“Poems and Visuals”

"Poems and Visuals" / Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
“Poems and Visuals” / Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives

” யாம இரவின் நெடுங்கடை நின்று
தே முதிர் சிமையக் குன்றம் பாடும்
நுண் கோல் அகவுநர் வேண்டின் வெண் கோட்டு
அண்ணல் யானை ஈயும் வண் மகிழ்
வெளியன் வேண்மான் ஆஅய் எயினன்
அளி இயல் வாழ்க்கைப் பாழிப் பறந்தலை
இழை அணி யானை இயல் தேர் மிஞிலியொடு
நண் பகல் உற்ற செருவில் புண்கூர்ந்து
ஒள் வாள் மயங்கு அமர் வீழ்ந்தெனப் புள் ஒருங்கு
அம் கண் விசும்பின் விளங்கு ஞாயிற்று
ஒண் கதிர் தெறாமை சிறகு அரில் கோலி
நிழல் செய்து உழறல் காணேன் யான் எனப்
படு களம் காண்டல் செல்லான் சினஞ் சிறந்து
உருவினை நன்னன் அருளான் கரப்பப்
பெரு விதுப்புற்ற பல் வேள் மகளிர்
குரூஉப்பூம் பைந்தார் அருக்கிய பூசல்
வசை விடக் கடக்கும் வயங்கு பெருந்தானை
அகுதை கிளை தந்தாங்கு மிகு பெயல்
உப்புச் சிறை நில்லா வெள்ளம் போல
நாணு வரை நில்லாக் காமம் நண்ணி
நல்கினள் வாழியர் வந்தே ஓரி
பல் பழப் பலவின் பயங்கெழு கொல்லிக்
கார் மலர் கடுப்ப நாறும்
ஏர் நுண் ஓதி மாஅயோளே.”

– அகநானூறு 208, பரணர், குறிஞ்சித் திணை – தலைவன் தன் நெஞ்சிடம் சொன்னது (Agananooru 208, Baranar, Kurinji (hill) landscape)

Sangam period is the period in the history of ancient southern India (known as the Tamilakam, comprising of modern period Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Pondicherry and Karnataka) spanning from c. 300 BCE and 300 CE.There is a wealth of sources detailing the history, socio-political environment and cultural practices of ancient Tamilakam, including volumes of literature and epigraphy. The collection of literature contains 2381 poems composed by 473 poets, some 102 of whom remain anonymous. Sangam literature is primarily secular, dealing with everyday themes in a Tamilakam context. Tamil sangam poems reflect the concept of ‘love’ using nature and landscapes express human love.

Agananuru is a classical Tamil poetic work, the seventh book in the secular anthology of Sangam literature (600 BCE – 300 CE), namely Ettuthokai. The secular anthology is entirely unique in Indian literature, which are almost religious during the era. It contains 400 Akam (subjective) poems dealing with matters of love and separation. The classification of Agananooru ties the emotions involved in agam poetry to a specific landscape. These landscapes are called thinai (திணை). These landscape classification described are: kurinji (குறிஞ்சி), mountainous regions; mullai (முல்லை), forests; marutham (மருதம்), agricultural land; neithal (நெய்தல்) coastal regions; paalai (பாலை) deserts. In addition to the landscape based thinais, kaikkiLai and perunthinai are used for unsolicited love and unsuited love respectively.

English translation for the above text that describes Kurinji – the hill landscape of Sangam period with his lover.
” May she live long,
……….my lover who broke the limits of her shyness
……….like a salt dam that does not withstand flood waters
……….after heavy rains, who came and gave herself to me,
……….the dark girl with beautiful, soft hair with fragrances
……….of monsoon flowers of Kolli hills, rich, dense with
……….jackfruit trees, belonging to king Ōri,
like faultless, victorious Akuthai who came to the aid
of the devastated Vēlir women who crushed their fresh
garlands with different colored flowers and cried.”

Photography (C) Bhagyashri Patki / Project 365 public photo archives
Disclaimer: All rights reserved. All the images published in this page is copyrighted property of the author (photographer) and is a part of PROJECT 365 PUBLIC PHOTO ARCHIVES. Reprinting / publishing rights reserved by the author and/or EtP (PROJECT 365 public photo archives). Prior permission is required for reproduction / re-publishing for non-commercial public use and research. For more information contact EtP at {0}4175 237405 / {0}94879 56405 / project365@etpindia.org

Folklore medicine and Indigenous herbs

Traditional (folklore) medicine comprises knowledge systems that developed over generations within various societies before the era of modern medicine. It is the sum total of the knowledge, skills, and practices based on the theories, beliefs, and experiences indigenous to different cultures, whether explicable or not, used in the maintenance of health as well as in the prevention, diagnosis, improvement or treatment of physical and mental illness. Folk medicine consists of the healing practices and ideas of body physiology and health preservation known to some in a culture, transmitted informally as general knowledge, and practiced or applied by anyone in the culture having prior experience. In the written record, the study of herbs dates back 5,000 years to the ancient Sumerians, who described well-established medicinal uses for plants. In Ancient Egyptian medicine, the Ebers papyrus from c. 1552 BC records a list of folk remedies and magical medical practices. The Old Testament also mentions herb use and cultivation in regards to Kashrut.
Siddha Medicine is usually considered as the oldest medical system known to mankind. Siddha is reported to have surfaced more than 10,000 years ago. “Siddhargal” or Siddhars were the premier scientists of ancient time. Siddhars were mainly concentrated in ancient Tamilakam (present period South India), and laid the foundation for this system of medication. Siddhars are alchemists, mathematicians and philosophers. Most of these masters, apart from being knowledgeable in other fields, practice medicine as well. They are considered to have acquired the ashta siddhis (the eight supernatural powers). Agathiyar was the first Siddhar. Many herbs and minerals used in Ayurveda were described by ancient Indian herbalists such as Charaka and Sushruta during the 1st millennium BC. Project 365 photographer Pee Vee (Venkatesan Perumal) has been creating photographic visuals of the folklore doctors, and indigenous herbs and its ecological surroundings, the mineral deposits, etc., Pee Vee is a Photographer and Entrepreneur, with limitless passion to capture light. He is a Chemical Engineer with an MBA. Prior to advertising, he was an agriculturist, sold insurance and designed web banners. He is born in Tamil Nadu.

Erukku (giant milkweed) / Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Erukku (giant milkweed) / Photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives

Errukku (Giant Milkweed / Asclepiadacea family) is one of the most commonly found medicinal plants in our surroundings. The plant is a medium sized shrub and is commonly found in dry regions across India. The plant is called by the name arka meaning sun in Ayurveda due its high potency and sharpness. The plant is mainly a toxic corrosive plant, however, when someone uses properly it has eminent medicinal utility. In our folklore medicine and culture, this plant is used for treating illness and plant’s flower, both the blue and white variety are used as an offering to the deity Ganesha. one of the important deities. In spite of its medicinal value and sacredness, it is not grown in home gardens as it is believed to be the shelter of yakshis (demon goddesses). The useful parts of the plant are its leaves, root, bark, flower and latex. The latex of the plant is used by ayurveda practitioners for ksarasutra preparation as a binding agent. The toxic effect of the plant causes drastic purgation and leads to bruises on skin. The medically purified plant is used to treat hemorrhoids, abdominal conditions, skin disorders, worm infestation, respiratory track, and various other ailments. The plant has a beautiful seed which is hydroscopic in nature and flies in air, a chase and catch play tool for children. The latex is collected preferably during early morning by giving a nip to the stem. The flowers are beautiful to look but do not have any particular odour. The leaves of plant are soft and smooth. The latex of the erukku is used for malingering criminal offenses.

Erukku (giant milkweed) / smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad /  Project 365 public photo archives
Erukku (giant milkweed) / smart phone photography (C) Abul Kalam Azad / Project 365 public photo archives
Erukku (giant milkweed) / Photography (C) Pee Vee / Project 365 public photo archives
Erukku (giant milkweed) / Photography (C) Pee Vee / Project 365 public photo archives

Disclaimer:

All rights reserved. All the images published in this page is copyrighted property of the author (photographer) and is a part of PROJECT 365 PUBLIC PHOTO ARCHIVES. Text by Tulsi Swarna Lakshmi / EtP. Plant research and description by Dr. Mahima Rahman. Reprinting / publishing rights reserved by the author and/or EtP (PROJECT 365 public archives). Prior permission is required for reproduction / re-publishing for non-commercial public use and research. For more information contact EtP at {0}4175 237405 / {0}94879 56405 / project365@etpindia.org /