It is quite true. The Avvaiyar padal using four ‘Koti‘s is a famous one.
மதியாதார் முற்றம் மதித்தொரு கால்சென்று மிதியாமை கோடி பெறும்;
உண்ணீர் உண்ணீர் என்று உபசரியார் தம்மனையில் உண்ணாமை கோடி பெறும்; கோடி கொடுத்தும் குடிப்பிறந்தார் தம்மோடு கூடுதல் கோடி பெறும்;
கோடானு கோடி கொடுப்பினும் தன்னுடைநாக் கோடாமை கோடி பெறும்.
Besides we have names in Tamil for very large numbers and their references to such numbers in Mahabharata and Ramayana. A small example is given here. westerners were very much prejudiced against us that they under rated us and refused to recognise our skills in mathematics and astronomy and they wrongly nsmed the Indian numerals such as 1,2,3,4 etc as Arab numerals. They are out and out without doubt Indian numerals. If we look at vedic mathematics, we will know how very advanced we were in mathematics.
௱௲ (100,000) நூறாயிரம் (TS)
௲௲ (1 million) மெய்யிரம் (TS)
பத்து இலட்சம் (SS)
௲௲௲ (1 trillion) தொள்ளுண் (TS)
What you have said is true. Today, most of the villages have been deserted by Brahmins not only for better education but also for safety purposes. Many villages are not safe particularly for Brahmin girls. That is another reason why Brahmins are heading towards towns.As one who had most of my schooling (and therefore) all of my college education in the period of DMK rule I share some of your apprehensions about the future of the community. Our family moved out of the Agraharam (from a village 500 km away) to the city during my grandfather's time and we (from the time of my father) have had a complete city upbringing and I therefore have no knowledge about the situation prevailing in villages which may be as bad as you describe.
What follows is mostly from information gathered from older relatives and from friends in my age group (within our community) who also got it from family small talk.
When missionaries opened their educational institutions to locals, many young Brahmins enrolled and used the western education to their advantage and hogged a high percentage of the jobs (in the British Raj) and some of them were even able to secure high level administrative posts. They gave up the traditional priest profession and moved out of their (squalid) Agraharams and moved up financially in life on par with the people at whose doors their forefathers had been begging for centuries. Traditionally, Brahmins subsisted on alms. For many people of other (other than Brahmin) castes especially those who were affluent, these upstart neo rich Brahmins became objects of instant hatred. You do not like your subordinates' children doing better than your own - till yesterday these Paappans had been beggars.
If we had continued in Agraharams maintaining our traditional practices including social distancing and claiming social superiority as our birthright but remained paupers, no EVR Naicker or AR Mudaliar or Karunakara Menon or TM Nair or Varadarajulu Naidu or Theagaraya Chettiar et al would have bothered about us. The mention of people of different castes is deliberate and none of these persons belonged to the socially oppressed Dalit communities. Many of the above mentioned persons carried titles like 'Rao Bahadur', 'Dewan Bahadur' and even 'Sir' (knighted) and they were founders/ active members of the Justice Party. Were they really fighting for social justice or were they in fact angry that Brahmins had usurped their place in society which they fiercely believed was (hereditarily) theirs and theirs alone? There is one thing I am convinced about - we are not being targeted for several centuries/ millennia of social distancing from other communities out of perceived feeling of superiority by birth. We are being targeted for reaping the benefits of modern western education in the last 200 years.
Many years back, there was a centre page article in a popular and reputed newspaper (based in a metro city in North India) that the Christian Missionaries generally encouraged pagan priests to enroll in their schools where they could impart (the superiority of) their religion even while imparting education. Once the pagan priests and aspiring pagan priests converted, the others would follow. This approach had worked for the missionaries in many other cultures. Not surprisingly, in India these missionary schools encouraged and even gave preference to Brahmin children and there was good response particularly from the Brahmins in Bengal and Tamilnadu (as per the article). This article was primarily about the role and methods of missionaries in India in spreading their religion and also mentioned the opening of good hospitals and orphanages. The point about bringing Brahmins into mainstream education was not the focus of the article. The common propaganda is that Brahmins rose to high positions because they reserved all education for themselves and kept others illiterate. It is true that Brahmins claimed sole rights to learn Sanskrit scriptures but the stone tablets/ inscriptions in temples and other sites are proof that artisans were not illiterate. The accountants (Kanakku Pillai) employed by business communities were generally family members. Probably this traditional system of maintaining accounts is much closer to anything that modern education has to offer than memorisation and recitation of Sanskrit Shlokas or consulting the almanac for auspicious days. The point is that our forefathers got here using the same education system that the Justice Party members had access to and not by learning the Sanskrit scriptures that they had selfishly guarded.
If the social environment in villages is hostile, Brahmins should try and move to larger cities where people are too busy to learn anything about their neighbours. And as for job aspirants there are MNCs. As for the even better option of leaving the state, DK/ DMK need not be the only reason to move out of Tamilnadu. Bangalore and Hyderabad are today comercially more important than Chennai and very soon Ahmedabad will push this city further down and possibly Pune will do the same in 10 years and all this due to the retrograde policies initiated by the DMK particularly in the area of education. Google, Oracle, Microsoft and many other international giants will open offices only in cities where skilled manpower is available on a large scale and these large offices will in turn spawn many more work centres locally - more job opportunities and revenue and greater widening of the gap between Tamilnadu and these progressive states. There was a program on smart cities on TV some months back. Students in middle school (classes 5 to 8) from Vishakapatnam speak far better English than college students in Chennai and the students (from Chennai) I refer to are not from socially deprived families. Point this out to the DK/ DMK and they will insist that Tamil is the greatest language in the world and Thirukkural holds all the wisdom the world needs. I do not know if you watched this on TV - some time after the first corona wave last year, M K Stalin while criticising the state and centre for their inability to tackle Corona, said that Thirukkural had already shown the way and he quoted the verse "Gunam Naadi Kutramum Naadi ..." as if this generic saying from the Kural was a silver bullet to deal with corona.
It is a fact that the low standard of education here should be a greater concern for Brahmins as their children are already facing an uncertain future in the state. If they wish to compete with aspirants from other states for opportunities elsewhere, then they need to think beyond the course content and university exams and put in a lot of extra effort to equip themselves. Quality books published by NCERT for the Delhi Higher Secondary schools are legally downloadable for free - they can get a good grounding even while in school. There is a wealth of free high quality learning material on the internet. Rather than worrying, parents can play a more active role in the development of their children and guide them. 'Sweet are the uses of adversity' is a well known and inspiring proverb.
To conclude, though we voice our feelings differently, we are certainly on the same side in the matter of concern for our community.
(Sorry, if my response is a bit too long!)
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