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Countering Anti-Brahminism - III

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Nacchinarkiniyan

Well-known member
Genesis of the present day Problem

In all kinds of societies different communities/tribes compete
for power. It is true of the feudal societies and also
democracies. In pre-democratic society they fought it out. In
democracies they use the power of numbers.

This has been the game and will continue to be so. We have to
understand and accept this to understand the plight of the Tamil
Brahmins today.

The first time the Tamil Brahmins faced such problems was in
Travancore. The State of Travancore in South Kerala was formerly
known as Venad. The capital was in Padmanabhapuram in Kanyakumari
district. It was part of the Nayak Kingdom for some time. Later
when Venad grew stronger, it included parts of Thirunelveli
district. This was known earlier as then Pandi Nadu.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venad

The Tamil Brahmins have been residing here for generations. Later
on there were migration of Tamil Brahmins from Ramnad and
Thirunelveli district. But then these districts did not exist.

But Travancore as a state was dominated by the Nairs,
Namboothiris, and Potthis. These were the landowning class. The
Namboothiris and Potthis were the powerful Brahmins who did not
accept the Tamil Brahmins as priests in the temples. They did not
even accept that the Tamil Brahmins could recite the Vedas. But
the Tamil Brahmins erected their own temples and recited the
Vedas.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malayali_Brahmins

Though many Tamil Brahmins owned land in Nanjil Nadu majority
were poor. They took to trading and employment in the Maharaja's
service. The big temples like the Padmanabhaswamy temple in
Trivandrum used to feed the Brahmins in Uttupura or the feeding
place. Tamil Brahmins were the main customers. Not a happy state
of affairs for a community.

But slowly many Brahmins became rich due to their trading skills
and Money Lending in which their only competitors were the
Christians.

Modern Travancore began with Marthanda Varma Maharaja in the 18th
century. There were attempts to assassinate him by groups of Nair
aristocracy and the Malayali Brahmins.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ettara_Yogam

Later when his kingdom became secure he employed a number of
Tamil Brahmins. But what changed the status of the Tamil Brahmins
was one single individual Ramayyan Dalawa who rose from a mere
servant to the Dewan of Travancore.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramayyan_Dalawa

Later when English education was introduced in Travancore the
Tamil Brahmins were the first to take it up. They went for higher
education in Madras. They were employed in Maharajah's service.
They became influential. The community became more prosperous.

This led to a situation that in 1891 a petition was submitted to
the Maharajah about the monopolization of higher officers by the
Tamil Brahmins inducted from outside. What they meant for the
Tamil Brahmins residing there as they were always called Pardeshi
Brahmins.

But the Maharajah ignored the memorandum.

http://www.kerala.gov.in/history&culture/emergence.htm

This was a forerunner about the things which were about to come
in Tamil Nadu. One of the founders of the anti-Brahmin movement
in Tamil Nadu belonged to the Nair community.

The Pandi Pattars ( as they are called in Kerala ) continue to
stay there and have integrated well in the society. They still
speak only Tamil and carry on the cultural tradition. Though
there is still a lot of envy about their occupying positions in
government, all the communities know that they are not in the
race for political power. They have built a reputation for
intelligence and fairness. In recent years some of them (retired
government servants) have even become priests of traditional
Kerala temples.

It is unfortunate that the role of the Pandi pattars is totally
ignored by the writers of the history of the Tamil Brahmins in
Kerala.

The origin of the anti-Brahmin movement was political rather than
social. The Brahmins had taken part in the freedom movement and
held positions of influence in the Indian National Congress. This
was resented by the Feudal class which owed its position to the
presence of the British and who were basically opposed to Freedom
for India.

Sometime during that period a paper was circulated among the
British Bureaucrats which identified the Brahmin community as the
major source of Insurgency and suggested ways and means of
countering this.

The Justice Party was founded in 1916 by Dr. T. M. Nair and Sir
P. T. Tyagaroya Chettiar, both of whom had been in the Congress.
It had the unofficial backing of the British because it opposed
the freedom movement. Its supporters were rich landowners and
aristocracy who favoured the British colonial government. It was
called the The South Indian Welfare Association. They created a
notion that the North Indians and Brahmins dominated the Indian
National Congress which was demanding Independence. The British
were quite happy with this development because it fitted well
with their policy of ruling India which was "Divide and Rule." It
was the age old struggle between different communities for
dominance.

This was targeted at the Tamil Brahmins because they had a
pre-eminent position in the Indian National Congress and were a
very visible community. Though there were some Malayali Brahmins
who played a major role in the freedom movement like E. M. S.
Namboodiripad the Malayali Brahmin community was never perceived
as a competitor for political power. The same reasoning applies
to Telugu Brahmins.

We have to digress here to learn about the most important
development which changed the history of South India, Tamil Nadu
in particular. I am talking about the works of the renowned
scholar Rev. Robert Caldwell. His book "Comparative Grammar of
Dravidian Languages" published in 1856 proved to the entire world
the antiquity and unique nature of Tamil language. As Tamilians
we are forever indebted to him. He took the word "Dravida" from
the Puranas which referred to the region south of the Vindhyas as
Dravida Desam.

This generated the racial theory of Aryans and Dravidians and
Aryan invasion and conquest of the local Dravidians. Many Tamil
Brahmins unfortunately were/are enthusiastic supporters of the
Aryan racial theory. Lokamanya Bala Gangadhar Tilak was a
supporter of the Aryan invasion theory and wrote about it. Many
Tamil Brahmins believed/believe that they are Aryans and migrated
to South India.

Though the Tamil scholars among the Tamil Brahmins welcomed the
proof of Tamil as an ancient language, many Tamil Brahmins
especially the traditional believed/believe in the superiority of
the Sanskrit language.

This belief in the Aryan origin and superiority of Sanskrit
language provided/ continue to provide a lot of ammunition to the
propaganda against the Brahmins. This was exploited later by the
DMK.

For the success of a political party a cause is needed. You also
need an enemy who has a presence. Tamil Brahmins were the visible
enemy.

The cause was Tamil and Dravida Nadu.

Justice party came to power and ruled from 1921 to 1937. The
Self-Respect Movement was founded in 1925 by E.V. Ramaswami
Naicker.

The Justice party brought legislations regarding:

Reservations for government jobs based on social groups and
castes ( first in India).

Bringing the management of temples under the control of the
Government.

The demands put forward by the Self-respect Movement were
accepted by the Justice Party and they implemented equal
representation for castes based on the caste ratio. Education and
employment in the province became proportionally represented.

The Congress Party did not support these proposals as it was
thought they could lead to divisions among the Indian people.

In 1937 the Congress Party defeated the Justice Party and took
power in Madras. Rajaji took over as Chief Minister. History
would have been different if Satyamurthy who was more of a
popular local leader had become the Chief Minister.

This government took a decision which gave an advantage to the
Justice Party and also created a lot of ill will for the
Congress. That was the imposition of Hindi making it a compulsory
subject in schools. Later on Anti Hindi agitations were the main
sustaining force of the Dravida Kazhagams. Language is one of the
biggest uniting factors among people. This was again proved later
by the formation of Bangla Desh. Though the Tamil Brahmins were
not involved in the 1937 anti-Hindi agitation, the Tamil Brahmin
students were active participants in the later Anti-Hindi
agitations.

There is an excellent article about the political developments
during that period here.

http://mercury.soas.ac.uk/users/tt2/...dia/swaraj.htm

In 1938-39 Periyar added a new dimension to his movement, viz.,
demand for an independent Dravida Naadu. He attributed this to
the social oppression by the Brahminical upper castes, whom he
alleged were in league with the North Indian Bania community in
imposing Hindi and in exploiting economically the people of South
India. He got the support of Dr. B.R.Ambedkar in this. Here the
emphasis was on Brahminical upper castes and not on Brahmins
alone. The twin targets were,

1. Brahminical castes. That is all upper castes.

2. North Indian domination.

Since it was perceived that they were against the existing caste
system, they got the support of Dr. Ambedkar. This was only a
political expediency. The Justice Party and its followers
represented/represent only the higher castes among the Hindus.
Though Periyar believed in abolition of the entire caste system,
this view was not shared by the other leaders or the rank and
file.

Their commitment to the cause of the Dalits is only lip service.
This is proved by the number of atrocities committed against
Dalits even today in Tamil Nadu and the notorious two tumbler and
other systems. In fact some of the Non-Brahmin leaders were
enraged by the active support of a few Tamil Brahmins to the
cause of the Dalits.

Unfortunately Satyamurthy who was the most popular Congress
leader in Tamil Nadu died in 1943.

Quote: But the anti Brahmin movement which was founded by a
Malayali had no effect in what is now Kerala. The Brahmins are
held in respect there even now.

Why is it? The Malayali Brahmins were not considered a threat to
political power by the other communities. I have posted about the
petition about Tamil Brahmins who were perceived as a threat. The
Malayali Brahmin community have produced a number of leaders, but
their influence in politics as a community is limited.

Comparison with Marathi and Bengali Brahmins

Though the political system has seen struggle between Brahmins
and others there is no anti-Brahmin feeling in Maharashtra like
we have in Tamil Nadu. The article the link to which I had posted
shows the start of an anti-Brahmin movement in Maharashtra. But
the anti-Brahmin movement did not assume a big role because
Lokamanya Bala Gangadhar Tilak was able to unite all communities
for the freedom movement. One of the methods was the start of
Public Ganapathy Utsav. These were modelled after the Durga Utsav
in Bengal which brings all communities together. Though attempts
have been made to portray the Brahmins as Anti Shivaji and anti
Maratta these have not succeeded. The Marattas and the Brahmins
work together. But the influence of the Brahmin community in
politics is limited, though they have a number of leaders.

Bengal is the only state in India where there is no caste
politics. What counts here is the party you are affiliated to and
not the caste. There are a number of leaders from the Brahmin
community. But the Brahmin community as whole is not very
prosperous.

In most of the cities we have a Maharashtra Nivas, Malayali
Samaj, and Bengali association where all the Maharashtrians,
Malaylis, and Bengalis gather irrespective of caste. How come the
Tamilians are not able to do it? It is only because of total lack
of unity among the Tamilians. The conflict between sects,
regions, and communities is carried on everywhere. To quote an
example the Brahmins from Chola Nadu and Pandya Nadu find it
difficult to come together even for religious observances. Of
course this is true only when they are in larger numbers. The
situation in Tamil Nadu is reflected everywhere.

All Bengalis celebrate Durga Utsav.

All Malayalis (including the Pandi Pattars) celebrate Vishu.

All Maharashtrians celebrate Ganpathy Utsav and Marathi new year
day.

Is there any festival that all Tamilians irrespective of caste,
community celebrate?


India got its independence in 1947. There is a feature about the
Independence movement which is peculiar to Tamil Nadu. Here we
had a major party the Dravida Kazhakam ( previously Justice
party) which was opposed to Freedom for India. They were
demanding an independent nation. Dravida Kazhakam observed the
independence day as a Dhukka Thinam by wearing black badges.

But many of the younger people who broke away to form DMK later
did not like this decision and welcomed Independence. The DMK was
formed in 1949.

In almost all states all the parties have at least the Freedom
movement in common when they worked together. But in Tamil Nadu
Freedom movement is rarely ever talked about.

A strange fact is the opposition to Independence from many of the
orthodox Brahmins. In our village many of the elder members of
the community thought that we were better off under the British.
This led to bitter quarrels between the older and the younger
Brahmins.

In 1952 Indian Indian National Congress won the elections. The
party was in power till 1967. The victory of the INC proved that
the people of Tamil Nadu in general welcomed Independence for
India.

At this point a big boost was given to the anti-Brahmin movement
by the decision to introduce caste based Kula Kalvi Thittam. The
opposition to this retrograde step led to the resignation of the
then Chief Minister. This also led during the subsequent years to
the consolidation of the anti-brahminical forces.

The Congress governments in Tamil Nadu, in order to win popular
support adapted a covert anti-Brahmin stand. There was an
interview for admission to professional colleges. The elimination
was done at this stage. There were Brahmin ministers in the state
and center. They did very little to counter this. The main reason
was that it did not affect the rich and the powerful. It affected
only the poor and those who could not get recommendations from
someone who is powerful.

This sort of nepotism ruled not only Tamil Nadu but the entire
India. Nepotism had been practiced for centuries in India.

When it came to employment again the very same Nepotism ruled
absolutely both in the government and the private sector. All the
industries in Tamil Nadu preferred to employ people from their
own community. Though there were a number of industrial units
which were owned by Brahmins, they generally employed only people
from their own village/district/region. Even here only those
belonging to a sect. It went down to even sub-sect level. Of
course they employed Brahmins from the rich and powerful
families.

The practice of Nepotism by the South Indians including Tamil
Brahmins was the major reason for the formation of Shiva Sena in
Maharashtra.

Even in IAS and other central service recruitment, there was an
interview where nepotism prevailed. There were many who scored
well in the written examination, but could not make it in the
interview.

Even in the late sixties and early seventies there are instances
like a third class B.A being preferred over a MBA in marketing
from IIM, Ahmedabad for employment in the marketing department.
Even a M.S from U.S had very little value in Tamil Nadu. This
situation changed only when these companies were on the verge of
Bankruptcy because of this "maman macchan" policy.

This slow elimination of Brahmins from positions of power and
influence continued under the various Congress governments.

The general improvement in the Brahmin community came only when
the popular sentiment ran against Nepotism. Opening of IITs,
RECs, IIMs and later common entrance examinations ensured that
Merit at last had some value.

In the employment sector emergence of LIC, nationalization of
banks, public sector undertakings increased the employment
opportunities. Not that there was no Nepotism here, but the
Unions forced them to have common qualification tests.

The covert anti-Brahmin policies carried out by successive
Congress governments had infuriated the then younger generation.
But the older generation was mostly with the INC. But when
Swatantra party was floated many of them became its sympathizers.
In 1967 when the senior-most Brahmin leader wanted the Brahmins
to support DMK, they went for it. DMK won the elections in 1967
with the support of a large number of Brahmins. I am not going to
write about what happened after 1967 since it is recent history.

The present day Tamil Brahmins especially the younger generation
has to understand some basic facts.

1. It is an absolute fallacy to say that the Brahmins dominated
the society. They never did especially in Tamil Nadu. Yes, they
did have almost a near monopoly of the top positions in the
Government. But the real power was always with the British and
then the elected governments. We tend to be taken in by the
propaganda of the political parties. This is a pity. The
demagogues in different parties try to portray that the Tamil
Brahmins dominated society for a long time. Instead of countering
the propaganda, we also start believing in this canard.

Most of the prominent castes in Tamil Nadu have dominated the
regions where they were in a majority. Many of them can also
trace some rulers from their caste. But Brahmins being a very
small minority could never do it. I come from a family which has
owned land for generations. In my village there were about half a
dozen big Brahmin landlords who owned a large percentage of land
in the district. But the dominant community was someone else who
had the numerical majority. We leased the land to them and they
got it cultivated.

2. Political parties are rarely if ever really interested in
community development. Only now the caste based parties at least
show some interest in the development of the community as it
affects their vote bank. But political leaders need votes from
all communities especially those who are in a majority in their
constituencies. So they can not be seen as a representative of a
small community. The Brahmin Ministers in the state and centre
have brought about some improvements in the Brahmin community.
But this is more by way of political patronage.

3. In a democracy where it is number of votes that count, a small
community like Tamil Brahmins can never play a very important
role. Political power is just out of reach for the community. It
is wrong to view BJP as a Brahmin party. You may be surprised to
know that BJP was called a Bania Party in Delhi long time back.
Neither of the statements is true. It is a national party which
consists of members of all communities and needs the support of
all communities for coming to power. In fact one of the reasons
for BJP not doing well in Tamil Nadu is the projection by others
that it is a Brahmin party.

4. Political power is not a prerequisite for the welfare of the
community. Nor is it panacea for all ills. A community can do
very well without political power.

5. Since we are interested in the welfare of the community, we
will have to think of how the community can benefit by the
efforts of individual members. Also how we can live amicably with
the members of all other communities.

The Tamil Brahmins did have almost a near monopoly of the top
positions in the Government. But the real power was always with
the British and then the elected governments.

Periyar considered the Congress to be the major player in the
Anti-Brahmin movement. That is why he always supported the
Congress and not the DMK. A little known fact of history.

Please see the last paragraph in this article.

http://tfmpage.com/my/mani/dravida.html

After 1960 and more so in the seventies and later, a large number
of religious movements/leaders gained prominence. When compared
to the situation about 40 years back people tend to be more
religious now. This has also resulted in the revival of many
practices. This is true of all the communities in Tamil Nadu.

The movements/leaders who gained prominence during this period
are

1. Sathya Sai Baba

2. Sankaracharya of Kanchi.

3. Bangaru Adigalar.

4. Shanmuga Desika Gnanasambandha Swamigal of Dharmapuri
Adheenam.

and a host of other Gurus (many of them Brahmins) with their own
following.

The resurgence of Hinduism under all these people ensured the
demise of the rationalist movement.

Sathya Sai Baba has a large following among the Tamil Brahmins.
There a few Tamil Brahmins who do follow Bangaru Adigalar.

Of these Sathya Sai Baba movement is now concentrating on service
to people. Bangaru Adigalar has enfranchised women with his Adi
Parasakthi movement. The various Gurus belong mostly to the
Siddha/Saktha and other traditions.

But most of these movements other than Sathya Sai Baba also
believe in the caste system.

How did these developments affect the Tamil Brahmins?

Tamil Brahmins have been in the forefront of the Social reform
and Tamil movements. They took the lead in

1. Abolition of child marriage.

2. Promotion of widow remarriage.

3. The upliftment of the Dalit community.

4. Temple entry for all.

5. Sri Ramakrishna movement (even today the movement has a large
following.)

6. Theosophical Movement

You name any social/religious movement in the last 100 years and
the Tamil Brahmins have been in the fore front. Because of this
reputation Maharishi Mahesh yogi started his TM movement in Tamil
Nadu.

As far Tamil is concerned, Subramanya Bharathi, Thamizh Thattha
U.V. Swaminatha Iyer and others played a major role.

The orthodox religion has been opposed to

1. English Education.

2. Going abroad or crossing the seas.

and all the movements where the Tamil Brahmins played a major
rule.

If we had followed the orthodox religion, we would not have
survived and remained as poor as church mice. The anti-Brahmin
movement would never have started. This is exactly what Periyar
wanted.

But in the last two decades, Tamil Brahmins came to be associated
more and more with the orthodox religion. Bharathiar who sang

"Parpanai Iyer enra kalamum pocche" is no longer the ideal.

In the sixties and earlier Tamil Brahmins were known outside
Tamil Nadu for their administrative skills, knowledge of English
and proficiency in Mathematics. But now the image is that they
are Orthodox. What a come down for a community.

If the community has to look up it has to give up being
associated with the Orthodox religion.

The greatest Brahmin who ever lived was Yagnavalkya and not Adi
Sankaracharya.

http://kids.swaminarayan.org/storytime/yagnavalkya.htm

http://www.shuklayajurveda.org/yagnavalkya-intro.html

http://www.infoplease.com/t/rel/upan...aranyaka3.html

You can read the entire Brihadaranyaka Upanishad here.

It is Gargi who declared, "No one, I believe, will defeat him in
any argument concerning Brahman!"

http://www.infoplease.com/t/rel/upan...anyaka3-6.html

But then our Orthodox religion does not accept women maharishis
like Gargi, Maithreyi, or Lopamudra because they are women and
deny the right of women to study the Vedas.

For the Tamil Brahmin community to regain its lost glory we
should have Brahmins like Yagnavalkya, Parasurama, and
Dhronacharya as our Icons and we have to come out of the clutches
of the Orthodox religion.

According to legends Sukhla Yajur Veda is attributed to Sage
Yagnavalkya. Shatapatha Brahmana is the Brahmana of this Veda. He
is also the author of Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.

He is also the author of Yagnavalkya Smiriti which is considered
one of the most important smiritis next only to Manu Smiriti.

I had raised this question earlier in the thread and also in
another thread.

How come there is less anti-Brahminism in the southern districts.

The answer is because of better relationship with the other
communities and also because of leaders like

1. Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Thevar.

2. Rajah Sir Annamalai Chettiar

3. Chi Paa Adhithhanar.

These leaders did not share the views of Periyar and the
communities they represented did not feel threatened by Brahmins.

I do agree that the propaganda carried on by the demagogues has
influenced the later generation to some extent.

That is why I was talking about building relationship with the
other communities.

But before we deal with other communities, we have to bring about
some modicum of unity in the Tamil Brahmin Community.

When the Sankaracharya was falsely accused of various crimes and
the authorities were flouting all norms of democratic/civilized
society, the Tamil Brahmins were not united. A sectarian colour
was given to the issue. Brahmins who were closely associated with
Kanchi Math sought to distance themselves from it. Many Tamil
Brahmins who were dependent on political patronage ran for cover.
A few of them in fact went over to the other side. This was pure
cowardice. Recently I saw an invitation from an organization
which owes its very existence to the Kanchi Math. Only the
photograph of Paramacharya and no photographs of Jayendra
Saraswati or Vijayendra Saraswati. It used to be the photographs
of all the three earlier.

I may not agree with all the views of Paramacharya, but he was a
Spiritual Colossus. Jayendra Saraswati tried to bring about some
changes. I admire him for that, though I may not agree with all
his views. But Kanchi Math is one of the important religious
institutions of the Tamil Brahmins and any decline in the math
should be a matter of concern for all the Tamil Brahmins.

Recently I saw one of the heads of a particular sect giving a
lecture on the TV. Since I knew him to be great scholar, I was
happy listening to his lecture. But I was shocked when he started
talking about the question of archana in Tamil and entry into the
garbagraha. He claimed that his sect always has Tamil archana and
allowed people symbolically into the garbagraha. But the shocking
thing was he named another sect and attacked it for not doing
this.

I am quoting the above instance only to emphasize on unity among
the Tamil Brahmins.

Now about building relationship with the other communities. How
do we go about it?


The main grouse of the other communities is that Tamil Brahmins
do not recognize their religious practices or their religious
heads. I have not seen Bangaru Adigalar or any of the Adheenam
heads attending the conference of all religious heads. Many of
the smaller gurus especially from south Tamil Nadu have good
relationship with the Adheenam heads. These people are the
religious heads of some of the major communities in Tamil Nadu.
But when we cry that Hinduism is in danger how come we do not
involve these religious heads?

http://www.sivanandadlshq.org/saints/appayya.htm

Appiah Deekshidhar was a pure Saiva who was a follower of Advaita
of Adi Sankaracharya. Many of the communities in Tamil Nadu are
pure Saivas. All the sects of Brahmins have to accept the pure
Saivas and their religious heads, though they may not be
Brahmins. The Siddhas did not accept the caste divisions. Bangaru
Adigalar is a Siddha. Please do remember that that but for him
most people in the community that he has come to represent would
have become atheists.

Then we have the innumerable temples devoted to Sakthi and
various village deities which have Pujaris. We have to accept
these as part of mainstream Hinduism. When we visited the Raja
Karuppanna Swami temple at the foot of the Azagar Koil near
Madurai (It is at the entrance to the steps which are opened only
once a year) people were surprised to see Brahmins there.

But who will do it?

We do not have a leader in our community who can unite us or talk
to other communities on our behalf. But as individuals we can
start by accepting the religious practices and heads of other
sects and communities.

Please do remember that it is the Chettiar community which has/is
the patron for most of the temple renovations in Tamil Nadu. It
is the Adheenams who have maintained many of our famous temples.
I remember a plaque in Thiruvannamalai temple about the donation
of 100,000 varahans to the temple by Pachaiappa Mudaliar and a
request to all devotees who have problems to contact the
Pachaiappa's trust in Madras. Hinduism and temples have grown by
contributions from all communities. Do you know that one of the
biggest center for propagation of Sanskrit in South India is
Rajapalayam?

If we accept all other communities as our equal, they will also
accept us.

What can we do as a community?

1. Accept that Tamil is our mother tongue and that we have no
preference to Sanskrit over Tamil. Clarify our position regarding
Tamil archana in temples.

2. Hinduism is not the exclusive property of the Brahmins. All
Hindus from all communities contribute to Hinduism.

3. Brahmins have contributed to the development of India, Tamil
and Tamil culture for centuries. Emphasize the contributions of
Brahmins like Chanakya, Arya Bhatta, Susrutha, Bharathiar, and
others and not Adi Sankaracharya and other religious leaders.

4. We could run a publicity campaign to bring home the fact that
the Brahmins have contributed to Tamil language and all other
secular developments over centuries. We do not have a history of
doing any physical harm to any other community. The atrocities
committed in the name of the caste system was by other
communities and not Brahmins. Untouchability was practiced by all
communities including Dalits. If Tamil is to be made as the
language in temples, it could have been done long time back by
the communities which owned the temples.

5. Keep off opportunistic politicians and other religious outfits
which are interested only in whipping up religious sentiments for
their own ends.

What can we do as individuals?

As individuals what can we contribute to the welfare of our
community.

1. Religion is purely a personal affair. Religious leaders are
expected to advice only on religious matters. Families which took
up money lending as a profession, went abroad for ICS and later
higher education, studied engineering and Medicine or started
industries, did not ask the Religious head whether it was right
or wrong. When they went for social reforms they asked no one.
This is true of all the Brahmin families.

2. I do not subscribe to the view that the community should go
back to its roots. The basic problem is to what time period? 1200
A.D, 600 B.C or 3000 B.C. I believe that in the modern age we
have to live according to the modern age.

This article is meant only for those who would like succeed in
this modern age and live peacefully with the other communities.

3. English education is what helped the community and it is the
only thing which will help the community.

4. Though the community had helped start many educational
institutions like P.S. Sivaswamy Iyer high school, Vivekananda
college, Meenakshi college, Seethalakshmi Ramaswami college and
others. We should strengthen these institutions and think of more
educational institutions. Not the elitist institutions like Padma
Seshadri school.

5. Institute scholarship in as many colleges as possible for poor
Brahmin students. We could even purchase seats in professional
colleges and reserve them for deserving students from the
community.

6. Help out the hospitals Like VHS which have been founded by
Tamil Brahmins.

7. Help out old age homes which cater to the old among the poor
and lower middle class. I do not mean the five star old age
homes.

Jai Hind !!!
 

kunjuppu

Well-known member
nacchi,

a great summary of your thoughts. but first a personal pre amble.

i have followed them in the past, when they came as separate posts, as rejoinders, as well followed some of those harsh personal retorts that used to emanate from a few here.

through democratic methods, a few of the thoughtful folks here, have persisted and succeed in ensuring that this forum will maintain a decorum in its discussions.

personal attacks, political propaganda, vitriol against other communities and large scale 'cut n paste' journalism will be discouraged, courtesy ofcourse, of our esteemed administrators.

i wish to say this to you, for i was one of the silent spectators, who watched you being hounded by certain vested interests, and i am ashamed not to have stood up.

mercifully, this will not happen again.

back to your narration, which i read with interest. in any answer, i cannot but throw in a bit of my own personal experience.

i am from the old north malabar, via palghat, and while tamil/malalyalam speaking, the family looked upto madras for its economical emancipation. at no time, were we ever regarded as separate from a community of nairs, thiyyas, chaalimars, moplahs, christians. we were just one among them.

we integrated later with kerala, and trivandrum became our magnet. our erstwhile travancore cousins suffered fromthe land reforms instituted by ems namboodripad. even now, when old time pattars meet, the first curse will be directed at ems. :)

i grew up in madras and was involved in the anti hindi agitation. i was one of the million crowd in the marina on the day when dmk was elected. the euphoria was overfilling.

even during the waning years of the congress rule, late mid to late1960s tamil brahmins were complaining against quotas in education. it is perhaps, that more than anything else, which is the biggest cause of grievance. atleast that is what i think.

and this grudge, i think, has grown to garantuan proportions now, such that, it clouds the tamil brahmins' view of the world - and is intertpreted as mass based discrimination based on hatred/jealousy. i think so.

my own analysis has been different. and i hope to pen it in this forum as time, mood and opportunity permits. but, being defined as a brahmin by the indian constitution, whether we be the beefeating or the ascetic iyer, we are condemned to be treated alike in tamil nadu.

something more subtle, which i have always felt - is that - you do not get respect in other states, if you do not have the support in your home state. the malayali is sure of him/herself. go to kerala and he/she has a voice.

perhaps, we as a community, did not realize it, or have still not realized it, that if our clout in t.n. is nill, we do not have a clout in new delhi. in short, we did not play our political cards or options right. our raja thanthiram came to absolute zero. my view.

back to our situation now. my own source of concern, is the poorer ones among us, who need an encouragement, a pull-up, supported by finances. i have been involved on a personal and group basis and hopefully contributed to atleast a few among our brethren to better their lives on this earth.

on a community basis....

there have been ad hoc remedy groups, assisting poor brahmin students to education in colleges. no large scale movement has been forthcoming. i do not know, whether it is because of so few numbers, an absence of drive among the poor or a combination of both.

your suggestion to buy up college seats and distribute it to the self driven poor brahmins is a very practical and quickly resolvable answer to an issue which i strongly feel. a brain is a terrible thing to waste.

i often ponder as how much of the anti brahminism is relevant anymore,in tamil nadu. the younger generation of females are doing their 'own thing' to such an extent, that there is a significant number of our young males left with an ancient attitude which berefts them of a modern bride.

add to it, our low birth rates, and incredible emigration, outside of the state and even more outside of india, would only in the long run, relegate us to museum pieces of lost memories.

it is particularly telling to notice the impact of these emigrations. my family has branches planted in the north since 1940s. the grand children of these have married and merged into the local communities of rajkots, patnas and jabbalpores. only the surname of narayanan or subramanian indicates an increasingly 'madrassi' origins.

the children of those who have emigrated to the west, have not even waited for the passing of a generation, before adding their milieu to the melting pot of their parents' new immigrant homelands.

which leaves us with the residue in tamil nadu.

a rhetorical question might be, 'can there be antibrahminism without a significant presence of brahmins in tamil nadu' ?

back to reality. many of the agraharams, if they are anything like those of palghat, would be increasingly multi caste or even mulit religious.

even if the descendents remain in the vincinity, they do not want to live there among the old claustrophobic structures. they prefer a two bedroom, attached bathroom facility closer to a school than near the temple

for these too have moved on, on their own, but different terms from those of their diasporic brothers and sisters.

some of the temples will be well maintained and prosper. others will simply die out till the old priest breathes his last.

should we lament over all this?

i think not. it is but the advance of time and history. i will not call it progress, but only not the passage of these times, values and mores.

but these are worth preserving, atleast for historical purposes. maybe it is not too early, to have a net collection of ancestral photos of family life, agraharams, village temples and ofcourse the proverbial kudumis.

thank you.
 
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