Why are South Indians called Madrassis?
ADMIN , August 22, 2021 , LEAVE A COMMENT
Back in the 1970s, Chennai was called Madras. And in the Hindi-belt, everyone from southern India was classified as Madrassi. Never mind what the ‘Madrassis’ spoke at home - Malayalam, Kannada, Coorgi, Tulu, Telugu or even Badaga; most North Indians (including the educated ones) believed that anyone from ‘down-below’ spoke an exotic language called ‘Madrasi’ (that is Madrassi with one ‘s’ removed)! It did not matter where they actually came from: Kanyakumari, Kakinada or Kozhikode. Bollywood took the stereotype to a whole new level and the idea of a Madrassi was here to stay.
Tales that pots tell: Keeladi excavations
ADMIN , August 18, 2021 , LEAVE A COMMENT
In 2015, on the banks of the river Vaigai, near Madurai in Tamil Nadu, archaeologists unearthed, among several other artefacts, a potsherd with the name ‘Kuviran' scratched on it in Tamil Brahmi script. And that offered many clues to the archaeologists about that civilisation: it told them about the language and literacy levels, the social hierarchy, and the age of a civilisation. What is now known as the ‘Keeladi excavations’ point to the existence of a literate society in parts of South India nearly 2,500 years ago! But how can broken pottery fragments give archaeologists such great insights into our past?
Most of us know who built the Qutb Minar. The Delhi Sultan Qutb-ud-din Aibak commissioned it in 1199 as a tower to commemorate the victory of his master and mentor, Mohammed Ghori. He died before he could complete it; therefore, his successor, Iltutmish completed it 20 years later. Iltutmish named it after his own master and predecessor, Qutb-ud-din Aibak. Did he, really? Some historians think that Iltutmish had a different Qutb-ud-din in mind when he christened the tower: Qutb-ud-din Bakhtiyar Kaki! [Detour: While this story is about the ‘Other Qutb’, we have another story about the ‘Other Minar’ at the […]
How Tej Singh became Raja Desingu of Gingee
ADMIN , February 5, 2021 , LEAVE A COMMENT
In 1960, a Tamil fiction film called Raja Desingu was released, starring the swashbuckling matinee idol, MGR. It flopped. But after centuries, Raja Desingu stories continue to be told in street performances like Therukoothu, Poi-Kal-Kuthirai, and even the Burra-Katha tradition of Andhra. In fact, many boys in Tamilnadu are named Desingu even today, after the legendary hero of Gingee Fort in Tamil Nadu.
- Alai Darwaza – Qutub Minar Complex, Delhi NOVEMBER 21, 2020
- Marking History through British buildings NOVEMBER 17, 2020
- The last great queen of Travancore NOVEMBER 7, 2020
- Brahmi and the evolution of scripts OCTOBER 15, 2020
- The Cambodian King of Kanchipuram OCTOBER 14, 2020
- James Prinsep – the man who read the writing on the wall OCTOBER 10, 2020
- Mariamman – the Village Goddess who travelled SEPTEMBER 30, 2020
- Misnamed Monuments of Mamallapuram SEPTEMBER 28, 2020
India Exists In Her Stories
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