“Who first came up with theory that Tamil Murugan is different from Skanda-Kartikeya-Subrahmanya?”

April 15, 2023

Sri Badri Seshadri asked that question on Twitter a while ago (24th July 2022), and I responded (25th July, 2022) with some notes/takes.

This post captures it for (pre)posterity, for whatever it is worth, with some minor edits.


Great question & suggestion. However, the whole political / separatist schism of ‘Tamil’ Murukan Vs ‘Northie’ Subrahmanya/Kartikeya/Skanda evolved over a period of time…

Mayon Vs Vishnu merely rode piggy-back on the schism & there is no significant ‘erasure industry’ around that, AFAIK.


IMHO & AFAIK, one name immediately floats up.

Tiruvarur Vrittachalam Kalyanasundararn (ThiruViKa) had written a fine/ornate plea of a book ‘Murukan allathu Azhagu’ (ca 1925-30, முருகன் அல்லது அழகு) – Murukan or Beauty – urging Tamils to turn towards Murukan or his idea of Saiva Siddhanta.

It would be a significant starting point for the political/separatist schism of ‘Tamil’ Murukan Vs ‘Northie’ Subrahmanya/Kartikeya/Skanda – as it provides a veritable arsenal of bhakti/tamil-primacy/nature related arguments.

He did not actively bat for the schism though – or at least he doesn’t come across as one.

But he has been very influential.

The ‘ground’ was also ripe for the politicization & parochialization of the pan-Bharat Ishvara, Sri Murukan – given the Dravidian appeal to violent+raw emotions (+hate mongering) rather than reason or self-effacing Bhakti.

However, there are a few overlapping ~chronological reasons/sequence for this ‘manufactured’ schism:

A. Skanda purana (ca 8th Century CE) & its Tamilized / ‘enhanced’ version Kandapuranam (14-17 Century CE vintage approximately) & establishment of Topocosms (as in arupadaiveedu, say)

B. ‘Sangam’ literature+ Tolkappiam references (both systematically happened & appear to have gotten into a final shape only after ca 7-8th Century CE) – even at this time Murukan & Subrahmanya were one and the same, with the same dharmic founts & puranas referenced by Ettuthogai corpus & much ancient Bharatiya Epics.

C. 17th Century CE Bhakti works based on genuine & good intentioned love for Tamil/Murukan & the later Regional Romanticism. The idea of Tamilakam as Murukan’s domain (though thousands of Skanda murtis exist in other parts of Bharat) took some shape in these contexts.

D. Seeds of Dravidian separatism & Tamil exceptionalism sown by Missionaries & used by their local collaborators segueing into…

E. Justice party, Non-brahmin movement + their negative & amoral ‘local Gods’ identity-politics.

F. 20th Century ‘Sangam Age’ dating racket, misinterpretations regarding Tolkappiam framework, Kurinchi myths + appropriation.

G. DMK’s fanning of the ‘Tamil God’ parochialism & hate-mongering; 1970s; our rabid DMK leader M Karnunanidhi even thundered that, “Murukan is the God of DMK.”

H. DMK/DK Dravidian Model inspired scumbag lumpen ‘karuppar koottam’ kinda separatist noises / sabre-rattling, scouting or trial-balloon attempts…

The above is just a ToC or a ‘place holder post’ if you will, and a detailed post with references, if needed could be scribed; however, this will suffice for now.

Summary & Conclusions:

Murugan-Kartikeya Subrahmanya is NOT a Tamil-only Ishwara. He was/is a part of a pan-bharatiya personification or valorization & a product of the Dharmic processes that have been happening since prehistoric times.

Murugan’s identity was NOT taken over by Subrahmanya. Therefore there is no question of some conspiratorial, ulterior machination that got involved, at all. There was neither merger nor takeover, and definitely it was not at all like some ‘minor god or a demigod got sanskritized’ kind of nonsense.

Perhaps a holographic idea of dharmicness would explain how the same Isvara is revered in different ways & means across the sacred geography of Bharat, where the whole is reflected & is simultaneously contained in parts. All, part of the eternal dharmic flow called Bharatiyata.

On the contrary, a ‘separate idea of Tamil Murugan’ is merely a politicized & propagandized myth that was actively manufactured only post Dravidian times, that is, post ~1860s – thanks to Missionaries and the slaves of Colonialism…


(may get expanded later, if need be)

2 Responses to ““Who first came up with theory that Tamil Murugan is different from Skanda-Kartikeya-Subrahmanya?””

  1. R.Parthasarathy Says:

    1.Is the word Murugan a ‘idukurip peyayar’ or ‘karanap peyayr’
    2.Where do you get meaning of the word Murugan , beauty youth etc.s -in Tolkappiyam or Nannool?
    3. The word Tamiz means amizthu-what is its source?
    4. Are not the words Varura and Indra are Vedic? how can Dravidiand dispense with two Thinaik kadavul accepting only Muruga and Kotravai?
    5. If you syay Muruga Templrs in Tamilnadu came after 7th century, how come he is deity of a thinai nilam. Did the concept of thinai nilam came only after 7th.CE?
    6. ‘ When did the concept ‘ thennadudaya sivan’ came into existence?
    7. How hodes the word Mayon explained with out Bhagavata/ vaishnavite influence.

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