Folklore and Theatre in Tamil Language Teaching and Learning

Folklore and Theatre in Tamil Language Teaching and Learning

Thursday, 10 August 2017

ALC held a special discourse on Silappathikaram and Manimegalai with an Archeologist Dr C. Santhalingam, former Assisstant Director, Archeological Department, Government of Tamil Nadu, India.   
These two activities was conducted with 32 Tamil students and Tamil Division staff on 10th August 2017. 

The first part of the activity was based on hands on session with explanation.  Singing and using the Tamil musical instrument PARAI.  Student and Teachers were took part in this activity with full interest.  All who participated enjoyed playing the PARAI.   


Parai is one of the oldest drums used in India.  It is considered as one of the symbols of Tamil Culture.  Parai in Tamil means to speak.  How it looks?  It consists of a circular wooden frame with one end closed with cow skin membrane and the other end open.   Parai  is played with two sticks with different length.  One is thinner and the other is thicker in size.   The parai is slung by a strap over one shoulder  and is held vertically by pushing it towards the performer's body. This simple harness allows the drummer to play while standing, walking etc. 

Just before the commencement of every performance, drummers will heat the Parai, holding them extremely close to a small bonfire, so that the heat absorbs the moisture in the drum heads and tightens them considerably. After heating, the drums produce a high pitched loud sound. 


In the olden days, this instrument was used to make public announcements like warning people about an upcoming battle, requesting civilians to leave the battlefield, announcing victory or defeat etc.  This is also used in performing a dance, singing a song,  temple festivals etc.   Famous Tamil literature Kurunthokai says that Parai is an auspicious instrument in weddings.  


The second part was a talk by Dr C Santhalingam about Silappathikaram and Manimegalai.  Both teachers and students who attended the talk enjoyed the session tremendously.

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Source: ALC, ALC