany me. Unexpectedly I got a call from one more friend of mine who also worked with me earlier that he is also interested in joining our trip.

We started our journey at 6.30 a.m. on Sunday, 10th May 2009, in my Santro. We started from Ambattur Estate Road, touched Poonamalle Highway and then proceeded straight. We fueled our vehicle and decided to fuel ourselves on the way and we stopped after Poonamalle to have a cup of coffee and some biscuits. The Road was excellent which is a four way express lane to Bangalore. We were cruising as the traffic was less. The high way occupies all major MNCs manufacturing units like Hyundai, Nokia, and Motorola. On the way we could able to see the entry point of Sriperumbudur and on the left hand side there was a memorial to Late Sri Rajeev Gandhi (former Prime Minister of India).

We cruised past the road and reached Kanchipuram by 7.30 a.m. We bought fresh fruits to be given to the present Kanchi Aacharya. One of the person who worked in Kanchi mutt was waiting for us in the Mutt and he took us inside the Mutt. He was sharing his experiences with the Mahaperiyava and at around 8 a.m. Bala Periyava or the current pontiff of the Mutt Sri Vijayendra Saraswathi came out and gave darshan to all devotees who were congregated there and he was enquiring one by one. We also got introduced and we paid our pranams and namaskarams to the Aacharya. He blessed us with prasadams.

Then we went to see the Adishtanam or Brindavan of the Mahaperiyava in the Mutt premises. There we meditated for some time. That day was “Anusham” star which is the birth star of the “Aacharya” and a group of pundits were chanting Vedas. That was soulful to hear. We did our pradakshinam to the brindavan and later saw the Bala Periyava performing pooja to “Sri Bala Tripura Sundari sameda Sri Chandra Mouliswara”. Then we had our brunch at Kanchi mutt by 11.30 a.m. and then proceeded towards a village called Orirukkai which is about five kilometers from Kanchipuram. Surprisingly Maha Periyaval’s Jayanthi Celebrations were going on there with “Adi Rudram” and “Chandika Homam”.

In this lovely spot on the banks of the Palar an ambitious project is under way. A satabdhi manimantapam being built in tribute to Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati of the Kanchi Kamkoti Peetam by the Sri Sri Sri Mahalakshmi Mathrubhutheswarar Trust. The Chennai-based trust is completely dedicated to the work and hopes to complete the project asap. The memorial to the centenarian sage is being built wholly of granite with the grand dimensions and architectural details of the ancient temples. The foundation was laid in 1997 in the presence of the late M. S. Subbulakshmi and T. Sadasivam who were great devotees of the Paramacharya, an embodiment of learning and compassion who was committed to religious harmony. He reached out to all irrespective of cast and creed. M.S. and Sadasivam contributed to the project though funds generated from concerts and royalties from the sale of CDs.

Huge slabs of granite lie scattered on the 7.5 acres of land. Elegant horses straining to throw off the restraint imposed by their riders, rotund elephants chewing at their sugarcane and lions with endearing faces seem to leap out of the confining limits of stone. Scores of sculptors oblivious to the heat have their eyes trained on their task. Directing them is a tall white clad figure, S. M. Ganapathi Sthapati. Steeped in the Shilpa Shastras, he is giving shape to the vision of the trustees and of the late “Pradosham Venkatarama Iyer”. A railway employee, Venkatarama Iyer who adored the sage, would have his darshan during every Pradosham for many years. It was he who thought of a memorial and chose this spot.

The Manimantapam consists of four sections — Paduka mantapam, Prakara mantapam, Praja mantapam and the Maha mantapam. Incidents from the life of the Paramacharya will be portrayed in the Maha mantapam. Panels depicting the Adi Guru parampara and Dwadasha lingams are seen at the entrance to the sanctum sanctorum. The Vimanam crowning it will be decorated with rows of rudraksha beads. And within the sacred space below will be placed the image of the sage, his gold plated padukas (sandals) and the spatika lingam. Several sections of the structure have already been fashioned by the sthapati's son, Sankaran sthapati, at his workshop in Bangalore and will soon be transported here.

A panel depicts Lord Nataraja's joyous dance during Pradosham watched by Periyaval. Another symbolises Kailasa though the image of Lord Dakshinamoorthy, Kaladi through Adi Sankara and Kamakoti through the Paramacharya. For Ganapati Sthapati this is a labour of love and devotion. He has included the rare features of temple archaeology combining the distinct features of the Pallava, Chola and Pandya periods as an offering to the Periyaval who had an in depth knowledge of the Shilpa Shastras.

According to trustees — K. R. Athmanathan and K. Vedamurthy — “The wonderful feature of the work is that it was never halted owing to lack of funds. His devotees are everywhere and they care — from those who contribute Rs.100 to those who are able to give much more” The total project cost is about 12 crores. Those who are interested can directly contribute to SSSMM Trust, Sivam-Subham, New no.12, First Main Road, Kotturpuram, Chennai-600085. Ph: 91-044-24474113. E-mail: kratma@vsnl.net. Website: http://www.manimantapam.org/

The Manimantapam is unique for the experience it offers the visitor. Apart from the spiritual aspect, here is a work in progress that is educative as well, especially for lovers of art and history and for the young to learn about their heritage. Watching the memorial take shape is like being conveyed back in time. All the work at the Manimantapam is done manually, as in the past. Chisels and other tools are being continually fashioned at the work spot. So it must have been when the mighty structures of worship arose across the length and breadth of the Tamil country centuries ago. So would the rocks have been located, tested for purity and size and then transported from diverse places to the destination. So must the sculptors have come from various parts, lived in sheds and toiled with eagle-eyed concentration to turn gray rock into exquisite objects of beauty and worship.

Reference – The Hindu article by Kausalya Santhanam

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Temple Visit - Sri Sri Radha Govindji Mandir, Jaipur


Govind Dev Ji Temple is one amongst the major tourist attractions of Jaipur. The Temple represents the royal past of Jaipur. The Temple is dedicated to Govind Dev Ji (Other name of Lord Krishna). Govind Devji Temple of Jaipur is situated in the City Palace complex, between the Chandra Mahal and Badal Mahal. Govind Dev Ji is the principal deity of Amber's Kachawaha Dynasty. In the earlier times, the idol of the lord used to reside in the temple of Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh.
According to a legend, Govind Dev Ji appeared in the dream of Raja Sawai Jai Singh and asked him to bring his idol from Vrindavan to Jaipur. As a consequence, Raja Sawai Jai Singh brought the idol and placed in the City Palace complex of Jaipur. After the sad demise of Jai Singh, many successors acquired the throne, but Raja Man Singh took the initiative to build the temple in 1890.
The beautiful image of Radha-Krishna doesn't let people to take off their eyes from the lovely view. Different 'Aartis' and 'Bhog' are offered to the deity at seven different times of the day. Every time, when the idols are revealed to the devotees, they are clothed in a different manner. The Devotees, who come here to get the glance or 'Darshan' of the deities, reverberates the temple with the pious phrase "Jai Govind".
A large number of tourists and devotees visit this temple of special importance. Janmashtmi, the birthday of Lord Krishna, is a special event and is celebrated with full enthusiasm. Govind Dev Ji Temple is a sacred place of the Hindus. The Temple has also become a tourist attraction in the contemporary times.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Madras War Cemetry


Madras War Cemetry


Hi I recently shifted to Mogappair west extension on the Vanagaram – Ambathur road. My office is in Ekkattuthangal. I was trying different routes to see which is the optimal route both in terms of time, distance, traffic, signals and what not? While on this exercise I used to cross a strange place daily near St. Thomas Mount with greeneries and grave yards. Finally I decided to see this place and parked my vehicle and went near to see the place. The entrance displayed “Madras War Cemetery” and inside there are thousands of grave yards each carrying a name to it. Later when I searched in the Google I found that this cemetery was built in 1952 to pay tribute to valiant men and women who died in the Second World War.



A tribute to the valiant men and women who laid down their lives in the Second World War, the Madras War Cemetery was set up in 1952 by the Imperial War Graves Commission, which is now known as the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC). The Cemetery is maintained by the CWGC in partnership with the Indian Government.



The Stone of Remembrance greets the visitor to the Madras War Cemetery with the words from the Book of Ecclesiasticus 'Their Name Liveth For Evermore'. Then there is the Cross of Sacrifice, which is set up on an octagonal base bearing a bronze sword upon its shaft. These two monuments are common to all large CWGC cemeteries.



The Madras War Cemetery honours 855 men and women of the Commonwealth forces and one Polish airman who died during the war of 1939 - 1945. It has been a kind of second burial for these armed forces personnel, who died in the line of duty at different places while serving in various units during the war. Most of the graves were brought together from civil and cantonment cemeteries in the South and East of India. There is also a memorial commemorating a merchant seaman who was buried elsewhere. The Cemetery also has three non-world war graves.



"There is also a Memorial to soldiers who died in the First world war between, 1914 - 1918. It is known as the Madras Memorial. The Madras Memorial has all the 1,039 men who died in the First World War inscribed on it. This was done, because the permanent maintenance of the graves of these men in various civil and cantonment cemeteries was not assured", says N Rajaram who is the caretaker of both the Madras War Cemetry and St. Mary's Cemetery. Of the 857 war graves in the Madras War Cemetery, 659 served for the forces of United Kingdom, 110 served for the forces of West Africa, 49 for the forces of undivided India (India before partition), 17 for the forces of Canada, 14 for the forces of Australia, 5 served for the forces of New Zealand, one for Burma, one for Malaya and one for Poland. The Madras Memorial honours 936 men from the forces of United Kingdom and 103 from undivided India.



The St. Mary's Cemetery, which belongs to St. Mary's Church Fort, contains the Commonwealth burials of both World Wars. There is one Commonwealth War Grave in the adjoining St. Patrick's Cemetery and also one non-world war burial. Of the First World War casualties buried here, 17 served for the forces of United Kingdom while 6 were from undivided India. Of the Second World War casualties in this cemetery 75 are from United Kingdom, 19 from India, 3 from West Africa, 1 from East Africa, 1 from Southern Rhodesia and 1 from Burma.

N Rajaram who is caretaker of both Cemeteries says, "It costs approximately around Rs 50,000 every month to maintain the cemetery. November 11th, Armistice Day, which signifies the end of the Second World War is celebrated every year. Wreaths are laid at three places - the Stone of Remembrance, Cross of Sacrifice and at the First World War Memorial. The bugle is sounded after the wreaths are laid, then the Guard of Honour reverse arms, after which the bugler sounds 'Just Rest'. At the end of the bugle, 2 minutes of silence is observed. Then the bugler sounds 'Rouse'. This is the way in which the graves are honoured. There is also a small prayer service. Every year a prominent personality is invited to grace the occasion." Prominent visitors include the Prince of Kent and Princess Anne.

A Trip to Panchavati


A trip to Panchavati

I and my friend were discussing on the religious topic and in between the topic went to “Panchavati” where the temple for “Panchamuga Anchaneya” is located. We finally decided to travel to “Panchavati” to see the lord (Sunday – 3rd May 2009). I took my car (Santro) and with me was my friend and we started around 2.30 P.M. On the way we fuelled our car. We didn’t have lunch but took some snacks to fuel our stomach. Then we took the Tambaram highway and the road was very good. We passed thru Tambaram, Chengalpattu, and reached Tindivanam. We started hearing all the Carnatic Music songs in my collection.



On the way we were discussing heavily on the various religious topics we crossed Tindivanam for a few kilometers and realized that we missed the route. Then again we took the diversion and reached Tindivanam and from there we took the diversion route to Pondicherry. Finally we reached the temple around 5 P.M. There we saw the Main Gopuram and the Vimana of the temple which was delight to see. Then we entered the temple after parking our car and procured “Tulasi” and “Tamarai” for the Lord. When we entered the temple we could able to see the Lord who was in a gigantic posture of 36 feet high. The “Panchamuga Anjaneya” is having five heads i.e. Anjaneya, Narasimha on the right, Varaha on the Left, Hayagreeva above the head and Garuda on the back. My friend was telling each head has a significance which will safeguard the devotees.



We went around the temple. There are two sannadhis one for Lord Ganesha and another for Lord Rama along with the all the important consorts in Ramayana i.e. Seetha, Lakshmana, Bharatha, Satrugna, Anjaneya, Sugreeva, Jambavan, and Vibeshana. One important feature of this temple is that they conduct “Seetha” kalyana utsavam daily. We saw the “Thirumanjanam” i.e. abhisekham performed on the lord with Milk and other abhisekhams. The thirumanjanam was excellent as we could sit directly before the lord and see the priests performing the abhisekha from the Top floor. After seeing that we moved around the temple.



On the back of the temple we can see the “Garuda” face of the lord. In the front before the main sannadhi we saw a big vessel wherein a Stone was floating!. It was nothing but the stone used by Rama to cross the sea and they have specially brought this stone from Rameswaram. According to Sri Ramani Anna who was the pioneer in building this Temple this place was worshipped by great rishis some thousands of years ago. Incidentally he was the pioneer in constructing the Nanganallur Temple in Chennai.



We then had the sumptuous prasadam “Sambar Sadam” and our Soul and Stomach was filled. We returned to Chennai by 9.30 P.M.

My experiments in Dining - Matsya


My experiments in Dining - Matsya Hotel, Egmore.

I was on the way to Coimbatore to attend a family function last week. I decided to go the Chennai Central direct from my office. I was driving past Egmore and decided to stop at Hotel Matsya. The Hotel is named after the First incarnation or avatar of Maha Vishnu “Matsya” meaning “Fish”. There are only limited space for the car parking. I gave my keys to the valet parking guy and rushed inside the Hotel as I need to catch my Train (Cheran Express).




I enquired the waiter what is the special in this Hotel, he told “Udipi Special Thali”. Then I decided to venture it out. The ambience inside the Hotel was good and it was air conditioned. They started serving me the “Udupi Thali” with the starter as “Rasa Vada”. The vada was soft and was soaked in mint and coriander rasam. Then came small Mangalore appam, kuzhi appam, and mangalore bondas before the meal. I was half filled with this itself and was little scared whether I will be able to complete the full course of the meal?!



The second series was served with two different dosas i.e. Keera dosa and Puli-Uppu-Kara-Dosa. The first one was made of “Greens” and the second one was a deadly combination with Salt, Sour and Hot. The side dishes for this include sambar and few coloured chutnies.
The third serving contains Bisibela bath, one cup of chitrannam or variety rice, with side dishes like fried small applams and vegetables curries.



I was asking the waiter “is this over and can I make a move?”. He replied coolly please wait we are going to serve one more item! I was about to run away from the scene before that they finally gave “Neer dosa” served with coconut and jaggerry mix. Before they serve anything further I rushed to the wash room!



When the bill came I was surprised that all the above came at a nominal charge of Rs. 99/- (product managers please note!). I paid the bill and rushed to Chennai Central to catch my train!


Wanna try this hotel? Please visit Matsya # 1, Halls Road, Egmore, Chennai.

My experiments will continue……..please bear with me….

Anand Vasudevan