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  • Giving to the Poor: Ramalinga’s Transformation of Hindu Charity

    Richard S. Weiss

    Chapter from the book: Weiss, R. 2019. The Emergence of Modern Hinduism: Religion on the Margins of Colonialism.


    Chapter 2 analyzes Ramalinga’s ideology of the ritual giving of food to the hungry poor. His novel ideology of giving marked a radical departure from established South Indian Shaiva ritual processes, which excluded poor, lower-caste participants. A recent study traces his project of food charity to Christian influence. This chapter takes a different position, demonstrating that Ramalinga drew primarily from prior Shaiva traditions, especially tantra and siddha, and also from institutions that emerged out of complex interactions between Western and Indian sources. More broadly, the chapter demonstrates the importance of traditional Shaiva precedents and ideas in shaping this modern practice.

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    Weiss, R. 2019. Giving to the Poor: Ramalinga’s Transformation of Hindu Charity. In: Weiss, R, The Emergence of Modern Hinduism. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.75.b

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    Published on Aug. 6, 2019