Mr. Finnian Moore Gerety

Grant Category: Fulbright-Nehru Student Research Program
Field of Specialization: Literature and Language
Name: Mr. Finnian Moore Gerety      
Official Address: Harvard University,
Graduate School of Arts and
Sciences Massachusetts
Indian Host Institution: Sree Sankaracharya University
of Sanskrit, Ernakulam, Kerala
Duration of Grant &
Start Date :
Duration: 9 months
October 2011

Brief Bio:
Mr. Finnian Moore Gerety is a Doctoral Candidate, Researcher, and Presidential Fellow in the department of sanskrit at Harvard University. His dissertation research focuses on the performance, texts and history of Samaveda in South India, especially among the Nambudiri Brahmins of Kerala. As a lifelong musician, he is especially interested in the place of ancient Samaveda traditions within the vibrant fabric of South Indian art and culture. As a teaching fellow at Harvard College, he has taught Elementary and Intermediate Sanskrit, Ancient Greek Literature, and Hinduism; he has received two citations for Distinction in Teaching from the Derek Bok Center. He received his B.A. magna cum laude in Classics & Sanskrit from Harvard College. In between the completion of his college degree and return to graduate school, he was a professional rock n roll musician, releasing several albums and touring the United States, Canada, and Japan.
Mr. Gerety's Fulbright-Nehru research titled "Soma Songs: Nambudiri Samaveda," will study the transmission, ritual performance, and history of Samaveda in South India. The study focuses on the role of the udgatar "lead singer" of Vedic ritual. The basic structure will be two fold: 1) a description of the udgatar's role in Ancient India based on classical sources; and 2) an investigation into how this ancient model has survived and been transformed in modern India. The primary research subjects will be Nambudiri Brahmins and their families in Panjal, Kerala, where Samaveda is still transmitted and practiced in both domestic and solemn rituals. The flagship ritual performance among the Nambudiris is the Soma Sacrifice; the timetable for the project has been designed to coincide with the preparations for and performance of a Soma Sacrifice in the Thirssur district in spring 2012. Through his research Mr. Gerety hopes to shed new light on the archaic background of Samveda as well as its modern manifestations.