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Vol. 2 No. 3 (2020): Volume 2, Issue 3, Year 2020

Jainism and Buddhism in the life of the Tamil Subaltern People

Suresh R
Department of Tamil, Karpagam Academy of Higher Education, Coimbatore-641021, Tamil Nadu, India
Kalathi V
School of Asian Studies, Beijing Foreign Studies University, No.2, North Xisanhuan Avenue, Haidian District, Beijing, China – 100089.

Published 2020-07-02


  • Buddhism,
  • Jainism,
  • Religion,
  • Tamil Subaltern People

How to Cite

R, S., & V, K. (2020). Jainism and Buddhism in the life of the Tamil Subaltern People. International Research Journal of Tamil, 2(3), 194-201.

Plum Analytics


A keen reading on the religious activities in Tamil speaking region down the centuries evidently exposes the two different predominant traditions existed with influence, namely ‘Vaithiga’ and ‘Avaithiga’ (Non-Vaithiga) religious traditions. These two indeed by their institutionalised reorganization largely influenced and initiated considerable changes in the socio-political and cultural life of Tamils. Apart form these institutionalised two, a few forms of the local deity worships were also in practice. However, this paper limits its focus on the institutionalised religions in general and Buddhism and Jainism in particular. It seems that the the Vaithiga religion, right from the beginning, has habitually extended its support and has also been supported by the Kings and Chieftains of power/authority whereas Buddhism and Jainism on the other hand have earned their support largely from the subaltern mass. This paper therefore argues that the success story of Buddhism and Jainism among the subaltern mass has not simply related to any external practices of the religions, but invariably structured within the very ‘humanistic’ ideology of the said religions themselves.


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