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Dakshinachitra: A labour of love

Deborah Thiagarajan first visited the villages of Tamil Nadu and Kerala in 1970 as an anthropologist. She fell in love with them in no time. Every day, for three years, she was in some village of Tamil Nadu or another, as part of a project for the Tamil Nadu Nutrition Board. "It was then that I experienced the overwhelming sense of generosity of the people living in villages. If you want to know and understand the real India, that's where you have to go."

She fell in love with not just the villages, but Indian culture and craft too. The reason: Marriage to Thiagarajan, a Chettiar. “Chettiars are a semi-immigrant community because they did their business primarily in South East Asia. When they came back to India, they used all the skills they had gathered to build some wonderful houses in the Karaikudi region.

"I also visited the weaving regions in Tamil Nadu, and was attracted to their traditional houses and skills."

Image: Deborah Thiagarajan

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