Hinduism and Colonialism

N. Ganesan naga_ganesan at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri Aug 18 11:45:01 EDT 2000


>That most of the bhakti poets rejected varNAzrama distinctions is just a
>symptom of this. But if one thinks that this rejection was somehow
>egalitarian or socialistic or democratic or any other modern
>category of Western origin, one is very much mistaken.

In another mail:
>As for democracy or socialism being of Western origin, aren't
>they? I don't claim that the Western origin is something negative.
>Just that these concepts would not be applicable to pre-19th c.
>India.

Tamil data do not agree with this. Not only some forms of
democracy and ballot casting were prevalent (uttaramErUr, etc.,).
Many CT poems are highly egalitarian, and the authors - both
men and women, were drawn from all castes. Valluvar in his kuRaL
declares, "in birth, all are equal". Prof. T.P.M. wrote a
book on CilappatikAram with the title, "kuTimakkaL kAppiyam"
('kAvya of the people'). Early Tamil bhakti poetry, at the
fountainhead of a mass cult that swept all across India,
was egalitarian in intent. It too drew inspiration and poets
from all the castes. After some centuries, Ramanujar made a
bold attempt to mitigate the caste effects through democratization.

Regards,
N. Ganesan



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