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Students who adopted Jain site produce documentary

    Madurai (Tamil Nadu), April 9, 2012: In an effort to create awareness on the rich heritage of Jainism in Madurai, second-year MA English students of Fatima College have come out with a documentary film on the subject. The documentary called ‘The Caves of Wisdom’ speaks about the growth of Jainism in Madurai by 3 BC and how the Jain monks took abode in the hillock caves surrounding Madurai. In the film, epigraphist and retired archaeologist V Vedachalam and R Venkataraman, retired history professor, MKU narrate the rich Jain heritage in Madurai.

    Releasing the documentary film in the college premises, Venkataraman said that the Jains were the ones who shaped the education system in Tamil Nadu. “Jain monks contributed to the growth of the language and many components of Tamil grammar. Ancient Tamil brahmi letters found in the caves around Madurai are the best example how the caves functioned as education centres,” he said. N Ganesan, assistant director, archaeology department was also present for the release function.

    The documentary presents the existing Jain caves like Arittapatti, Thiruparankundram and Yanamalai with the exclusive space for Anamalai and the struggle of the local people protecting the hillock against the proposal of Sculpture City proposed in the hillock. P Sivakumaran of Yanamalai Pathukappu Iyakkam narrates in the movie how granite barons are trying to take the hillock into their hands in the name of Sculpture City and the struggle of those fighting to protect it as a heritage monument.

    Over a period of five months, 19 students worked on the research and production of the documentary film with the help of the Centre for Development Communication of Dhan Foundation. S Jescilla, one of the students said that it was an eye-opening experience to learn about the Jain heritage in Madurai which was often confined just as the temple city. “It was a great exposure for us to know the rich heritage of the city which had been the centre of Jainism in the south,” she quipped. S Geetha, associate professor of the department said that documentary film making was a paper for the MA English students and

    the department had already produced six documentary films earlier. “Jain heritage in Madurai was not documented before and it was a great experience for the department. Through the documentary, we want to sensitise people about the importance of saving the hillocks with the Jain monuments,” she said. – News Courtesy: Times of India

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