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Vijay – Poetry in Stone – Part 2

24 April 2011 No Comment

Hi All,

Today we are continuing with Part 2 of the interview with Vijay. The part 1 can be found here.


Me: Sundar Rajan G S
VJ: Vijay Kumar – Founder, Poetry in Stone


Me: What is the intention behind making your website a bilingual website.. It is one of the rare kinds out there in blogosphere..

VJ: The intention to make it bilingual is a conscious one. It is definitely additional work , but the essence of some of the sculptures reflect the distilled richness of some of our tamil works and hence it follows that when we showcase them both together their beauty grows manifold. To restrict to just tamil would mean we would be casting our nets in a small subset rather than the whole of the blogosphere. We are glad that many of our readers tell us that they improve their tamil by reading in english and then reading the tamil version of the posts !!

Me: Each blogpost is based on a concept.. How do you come up with such concepts.. can you give a few examples.. how long does it take for you to come up with a post..

VJ: Since we want to target younger generation the objective is to keep the posts topical and engage them in simple yet interesting manner.

Eg, this post emphasis the size aspect
http://www.poetryinstone.in/lang/en/2009/08/31/no-canvas-is-too-small-for-the-chola-sculptor.html

This one is a pun on the loin cloth
http://www.poetryinstone.in/lang/en/2009/07/23/my-loincloth-is-priceless.html

this one சிற்பிக்கு “விடை”யே விடை is a pun on the solution
http://www.poetryinstone.in/lang/ta/2009/09/04/tracing-the-refinement-of-the-ardhanari-image.html

this one is about a Rajinikanth song..
http://www.poetryinstone.in/lang/en/2008/12/11/pallava-inspiration-for-rajini-balle-rakha-song-costumes.html

This one is about a girl sporting 6 pack abs..
http://www.poetryinstone.in/lang/en/2008/12/05/2008-fashion-is-6-packs-abs-check-this-girl-from-730.html

and some subtle hints
http://www.poetryinstone.in/lang/en/2008/10/22/dasavatharam-cycle-stand.html

Me: Thats interesting! What is the state of sculpture today.. What has this generation losing out? Can you also speak about your paper – “tamizhar sirpa kalai”

VJ: The state of sculpture today is that of a dead art form. There are very few traditional practitioners and they too make Laughing Buddha, Amman, Pillayar and Naaga motifs. The traditional masterpieces of kalsamhara murthy, Gajasamharamurthy, Kankalamurthy are all not seen at all. Its sad that shops even in sculpture treasure houses like Mallai do not sell even a single memorabilia from the Pallava themes. Same is the case with even big art houses like VTI. There are very few pursuing this art form and the best we can do is to atleast preserve what we have. Instead what we see all over is wanton neglect of heritage treasures. Thousands of temples are crumbling away to dust and nothing is being done to conserve them. In the name of renovation, untrained workers pull down such and bring up new brick and stone works, bull doze stones with inscripitons, sand blast beautiful pillars ( even though sand blasting has been declared illegal by court!), white wash mural paintings and stick glazed tiles to make santums look like bathrooms.

What it takes is a few hours of voluntary work to clear up growth of vegetation, a small contribution per month (less than the cost of a HSB masala dosai + coffee combo) – to keep them cleaned regularly henceforth.

The plight of the treasures in museums is another story. The Chennai Egmore Museum has possibly the best collection of Chola Bronzes in the world. We have similar collections in Madurai, Tanjore and Tiruvarur. Yet, schools and colleges do not encourage such trips anymore. The exhibits sans visitors are thus left in poor conditions.

My paper @ the Chemmozhi Maanadu, covered 3 main topics. The first was to create an awareness about sculpture and temple art on the net, to build a people powered sculptural image database on the net, and lastly index and tag it with a panel of experts so that it becomes a fully search able and geo tagged online portal for temple art

Me: So, How important is the role of internet in recreating of the past.. What are the challenges that you see..

VJ: The role of the internet is unfathomable. The future is on the net and we need to harness its true potential. The next generation will be more dependant on the net than any before and its only bound to increase their thirst for information. That is where we aim to target. Publishing on the net is cheaper and reach is far wider and ofcourse the connect to them is instant – the ability to comment and interact with your readers is fulfilling.

The challenge is the need to be factually accurate and to ensure that what we create on the net is responsible writing. Religion is a double edged sword and hence controversies are bound to crop up. Our take has always been to present a balanced opinion and be true to history or how the craftsmen would have meant it to be.

As regards copyrights, our policy has always been that ” when the artist himself chose to remain anonymous, who are we to put ours on it”. So all our content is open and we encourage people to share it with friends. Thankfully with the exception of a few most of our volunteers photographers and content providers have agreed to the above.


Readers, hope you enjoyed this edition of Coffee With Experts. Stay tuned for the last part with Vijay! In the mean time, check out the previous interview with Charulatha Mani – Carnatic Music Singer.

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