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Plight of the Tamil Brahmin...

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sapthajihva

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This is an article which I came across and thought of sharing it here, albeit old. Comparing them with Jews may not be accurate, though the comparison, I think, is only on the latent skill-set and probably, hinting at the angle of direct oppression in modern times.

Click here to read the article.

Some excerpts:

...With the anti-Brahmin movement dictating the terms, the urban Brahmins began to eschew ethnic markers that revealed their identity. They gave up the kudumi (tuft), began to sport moustaches like non-Brahmins, changed the manner in which they spoke Tamil, changed their attire, some even began to eat meat… they did everything so that they are not identified as Brahmins in the public sphere. These were all modes of defence, strategies for survival.

...Brahmin-bashing is not confined to politics. It is a pastime of the cultural and literary worlds as well. Even the Tamil film industry merely caricatures the Brahmin. It is a totally non-brahminised public sphere that Tamil cinema depicts. It is very difficult for a Brahmin to get a foothold in the film industry today—as an actor, assistant director or lyric writer. Earlier, when Brahmins played a significant role in establishing the film industry, the world of cinema had a neutrality, but today an obviously non-Brahmin ethos permeates it.

...Even rituals have merely become social occasions. The marriage rituals are also much-abbreviated to reduce costs. Fortunately, the upanayanam (thread ceremony) still continues, but this is more an occasion to meet up with relatives. Sandhyavandanam should be done three times a day by a thread-wearing Brahmin. It is good thing to do. But who performs it? A Brahmin does sandhyavandanam only once in his lifetime and that is on the day the thread is bestowed on him. 50 years hence, perhaps even upanayanam would be given up.

Regards,
 
Sri Sapthajihva

The plight of the brahmins staying within Tamilnadu is much worse today as compared to 2005 when the article appeared.

However nearby Kerala and even Pondicherry or Bangalore are much better place for our community as compared to Tamilnadu.

I am almost on the verge of retirement and I have spent my whole life within Tamilnadu only.

I would like to spend my future for the upliftment of the poor and downtrodden members of our community.

I am also doing service to other communities in whatever way possible both at my village level as well as in a Tsunami affected area.

I wish well settled members of our community just to spend few minutes to think about the deprived lot of our community members here.

It is rightly said in the article that in spite our community keeping quite, we are repeatedly provoked and insulted.

Anyway let us think about the future and do some thing to uplift our community members.

All the best
 
Once over forty brahmins from the area Vanniya Teynampet in Chennai came to have darshan of Maha Periyavaa. After their obeisance to the sage, they expressed their common mental agony: that brahmins were not able to go around in the area with respect as some atheists made fun and showed animosity whenever they came across the hair-tufts, sacred threads, and Vaishnavite marks that adorned the body of a brahmin. As he heard this, Periyavaa asked them, "Do you people do the Gayatri Japam every day?" There was silence. He advised them, "Continue to do the Gayatri Japam daily. Everything will be all right."

As advised, they started doing did Gayatri Japam daily. Within two months the situation changed to their complete satisfaction. They met Periyavaa happily and conveyed the news. Periyavaa said, "all the problems are due to your giving up Gayatri mantra. The power of Gayatri mantra is immesurable."

(from the book Maha PeriyavaL - Darisana AnubhavangaL (part1, page 263), published by Vanathi Padhippaham)

For the power and glory of gAyatrI
Power and Glory of Gayathri :: Forums @ KanchiForum.org
 
saidevo,

good post. i think perhaps what you are trying to say, is that we should be true to our values, and any mockery from the outside will have the teflon effect on us.

much as you imbibe some mystic powers to the gayathri, which i ofcourse respect, the strength of those vannia brahmins, came from the discipline of the chant, and the stubborness in refusing to give it up as well as the fortitude that came along with such action.

saptha,

hope you read my admiration ditty of you in another post here :) just to show, that i admire your presentations, including the lengthy ones with nara. such erudition and belief do not come lightly especially for one of such an young age. God Bless.

now to asokamitran, i am fan of his. follow him regularly either in hinduonline or chennaionline. his reminiscense of chennai of old is awesome, along with s.muthiah who is a srilankan tamil, but adopted chennaivasi.

let us read the article in whole and let me give you my take on his. considering that mitran is in his 80s.

there is his experiences with kanchi mutt which are very similar to that of mine. for the previous mutt head, for whom there is almost universal reverence here (if i am not mistaken MK & CNA also admired him), mitran had no use. neither did i.

after all, we all tend to personalize our expectations and experiences within the confines of our faith, and when it fails, we turn our backs. is this not the human syndrome?

then mitran focuses on our inability to get a break in the movie scene. not so sure what he means. certainly the movie world has become more pluralistic than the old days of sivaji mgr (both non brahmins) and gemini (who still played third fiddle to mgr, sivaji).

nowadays we have madhavan, ajith, kamal (by the state terminology he is a brahmin whether he eats beef or not). we have a swarm of female actors including my favourite trisha. mani ratnam, is he the only director? i don't know.

once upon a time all the music directors were TBs. but times have changed, and unless we moved in with the times, and tunes, we lose out. how can one compete against a.r. rahman? he is world class. should we bemoan it?

in this pluralistic world, we cannot expect to be the sole dominant in any field. with the spread of education,there will be more competition. this is to be welcomed for the sake of the country.

on the other hand, we are moving further up in the field of corporate and science, all over the world. we should take care not to discount those achievements. mitran does not touch that.

our rituals are just that. rituals. personally i think they are onerous and mere actions, backed not by faith, but by money and grandeur.
a poonal, in addition an occassion for family get together, is an opportunity to show off the strength of the parents' purse. ask any of those youths to say their abhivaadhey and witness that idiotic grin.

does it mean that we are becoming morally lightweight? perhaps. should we mourn over it? perhaps not. there were probably only a cream of intellect among us. the rest were the ones who occupied the திண்ணை and soda shops.

does the abandonment of the குடுமி mean the cast off of values? or a saratorial adjustment? you can still have a crop head with a string குடுமி at the end. all this is superficial.

the times they are changing and we as a community, have done a remarkable feat in adapting to the blowing new winds. had we not done so, what would have been our plight?

in this modern india, we would have still populated our isolated agraharams, done our daily visits to the temple, and filled the திண்ணை with அரட்டை. i think, the current situation is any day better to those scenarios.

to sum up, i think, mitran is going through the angst of the elderly - the apparent losses due to rapid changes. it might not be a bad idea to remind him, that the only constant in life, is change. when he was a young man, he too was a force of that change. now he has slowed down. but change has not.

நன்றி சப்தஜீவா :)
 
saidevo,

good post. i think perhaps what you are trying to say, is that we should be true to our values, and any mockery from the outside will have the teflon effect on us.

Mockery of brahmins from the outside is old news and has been around from the 60's. What I have noticed in the past couple of decades is more worrisome and is a sign of internal degeneration. It is the tendency of the 'upwardly mobile' brahmins to mock the more conservative members of the community. An effort is often made in a subtle or not so subtle manner to look down upon the latter. Be it even on matters of vegetarianism, non consumption of alcohol etc. Above all a feeling that one must pursue material wealth to the hilt by whatever means to be considered successful in life. This is true of our women as well. For example, it is very difficult for a priest to find a bride since most of the young women have developed a mindset not to be married to one.

I know that all this is a general trend in every community now. But it is tragic when it happens to a 3000 year old group that is supposed to dedicate its life to the understanding of brahman more than anything else. More than the EVRs of the world we are destroying our own heritage. :sad:
 
Shri RVR, as has been rightly pointed out by Shri Iyest, brahmin girls should come forward to embrace the tradition. I feel that might be a major cause for our menfolk to choose whatever desperate way that could ensure their attention!

That is why the kudumi is not seen nowadays while the sikh proudly wears his turban!

It is the tendency of the 'upwardly mobile' brahmins to mock the more conservative members of the community. ...Be it even on matters of vegetarianism, non consumption of alcohol etc. Above all a feeling that one must pursue material wealth to the hilt by whatever means to be considered successful in life.
Cannot agree more with this...

------------------

Yes, Shri Saidevo's post highlights the required dharma/karma of brahmins. The moot point is that the society no longer desires the traditional brahmin. I think, then, it is up to us, brahmins, to find the way...

Perhaps, we should have a centralised fund, which caters solely to the sustenance of the vaidheekas and their family?

Regards,
 
Shri kunjuppu,
...especially for one of such an young age. God Bless.
thanks for the blessings! but who told you that i am young..???:twitch:.... i am both young and old...!;)

------------------------

i think that the focus of the article was the waning of the brahmanical practices - both internally and externally. the internal being a factor of the external.

while rahman may be a top class artiste, the author is on a different note altogether. it is that being a brahmin is a qualifier for the backseat in movies, unless, of course, you exhibit none of the 'panjanga' qualities. on top of it, if you crack a joke about the brahmin, you become a critical moviemaker; maybe a national award is on sale too!

and then the depiction in the movies, of a brahmin, is abyssmal, to say the least.

in other fields, yes, brahmins have moved forward, but at a cost. the cost of tradition & culture. that is what is hinted here.

materialistic passion has undertaken the brahmin and won over his tradition. nithyakarmas are no exception.

we think that this new found materialism is way beneficial to us (first) and then to our community. in fact, this is the tip of the iceberg.

to sum up, i think, mitran is going through the angst of the elderly - the apparent losses due to rapid changes...
if it is angst sir, then i too share the same...

btw, you have missed out the 'ஹ்'... & leeenghtened the 'ஜி'...
'நன்றி சப்தஜீவா
even with the script converter...!!! :)

ஸ்ரீ குஞ்சுப்பு அவர்களே,
நன்றி
 
Even though,it's alarming as the outlook article portray's,we have none to blame,but ourselves.Because,we could not stand up to the onslaught of non-brahmins,treatment towards us.Mostly this happened because,we were perceived to be close to British Christians,while they ruled India for 200 years.We changed to British Christian values of lifestyle,thereby letting down,our traditional gurukula system of education.Gurukula schools were teaching Vedas,Puranas,Upanishads,Ithihasas and we preached the goodnes of Bharath's Values.It's something our elder's forsake,to keep up with times,and here we are lamenting about a glorious past.It's not that Tambrahm's are living in poverty or they do not have any self-respect intact,it's the quality of life,which has changed,with changing times.To live an austere tambrahm life today,is equal to a miracle,but thankfully there are many tambrahms living the same simple life and doing well in whatever sphere of activity,that they get interested.There is trust deficit amongst us,which if improved with elder's showing the way,life will certainly be as pleasant as before.It's the vadyar's who are still carrying the torch of vedas,upanishads even today,and when one sees their lifestyle,its a lot better than what used to be before.Again goverment interference,that only brahmins by birth can be vadhyars is contested,and now we do see,many vadhyars from non-brahmin communities,in temples.As long as we don't forget our gods and goddesses,and keep up our nithya karmas,dharma will protect us.Since in tamizh nadu dravidians rule,and only anti-brahmin card brings them votes from non-brahmins,we will be a persecuted class always,unless we run for office and contest in elections,as a single block,very few things can be acheved by us,unless we do this.By and large we have a mentality of an employee which we shud strive and change to employer mentality,more entrepreneural attitude,then we do have a place of honor in Tamizh Nadu.
 
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.... Comparing them with Jews may not be accurate, though the comparison, I think, is only on the latent skill-set and probably, hinting at the angle of direct oppression in modern times.


Saptha, here we meet again :)

My friend K has already addressed the meat of the issue, so all I want to do is to make a small comment on the Jewish comparison. You have rightly pointed out that the comparison is not accurate. I just want to emphasize that, you know, many Jews are among the first and most relentless critique of Jewish/Israeli excesses and repression.

Cheers!
 
sapthajihva

american film industry and political arena is totally controlled by jewish immigrants.they have dual citizenship,unlike us indians,who can at the most have pio card.i feel lots of empathy when we are compared to jews.even today,the jews are being hounded from all sides in a majority islamic nations surrounding it.not only that iran's leader is saying,he will blow israel out of the world map.even though we dont have a brahmin nadu for ourselves like the jewish people,we have always given more to society despite the low numerical population of brahmins.today what brahmins offer is ridiculed because,there is a decline of bhakthi amongst populace.material pursuit is being trained to us from kg class to phd class.pursuit of happiness with body attachment is at its peak,not athma vicharam,that we brahmins specialised.
 
... brahmin girls should come forward to embrace the tradition...

That is why the kudumi is not seen nowadays while the sikh proudly wears his turban!

Perhaps, we should have a centralised fund, which caters solely to the sustenance of the vaidheekas and their family?

Namaste Sapthajihvaji,

Sir I believe parents should impart the knowledge/importance/significance of tradition and its continuity to their children and we cannot just command/request them(girls/boys) to follow/embrace the tradition.

And perhaps one should send(sacrifice) their first born to follow vedic tradition, some of my friends family did this ie sent one of their sons to vedic schools(Shankaramatam) to learn/lead vedic life.

I believe the onus is on parents.

Sir, I am not differing from your views just trying to extend it.

Thanks,
Jai SiyaRaam
 
Namaste Sapthajihvaji,

Sir I believe parents should impart the knowledge/importance/significance of tradition and its continuity to their children and we cannot just command/request them(girls/boys) to follow/embrace the tradition.

..........
I believe the onus is on parents.


Ok young man. You are right that nobody can command youngsters to do this or that. However, as an oldie allow me to put some questions from the other side.

The younger generation has so much knowledge about so many different things in the world. No doubt about it and we are pleased and proud. But....

1. Often they ask us 'why should I do this simply because you are doing it?' But they never ask themselves 'why should I do it simply because all my friends are doing it?'

2. They ask 'what is wrong in going abroad and making money?'. But they never ask 'what is wrong in being a priest?'

3. They ask 'what is wrong in consuming alcohol?'. They never ask 'what is wrong in reading religious books?'

4. The young women ask 'what is wrong in marrying out of our community?' But they run away when asked whether they would even consider marrying a priest.

5. They know all about computers and facebooks. Ipods and iphones. But we have to tell them that being vegetarian could be healthier for the body. And they act surprised as if it was a new finding.

I can go on but..

Elders can only take you to the water. Well you (should) know the rest.

May be you could throw some light on these matters that my (old) brain is struggling with. :noidea:
 
I think it is a combination of events. Specific to families.

Parents compromise with tradition during their times, and expect the youth to keep up with that level, at least. They overlook the fact that, just as they had compromised then, the youth compromise a little more to suit the need now.

The youth have to understand that the compromise that the parent made was to survive in a hostile environment. But then, he uses the same argument today to justify change in today's environment.

So, in a sense, it started from the parent (whatever be the reason), and, if the youth goes his way, it is but a path walked before.
 
Many of the outward symbols have been given up by all the communities.

Brahmins did not have a monopoly on Kudumi. Everyone had Kudumi. In the photograph of my grand father's graduation from Law College toward the end of the 19th century almost everyone has a Kudumi. I remember a photograph of a Christian school in Madras in the 1880s. All students have kudumi. None of them were Brahmins.

Chettiars, Acharis and some other communities used to wear Poonul in the old days. They rarely wear it now.

Again Vibhoothi and Namam was common among many communities.

These are changes in the Society.
 
Many of the outward symbols have been given up by all the communities.

Brahmins did not have a monopoly on Kudumi. Everyone had Kudumi. In the photograph of my grand father's graduation from Law College toward the end of the 19th century almost everyone has a Kudumi. I remember a photograph of a Christian school in Madras in the 1880s. All students have kudumi. None of them were Brahmins.

Chettiars, Acharis and some other communities used to wear Poonul in the old days. They rarely wear it now.

Again Vibhoothi and Namam was common among many communities.

These are changes in the Society.

ss

on the spot.it's only brahmin's now are persecuted for an alleged perception of being pally pally with british christians,becoz of discriminatory practices of racist dravidians.congress rule must come back to tamizh nadu.
 
Shri kunjuppu,btw, you have missed out the 'ஹ்'... & leeenghtened the 'ஜி'... even with the script converter...!!! :)

ஸ்ரீ குஞ்சுப்பு அவர்களே,
நன்றி

sapthajihva

in lighter vein , குஞ்சூப்பு in s*thra kutty bashai :faint: unlike brahmin bashai:high5: குன்ஜெவூப்பு especially palakkad malabar malayali accent tamizh
 
//I think it is a combination of events. Specific to families.
Parents compromise with tradition during their times, and expect the youth to keep up with that level, at least. They overlook the fact that, just as they had compromised then, the youth compromise a little more to suit the need now.
The youth have to understand that the compromise that the parent made was to survive in a hostile environment. But then, he uses the same argument today to justify change in today's environment.
So, in a sense, it started from the parent (whatever be the reason), and, if the youth goes his way, it is but a path walked before.//
//Yes!This is a process of dilution which goes on and on with every generation.God knows where this will lead to.//

Those who had the benefit of living with well informed parents and those who had the benefit of a Acharya have been able to know the value of the uniqueness of being a brahmin. The less fortunate ones have drifted and their children have drifted further loosing their cultural moorings. Many of them have not even realised that they have lost a rare treasure which was carefully preserved and handed down through hundeds of generations.A brahmin is supposed to live his life in a particular way to preserve and improve on the eugenic/genetic legacy and pass it on to the next generation to continue the mission. This, I believe, is the quintessence of the meaning of the words "ஆசார்ய ப்ரியந்தனமாஹ்ருத்ய ப்ரஜா தந்தும் மா வ்யவச்சேத்ஸி" in the vedas. I am aware that I have to back this with verifiable scientific proof. Otherwise it will be treated by learned people with contempt.("like the hair clippings on the floor in a barber's shop!!")
As I am hard-pressed for time, I will come back and continue and give the scientific back-up next week. Till then please hold the fire.Cheers.
 
... The less fortunate ones have drifted and their children have drifted further loosing their cultural moorings. Many of them have not even realised that they have lost a rare treasure which was carefully preserved and handed down through hundeds of generations....
It looks like the percentage of the drifters are increasing by the day. No statistics, but just a feel of the generation...

On a simple glance through the requirements in the matrimonial ads, whether they be on the net or on paper or in Mahalingapuram, or through relations, would show where our outlook on culture lies in. The vaidhic brahmin is not in demand even in our own circles, except perhaps, when unavoidable circumstances permit it.

Money has dissolved culture.

Regards,
 
There is generally a tendency to blame the younger generation. But the present generation is under tremendous pressure. This was not there in the earlier days. My father expected me to stand first in the class and get 100% in Mathematics. We joined engineering courses because the job opportunities were better for engineers. Even if we missed out engineering the parents were happy if we could get into Central services, banking, LIC etc.

The girls could be girls. They were expected to graduate and then get married. Higher education and career was a bonus. Not expected, but welcome. But when they get married they could leave the job.

But today many of the parents expect their children to not only pursue Engineering education, but also go abroad specifically to U.S. What a change in attitude from the time when parents were unhappy when the children went abroad even for higher studies.

Girls are expected to do as well as the Boys in studies and also take up a career. Then they get married. They are expected to do the house work and also hold a job.

Day before yesterday Kanchi Periava was here. We had arranged for a Pada Pujai. We expected lot of people to turn up. We also expected them to come with their children.
But not even a single couple came with their children. Hardly any children or youngster came for Periava's Dharshan.

I remember the days when we have travelled long distances to have the Dharshan of Maha Periava. We the children were expected to be there. Because my parents felt that we should have the Acharya's blessings. We continued the practice. My children invariably accompanied us when we visited Acharyas and temples. Now we do not see many parents bringing children to temples.

We are responsible for the change in the values. We are putting too much pressure on our children. We have too many expectations.
 
Namaste Iyestji,

Please accept my sincere apologies for unable to answer your questions(I agree with you) and also for my earlier post.

Thanks,
Jai SiyaRaam
 
Namaste Iyestji,

Please accept my sincere apologies for unable to answer your questions(I agree with you) and also for my earlier post.

Thanks,
Jai SiyaRaam

No need for apologies here. A lot of people, some young but mostly old, have difficulty in answering these issues.

Some have said that it is due to more pressure from outside. Some say the elders are to be blamed for putting pressure. These are all true to some extent. But remember......

There was freedom to smoke, drink, consume meat, go abroad etc even at the time of independence. I know some young people would find that hard to believe but it is true! Particularly in the urban cities, people from other communities were indulging in those practises even then. Somehow it is only more recently that Brahmin youngsters have taken to them in much larger numbers. And mock their heritage to boot.
 
ss

its all about a lifestyle,so pressure for kids to do well.we indulge in creature comforts and kids get used to all this luxury.so,in order to maintain such a life,unless education is given and good performance ensured,such things are not possible.its sad what you write about periavaal's attendance dwindling.sad becoz of media bliz against acharya plus poltical interference,the sanctity of the matham is tattered and torn,a psychological blow to tambrahms in particular,becoz as long as mahaswamigal was in a deha shariram,we all used to flock with the most trivialest excuse to see him and have his darshan.but our present acharyaals dont like such crowds coming with mundane wordly matters maybe our youngest acharyaal is diff,becoz he seems to be more on religious path sastras sampradaya mainly,so i think this is some testing time of faith,we will pass this too,amma kamakshi love will protect us all.
 
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We do tend to talk a lot about values and the loss of values. In my opinion this is not correct. Today's younger generation has more of real values then our generation. They are more bothered about the society and the environment than our generation.

I was pleasantly surprised when my son started sponsoring a Poor girl in her education. Till date he has sponsored six Brahmin Girls and also Marriage of poor Brahmin Girls. I never even thought about this.

Look at this site. The youngsters sponsor poor Brahmins, donate money for the cause. The write passionately about the issues. How many of us did this kind of thing? Rarely if ever.

Just because a youngster smokes and goes to the disco does not make him worse than us. Occasional drink and eating non-Vegetarian does not make him/her a lost cause.

The earlier generation is more bothered about the symbolic gestures. Not the real values. Performing Sandhya Vandhanam can not absolve one of the sin of the attitude of "Malice towards one and all."

The younger generation has nothing but contempt for this hypocrisy. Unfortunately they also tend to brand the whole generation because of the black sheep.
 
We do tend to talk a lot about values and the loss of values. In my opinion this is not correct. Today's younger generation has more of real values then our generation. They are more bothered about the society and the environment than our generation. .

Seems true in the sense I also notice that. But how does one reconcile concern for the environment with killing animals for food? Or wearing leather? Generally, the youngsters ask a lot of questions about many practices. That is good. But they don't seem to do so on some other issues.

I was pleasantly surprised when my son started sponsoring a Poor girl in her education. Till date he has sponsored six Brahmin Girls and also Marriage of poor Brahmin Girls. I never even thought about this..

Great. We need more like him. :clap2:

The earlier generation is more bothered about the symbolic gestures. Not the real values. Performing Sandhya Vandhanam can not absolve one of the sin of the attitude of "Malice towards one and all." .

That is very harsh on the oldies. With limited means and opportunities, many made enormous sacrifices for their family and the community at large. It was not all symbolic and just doing sandhyavandhanam. In any case, does doing sandhya vandhanam in any generation prevent anybody from social help or environmental concern? I just don't see the connection.

The younger generation has nothing but contempt for this hypocrisy. .

It is possibly due to their wrong impression of the old days. Fancy words like 'environmentalism' were not used then until they were introduced by the west much later.
 
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