Chennai-based historian and heritage activist V Sriram introduced us to Andal, the 7th-century Tamil poet-saint and only woman among the 12 Alwars revered in Vaishnavite tradition. Andal’s life and poetry were shaped by a fierce, stormy and passionate love for Vishnu in his incarnation as Lord Perumal. Witty, charming and erudite, Sriram made a thoroughly engaging speaker.
Sriram Venkatakrishnan is an entrepreneur, columnist, historian and heritage activist. He pioneered the concept of heritage walks in Chennai, when he led a local tour of Mylapore in 1999. Since then, his monthly heritage tours in the city and quarterly tours in other parts of India have attracted a wide audience. Sriram is a columnist with The Hindu and Associate Editor of Madras Musings, a popular newsmagazine on the city’s heritage and environmental. He is also a secretary of the Music Academy, Madras.