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Discrete CollectionsPolitics, economics and social science collections
TitleVinayaka Chaturthi Festival
Ref NoVINAYAKA
LevelCollection
Date1999-2000
Extent5 boxes
Admin Biographical HistoryIn 1999-2001, Chris Fuller was Principal Investigator on an ESRC research project on the anthropology of globalisation in India. As part of that project, Fuller collaborated with an Indian colleague, Francis Jayapathy (a former PhD student at LSE), to carry out research on the Vinayaka Chaturthi festival in Tamil Nadu, south India, in September 1999 and September 2000. This festival was (and still is) significant because it was developed by Hindu nationalist organisations in Tamil Nadu as a vehicle for disseminating their political message, although it was also a celebration of public devotion to the popular Hindu god Vinayaka, also known as Ganesha, the god of beginnings and obstacles who is worshipped at the start of important ventures to ensure their success.

Jayapathy was then director of the Folklore Resources and Research Centre in St Xavier's College, Palayamkottai, and he recruited and coordinated a team of local researchers to study the festival as it was celebrated, for between two and nine days, in different places in Tamil Nadu. The names of these researchers and the places where they worked (in both years unless otherwise indicated) are as follows:

D.I. Aravindan and Palani (1999), Chennai;
T. Victor Manohar and A. Renuga Devi (1999), Coimbatore;
M.Vincent Raj, Tiruppur;
K. Ramapandy, Ramanathapuram;
M. Kalyani Kumar, Vilathikulam, Tuticorin Dt.;
A. Sivasubramanian, Tuticorin;
P. Shanmugavalli, Arumuganeri, Tuticorin Dt.;
A. Gurusamy, Kalakkadu, Tirunelveli Dt.;
A.K. Perumal, Kanniyakumari Dt.;
M. Swaminathan (2000), Vellore;
P. Chelladurai (2000), Tiruvannamalai;
Kannan (alias Sahasranamam) (2000), Salem;
T. Kannan (2000), Tirucchirappalli;
M. Panneer Selvam (2000), Peravurani, Thanjavur Dt.;
V. Innocent Sasikumar (2000), Dindigul.
Also on the research team were Geert De Neve (now at Sussex University) (2000), Bhavani, Kumarapalayam and Erode; and Fuller Madurai.

All the researchers observed the festival in their particular place and wrote up their fieldnotes about it; most of these notes are in neat hand-written Tamil, though some are hand-written or typed in English. The researchers also collected local newspaper cuttings, and posters, flyers and advertisements; made maps; and took photographs. There is also a summary English translation of all the Tamil notes; this is in rather poor-quality English, but is mostly comprehensible.

The only publication that derived from this research is by Fuller: 'The "Vinayaka Chaturthi" festival and Hindutva in Tamil Nadu'. Economic and Political Weekly 36 (19), May 12-19 2001, pp. 1607-16 (see VINAYAKA/2). Plans to publish an edited collection on the festival using all the reports were never realised.
Custodial HistoryDonated by Chris Fuller in 2009
DescriptionCopies of research papers relating to the Vinayaka Chaturthi festival in Tamil Nadu, created/collected as part of a research project led by Chris Fuller
Publication NoteFuller: 'The "Vinayaka Chaturthi" festival and Hindutva in Tamil Nadu'. Economic and Political Weekly 36 (19), May 12-19 2001, pp. 1607-16.
Access StatusOpen
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