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CM Centre, a One-Stop Shop for Scholars

May 17, 2009

While doing fieldwork for the novel over the past couple of months, I’ve relied heavily on the staff and services of the Chella Meenakshi Centre for Educational and Research Services in Madurai. The Centre was inaugurated in January by Dr. Joseph Elder, the indefatigable longtime director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s College Year in India Programme (CYIP). The Centre is directed by Dr. V. A. Vidya and Mr. J. Rajasekaran, both of whom previously coordinated the UW-Madison’s CYIP in Madurai. I first met Vidya and Rajasekaran in 1985, when I was a student on the Wisconsin Programme in Madurai.

For scholars doing research in India, the Centre offers a wide variety of support services and facilities. In addition to logistical support, the Center also provides highly qualified, well-trained field assistants for translation, introduction to local specialists and scholars, facilitation with government formalities and authorities, and access to local libraries, collections and archives. The Centre is well equipped with computer, audio visual and communication equipment.

For me, the Centre has scheduled and translated interviews with commercial sex workers and women who live in a slum. I simply provided CM Centre with a detailed terms of reference describing my needs, and CM Centre arranged everything accordingly. In addition, Dr. Vidya provided very helpful feedback on my questionnaires, and Mr. Rajasekaran advised me on the timing of the Mariyamma festival in Veerapandi.

In summary, CM Centre has maximized the productivity of my time in the field. I recommend the Centre strongly.

The Centre’s email address is

Dr. V. A. Vidya, Dr. Joseph Elder, Mr. J. Rajasekaran at CM Centre, Madurai

Dr. V. A. Vidya, Dr. Joseph Elder, Mr. J. Rajasekaran at CM Centre, Madurai

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Echo permalink
    July 26, 2009 3:27 am

    Hi Brooks,

    Very informative website. I hope that your book rewrite goes well. It is also good to hear of the existence of the CM Center and see a photo of Vidya, Rajasekaran, and Dr Elder all looking so well.


    • Brooks Anderson permalink*
      July 27, 2009 5:29 am

      Hi Echo,

      Thanks for visiting and commenting. We’re we in Madurai together in 1985-86?


  2. Echo permalink
    July 28, 2009 3:16 am

    Hi Brooks,

    Yes I was a fellow Wisconsin-Madison, Tamil Nadu, CYIP student in 85-86 who also came to know and depend on Sekar’s invaluable skills, contacts, and resources to help me complete my field work project, not to mention also benefiting greatly from Vidya’s knowledge and friendship.

    I must admit to being very envious of the fact that you have been living in Tamil Nadu for the past 15 years! Having stumbled across your blog I will probably stay tuned to travel vicariously back to Tamil Nadu via my laptop and await news on the publication date of your novel.


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