Skip to main content Accessibility help

Revolution and Rank in Tamil Nationalism

  • Pamela Price


From the 1920s to the late 1960s, Tamil nationalism in India was characterized by elements of radical innovation which made the Dravidian movement a mobilization for cultural revolution, in Tamil terms, as well as for the defense of Tamil interests vis-à-vis the central government. In the last twenty years concern for the ordinary person has manifested itself in extravagant displays of state largess and the encouragement of personality cults directed toward Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu. I delineate below major ideological themes of the nationalist cultural revolution and argue that these ideological elements, while representing change in Tamil political culture, were in many ways deeply anchored in prerevolutionary political concerns supported by institutions and symbolic systems with precolonial antecedents. I link these ideological elements to the dissolution of radicalism in Tamil nationalism and to the emergence of a style of governance which has undermined standards of public administration.



Hide All
Abu-Lughod, Lila. 1986. Veiled Sentiments: Honor and Poetry in a Bedouin Society. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Appadurai, Arjun. 1981. Worship and Conflict under Colonial Rule. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Appadurai, Arjun. 1978. “King, Sects and Temples in South India, 1250–1700.” South Indian Temples: An Analytic Reconsideration, edited by Stein, Burton. New Delhi: Vikas Publishing House.
Appadurai, Arjun. and Breckenridge, Carol A.. 1976. “The South Indian Temple: Authority, Honour and Redistribution.Contributions to Indian Sociology (N.S.) 10.2:187209.
Bayly, Susan. 1989. Saints, Goddesses and Kings: Muslims and Christians in South Indian Society, 1700–1900. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Barnett, Marguerite Ross. 1976. The Politics of Cultural Nationalism in South India. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Blomkvist, Hans. 1988. “The Soft State: Housing Reform and State Capacity in Urban India.” Ph.D. diss., Uppsala University.
Breckenridge, Carol A. 1976. “The Srī Minaksi Sundarēsvarar Temple: Worship and Endowments in South India, 1833–1925.” Ph.D. diss., University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Dirks, Nicholas. 1982. “The Pasts of a Pālaiyakārar: The Ethnohistory of a South Indian Little King.The Journal of Asian Studies 41.4:655–83
Dirks, Nicholas. 1987. The Hollow Crown: Ethnohistory of an Indian Kingdom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Frankel, Francine R., and Rao, M. S. A., eds. 1989 and 1990. Dominance and State Power in Modern India: Decline of a Social Order. Vols. 1 and 2. Delhi: Oxford University Press.
Geetha, V., and Rajadurai, S. V.. Forthcoming. Untitled. In Social Change and Political Discourse in India Since Independence, edited by Sathyamurthy, T. V.. Vol. 3, Religion, Caste and Gender in Contemporary India. Delhi: Oxford University Press.
Hansen, Thomas Blom. 1994. “Recuperating Masculinity: Hindunationalism, Violence and the Exorcision of the Muslim ‘Other’.”Paper presented at the conference “Comparative Approaches to National Identity in Asia,” Copenhagen. Elaborated in “The Saffron Wave: Hindunationalism in the 1980's: A Case Study of Maharashtra.” Ph.D. diss., Roskilde University, Denmark, forthcoming.
Hardgrave, Robert L. 1969. The Nadars of Tamilnad: The Political Culture of a Community in Change. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Harriss, John. 1982. Capitalism and Peasant Farming: Agrarian Structure and Ideology in Northern Tamil Nadu. Bombay: Oxford University Press.
Hart, George. 1975. The Poems of Ancient Tamil: Their Milieu and the Sanskrit Counterparts. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Heidemann, Frank. 1991. “Respekt als Ausdruck sozialer Bezeihungen bei den Badagas in Südindien.” Beiträge zur Ethnologie Mittel-und Süd-Indiens, edited by Laubscher, Matthias S.. Munich: Anacon.
Hellman, Eva. 1993. “Political Hinduism: The Challenge of the Viśva Hindū Pari⊡ad.” Ph.D. diss., University of Uppsala.
Hiltebeitel, Alf. 1988. The Cult of Draupadi. Vol. 1. Mythologies: From Gengee to Kuruksetra. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Hiltebeitel, Alf. 1991. The Cult of Draupadi. Vol. 2. On Hindu Ritual and the Goddess. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Irschick, Eugene. 1969. Politics and Social Conflict in South India: The Non-Brahmin Movement and Tamil Separatism, 1916–1929. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Kohli, Atul. 1990. Democracy and Discontent: India's Growing Crisis of Governability. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Madras Institute of Development Studies (MIDS). 1988. Tamilnadu Economy: Performance and Issues. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
Mosse, C. D. F. 1986. “Caste, Christianity and Hinduism: A Study of Social Organization and Religion in Rural Ramnad.” Ph.D. diss., University of Oxford.
Nandy, Ashis. 1991. “Hindutva—I: Secularism's Disowned Double.Indian Express, January 31.
Narayana, Rao, Velcheru, , Shulman, David and Subramanyam, Sanjay. 1992. Symbols of Substance: Court and State Nāyaka Period Tamil Nadu. Delhi: Oxford University Press.
Pandey, Gyanendra. 1978. The Ascendancy of the Congress in Uttar Pradesh, 1926–34: A Study in Imperfect Mobilization. Delhi: Oxford University Press.
Pandian, M. S. S. 1992. The Image Trap: M. G. Ramachandran in Film and Politics. New Delhi: Sage Publications.
Swami, Praveen. 1995. “Back with a Blast: Terrorists Kill Beant Singh.Frontline, 22 September, 413.
Price, Pamela G. 1979. “Resources and Rule in Zamindari South India: Ramnad and Sivagangai as Kingdoms under the Raj, 1802–1903.” Ph.D. diss., University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Price, Pamela G. 1989. “Kingly Models in Indian Political Behavior: Culture as a Medium of History.Asian Survey 29.6:559–72.
Price, Pamela G. 1990. “The State and Representations of Femaleness in Late Medieval South India.Historisk tidsskrift (Oslo), no. 4:589–97.
Price, Pamela G. 1991. “Acting in Public versus Forming a Public: Conflict Processing and Political Mobilization in Nineteenth Century South India.South Asia, New Series 19.1:91121.
Price, Pamela G. 1993. “Democracy and Ethnic Conflict in India: Precolonial Legacies in Tamil Nadu.Asian Survey 33.5:493506.
Price, Pamela G. 1994. “Honor, Disgrace and the Formal Depolitization of Women in South India: Changing Structures of the State under British Colonial Rule.Gender and History 6.2:246–64.
Price, Pamela G. 1996. Kingship and Political Practice in Colonial India. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Ramaswamy, Sumathi. 1993. “Engendering Language: The Poetics of Tamil Identity.Comparative Studies in Society and History 35.4:683725.
Ramaswamy, Sumathi. Forthcoming. “Battling the Demoness Hindi: The Culture of Language Protest in Tamilnadu, 1938–1965.” Culture as Contested Site: Popular Participation and the State in the Indian Subcontinent, edited by Freitag, Sandria B.
Rudolph, Lloyd I. 1961. “Urban Life and Populist Radicalism: Dravidian Politics in Madras.Journal of Asian Studies 20:283–97.
Rudolph, Lloyd I. and Rudolph, Susanne. 1987. In Pursuit of Lakshmi: The Political Economy of the Indian State. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Rudolph, Susanne. 1987. “Presidential Address: State Formation in Asia— Prolegomenon to a Comparative Study.The Journal of Asian Studies 46.4:731–46.
Sarkar, T. 1991. “The Woman as Communal Subject: Rashtrasevika Samiti and Ram Janmabhoomi Movement.Economic and Political Weekly 26.35:2057–62. Quoted in Hellman, “Political Hinduism: The Challenge of the Visva Hindu Parisad.”
Schalk, Peter. 1992. “The Concept of Martyrdom and Resistance of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).Background Material Including Papers: First Nordic Conference for South Asian Studies Organised by NASA. Vol. 2.
Schalk, Peter. 1994. “Women Fighters of the Liberation Tigers in Tamil Īlam: The Martial Feminism of Atēl Pālacinkam.South Asia Research 14.2:163–83.
Schalk, Peter. Forthcoming. “‘Birds of Independence’: On the Participation of Women in Armed Struggle for the Fortifying of Tamililam.” To appear as part of his book Tiyākam: The Concept of Martyrdom of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
Stein, Burton. 1977. “The Segmentary State in South Indian History.” Realm and Region in Traditional India, edited by Fox, R. G.. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1977.
Lexicon, Tamil. 1982. Madras: University of Madras.
Wadley, Susan, ed. 1980. The Powers of Tamil Women. Syracuse University: Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.
Washbrook, David. 1976. Emergence of Provincial Politics: Madras Presidency, 1870–1920. Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press.
Washbrook, David. 1989. “Caste, Class, and Dominance in Modern Tamil Nadu: Non-Brahminism, Dravidianism and Tamil Nationalsim.” In Dominance and State Power in Modern India: Decline of a Social Order, edited by Frankel, Francine R. and Rao, M. S. A.. Vol. 1. Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Related content

Powered by UNSILO

Revolution and Rank in Tamil Nationalism

  • Pamela Price


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.