Jivana Heyman 14:44:35
Hi everyone, it's Jivana. I just want to come on for a moment and thank our sponsor, Offering Tree. They're an all in one easy to use community back business that saves you time, energy and money as a Yoga teacher. Offering Tree allows you to create a website in less than 30 minutes. Plus you get a discount through Accessible Yoga. Just go to offeringtree.com/accessibleyoga to get your discount today. Okay, here's our episode.
Anjali Rao 14:45:05
Welcome to The Love of Yoga Podcast. I'm your host, Anjali Rao. This podcast explores the teachings of Yoga for self and collective transformation. We dive into how spirituality and philosophy can ignite social change. I share conversations with folks who are on the front lines of justice and liberatory movements, thought leaders, change makers, and healers.
Hello, and welcome to The Love of Yoga Podcast. One of the objectives of this podcast is to shine a light on the work of compelling scholars, offer a multidisciplinary approach to Yoga, and connect that to the everyday Yoga practitioner. Yoga history is vast, multi-dimensional, and can be intimidating for many. As a subject of study, it's barely given any space of thought outside of the academic realm. And yet, there is an overwhelming need for many to know more and to contextualize the teachings of Yoga. Today we have with us Dr. Padma Kaimal, someone who has researched and published about a very specific subject in history. The stories behind the 10th century tantra yogini sculptures of South India. I met Dr. Kaimal at the Asian Arts Museum here in San Francisco, and was drawn by not only the subject, which was fascinating, but her very real and humane way of storytelling. Dr. Kaimal is chair in history at Colgate University. Her research questions common assumptions about art from the Tamil region of India. And we are going to delve into some of these questions in our conversation. And I'm really, really excited and honored to have you here with us, Dr. Kaimal. Welcome to the podcast.
Dr. Padma Kaimal 14:47:24
Thank you so much for having me here. Anjali, I'm delighted to be here. If I could make just a quick correction, though. I'm in art history, not history here at Colgate the different department.
Anjali Rao 14:47:35
Thank you for sharing that. I probably do not see that because I don't have my glasses on. Well, welcome again. And how may I ask how did your path lead you to this work?
Dr. Padma Kaimal 14:47:49
Wow, that's a really interesting question. Specifically, I became interested in the Yogini sculptures from South India. Because I was looking at another monument I was looking at a temple in Kanchipuram, built by the Pallava royal family, at the start of the eighth century, it's a very important monument in histories of South Asian art. So when I was a student, I had studied in I had been fascinated by the building. And I really wanted to understand it more. And when I went to visit it for the first time in 1984, I was completely overwhelmed by it. And I just kept coming back to it trying to think how can I understand this building? One of the things that struck me most surprised me most when I first went there was how many Goddesses there were because everything I read about it, it was just about how this is dedicated to Shiva. And there are all these different forms of Shiva on here. And that was definitely true. But then there were so many Goddesses. So trying to understand that and so I was looking at other sculptures and monuments from the region. And when I came across these Yoginis in a book by Vidya Dehejia on dedicated to yogini sculptures, art and texts, tantra texts. It just seemed like okay, I have to understand these. When were they? Were they in the same city? It looks like they were in the same city. At least at some point, and how could this, these sculptures that were clearly from a temple dedicated only to goddesses, how could that have helped me understand this older monument that had more goddesses than anybody had led me to expect?
Anjali Rao 14:49:58
And I, I was witnessing yours talk, your very interesting talk on scattered goddesses the book that you publish the research on. And it traces the journeys of the nineteen 10th century Tantra Kanchipuram Yoginis that you were just mentioning, from their birth homes in ancient South India, through colonization to the present homes in 12 separate museums in North America, Western Europe, and South India. And I really appreciated the way you were narrating the history without blaming entirely your non-binary approach to the history, it's because that is something that I am very intrigued by to really integrate the narratives, various narratives of History without just making it you know, the victim and the, which you mentioned that to the victim and the perpetrator, that we often go into those kinds of dichotomies. So I like this line a lot that you wrote in your book that, you know, this particular line that says, "Seeing connections and interdependencies rather than polarities, and opposition, is something you have learned through this research of unearthing their stories." And I would love for you to delve a little bit more into that. And what can we learn from this, especially now in this moment, where entire histories are being erased and rewritten?
Dr. Padma Kaimal 14:51:38
Very, very exciting and enormous question. So I realized, as I started looking at these goddesses that I, that I had a lot of catching up to do, I needed to understand the worship of goddesses in South Asia in a much deeper and broader way than I did. So I spent a year at least, really a year and a half, reading everything I could get my hands on and looking at every example I could find of, of Goddess imagery, and, you know, all different contexts in South Asia over over the centuries. And some of the most mind boggling stuff that I found was written by by a woman named Frédérique Apffel-Marglin, who was a professor at Smith College in anthropology for a number of years. Now, before that, she was actually my teacher in Orissi dance, when I was a teenager in the Boston area, and she was the most beautiful Orissi dancer you could ever imagine. So, I knew her. And then I was really excited to encounter her work as a scholar, who, as an anthropologist, she was working with, with people in South Asia, and particularly in Orissa, and asking them a lot about what was involved in devotion to goddesses. And what is really, how were people thinking about gender. And she wrote some excellent pieces about the about this idea called Mangalam. Tamo mangalam. In Sanskrit, Mangala. That was a non-binary way of thinking about gender and about about kind of everything, life and death, nurture and violence. She is a it's a kind of an agrarian way of understanding that everything is connected, that you can't grow new plants in the field unless you put decaying matter in the soil. And the same, the same substance that could be a poison in one situation could be a medicine in another situation. So it's as it's a set of ideas that about constant resistance so binary, that every time you think you've encountered a binary, you're just only seeing part of the picture. And if you could see the whole picture you'd see you would see These connections, you'd see these, these these circular flows. You'd see these these cyclic continuities, and that everything was like that. She she writes about female aesthetics, and points out that aesthetic, that previous assumptions about asceticism had been overgeneralizing, without thinking through gender. And that, in fact, things that had been coded as male were just aesthetic practice. And then female aesthetics is those too. So celibacy, for example, is something that would empower equally a male or a female body. And it wasn't something that just men did and women didn't do. Something that celebrates did, and it was always empowering. And it hardened everybody, it made it fierce and strong. Whereas procreative activity makes everybody male, female, third gender makes everybody's everybody soft, and fecund and gentle, and relaxed. And so she's she's did this really wonderful work that that kind of just opened a new place in my brain. And then I started looking at these Yoginis and I thought, I think they maybe they didn't use the word, Mangala in this, in this particular set of temple that this existed in. But these are the ideas I'm seeing, I'm seeing these goddesses, who are incredibly fierce, and incredibly voluptuous, and they are, they are frightening and then nurturing at the same time. So I used I used her work. And then of course, a number of other people have also written about the idea of mangalam and I got my hands on every single one, I could try to figure it out.
Anjali Rao 14:56:49
So this makes me wonder, why is it that we are not informed by such a wonderful concept of mangalam even as a practitioner, as you know, a person who is deeply interested in non patriarchal lineages in Yoga, for example. And another thing that just digging through mountains of information to get to something like this, you know, that there is some sort of, I would assume matrilineal, matriarchal, whole lineages of, you know, teachers and our ancestors and asceticism and all of that. Not really well known. And why is that? Do you think? I mean, I know the answer, kind of, but can you can you elucidate in your words?
Dr. Padma Kaimal 14:57:41
I'm not I mean, I'm not sure. I think it's one of those kinds of complicated combinations of things. I think that it's, it's, it wasn't...I think that binary thinking is really fundamental to monotheistic religions. And particularly Abrahamic faiths, at any rate, are fundamentally poised on a binary and all kinds of binaries. Everything is binary, good and evil, male and female. These are all polar oppositions in that system of thinking. So that system of thinking that's been present in South Asia and gets even stronger with European colonization and imperialism. It makes it harder to hear this other way of knowing. But this other way of knowing has been in South Asia all the time. And Frédérique met lots of people who could teach her about it. When she was doing her fieldwork in Orissa, there are still lots of wise people, and many of them are women, but it's not only women who think this way there there are all kinds of men who are would say they're there. They worship Shakti and they understand that, that that that gender is that that binaries are not a very helpful thing to think with.
Anjali Rao 14:59:17
Right, because one of the things is that first of all, gender itself is not in a binary, right. There are so many genders and the the research which which you do I thought was critical even when you were sharing that in the museum that day, because I heard you say that. I heard you say that so many times that all of our understandings are coming from the sort of dominant narrative of history, actually. And I, that's what really drew me to your work also. And the way you narrated it, because it was said through the medium of these tantra Yoginis and the way you traced it, because I, you were you were inviting us into considering that, you know, let what happened to the statues was not a simple thing. It went through all these processes, it went through all these ownerships. Not only because it was a bad guy, and a good guy, but there was all kinds of things in between. So I really enjoyed that. Because I think right now we are asked, like I said, to either completely erase the history to bring the dominant narrative into more of mainstream or to perpetuate that. So that's my question to you, how can we learn from this sort of disrupting the binary? When entire histories are being raised? How would we how would we talk either talk more about this, teach more about this? And I know there was some resistance even from all scholars, I find that they immediately say, Oh, I'm not a Yoga practitioner. I don't know whether this is the right thing. But I do think that this is the right thing, because everyday Yoga practitioners don't know all of this. Right? So how would How would you think we can go about sharing this in an everyday way?
Dr. Padma Kaimal 15:01:24
That is, it. I think it's a constant practice. You know, it's about in the same way that our physical Yoga practice is. Same as if we are reading the Yoga Sutras. It, we have to, we have to keep looking at them again and again. You know, the first time we look at them, we think we understand them, and then we come back to them, and we read them some more and realize, oh, yeah, those, those, those bad habits of mind, keep sneaking back in, you know, the ego, the inclination to say no to things. Just something to explore it. Like all of this is such wild stuff, that it's something that I needed to see many times. And the practice of resisting binaries, is I think it's going to be a lifelong practice for me. It's just try to recognize it when I see it. And then, and then just stop and say, oh, there it goes. There goes a binary. It's probably only a partial understanding. Or it's probably something that's been generated by somebody who is trying to he's trying to, like, weaponize me. And I need to, I need to know if I'm being manipulated in some kind of a way. Why should I think that something is that simple. Human beings are, I mean, there are some things I mean, there are terrible acts, there are sins, there are crimes against other humans. And I don't think that, I don't think that everything is mushy, I think there, there are lines, I would draw. And but, but when I'm but but in many other cases, I do step in to ask myself, what we are, what do I not know about this situation? How is my, how is my view of this is not quite complete? Who do I, who do I look to for more textured understanding of something? And I feel like that about the history of colonialism too. You know, it's, it's, it's so easy to flatten it out and just say, Oh, those people were so bad. And then I, I love the work of Salman Rushdie, particularly Midnight's Children, because of the way he uses metaphors to unpack how, how many stranded the impact of colonialism has been, and that it's been empowering for South Asia, as as much as it was disempowering, and, and criminal and greedy and all those things, but also, the English language has, like flung things wide open things that we what did we what did we understand about India as an idea, before the British draw the maps that way. It's, and when we think about the impact of colonialism on the movement of objects, like the Yogini goddess sculptures that came from the Tamil region. We, you know, some of that was illegal, and some of that was wrong, but also it was preservation. And also, it took objects to places where lots of people could see them, should they stay there? That's a whole different question that one has to look at really closely, but not every object in the museum is stolen. Not every, not everything that left India left illegally, sometimes, you know, people brought things, family heirlooms with them when they left, and then gave them to a museum or so. That's the whole, the whole binary of who is you know, who owns the past who owns objects in museums, that is a really important place not to go to binary thinking. And it's so hard because the discourse right now about it around it is so loud. I taught a course last semester, with a really dynamic bunch of students, there were 25 of them, and I figured I was gonna have to go in there and kind of, you know, help them understand what cultural property meant. And help them think that maybe everything in museums didn't belong there. Maybe some of that should go back. I'd say 22 out of them, 25, couldn't wait, just pick up every single item UPS and ship it back to its country of origin. And I had to no, no, no, no, no - you don't know if those people want everything back! And some of the things were actually legally obtained. There's a great example in Philadelphia at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, there is a South Indian mandabam that's been reconstructed inside. And when I first went there when lots of people go there, everything Oh my god, where's the poor Tamil temple that doesn't have its mandabam? It was stolen! This is terrible! The curator, Dariella Mason, the Stella Kramrisch Curator of South and Southeast Asian art at the museum, has written a wonderful book, very extensively researched, discovered that these stones were purchased by a Philadelphia woman on her honeymoon in Tamil Nadu, because the local temple was rebuilding their mandabam, and they wanted new stones. And these old stones they didn't want anymore. They were on a heap. And she offered them money. And they said, Okay, sounds great! So it was, you know, that we, we think we know those stories, and we go to a binary place when we walk in the museum. But that is a great example of how we just don't know, we don't know the whole story. And yeah, every single object in museums now does deserve a very careful study, really careful research into this provenance to discover whether where that piece belongs.
Anjali Rao 15:08:08
Thank you. Thank you for sharing that.
Jivana Heyman 15:08:12
Hi, everyone, I just want to pop in here really quick, and remind you about our sponsor, Offering Tree. As Yoga teachers, we our own business managers, website, designers and producers, it's a lot. And Offering Tree offers an all in one platform that makes it easy to succeed while we're doing all the things. And I just like to say that through this partnership with The Love of Yoga Podcast, Offering Tree has shown that it's committed to supporting accessibility and equity in the Yoga world. Offering Tree is a public benefit corporation. And they're driven by a mission of wellness accessibility, which we share with them at Accessible Yoga. As an Offering Tree user, you'll get to join a supportive educational community. And you'll also get free webinars with top experts in wellness and entrepreneurship. And of course, you get a discount. So go to offeringtree.com /accessibleyoga to learn more, and to get your discount. Okay, let's go back to the episode.
Anjali Rao 15:09:12
I want to hold on to that thing about the museum because I do have a question on that later. But I want to also unravel, unpack what you just said about you know, the, the tension of appropriation or misrepresentation of a colonized culture and along with how do we hold that with, you know, fostering this narrative of interdependency or non polarized view of history.
Dr. Padma Kaimal 15:09:43
Tell me more about this question because it feels it feels really 30,000 feet up there and I'm trying to think of how...where are the anchors or specifics on the ground?
Anjali Rao 15:09:58
Yeah. So for example, you know, we were when, when the West Europe, North America had has colonized, now let's talk about India, colonize the countries, and then they sort of missed the sort of use or misuse or misrepresent or simplify some of the practices some of the cultural objects. And, and at the same time, we're also asked to hold this thing about interdependency in or, you know, within the, within the context of colonizer and colonized. When it comes to culture, right, so that's what that was my question, how do we hold the tension between appropriation and understanding that Oh, yes, like some part of the colonized India as like, like you mentioned, which was not really India, pre British. There was something that came out of that also. So how do we hold that tension? Or maybe that is not a question but a statement or that we need to hold that tension?
Dr. Padma Kaimal 15:11:11
I think that's a great way to see it, yes. That that tension is there. And some people have done bad things for very bad motives. And and, and yet, undoing them is usually not possible. Understanding them and moving forward, it is a better way to try to move I think, and so, yes, there's all kinds of art history that's been written about South Asian objects that's demeaning or flattening oversimplifying, but there's also some really sensitive, wonderful stuff that kind of didn't get noticed. There's a, there's an art historian in the early 20th century named EB Havell, who (Englishmen), just really loved South Asian stuff, back when it wasn't even being considered fine art and kept pointing out no, look at it. It's really cool! I, I think it's, I think it's about this. And I think this is very beautiful, this shape, this form, these aesthetics. And so, so there's, it's complex, you know, colonizers not all don't agree with each other, even even right. Even British, even the English it when you're talking about any given moment in the history of colonizing India. They're back in England fighting like cats with each other about what they should and shouldn't be doing in India. Should they even be there? So, yeah, so the colonizers aren't one thing, the colonized are not one thing, right? There's so much multiplicity there.
Anjali Rao 15:13:17
Yeah. That is that is it, Thank you for sharing that. I know, that was a tough question. And that was probably needs a whole another book on that. And going back to your thing about, you know, museums, because that is something that I also have grappled with, you know, I'm an avid museum goer. And I saw this on your bio as well. So I have to ask, again, are museums the problem the solution, or both? To all the discussion and the discourse over like, cultural property?
Dr. Padma Kaimal 15:13:54
So, I think museums have to be at the center of the conversation about where do we go from here. And they, the people who, who have been keeping objects safe all these years in their museums, understand a lot about them. And, and so, again, you know, we're just looking at a really wide range of people. There are some people in museums and some boards of trustees in museums, who who've gotten really anxious about all this cultural property stuff, and they just see it as a threat and has to simply be resisted. But there are other people like Darielle Mason, who are launching into research, very careful provenance research. There are provenance researchers at museums, many museums right now, often they're being funded by by grants. And and they're taking this very seriously. And they're in a perfect position to figure out what shouldn't be here, and what should happen with it. So you have to have people working inside museums, access to all those files, figuring this stuff out. And some pressure from outside is sometimes important as well, because, you know, I think, I think that 15 years ago, even 10 years ago, I could never have imagined how much pressure would be on museums now to return things so that 22 of my students would just be, you know, right there with their UPS boxes - "send it back!" I would never have imagined things would change so fast, but they have that landscape has completely transformed. And now, now, the the default seems to be the way everything should be repatriated. Yeah, I think that pressure museums are feeling that a lot right now. And many of them are behaving very responsibly about it. So that way, I think they are key to the solution.
Anjali Rao 15:16:11
Yeah, I hope also in integrating the people whose objects they have, they are showing showcasing in their museum. So it's, I would say it would be important to even get that as a part of the collective decision making. My hope so.
Dr. Padma Kaimal 15:16:26
That's a very important point. And many museums that I work with directly, have taken that very seriously. And, in fact, they've built strong connections with the local communities that identify with objects in the museum. And those communities are the ones who don't want the objects returned. They really want them representing their culture, in this exalted space of a museum because the museum is like a toolbox, right? A museum is like a stage and and it glorifies objects, it can glorify objects that are held inside it. And I talked to one curator at the Cornell Museum 10 years ago, and she said, we have never gotten pressure from our local communities to repatriate any of these objects here, we've only gotten pressure from communities that feel underrepresented. So the Tibetan community in Ithaca was very distressed that there were no Tibetan objects in their museum. And they wanted the collections there. So the local communities are, again, you know, is there only one way to be South Asian, of course not. The huge South Asian diaspora, and many people in the United States, actually, are thrilled to have South Asian objects here. Sometimes they've contributed to have them purchased by the museum. And the San Francisco Asian Art Museum is a great example of building strong connections with the South Asian community in the area. And asking, asking people, What should we do? You know, what kinds of what kinds of subjects would you like to have guest speakers come and talk on? What do you think about the way this this gallery is set up? Is this respectful? We want to represent this deity? Should we be careful about anything about the representation, the framing the lighting, the the height, at which it's standing? So, again, you know, is South Asia only in one place anymore? I'm not sure it is.
Anjali Rao 15:18:47
Not at all. Not at all. Yeah, that's a good point. Thank you for sharing that. One of the things that I also wanted to kind of, you know, ask you to share is about this question that you had in your bio, because it is about patriarchy, in artistry, and monument building. And I think there are so many narratives in Yoga, Yoga history, the obvious parallels and intersections between the two. So this question really stood out to me and I'm really intrigued to know, did kings build the only architecture that matters?
Dr. Padma Kaimal 15:19:24
Anjali Rao 15:19:25
Yeah, that's a good thing. Short answer. Can you share some more like surprising discoveries or interesting discoveries for the listeners?
Dr. Padma Kaimal 15:19:38
Happy to, sure. So, I kind of came at that question from two different angles. And one was to look at buildings that that we can find information about their patrons at. And I looked at buildings that were constructed during by Pallava royalty in the area around Chennai, and bit further south. And those often have inscriptions, right on them in the stone, that say who built them. And some of them talk about kings. And there's one king in particular, whose name appears on a lot of them, Roger Simha, who's at the beginning of the first quarter of the eighth century. And, but if you keep looking on some of those monuments, like the Kalika Mata temple in Cochin, you'll see that there are other inscriptions that are by women. And that say, the I'm the, the mother, or the wife, or the daughter of the king, who built that part of the monument. And now I'm building this part of the monument. So, in and then I found the same thing happening along the Kaveri River in central Tamil Nadu, there are buildings that are constructed, smaller buildings, that are constructed by women who are related to men who are building others buildings. So building a temple, at least in the Tamil region, from the seventh century to the 11th century, seems to have been a family project, and men and women in the same family were choosing to invest their surplus wealth that way.
Anjali Rao 15:21:44
This is interesting, especially for us who are like, you know, students of Yoga, because this tells us that there was economic agency for women and men in that time, and that would somehow translate to spiritual, classical traditions having some sort of influence over that, I would assume, or is that too much of a jump?
Dr. Padma Kaimal 15:22:12
It may not be too much of a jump for some people, I just, I just haven't gotten there in my research. What I've been concerned with are, what I've been able to find, has been there's, there's some economic and statistical research that Leslie C. Orr has done on women as patrons in the Chola period, she's found that they're hundreds she's she's collected 1000s and 1000s of inscriptions from the Tamil period. And she's found that there are phases where women seem to be giving a lot more to temples, and then some other phases where they're giving less. And when they are giving, these women are in control of financial resources. And the rules, the laws around that may have shifted, seem to have shifted in the same way that we see that happening in European history. So for example, Jane Austen is writing about a time when women's access to wealth is suddenly being curtailed. And this is this crisis, you know, you have to marry some horrible man or all of your family money is going to be entailed away. So, that there are these waves, apparently, in the history of South Asia where women have had more or less financial independence, independent access to financial resources. And in some in some phases, it seems like they, in the 9th centuries, it seems to be real efflorescence, 9th into the 10th century, we see women in the Kaveri region, building a lot. We also see a bunch of people who are not kings or queens building in this time. Who are they? This is something I feel like I don't fully understand yet. There are various names for the sometimes it's the The Nagarathar, which is the, you know, the merchant community of an area. Sometimes it's these Vellalars. What is a Vellalar? Sometimes there are groups that seem to be kind of like kings, but not that powerful. And then again, it's kings and queens, it's the men and the women in these families who are making donations and constructing monuments. So there's my guess, my guess right now is that there's a before wealth gets really centralized in the, in the 11th century, surplus wealth throughout the incredibly fertile Kaveri region is, is divided in all kinds of ways. And there's kind of a spectrum of wealth. There, of course, lots and lots of people who have none and who are just doing all the hard work. But then there are some people who have a bit to give. And then there are some people who have a chunk to give, and then some other folks who have a lot to give for 50 years, and then their family loses the authority that was giving them all that wealth, and they don't have it anymore. So it's, it's more, it's more of a mixed landscape of wealth in the 9th and 10th century. And, and so women have access and small land holders have access.
Anjali Rao 15:26:02
Right? Thanks. Yeah. So this is another thing that I as an self confessed, you know, history nerd, is really curious to ask you. How can a non academic learn from you or scholars like you, like there is so much of thirst and need in the Yoga world, especially, because that's what I'm representing right now, to learn from scholars directly, you know, so how do we do that? Is that possible?
Dr. Padma Kaimal 15:26:32
Of course, it's possible! Well, I will, I mean, I think lots of my colleagues write in a very accessible way. I certainly have always tried to, to produce scholarship that, that normal human beings could read and understand. And my mother has always been my target audience. She was, she passed away in, in November, but she was a very dedicated museum go goer, she, she wasn't a professional academic, but she read like crazy. And she was a brave traveler and adventurous cook. And she she was, that was my exactly the sort of person that I wanted to talk to. I wanted somebody who was open minded and bright. And not at all, I hadn't read any of the things that I've read for my, you know, for my exams anywhere, and, and so I'm always trying to write for her. And she keeps, she until she dies, she was reading it. So yeah, I like that. I understood that. So that's my, that's my goal. I don't think that these should be, that reading in academic texts should feel like solving a puzzle, it should just jump out at you it should just open itself up and tell you in in normal language, accessible language, "Here are some ideas you can play with." So yeah, I would hope that many of my colleagues would do the same. And even if a book comes up from the University Press, anybody should feel empowered to pick it up and take a look. Does the introduction make sense? Yeah, dive in!
Anjali Rao 15:28:27
Absolutely. And that's why I think that's why I invited you too, because I was reading your book and I really was so drawn into the story. And it was like, it was like a thriller, like a historical mystery thriller with like, lots of, of course, lots of really layers of information, but did not feel inaccessible to me. So and I really appreciated your storytelling approach, because that's what I try to share as well when I when I teach. So I really appreciate your time. And one last thing, what is what are you working on right now? Anything that we can look forward to studying or reading from you?
Dr. Padma Kaimal 15:29:05
Sure, sure. I am just about to begin a year of leave from teaching and diving into my next research project. So this is, I've accumulated, thanks to many generous research grants. I've accumulated several 1000 photographs of temples throughout South India but especially along the Kaveri River. Many of them are quite remote. and many of them are incredibly beautiful, and not widely known. So, I would like to, I'm building a database for all of my images. And then I would like and I'm hiring a GIS specialist to peg that database to a layered map, a digital map, so that you could click on a site and see all of my photographs of that site. And then you could click on many sites and say, I want to see the Shiva of sculptures and all of these different places. And for me, that's going to be a tool to start analyzing, are there topographical patterns? Are there chronological patterns that would help me see the movement of specific artist workshops, for example, or the try to like, define the people we've lost. You know, where are where are human beings in the production of these beautiful objects? The other, and then ultimately, it's going to take at least a year to get there, I would like to put this online to have it public access, so that anybody could, in theory, track down a stolen sculpture from these remote temples and say, well, but Kaimal photographed that there in 1984. So we don't it, it shouldn't have been removed.
Anjali Rao 15:31:18
That sounds really much needed. Yeah.
Dr. Padma Kaimal 15:31:22
If it shows up in the museum, and people have already been doing this kind of work. They've been using books to do it. An object that appeared at the Australian National Museum, somebody pointed out within a book from 1974 by Douglas Barrett called early Chola Architecture Sculpture on a temple in the Kaveri region, and that, the presence of that photograph actually was created the repatriation of the object. So stolen objects, not every object, but stolen objects could be potentially repatriated. Or even better, just this I would love for this this website to be something that discourages further, illegal removals.
Anjali Rao 15:32:13
Oh, that sounds wonderful. Thank you for sharing that and sounds really exciting. Much needed. So, again, I'm so so grateful, Dr. Kaimal, for your time and for your generosity in sharing, and I cannot wait to see what you come up with in the next few, next year.
Dr. Padma Kaimal 15:32:31
Thank you so much. It's been a pleasure talking to you, Anjali.
Anjali Rao 15:32:34
Take good care.
Dr. Padma Kaimal 15:32:35
You too, buh bye.
Anjali Rao 15:32:44
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Transcribed by https://otter.ai