Suganya Anandakichenin (EFEO, Pondichéry)

Introduction to the Vaiṣṇava Literature in Tamil and Maṇipravāḷa

  • Time: Wed 11 May 2016, 13:00-15:00
  • Venue: Institut für Kultur- und Geistesgeschichte Asiens (IKGA)
  • Organisation: Elisa Freschi


The Śrīvaiṣṇava school of theology developed in South India from the second half of the first millennium throughout the second millennium of our era and until today. It is a monotheistic school revering Viṣṇu as the supreme God and it has produced an extended corpus of philosophical, theological and poetical texts. Among the many challenges involved in their study is the fact that it presupposes two cultural horizons, the one of Sanskrit systematic treatises and the one of Tamil devotional poetry, by the poet-saints Āḻvārs. This duality also implies that one needs to master at least two languages, namely Sanskrit and Tamil. On top of that, many commentaries to Tamil devotional poems and independent theological treatises were composed in a further variety of Tamil, a learned and highly Sanskritised form of Tamil called Maṇipravāḷa.


Dr Suganya Anandakichenin studied in the French system. With a Masters in English, she became a “professeur agrégé” teaching English in France. She then did a Masters in Tamil at the INALCO in Paris, and a PhD on Kulacēkara Āḻvār at Hamburg University (2015) under the guidance of Dr. Eva Wilden. She currently works as a postdoctoral fellow for the Netamil project ( in the Pondicherry centre of the École française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO).