Niyogi Books

About Archana Ramachandran

A pocket-sized rebel traipsing through literature, art and pop culture to make sense of it all.

9 02, 2017

Jallikattu—A Tamil Tradition

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In Kalithogai, a classical collection of Tamil poems from the Sangam period (spanning c.400 BCE to 300 CE), one can find the following lines describing the electric atmosphere at a bull-taming sport: Ezhunthana thugal Ettranar maarbu Kavizhnthana maruppu Kalanginar palar [...]

5 12, 2016

Discovering Kathakali | Part III

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Like any performance art, Kathakali has seen its share of innovations over the course of time. A major change that occurred in the middle of the 20th century was the experimentations with non-mythological stories as attakathas. Social dramas with political [...]

2 12, 2016

Discovering Kathakali | Part II

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Lowering the Tirasseela: Every Kathakali performance begins with the tirasseela being lowered. The word tira means ‘waves’ and seela means ‘cloth’. The tirasseela is a piece of fabric held on the stage by two men on either end to conceal [...]

1 12, 2016

World AIDS Day: Let’s Give Sex Education Some Uptown Funk

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According to a 2013 study, in India there is a wide gap between the number of people who consider sex education as important and the number of people who actually receive it. Now, this is both encouraging (81 per cent [...]

23 11, 2016

Discovering Kathakali | Part 1

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When I was but a wee rug rat, I would sit transfixed for hours in front of our ECIL television every time Doordarshan Malayalam aired Kathakali performances, while my elder sister would run to the next room to escape the [...]

26 08, 2016

Let There be Translations

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A few years ago, I embarked on a rather tedious quest to find the English translation of Agnisakshi, a novel of the popular Malayalam writer Lalithambika Antharjanam. Needless to say, it was not as easy as popping into the neighbourhood [...]

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