Updated: July 9, 2021 10:36:06 am
Dr T Jaisakthivel, assistant professor of the Department of Journalism and Communication, University of Madras, has started a podcast to promote Tamil literature among students. Jaisakthivel says he came up with the idea after realising his students have limited knowledge about Tamil literature. He said his podcast aims to introduce his students to noted authors and their short stories.
In his podcast, called Tamil Sirukathaigal, Jaisakthivel gives listeners a brief introduction of the author before reading the short story. A soothing background score along with his narration helps draw listeners’ attention. Each episode is anywhere between 15 and 35 minutes.
Jaisakthivel, who was previously a journalist, says he started Tamil Sirukathaigal as a way to teach his students a Radio Production course. “Our Radio Production classes used to be interactive, but after the pandemic struck, I had to come up with a way to keep students engaged. I asked them to start their own podcasts, and to help them, I decided to do my own.”
Jaisakthivel said he realised the younger generations have little patience to read books or understand concepts in stories. “Whenever I speak about a story or ask them to read a book, they ask me whether a PDF copy is available. They read only a couple of pages and forget about it. Through podcasts, they can listen to complete stories while doing other work,” Jaisakthivel said.
He hopes his podcast will revive the habit of reading Tamil short stories, or even lead to the emergence of young writers. In fact, his podcast is already popular, and a local FM station run by Srilankan Tamils in Montreal, Canada, has asked if they could rebroadcast his short stories.
“The attention I have received has motivated me to document as many as 175 authors till now. If anyone wants to learn about the Tamil literary scene, particularly short stories written over the last 100 years, I can confidently say they can visit my podcast,” he said.
Further, the batch of 22 students studying Journalism and Communications will compile their podcasts into an audiobook for the visually challenged. This will be donated to the Anna Centenary Library.
Jaisakthivel says learning how to create podcasts can open up other avenues for students. “Podcasts are not like voice notes. Your narration should sound professional; you need to know what background sounds to use; how to culture one’s voice; and how to use certain expressions to justify the work of the author,” he explained, adding, “They don’t need big studios or facilities, a mobile phone is enough for them to run their channel.”
The professor also said there are copyright issues, due to which he and his students need to ensure they receive permissions before putting out their podcasts.
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