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AntaragaṠṠamma


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This epic of Dravidian (see Dravidians) India is of the type that is told in homes rather than at religious festivals. It concerns the whole question of caste. In the story a brahman (see Brahmans) girl is left in the wilderness by her parents because she menstruates before she has been promised in marriage. A man finds her and adopts her until a member of the “Untouchable” caste, who has seen her and fallen in love with her disguises himself as a brahman and succeeds in winning her hand. The couple has two children, who eventually discover their father doing the work of the Untouchables and tell their mother. Realizing that she has been deceived into marrying improperly and that she is, therefore, corrupted, the brahman wife becomes so enraged that she turns into a Māri—a Kālī—like goddess (see Kālī) called Antaragattama (she of the lolling tongue)—hungry for revenge. The many victims of her anger include her two sons and her husband, whose blood she drinks.

Subjects: Religion.


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