Tamil Nadu to Taliban Nadu – 2

Take the case of a terrorist who does a heinous crime. Any normal civil society would ask for the most extreme punishment to the devil. But what happened in the case of Sandalwood smuggler Veerappan was the exact opposite. The hardened criminal that he had become, Veerappan was audacious enough to kidnap Rajkumar, a famous Kannada actor, and demand ransom like he did with various other people. He shot to notoriety by smuggling sandalwood and elephant tusks. He was ruthless in killing the forest guards and policemen.

But when the state wanted to take some stern action on him, his caste became an issue of debate. Political parties such as the one headed by a medical doctor espoused his cause and argued for a pardon to the saint – Veerappan. His story was serialised in a local Tamil magazine and he became part of folklore. Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, in a one of her heroic acts, eliminated him by engaging with him in a kind of deceptive combat. He was lured into a trap and was killed. Then, his wife became a hero and was the talk of the town later. She even formed a political party. I don’t know what came of the party.

Would this kind of madness, of eulogising a hardened criminal, happen in the democratic society elsewhere? I would think not.

The LTTE killed Rajiv Gandhi in cold blood. It denied its hand for many years until Anton Balasingham confessed to it in an interview before his death. Along with Rajiv, 23 other ordinary citizens of India were killed too. Just because the killers happened to be members of the LTTE – the so called saviours of Tamil – the terrorist organisation’s members had to dealt with kid gloves, claimed the chauvinists. The killers, even after 25 years of Rajiv’s death, are languishing in Indian prisons after clever lawyers helped them escape the noose. Now, it has become a fashion to sport the terrorist outfit’s emblems in public and claim the fight for a greater Tamil cause.

The January 2017 ‘protesters’ in the Marina beach, who were ostensibly fighting for an ancient animal sport, held out placards that had LTTE insignia. The ‘protesters’ held seditious placards that espoused secession from the Indian union, an old and un-intelligent call that even its originators abandoned in the late 60s. They had also shown thoroughly objectionable and crude messages against the nation’s Prime Minister, in completely base language that spewed with obscenity. So much for upholding Tamil, the classical language – what ever that is meant of the adjective.

Rev Robert Caldwell (1814–1891) sowed the first seed of secession with his ‘Dravidian Linguistic Unity Theory’. However he never concealed his evangelical intentions. He calculated correctly that once the southern languages are separated from the mainstream cultural unity based Sanskrit, it would be easier to reach the head count goals for which he had come to the country. Evidence for this is available aplenty.

His disciples carried forward his ideology and sanctified him in the annals of Tamil history. Now he has become an inalienable icon of Tamil hagiography. His evangelical intentions, however, do not eclipse his scholarship in Tamil. He took pains to learn the language and the many Bakthi literature ( eg : Thiruvachakam ) and became quite an expert in those. However, those that carry him in their higher scaffolds lack even the basic knowledge needed in Tamil to read and understand these Bakthi-era poetry.

The offshoot of Caldwell’s school of though was the dravidian separatist movement of the 50s. It proponent, E.V.Ramasamy Naicker, tried to enlist the Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam speakers into this ‘Dravidian’ channel and failed miserably at that. His protege, Annadurai, tried to carry this legacy, though a subdued one aimed only at the gullible Tamil audience, and abandoned it when Pt.Nehru threatened him with the new ‘Sedition Act’. Later Annadurai became the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu after committing to safeguard the Indian Union.

From then on, his protege, Karunanidhi, a screen play writer, and later a matinee idol M.G.Ramachandran became Chief Ministers in the same order. After the death of M.G.R, his screen pair and protege Jayalalithaa came to power in the state. The effect of all these was that the state had become the hotbed of movie centric madness. A stint in the movie industry became a path way to political power, with the result that, today every minor screen actor aspires to become the Chief Minister one day.

The supremacy of the show biz industry, easy access to power, excessive and unchecked flow of unaccounted money in the industry made sure that the persons associated with the industry were invincible. The ascendancy of people associated with cine industry to political authority led to lowering of standards in the educational scene. The screen stars who became political leaders began to believe in much of what they had mouthed in the movies. This resulted in empty rhetoric becoming academic mainstream. If one was able to deliver a mouthful of movie dialog without batting his eyelid, he was considered an academic and a person of erudition. Academic institutions became empty vessels that made the most noise, mostly unintelligible in nature.

Result : MGR, Karunanidhi, Jayalalithaa and Sivaji Ganesan became ‘Doctors in Philosophy’, with each state run university falling over another in conferring these ‘honorary’ doctorates to the worthies out of which the highest educated one was a Class X pass out.

Leaving aside the assault on the national psyche, the damage that this did to the Tamil literary circle was enormous. That directly contributed to the speeding up of the downward spiral.

Annadurai, a former Chief Minister penned base stories like ‘Oru Iravu’ ( One Night), ‘Velaikkaari’ (Maid) and depicted not so honorable scenes in them. These were regarded as a sort of rebellion against the ‘brahmanical’ literature of those times.  His protege Karunanidhi, a former movie script writer and three time Chief Minister, carried Annadurai’s legacy forward and helped bring down the standards of literature in general.

The one who wrote the most obscene of scripts and songs became the most talked about in town, was conferred with the most prestigious government awards with the result that a cartoonist of a local daily presented a scene where a garbage picker lays his hands on a multitude of awards dumped in a garbage bin.

Getting an award became tantamount to purchasing one.

Tamil Nadu to Taliban Nadu

The state of Tamil Nadu entered the hospital in December 2015. Then it graduated to an ICU in September 2016 and finally reached the mortuary in December 2016. From then on, it continues to be in the same state – lying in state.

Dec 15 floods not only devastated Chennai but also wrote the preamble to the destruction of the state’s economics. When floods ravaged the state, overseas companies that had their offshore operations in Chennai took a serious hit. The offshore sites were not reachable for 4 days and that had a devastating effect on the bottom lines of many IT enabled companies.

I took it as a cue and moved a critical function to another state in India. Many had done that too, later I learnt.

Then came September 2016, when the then Chief Minister of the state Ms.Jayalalithaa was taken ill. She was in hospital until December 2016 when she passed away. The business scenario took a serious downward spiral as the state didn’t have a head of state for many months.

Later during January 2017, assorted groups took advantage of the situation and held the state to ransom by holding an indefinite strike and protest on the shores of the Bay of Bengal in Chennai. What appeared to be a ‘student’s protest’ to voice opposition to the banning of a popular traditional animal sport soon metamorphosed into an ugly monster that espoused sedition and linguistic chauvinism.

From then on, periodic protests in the name of safeguarding agriculture, protecting tamil pride, opposing the ‘exploitative’ attitude of industries et al have begun to surface with no warning. Meanwhile the state government has gone into a paralytic mode with no visible activity happening in the name of governance.

This sudden vacuum in the power structure has provided the necessary impetus to the anti-social elements to wreak havoc on the state and upset the carefully built image of the state as a safe one for investment.

The LTTE money that is still available in a few hands, the religious conversion inspired and church backed activists who have seen their folk dwindling, the out of business politicians who were kept at bay by the two state political parties, the parties affected by the recent demonetization by the Narendra Modi government – mostly the hawala operators, movie producers et al – these are the forces that are behind the incremental descent into chaos.

Yet another force that is not spoken about at all by the mainstream media is the rapid wahabi inspired elements that are seeking to consolidate and bring about greater instability in the state. The late Jayalalithaa too pandered to this sect when she allowed the ‘Anti-Superstition Conference’ of the wahabi inspired elements. The elements openly asked for the desecration of the sufi shrines in Tamil Nadu, as the latter were not as per the teachings of the wahabi sect of Islam. For 100s of years, hindus and christians have visited these sufi shrines as a show of inter-religious harmony in the country. Disturbing this amity is a recipe for disaster.

Some of the leading movie stars like Kamal Hasan have found it fit to come out in the open and voice concern on the state of affairs – an attempt to enter the political scene now that the all powerful leader – Jayalalithaa- is gone. It was Kamal Hasan who had to face the music of wahabi elements when he sought to release a movie of his – Viswaroopam – that talked about terrorist elements and the US war on terror. That Jayalalithaa used Kamal Hasan to consolidate the wahabi elements to support her was an open secret that none wanted to acknowledge.

Tamil Nadu is seen to oppose any progressive central government scheme much to the detriment of its own people. Overseas investors are in two minds whether to invest in the state or not, now that there is no political leadership with clarity of thought and action.

The recent ‘protest’ in the village of Neduvasal in the name of opposing hydro carbon extraction is worth our attention. This was conducted by, again, the assorted groups of anti-India and anti-Progressive forces. No sooner were the protests announced than the communist parties sidelined with them. The recent converts into communism – the JNU radicals and his ilk – came all the way to Tamil Nadu, to Neduvasal, and ‘voiced’ their support to the cause. This, even after assurances from geologists from the Periyar University in Salem that the hydro carbon extraction in Neduvasal had nothing to do with the water levels going down in the state.

The not-so-recent Kudankulam protests have to be looked into through the same lenses. The local church organisations had gathered together, pooled their resources, and financed the fast-unto-death programme of the local residents. The fasts continued for so long that even Arvind Kejriwal, the born-again-anti-national, came all the way to Kudankulam to voice his support. It is a different matter that Kejriwal had promised free electric power to Delhi ( where he was Chief Minister) and it didn’t matter to him that the free power that he was proposing was drawn from the Atomic rectors of Rajasthan.

The Neutrino project in the Western Ghats in Tamil Nadu has been shelved after considerable money has already been spent. Reason – environmentalists of this anti-national conglomerate opposed it.

Tamil Nadu is seen as the only state that opposes the national eligibility tests for medical seats. Recently the state also abolished the state level qualifying tests for its engineering colleges.

The number of Tamil Nadu students qualifying in central government conducted All India Exams has come down, thanks to successive years of decay in the educational arena. The normally multi-lingual Tamil student is seen to struggle even in Tamil, leave alone English and Hindi. The student knows the next movie that is set for release than what goes into a mobile phone that makes it work.

For the average student, a movie star’s personal attributes are interesting than the issues in South China sea. One should not be surprised if a student, when asked ‘Who is the president of Tibet’, could blurt out, ‘Dalai Lama’. Such is the situation on the ground. The educational statistics of the state’s students, especially in Math and Science, paint a grim picture. While the state should pride itself in providing quality and free educations, it has stooped to the level of distributing liquor through state agencies.

The state had the gory spectacle of the top bureaucrat being raided, in office, by central tax investigators.

However hard I try, as an Indian Tamil, I cannot restrain from thinking that Tamil Nadu is marching progressively towards being rechristened Taliban Nadu.  And feel sad at it.

I plan to write more on these contemporary issues at different times. I shall write them as an Indian first and a Tamil next.

Tell me your views and share the article as appropriate.

A note to the Centre

Nothing can be farther from truth than the belief that the Left, in India, is dead. When it was in power, it at least had the chains of a modicum of responsibility. However, even as late as the disastrous UPA-1 experiment, they resorted to blackmail politics and had no qualms in enjoying power without responsibility. Nuclear deal is a case in point.

Now that it has been decimated in all the states in the recent elections, chances that the left would resort to the university-chaos technique, are more. The chaos experiment has produced great results for them in JNU. With the incendiary environment in Tamil Nadu, aided amply by the unaccounted erstwhile Tiger money and demise of a strong state CM, the left inspired chaos-theory could gain ground. Religious NGO led funding is always at hand, just in case there is a shortage (Eg: Kudankulam, Marina, Neduvasal).

The Centre should act as a strong central govt, crack the whip, and rein in the anti-national elements with all the force it can muster. The state of Tamil Nadu has long suffered from absence of governance and orientation towards the national mainstream.

When the center does something for TN, talk about it, in Tamil, in Chennai and in all other places. Ask central ministers to conduct press conferences and answer questions. Show that the party is definitely a party with a difference.

The BJP needs to provide credible, young leaders in the state, who are grounded in the nationalist ideology, can articulate better both in Tamil and English, with the force necessary, in the national and local television channels, have a better connect with the students and youngsters, and, in general, represent the new generation.

And, for God’s sake, eschew tinsel sentinels. TN needs change not only in the body, but also in the soul. Hence no more tinsel souls in a new body, please. And no cut-out / banner culture please.

Mind it. The Left has nothing to lose but everything to gain from a disoriented Tamil Nadu that is looking for another ’cause’ to fight. A Left gain is not good for the nation.

Thank you Chief Minister, yet again

Dear Chief Minister,

Please accept my sincere thanks. I will tell you why.

5 years ago when you came to power, I was one of the many who rejoiced. When you said that you would meet the press every week, I was over-joyed.

5 x 52 weeks have passed. And you met the press once.

The state was then ruled by a sycophantic conglomerate that whiled away its time ogling at semi-clad actresses gyrate on stage. Now that does not happen. However, I don’t know what you and your govt do.

The state was, albeit 40 years ago, the knowledge capital of the country. Today, it is the ‘water’ capital of the country – literally and figuratively. Chennai either doesn’t have water or has an abundance of it.

I often thought your ministers had hunched backs. But later I learnt that their backs were bent due to an occupational hazard of having had to bend while standing in attention with hands folded, in mock respect.

You promised ‘corruption-free’ governance. What I got was ‘free’ corruption. Yes, either there was corruption or it was ‘free’ and hence corrupt.

I have not forgotten you. But I never understood why you had to remind me of your face when ever I step out of home – in the form of posters, billboards et al.

I wanted ministers who could speak. But what I  got was a bunch of people that repeated what it said and repeatedly said what it repeated.

I can still recall Karunanidhi’s ministers by name. What they ministered is a different matter. But they had a name and I could remember them. The only minister I can remember in your government is you.

I expected rapid turn-around in governance. And I got an assembly resolution to release Rajiv killers.

I didn’t expect statesmen in your team. But I got a bunch who were biological men who couldn’t stand up to what they were expected to stand up for. I wanted them to stand up for what they believed in but found that they didn’t know what they believed in.

I wanted men and women in your team who could speak and act. What I got in return was a group of bench tappers.

The state of Tamil Nadu had produced such stalwarts like R.Venkatraman, O.V.Alagesan, Kamaraj and Rajaji. Though I didn’t expect your ministers to be like these folks, I got only a group of bench bangers.

Name one awe inspiring act of your government and I will change my name to ‘Blistering Barnacles’. Other than keeping the other bunch of looters out of power, I am searching for some contribution of your government to the betterment of the state.

The more countries I visit, the more depressed I am. The Japanese Prime Minister walks with the commuters. Even Obama’s motorcade needs just 3 mins of traffic hold-up in New York. So, what is so special about TN?

Didn’t you find even one English speaking minister in you cabinet? The ex-BJP MP Maitreyan who joined your chorus brigade – where is he now? Why not allocate some decent work for the guy?

Your government has the dubious distinction of making people disappear into thin air at the drop of a hat. Not sure what the trick is. If one face from your party appears in a TV talk-show, then he would be expelled by you in the next one week or so. I think that people wanting to leave your party only take part in TV talks. And what a mess they make!

Neither are the opposition speakers on TV any good. They flounder and stutter and swear at one another. If only you had some speakers whose speech didn’t  start with eulogies to you every time they opened their mouths, your points of view would have been made known. For by the time they finished singing your hosannas, we lost patience and changed channel.

I am not going to talk about the flood management in Chennai. But for the army, some bureaucrats, the NGOs and some well meaning youngsters, the capital would have been washed away, literally.

Dear Chief Minister, the state deserves better than what it has got.

But, is there a choice for us?  Here are the alternatives:

  • 2G looters who can’t count the zeroes in their bank balance.
  • Wood-cutters, armed with pick axes, roaming around to cut off heads of lower caste folks.
  • A semi-conscious alcoholic who never completes a sentence.
  • Other lumpen elements that surface during election time.

‘None of the above’ only seems to be an option for me and hence you have a chance again. So don’t let us down, yet again.

A note before I conclude: Neither MGR nor Annadurai did take anything with them when they departed. This holds good for any body and that includes a Chief Minister as well. As far as possible, do good. If not don’t do what you have been doing this term – in case you were doing anything at all.

You don’t need to transform TN into a Gujarat, but don’t make it a Bihar.

Let me know in case of clarifications. But don’t ask your ministers to talk, for I can’t wait until they finish your hosannas.

Thanks

An Indian aspiring a better future.

P.S: My earlier letter to you and your predecessor.

Wahabism, et al

I am with Jeyamohan on his views on Wahabism.

I consider Sufi-Islam as more suited to our multi-cultural, multi-lingual and multi-ethnic society than the most puritanical interpretation that Wahabists espouse.

As a society, we have been an all-encompassing and inclusive society when it came to acceptance of religious and cultural values. I have seen Hindus take their crying babies to mosques and dargas for the mystics in those places to smear them with ash or tie some sacred talismans to the children’s arms. I have also been a part of some muslim marriages where friends were kind enough to prepare vegetarian meals for veggies like me in Neyveli.

The ‘Sandal-paste’ functions at the holy dargas of the late noble souls of Islam (Nagoor, Ajmer et al ), are all the Indian versions of Islam that act as a confluence of multiple beliefs and cultures. More non-Muslims take part in those festivals that are celebrated with great piety.

The Hazrat-bal shrine in Jammu and Kashmir is a revered site for people of all religions. Do the Wahabists want to stop that practice too?

The muslim women that I knew wore white purdahs that were no different from the kind of saree that my widowed grand mother wore until her death. As as child, I had often mistook many such elderly muslim ladies to be my grand mom and had walked behind them calling them ‘Pithi’ ( child lingo for ‘Paatti’ in Tamil). But today the white dress is almost extinct. That, in itself, is a grand transformation for me and makes me think of earlier days.

Mohamad Rafi gave us as much pleasure due to his music as T.M.Soundarrajan did. We have never discriminated one against the other. A.R. Rahman is seen only as an artist. Who can forget the contributions of the legendary Dr.Kalam towards nation building? If Wahabist ideals are to be followed, then Dr. Kalam has to be despised for his ability play the veena and Mohamad Rafi for his songs. This would be the most stupid thing to happen to us.

If Karukurichchi Arunachalam was adored for his Nadaswaram skills, so was Sheik Chinna Moulana for his mellifluous rendering of the different kirtanas through his Nadaswaram.

In my book ‘Pazhayia Kanakku’ I had spoken about an elderly muslim lady from Therazhundhur. She, according to me, was the embodiment of Islam who stood by the religion’s values of compassion, justice and humility. Any other interpretation of the religion, to suit foreign vested interests, that seeks to destroy the cultural amity and religious tolerance in our multi-cultural context, should not be allowed.

For me, the late Mr.Ajees, my Dad’s classmate who set up stalls for water distribution during the summer chariot festival in Therazhundhur, was a more pious muslim and a compassionate person than those Saudi funded political associations like Popular Front and Tawheed Jamat that seek to divide the society. For me, the voices of people like the late Mr.Ajees represent Islam .

The unity and integrity of the nation and society are very fragile entities. They need to be safeguarded at any cost. Any force seeking to cause touble – whether the Right, the Left or any other dispensation – needs to be shown its rightful place, in prison, in line with the legal tenets of the country.

As a nationalist and a global citizen, I am horrified when I learn about a conference on ‘Shirk’ that seeks to destroy ‘dargas’ and other structures. It is a pity that such amorous alliances which show a clearly dangerous and devious attitude are allowed in a multi-cultural democracy.

Nagoor Dargah, The Hazrat Bal Shrine and Ajmer Shrine are important places not only from a religious point of view but also from cultural and historical points of view. They are as much part of our civilization as they are part of a religious path. They are our treasures and should be treated as such. Radicals who seek to cause harm to such shrines have no place in our civilized society.

I abhor the paid-Wahabists who proclaim their unitary and tunneled vision as much as I abhor the narrow interpretation of our cultural values and systems.

In our current troubled times due to the rise of ISIS and other radical groups, it is the duty of right thinking citizens to take a stand against religious segregation and balkanization and further division of the society.

For those of you wanting to react in a knee-jerk fashion, stop. Read ‘Hatred’s Kingdom’ once to know about Wahabism. Then talk.

Thank you CM, yet again

Dear Chief Minister,

Please accept my sincere thanks. I will tell you why.

5 years ago when you came to power, I was one of the many who rejoiced. When you said that you would meet the press every week, I was over-joyed.

5 x 52 weeks have passed. And you met the press once.

The state was then ruled by a sycophantic conglomerate that whiled away its time ogling at semi-clad actresses gyrate on stage. Now that does not happen. However, I don’t know what you and your govt do.

The state was, albeit 40 years ago, the knowledge capital of the country. Today, it is the ‘water’ capital of the country – literally and figuratively. Either there is no water or an abundance of it.

I often thought your ministers had hunched backs. But later I learnt that their backs were bent due to an occupational hazard of having had to bend while standing in attention with hands folded, in mock respect.

You promised ‘corruption-free’ governance. What I got was ‘free’ corruption. Yes, either there is corruption or it is ‘free’ and hence corrupt.

I have not forgotten you. But I never understood why you had to remind me of your face when ever I step out of home – in the form of posters, billboards et al.

I wanted ministers who could speak. But what I  got is a bunch of people who repeat what they say. And they repeatedly say what they repeat.

I can still recall Karunanidhi’s ministers by name. What they ministered is a different matter. But they had a name and I could remember them. The only minister I can remember in your government is you.

I expected rapid turn-around in governance. And I got an assembly resolution to release Rajiv killers.

I didn’t expect statesmen in your team. But I did expect men. Not only biological men but also who would stand for what they believed and know what they believed in.

I wanted men and women in assembly who could speak and act. What I got in return was a bunch of bench tappers.

The state of Tamil Nadu had produced such stalwarts like R.Venkatraman, O.V.Alagesan, Kamaraj and Rajaji. I didn’t expect your ministers to be like those folks. But I didn’t want bench bangers either.

Name one awe inspiring act of your government and I will change my name to ‘Blistering Barnacles’. Other than keeping the other bunch of looters out of power, what is your contribution to the state?

The more countries I visit, the more depressed I am. The Japanese Prime Minister walks with the commuters. Even Obama’s motorcade needs just 3 mins of traffic hold-up in New York. So, what is so special about TN?

Didn’t you find even one English speaking minister in you cabinet? The ex-BJP MP Maitreyan who joined your chorus brigade – where is he now? Why not allocate some decent work for the guy?

Your government has the dubious distinction of making people disappear into thin air at the drop of a hat. Not sure what the trick is. If one face from your party appears in a TV talk-show, then he would be expelled by you in the next one week or so. I think that people wanting to leave your party only take part in TV talks. And what a mess they make!

Neither are the opposition speakers on TV any good. They flounder and stutter and swear at one another. If only you had some speakers whose speech didn’t  start with eulogies to you every time they opened their mouths, your points of view would have been made known. For by the time they finished singing your hosannas, we lost patience and changed channel.

I am not going to talk about the flood management in Chennai. But for the army, some bureaucrats, the NGOs and some well meaning youngsters, the capital would have been washed away, literally.

Dear Chief Minister, the state deserves better than what it has got.

But, is there a choice for us?  Here are the alternatives:

  1. 2G looters who can’t count the zeroes in their bank balance.
  2. Wood-cutters, armed with pick axes, roaming around to cut off heads of lower caste folks.
  3. A semi-conscious alcoholic that doesn’t complete a sentence.
  4. The other lumpen elements that surface during election time.

With the above choice, ‘None of the above’ seems to be the best option. So, it seems, you have a chance again. And don’t let us down, yet again.

Final point before I close: Neither MGR nor Annadurai took anything with them when they departed. And that holds good for any Chief Minister. If at all, do good. If not, refrain from doing what you have been doing so far – just in case you were doing anything at all.

Let me know in case of clarifications. But don’t ask your ministers to talk, for I can’t wait until they finish your hosannas.

Thank you,

An Indian in need of a change

P.S.: My earlier letter to you and your predecessor

Thank you, Chief Minister

Dear Chief Minister – past & present,

Just two words to you. Thank You. For, you have enlightened us in many ways in 4 days. You made us understand what we have and what we don’t have; what we are and what we aren’t.

Fist, what we have:

  1. A Chief Minister who wouldn’t talk to the very people who elected her. Conceit? Probably.
  2. A CM who has aspirations to become a PM but with not even a hundredth of the latter’s attributes.
  3. A whole army of nincompoops. Call them ‘ministers’ at your peril.
  4. A swarm of MLAs who are no better.
  5. A legislature of owls err.. party men who bring disgrace to the hyenas.
  6. A state civil administration that is too inept to even provide direction to the defence services. But can’t blame them as you chose them.
  7. A complete army of sycophants who have made even the Congress party members blush.
  8. A slew of politicians who were so vociferous until the other day on intolerance and other debates but have suddenly lost their speech now.

Second, what we didn’t have:

  1. A leader from the state who would stand by the people.
  2. A leader who could provide proper direction to the administration.
  3. A human being at the helm.
  4. The ‘stars’ who perform rather than whine.
  5. Elected representatives that could talk coherently.

But by all the above, you made us know who we were.

And we are:

  1. One people for whom religion is just an attribute.
  2. One people for whom caste is just an indicator.
  3. The Hindus who let Muslims take shelter in temples.
  4. The Muslims who prepare food for the Hindus.
  5. The Jains who distribute food to the Muslims.
  6. Triplicane brahmins who cook food for the Thondiarpet Christians.
  7. The Sri Rangam Mamis who make chappatis for the Saidapet slum dwellers.
  8. The Ambur Muslims who provide mats for Agraharam Iyers.
  9. The ‘terrorist’ RSS that took care of carrying the dead in flood.
  10. The ‘extremist’ MMK who provide shelter to the Chettiar Hindus.
  11. The 5th standard girl child from Trichy who makes chappatis for unknown friends in Chennai.
  12. The Sikh gents who swim to help the slum dwellers.
  13. The brave army men who battle snakes to save the elderly.
  14. The air force men who save many pregnant women.
  15. The fisherfolk that has saved so many lives that we don’t know how many.
  16. The hundreds of ordinary, non-descript people who opened doors for complete strangers and established ‘Vasudaiva Kudumbakam’- One world one family.

The more you sought to divide us, the more we became one. You tried to divide us on caste, religion and language. But we came together as Indians.

Now we know no Muslim, no Hindu and no Christian. We only know Indians who happen to be Muslims, Christians and Hindus.

And a big thank you, for refusing to show up needing the Prime Minister to make you do your duty.

Thank you, yet again, for showing us that what the state needs is not parochialism or linguistic division or caste based confusion.

Thank you for showing us that Anna-ism, Dravidian-ism, Parochial-ism, Hindu-ism, Brahmin-ism, Non-Brahmin-ism, Islam-ism or whatever ‘ism’ don’t work and the only ‘ism’  that works is Human-ism and that we are bound by National-ism in this effort.

Thank you for bringing out the Indianness in us.

Jai Hind & Good bye.

P.S.:

  1. This applies to all the Chief Ministers of the past 30 or so years.
  2. Here are some pictures showing who we are. ( pics taken from social media )

Iyer and Muslim RSS

Muslim Help Kanchi Mutt ReliefVaishnavaite Jeer in CHurch

உங்களுக்கு ( 'பஹுத்' ) அறிவு இருக்கா ?

“அது ஒரு உடம்பு. உளறுவது என்பதே அந்த உடம்பு.

பொதுவாக திராவிடக் கட்சிகளுக்கே இந்த உடம்பு வரும். வாயில் வந்ததைப் பேசுவார்கள். கேட்டால் சமூக நீதி என்பார்கள். இதற்கு ‘பகுத்தறிவு’ என்றும் பெயர் உண்டு.

20ம் நூற்றாண்டின் துவக்கத்தில் கன்னடம் பேசும் தமிழ்நாட்டுத் தமிழர் ஒருவர்  ‘பகுத்தறிவு’ என்பதைக் கண்டுபிடித்து உலகிற்கு வழங்கினார். அன்றிலிருந்து மக்களுக்குப் பகுத்தறிவு ஏற்பட்டது. அதுவரை வெறும் மண் உருண்டைகளாக இருந்தவர்கள் திடீரென்று உயிர் பெற்றனர். அறிவும் சேர்ந்து பெற்று நன்மை அடைந்தனர்.

அந்தக் கண்டுபிடிப்பாளரின் பேரன் தற்போது ஒரு  விஷயத்தைக் கண்டுபிடித்துள்ளார். இது மாபெரும் கண்டுபிடிப்பு என்பதால் அனேகமாக ‘நோபல்’ பரிசு கிடைக்க வழியுண்டு. ஆக அடுத்த நோபல் பரிசு தமிழகத்துக்கே.

அப்படி அவர் என்ன கண்டுபிடித்தார் ?

60 வயதிற்கு மேல் உள்ள ஒரு ஆணும் பெண்ணும் ஒரு மணி நேரம் பேசினால் அவர்களுக்குள் வேறு ஒன்றும் நடந்திருக்காது. அதில் ஆண் நாட்டின் பிரதமர். பெண் மாநிலத்தின் முதல்வர். கண்டுபிடித்த அறிவியல் அறிஞர் தேர்தலில் டெப்பாசிட் இழந்த கட்சியின் தலைவர்.

இப்படி ஒரு கண்டுபிடிப்பைக் கண்டு பிரின்ஸ்டன் பல்கலைக் கழகம் விழிபிதுங்கி நிற்கிறது. ஹார்வார்ட் பல்கலைக்கு ஹார்ட் அட்டாக் வந்துவிடும் போல் உள்ளது. ஆக்ஸ்போர்ட், கேம்பிரிட்ஜ் எல்லாம் ஆடிப்போய் உட்கார்ந்துவிட்டன. இவ்வளவு செலவு செய்கிறோம் ஆனால் இம்மாதிரி கண்டுபிடிக்க முடியவில்லையே என்று இவை கசிந்து உருகுகின்றன.

ஆனால் இவற்றால் ஒன்றும் செய்ய முடியாது. எத்தனை டாலர் செலவழித்தாலும் இம்மாதிரியான கண்டுபிடிப்பை இவர்களால் நிகழ்த்த முடியாது.

ஏனெனில் இப்படிக் கண்டுபிடிக்க உங்களுக்கு ஒரு மரபணு ( ஜீன்) வேண்டும். அந்த ஜீன் இந்த நவீன அறிவியலாளரிடம் உள்ளது. அவரிடம் மட்டுமே உள்ளது.

அது தான் ‘பகுத்தறிவு’ ஜீன்.

ஹிந்தியில் ‘பஹுத்’+ ‘அறிவு’ என்று அறியப்படும் அளவுக்கு அதிகமான அறிவு. இந்திய வம்சாவளியில் ‘கள்’ தோன்றி மண்ணாந்தைகள் தோன்றாத காலத்திலேயே ‘வாலோடு’ முன் தோன்றி மானத்தை வாங்கிய மூட குடியில் ஈரோட்டுப் பாசறையில் தோன்றியிருந்தால் மட்டுமே இப்படியெல்லாம் கண்டுபிடிக்க முடியும்.

இந்தக் கட்சியின் சவப்பெட்டியில் அனேகமாக எல்லா ஆணிகளுமே அடிக்கப்பட்டு விட்டன. டெல்லியில் ஒருவர் அந்தத் திருப்பணியைத் திறம்படச் செய்து வருகிறார். தமிழ் நாட்டில் இன்னும் வேகமாக ‘பஹுத்’ அறிவின் பேரன் செயதுள்ளார்.

அனேகமாக கட்சியைக் கலைக்க வேண்டும் என்னும் காந்தியின் கனவை இவர்கள் ‘பஹுத்’ அறிவுப் பரட்சி மூலம் செய்து முடிக்க எல்லாம் வல்ல இத்தாலியம்மனை வேண்டுகிறேன்.”

Disclaimer :

I hereby declare that I have not made the above statements. When I sat in front of the computer, I heard a voice that commanded me to write whatever I heard. My hands automatically moved over the keyboard and I saw the characters appear on the screen.

'Kakkaa Muttai – my review of a Tamil film

‘Is this a Tamil film?’ I found myself asking this question when I was watching ‘Kakka Muttai’ (crow’s egg ). I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

I don’t watch movies, leave alone tamil movies. But Baradwaj Rangan of The Hindu and Kashayam with Bosskey influenced me to watch the film. And what an experience it was!

The story line is very simple – two slum kids desire a pizza. Do they get to eat or not is what the movie is all about.

The director, M.Manikandan, doesn’t seem to be a newbie to direction. There are subtle messages but no preaching is involved. The way the story has been filmed , the likes of Kamal Hassan and Rajinikanth should cringe in shame. The two kids, Ramesh and Vignesh, have lived their roles – they are apparently from a slum it seems.

Let me narrate some scenes where I was completely floored.

‘Oru kilo Three rupees’  – the younger child says this when trying to sell the spilled over coal from the goods wagons. The sense of triumph on the child’s face when he utters the English words ‘three rupees’ is sure to bring tears to the viewer. The aspiration of the child is to speak in English and hence he often says ‘My name is Chinna Kaka Muttai’ ( my name is Crow’s Egg Jr) while he calls his elder brother ‘Periya Kaka Muttai’ (Crow’s Egg Sr ). In a land still obsessed with the belief that speaking in English means a higher strata in society, this triumphant expression of the child of ‘having arrived’ is a stark reminder about the distance that the slum dwellers need to travel to actually ‘arrive’ and be accepted into the urban mainstream.

The child’s facial expression when the tree, where the crow had its nest, is cut is bound to remain in one’s conscience for a long time. The child is sad due to two reasons.

  1. The crow has lost its abode
  2. No more crow eggs for them to get their nutrition from

The child innocently asks the elder brother where would the crow go for the night. The child has lost his only source of nourishment, the crow’s egg. However he is concerned about the safety of the crow now that the tree has been cut. Just the one line that the child speaks moves you beyond anything else any other character in the film says.

The film is also a stark reminder to the Tamil Nadu government. There are two TVs provided by the PDS ration shop while there is no stock of rice. The slum dwellers need rice more than anything else. But they are given two TV sets, free of cost, by the government. A timely message for those who want to hear.

The children want pizza more than even getting their father out of jail.  And they are introduced to pizza when their favorite haunting ground is bought over by a pizza outlet. The practice of inviting film stars to open such outlets draws small children from nearby slums. But the irony is those children are not able to afford an entry into such shops.

The children’s mother, another actor with great potential, expresses her anger and agony at the pain caused by opening such not-affordable shops in the vicinity of slums – all with meager words. She is not against the shop but expresses her despair. Kudos to the female actor.

The two brothers strike a friendship with a well to do child who lives in a gated community. And every time they interact, there do so across the steel gate barrier. The steel gate signifies the class divide and that part has been brilliantly conceptualized. I was just amazed at this.

There is a drunkard who deals in stolen goods. And once he is drunk, he speaks about class divide, the rule of the Maratha warrior Sivaji and the like. But when he is sober, he becomes a practical person who does his daily chore of dealing in stolen goods. A fantastic portrayal of the futility of such rhetorical speeches of the communist kind.

kakkaa muttai picture

I am not sure if the depiction of DBS Bank in the background when the children think of entering the ‘City Center Mall’ was intentional. Even if it was not, I feel the logo of the Singaporean bank in Chennai where two slum children contemplate to enter a mall speaks volumes about the rich-poor divide. Kudos again.

There is a sarcastic depiction of the media as well. The lady reporter is talking about the two slum children in front of the camera ( with the slum as the background ). The two children walk by and are shooed away from the scene. Nothing portrays the insensitive attitude of the media than this one scene. Yet another is when a TV debate on the children is interrupted midway twice once for a commercial break and another for relaying the scene when the children are hit by the pizza shop employee.

Finally, when the younger child says that the shop is cold, referring to the air-conditioning in the shop, serves as a hammer strike on our conscience. The child has never experienced air-conditioning in his life.

The ending where the child compares the pizza with his late grand mother’s dosai and delivers his judgement – if you would have watched the movie thus far, chances are, you would not be able to see the child’s expression as your eyes would have been flooded with tears- is a master piece.

Tamil cinema is not dead, yet.

Why wail for bail ?

The Indian Supreme Court has said that corruption was a human-rights issue. Interpreting corruption as a human rights matter is a fantastic idea.

Being corrupt is a human wrong. When a public official is corrupt, he steals from the public exchequer and denies a genuine good to somebody. What should be another’s becomes his. He owns what he is not supposed to own thereby denying a deserving person something that the latter is genuinely entitled to.

Humans have been corrupt from time immemorial. Probably Judas was the first one to be corrupt. Judas didn’t hold public office but Jeyalalitha did. She was the head of an Indian state of 60 million people. And she betrayed their trust.

She conducted a lavish wedding for her foster son and paid for the expenses from her ill-gotten money. So, somebody in the country was deprived of his money because Jeyalalitha stole his money to conduct the wedding. Probably many under-privileged girls didn’t get married because their fathers were not able to afford the wedding expenses. Jeyalalitha stole from their father’s due.

The human-right of the under-privileged girl to get married had been usurped by Jeyalalitha due to her corruption. Jeya’s wrong deprived the girl of her marriage.

It was only apt that Justice Chandrasekara denied bail to Jeyalalitha quoting this Supreme Court ruling.

Jeyalalitha was corrupt and hence tried and thereby has been convicted. A convict needs to undergo the sentence. ‘Presumed innocent until proven guilty’ is not applicable to her as she has already been proved guilty. She is entitled to appeal to higher courts, no doubt. But then comes the Supreme Court ruling that corruption is anti-human rights and results in economic imbalance and hence she is being detained while being allowed to appeal to the higher courts.

Here is the situation. She has been in jail for the last 6 days for a crime she has been proved to have committed. She is anxious to get bail until the higher courts agree to review the judgment.

Let us travel to 2004.

She was the Chief Minister then. She arrested a 70 year old pontiff on ‘serious’ charges, held him in custody for 60 days while denying bail four times. The Supreme Court granted him bail and later, after nine years, the pontiff was cleared of all charges.

During the trial period, the pontiff was vilified covertly and covertly. Every mad-rag magazine ran rancid and acerbic stories on him. All went under the garb of ‘media freedom’.

The pontiff was not convicted. He was forced to remain in prison even before trial began. But now the former Chief Minister has been convicted and is in jail, but wants bail.

People argue that she would not flee from justice and hence could be given bail. How strange that this argument did not apply to the 70 year old diabetic pontiff even before charges were filed against him !

How ironic is this wail for bail !