ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Vijaya RamaswamySubscribe to Vijaya Ramaswamy

Situating Women in Tamil Mahabharatas

Epics and oral narratives have long been a part of the cultural ethos of the Indian subcontinent. Given the long years of their existence and expression in oral, performance and written traditions, several characters which might be part of one narrative may not be part of another. A critical examination of Tamil Mahabharatas reveals the existence of several women characters, whose stories can be read simultaneously as resisting as well as conforming to the dominant patriarchal order. This reveals the ambiguous attitudes towards non-conforming women, and how even the dissemination of their narratives are seen as a threat to the dominant patriarchal social order.


Rediscovering Tamil Jaina Identity

Reading History with the Tamil Jainas: A Study on Identity, Memory and Marginalisation by R Umamaheshwari, New Delhi: Springer, 2017; pp xxx + 326, price not indicated.


Gandhi's Satyagraha in South Africa and the Tamils

Gandhi's newspaper, the Indian Opinion, was launched in South Africa in three languages - Gujarati, Tamil and English - in 1903 on the eve of the satyagraha struggle. Tamils constituted the largest percentage of the Indian diaspora among the indentured labour as well as the "Passenger Indians" who came in search of better opportunities. This essay situates the Tamils in South Africa and their response to Gandhi's call for satyagraha by examining the available issues of the Tamil edition between 1903 and 1914.

Tragic Widows or Cunning Witches? Reflections on Representations of Women in Tamil Myths and Legends

This article looks at some of the broad paradigms within which women-oriented Tamil myths and legends have operated. Besides presenting contrasting images that cut through the frozen iconisation of women encountered in classical or so- called "high tradition" texts, the article also focuses on the transformational qualities of folk legends as they move between texts and contexts.

History from Below

rather than with any character or aspect History from Below of the Mahabharata, as Uma would have Everyday Lives, Everyday Histories: Beyond the Kings and Brahmanas of

Voices on Untouchability

This was certainly the situation in the Voices on Untouchability Sangam age when the great woman bard Untouchable Saints: An Indian Phenomenon edited by Eleanor Zelliot and Rohini Mokashi-Punekar; Manohar, New Delhi, 2005;

From 'Amazonian' Warrior to Submissive Wife

The story of Alli figures in the Tamil version of the Mahabharatha. She is described as a type of "Amazonian" beauty, a vehement hater of men, who ruled over the Pandyan kingdom. However, in the zigzag movement, the Alli legend takes on through space and time, the heroine Alli as well as the Alli myth get tamed and subsumed into the patriarchal register. The Alli story is analysed against the background of early Tamil society. The metamorphosis of Alli into the submissive wife of Arjuna is looked at in tandem with the process of brahmanisation and sanskritisation in the Tamil region.

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