VSK Chennai Sandesh

Bharat pats Oxford academic
Directly opposite to the tendency among quite a few Indian academics to crave for honours from foreign institutions, Sastra University of Thanjavur chose to honour Dr.James Maynard of Oxford University on the occasion of the birthday of mathematics genius Srinivasa Ramanujan on December 22. At a function in Kumbakonam, the birth place of Ramanujan, Sastra gave away SASTRA Ramanujan Prize to Dr. James, a young Maths wizard. The prize includes $10,000 and a citation. It may be pointed out Ramanujan lived in abject poverty all along his life (1887-1920). 

A dalit leader wants to knock at the wrong door

Former MP and leader of dalit outfit Viduthalai Chiruthai Katchi (VCK), Thol.Thirumaavalavan wants to meet Pope Francis. Why? He wants to complain to the Pope about the prevalence of untouchability in Catholic churches in Tamilnadu. He announced this in a press meet on December 18 at Chennai. His version of the situation: ‘Of the 36 lakh catholics more than 22 lakh are dalits. In spite of this untouchability is rampant in churches. In many churches dalits are denied permission to pray; the religious processions organized by churches do not go via dalit localities. Even after death the cruel discrimination continues. Separate cemeteries are earmarked for Dalit Christian’. It is a pity that the dalit leader is unaware of the fact that Catholic church clandestinely propagated apartheid quoting the Bible. The white Dutch Catholic Christians of South Africa quoted Bible in support of their atrocities. A probe team of UNO found this out in 1953. (Of course, Thirumavalavan has his own philosophy of dalit-muslim combine; in this regard he met the notorious Abdul Nazaar Madani recently). (photo courtesy: Nakheeran )

An aspect of Hindutva going global, thanks to ‘Chennai Sangeet Season’

Come December-January (the holy month of Maargasira), Chennai metro bounces into a gala festival of Sangeetam popularly known as December Sangeeta Season. The Season, almost 75 years old, is the time when Rasikas make a beeline to over 100 sabhas where a Carnatic music/Bharatanatyam concert enthralls everyone. With the advent of sponsorship by corporate houses, the season is now a multi-crore business as well. Entry charges range from Rs.200 to Rs.2000. With a bulging diaspora world over, thousands visit Chennai during the season from most of the countries on the list of United Nations. Many stay in hotels and a quite a few rasikas from abroad stay in houses which are kept vacant for the season and rented out. Dozens of periodicals pop up for the season giving complete details of Kutcheries (concerts) including time, venue and date. The flow is in the other direction also. Upcoming and veteran vidwans fan out into several countries to give performances, thus taking the message of our cultural bounty in the form of Sangeetam and Natyam. In spite of all this, well meaning critics point out the slow moving away from Bakthi towards publicity using these sacred fine arts.

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