Impact of Sanskritization on The Folk Rituals in Ancient Tamil Nadu

Keywords: Sanskritization, Anthropological, Assimilation, Aryanization, Subalterns, Folk deities


Sanskritization is a particular form of social change found in India. It denotes the process by which castes placed lower in the caste hierarchy seek upward mobility by emulating the rituals and practices of the upper or dominant castes. It is a process similar to passing in anthropological terms. This term was made popular by Indian sociologist M. N. Srinivas in the 1950s.The cultural elements of the Aryans slowly penetrated into the society of Dravidians. This cultural assimilation and integration were known as Aryanization or Sanskritization. It had a strong impact on Tamil Language, Tamil Religion and radical changes in the society. Tamil people worshipped food grain, since it is their source of living. They wereall deified in different forms such as foodgrains, human and metalimages. In ancient Tamilagam, the Kalabhras adopted Anti- Brahmanical attitude and suppressed the domination of Sanskrit. During the Pallava period, the earlier folk-worship disappeared and the new form of Brahmanical worship gradually started. Throughout the history of Tamil Nādu Sanskritic Hinduism had absorbed local and folk elements. The patronisation of the rulers of Pallavas, Cholas, and Pandyas and the construction of grand structural temples made the Sanskritization of worship to be very strong. It was not helped to the subalterns to move up in the social hierarchy. Further it degraded the position of subalterns. Hence, itreceives various types of opposition in later period. But the Hindu revivalism was possible in ancient Tamil Nadu during the period of Pallavas and Imperial Cholas because of adapting Sanskritization form of worship.

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