Indian Culture

Surya Ramakrishnan

A Note To the Reader

Dear Reader,

Being connected to Indian culture is truly a gift because of all the bits and pieces of the wonderful culture. I have a first hand connection to the Indian culture through all of the elements in being Indian. This first hand experience has exposed me to a lot of the facets that determine the culture. In addition, my parents and relatives have thoroughly integrated the ways of the culture into my daily life, be it food, clothing, religion, music or customs. The Indian culture holds an important meaning in my life: it has shaped me to who I am today, for it is embedded in my daily life and is irreplaceable.

I feel that all three of these authors and the pieces of literature that I have observed are extremely talented storytellers. First, in the song/varnam composed by Sri Papnasamsivan, called Swami Nee Manam Irangi has a contemplation of feelings of the girl who longs for god to show up just so she can serve him always is so fascinating. The synopsis of the varnam asks God if he is really there, if he can stop being so stubborn just to put a smile on the depressed girl.

Secondly, the famous song in the movie Sivakavi, named Soppana Vazhvil depicted a deeper and more dark version of all human beings' sins. The overall meaning is that humans get caught up in a dream world and is only caught up in greed and befriending sinful people.

Third in the book named the Thirupugazhal, (thee-roo-poo-garr-aL) there are many different short poems called thirukurrals explaining life. These 7 word poems have incredible meaning and teach so much about real world experiences that still applies today. In total there are 1,330 thirukurrals and they are divided into 3 sections:

  1. Nature
  2. Self-control
  3. Friends and Family Relation

My feelings about this culture were rather reinforced through my research. As this is my culture, I do have past knowledge about this. It did revisit the values that I grew up learning how to integrate into my life and personality. This made my journey take a few steps back to look back at my ancestry, hoping this will teach you something new or make new memories.


Surya Ramakrishnan

Information about Indian culture and Tamil Nadu

The culture of India is very broad and extensive. Not only does it derive its heritage from thousands of years ago, it has been able to sustain itself through the transformation of the world and spread itself around the seven continents. Indian culture, as the name alludes, is very pervasive in the country of India. With a population of 1.2 million people, the Indian culture, including language, religion, food, architecture, clothing, and customs are indeed very widespread.

There is no official language of India. However, the common script used in the culture is the “Devanagari” script. A single story of India is that every Indian knows how to speak Hindi, a language that has been characterized with the stamp of being “the language of Indians and their culture”. However, the statistic that 59% of the Indian population speaks a language other than Hindi openly contradicts that stereotype.

Tamil nadu has great heritage and culture that has developed over 2,000 years ago and still continues to flourish. This great cultural heritage of the state of Tamil Nadu evolved through the rule of dynasties that ruled the state during various phases of history. Many of the ruling dynasties gave patronage to art and culture that resulted into the development and evolution of a unique Dravidian culture that Tamil nadu today symbolizes with. Under the rule of the Pallavas, Cholas and the Pandya kings, there were tremendous growth and development in the field of art, architecture and literature, which reached great heights. The history of Tamil language can be traced back to the age of the Tolkapiyam, the Tamil Grammar text, ascribed to around 500 B.C. Similarly, the Sangam literature dates back to 500 B.C.

Tamil Nadu is one of the most urbanized states of India but most of the people still live in villages. In Tamil Nadu, there is an established caste system with traditional differentiations a lot more pronounced than in many other parts of India. A large part of population is confined to the Chennai (covering industrial areas, townships and the surrounding villages) and those around Madurai, Tiruchchirappall and Coimbatore. About 80 percent of the people in Tamil Nadu follow Hinduism. A substantial percentage of population in Tamil Nadu follows Christianity and Islam.

The history and culture of Tamil nadu goes back to thousands years back. For centuries, people of various religions have been residing in the state. The main religions in Tamil nadu are Hinduism, Islam, Christianity and Jainism. Hinduism, along with its various sects, is the oldest religion in the state.

I think the most important thing in Tamil Nadu, and all of India is the food. Indian cuisine is very international and exquisite. The food is an extremely integral part of the culture, for people eat the food every day. In addition, Indian food is a common stamp that represents the Indian culture. This cuisine is influenced by many countries and uses lots of herbs and spices. In addition, just like the language, the way a certain dish is made depends on the region in which the dish was made. Curry is also a very common facet of Indian cuisine, which is considered very spicy. Usually, for carbohydrates, breads such as roti, naan, puri, and bhatura are eaten. But in Tamil Nadu the foods are of full of rice. Rice is ground, boiled, fried, and stretched in every possible way. For example: dosa, idli, sambhar, upma, and vadai.

Mere Bhat Mahaan

Indian Literature (lyrics and meaning)

This gives you an idea about the songs that Sri Papanasam Sivan composes

(I did an extra piece of literature)


Pallavi Kana kan kodi vendum –Kaplaiyin bhavani, Kana Kan kodi vendum

Anupallavi Manikkam, vairam, mudhal navarathna aabharanamum, Manam aar parpala malar maalaigalum, mugamum, Mathiyodu tharangalum nirayum anthi, Vanamo, kamala vaanamo yena manam mayanga, Agalanga angam yavum ilanga apaanga arul mazhai pozhi bhavani

Charanam Maalodu ayan paniyum , mannum vinnum paravum, Marai agamam thudikkum,iraivan arul perave, Kalam chellu mun , dhana janamum thantharkku nandri, Karuthi kannara kandu ull urugi paniya, palar, Kana aarumugamum, ganapathiyum chandeswaranum, Siva ganamum tondara kalaivani tiruvum pani karpaga nayaki, Vaman Adhikaranandi sevai thanai kana


Pallavi We need billions of eyes to see the procession of Kapali, We need billions of eyes

Anupallavi When Decorated with ornaments of diamonds , rubies and other nine precious gems, And also many flower garlands which steal our minds , with his face , And with the dusk sky with its moon and very many stars making us feel that it is a lotus sky, And with everything shining clearly all over and goddess bhavani showering the rain of mercy, We need a billion eyes....

Charanam To get the grace of the God who is praised by Lord Vishnu , Brahma, And the Vedas and holy books spread all over the sky and earth, To express our thanks before it is late to him who gave us wealth and people, To see him to our hearts content and to bow before him with a melting heart, And to enable many people to see him being served by the six faced one , Ganesa, Chandikeswara , and with Karpagamba who is served by Lakshmi and saraswathi On his left side , when he comes in the Adhikara Nandi procession, we need billions of eyes to see

Papanasam Sivan - Gnaana Sabhaiyil Kaana Kan Kodi Vendum
This is a concert of 9 songs Swami Nee is the first song, Kanna kan kodi is the 5th song, and Soppana vazhvil is the 8th song

Analysis of Piece of Literature

In the Song, Soppana Vazhvil, Sri Papanasam Sivan uses diction, rhythm, a third person omniscient point of view and ragam (or musicality) to show that people are full of greed. Sivan uses diction to explain the point of his song. The author uses lofty and proper Tamil to make sure that his message to all of the renders and readers is proper and enlightened. He made sure that no one would, " follow the path of no-good, the path of lies, hiding underneath the shadows of those who aspire to do sins" or "Naval poi mozhi Vaa, thanadhu vazhnal ellam pazh seva" (Sivan P2) He uses such substantial, vigorous language so when anyone sings this composition, they will be able to feel the message of what Sivan has wrote. Sivan also uses rhythm to make his point understood. When something has a rhythm it is easier to remember, it is a natural appeal to the ear when it is in a song. This song has a 4 jati and 4 gati beat which is basically 4/4 time. Rhythm is a device to make our brains more active and Sri Papanasam Sivan wields it to his favor. The last device he uses is a third person omniscient point of view to make the feeling of the song represented as a deity or enlightened one is giving information to everyone. All of these aspects show that not only Indians have to watch out for their character, but everyone should think twice before acting.

The universal value that Sivan promotes through this story, of helping others and opposing succumb to sins. All of the world believes in being good and perfecting society so Sivan tells us to get rid of greed, false role models, and all lies, and instead try to think optimistically. Sivan tells us to "think of others and improve society" or "Sindhai thirudhi uyya guhane undhan thiruvaruL puriyAyo" (Sivan P3) While everybody is revolving in their own thoughts, we need to help others around instead of being selfish.

Sopana Vazhvil Sivakavi MKT


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"Sopana Vazhvil Sivakavi MKT." YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2015.

"Tamilnadu Culture." - & Heritage. N.p., 1 Sept. 2008. Web. 14 Apr. 2015. <>.

Zimmermann, By Kim Ann. "Indian Culture: Traditions and Customs of India." LiveScience. TechMedia Network, 30 Jan. 2015. Web. 10 Apr. 2015.