India: Dravidian movement in Tamil Nadu or utopian rule

*Tamil was codified in its classical form as early as the 3rd century BC. This language is contemporary with Sanskrit, which has become a dead language unlike Tamil which is the oldest spoken and written language in India. **Even more than just intense commercial exchange, the Chola period marked a phase of Indianization of the political and social structures of Southeast Asia, from the Khmer kingdom of Angkor which briefly adopted Hinduism, to the conquest of the Srivijaya city-state. , in present-day Indonesia, by Rajendra Chola's army.

The assertion of an autonomous Tamil entity in the 20th century is part of a long-term historical trajectory, based on a multi-millennial cultural, social and political ensemble. First of all, in language we must look for the roots of this identity, which developed during the classical period sangam, the starting point of one of the continent's oldest literary traditions, still active more than two thousand years later*.

Tamil society can also look to its glorious past, in order to strengthen its existence as a nation. At the turn of the first millennium CE, the Chola kingdom exercised hegemony over much of South India, participating in the influence of Tamil culture on the subcontinent and beyond. This mythologized golden age was the time of great kings who built temples (especially Rajaraja I and his complex at Thanjavur), which were rich in art and religion (Shiva bronzes, Bharatanatyam dance). Lastly, it was an oceanic empire that launched maritime expeditions to Southeast Asia. The Bay of Bengal then resembled a “Chola lake” where the sails of Tamil navigators returning from distant trade – Angkor, Pagan, Cathay – broke, laden with incense, ivory, spices and textiles, making a port on the Coromandel coast and a port. the entire Chola kingdom** prospered.

Serena Hoyles

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