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    A Few Glimpses from South Indian History

    “It would pain me and, of course, it would pain others, if I should treat fully of all the makeshifts and devices whereby the Brahmanas of today attempt to preserve their totally undeserved claim for ‘spiritual superiority.’ Now that India is really awakening to a New Age, it will be well for my Brahmana countrymen if they voluntarily relinquish all their old pretensions together with the silly and anti-national customs based on such pretensions, and lead the way for the establishment of liberty, equality and fraternity among the Indians.”

    Subramania Bharati’s letter to the editor of New India, May 11, 1915.


    Ref: Politics and Social Conflict in South India, The Centre for South Asia and Southeast Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley.



    There have been repeated references to tabras’ zeal for social reform, eradication of caste prejudices, etc., and our (present day tabras’) moral duty to project these aspects as magnified as possible and thus blame the NBs of Tamil Nadu, for following EVR and his DK, and working the anti-brahmin sentiments to its zenith, thus exiling tabras from their ancestral homeland, etc. In one of those threads I wrote my view that there is not much tangible material evidence for projecting the role played by the tabra community in general – or even a sizeable section among them – as having had a reformist bent of mind and so it is better that we, today, rather not talk about our past but accept magnanimously, that there was some substance in the anti-brahmin sentiment rising to such powerful levels in Tamil Nadu, and that it cannot be attributed solely either to the ability of EVR to incite the masses, or to the utter gullibility of the masses and their conveniently forgetting the many good things which tabras did for them.

    But that view of mine, somehow, got interpreted differently as pessimistic attitude, defeatist mentality, disdain for our community, etc., on my part. Conceding that my pov might not be the correct one perhaps, I asked the person who found me to be a pessimist, etc., to prepare a write-up which will be useful in letting the outside world know about the optimistic view of looking at tabra contributions to caste reforms and positive aspects about the community which will be convincing to an impartial reader. But such a write-up was not furnished and it was said that spreading an optimistic and positive view among tabras is the aim.

    I believe that in whatever we do we have to be sincere and go by available evidence/s. None of us here may be able to vouchsafe for any incident beyond 50 or 60 or at the most 70 years in the past, and, again, we will not be eye-witnesses to each or any of the points stated by us; reliance has to be placed on indirect evidences such as trustworthy reports.

    Another opinion which has been repeatedly expressed here is about why the tabras of today should be blamed or punished (with the reservations system) for sins committed in the past by our ancestors long ago. It is my considered view that it is highly immoral on our part, as a community, to cling to the label “tamil brahmin” or “brahmin” or any of its synonyms, when it comes to enjoying the positive gains we have derived because of that label, till today, but to disown it (may be indirectly, by telling that we have nothing to do for the atrocities committed by our ancestors, but pride ourselves in calling “brahmins”) when the blame part comes up for consideration. I feel that if at all we have to adopt such an attitude, those who subscribe to this view should form a new label like “nava brahmana” and be rid of all casteist practices and prejudices, whatever.

    With this background I am trying to give some evidences to show that the anti-brahmin movement in TN is a peculiar phenomenon, its roots going deeper into the past and that the tabras will not be able to convince the rest of the people of TN (or for that matter, the world at large) that their community has had a satisfactory track-record of anti-casteist reformist attitude.

    The quotation given above depicts the view of Mahakavi Bharatiar, whom it was proposed to project as one of the examples of tabra efforts at eradication of casteism. See for yourself what that great man himself has to talk about his community’s attitudes in the early twentieth century!

    It may be relevant to note here that when Bharatiar died, hardly a handful of people were there for the funeral!

    Incidentally, I have heard in private conversations of some elderly tabras of my grandfather’s generation that Bharatiar was struck by the Tiruvallikkeni temple elephant because he harmed the brahmin society enormously and forgot his duties as brahmin. (Of course, I strongly disapprove of this, but this should serve to show how Bharatiar and his messages were received by the tabra community of the 1940’s or 1950’s, despite all the praise that may be showered upon him through various means and media by tabras themselves today.)

    I will not engage in any discussion regarding the material/s which I provide. It is for the readers to form their own conclusions and discuss among themselves if they so desire.

    This post itself has become lengthy. So, I will continue in the next.
    Last edited by sangom; 20-02-2011 at 01:59 PM.
    श्रेयो भूयात् सकलजनानाम् ।
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    Sri Sangom - Its not about the count of brahmins opposed to casteism, its about how history is presented and what we accept about our past.

    Firstly, thank you for posting this and making your view clearer to me.

    I am not contesting against the fact that brahmins in south India did practice casteism - I am saying casteism existed throughout TN (and still does) while EVR and DK made the issue into nothing but that of brahmin discrimination and temple entry. Its much more than that.

    Reforms in any society are rare - and wherever it did happen, brahmins were present in many cases. Indian history says this, while its hard for many to acknowledge. In pointing that, I am not speaking about majority of TBs in one time; I am saying we should take inspiration from that - from men like Bharatiyar. We shouldn't "keep quiet" as you said, because silence is taken as tacit support.

    To make my stance clear: While I agree there was/is a social problem in TN, I disagree with the method used in it by the DK.

    For example: Should upper caste NBs be exiled from villages for ill-treating dalits? Or for violence against them? Would that be justified to you? It wouldn't to me. And the exact same thing I am saying with regard to the TB community. DK's rhetoric is viewing the TBs only on the basis of negativity, and that is what I am opposed to.

    That is exactly why I can't understand the support it gets from you or many for that matter.

    "It is my considered view that it is highly immoral on our part, as a community, to cling to the label “tamil brahmin” or “brahmin” or any of its synonyms, when it comes to enjoying the positive gains we have derived because of that label, till today, but to disown it (may be indirectly, by telling that we have nothing to do for the atrocities committed by our ancestors, but pride ourselves in calling “brahmins”)"

    What benefits do you image TBs enjoyed for being brahmins? Brahmins payed attention to changes in recent times, and took strides along with changing times. I believe in EQUAL opportunity for all, not remaking a society with inequal opportunities on the basis of historical events.

    "its roots going deeper into the past and that the tabras will not be able to convince the rest of the people of TN (or for that matter, the world at large) that their community has had a satisfactory track-record of anti-casteist reformist attitude."

    And neither will any other upper caste community be able to convince that. Any society that has had influence or was in a previlaged position has its contributions as well as atrocities. The point is about what we choose to stick (be proud of) and what parties like the DK flash about that history.

    Regards,
    Vivek.
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    namaste.

    Even as we read about shrI Sangom's narration of any reformist brahmins, let us have at least an academic glance at the brAhmaNa jAti as a whole throughout India, and know something about their culture and dharma as it existed until about sixty years ago.

    Pages 267 to 393 of the following compilation by Thurston, Edgar, 1855-1935; Rangachari, K. describe the varNa and caste of brahmins in the geographical, social, culural and religious areas of life.
    Castes and tribes of southern India (1909), vol.1
    Castes and tribes of southern India : Thurston, Edgar, 1855-1935 : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive
    http://www.archive.org/download/cast...01thuriala.pdf
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    Quote Originally Posted by saidevo View Post
    namaste.

    Even as we read about shrI Sangom's narration of any reformist brahmins, let us have at least an academic glance at the brAhmaNa jAti as a whole throughout India, and know something about their culture and dharma as it existed until about sixty years ago.

    Pages 267 to 393 of the following compilation by Thurston, Edgar, 1855-1935; Rangachari, K. describe the varNa and caste of brahmins in the geographical, social, culural and religious areas of life.
    Castes and tribes of southern India (1909), vol.1
    Castes and tribes of southern India : Thurston, Edgar, 1855-1935 : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive
    http://www.archive.org/download/cast...01thuriala.pdf
    Shri Saidevo,

    Firstly the book cannot be said to depict brahmins (or any of the other castes included in it) throughout India - because it clearly purports to confine itself to Southern India - nor can we take it to depict how they lived sixty years ago (emphasis made by me in the quote above), because it relies on the census of 1901 and has been published in 1909. Further the book does not make any claim of the type you attribute to it. So, it is safer to say that the remarks were on the basis of answers received to stereotyped questionnaires, supplemented by enquiries by men and by their (Superintendents of the ethnographic survey) own enquiries by "researches into the considerable mass of information which lies buried in official reports, in the journals of learned Societies, and in various books." Of this injunction full advantage has been taken, as will be evident from the abundant crop of references in foot-notes. " (Pl. see the Preface.)

    Therefore, there is no surety to any claim as to whether the descriptions of the customs, manners and life-style detailed in the book was really being followed even at the time the survey was being conducted. These practices existed at some point of time, that is all we can state with definiteness.

    An interesting feature of the book is in the details. See the number of pages devoted to a few sample castes:

    (Tamil) Brahmin - 126 pages.
    Chetti-07 pages
    Vellala -30 pages
    Nambutiri -91 pages
    Nayar -132 pages

    It is easy to understand this trend in coverage if we keep in mind the following excerpts from the preface.

    "I gladly place on record my hearty appreciation
    of the services rendered by Mr. K. Rangachari in the
    preparation of the present volumes. During my tem-
    porary absence in Europe, he was placed in charge
    of the survey, and he has been throughout invaluable
    in obtaining information concerning manners and cus-
    toms, as interpreter and photographer, and in taking
    phonograph records."

    "For information relating to the tribes and castes
    of Cochin and Travancore, I gratefully acknowledge
    my indebtedness to Messrs. L. K. Anantha Krishna
    Aiyer and N. Subramani Aiyer, the Superintendents of
    Ethnography for their respective States. The notes
    relating to the Cochin State have been independently
    published at the Ernakulam Press, Cochin."



    श्रेयो भूयात् सकलजनानाम् ।
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    "During the second decade of the twentieth century, three other groups outside the orbit of south Indian Hindu society, and numerically small, gradually assumed an important part in the social and political life of Madras presidency. One of them, the Saurashtras (originally from Saurashtra in western India) was a group of weavers known in Madura, the city in which they were concentrated, as Patnulkarans or “silk-thread people.” They spoke a dialect of Gujarati called Patnuli or Khatri. Saurashtras often claimed Brahman status but neither the census enumerators nor the Tamil Brahmans ever conceded this position.17 The second group, the Indian Christians, were largely converts from untouchables in the Telugu area.18 In the Tamil districts, they (sic)also were untouchables, but some were former toddy-tappers (extractors of the juice of certain palm trees for fermentation) called Nadars, and some were Vellalas. On the whole, their position in society was much higher than that of their Telugu counterparts.19 The third group, the south Indian Muslims, were largely urban, concentrated in Madras city as well as in North Arcot district. Many Muslims owned imporant industrial properties and were beginning to take a significant part in the politics of the area.

    In certain parts of the province, particularly the Tamil districts, this broad division of society into three large groups – Brahmans, non-Brahmans, and untouchables – was reinforced by two other elements. One of these was the existence of a series of Brahman and non-Brahman villages, a vestige of the time when medieval south Indian kings made grants of land to groups of Brahmans. The social division and tension which the proximity of these villages to one another could produce is illustrated by the remarks of an English observer in the last years of the eighteenth century concerning the area that later became Tinnevelly district:

    The difference [between non-Brahman and Brahman villages] is characterized by nothing more, than that the influence of Brahmins and their property predominates in the agrahara vaidiky; the former rarely allowing soodras [non-Brahmans] to intermix in their villages, for fear their importance and estimation as a community of Brahmins, may be diminished by a connexion with such inferior parties; and on the other hand, the soodras as carefully and jealously avoiding the admission of Brahmins, however small, as their property would draw to them too much consideration, usurp all authority, and invade their rights.20

    17 census of India, 1901: Madras, XV, Pt.1, 183. See also A.J. Saunders, “The Saurashtra Community in Madura, South India,” American Journal of Sociology, XXXII (1926), 787-799.

    18 A.T. Fishman, Culture Change and the Underprivileged: A Study of Madigas in South India Under Christian Guidance (Madras, 1941).

    19 B.S. baliga, Tanjore District Handbook (Madras, 1957), p. 156.

    20 W.K. Firminger (ed.), The Fifth Report from the Select Committee of the House of Commons on the Affairs of the East India Company (Calcutta, 1916), III, 337."

    Excerpts from: Politics and Social Conflict in South India (The Non-Brahman Movement and Tamil Separatism, 1916-1929) pp 9-10

    Sponsored by the Center for South and Southeast Asia Studies, University of California, Berkeley.
    श्रेयो भूयात् सकलजनानाम् ।
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    Quote Originally Posted by sangom View Post
    “It would pain me and, of course, it would pain others, if I should treat fully of all the makeshifts and devices whereby the Brahmanas of today attempt to preserve their totally undeserved claim for ‘spiritual superiority.’ Now that India is really awakening to a New Age, it will be well for my Brahmana countrymen if they voluntarily relinquish all their old pretensions together with the silly and anti-national customs based on such pretensions, and lead the way for the establishment of liberty, equality and fraternity among the Indians.”
    For all that Bharati said, he could not shake off the brahmin legacy totally. He is reported to have had lengthy conversations with Harikesannalur Muthiah Bhagavatar, praised young Kanchi Acharya for the Navarathri pujas at the mutt, then based at Kumbakonam.

    His descendant, greatgrandson Sri Rajkumar Bharati, a talented singer is quite a normal TB.

    In fact the self-respect group even tried to marginalise him by promoting Bharatidasan, of course no-mean talented. For them he was another brahmin, a cunning one posing as an insider.

    I see his fulminations as a father's fury at the prodigal son, nothing more...

    Rgds.,
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    In government service, figures compiled by the Madras government in 1912 (Table 1) illustrate the consistently strong domination of the Brahmans in many upper levels of government service. The distribution of appointments among Deputy Collectors, Sub-Judges, and District Munsifs (all high positions so far as Indian employment was concerned) show that Brahmans in 1912 held 55, 82.3, and 72.6 percent of the posts then available to Indians. By contrast, non-Brahman Hindus (probably Vellalas, Balija Naidus, Nairs and a sprinkling of Kammas and Reddis) held only 21.5. 16.7. and 19.5 percent of the total appointments. The Indian Christians and Muslims were well behind.

    An analysis of the caste distribution among those employed in the upper levels of the Revenue and Judicial departments of the Madras government reaffirms these proportions. Brahmans again held an important lead in the ranks of Tahsildar and Deputy Tahsildar, with 349 posts compared to 134 held by nan-Brahman Hindus. Among the English Head Clerks, Sheristadars of District Courts, and Sheristadars of Sub-Courts, Brahmans held 44 posts as against 16 held by non-Brahman Hindus. Table 2 shows that the total average appointments in the Revenue and Judicial departments in 1917 held by non-Brahman Hindus, Indian Christians, and Muslims was 33.3 percent.

    The position of the Tamil Brahmans in administrative and professional life was unquestionably due to their unusually high literacy rate, in both Tamil and English. Telugu Brahmans, also, were highly literate (see Table 3), but no non-Brahman group ould even approach them.

    Ref: Politics and Social Conflict in South India, The Centre for South Asia and Southeast Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley. Pp13 & 14

    A knowledge of English was essential for employment in government service, as well as in teaching and politics. In these areas, the Tamil Brahmans led all the other caste groups. In 1921, 28.2 percent of all Tamil Brahman males were literate in English; for Telugu Brahman males the figure was 17.3 percent. By 1921, six of the non-Brahman groups – Nairs, Chettis, Vellalas, Balija Naidus, Indian Christians, and Nadars – had achieved fairly high literacy rates. But they could not compete with the Tamil and Telugu Brahmans so far as English was concerned. Two Telugu non-Brahman caste groups, the Kammas and the Reddis, who also had relatively high male literacy rates by 1921 (13.6 and 10.2 percent, respectively), had an English literacy among males of less than one percent (see Table 4).

    The steep rise in literacy – in English, Telugu, Tamil, and Malayalam – among the important non-Brahman caste Hindus between 1901 and 1921 suggests a central reason for their entrance into Madras politics during this period. Vellalas, Chettis, Nadars, and Nairs were all caste groups moving upward in the public life of Madras. There is also little doubt but that by the middle of the second decade, non-Brahmans, seeing that their literacy rate was rising and that the potential for advancement existed, were beginning to resent the almost exclusive control of government jobs and political life by Brahmans. Furthermore, province-wide communications among non-Brahmans through caste associations permitted quick transmission of the news of success in high school and college examinations. Both educational advance and a consciousness of this advance were essential ingredients in the growth of non-Brahman political awareness.

    Pp 16 & 17 ibid

    The Madras I.C.S., Brahmans, and Politics

    From a very early period of British contact with south India, the Brahmans were suspect as the repository of religious and social power and literate skill. As priests at the head of the social order, the Brahmans were independent of the British. As the possessors of learning, they were more and more indispensable in the government bureaucracy. But their very usefulness and skill aroused mistrust, because they were increasingly in command of large areas of the British administration and therefore in a position to suit their own, rather than British, ends.27 Thus, long before the start of the non-Brahman movement in the twentieth century, British officials in Madras were more or less fearful of the educated Brahman, in whom they saw a potential threat to British supremacy in India. The Collector of Tanjore in 1879 commented frankly on this attitude toward the Brahmans, whom of all Indians in Madras he knew were “unquestionably the foremost, as being the most intellectual”:

    The Brahmin intellect (like that of all Orientals) is acute, but I do not see any reason – in the past or present – to believe it is of a high order. They are quibblers with words, not scientific men; their powers of observation are very small, they have hardly any originality, and can see nothing but what immediately concerns them… But unfortunately, the Brahmin officials of the present day, with whom a foreigner must come into contact, are very inferior to the old-fashioned Brahmins. Their acuteness, however, in appropriating European Shibboleths has raised them into a position like what Mrs. Mill occupied in J. S. Mill’s thoughts … Though all his friends knew that she was not the wonderful woman he made her out to be. It will soon be seen that the so-called educated classes are doing and can do, nothing for progress; they are already the commonest weight in native society. There is no class that is so hostile to the English.

    It is one great misfortune of our administration that we should have already made such men our masters to a great extent, and that we are going to go to a still farther extent in the same course. 28



    27 See Frykenberg, Guntur District, passim.

    28 Letter from A. Duvere, Collector of Tanjore, to Sir James Caird, member of the Famine Commission, dated July 8, 1879. Home Miscellaneous Series, 796.

    Excerpts from: Politics and Social Conflict in South India (The Non-Brahman Movement and Tamil Separatism, 1916-1929) pp 19 & 20.

    Sponsored by the Center for South and Southeast Asia Studies, University of California, Berkeley.

    Note: I could not get the pages containing some tables and I am not able to type tables. So, these have been omitted pl.
    Last edited by sangom; 21-02-2011 at 08:52 PM.
    श्रेयो भूयात् सकलजनानाम् ।
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    In their hostility toward educated Brahmans, the British I.C.S. officers often mirrored the sentiments of newly organized untouchable groups and spokesmen for the non-Brahman caste Hindus in the presidency. As one non-Brahman writing under the pseudonym “Fair Play” declared, though the British were called the rulers of India, in reality “the Brahman rules it.”29 many non-Brahman caste Hindus as well as untouchables sharply criticized the Indian National Congress for being only the representative of Brahman interests.30 This coincidence of opinion between the two opposite extremes of the politically aware non-Brahmans and untouchables on the one hand and the British I.C.S. members on the other was to have important political ramifications between 1916 and 1929.

    ….


    The Intellectual Background of Tamil Separatism

    Today the term Dravidian usually refers to a family of languages in south India, the main ones of which are Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam. In the first and second decades of the twentieth century, the term – in south India atleast – had both a racial and a linguistic meaning. For example, K.V. Reddi Naidu, a Telugu non-Brahman, speaking in support of the Andhra University Bill, appealed to Dravidians – that is, not simply to those who spoke a Dravidian language but to those who claimed to possess a common racial heritage to unite them against the so-called Aryan invaders from the north, the south Indian Brahmans. Reddi Naidu, however, was something of an exception, for the Telugus, even in the Justice Party, did not often speak in these racial terms. In its racial sense, Dravidianism, at a very early stage, was identified with Tamil-speakers, since Tamil was considered to be the most ancient of the Dravidian languages spoken in India. Telugus were seldom so eager to claim Dravidian status, because Telugu, unlike Tamil, contained a great many Sanskrit words, which tended to diminish claims that Telugu was a culture independent of so-called Aryan influence. Partly also, the Telugu area did not exhibit the same polarities between Brahman and non-Brahman, such as between the Kapus and the Kammas on one side and the Brahmans on the other, as compared with the feelings of competition and hostility between the Vellalas and the Tamil Brahmans. For these reasons, although non-Brahmans from all the main dravidian language groups of south India joined the non-Brahman movement, the use of Dravidianism as a political weapon was gradually confined to the non-Brahmans in Tamil Nad.



    He singled out the non-Brahmans in the audience: “You are of pure Dravidian race,” he said, and “I should like to see the pre-Sanskrit element amongst you asserting itself rather more,” and a greater emphasis placed on Dravidian literature:

    The constant putting forward of Sanskrit literature as if itwere pre-eminently Indian, should stir the national pride of some of you Tamil, telugu, Canarese. You have less to do with sanskrit than we English have. Ruffianly Europeans have sometimes been known to speak of natives of India as ‘Niggers,’ but they did not like the proud speakers or writers of Sanskrit, speak of the people of the South as legions of monkeys. It was these Sanskrit speakers, not Europeans, who lumped up the Southern races as Rakshusas –demons. It was they who deliberately grounded all social distinctions on Varna, Clour.18***



    29 Fair Play, The non-Brahmin Races and the Indian Public Service (Madras, 1893), p.2. I owe this reference to Professor Stephen N. Hay. See also the editorial from Pariah, organ of the Paraiah [Untouchable] Mahajana Sabha, (founded 1894), cited in the Madras Mail, Oct.25, 1894; quoted inRamanathan Suntharalingam, “Politics and Change in the Madras Presidency, 1884-1894: A Regional Study of Indian Nationalism”, unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, School of Oriental and African Studies, London, 1966, pp. 356-357.

    30 “Fair Play,” Non-Brahmin races and the Indian Public Service, p.1, and the Pariah for 1894 quoted in Suntharalingam, “Politics and Change,” p. 356. Also see “fair Play,” The ways and Means for the Amelioration of the Non-Brahmin Races (Madras, 1893), p.65, for a plea to establish a non-Brahman political association.

    18 M.E. Grant-Duff, An Address Delivered to the Graduates of the University of Madras, 25th March, 1886 (Madras, 1886), pp. 29-30, 39, 40.
    I owe this reference to Professor Stephen N. Hay.


    Note:

    I depend upon googlebooks for viewing this out-of-print publication. Since googlebooks does not allow all pages to be viewed, I am giving extracts from whatever portions I get to view. Hence continuity cannot be ensured, nor full details are available in the case of some points.

    ***I wonder whether it would have changed the course of history in favour of tabras if they had been shrewd enough of the direction in which the winds had started blowing, and if they had, in this period, publicly disowned Ramayana as a scriptural text and Rama as their god to demonstrate to the world at large that they were Tamils first and brahmins only after that. perhaps it was unthinkable for them - as it may be even today - but that reluctance itself can well provide enough grist to the mill for aryan dominance of the indigenous Tamil religion too. Pl. see the next post re. Saiva Siddhanta Sabhas' allegations against the tabras. --sangom
    Last edited by sangom; 21-02-2011 at 09:50 PM.
    श्रेयो भूयात् सकलजनानाम् ।
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    Quote Originally Posted by sangom View Post
    [/COLOR]***I wonder whether it would have changed the course of history in favour of tabras if they had been shrewd enough of the direction in which the winds had started blowing, and if they had, in this period, publicly disowned Ramayana as a scriptural text and Rama as their god to demonstrate to the world at large that they were Tamils first and brahmins only after that. perhaps it was unthinkable for them - as it may be even today - but that reluctance itself can well provide enough grist to the mill for aryan dominance of the indigenous Tamil religion too. Pl. see the next post re. Saiva Siddhanta Sabhas' allegations against the tabras. --sangom
    this, sangom, i have wondered loud many a times here and elsewhere.

    i think, puffed up, as we were in our own arrogance, there was no chance of us, ever sensing the winds of change.

    we have been moroniacally insensitive when it comes to sensing the pulse of the tamil society. once the concept of liberty, equality et al started catching afire, we, who on one hand took the lead against the british via the congress, were busy doing a rear guard fight to preserve and consolidate erstwhile privileges. atleast i think so.

    also, our political leaders, while espousing changes, did not go far enough. while congress wanted purna swaraj NOW, the brahmin leadership, had only to offer gradual changes to the aspiration of the 97% NB tamildom. rajaji killed whatever remaining goodwill we had, with his kulakalvi thittam.

    our religious heads were even further burroughing their head in the ground, when it came to the world around. the mutts would rather have a hindu fold of zero following, provided all the brahmins were considered the highest caste. the rest can convert to whatever faith they wanted.

    identifying commonality and universality of faith, has never been the function of tambrams or brahminincal hinduism. it has always been us and THEM (which was the whole world of NBs).

    there were critical times like indian independence, march 1967 or 2000 millenium, when brave and foresighted calls from the pulpits of the mutts towards a general amnesia for manusmriti, and pick out the best of elements of our scriptures as suitable for the next century.

    no. sad to say, we did not have the imagination nor the willingness to give up our pyrrhic pedestal. the saddest word, in any language, is, 'what could have been'. it is so appropriate here, in the query that you have pondered.

    best wishes...
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    Quote Originally Posted by kunjuppu View Post
    this, sangom, i have wondered loud many a times here and elsewhere.

    i think, puffed up, as we were in our own arrogance, there was no chance of us, ever sensing the winds of change.

    we have been moroniacally insensitive when it comes to sensing the pulse of the tamil society. once the concept of liberty, equality et al started catching afire, we, who on one hand took the lead against the british via the congress, were busy doing a rear guard fight to preserve and consolidate erstwhile privileges. atleast i think so.

    also, our political leaders, while espousing changes, did not go far enough. while congress wanted purna swaraj NOW, the brahmin leadership, had only to offer gradual changes to the aspiration of the 97% NB tamildom. rajaji killed whatever remaining goodwill we had, with his kulakalvi thittam.

    our religious heads were even further burroughing their head in the ground, when it came to the world around. the mutts would rather have a hindu fold of zero following, provided all the brahmins were considered the highest caste. the rest can convert to whatever faith they wanted.

    identifying commonality and universality of faith, has never been the function of tambrams or brahminincal hinduism. it has always been us and THEM (which was the whole world of NBs).

    there were critical times like indian independence, march 1967 or 2000 millenium, when brave and foresighted calls from the pulpits of the mutts towards a general amnesia for manusmriti, and pick out the best of elements of our scriptures as suitable for the next century.

    no. sad to say, we did not have the imagination nor the willingness to give up our pyrrhic pedestal. the saddest word, in any language, is, 'what could have been'. it is so appropriate here, in the query that you have pondered.

    best wishes...
    Shri Kunjuppu,

    In 1967 did not Rajaji as Swatantra Party Chief, exhort tabras to vote for DMK and Annadurai, whereas DK under EVR acted against DMK in alliance with Congress?! So, having accepted our role in putting DMK to power initially, why cry now and why castigate DK or DMK? Was it like Lord Siva granting the boon to Bhasmaasura? If so, some Mohini should come along to rescue the whining tabras, I think!!
    श्रेयो भूयात् सकलजनानाम् ।
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