Rituals and Authority. Power Made Visible [Kongu Nadu]


French Institute of Pondicherry / Pondicherry University[i]

 Working Paper 2              [February 2018]


Rituals are a part of every society. Though one may argue that there are societies without religion, one cannot deny the presence of rituals in any given society. Rituals being all pervasive, there are classifications of rituals serving multitude purposes, often overlapping across the classification. As a result, many attempts have been made in overcoming this overlap in classifying rituals. This paper focuses on political rituals arguing in accordance to the literature that, the most important contribution of political rituals is to bring to light the unchallenged power of sacred legitimacy. It implies that political authority and sacred legitimacy cannot be equated as complimenting each other. In the performance of political rituals, sacred legitimacy elevates the political authority of kingship but the vice versa is irrelevant as the sacred is legitimate.

Keywords: Kingship, Legacy, Rituals, Authority, Agrarian

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[1] This paper is the outcome of the Doctoral thesis “An ethnohistorical study of the Chieftains among the Kongu Vellala community in South India”, funded by French Institute of Pondicherry and partly supported by DATAH Project.