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Encyclopedia > Arumuga Navalar

Arumuka Navalar ஆறுமுக நாவலர் the pre eminent Hindu reformer of Sri Lanka was a product of period of intense religious transformation amongst Sri Lankan Tamils. A Hindu (archaic Hindoo), as per modern definition is an adherent of philosophies and scriptures of Hinduism, the predominant religious, philosophical and cultural system of the Indian subcontinent and the island of Bali. ... Sri Lankan Tamils also known as Eelam Tamils, Ceylonese or Ceylon Tamils and Jaffna Tamils are today a trans-national minority, and are Tamil people from Sri Lanka. ...

Arumuka Navalar
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Arumuka Navalar

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Social Conditions

The demise of Jaffna Kingdom that had provided official sanction to Hindu religion was a social disaster to the Sri Lankan Tamil people. Incessant missionary activities by both Catholic and Protestant missionaries had converted a significant minority of the people. In this milieu Arumukan was born. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... see Sri Lankan Tamils ... Protestantism is a general grouping of denominations within Christianity. ...


Early life

He was was born in Nallur, the capital of ancient Jaffna Kingdom, in December 1822, and passed away at the age of 56 on December 5th, 1879. His father Kandhar and mother Sivekamy were deeply religious and devout and Navalar imbibed those qualities. Even as a teenager he mastered Tamil, Sanskrit and English, and made an in-depth study of Tamil grammar, language, literature and religious works. It is on record that at a very young age he completed a drama script begun by his father, who passed away without completing it. Scholars who had gone through this work were full of praise for the originality he showed as a playwright. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Tamil may refer to: Tamil language, one of the Dravidian languages primarily spoken in the South Asia Tamil script, primarily used to write the Tamil language Tamil people The phrase Tamil country is used sometimes to refer to the regions with a significant population of Tamil-speaking people. ... Sanskrit ( संस्कृतम्) is an Indo-European Classical language of India and a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ...


Influence in Literature

Arumuga Navalar was a prolific writer and a 'silver tongued' orator. He was a pioneer in the field of prose-writing. In the 19th century the Tamil prose style was in its infancy. Navalar appeared on the Tamil literacy firmament and brought out prose works which are cherished by Tamil scholars as outstanding achievements. Parithima Kalagnar later described Navalar as 'Vasana Nadai Kaivantha Vallalar' (the best exponent of Tamil prose).


Today the writings and pronouncements of public men have little or nothing to do with their private life. But the life of Arumuga Navalar was in total conformity with everything he said and wrote. He maintained a high moral standard in both private and public life.


In his short life covering 57 years he published around 75 books. They covered his original writings and his commentaries on ancient classics.


Religious Reforms

By his time Hinduism in Sri Lanka had become moribund without state support and most people did not have a clear understanding of the philosophical backround that needed to complement the spiritual aspects of worship. To increase public awareness of the religion, he translated many ancient religious works and published them along with many original titles explaining the finer philosophical aspects of the elite Saiva Siddhanta school of Hinduism. He would travel fom temple to temple to lecture the local congregations regarding the finer points of religion and rituals. Where ever he saw what he considreded to be "incorrect" obsevances or rituals, he would change them. His ability for public speech and his vast knowledge of the subject made him a very popular figure indeed. Hindu temple, Colombo Hindus currently make up approximately 15% of the Sri Lankan population, and are almost all exclusively Tamil-speaking apart from immigrants from North India and Pakistan such as the Sindhis. ... This article needs cleanup. ...


Limitations of his reforms

His reforms were limited with the ‘’upper’’ caste Vellalar. Further his reforms tended to follow the standard Sanskritisation process thus eliminating many native traditions and even deities (such as Kannaki Amman) of the Jaffna Tamils and leading to the eventual social distance between the upper caste Jaffna Tamils and all other Tamils who did not go through this transformation especially in the Eastern Province. He did not champion the rights of ‘’lower’’ caste (akin to Indian Dalits) Jaffna Tamils in an inclusive ideology such as Narayana Guru and other reformers had attempted in South India. Thus the missionaries were able to win even more adherent to their faith from this group. Nevertheless he and others like him stemmed the tide of conversations. Vellalars are a dominant caste of agriculturalists of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Sri Lanka. ... Sanskritisation is 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. ... Kannagi, a mythological Tamil woman, is the central character of the South Indian epic Silapathikaram. ... Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil, Jaffna Jaffna (Tamil யாழ்ப்பாணம், meaning யாழ்=harp, பாணம்=town of harper) the capital city of the Northern Province, Sri Lanka. ... The East Province (French Province de lEst) occupies the southeastern portion of the Republic of Cameroon. ... In South Asias caste system, an untouchable, dalit, or achuta is a person outside of the four castes, and considered below them. ... Narayana Guru Nārāyana Guru (नारायण गुरु,നാരായണ ഗുരു) (1856 - 1928) was a great sage and social reformer of India. ...


External links

  • Pioneer of Tamil Prose & Champion of Hinduism
  • Arumuga Navalar and the Hindu Renaissance Among the Tamils
  • A short bio of Arumuga Navalar by M.K.Eelaventhan MP
  • A picture of Arumuga Navalar
  • Hindu reformer an Indian point of view

 
 

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