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An Anti-British Vision of the Bhagavad Gita in Tamil Verse


· Gita Pai University of Wisconsin, La Crosse (La Crosse, WI, United States of America)


07/26 | 17:30-17:50 UTC+2/CEST


C. Subramania Bharati (1882-1921) was a modern Tamil writer, fiery Indian nationalist, and passionate social reformer. Through the power of his ideals, Bharati envisioned independence for India dominated by colonial British rule. In his poetic imagination, the liberation of Indians would free them not only from foreign imperial control, but also from the country’s oppressive social customs. The charged political atmosphere in British-controlled Madras in south India after the controversial 1905 partition of Bengal provided the circumstances that compelled Bharati—a vociferous critic of government policies in India—to rely on Hindu religious texts to covertly hide his anti-colonial messages from prying British eyes. This paper explores how Bharati invoked the ancient past to articulate a modern possibility for a country in the throes of British sovereignty.