Temple Chariot Uthiramerur

Temple Chariot Uthiramerur

In the splendidly governed state of Tamil Nadu, that too in the most egalitarian #Dravidian Model of Governance ( don’t try searching for the meaning, you wouldn’t find it), this is the picture of the temple chariot at Uthiramerur.

Dilapidated Temple Chariot at Uthiramerur

Some how, the temple doesn’t come under the dysfunctional Hindu Religious Endowment Board of the state government. Had it been under govt control, these wooden parts would’ve been smuggled out of the country and would probably be an antique piece at some home in the western world.

Now, where is the collective conscience of the people of the state?

The temple has inscriptions that date back to 800 CE and speak of democratically elected village bodies. These inscriptions are often showcased to emphasise the antiquity of democracy in Tamil Nadu.

And the temple chariot lies in ruins, battered by weather and the general apathy of temple trustees and devotees.

Digging our heritage’s grave – Baburayan Pettai

Welcome to Tamil Nadu’s Hampi

Looks like there is an eternal curse on the Vijayanagar Empire, especially on its magnificent edifices. If not, how could you explain the new Hempi that this temple in Tamil Nadu is developing into?

Baburayan Pettai, located 100 KMs south of Chennai, houses yet another ruin of the Vijayanagar Empire. This time, it is a temple of Varadaraja Perumal, a form of Vishnu worshipped in Tamil Nadu.

Varadaraja means the one that genuinely gives away boons to those who ask for – the devotees. But, looks like, it is the Lord who needs a multitude of boons to continue living on the site of the temple.

Built by a Vijayanagara nobleman, Babu Raya, the temple is spread over 16 acres. It has two gopurams, one of which is overgrown with weeds and trees while the other appears to be either broken midway or is half-built.

While the ‘madhil suvar’ – the outer periphery wall – is seen in certain pockets, the inner walls make their presence felt, taking us back by at least five hundred years.

While the entire complex smells of ruin, the sanctum sanctorum of Varadaraja Perumal is the only structure that appears to be able to stand for a couple of more years. 

The Ardhamandap, Mahamandap, Moolasthana vimanam et al are dilapidated and could collapse any time. While two mud and brick mounds stand for the Thayar and Aandal Sannidhis, the other two grand mandaps have been reduced to sand over which have grown trees and shrubs. Now Thayar and Aandal are housed near the sanctum sanctorum, in two hastily constructed sannidhis. It is a different matter that these two are dilapidated too.

As the Mahamandap also boasts of lush overgrowth, the roof has given away, thus exposing the sanctum sanctorum to the elements. During rains, it is a natural thirumanjanam ( holy bath) to the Thayar.

Astonishingly, the sixteen acre complex boasts of two pushkarnis. Needless to say, while one is completely dilapidated, the other one is embedded inside an inaccessible Praharam that has a strong growth of decades old trees.  

The size of the trees on the gopurams, the depths to which the roots have penetrated the structure, the extent of the damage to the temples, the precariously hanging granite roof, et al show that the Hindu Religious and Endowments Board of the Tamil Nadu Government that boasts administrative control of the temple, has not done anything tangible to maintain the structure, leave alone restore it. 

The last known samprokshanam, with physical repairs to the temple, has happened in 1906, as per the part time priest. Later on there happened mantra based ‘laghu-samprokshanam’ to consecrate the deity alone with no repair done to the structure. No annual festival (uthsavam) is conducted now. A village elder seems to have witnessed an uthsavam when the uthsavar murti was taken in procession outside the temple.  

It is a clear case of dereliction of duty by the Executive Officers and their bosses. And the authorities deserve exemplary punishment so that no other officer in future would dare to even think of abandoning such historic monuments. The punishment should be meted to past officers too, who had been incharge of the temple. 

The officers, their political bosses et al should be called out by the courts, as and when a case is filed, and reprimanded for their lackadaisical attitude towards work that has resulted in such a colossal loss of heritage to the current and future generations. 

Babu Raya had apparently set up three agraharams – smartha, sri vaishnava and madhva – on the three sides of the temple for its upkeep and had also bestowed hundreds of acres of agricultural land in favour of the deity. Now there is no sign of any of the above.

Amidst all these ruins and nonchalance by the governments, stand Vijaya Varadaraja and Vijayavalli Thayar, looking at us smilingly with a five hundred year old patience, waiting for their abode to be rebuilt. The Lord and His consort, along with the twelve Alwars, Ramanuja and Desikan, partake of a paltry meal once a day, sponsored by the Kanchi Mutt. That is, when the bhattacharyar visits them from a nearby village for an hour a day.

A Venugopala idol had recently been stolen and is yet to be traced. Murtis from yet another dilapidated Shiva temple lie strewn in the Varadaraja temple premises uncared for and unattended. Reason: The custodian of the temple, the government, continues with its legendary lethargy and characteristic disinterest so much so that it had chosen to ignore a 2020 Madras High Court order to renovate the temple within a period of twelve weeks. Twelve months have passed and the govt has not replaced even a brick.

Probably the only act of solace for devotees is that the HR&CE has chosen to deposit the uthsavar murtis of the Lord and His consort with the safe vault at the Agastheeswarar Temple in a nearby village.

As Varadan and Vijayavalli continue to languish at the very neighbourhood of Chennai, the capital city of Tamil Nadu, forgotten by the very people whom they protect, the state appears to feign ignorance about the very existence of this piece of history.

Pranam to the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam for helping the temple have one pooja per day. 

Action Items for Govt: 

  1. HR&CE and Tamil Nadu police to get their acts together to bring back the stolen Venugopalan murti.
  2. HR&CE to clear off bush and other weeds that further destroy the structures.
  3. HR&CE to initiate emergency repairs to the temple so that the main sanctum doesn’t wither away.
  4. HR&CE to prepare a master plan for the overall reconstruction of the temple in accordance with its earlier architectural pattern to restore the temple to its past glory.
  5. Once reconstructed, this temple could be added to the Mamallapuram Tour Circuit so that tourists could have a chance to visit this Vijayanagara – Nayak architecture before proceeding to Mamallapuram via Chingalpet.
  6. Action against officials, present and past, that had not done their job of maintaining the temple. Consider booking them under ’The Ancient Monuments Preservation Act, 1904’. If possible, under Goondas Act for wanton defacement of history.
  7. HR&CE to initiate fresh efforts to recover lands that belong to the temple.

Action Items for Archaeological Survey of India

  1. Visit this temple, document the heritage there and help restore the temple to its original glory.
  2. Frame suitable guidelines for HR&CE to maintain the temple without destroying heritage.

Action Items for the Hon’ble High Court of Madras

  1. Tamil Nadu govt has not acted on your order WP No 9692 of 2020. Could you suo moto initiate contempt proceedings against the HR&CE, Collectors of Kancheepuram and Vellore ? Or at least ask for status of implementation of your order?  

Action Items for Mutts:

  1. This is a Vadakalai Vaikanasa Aagama temple. Swami Desikan is seen beside Srimad Ramanuja. The Vaishnavite Mutts should take  ownership of at least some sections / rituals of the temple and ensure their maintenance.
  2. When Babu Rayan broke ground to build the temple, an ancient Hanuman Murti was unearthed. Taking that as a good omen, Raya built the temple at the site. Hence Madhwa mutts could take interest in this temple as well. The older Hanuman murti is still present in the temple.

Action Items for Devotees:

  1. Visit the temple at least  once a month. If not, at least during the holy festival days like Deepavali, Sankaranti, Vaikunta Ekadasi etc.
  2. When at least 50 devotees visit the temple per day, HR&CE would notice the flow and begin to improve the situation.
  3. Instead of visiting temples in exotic locales, at great cost, visit Baburayan Pettai almost free of cost. Results are the same.
  4. Get committed for at least one time pooja per day. Bear the expenses.
  5. Initiate Temple Cleaning activities. 
  6. When you donate to a new temple, stop. Allocate some money for this 500 year old one that genuinely needs repair.

Action Item for Media:

  1. Visit this temple, document and expose the decay and rot.
  2. Once in a while, report fact. 

What did I do after my visit to the temple ?

  1. Initiated talks with a temple cleaning group based out of Chennai. Would be undertaking உழவாரப் பணி – Temple Cleaning – in a couple of weeks.
  2. Reached out to HR & CE officials for a copy of the FIR for Venugopalan murti.
  3. Reached out to several retired officials of ASI for guidance on how to proceed further.
  4. Trying to locate a local person from Baburayan Pettai to initiate a petition to the government for renovation.
  5. Reaching out to media outlets to publicise the plight of this temple. So far, limited response.

Dear Readers – Please let know any other means to get this temple in order.

Dear Lawyers – If there are other draconian sections under which such dereliction of duty to national treasures can be dealt with, please state. If you want to pursue this case in court, let me know and I will share what ever data I have on this temple.

Baburayan Pettai Temple as of 05-Nov-2021

More of Baburayan Pettai as of 05-Nov-2021

Some more of Baburayan Pettai Temple as of 05-Nov-2021

Amaruvi Devanathan


Queries on a star migration

Smt.Khushbu Sundar, yesteryear movie star and a well known face in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, has switched parties. This time she has moved to the nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that runs the country. Nothing wrong in a person joining a political party nor is it uncommon for a movie star to join a party in the movie obsessed state of Tamil Nadu where popular politicians were film stars of yore.

The fact that Khushbu has moved to the supposedly hindu-majority-seeking national party is not what this article is about. It is about the history that needs some clarification and answers from the former actor.

Prior to her political career, Khushbu had commented on the pre-marital sexual status of Tamil girls, was hounded by ultra-secessionist fringe outfits with physical violence, rushed into the embracing arms of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) to find safety, later felt sidelined by the party, shifted places to the nationalist and supposedly ‘secular’ Congress Party, was appointed the national spokesperson, was sidelined by the multitude of factions, a characteristic of the party, and has now moved on to the diametrically opposite BJP.

Does an actor’s migration from politics of one color to the other merit a detailed article, one might ask. In the case of Khushbu, it does.

Khushbu’s utterances since she joined the BJP clearly show that she has joined the party not due to ideological enlightenment but due to lack of a political future in the Congress party that has seen a series of high profile exits after the lackluster performances of the party and its leaders in the last two general elections. With the leadership ensconced in ivory towers that provide little view of the ground situation, and a failed leader who wants to have power without responsibility, the Congress Party, that was founded by an European Allan Octavian Hume is being dragged hastily into its grave by yet another European – Smt.Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi. Thus, seeing no future, in the party, Khushbu has jumped boats.

Abandoning ship for ones’ own survival is normal. But in the case of Khushbu, her joining the very party that she has opposed virulently for the last 6 years, is a case for questioning in depth. For this, we would need to look at what she has said in the last 6 years about Prime Minister Modi in particular and the BJP in general.

Has none joined a party that they had opposed so violently? There are plethora of evidence that shows many had done. But the the kind of politics and statements that Khushbu had indulged in, even in the guise of being the national spokesperson for the Congress Party, do call for her to answer.

As late as October 6, 2020, Khushu had called out PM Modi’s act of rearing peacocks at his official residence and had said that the PM who could feed peacocks in his house, could not feed the citizens.After this, on October 11, 2020, she joined the PM’s party, the BJP.

When the BJP formed government in Madhya Pradesh, Khushbu had tweeted thus, saying the Madhya Pradesh cabinet would be constituted by these half clad sadhus, referring to the presence of holy men in the party and government.

On October 1, 2019, Khushbu famously said the that the Prime Minister would not be welcome to Tamil Nadu and one year later, joined the party.

Without having any basic knowledge of the current pandemic induced economic situation and consequent job losses, Khushbu had tweeted thus, accusing the BJP of causing such an unemployment situation of gargantuan proportions. And this was as late as October 4, 2020, six days prior to joining the same party. Even Singapore, the country that Khushbu often vacations in, declared that it was entering into a recession due to the pandemic.

Here is she using derogatory and potentially un-usable language on the BJP Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath on October 4, 2020.

While Khushbu would have to come clean on all the above, she has to make her stand clear on E.V.Ramasamy Naicker, the late rabble-rouser who never missed any opportunity to deride the hindu gods and the hindu pantheon, for she has recently claimed that ‘I am a Periarist in the BJP’ – whatever that might mean.

The BJP in Tamil Nadu needs such star power to get into power in the movie crazy state. But the erstwhile stars who join the party have the responsibility to either disown their earlier statements or offer a public apology for these past sins.

Whether Khushbu offers apology or not, I would be backing the BJP to come to power in the state. I would even vote for her in case the party fields her as a candidate in my constituency ( like I supported any PAP candidate in Singapore). However, the her sins of the past cannot be white washed.

Sri Vaishnava Brahmins of Tamil Nadu – review

Sri Vaishnava Brahmins of Tamil Nadu
Sri Vaishnava Brahmins of Tamil Nadu

வரலாற்றுப் பேராசிரியர் முனைவர் இராஜகோபாலன் தனது முனைவர் பட்டத்திற்கான ஆய்வை நூலாக வடித்துள்ளார். நூலின் பெயர் ‘Sri Vaishnava Brahmins of Tamil Nadu’ (தமிழக ஶ்ரீவைஷ்ணவ அந்தணர்கள்). முனைவர் பட்டம் 1993லும்  நூல் வடிவம் 2014லிலும்  நிகழ்ந்துள்ளன.

தமிழகத்தில் வைஷ்ணவத்தின் துவக்கம் எப்போது நடந்தது, அதற்கான புறச்சான்றுகள் யாவை, பின்னர் நடந்த பிற மதங்களின் தாக்கங்கள், ஆதி சங்கரரின் அத்வைத சித்தாந்தம், சைவ நெறி, ஆழ்வார்களின் காலங்கள்ள், ஆழ்வார்கள் காட்டிய வைஷ்ணவ நெறி, பின்னர் தோன்றிய ஶ்ரீவைஷ்ணவம், அதற்குக் காரணமான ஶ்ரீமத் இராமானுஜர் என்னும் உடையவர், அவர் ஏற்படுத்திய சீர்திருத்தங்கள், பின்னர் தோன்றிய ஆச்சார்யர்களான வேதாந்த தேசிகர் மற்றும் மணவாள மாமுநிகள், இந்த இருவரும் செய்த செயற்கரிய செயல்கள், இவர்களுக்குப்பின்னர் தோன்றிய கலை வேறுபாடுகள், அதனால் தொடுக்கப்பட்ட வழக்குகள், ஶ்ரீவைஷ்ணவ மடங்கள், அவை ஆற்றியுள்ள அரும்பணிகள், ஶ்ரீவைஷ்ணவ சமுதாயத்தில் தோன்றிய அரசியல் வல்லுனர்கள், எழுத்தாளர்கள், நீதிபதிகள், கலைஞர்கள், ஶ்ரீவைஷ்ணவர்களின் தற்போதைய நிலை, இதற்குக் காரணமான திராவிட இயக்கம் மற்றும் அதன் தலைவர்கள், இடஒதுக்கீடும் அதன் தாக்கங்களும், இடஒதுக்கீட்டை ஶ்ரீவைஷ்ணவ அந்தணர்கள் சமாளித்த விதம், தற்காலத்தில் ஶ்ரீவைஷ்ணவர்கள் குடியேறியுள்ள இடங்கள், ஆற்றும் பணிகள் என்று ஒரு களஞ்சியத்தை நூல் வடிவில் அளித்துள்ளார் ஆசிரியர்.

வரலாற்றை மட்டும் காட்டாமல், ஒவ்வொரு நிகழ்விற்குமான காரணிகள், அக்காரணிகளைச் சுட்டும் பிற ஆசிரியர்களின் நூல்கள் என்று பெரும் உழைப்பைத் தந்துள்ளார் ஆசிரியர். ஒவ்வொரு பக்கத்திற்கும் மேற்கோள்கள், அவற்றுக்கான சுட்டிகள், ஆதாரங்கள் என்று சுமார் பத்தாண்டு உழைப்பு தெளிவாகத் தெரிகிறது. நூல் ஆங்கிலத்தில் எழுதப்பட்டுள்ளது.

நூலின் சிறப்பம்சம்: இந்த ஆராய்ச்சிக்குப் பயன்பட்ட பிற நூல்கள், ஆராய்ச்சி அறிக்கைகள் முதலியன. இந்தத் தொகுப்பில் 136 நூல்கள் மற்றும் அறிக்கைகள் சுட்டப்பட்டுள்ளன. இவை தவிரவும் பல பத்திரிக்கைச் செய்திகளும் காட்டப்பட்டுள்ளன.

நூல் வேண்டுவோர் ஆசிரியரைப் பின்வரும் அலைபேசியில் தொடர்புகொள்ளலாம்: +91-94440-14584.

பி.கு.: ஆசிரியர் 83 வயது முதியவர். எனவே இந்திய மாலை நேரங்களில் அழைக்கவும்.

Pari Yerum Perumal & others

The hype around the Tamil movie ‘Pari Yerum Perumal’,prompted me to watch this poignant story of discrimination based on caste.

 The story is based in Tirunelveli, in Southern Tamil Nadu, known for its caste based classifications and violence. People got killed for marrying out of caste, though such instances are declining, thankfully.

This film talks about the heinous treatment met to the lowest strata of the caste hierarchy – the dalits – in a government law college. The story is poignant, direction excels, metaphors glitter and the movie leaves one with a deep sense of exasperation and helplessness.

Let me get this straight. This is one hell of a film that hits one on the face, with a sledge hammer soaked in the reality called caste discrimination.

But, why should this situation prevail after 70 years of national independence and a 40 year state rule by the so-called backward communities? Did not the ‘Dravidian Rule’ result in overcoming the past structures?  This model of questioning would open up the simmering wounds that refuse to heal though artificially stitched for the last 40 years and made to appear as though all was well in the subaltern.

Were not Annadurai and Periyar Ramasamy Naicker, the much deified leaders in TN, supposed to have demolished the caste hierarchies in the state and made Tamil Nadu a ‘model’ , ‘rationalist’ and  an ‘egalitarian’ state for other ‘backward’ northern Indian states to follow? What happened to the long handed out history that has been proclaiming from the rooftops of the dawn of such an elite state in India?

If the scenarios depicted in the film are true -yes, they are true as most of the incidents are from real life acts in the state- then should we rewrite the history books in Tamil Nadu and throw the names, Annadurai and Ramasamy Naicker, to the dustbins of history?

The ending scene where two glasses, one with left over tea+milk and the other with just tea, depicts the reality in the state – that caste differences exist. The subtle message couldn’t have been conveyed with any other metaphor, for the prevailing ‘Two-Tumbler’ system in Southern Tamil Nadu cannot be hid under the carpet to paint a rosy picture in the state. 

Then there is the usual spineless caricature of the brahmins – the scene in TASMAC, the state run liquor shop, where a fellow drinker is shown as one wearing three strokes of the sacred ash and sporting a half open shirt that exposes a wrongly worn sacred thread while mouthing the peculiar lingo of the brahmins (‘mama jammnunu irukken paaru’). The liquor consuming brahmin had no role to play in the film. He appeared just for that scene. Then why should he sport the sacred ash, wear the sacred thread in a publicly visible fashion and mouth brahmin oriented lingo? Could that character not have been anybody else without any caste indicators? 

No Tamil film worth its salt is complete without such a down right racist and wanton degrading depiction of the brahmin community. Unless rabid hatred is infused into the genes, such a depiction is not possible.

Let us look at some Tamil films that have such rabid anti-brahmin sentiments.

The case about Kalam Hasan’s film ‘Virumandi’ is worth a look here. Leaving along the conflict regarding the title ( Sandiyar Vs Virumandi), the movie depicted a conflict between the militant Thevar community and a numerically minuscule Telugu speaking Naickers in southern districts of Tamil Nadu. The irony is that there is no conflict between Naickers and Thevars, both being wealthy land owning classes from the feudal setup. The real conflict in the southern states was between Thevars, the feudal landlords and Dalits, the landless exploited group. But portraying reality could have cost the film its very right to be screened. Could any movie maker worth his name make a movie on the annual ceremony to the legendary freedom fighter ( and a representative of the Thevar community) Muthuramalinga Thevar and the rise in tension in the region due to Dalit resentment opposing the ceremony?

The recent Tamil blockbuster ‘Kolamavu Kokila’ had a Brahmin character, with a ‘Sri Churnam’ – the traditional red mark that the Iyengar brahmins wear on their forehead – playing the role of a pimp. What is the obsession with ‘Sri Churnam’ is a question for sociologists to answer.

Kamal Haasan’s super hit movie ‘Viswaroopam’ had him play the role of a spy in the guise of a Brahmin that cooked chicken for his Brahmin wife that loved chicken. The wife works in the USA as an oncologist and Kamal Haasan is a live at home husband that tutors girls in Bharatnatyam. The role of a docile Brahmin is in direct contrast to a jihadi hunting spy is an excellent contrast, no doubt, and brought the extreme traits meet at a common point. But why should Kamal Haasan be shown as cooking chicken which he admits not to consume it in the film? And why should the wife be depicted as consuming the same? What kind of a retarded depiction is this?

Yet another Tamil film by name ‘Joker’ had another ‘Sri Churnam’ sporting assistant to a minister. Nothing wrong except that the assistant utters holy hymns of the saintly Azhwars ( 8th Century Vaishnavite saints) at the most inappropriate of places and occasions, one being near a toilet. There was no connection what so ever. Any comical relief that was sought to be brought never happened.

Let us come back to Pari Yerum Perumal.

Take the case of the English professor who punishes the protagonist and his friend for being grossly ill-equipped in English. In the scene where he chastises the duo, he is shown with a clean forehead. In the scene where he recommends suspension of the protagonist for entering into the ladies’s room, the Professor is shown as wearing the ‘Sri Churnam’. Note the connection – Sri Churnam –> Iyengar –> English –> Punishment for not being proficient enough in English and therefore anti-dalit. 

Would the film have depicted a devout muslim, wearing a skull-cap, consuming liquor or a christian, wearing the holy cross, chastising the Dalit protagonist? The film didn’t even provide a hint of the caste of the oppressors in the film. And that is ‘Social Justice’ for the uninitiated.

In spite of these traditional lacunae, the film ‘Pari Yerum Perumal’ is a tight slap on the collective conscience of the dravidian strain of politics in the “Rational Republic of Tamil Nadu’. 

The vicious brahmin-hatred ingested into Tamil cinema’s blood stream in the last 50 years rears its ugly head in incremental fashion, from time to time, and makes its presence felt. Now the venom has permeated into the genes, thereby successive directors have inherited the trait and are depicting the same in some form and measure, without fail.  

Compare these films with gems such as ‘Asthu’, a Marathi film, on the Alzheimer afflicted Sanskrit Professor. Though I would want to ask ‘When would Tamil movie industry produce such films?’, I don’t expect any introspection and correction in the Tamil cinema community, for the pedigree speaks for itself through the films it produces.


Tamil Nadu’s Education Scene

I had earlier written a piece asking for more CBSE schools in Tamil Nadu and drew flak from many from the Tamil Nadu State Board Schools. Well, I don’t mean to beat around the bush and say ‘politically correct’ but ‘practically insignificant’ things. I write for progress and change. Here is how the state board education system sucks in Tamil Nadu.

Let us look at the number of children entering the IITs from the TN State Board. Here are some infographic reports that tell what we already know yet don’t want to acknowledge. This is for the year 2017. 


Why such an abysmal statistic when the TN state board’s education system is supposed to be ‘top class’? What ails the education system?

Even within IIT-Madras, the admission statistic paints a gloomy picture. Here what it says:

Out of these state board students who have joined the IITs, it would be a no-brainer to say that most of the students would have been from private schools affiliated to the state board and not the government schools. ( I don’t have data to substantiate this, but that could well be the case). And students would have attended expensive coaching classes for clearing the JEE.

For a moment, let us consider that the IIT-JEE entrance exam isn’t the barometer of excellence. Then the following data paints an even abysmal picture. TN’s mean score in English and Mathematics is way below the national average and abysmally below the mean scores from CBSE and ICSE boards. 

There is nothing wrong with the students. It is the state board, its curriculum and the woefully under-motivated teachers who are responsible for letting down the students who, for no fault of theirs, had chosen to study in Tamil Nadu’s State Board schools. 

Well, we can choose to recognise the lacuna and correct it or bury our heads in the sands of past glory and pretend as though all is well. 

Would the state government wake up?

முதல்வரின் கிருஷ்ண ஜயந்தி வாழ்த்து – சில குறிப்புகள்

முதல்வர் பழனிச்சாமியின்(@CMOTamilNadu) கிருஷ்ண ஜெயந்தி வாழ்த்தும், அதைத் தொடர்ந்து பகவத் கீதை பற்றிய அவரது செய்தியும் நம் மாநிலத்திற்குப் புதுமையானவை.
எடப்பாடி கிருஷ்ண ஜயந்தி
கிருஷ்ண ஜெயந்திக்கு ஜெயலலிதா வாழ்த்துச் சொல்லியிருக்கிறார். ஆனால் கீதை பற்றியெல்லாம் சொன்னதில்லை. பகுத்தறிவு / மதச்சார்பின்மை தீட்டு பட்டுவிடும் என்பதால் கொஞ்சம் மிகுந்து பேசாமல் இருந்திருக்கலாம் என்று நினைக்கிறேன்.
ஆனால், அதற்கு வாழ்த்துச் சொல்வதற்கு மேல் அவரால் வேறொன்றும் சொல்லியிருக்க முடியாது என்பதையும் நான் அறிந்தே இருக்கிறேன். பெண் / சாதி இவற்றைக் கருத்தில் கொண்டே அவர் பேசியிருந்திருக்க முடியும் என்று எனக்குத் தெரிகிறது.
அதற்கு முன்னவருக்குக் கிருஷ்ண ஜெயந்தி அன்று ஆரியன் / திராவிடன் என்பதெல்லாம் நினைவிற்கு வரும். தீபாவளி அன்று நரகாசுரன் நினைவிற்கு வருவான். நரகாசுரன் புகழ் பாடும் கூட்டம் என்று ஒன்று திடீரென்று முளைத்து மேலெழுந்து வரும். சில நாட்கள் ஆடிவிட்டு அந்தக் கூட்டம் ஓய்ந்து போகும். தீபாவளி தேவையா என்பது போன்ற பட்டிமன்றங்கள் சில நாட்கள் நடைபெறும். நல்ல உணவு, ஊக்க பானங்கள் முதலியவை கிடைப்பதால் வேலை இல்லாத சிலர் வந்து செல்வர். மீண்டும் அடுத்த தீபாவளி, அடுத்த வசவு.
அதே போல் நவராத்திரியின் போது காளியின் கற்பு பேசப்படும். மஹிஷாசுரன் மஹாத்மியமும் சனாதன தர்மத்தின் சூழ்ச்சியால் மஹாத்மா மஹிஷாசுரன் கொலையுண்டதும் கருத்தரங்கங்களில் பேசப்படும். இதற்கு நடு நிலை வகிக்கும் பெரியார்கள் எனப்படுவோர் ஒத்து ஊதி, நம்பிக்கை உள்ள மனிதர்களின் வயிற்றெரிச்சலைக் கொட்டிக் கொள்வர்.
பின்னர் பொங்கல் அன்று சின்னதாக ஒரு களேபரம் நடக்கும். வேலை போன பெரியவர்கள் சிலர் பொழுது போகாமல் பரிதிமாற்கலைஞர் பெயரை இழுத்து நம்பிக்கை கொண்டோரின் சாபத்தைக் கேட்டுப் பெற்றுக் கொள்வர்.
செப்டம்பர் 15-16 தேதிகளில் கருப்புச் சட்டை போட்டுக்கொண்டு வசை மழை பொழிய ஊர் முழுக்க முச்சந்திகளில் திட்டுக் கச்சேரிகள் நடத்திக் கலைவர். விநாயகர் சதுர்த்தி வந்துவிட்டால் மீண்டும் திட்டுக் கச்சேரிகள், வசைக் கூட்டங்கள், ஒப்பாரிக் கருத்தரங்கங்கள். எதிர்க்கட்சியின் ஸ்டாலின் ஒருமுறை விநாயகர் சதுர்த்தி வாழ்த்து சொல்லிவிட்டார். பின்னர் தனது உதவியாளர் தவறுதலாகச் செய்தி அனுப்பிவிட்டார் என்று பகுத்தறிவு மழுப்பல் கலந்து புளுகினார்.
விநாயகர் சதுர்த்தி அன்று இந்த ஓய்வு பெற்ற புலவர்கள் அனைவருக்கும் ஒரு ஆராய்ச்சித் தலைப்பு திடீரென உதயமாகும். அதாவது: விநாயகர் தமிழ்க்கடவுள் அல்லர். வாதாபியில் இருந்து கொண்டு வரப்பட்டவர். எனவே கொண்டாட்டம் தேவை இல்லை. இப்படியாக ஏதாவது எதிர்மறையாகச் செய்துகொண்டே தொலைக்காட்சிகளில் பெயர் வரும் படியாகப் பார்த்துக் கொள்ள வேண்டும். அப்போது தான் வரும்படி சரியாக இருக்கும்.
ஒருவழியாகத் தமிழ் நாட்டைத் திட்டு நாடு என்று பெயர் வரும்படிச் செய்து விட்டனர் திராவிட அரசியலாளர்.
Edappaadi Palanisamyஇதற்கு மாற்றாகத் தெரிகிறார் எடப்பாடி பழனிச்சாமி. நெற்றியில் திருநீறு அணிவதற்கு அஞ்சவில்லை, சில நாட்களில் குங்குமமும் உண்டு. சிரித்த முகம். நேரடியாகப் பேசுகிறார். முத்தாய்ப்பாக இந்த ஆண்டு கிருஷ்ண ஜயந்தி வாழ்த்து.
ஊழல் செய்யவில்லையா, நேர்மையாக இருக்கிறதா ஆட்சி என்று கேட்க வேண்டாம். முந்தைய ஆட்சிகளும் இப்படியே தான் இருந்தன. ஒரே மாற்றம் முதல்வரை எளிதில் அணுக முடிகிறது, முதல்வர் சனாதன தர்மத்தைப் பின்பற்றுவதை மறைத்துச் செய்யவில்லை. வெளிப்படையாகக் கோவில்களுக்குச் செல்கிறார்.
சமீபத்தில் தமிழகம் சென்றிருந்தேன். பல கால்வாய்கள், ஏரிகள் ஆழப்படுத்தப் படுவதையும், தூர் வாரப்படுவதையும் நேரில் பார்த்தேன். பருவ மழைக்கு முன்  இவ்வளவு பெரிய அளவில் இம்மாதிரியான செயல்கள் நடந்து நான் பார்த்ததில்லை. காரணம் யோசித்தேன். முதல்வர் வேளாண்மைப் பின்புலம் கொண்டவர். நீரின் அருமை, தேவை பற்றி அறிந்தவர் என்பதால் இருக்கலாம் என்று தோன்றியது.
நல்லது நடப்பதாகத் தோன்றுகிறது. தொடர்ந்து நடக்க வேண்டும். தவறுகள் களையப்பட வேண்டும். ஆனால் நல்லதைச் சொல்லாமல் செல்ல முடியாது.
வாழிய செந்தமிழ் வாழ்க நற்றமிழர்
வாழிய பாரத மணித்திரு நாடு
வந்தே மாதரம்.

Kalaignar Karunanidhi (1924-2018)

An era that ensured Tamil Nadu became an object of ridicule.

An era has ended. May Kalaignar’s soul reach the abode of the Lord that he publicly announced to have despised.

Kalaignar will be remembered for all that he had said, stood for, and done. So, what did he stand for and what does his era signify?

Kalaignar’s era was characterised by nepotism, hatred towards Hinduism in general and the Brahmins in particular,  funded by missionaries who never stopped short of calling him their saviour and benefactor, and any thing even remotely anti-India. 

A quick thinker and a fast learner, he switched sides, without compunction, to stay in power at any cost. Having worked for and against the Congress party on three different occasions, he chose to ride with the right wing BJP to enjoy the fruits of power at the center and without any second thought, quit the right wing alliance towards the end of the term and switched back to supporting the Congress. He was called a ‘Chanakya’ but was actually a rank opportunist and a clinger to power.

He roused the emotions of the people on every issue and then reaped rewards from those. The anti-hindi agitation was one such.

Kalaignar did not have a single stand on any issue. He always had a minimum of two stands and was adept in reasoning out both ways. Sri Lankan Tamil cause is a case in point. He supported the Tamil rebel groups that opposed LTTE, for the latter was patronised by MGR. Later, when the LTTE eliminated all other Tamil groups, he didn’t feel shy to support the Tigers. From supporting India’s intervention in Sri Lanka to calling for IPKF’s withdrawal, to passing on classified secrets to the Tigers, to denying their existence in Tamil Nadu, in supporting secessionism, to occasionally standing for India’s unity when he found berths in the central cabinet, from ridiculing hindu rituals and symbols and castigating his party men from following hindu rituals, to turning a blind eye to his family members’ association with temples and rituals, from casting aspersions on hindu saints to welcoming Sai Baba home, he had a dualist approach in all that he touched. 

His often touted contributions to Tamil are mostly over-hyped emotion tinged statements meant for public consumption. His reign saw the mushrooming of low quality English medium matriculation schools ( MGR and Jayalalithaa are no exceptions here), degradation of the state’s primary education infrastructure, and general apathy towards corruption among public servants. When the state’s educational infrastructure is often connected with K.Kamaraj, the state’s decline due to corruption and malfeasance is linked with Kalaignar. MGR and Jayalalithaa helped carry forward this legacy with the result that dravidian rule has come to be known as the reign of corrupt politicians.

It started with Kalaignar’s  Veeraanam Scam in the late 60s. Justice Sarkaria’s report on the then government’s corrupt practices termed Kalaignar’s reign thus: ‘Scientific Corruption’. Tamil Nadu’s march towards decadence and rust was initiated by Kalaignar and carried forward by MGR and Jayalalithaa. Being corrupt is now not a cause for remorse or regret. That is the victory for the dravidian reign.

A defining aspect of Kalaignar’s rule has been a gradual lowering of standards in public discourse. Indecent words, swear words and double entendres, that ridiculed women in public, became the norm. Especially with Jayalalithaa as the arch-enemy, the volume and intensity of the talks increased. And the pity was, Kalaignar rewarded such talks with plum positions in government and in the party. 

World Tamil Conference, espoused by his mentor Anna Durai, later carried forward by his arch rival MGR, became a pricking point for Kalaignar. He was not able to conduct a World Tamil Conference during his last term in office as that was not approved by the world organization that had to give a go-ahead. He brought about another festival – the Semmozhi Festival- at great expense to the public exchequer to ostensibly promote Tamil, but ended up promoting family ‘talent’. During his reign, academic research in Tamil became a thing of ridicule (he awarded a Ph.D to a ‘scholar’ who produced a thesis that said Thiruvalluvar was a disciple of St.Thomas). 

Whenever Kalaignar assumed power ( five time Chief Minister), anti-national rhetoric gained traction  and the government turned a blind eye to such nefarious activities. Debates in the legislative assembly were either verbal assaults on the opposition or singing competitions eulogising Kalaignar (Jayalalithaa wasn’t far behind in this). Rivalry between MGR and Kalaignar became so virulent that mere exchange of pleasantries between the ruling and opposition members were scoffed at. The trend continues to this day, to the merriment of the politicians from other states.

Kalaignar’s last term was characterised mostly by corruption, nepotism, and bland display of sycophancy at every level. Governance became a casualty, with his own children and extended family members fighting for the spoils of the administration, both at the state level and at the central level where the DMK had a say.

Kalaignar would be remembered for two schemes –  Uzhavar Sandhai ( farmer’s market)  and Valluvar Reading Rooms, both of which are now defunct. He would also be remembered for his attempt to sell arrack in polythene sachets and converting the state to a place of ugly statues. Another star scheme that helped attract many followers was the ‘First Graduate Scheme’ that has indeed helped many from the poorer sections to become graduates with a little push from the government.

Kalaignar Karunanidhi – A man who had very humble beginnings, yet raised his family’s wealth to stratospheric levels at the cost of the state’s administration and the country’s standing in the international comity of nations. That the party which suffered several splits during his term did not disintegrate into un-noticeable subgroups is a testimony to the organisational skills of Kalaignar. He kept his party together and the DMK stands tall as a cadre based party that has some potential left.

Kalaignar, who is called the ‘Last Dravidian Stalwart’, was a man who had all the chances to become a Lee Kuan Yew but gave up all those in pursuit of personal glory and family wealth to the detriment of the state and nation.

Welcome to the Tamil Mind

The most unworthy seek the most attention. Worst part is, they get it.
People flock to such unworthy humanoids that are funded by hatred and avarice. Real worth gathers dust in the remote corners of the society.
This applies to literature as well. A brief look at the topics that are debated in literary societies prove this beyond doubt. Not considering the current political, economic and societal situations, the debates and celebrations talk about imaginary situations and those that are not even worth a mention. In this way, the literary committees are ‘staying clear’ of controversies, it seems.
The topics don’t encourage intellectual vigour, evidence based analysis or anything even remotely connected with basic human intelligence.Any normal intellect based discourse or debate is becoming extinct. Either it is for or against a topic.By all these, the literary societies are progressively marching towards intellectual oblivion and are becoming irrelevant, to say the least.
This degradation of intellectual discourse extends to normal conversations too. Either you are pro-Modi or anti. Either you support Nehru and are willing to build temples for him or you want to dump him in the drains of India. Either you a ‘Periyarist’ ( what ever that means) and hence have to oppose any progressive activity in the state or you are not and, by virtue of you not opposing a developmental activity, you automatically become a brahmin – the new-age Jew- and hence you automatically become despicable and sub-human instantly.
Once a topic trends, the visual media in the Tamil Land would gravitate towards two sets of intellectuals – movie actors and unknown fringe rabble-rousers. The issue could be anything – a rocket launch, mars mission robot, artificial intelligence’s impact on human employment, machine learning and deep learning. It could even be as simple as a depressed student’s attempt on his life or as complicated as the anti-money laundering case against the CEO of a large bank. It could be a movie star’s wardrobe malfunction or BASEL regulation. The topic doesn’t matter. The panelists on TV remains the same – movie producers, disgruntled and failed political activists and evangelists. The panel’s
ratio varies but the composition remains the same.
One cannot say ‘ India is a secular nation’ before being branded ‘Nehruvian Hypocrite’ or ‘India is a Hindu-majority nation’ (a truth though) before being branded ‘Hindutva hate monger’. There is no middle ground, no mixture, no acceptance of alternate ideas.
That India is a Hindu-majority nation is in itself a reason for secularism to exist till now. This fact cannot be told. If you want to state this fact, either do it during your morning ablutions in the bathroom.
If the talk is on ‘Sterlite’ and if you speak Tamil, you are expected to oppose it, and, as an add-on, express anti-Modi sentiment in the same breath. It doesn’t matter that Modi or even the party he belongs to, did nothing to bring the company to India and did nothing to ensure the company’s existence in the country. If the discussion is on ‘Sterlite’, the only way to not be abused is to say ‘No to Sterlite’. Same goes for any other project. If it is the Salem- Chennai highway, then it has to be ‘opposed’, for if you don’t do so, you would end up bullied or ridiculed when you are in a group. While ‘opposing’ an airport expansion in India, you ought to praise a new terminal recently commissioned in say, Dubai (
substitute with any country other than India).
You could own two cars in your family, go to hill stations on week-ends in the same car, but would have to sound ‘anti-Methane’ or ‘anti-ONGC’ at every given opportunity. For you are a Tamil and hence you can’t sound otherwise.
You could own several posh apartments in the OMR area of Chennai that was once a conglomerate of coconut, mango and casurina groves, but you would still speak and write, with fervor, to save agricultural lands from ‘corporate’ influence. It doesn’t matter that the OMR apartments live on water sourced from near by agricultural wells.
You would have migrated to the US of A and become a citizen after going through several tests, you could have put your children through SAT to make them enter the elite US universities, but, as a Tamil, you would still hold placards in support of ‘Say No To NEET’ (the medical entrance
exam in India).
You would be only too willing to flash your SSN to get your drivers’ license, your telephone connection, your apartment lease, your bank accounts in the US, but when such a number is mandated in India (AADHAAR), you tweet, ‘Say No to AADHAAR’. You could only be too willing to pay a differential pricing for homes bought in countries such as Singapore, without murmuring equality, but when there is even a semblance
of perceived and imagined inequality in India, you would start shouting from the roof-tops ‘Inequality’.
This eternal double standard is the new normal. Choose to be ridiculed and reviled, if you opt out of this game.
Welcome into the ‘Tamil Mind’.

ஊழல் – உளவு – அரசியல்

My review of ஊழல் – உளவு – அரசியல். A racy, riveting book that is monotonous in some places.

51y9y0vbjplSavukku Sankar, as he is known after his popular website ‘savukkuonline’, is an ex-employee of the Tamil Nadu police force. In his Tamil book ‘Oozhal-Ulavu-Arasiyal’ (Corruption-Espionage-Politics), he explains, in first person singular, the trials and tribulations that he had undergone when he had to be tried for a suspected leak of supposedly classified information, while the truth was, he had inadvertently raised suspicion to have leaked a recorded telephone conversation concerning a then state government minister.

The book is racy, has its share of thrilling moments and lots of instances that portray the decay and nadir the police, state government and the judiciary have reached in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

That Sankar mentions the crime perpetrators by first name, who, in most cases, are government officials, chief ministers, judges and police officials, should not only ring alarm bells in the minds of corrupt officials, but also in the minds of the readers to look at the worthies using the spotlight shown on them.

Sankar also mentions some Jihadist elements, whom he had met in jail, who were later connected with some political parties connected with the minority community. This shows the kind of leaders who are heading such parties and who define the destiny of the followers of their ideology.

While we cannot compensate Sankar for the trouble and pain he had undergone in the hands of the supposed ‘protectors of law and justice’, we need to thank him for bringing out the politico-legal-police nexus and for highlighting the extent to which the united trio would stoop, at tax payer’s expense, to safeguard one another’s interests.

I do not subscribe to Sankar’s views on Islamic radicalism or left oriented activism. But, I would applaud his efforts in bringing out the decay in the govt machinery.

The books is mostly riveting and straightforward yet callous and monotonous in a couple of chapters.

P.S.: Not recommended for heart patients.

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