Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Comparative Literature
Field of interest: Tamil Vaishnava (Alvar) poetry, South Indian performance, Women and Goddess traditions in India.
Archana has several projects under-development. One project is
a translation and study of the Tiruviruttam, a 100 verse
poem in Tamil by the great 9th century Indian mystic and poet,
Satakopan-Nammalvar. Nammalvar was a master of a poetic form
known as the antati, where the last word of every verse becomes
the first word of the verse that immediately follows it. Thus the
first word of a poem is also its last. This study and translation
of the Tiruviruttam (A Hundred Measures of Time) is scheduled for
publication in April 2014 from Penguin Classics. Another project
is a collaborative translation project undertaken with
Prof. Francis X.Clooney (Harvard University). Archana and Clooney
are translating Nammalvar’s 1100 verse magnum opus, Tiruvaymoli.
Attesting to its enormous significance, the Tiruvaymoli (lit.
Sacred Speech) has been commented on almost continuously since
the 12th century. Read more about this project and a sample
here. A third project concerns the 19th century
poet-saint, Natana Gopala Nayaki Svamikal (1843-1914), who lived
in the southern Indian city of Madurai. He was a musician,
composer, teacher, philosopher and poet, and is a revered figure
for the Tamil Saurasthra community in Madurai.