பாயும் வேகம் ஜெட் லீ தாண்டா
பன்ச் வெச்சா இட்லி தாண்டா
Rated PG - for Pseudo-DK, DMK, Liberals, Marxists....
ஊர்ல சொல்றது சொலவடை
உண்மையைச் சொல்றது இட்லிவடை

Sunday, December 14, 2014

நீயொரு பாப்பானா ? - 5 - அசோகமித்திரன்

'We Are Like The Jews'


For the Tamil Brahmins, it has been one century of being on the defensive. The community feels castrated. The Brahmins have never anyway been the placard-holding type; they have rarely expressed their feelings openly. The Tamil Brahmins have been used to taking insults. Hence perhaps the lack of visible protests or reactions. Theirs is a guilt-ridden existence, their spirit has been killed by a negative self-perception… They have been driven to a quiescent state. Their situation is very similar to that of the Jews in the 1930s.

With the anti-Brahmin movement dictating the terms, the urban Brahmins began to eschew ethnic markers that revealed their identity. They gave up the kudumi (tuft), began to sport moustaches like non-Brahmins, changed the manner in which they spoke Tamil, changed their attire, some even began to eat meat… they did everything so that they are not identified as Brahmins in the public sphere. These were all modes of defence, strategies for survival.



Today, few Brahmins speak the brahminical dialect. Despite all these camouflages, even today 50 percent of the Brahmins stand out in a Dravidian setup. One can easily mark them out physically! They are so obvious! Over the years, it has been fed into their psyche that they are different from the Dravidians. The Dravidian movement always called them vandherigal (immigrants/ outsiders)… Even in non-Vedic classical texts, there's an injunction to safeguard and feed the Brahmins.

The Sangam epic Silappadikaram was written by a Jain monk, Ilango Adigal. When a wronged Kannagi ordains the burning of Madura, she says: 'Let the city burn except the Brahmins and cows.' Even the Jaina author showed high regard for the Brahmins. But the last 50 years have been very tough. The Brahmins gave up on government jobs, and in whatever they did have had to work harder to prove themselves. Natural discipline and thrift are brahminic qualities that have survived. If a nonbrahmin has a windfall he just spends it on meat and drink. The Brahmin always saves for the rainy day.

Though not a follower of the math, I had some regard for the earlier pontiff. In 1951, my mother was widowed. In 1954, Periyaval (Chandrashekarendra Saraswati) had camped in Chennai's T.Nagar area as part of chaturmasya. It was a time when M.S. Subbulakshmi sang for the first time in the presence of Chandrashekarendra Saraswati, but at that point he ignored her and Sadasivam too. My mother repeatedly visited the Acharya on an empty stomach at his T. Nagar camp, but he never blessed her with the holy water since she was an unshaven widow. I never had much interest even in Chandrashekarendra Saraswati. The last I saw him was when my son and I attended the centenary celebrations of Periyaval (Chandrashekarendra Saraswati). He was a merely an exhibit on the occasion. It was humiliating to the Paramacharya.

After Jayendra Saraswati took over, I never visited the math. Jayendra Saraswati has been silly at times, making loose remarks and courting controversy. But when his arrest happened, I personally felt very shocked. Now, I'm indifferent. There must have been something murky in the Kanchi math. But the manner in which the case has been treated makes us feel that there is indeed persecution. Irrespective of a Brahmin's faith or belief in the Kanchi math, the arrest of the Shankaracharyas and the manner in which the case is being dealt with is a humiliation for the entire community. The only sign of hope after the Shankaracharya's arrest is that several women have come out in protest. This is encouraging and extraordinary for the community.

Brahmin-bashing is not confined to politics. It is a pastime of the cultural and literary worlds as well. Even the Tamil film industry merely caricatures the Brahmin. It is a totally non-brahminised public sphere that Tamil cinema depicts. It is very difficult for a Brahmin to get a foothold in the film industry today—as an actor, assistant director or lyric writer. Earlier, when Brahmins played a significant role in establishing the film industry, the world of cinema had a neutrality, but today an obviously non-Brahmin ethos permeates it.

[When pointed out that Kamal Haasan and Mani Rathnam are significant Brahmins in the industry today:] Kamal Hasan is a beef-eater who to debrahminise even espoused the philosophy of the Dravidar Kazhagam. Mani Rathnam is an intelligent filmmaker, he is a good entertainer, and yet the intellectual class of the little magazines circle targets every film he makes. There's an undercurrent of anti-brahminism in everyday life.

The Tamil Brahmin community appears doomed. I see no possibility of a good leadership emerging from this community. Jayendra Saraswati certainly would not have made for a good leader. He is very poor in his understanding of religion or politics. C. Rajagopalachari would have been a good choice, but then he is not around. Institutions like Thambras cannot really provide the leadership we need. A Brahmin resurgence is very unlikely. Even in terms of Brahmin tradition, very few are learning the Vedas.

Maths may offer freeships for Vedic pursuits but there are few takers. Priesthood or the Vedic way of life is no longer a viable means of livelihood. Nor are there any Brahmin landlords left. My father-in-law owned a lot of land. Each time he got a daughter married, he sold a part of it… today his family owns no land. Even rituals have merely become social occasions. The marriage rituals are also much-abbreviated to reduce costs. Fortunately, the upanayanam (thread ceremony) still continues, but this is more an occasion to meet up with relatives. Sandhyavandanam should be done three times a day by a thread-wearing Brahmin. It is good thing to do. But who performs it? A Brahmin does sandhyavandanam only once in his lifetime and that is on the day the thread is bestowed on him. 50 years hence, perhaps even upanayanam would be given up.

Rituals are not easy to follow. They require a lot of energy and money. The 13-day post-death rituals are very, very difficult to observe. When my sister died, we stopped with the cremation rituals. Soon we may not have priests who know how to perform these obsequies. I have told my sons not to perform them for me... I of course remember my father on the day of his death, but I also wonder why are we really bringing the spirits of the dead back to this stupid world.

Source: outlook

தொடரும்...

8 Comments:

வடுவூர் குமார் said...

எல்லாம் வியாபரமயமான பிறகு நாம் மட்டும் என்ன விதிவிலக்கு? திவசம்/கல்யாணம் போன்றவற்றில் சொல்லப்படும் மந்திரங்களே சொல்பவர்களுக்கு தெரிந்த அளவிலிலேயே சொல்லப்படுவதாக சொல்கிறார்கள்.

Kodeeswaran Duraisamy said...

பாவம், அழுவதற்குக்கூட உங்காளுக்கு உரிமை இல்லையா? நன்னா அழுங்கோ.

Siva said...

//Irrespective of a Brahmin's faith or belief in the Kanchi math, the arrest of the Shankaracharyas and the manner in which the case is being dealt with is a humiliation for the entire community.//

Wasn't this done by another Brahmin Jayalalitha?

Karunanidhi would have never done this. However, most of the Brahmins were pretending that it was DMK's mistake, not Jayalalitha's. Hypocrisy!!!

Jagannathan said...

I am a bit perplexed by Ashaokmitran's arguments. I felt he started being supportive of Badri's article but went wayward by citing how brahmins have degraded themselves. Badri said that other communities are brahmin haters more so in TN than in other places. My feeling is that it is true only when you think of politics and government reservations. I don't see any one openly taking pot shots at a brahmin. Leave the stray cases where a group of non-brahmin youths - vidalais - come across a timid brahmin boy - ammaanji or brahmin girls. Eve teasing is not only against brahmins, I believe.

And as to other article by Narain - I wonder if any other caste members openly chide their own caste people as brahmins do? I am sure he has his reasons but seems he is hell bent on looking for them. One thing is certain, the brahmin community is not cohesive like every other community. Even if the community people are divided by politics, they will unite if the issue is religion / caste based.

I read JM's long article already and feel he has analysed the issue very well.

-R. J.

Glad IV compiles the articles in one place.

Sidtharth said...

/*Sandhyavandanam should be done three times a day by a thread-wearing Brahmin. It is good thing to do*/
Yes it is a good thing to do, because it is the breathing exercise (PRANAYAMA) and why brahmins didn't want to share with other communities atleast until few decades ago. Now, thanks to yoga classes, it reaches to atleast the next level(?) people.

/*M.S. Subbulakshmi sang for the first time in the presence of Periyaval Chandrashekarendra Saraswati, but at that point he ignored her and Sadasivam too.. he never blessed her with the holy water since she was an unshaven widow */
Just because M.S is a non-brahmin this so called periyaval ignored her? I had atleast some respect for this guy earlier, but after reading these, he is no different than a person(regardless of caste) who treats other people based on caste but not on their skills.
/*C. Rajagopalachari would have been a good choice, but then he is not around. Institutions like Thambras cannot really provide the leadership we need */
Yeah right.. S.Vee.Sekar tried but miserably failed. our former CM?

Venkatramanan Vasan said...

Team

I consider this as an irresponsible post.
Asokamithran had not spoke like that Rajanayahem had written about this 5 years back

Regards
Venkatramanan

Anonymous said...

one way asokamitran is right"We are Like Jews" yes that is what everyione is telling about 'parppanargal' blood suckers.
rajaraman

Anonymous said...

The justice party,Periyar's DK and later DMK used 'Brahmin Baiting' as a very powerful tool to exaggerate and project the brahmins as the villains of all the miseries of the 20th century ills of the Tamil society and used it as their campaign theme.

Clearly they were inspired by the success of anti-semetism and the virulent hate speeches followed by Hitler against the Jews in the thirties and used that lesson to the hilt to derive huge social and political advantage of popularity and fame.

Post 1945, the Jews of Europe migrated in huge numbers to the US and worked hard and with earnestness.

Today, the US media and finance arenas are fully under their control and they are in a deciding position as to who should be backed to become the President of that country.

To a lesser extent, the brahmins of Tamilnadu have silently been emulating this precedent and many consider that they took the negative environment in the home state as a blessing in disguise.

One finds them spread across the country as well as the globe more in the US and doing quite well.

But, at the home front, they have already become a spent force.

To mention about brahmin's domination today in Tamilnadu tantamounts to a pathetic attempt of attacking a dead snake.