Penang and the Indian Ocean Lecture: “For the Benefit of the Dravidas of this Island”: Penang Muslims and Tamil Vernacular Publics across the Bay of Bengal, 1880-1914 (English)

Penang and the Indian Ocean Lecture: “For the Promotion of Tamil on this Island”: Penang Muslims and Tamil Vernacular Publics across the Bay of Bengal, 1880-1914 by Torsten Tschacher

This Penang Story lecture on the early 20th century Tamil press in Penang was conducted in two languages: English and Tamiltorsten

Lecture Booklet (pdf)

The dates and venues were as follows:

English Lecture:
Date and Time:              24 August 2013 (Saturday), 8pm – 10pm
Venue:                            Level 5, Wawasan Open University, Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah
Tamil Lecture
Date and Time:               23 August 2013 (Friday), 8pm-10pm
Venue:                             Dewan Makam Noordin, Kapitan Keling Mosque (IMCOM)



The final decades of the nineteenth century witnessed a substantial expansion of vernacular publishing and literary production in Penang and elsewhere in the Straits Settlements. Tamil publishing was no exception to this: Tamil printing presses not only published poetry composed by Penang-based authors, they also issued the first Tamil newspapers on the island, widening the scope of public participation for Indians in the Straits Settlements.

But Penang-based publishing remained no isolated enterprise confined to a corner of the Indian Ocean. Both the producers and consumers of Tamil newspapers in Penang engaged with the wider networks of Tamil publishing in India, Ceylon, and other parts of SoutheastAsia through correspondence and news-coverage.A substantial number of the early authors, editors, printers, and readers in Penang’s Tamil media revolution were Muslims, a fact that shaped the contents of the Tamil presses’ output as much as it impacted the wider networks of information the Penang Tamil press participated in. This lecture will outline the rise of Tamil publishing in Penang and aims to demonstrate the important role played by Tamil publishing in Penang and the Straits Settlements in shaping Muslim concerns and publics across the Bay of Bengal.

About the speaker

Torsten Tschacher is a Lecturer for Tamil Language and Culture at the Centre for Modern Indian Studies, University of Göttingen, Germany. He holds degrees from the National University of Singapore and the University of Cologne, Germany. His research focuses on the history, literature and society of Tamil-speaking Muslim communities and their ties with Southeast Asia. He is currently engaged in completing a manuscript on the engagements of Tamil Muslims with the public sphere in colonial Singapore.

Programme as follows

7.45pm:           Registration

8.00pm:           Introduction by Moderator

8.15pm:           Public Lecture

9.30pm:           Q & A

Pg Muslim and TAmil Vernacular web invite prf510.00pm:         End