1. Indian Musical Heritage
This lecture is aimed to explain that Indian classical music is founded on scientific principles, as did the contemporary music of the Greeks. But the aesthetic superstructure developed over 2000 years is the Indian contribution to world music. The topic was presented as lecture-demonstration, first at IIT Delhi and later some other colleges and Universities.
The subject matter for this lecture-demonstration can be put under the following chapters:
Early Vedic Chants - The Sama Scale - Influence of Folk Music - Harmonic Basis - Bilaval Scale through Cycle of Fifths - Shruti-s, Svarasthana-s and Svara-s
Modal Shift of Tonic - Comparison of Indian and Greek Scales - Western Equi-tempered Scale - Comparing Indian and Western Approaches
Parent Scales or Thaat-s
Definition of Raga; Indian Rhythm explained
Music of North and South; Demonstration of Raga-s
A session of lecture-demonstration at IIT Delhi was followed by seven sessions of weekly workshop on music appreciation. Summary of discussions during this was added to the manuscript as appendix under the chapters mentioned below:
Sama scale further explained, Tamil Music
Method of arriving at 22 Microtones (Shruti-s)
Role of Physics in Music,. Tradition and Inheritance
When Science is helpless;
The Western Approach.
2. Appreciating Sanskrit Literature
This lecture is an attempt to provide an introduction to this aspect of our heritage. This is done by reciting representative poems from the vedic period to the 1 2th century, with an emphasis on the poetic metres. The contents of the lecture later was restricted to the poetical metres only.
The contents are:
Vedic Literature; Vedic Poetical Metres; Vedanga-s and Treatises; Scansion of Sanskrit Poetry,. Important Vedic Metres; Metres of the Classical Period; Anushtubh or shloka; Vritta Metres; Jati Metres; Ornamentation in Sanskrit Poetry,. Metres of Gita Govindam.
Appendices.. Sanskrit Alphabet and Grammar,. Vedic Culture; Commonly used Metres of Sanskrit.
3. An Introduction To Tamil Prosody
While I was collecting material for a lecture on Sanskrit Prosody, I found that all Indian languages - this include all the Dravidian languages, excepting Tamil - closely follow prosodic rules of Sanskrit. Out of curiosity I tried to understand prosody of Tamil, which is my mother-tongue. Firstly, prosody of Tamil is far more complex, but affords reasonable flexibility to the poet. Secondly, incorporation of 'poetic tone' seemed to me a special feature.
This study resulted in a booklet on this topic and contains the following chapters:
Tamil Prosody: Prosodic Works in Tamil
Components of Tamil Poetry: Metrical Syllables – Metrical Feet- Metrical Lines - Modes of Combining Metrical Feet - Mode of Versification - Poetic Tone
Metres or Poetical Forms
Rules for the Formation of Metrical Syllables
Appreciation of Tamil Prosody: aasiriyappaa, Venba, Viruttam and Kummi.
Appendices: Tamil Alphabet and Pronunciation
A Short History of Tamil Literature
Division of Landscape of Tamil Country
Glossary Technical Terms Transliterated
4. A Layman's Introduction To Ajanta Paintings
This serious attempt is to introduce the glorious tradition of Indian paintings through the Ajanta heritage. The material is arranged in a non-traditional way. Firstly, a booklet gives a fleeting glimpse to the world of Ajanta wall-paintings and has the following contents:
Discovery; Location of Ajanta Caves; Layout of the Caves
Political Situation and Patronage
Themes and Composition
Painting Technique (Preparation of Wall and Painting - Pigments Used)
Rock-cut Architecture of Ajanta (Chaitya-s and Vihara-s)
Aianta Painting Art Tradition (Principles of Painting - Shading Techniques producing Depth and Relief - Dance and Painting - Rendering Parts of the Body
Religious Motifs in the later Period - Portrayal of Women -Paintings on the Ceilings)
Phases of Ajanta Art (Archaic or Pre-Classical Style of 2nd- 1st Centuries, BC - Classical Period of 4th-5th Century, AD - Baroque Period of by the end of 5th Century, AD - Period of Decline of 6th Century, AD)
Ajanta Inspiration at Home and Abroad
The End of the Ajanta Epoch
The main material is contained in a folio, containing about 1 70 loose leaves. Each leaf, 1 had attempted, to be independent and gives important details of a portion of the painting with cross references to other paintings wherever necessary and a reproduction of the painting itself. The folio can be arranged to suit the theme one wishes to study - chronological development, developmental stages of depicting women, hair dress, ornaments etc., depiction of the Buddha and other religious personages over the period, ceiling decoration, animal motifs etc. This can be read at home leisurely or put up on panels as exhibition. Slides for all these plates have been made and hence a slide-show can also be arranged.
5. A Short Guide To Sittannavasal Monuments
Sittannavasal, in Tamil Nadu, is a celebrated place for a number of reasons. Firstly, this is, perhaps, the oldest inhabited site in the district. Megalithic monuments, dating to the prehistoric times, abound with bruisal urns etc. Secondly, inscriptions dating from the 3rd century BC in Tamil Brahmi script to the 1Oth century AD are found in the hill- top. Lastly, there is an 8th century Jain rock temple with its world-famous mural paintings.
As a beginning to what one would like to call as "cultural literacy" 1 wrote this booklet as a sample to prepare affordable guides for the culturally and historically important places aimed at improving awareness among the common people of our heritage. Perhaps this effort contributed in a small way for the Tamil Nadu Science Forum to initiate a series of booklets on this subject for the neo-literates.
This booklet covers the following aspects:
Lay-out of the monuments (the pre-historic burial sites, the jain cave temple (its architecture and the famous wall paintings); the natural caverns on the hill top with the stone-beds on which the Jain monks conducted their religious austerities and on which Tamil inscription dated from 3rd century BC to 10th century AD are found. Lastly short notes are given on the Development of Tamil Script, Wall paintings of Tamil Nadu and Cave Temples of Tamil Nadu.
6. Towards Understanding Gandhian Approach
In recent years, there has been a growing scepticism about the benefits of growth and development and about the continued emphasis on material consumption. There is now a growing recognition that the resources of the earth are limited. There is thus a serious doubt if these problems can be solved by more technology, particularly if these problems are the result of the successes of the hard technology in the first place. In this connection the thought and practices of Mahatma Gandhi provide a fruitful area f or a fresh thinking. Hence 1 prepared this booklet to bring out the essential aspects of what 1 call as the Gandhian Approach.
The following are the chapters:
Present Scenario; Mahatma Gandhi,. Gandhi - the Society Builder;
Understanding Gandhi, No Gandhian Model. only a Gandhian Approach;
Gandhi's Non-violent Method,. The Swadeshi Concept,. The Gandhian Swaraj,. Gandhian Economics; Gandhian Paradigm Shift in the Development Process; Conclusion