From the University of California’s eScholarship Editions (have I really not posted about that amazing collection of online books, many of them freely accessible to all comers?), this looks extremely interesting: Passions of the Tongue: Language Devotion in Tamil India, 1891–1970, by Sumathi Ramaswamy. From Chapter 2:
The putative unity suggested by the name “Tamil” notwithstanding, there is no monolithic presence which reigns in the regimes of Tamil devotion that so assiduously transform the language over time into an object of adulation, reverence, and allegiance. Instead, it is imagined in different ways in different contexts by different devotees. In four such regimes of imagination—the “religious,” the “classicist,” the “Indianist,” and the “Dravidianist”—Tamil is variously conceived as a divine tongue, favored by the gods themselves; as a classical language, the harbinger of “civilization” as a mother tongue that enables participation in the Indian nation; and as a mother/tongue that is the essence of a nation of Tamil speakers in and of themselves. Tamiḻppaṟṟu is thus not a static monolith, but evolves and shifts over time, entangled as it is in local, national, and global networks of notions and practices about language, culture, and community.
What follows in this chapter, then, is a discursive history of Tamil from the 1890s to the 1960s. By “discursive history” I mean the history of the discourses that gathered around Tamil as it became the focus of talk and practice…
(Via the indispensable wood s lot.)