Wednesday 5 April 2023

Article - Andal in my classroom- A pedagogical and performative learning of an educator - Samyukta Ninan

Andal came to me in a tiny sentence in a history chapter that I was engaging with my grade 12 students in school on the Bhakti movement. The section spoke about the role of women like Karaikal Ammaiyar from the Nayanar tradition and Andal, an Alvar saint whose songs were sung widely throughout the Tamil land. In possibly three sentences her contribution to Bhakti poetry was described, leaving the reader not at all curious about firstly Andal and secondly not shedding enough light on the bulk of poetry written by women Bhakti poets. So while school textbooks selectively give space to the 'voices' of women within the Bhakti tradition, I took it upon myself as an educator to really bring Andal into my classroom.

Engaging with Andal and her poetry while making it relevant to the current times for teenagers is not easy. It is important to note that very often our school textbooks leave the essence of a chapter for the educators to fulfil. Hence the pressures of syllabus completion and the rigours of the academic calendar, often ensures that educators are unable to do absolute justice to it. Similar thoughts ran through my mind, while looking at the vast corpus of Bhakti poetry written by women. However while I began to delve into Andal's verses of Tiruppavai and the Nacciyar Tirumoli, it became natural for my students to become an audience.

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1 comment:

  1. Samyukta, this is such a terrific essay that enveps your love of and my life long journey towards ANDAL.Reading the students' comments made me realize, all over again, how important female voices were in medieval times. Thank you for this summary that gives me a much needed boost to continue my search.