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Passions of the TongueLanguage Devotion in Tamil India, 1891-1970$
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Sumathi Ramaswamy

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780520208049

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520208049.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 17 October 2019

One Language, Many Imaginings

One Language, Many Imaginings

(p.22) Chapter Two One Language, Many Imaginings
Passions of the Tongue

Sumathi Ramaswamy

University of California Press

This narrative of the golden past of Tamil, its degenerate present, and its utopian reign in the future provides the driving imperative for Tamil devotional practice, which draws its strength from the desire to restore Tamil and Tamilttāy's lost honor and pride. This imperative manifests itself in the repeated plea that Tamil speakers should wake up from their centuries of “sleep” and, filled with a new consciousness, bring about the “improvement” of Tamil. This chapter examines multiple and often countervailing conceptions that prevailed about the language among its devotees.

Keywords:   Tamil, language, Tamilttāy, devotional practice

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