South Asian Studies Lecture Series: Suganya Anandakichenin


Monday, April 12, 2021, 8:30am

The Provocative Poet: Tirumaḻicai Āḻvār and his cheeky voice
Suganya Anandakichenin, University of Hamburg

Tirumaḻicai Āḻvār (ca. 7th CE), one of the early Āḻvārs, was radically different from his older contemporaries, as well as most of his successors: he did not mince his words, whether to berate the followers of other faiths; to categorically state his values; or to question God, even as he swears undying loyalty to Him. Attributed (but contested) with two poetic compositions, namely, the Tiruccantaviruttam and the Nāṉmukaṉ Tiruvantāti, the poet is a product of many streams (Tamil classical poetry, Sanskrit epics and Purāṇas, Āgamas, inter alia), but he is more than the sum of these influences. This lecture will focus on Tirumaḻicai the poet and his peculiar voice, which has survived the ravages of time, resonating in the thoughts, writings, and rituals of the Śrīvaiṣṇavas to the present.

This lecture is open to all interested members of the Harvard community.