Post 1: Introduction To The Project
Hey everyone! Welcome to the first (and unfortunately delayed) post for my Senior Project. Join me as I delve deep into unknown Indian history, view antique and lost art styles, and read the most ancient texts written in the oldest language still used today, Tamil.
Introduction: I have always had an interest in South Asian studies. My free time would always include researching Indian history, especially its art, religious, and literary history. I think one of the main reasons why is that it was rarely taught in school. In history classes, I noticed how in-depth the curriculum taught Western history, yet when it came to South Asian history, it was surface-level at best. The most we hear about Indian history, in general, is the Indus Valley, Ashoka, and the Mauryas, a brief introduction to Hinduism and Buddhism, then the Mughals, and then the British colonization.
Because of this, I have been interested in learning South Asian history. I explored the complex history and came upon the ancient ethnic group, Dravidians, which continues through South Indian ethnic groups like Malayalees, Tamils, Telugus, etc. As I was researching more on Dravidian culture, one famous figure popped up, Kannaki. This also made me stumble into her relationship with Tamil culture, as a book called Silapathikaram details her life. I read the epic and realized that there were gods and goddesses with unfamiliar names but similar attributes to a Hindu God (i.e., Kottavarai/Korravai who stands on a beheaded Buffalo demon similar to the Hindu Goddess Durga’s story).
This information became the base for my Senior Project.
So, I realized that there was a huge difference between the Dravidian religion and Hinduism. The Dravidian religion was more pastoral and even personal, while Hinduism has deities that are universal and transcendent. However, the Dravidian religion slowly adapted and their gods slowly merged into the gods in the Hindu Pantheon. And while this adaptation has been recorded in scholarships and journals, the process of these gods merging with their modern counterparts has not been explained.
My project will answer that question and fill in this gap in Indian history. It will explain the slow and gradual process of the transformation of three Tamil gods: Korravai, Malon, and Seyon to their modern-Hindu counterparts: Durga, Vishnu, and Murugan/Karthikeya through art and literature. My project will also explore teaching this subject to the masses: Tamil communities and historians, as well as kids in lower schools which will help shed light on Indian history and culture which seems to be forgotten. In order to do this, I will read and view different Dravidian and Hindu texts and art pieces and compare them with each other. I will also speak with professors in these fields and ask them about these topics. My results will be documented in my research paper and potentially be published. I will also set up days where I will create a presentation and teach these findings to young students as well as Tamil communities. This will allow me to share my findings with the public.
Thank you so much for reading and stay tuned as I share my journey with all of you guys.