Publications [#335007] of Sumathi Ramaswamy

Journal Articles

  1. Ramaswamy, S, Giving becomes him: The posthumous fortune(s) of pachaiyappa mudaliar, Modern Asian Studies, vol. 52 no. 1 (January, 2018), pp. 35-61, Cambridge University Press (CUP)
    (last updated on 2022/01/28)

    This article explores the ways in which Pachaiyappa Mudaliar (1754?-1794) has been panegyrized as the quintessential benefactor of our times in Tamil prose, poetry, and pictures over the course of the past century and a half. In the bureaucratic and legal documents of the colonial state, he appears as a rapacious moneylender and behind-The-scenes wheeler-dealer, amember of that hated class of 'Madras dubashes', a 'most diabolical race of men'. In contrast, Tamil memory work since at least the 1840s has differently recalled this shadowy eighteenthcentury man as a selfless philanthropist whose vast wealth financed some of the earliest educational institutions in the Madras Presidency. I track the posthumous fate of Pachaiyappa's bequest to argue that even as the founding of the public trust and its educational philanthropy departed radically from his willed intentions, a new complex of living, dying, and giving for the sake of native education was put in place in the Tamil country in the age of colonial capital and pedagogic modernity.