Religion, Caste, and Nation in South India: Maraimalai Adigal, the Neo-Saivite Movement, and Tamil Nationalism, 1876-1950

Vaithees, V. Ravi

Published by Oxford University Press
ISBN 10: 0199451818 / ISBN 13: 9780199451814
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Num Pages: 328 pages, 6 b/w illustrations. BIC Classification: 1FKA; 3JH; 3JJ; HBJF; HBLL; HBLW; JPFN. Category: (P) Professional & Vocational; (U) Tertiary Education (US: College). Dimension: 229 x 212 x 31. Weight in Grams: 552. . 2014. 1st Edition. Hardcover. . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory #

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Synopsis: While most scholarship on nationalism have focused on the recent secular foundations of nationalism, this work examines the religious roots of nationalism and specifically the (Neo) Shaivite roots of Tamil nationalism and the Dravidian movement. The book traces the anti-Aryan, anti-Brahmin character of Tamil nationalism and the Dravidian movement to the Tamil Neo-Shaivite movement that emerged against the background of Neo-Vedantic and Vaishnavite revivalist current that accompanied the rise of pan-Indian nationalism. Drawing from a range of influences including European Orientalist and Missionary critiques of the philosophical idealism found in Brahmanism and Neo-Vedantic thought, the Neo-Shaivite articulation of non-Brahmin Tamil nationalism endowed Tamil nationalism with a critical spirit and critical grammar that not only rejected such idealism--but also celebrated the more firmly grounded and sensuous Tamil tradition celebrated in ancient Tamil and Bhakti poetry. The book presents these insights and arguments through a critical exploration of the life and work of Maraimalai Adigal (1876-1950) who not only played a central role in consolidating the intellectual and cultural foundation for non-Brahmin Tamil nationalism but whose life intersected with many of the pioneer figures in the Tamil nationalist and Dravidian movement.

Product Description: The extraordinary power and solidity of regional ethno-nationalist identities such as the Tamil in South Asia continue to defy easy explanations. In this work, Ravi Vaithees, departing sharply from conventional 'secular' accounts, examines the deeper religious roots of Tamil/Dravidian identity formation and its relationship to broader processes of nationality formation in South Asia.

Through a close and innovative reading of the life and career of Maraimalai Adigal (1876-1950), who played a central role in consolidating the intellectual and cultural foundation for non-Brahmin Tamil nationalism and the Dravidian movement, the author presents interesting insights into the history of the neo-Saivite revival.

The neo-Saivite articulation of non-Brahmin Tamil nationalism endowed it with a critical spirit that not only eschewed the philosophical idealism found in Brahmanism and neo-Vedantic thought but also celebrated the more firmly grounded, earthy, and sensuous Tamil tradition reflected in ancient Tamil and Bhakti poetry and Tamil Saiva Siddhanta. This has been brought forth by drawing from a range of influences including colonial and Christian missionary critiques of Brahminism and neo-Vedantic currents.

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Title: Religion, Caste, and Nation in South India: ...
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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