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Pandanus is a biannual peer-reviewed international journal publishing original research papers in English on nature symbolism in Literature, Art, Myth and Ritual. It has a regional focus on South Asia but welcomes papers from other regions. The journal is the outcome of the Pandanus project, based at the Institute of South and Central Asian Studies, Seminar of Indian Studies, Philosophical Faculty, Charles University in Prague. Pandanus volumes started coming out in 1998 on an annual basis as a result of co-operation between three Universities ... please click here to read the full text of Pandanus Mission Statement.

 
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Pandanus ’13: Nature in Literature, Art, Myth and Ritual.
Volume 7, No. 2 (2013)
 
Special Issue to Commemorate the 150th Birth Anniversary of the Birth of Moriz Winternitz (December 23, 1863 – January 9, 1937)

 
Editor-in-chief: Jaroslav Vacek
Deputy Editor: Martin Hříbek
 
Members of the Editorial Board:
Giuliano Boccali (University of Milano, Italy)
Alexander Dubianski (University of Moscow, Russia)
Daniele Feller (University of Lausanne, Switzerland)
Adalbert J. Gail (Freie Universität, Berlin, Germany)
Oldřich Král (Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic)
Dagmar Marková (Oriental Institute, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic)
Cinzia Pieruccini (University of Milano, Italy)
Tiziana Pontillo (University of Cagliari, Italy)
Chettiarthodi Rajendran (University of Calicut, Kerala, India)
Danuta Stasik (University of Warsaw, Poland)
Lidia Sudyka (Jagiellonian University of Krakow, Poland)
Anna Trynkowska (University of Warsaw, Poland)
Eva Wilden (EFEO, Paris, France)
Gyula Wojtilla (University of Szeged, Hungary)
 
Reviewed by Prof. Daniela Rossella (University of Potenza, Italy)
and Prof. Gyula Wojtilla (University of Szeged, Hungary)

 
English correction: Dr. Mark Corner, HUB University, Brussels
 
Institute of South and Central Asian Studies, Seminar of Indian Studies
Philosophical Faculty, Charles University in Prague
Celetná 20, 116 42 Praha 1, Czech Republic
http://iu.ff.cuni.cz
Publisher: Stanislav Juhaňák - TRITON
http://www.triton-books.cz
First edition, Praha (Prague) 2013
ISSN 1802-7997
(Registration number of MK ČR) E 17677

 

Moriz Winternitz with Rabindranath Tagore in Prague  
Moriz Winternitz with Rabindranath Tagore in Prague, October 1926. Interestingly, the 150th birth anniversary of Winternitz coincides with the centenary of Tagore’s reception of Nobel Prize. Both men are accompanied by Indologist Vincenc Lesný (on the right).
 


Contents
  • Govindaswamy Rajagopal: Birds and beasts: Codes / Symbols in the scheme of Sangam love poems
  • Jaroslav Vacek: The image of ‘snake’ in Sangam poetry, selected characteristics
  • Karolina Łaszewska – Joanna Drożak-Chojnacka: The Neem Tree [Azadirachta indica]: Its significance in Tamil folklore
  • Pavel Hons: Attitude towards nature in selected works of contemporary Tamil writers
  • Monika Browarczyk: Nature and the Self – Nature in autobiographical writings by women in Hindi
  • Dagmar Marková: An Indian Muslim in the Saudi Arabian landscape
  • Petr Holman: Březina’s stones and gemstones II. Supplement: Essays, Correspondence – some more examples

Reviews and Reports
  • New Dimensions in Tamil Epigraphy. Edited with an Introduction by Appasamy Murugaiyan – Reviewed by Jaroslav Vacek
  • Bilingual Discourse and Cross-Cultural Fertilisation: Sanskrit and Tamil in Medieval India. Edited by Whitney Cox and Vincenzo Vergiani – Reviewed by Jaroslav Vacek
  • Martha Ann Selby, 2011, Tamil Love Poetry. The Five Hundred Short poems of the Aiṅkuṟunūṟu, an Early Third-Century Anthology – Reviewed by Jaroslav Vacek
  • Lieder von Hingabe und Staunen. Gedichte der frühen tamilischen Bhakti. Herausgegeben, übersetzt und kommentiert von Eva Wilden – Reviewed by Jaroslav Vacek
  • History and Society as Despicted in Indian Literature and Art. Part I. Dṛśya. Visual and Performing Arts. Ed. by Lidia Sudyka. In: Cracow Indological Studies, Vol. XIV. – Reviewed by Nadia Cattoni
  • Michaela Budiman, 2013, Contemporary Funeral Rituals of Sa’dan Toraja: From Aluk Todolo to “New” Religions. – Reviewed by Tomáš Petrů
  • Petr Kopecký, 2012, Robinson Jeffers a John Steinbeck: Vzdálení i blízcí (Robinson Jeffers and John Steinbeck: Remote, though Close). – Reviewed by Jiří Měsíc
 

Summaries

Birds and beasts: Codes / Symbols in the scheme of Sangam love poems
Govindaswamy Rajagopal, Visiting Professor of Tamil, Department of Indology, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland

Email: grajagopaldu@gmail.com
Postal address:
Uniwersytet Jagielloński
Instytut Orientalistyki
Zakład Indianistyki
ul. Podwale 7
31-118 Kraków, Poland

‘Interior feelings’ and ‘exterior actions’ of mankind are obviously governed by the natural environment that includes birds and beasts – all the mammals, reptiles, insects, etc. Creatures with soft and wild characteristics were brought into relationship with man to convey the nuances of human feelings of love such as excitement, ecstasy, anxiety, separation, sulking, solitude, sorrow, etc. Abundance of descriptions, similes, metaphors, implied metaphors (uḷḷuṟai uvamams), and hidden meanings (iṟaiccis) that involve ‘the interior feelings’ and ‘the exterior actions’ of birds and animals are extensively employed as codes / symbols in akam (= love) poems of Tamil Sangam literature to express the deeper meaning of the subtle human love feelings viz. puṇartal (sexual union), iruttal (patient waiting), ūṭal (infidelity), iraṅkal (anxious waiting) and pirital (separation). In the case of kuṟiñci poems, birds such as peacock and parrot, animals such as elephant, tiger, horse, bull and monkey are widely portrayed; in the case of mullai poems – sparrow, jungle hen and deer; in the case of marutam poems – stork, heron and buffalo, and freshwater fish; in the case of neytal poems – seagull, crocodile and shark and in the case of pālai poems – dove, eagle, fatigued elephant, tiger, or wolf and lizard are the birds and beasts depicted extensively to portray the emotional feelings of human beings. The living beings are portrayed in Sangam poems not as isolated elements but as their integral parts to reveal “the interior landscape” so aesthetically.


The image of ‘snake’ in Sangam poetry, selected characteristics
Jaroslav Vacek, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic

Email: javaka5@seznam.cz
Website: Jaroslav Vacek
Postal address:
Univerzita Karlova v Praze
Filosofická fakulta
Ústav jižní a centrální Asie
Celetná 20,
116 42 Praha 1, Czech Republic

‘Snake’ is an important ‘element of nature’ in India, which is reflected variously in literature and art. The number of occurrences of the lexemes designating the ‘snake’ in Old Tamil Sangam literature reaches 141 (pāmpu 62x /pāppu 2x; arā 8x; aravu 55x; aravam 3x; pāntaḷ 3x; aram 1x; nākam 5x; mācuṇam 2x). There are only a few regular formulaic attributes, some conspicuously negative (kaṭu pāmpu ‘severe snake’, 2x; ve ciṉa araviṉ, lit. ‘of a cruel-angered snake’, 2x), but also a few neutral (veḷ arā ‘white snake’, 1x), or even positive attributes (nal arā ‘good snake’, 3x). The image of ‘snake’ appears mostly as a part of a very concrete and realistic description of nature in various contexts – snakes live in anthills (puṟṟu, puṟṟam), they have sharp teeth (pāmpiṉ vai eyiṟṟu ‘sharp teeth of a serpent’; vaḷ eyiṟṟu aravu ‘a serpent with sharp teeth’), the cobra has a hood (pai: pai talai ‘hooded head’, 4x). The reference to a snake’s bite may be a part of a metaphorical reference to the great suffering of love. In later Sangam texts the term nākam may also refer to Vāsuki. There are some poetic, though at the same ‘descriptive’, images (elephant-hill / trunk-snake). Apart from that there seem to be hardly any really symbolical occurrences of the snake image.


The Neem Tree [Azadirachta indica]: Its significance in Tamil folklore
Karolina Łaszewska – Joanna Drożak-Chojnacka, University of Warsaw, Poland

Email: karolina.laszewska@gmail.com
Email: asia.drozak@gmail.com
Postal address:
Uniwersytet Warszawski
Wydzial Orientalistyczny
Katedra Azji Południowej
Krakowskie Przedmieście 26/28
PL 00-927 Warszawa, Poland

The aim of this paper is to point out the significance and undeniable importance of the neem tree (Ta. vēppa maram, vēmpu) in Tamil culture, focusing especially on the cult of goddess Māriyammaṉ and some images and local beliefs about pēy, the demon most strongly rooted in tradition and folklore of South India. The work will be an attempt to assess and show the usage of this tree as a mythological symbol and weapon to fight malevolent forces and be protected from them. Therefore it is not surprising that the extraordinary virtues that have been associated with this miraculous tree are valued not only as charms against evil influences but also as a medicine for treating all kinds of ailments and skin problems, closely connecting neem with Māriyammaṉ specialising in treating and sending diseases to people at the same time.
In our presentation, we also consider some rites depicting the beliefs in both the goddess and the demons in Tamil folklore, where vēmpu is often used, and we give a short overview of Tamil ritual practises.


Attitude towards nature in selected works of contemporary Tamil writers
Pavel Hons, Oriental Institute, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic

Email: hons@orient.cas.cz
Website: Pavel Hons
Postal address:
Orientální ústav AV
Pod Vodárenskou věží 4
182 08 Praha 8, Czech Republic

The paper inquires into the attitude towards nature in the works of several contemporary Tamil writers. It notices how often and in what respect they mention trees, flowers, animals and other natural phenomena. In the majority of cases these subjects seem to play only a marginal role. They are usually used just to evoke a particular place or area. Animals are sometimes used as a tool for describing human qualities or they have symbolic meaning. The paper pays special attention to Ambai, Sa. Kandasamy and Jeyamohan, who are an exception to this rule. In their works nature is mentioned frequently and plays an important role. Interest in nature and positive attitude towards it is strongly felt. In the case of Ambai, a call for protection of the environment can also be found.


Nature and the Self – Nature in autobiographical writings by women in Hindi
Monika Browarczyk, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland

Email: monikabr@amu.edu.pl
Website: Monika Browarczyk
Postal address:
Katedra Orientalistyki UAM
Zakład Azji Południowej
28 Czerwca 1956 nr 198,
61-485 Poznań, Poland

The paper revises life writings by women in Hindi, investigating the natural phenomena in their texts to relate to various conceptualizations of both, narrative of the self and nature in women’s autobiographies. It examines works of Prabha Khaitan, Maitreyi Pushpa, Chandrakiran Sonrexa and Kausalya Baisantri (from the late 1990s and the early 2000s). The writers employed miscellaneous qualities of nature in the context of their discourse of their distinct life stories and I argue that these stylistic features or contents illustrate an aspect of different narrative strategies of writing about the self.


An Indian Muslim in the Saudi Arabian landscape
Dagmar Marková, Prague, Czech Republic
Email: dagmarmarkova@post.cz

Not everybody is able to make a foreign country his real home. Haneef Tareen seems to be capable of that, but not entirely. Perhaps it is never possible. There are not a few people who fall into lengthy or sudden depression, or who do unfortunate things because of having to live in a foreign country, under a foreign sun, on foreign soil. Haneef Tareen is one of those lucky ones who are able to sing of their homesickness, to transform their reservations about their adoptive home into poetry. Apart from that, he is a psychiatrist, working for many years in this field. As such he must have the ability to look and the experience of looking into the inmost depths of human mind.


Březina’s Stones and Gemstones II
Supplement: Essays, Correspondence – some more examples

Petr Holman, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic

Email: namlohsen@gmail.com
Postal address:
Univerzita Karlova v Praze
Filosofická fakulta
Ústav jižní a centrální Asie
Celetná 20,
116 42 Praha 1, Czech Republic

As we have already said in previous Pandanus ’12, the highly valued poetry, philosophical essays and extensive collected letters (just published in 2004 for the first time as a whole) of the leading personality of Czech Symbolism Otokar Březina (*1868 in Počátky – †1929 in Jaroměřice nad Rokytnou) are very well-known to the literary and cultural world. Much less well known is the poet’s use of many terms, metaphors and names from the field of natural sciences which form an organic part of his work. The main aim of this article is to outline the symbolism, practical usage and meaning of some of those names in Březina’s art and life. In concreto, we would like to introduce some more examples concerning geology, stones and gemstones, in that case in poet´s essays and extensive correspondences.



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