“She encircles the resounding world”
Flourishing as she has from remote antiquity, Tamiḻttāy is also sovereign of the world, and of all the peoples who live in it, and of all the languages they speak. For had she not preceded all of them, and indeed, was she not responsible for their creation? So, the eight cardinal directions echo to the sound of her victorious drums and the songs of her fame (Velayutam Pillai 1971: 78-80). In picture posters produced by organizations like Kampaṉ Kaḻakam in Karaikkudi (henceforth Kamban Kazhagam) and by notables in Annamalainagar, as well as on the covers of magazines like Tamiḻ Vaṭṭam (1967), Tamiḻttāy thus appears seated on a globe, her “throne” (figs. 1-3). From early in the century, tamiḻppaṟṟu had claimed that since Tamiḻttāy had formerly ruled the world, there was little doubt that she would reign supreme, once again, in the future. For her devotees seeking to mobilize their fellow speakers around the cause of Tamiḻttāy, such an imagining of Tamil as an ecumenical language of the world served to keep alive the aura of its ancient sovereignty in an age of disenchantment and decline.