We the Tamils are the
inheritors of a great culture spanning a few millennia. This culture has
enriched itself further by assimilating from other cultures. Owing to
compulsions of modern life, the present generation gets fewer opportunities
for exposure to aspects of our culture. This is particularly true for the
people living in towns and cities. Also, due to economic and other reasons
large numbers of Tamils have migrated to places outside Tamilnadu and also
abroad. The result is that they have lost day-to-day contact with the
elements of our culture.
There are many people who may like to have a broad idea of our arts and literature. Also there are many socially conscious people who would like to know more about the historical and artistic significance of their neighbourhood.
SUDHARSANAM, a centre for arts and culture, is set up with two main objectives. One is to document the rich heritage of the district of Pudukkottai. This may be on the following lines. First is to publish authoritative and readable literature on monuments of the district; the second is preparation of monographs in different topics, like Contribution of Pudukkottai to music, dance, literature, etc. And write biographical sketches of personalities who have contributed to Pudukkottai. It is proposed that these publications will be made in Tamil and in English.
The second objective is to offer an opportunity to the youth to appreciate various aspects culture, like performing arts, painting, sculpture and temple architecture, philosophical systems, etc. This is proposed to be done through a residential 4 week summer programme. Towards this a 7-acre plot near to Pudukkottai town is being developed. The campus, in addition to a library, lecture and exhibition halls etc, will also have a heritage grove, a number of theme gardens like, akam-puram gardens, Siddha garden, Ayurvedic garden etc.
Among other things an attempt is being made to help the local population rediscover their heritage. This is planned to approach it many ways. One of them is to putting up exhibitions on topics of cultural interest. In this direction an exhibition with the central theme of evolution of Tamil script from 3rd century BC is being designed.
The exhibition would have the following sections: The central theme is the development of Tamil, Vattezhththu and Grantha scripts from the 3rd century BC till date. It would also show how scripts for all Indian languages and for most of the Asian languages developed from Brahmi. The enigma of Indus scripts would also be touched upon. An attempt would be made to briefly explain the development of Egyptian hieroglyphis, cuneiform of Sumeria the scripts of Meso-america and of China. As an extension, we are attempting to highlight the other dimensions of language and script. To show that language and script are not for communication only, we propose highlight spiritual and esoteric aspects of tantric bheejakshara, Siddham and Tibetan. Lastly, the aesthetic capability of scripts is being projected through Arabic calligraphy.
There are a number of projects currently under execution/negotiation. Some of them are writing the cultural heritage of Pudukkottai as a part of the major project of Cultural Heritage of Tamilnadu.
SUDHARSANAM is set up by Mr. V.K. Sundaram, an industrialist and educationalist. The centre is located on a thickly wooded 7-acre land near Pudukkottai, 15 km from Pudukkottai on the Tiruchirappalli NH210 and a modest infrastructure consisting of boarding and lodging for participants and researchers, halls for lectures, seminars, exhibitions and other activities, well-stocked library in certain areas of culture with internet connection, heritage grove, etc.
Proposed activities include one-month intensive programme in summer for different age groups, contents of which would include, appreciation of classical music and dance, painting and sculpture and folk arts; introduction to Tamil and Sanskrit literatures; practice sessions on traditional skills and recitation of devotional hymns, especially for children; heritage tours; exposure to traditional art forms like harikatha, puppet theatre, ashtavadhanam, etc