Sunday, January 21, 2018

Andal, Vairamuthu and a People Gone Berserk

The Brahmin community that has been running amuck for 10 days and the Hindutva brigade that's been baying for his blood all owe an apology to Vairamuthu or at least, if any decency is left, drop this topic and get on with their lives.

Vairamuthu's ONLY sin was sourcing a quote and like the many who are pillorying him, being a non-academician and accepting what's printed as God's own truth without probing further. If this is sin worth lynching him then what do we with the authors of Hindutva rag sheets or the many wanderers in the portals of academia that have become cesspools of revisionism servicing linguistic chauvinism or nationalist jingoism?


Vairamuthu (Image Courtesy sbllPOijgdhcg.jpg)
I've finally managed to get hold of the book, "Indian Movements: Some Aspects of Dissent Protest and Reform" edited by S.C. Malik.The book is published by "Indian Institute of Advanced Study - Simla", not by Indiana University. The copy Vairamuthu used was issued by Indiana University. The poor dilettante just mistook it for being a university publication.

The essay, in that book, "Bhakti Movement in South India" is by M.G.S. Narayanan and Veluthat Kesavan, both professors from Calicut University. Before we get to the offending lines let’s understand who these authors were.

Wikipedia has good details on Muttayil Govindamenon Sankara Narayanan aka M.G.S. Narayanan. He is a very highly regarded historian. Unlike Vairamuthu and his detractors I’ve taken pains to go to some of the sources of the quotations just to verify the context and reassure myself that no misrepresentation creeps.

Wikipedia supplies a quote from A.L. Bhasham to affirm the merits of Narayanan as a historian. Bhasham, referring to an index of inscriptions in Narayanan’s book “Perumals of Kerala” had said that the index alone is “a contribution to knowledge more valuable than many PhD theses”. This was excerpted from a review of a recent edition of the book, published in Frontline, and reviewer was none other than Veluthat Kesavan.

The mob spawned many conspiracy theories on the motivations of Vairamuthu to foreign universities meddling in India at the behest of a world conspiracy to undermine Hinduism were mentioned.

M.G.S. Narayanan was, interestingly, appointed Chairman of Indian Council of Historical Research in 2001 during Vajpayee’s tenure and was assured by Murli Manohar Joshi, then education minister, that there would be no interference in academic matters. Of course the honeymoon lasted just 2 years and Narayanan was ousted. Narayanan, Ramachandra Guha characterizes, in a column, as one who “knows his Vallathol and his Basheer, but also his Foucault and his Sartre”. Guha adds that unlike Paul Zachariah who calls himself a ‘man of the left’ Narayanan could best be described as ‘a man of the “anti-left”’.

Narayanan’s book “Perumals of Kerala” is subtitled “Brahmin Oligarchy and Ritual Monarchy: Political and Social Conditions of Kerala Under the Cera Perumals of Makotai (c. A.D 800-A.D 1124)”. Kesavan Veluthat takes issue with the anti-Brahmin flavor of that title in his review and points out that the book in fact shows Brahmins of that era in a very favorable light. Combining Kesavan’s observation and Guha’s characterization one can say that Narayanan cannot be boxed into the knee jerk neo-nazi anti-Brahmin lumpen crowd led by Karunanidhi. To be fair to Vairamuthu one cannot say he believed in everything Karunanidhi espoused or came to symbolize. I’ve not come across any overt anti-Hindu or anti-Brahminical flavored uttering of Vairamuthu.

About Kesavan Veluthat there’s little info like a wikipedia page. His bio-data is at http://www.du.ac.in/du/uploads/Faculty%20Profiles/2016/History/Nov2016_History_Kesavan.pdf 

With that back drop let’s look at the words by Narayanan and Kesavan Veluthat. The paragraph deserves to be quoted in full:
“A specific consequence of the movement was the encouragement it gave to devadasis or handmaids of gods, tevadiccis  Tamil. As bhakti spread through the media of songs, dance and beauty, devadasis played a significant role in the popular appeal of the temple. Thus, Sundaramurtti Nayanar was involved with a devadasi. Cheraman Perumal Nayanar notes the reception given to Shiva by devadasis of all ages while he went out in a procession around the streets in Kailasa, and Andal was herself a devadasi who lived and died in the Srirangam temple”. 
The reference to Sundaramurtti Nayanar was sourced from, according to references provided by the authors, K.A.Nilakanta Sastri’s ‘History of South India’. The authors do not mention the edition or date of publication of the book, a common citation required in academic papers to distinguish the source used. The 2009 Oxford University edition does not bear out the reference made and a google search took me to an archived version of the book which is an expanded version. The expanded version, published in 1958, does not exactly corroborate the quote (see Reference). However, folklore does corroborate it.

A work by scholars when citing a reference cannot use words, especially when connotations are loaded, to summarize what the source said. Sastri only says Nayanar wanted to marry a ‘dancing girl’ and a ‘sudra girl’. Of course one could argue that dancing girls were ‘devadasis’ in that era. If so the historian should suitably word it in his reference.

The Andal reference, the epicenter of the controversy, is handled in a very shoddy manner. An unpardonable error in a work by historians of Narayanan and Kesavan’s caliber. The source for the authors was T.A. Gopinatha Rao’s ‘History of Sri Vaishnavas” (1923, Madras University). Gopinatha Rao (1872-1919), an archeologist, is best known for his book “Elements of Hindu iconography”. ARchive.org provided a copy of ‘History of Sri Vaishnavas’ scanned in from a copy owned by University of Chicago. This is not a book but a lecture presented as part of a series titled “Sir Subrahmanyan Ayyar lectures” on 17th and 18th December 1917. After referring to Andal as Periyalvar’s daughter Gopinatha Rao writes:
“When she reached marriageable age, she refused to marry any one except the God Ranganatha of the Srirangam temple. The God appeared to the Alvar in a dream to declare before him his acceptance of the girl in marriage and ordered her to be brought to his residence at Srlrangam. Periyalvar took her there with great eclat and left her in her Lord's house and returned to his quiet residence at Srivilliputtur.”
According to mythology Andal was not left to live in Srirangam but that she merged with the presiding deity at Srirangam temple. Gopinatha Rao’s characterization of Andal being left at Srirangam in a marriage to the deity provided Narayanan and Kesavan the notion that she was a ‘devadasi’. Very unfortunately they did not elucidate that this was ‘conclusion’ they reached but stated it like it was a fact. Read into context with the paragraph talking about the “encouragement” given to the rise of devadasi tradition as ‘consequence’ of the Bhakti movement the authors too hastily clubbed Andal’s life into a traditional devadasi life.

The construction of this paragraph conflicts mildly with the authors’ earlier reference to Andal where they cite the work of Dr. K.C. Varadachari and write, “Since her love was so intense Ranganatha called her into the shrine where she disappeared”. I could not find the exact source of Varadachari’s that’s cited but I stumbled upon a treasure trove of Varadachari’s writings and biography. Online edition of books by that great scholar are available (see Reference) and his chapter on Andal in a book on Alvars does not  contradict anything cited from his work by Narayanan and Kesavan.

That said, the authors’ contention about rise of devadasis as a result of Bhakti movement is not without basis. Saskia Kersenboom-Story in ‘Nityasumangali’ underscores the connection, “The significance of Manikkavacakar for the tradition of the devadasi-nityasumangali consists in the fact that his work seems to represent a completion of the synthesis of the bardic Tamil culture and Brahmanic traditions of ritual and philosophical thought”.

It is instructive to quote K.A.Nilakanta Sastri on some of the eddies that accompanied the currents of the Bhakti movement. The Radha cult, Sastri says, “tended to degenerate into erotic excesses”. Of course, Sastri could not leave it there and he had to add, for good measure, “Nevertheless, Vaishnavism continued to be, in general, a noble and sweet influence on life”.

On the Saivaite Bhakti tradition there were, other than the Manickavasagar type, “other types of worshippers of Siva whose tenets and practices are gruesome and repellent to modern taste”. “Some of these sects, if not all, were addicted to the worship of the female principle, which often degenerated into licentious orgies”. Unlike the certificate of conduct he provides Vaishnavism Sastri doesn't provide one for Saivaites. One wonders.

It was a very complex era that needs to be recalled with due justice for the richness and counter currents and not sanitized to serve jingoistic narratives.

Though the Hindutva brigade and many Hindus today tend to characterize the devadasi tradition, stretching from 10th-20th century, as one glorious era when women were empowered and were repositories and transmitters of fine arts the latter day stigma attached to the tradition rankles them instinctively. That is why though the authors were not entirely wrong in calling Andal’s relationship as ‘devadasi’, literally slave of god, the characterization became a lightning rod.

Vairamuthu, other than mistakenly believing that the book was published by University of Indiana, did not misrepresent anything. The quote he used was accurate and the source of the authors was a Brahmin himself who delivered a lecture in memory of another Brahmin. It is pertinent to recall that Rajaji, a Congress stalwart and a darling of the Brahmins, went to the extent of even doubting whether Andal existed or was her name a pseudonym for a male. Rangarajan, a Vaishnavite author, better known by his pen name ‘Sujatha’, wondered how did a plain woman write such verses and concludes she was probably tutored by her adopted father Periyalvar. One wonders whether other alwars, all male, wrote poetry untutored.

The ever redoubtable Aravindan Neelakandan, considered an intellectual by the Hindutva brigade, something like the Dravidian party members calling Annathurai a ‘Bernard Shaw’, as usual spewed his conspiracy theories and discredited Vairamuthu’s contention that Andal was a voice of feminist assertion in an era when such assertion was unheard of.

Here is vaishnavite Sujatha on what Andal means, “In the 9th century she provided women an awakening that they are not objects of pleasure but privileged to awaken the sleeping lord to hear them. She taught women that they can attain oneness with the lord by their purity, external and internal, and that makes her a revolutionary woman”. (Translation by me. Original quote in references). I hope it is not Vairamuthu’s caste or profession as movie lyricist that robs him of his right to come to a conclusion similar to that reached by a vaishnavite writer who wrote pot boilers and dabbled in movies.

Neelakandan thrashes about and blames “Marxist or Dravidiainist Hinduphobia” for “speculative forays are invariably negative, deeply distortionary, seldom based on robust historic scholarship”. Unfortunately for Neelakandan it is Brahmin and anti-left historians whose opinions formed the basis of this unholy mess.

Narayanan and Kesavan are not lumpen brahmin hating Dravidian party stooges. Here’s what they write on Brahmin contribution in the Bhakti era. “Brahminism with its institutional base in the temple centered agrarian settlements, had emerged as the most dynamic progressive force”.

The authors pre-date Saskia Kersenboom in concluding “the ideology of Bhakti served as the cementing force bringing together kings, brahman priests and the common people in a harmonious manner”. Is this what Neelakandan calls ‘hinduphobia’? Oh wait, he did not bother to read the source but instead uses Vairamuthu, more importantly for his friendship with Karunanidhi, as a straw man.

Essentially Vairamuthu did not say anything that other Brahmins have not said. Vairamuthu’s only real sin was that he is a dark skinned non-Brahmin and that too from a caste known for martial prowess and not literary pursuits. Understandably the community which has come to believe in its own mythical collective intellectual prowess could not brook such impudence on behalf of a lower caste member.

The torrent of abuse from Brahmins in particular and Hindus in general was unbelievable for those who are unfamiliar with history. A vaishnavite savant coolly cited a poem that called for either beheading, when able, or, when not able, to shut one’s ears when faced with an abuse of the lord. Another sadhu gesticulating furiously recalled the myth of a crow being maimed and for good effect added “the crow, too, is dark”, a clear allusion to Vairamuthu’s dark skin.

A senior functionary of the ruling party, never one to be outdone in dishing out venom, called Vairamuthu a whore’s son. That functionary also gloated how Y.S.R. Reddy, a Christian (he rarely used his full name), died a gruesome death after slighting a Hindu god. “His flesh had to be scraped from the mountains where his helicopter crashed” said the functionary and people clapped. A handful of Hindutva brigade dissociated themselves from his remarks on Vairamuthu but coolly neglected to dissociate from his remarks on Y.S.R.Reddy. I’m sure Reddy’s religion had nothing to do with that speciously selective disavowal.

Not to be outdone by a BJP functionary popular movie director Bharathiraja decided to offer his support to Vairamuthu and issued explicit threats of violence to anyone who may harbor ideas of harming Vairamuthu. Sheer madness.

It is illustrative to recall how these same Brahmins encountered fellow vaishnavite Kamal Hassan, a matinee idol, who relishes pricking Hindu sentiments. Sure, they rant and gnash their teeth but compared to the scorn and ridicule and threat of violence against Vairamuthu it was nothing. Needless to say Kamal Hassan is not dark skinned either.

Vairamuthu has now released a comprehensive statement repeating the regret he had expressed when the controversy broke out. His speech, as he claims, was indeed respectful to Andal, largely. He has in the past used Andal’s poetry in his lyrics. His admiration of Andal is genuine.



It is interesting that the entire ire was focused on Vairamuthu and none was directed at the original authors of the quote. The conduct of Dinamani, a newspaper, which sponsored the event where Vairamuthu spoke was shameful cowardice. Instead of standing by their invitee, especially when all he did was quote, they buckled too eagerly and cravenly. In buckling they compounded their cowardice by asserting that the intent was only to honor the memory of literature and religion and not to besmirch it. Is this how a newspaper conducts itself? Alas there's no journalistic ethos left to be defended.

The Brahmin community which had chafed for decades at Karunanidhi’s taunts and was mostly mute in the face of lack of cohesive political power has burst forth in blind fury at a man whose list of sins include being friends with Karunanidhi and the time is opportune because Karunanidhi, who if he was not incapacitated would’ve neutralized the protests.

Ironically the Brahmin community really cared a damn about existential issues like the reservation policy for which one guy, K.M. Vijayan, is carrying on a valiant fight against heavy odds and he has already paid a huge price for that. This community that is wailing in every street for Andal did not raise a whimper when utterances like “the day there’s no Brahmin in MBBS course would be a golden day” were made. Apparently their rituals and religious icons matter much more than the welfare of their progeny.

The only silver lining in this fracas is that no Brahmin can, anymore, look smugly at other caste outfits when they act less than Socratic in encountering opposing views or inconvenient truths.

Post-Script: Dr. K.C. Varadachariar is a person to be read. He writes like Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan. Well, they both were graduates from the philosophy department of Madras Christian College. M.G.S. Narayanan too is an alumnus of Madras Christian College. Before the Hindutva brigade runs around yelling, "ah see the Christian conspiracy" I suggest they read Varadachariar.

References:

1. ‘History of South India” Published 1958, Oxford University Press 2nd Edition.- K.A.Nilakanta Sastri
a. "About a century later came Sundaramurtti of Navalur. He was born of poor Brahmin parents but his beauty as a child was such that he attracted the attention of the local chieftain Narasinga Munaiyadaraiyan who, with the consent of the parents, brought him up. When his marriage with a girl of his own caste was about to take place it was stopped by the mysterious intervention of Siva who claimed him as his slave. A little later Sundara fell in love with two women, one a dancing-girl of Tiruvalur and the other a sudra girl of Tiruvorriyur. Their jealousies, it is said, could only be resolved by Siva himself acting as a messenger to one of them. Like the other nayanars, Sundara is also credited with many miracles and the contemporary Chera ruler, Cheraman Perumal, was his friend. They visited each other regularly and made their last journey to the abode of Siva in Mount Kailasa together, Sundara on a white elephant and Cheraman Perumal on a horse. Sundara’s devotion to Siva was that of an intimate friend so that he was given the title Tambiran-Tolan (‘ Friend of God ’). —- Page 414
b. “The only woman among them, Andal or Kodai (Skt. Goda), was the real or adopted daughter of Periyajvar. In her intense devo- tion to Vishnu she dreamt of her marriage with that god, and described her experience in her hymns. This mystical union was the only one she knew, and in many ways the ardour of her devotion resembles that of Manikka-vasagar, and her hymns are replete with allusions to Krishna stories.” —- Page 416.
c.“Occasionally the cult, especially that of Radha, tended to degenerate into erotic excesses. This is particularly true of the followers of Vallabhacarya (1479-1531), a Telugu Brahmin contemporary of Chaitanya. He was born in Benares, wrote several works in Sanskrit including a commentary on the Veddnta sutras and became the founder of a system called suddhadvaita which exalted bhakti above knowledge. He is said to have vanquished Smarta scholars in public debate at the court of Krishnadeva Raya. The acharyas of the sect were known as Maharajas and lived luxurious lives. The highest ambition of his followers was to become gopis and sport eternally with Krishna in his Heaven, an ideal which in practice degenerated into gross eroticism. Further, disputes be- tween rival sects sometimes flared up with unusual violence. Nevertheless, Vaishnavism continued to be, in general, a noble and sweet influence on life. “ — pg 421-422
d.“To return to the history of Saivism; we must note that by the side of the pure school of bhakti represented by the three saints of Devdram and Manikka-vasagar, there existed other types of worshippers of Siva whose tenets and practices are gruesome and repellent to modern taste. Such were the Pasupatas, Kapalikas, Kalamukhas, and others whose presence in considerable numbers in centres like Kanchl, Tiruvorriyur, Melpadi and Kodumbalur is attested by inscriptions and literature from the seventh century onwards. Smearing the body with ashes from a burning ghat, eating food in a skull, and keeping a pot of wine, were some of the common practices of the Kalamukhas; and some of these sects, if not all, were addicted to the worship of the female principle, which often degenerated into licentious orgies. The practice of the devotee offering his own head as a sacrifice to the goddess is shown in the sculpture and literature of the age of the Pallavas and Cholas."  — pg 422
2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T._A._Gopinatha_Rao 
3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M._G._S._Narayanan
4. Ramachandra Guha’s article https://www.telegraphindia.com/1031005/asp/opinion/story_2393847.asp 
5. Kesavan Veluthat book review in Frontline http://www.frontline.in/books/keralas-past/article5544506.ece 
6. Gopinatha Rao’s paper ‘The history of Sri Vaishnavas” https://ia802702.us.archive.org/7/items/MN40128ucmf_0/MN40128ucmf_0.pdf 
7. K.A.Nilakanta Sastri “History of South India” https://ia801300.us.archive.org/19/items/AHistoryOfSouthIndiaPDF/A-History-of-South-India-PDF_text.pdf 
8. Aravindan Neelakandan article on Vairamuthu https://swarajyamag.com/ideas/aandal-attacked-again-and-again 
9. Dr. K.C. Varadachariar on Andal http://www.drkcv.org/Books/Chapter15.pdf 
10. Nitya Sumangali - Saskia Kersenboom
11. Indian movements: Some aspects of dissent protest and reform - Edited by S.C. Malik.
12. ஆழ்வார்கள் ஓர் எளிய அறிமுகம் - சுஜாதா
"ஒன்பதாம் நூற்றாண்டிலிருந்து ஒரு பெண் தன் தோழிகளிடம் விழிப்புணர்வை ஏற்படுத்தி, நீங்கள் வெறும் போகப் பொருள்களல்ல; புறத் தூய்மையாலும் அகத்தூய்மையாலும் அவனை அடைய உங்களால் முடியும் என்ற புது நோக்கில் அவரை ஒரு புரட்சிப் பெண்ணாகப் பார்க்க முடிகிறது" (Page 73)


16 comments:

Vasu said...

Awesome... In depth analysis.... Cleard many doubts... Thanks...

Krishnan said...

Illuminating piece.

வன்பாக்கம் விஜயராகவன் said...

As usual, on a hot topic, you have managed to read the background material comprehensively, even though some of your conclusions leave something to be desired.

Meera Raghunath said...

The point is not just the quote and not even that it was Vairamuthu but that when he was writing about Andal's literary contribution where was the need to drag in her 'Devadasi' status? He should have confined to only that. If he were to say that Andal's contribution was minimal, I dont think it would raised such a huge protest. But the fact that he focussed on something irrelevant is the issue. Vairamuthu was deliberately provocative and given the society of his friends, his provocation was not totally unexpected.

When Raja spoke about Vairamuthu being a dasi son, Bharathiraja stupidly protested against it. Now, you cannot have two sets of logic. If Vairamuthu offends Andal support by quoting something out of context, he should expect to be offended. Is Bharathiraja too stupid to understand that?

Yes, brahmins did not come to streets at Karunanidhi's provocation, nor at K.M.Vijayan's efforts. But understand one thing, Hindu support or dissent is always subterranean. It only bursts out rarely and when it does, it does not come out only for a single issue but for a series of grievances. Therefore, those who think that Ram Mandir is just against Babri Masjid are wrong, it is a protest against the whole manner of Hindu abuse after India had given up both Pakistan and also allowed willing muslims to stay back. Today, Indian society has woken up to the fact that the Hindu way of life needs to be articulated and protected in India. So you will find that both on the social media and outside, the Hindu view is forcefully taken up. Gone are the days when Karunanidhi can ask a stupid question like 'whether Lord Ram was a Engineer' and get away. How much support has Hindu public given to Naam Tamilar, despite that Seeman is not awovedly anti God?

Tamil politicians and their supporters are like ostrich burying its head in sand. As Jayakanthan said, they still attack century old enemies little realizing that they are all dead. It is such attitude that irks Hindus and come to the streets. As H. Raja correctly diagnosed, Vairamuthu is merely a symptom. Yes, this time this mere symptom has received disproportionate attention and that I feel is due to BJP using Vairamuthu as a rallying point. It is more sensible that it looks more like a trap than a protest. Still, Vairamuthu has to be blamed for his stupidity.

P Vinayagam said...

//The book is published by "Indian Institute of Advanced Study - Simla", not by Indiana University. The copy Vairamuthu used was issued by Indiana University. The poor dilettante just mistook it for being a university publication.//

I don't understand this. As per your statement, the copy was ISSUED by Indiana University. If so, on the cover the name of the University will appear and anyone taking the book up for reading will have it etched in his memory that he has picked up a book from such a University. If not on the cover, but in a place where the reader won't mistake by whom he is benefited in getting the copy.

What's the difference between publication and issue? If IIAS, Simla has published it, what is the meaning of your statement that Indiana University has issued it? In what form Universities are ''issuing'' a book published by another University like IIAS? You've the book and you can tell us.

For me, your statement is a giveaway. Everyone is saying Vairamuthu was lying. Now it becomes clear from your statement that verily, verily, the Indiana University is involved with the book, no matter in which form :-) Am I correct to say that?

P Vinayagam said...

//he point is not just the quote and not even that it was Vairamuthu but that when he was writing about Andal's literary contribution where was the need to drag in her 'Devadasi' status? He should have confined to only that...When Raja spoke about Vairamuthu being a dasi son, Bharathiraja stupidly protested against it. Now, you cannot have two sets of logic. If Vairamuthu offends Andal support by quoting something out of context, he should expect to be offended. Is Bharathiraja too stupid to understand that?//

The meeting was on a literary figure who happens to be a religious icon for Vaishnavas. The meeting was therefore a literary gathering; or, an evening of literary leisure the crowd gathered to enjoy getting it. It was not a religious gathering. If religious men came to the meeting, it's their presumptuous act. Further, they should have known a poet, well known DMK sympathiser, although a poet, was the speaker of the day.

The newspaper which organised the meeting didn't advertise it as a religious meeting. They may have given the title of the speech to him; or he had himself chosen it. Whatever it may be or may be not, the title makes it quite clear to anyone that the speaker is going to talk on the saint, not, repeat not, as a saint of Vaishnavism, but as a great Tamil poet with multiple messages to society - to the current society as well to her own. To boot, the meeting was not held within the premises of the famous temple there; but in a hall, as per the video.

He did that well. He carved out or culled out the messages. He did go through her poetic powers and waxed eloquent on them from the first to almost the end. Near the end, he took up her biography with the purpose of - what's already noted - extracting messages and meanings. He did it well. Along the way he quoted a foreign publication where the writers were of the view that she must have been a Devadasi. He said he didn't accept the writers's view. However, he presumed the view would be palatable for those who are interested in feminist criticism of the stanzas of Thiruppaavai as also for those interested to know the social and religious history of TN obtaining in her time. I, for one, believe those interested in the past social history of TN as well as feminist causes, will definitely examine and analyse the stanzas in future. They cannot be gagged for ever. How long will you issue threat and gag their mouths? Impossible !

No issue with those feeling offended because you can't please all when you speak about a historic figure who is both a religious and a literary icon and who wrote not simple planin stanzas, but suggestive pregnant with multiple layers of meanings.

//When Raja spoke about Vairamuthu being a dasi son,//

If you're offended over a literary speech, you don't tarnish the sexual morality of the speaker's mother. This is inappropriate and also, show how deep rooted male view of women in such men who want to rule our country or our State. For men's acts of commissions and omissions, too, their women's sexual nature is responsible :-( All women should have condemned this man Raja for being an inveterate and detestable MCP.

The appropriate way is to have explained to the public where and how he went wrong; and if you feel he had an ulterior motive, make it clear about the motives and call him names whichever way. But never say his mother's sexual immorality is responsible for his way of thinking.

The film director's speech was a reaction. His plank is different. He talks on behalf of his caste-men Piranmalai kallars all of whom must have been offended because Raja's dragged the entire clan to tarnish them as sexually immoral.

A.SESHAGIRI said...

சார்,உங்களிடம் இருந்து இப்படியொரு கட்டுரையை எதிர் பார்க்கவில்லை! இதில் பல விஷயங்களைப் பற்றி தெளிவாக விசாரித்து உண்மை நிலவரத்தை எடுத்து காட்டியிருக்கும் நீங்கள் வைரமுத்து அவர்களைப் பற்றி குறிப்பிடும்போது "Vairamuthu’s only real sin was that he is a dark skinned non-Brahmin and that too from a caste known for martial prowess and not literary pursuits." இப்படி ஒரு வார்த்தை எழுத வேண்டிய அவசியமென்ன?.கருப்பாக இருக்கும் கண்ணனையும்,அவர் குலத்தில் பிறந்ததாக கருதப்படும் திருமங்கை மன்னனையும் ஒரு சேர தெய்வமாகவும்,ஆழ்வாராகவும் போற்றி வழிபடும் என்னைப்போன்ற வைணவர்களுக்கு அவர் மேடை நாகரீகம் தெரியாமலும் கொடுத்த தலைப்புக்கு சம்பந்தமில்லாமல் உள்நோக்குடன் இந்த நிறுவப்படாத அபத்தமான தகவலை பேசியதுதான் வருத்தமாகவும் தவறாகவும் உள்ளது.மேலும் மேலும் உண்மைக்கு மாறான தொடர் அறிக்கைகளை விட்டுக்கொண்டிருக்கும்,ஆண்டாளை தாயாக மதிப்பதாக கூறிக்கொள்ளும் அவர் நேர்மைத்திறத்துடன் மன்னிப்பு கேட்டால் என்ன குறைந்தா போய்விடுவார்?.

A.SESHAGIRI said...

சார்,உங்களிடம் இருந்து இப்படியொரு கட்டுரையை எதிர் பார்க்கவில்லை! இதில் பல விஷயங்களைப் பற்றி தெளிவாக விசாரித்து உண்மை நிலவரத்தை எடுத்து காட்டியிருக்கும் நீங்கள் வைரமுத்து அவர்களைப் பற்றி குறிப்பிடும்போது "Vairamuthu’s only real sin was that he is a dark skinned non-Brahmin and that too from a caste known for martial prowess and not literary pursuits." இப்படி ஒரு வார்த்தை எழுத வேண்டிய அவசியமென்ன?.கருப்பாக இருக்கும் கண்ணனையும்,அவர் குலத்தில் பிறந்ததாக கருதப்படும் திருமங்கை மன்னனையும் ஒரு சேர தெய்வமாகவும்,ஆழ்வாராகவும் போற்றி வழிபடும் என்னைப்போன்ற வைணவர்களுக்கு அவர் மேடை நாகரீகம் தெரியாமலும் கொடுத்த தலைப்புக்கு சம்பந்தமில்லாமல் உள்நோக்குடன் இந்த நிறுவப்படாத அபத்தமான தகவலை பேசியதுதான் வருத்தமாகவும் தவறாகவும் உள்ளது.மேலும் மேலும் உண்மைக்கு மாறான தொடர் அறிக்கைகளை விட்டுக்கொண்டிருக்கும்,ஆண்டாளை தாயாக மதிப்பதாக கூறிக்கொள்ளும் அவர் நேர்மைத்திறத்துடன் மன்னிப்பு கேட்டால் என்ன குறைந்தா போய்விடுவார்?.

Anonymous said...

Dear AK,
Wish to share - https://vedaprakash.wordpress.com/
Above blogger's approach to the subject is close to Your's.But..
Thanks.

Anonymous said...

@Meera, what is hindu way of life? casteism? hinduism today cannot exist with caste. why is that no one wants to accept and apologize for caste issue and be part of the solution? this is the biggest problem. you are the ones that bury your head in sand and think world revolves around you. why cant you just coexist and let every one be themselves?
all indians are not hindus. there are different sects. why are Iyers not protesting?

when a country should be progressing in science and technology, we are sitting here and talking about some imaginary literary characters like Ram or Aandaal? is it relevant at all in today's context? how will it boost a 'Hindu' person's life by building a temple?

but the so called brahmin community has gone to western countries while the poor are still believing in Ram and the likes and reeling in the belief of 'it is written' .

Live and let live ! be a true hindu not a parasite which benefits no one.

A.SESHAGIRI said...

சார்,உங்களிடம் இருந்து இப்படியொரு கட்டுரையை எதிர் பார்க்கவில்லை! இதில் பல விஷயங்களைப் பற்றி தெளிவாக விசாரித்து உண்மை நிலவரத்தை எடுத்து காட்டியிருக்கும் நீங்கள் வைரமுத்து அவர்களைப் பற்றி குறிப்பிடும்போது "Vairamuthu’s only real sin was that he is a dark skinned non-Brahmin and that too from a caste known for martial prowess and not literary pursuits." இப்படி ஒரு வார்த்தை எழுத வேண்டிய அவசியமென்ன?.கருப்பாக இருக்கும் கண்ணனையும்,அவர் குலத்தில் பிறந்ததாக கருதப்படும் திருமங்கை மன்னனையும் ஒரு சேர தெய்வமாகவும்,ஆழ்வாராகவும் போற்றி வழிபடும் என்னைப்போன்ற வைணவர்களுக்கு அவர் மேடை நாகரீகம் தெரியாமலும் கொடுத்த தலைப்புக்கு சம்பந்தமில்லாமல் உள்நோக்குடன் இந்த நிறுவப்படாத அபத்தமான தகவலை பேசியதுதான் வருத்தமாகவும் தவறாகவும் உள்ளது.மேலும் மேலும் உண்மைக்கு மாறான தொடர் அறிக்கைகளை விட்டுக்கொண்டிருக்கும்,ஆண்டாளை தாயாக மதிப்பதாக கூறிக்கொள்ளும் அவர் நேர்மைத்திறத்துடன் மன்னிப்பு கேட்டால் என்ன குறைந்தா போய்விடுவார்?.

A.SESHAGIRI said...

சார்,உங்களிடம் இருந்து இப்படியொரு கட்டுரையை எதிர் பார்க்கவில்லை! இதில் பல விஷயங்களைப் பற்றி தெளிவாக விசாரித்து உண்மை நிலவரத்தை எடுத்து காட்டியிருக்கும் நீங்கள் வைரமுத்து அவர்களைப் பற்றி குறிப்பிடும்போது "Vairamuthu’s only real sin was that he is a dark skinned non-Brahmin and that too from a caste known for martial prowess and not literary pursuits." இப்படி ஒரு வார்த்தை எழுத வேண்டிய அவசியமென்ன?.கருப்பாக இருக்கும் கண்ணனையும்,அவர் குலத்தில் பிறந்ததாக கருதப்படும் திருமங்கை மன்னனையும் ஒரு சேர தெய்வமாகவும்,ஆழ்வாராகவும் போற்றி வழிபடும் என்னைப்போன்ற வைணவர்களுக்கு அவர் மேடை நாகரீகம் தெரியாமலும் கொடுத்த தலைப்புக்கு சம்பந்தமில்லாமல் உள்நோக்குடன் இந்த நிறுவப்படாத அபத்தமான தகவலை பேசியதுதான் வருத்தமாகவும் தவறாகவும் உள்ளது.மேலும் மேலும் உண்மைக்கு மாறான தொடர் அறிக்கைகளை விட்டுக்கொண்டிருக்கும்,ஆண்டாளை தாயாக மதிப்பதாக கூறிக்கொள்ளும் அவர் நேர்மைத்திறத்துடன் மன்னிப்பு கேட்டால் என்ன குறைந்தா போய்விடுவார்?.

A.SESHAGIRI said...

எங்களது பின்னூட்டங்களை - அதில் ஏதாவது வரம்பு மீறிய முறையில் இருந்தால் - வெளியிடுவதும்,யிடாததும் தங்களின் தனிப்பட்ட உரிமை என்பதை அறிவேன்.அதே நேரத்தில் தங்களின் கருத்துக்களில் சிலவற்றில் உடன் பட்டும்,உடன்படாததை சுட்டி காட்டியும் பின்னூட்டமிட்டால் அதை வெளியிட மறுப்பதை என்னால் புரிந்து கொள்ள முடியவில்லை!.

Anonymous said...

"vedhangale vazhum varai, sogangale kadhal kadhai" is one Mr. Vairamuthu's lines. I can either take offence by inferring that he is calling for destruction to Hindu religion or shrug it off as it is one line in thousands of commercial songs he has written. Here, at first instance, due to his closeness to the DMK party, there was a justifiable inference of malicious motive behind Mr. Vairamuthu's comments. Once he explained, people should have moved on. Still, in your post I am not sure how you can blame brahmin community as a whole and inexplicably ascribe skin colour as a motive without any evidence, when the rest of the post appears to be researched. My respect for your writing is diminished a bit.

Srinivasan PR said...

Supposing I am asked to speak about Mr C N Annadurai, who is generally referred to as 'Peraraignar Anna' by his followers, on his birthday. I should speak about his good qualities like leadership, humility, etc. and avoid controversial remarks. I should not use the occasion to denigrate the person by quoting an article about him written by his close friend, and to some extent his mentor, Poet Bharathithasan. In that article, Bharathithasan had written very bad words about Anna's mother and sister and also had made a disparaging remark about Anna's caste, his dishonest politicking, etc. If I indulge in such act, however authentic my source and what is written in it, my motive is clearly ulterior, viz., settle a score with the dravidian leader. That I can always do on other platforms but not on that day..

Mr Vairamuthu has done precisely the same. Not only that, he quotes the source as a research publication of Indiana University to make it credible, esoteric. This utter lie by Vairamuthu confirms his motive: to use the opportunity to denigrate Aandal.

Whether Aandal was really born in a devadasi family, whether 'devadasi' is a bad word or not, etc., are beside the point.

Srinivasan PR said...

திரு அண்ணாதுரையை எனக்குப் பிடிக்காதிருக்கலாம். அனால், அவர் பிறந்த நாளில் என்னைப் பேசச்சொன்னால், ஒன்று நான் நாகரிகமாக மறுக்க வேண்டும் அல்லது அவருடைய சில நல்ல செயல்களைப்பற்றி ஓரிரு வார்த்தைகள் பேசி விட்டு அமர வேண்டும்.

அதை விடுத்து, அண்ணதுரையின் சாதியைக்குறித்து இழிவாகவும், அவருடைய தமக்கையின் மகள் மற்றும் அவருடைய தாயார் பற்றி கேவலமாகவும், அண்ணாதுரை செய்பவை அரசியல் சூழ்ச்சிகள் என்றும் திராவிடர் கழகத்தினரே போற்றும் திரு பாரதிதாசன் தன்னுடைய குயில் பத்திரிகையில் கடுமையாக எழுதி இருப்பதை அந்த பிறந்த நாள் விழா கூட்டத்தில் நான் ஆதாரத்தோடு சுட்டிக்காட்டினால், என்னுடைய நோக்கம் என்ன? வாய்ப்பைப் பயன்படுத்தி, பலர் போற்றும் அண்ணாதுரையை இழிவுபடுத்தவேண்டும் என்ற தீய நோக்கம்தான்.

அது போன்ற ஒரு இழிசெயலைத்தான் செய்திருக்கிறார் திரு வைரமுத்து. அதற்கு, ஒரு அமெரிக்க போர்வையையும் கொடுத்திருக்கிறார். தன் விளக்கத்தில் மேலும் மேலும் பொய்களை அடுக்குகிறார். இந்தியாவில் வெளியிடப்பட்ட ஒரு கட்டுரைத்
தொகுப்புப் புத்தகத்தில் காணப்படும் ஒரிரண்டு வரிகளை வைத்துக்கொண்டு, மூன்று பத்திகள் புனைந்து தள்ளியிருக்கிறார்.

ஆண்டாள் கற்பனைப் பாத்திரமாகவே இருக்கட்டும்; அவள் பாடல்களில் வயதுக்கு ஒவ்வாத சிருங்கார ரசம் இருக்கட்டும்; அவற்றை விடுத்து, ஆண்டாளின் தமிழ் ஆளுகையைப் பற்றியும், நயத்தைப் பற்றியும், சமுதாய உணர்வைப்பற்றியுமே அந்தக் கட்டுரையில் எழுதியிருக்க வேண்டும். அவளுடைய பிறப்பைப்பற்றி தவறான சான்றுகளுடன் எழுதியது மட்டுமல்லாமல், அதை நியாயப்படுத்துவது கயமைத்தனம்.