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Was it Kula-kalvi that Rajaji wanted?

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Dear Shri Pannvalan:

Greetings! I also respect Rajaji, but --

1. His political adversaries, especially those in DK and DMK and also one section of people in Congress itself opposed him, only because he happened to be a Brahmin.

I am unable to agree with this. EVR maintained a life-long friendship with Rajaji. During 1967 elections Rajaji supported CNA. When he was in his deathbed all the DMK leaders of the time visited him in the hospital. So, to the extent they opposed him politically, it was not motivated by caste based antipathy. Many of these DMK leaders turned out to be scoundrels, but that is independent of this.

2. The phrase 'Kula Kalvi' is a misnomer and it was twisted out of its true sense and objective and used in a derogatory manner, repeatedly.

3. He only wanted all people, particularly the younger generation, to learn their tradtional skills. He never advocated them to practise only their hereditary profession.

He thought at the times of distress, one's skills in their hereditary profession would come to his/her help, because learning such innate skills is much easier than any other professional skills and it will come about naturally, without any investment or major expenditure.

#3, coming steeped in irony right after #2, is the reason the DMK/DK opposed Rajaji on this issue. If point #3 is true, then, the "Kula Kalvi Thittam" by any other name would still smell foul. Even if Rajaji did not advocate only hereditary profession for Kula Kalvi, the scheme would have perpetuated the impermeable separation of profession based on birth.

9. Rajaji's another greatest contribution was introduction of Sales Tax in States, to augment their alternate sources of revenue. It remains the single greatest source of revenue for the states, even today.

Sales tax is the most regressive tax you can think of. It affects the poor disproportionately. This is the tax most prone to corruption. IMHO, this is the worst contribution Rajaji made to the state of Tamilnadu. However, if not him, someone else would have introduced this tax anyway.

... his deep sense of devotion made him write "Kurai Ondrum Illai Marai Moorthy Kanna".

MS singing this is indeed a joy to listen. However, there is one line in the song that keeps bugging me. That line is,
திரையின் பின் நிற்கின்றாய் கண்ணா, உன்னை மறை ஓதும் ஞானியர் மட்டுமே காண்பார்.

Whether this "thirai" is a metaphorical one, or a literal one in a temple sannidhi, this line sticks out like a sore thumb for me. Why only மறை ஓதும் whatever?

What a noble man he was!

He was a great man in Indian history. He was also a TB. How much of this sentiment is because he was a TB?



Rajaji introduced total prohibition in Tamilnadu and to compensate the revenue loss introduced Sales Tax.

His was very much attached to prohibition policy and when MK announced lifting of prohibition in 1971, he went personally to MKs home at a old age and requested him not to lift prohibition.

Today prohibition is not there and sales tax & its modified version VAT is very much alive.

All the best
Dear Nara,

The triumvirate of Tamilnadu politics of those days, namely EVR,CNA and MU KA, were true hypocrites to the core.

In public platforms, they abused and scolded Rajaji in unparliamentary language. He was called 'Kulla Nari' (little, cunning fox), 'Kulluga Bhattar' etc. But, each of these three had a personal understanding and working relationship with him, even though they didn't listen to all that he said.

Visiting him when he was critically ill, for the sake of protocol is different. It is for the public consumption and a deceptive exercise.

In the song, he must have added 'Marai' so as to rhyme with 'Kurai'. Don't attach too much of meaning to it.

"Thakkaar, Thagavilaar enbathu avaravar
Echchathal kaanap padum"

"Gunam naadi, kutramum naadi, Avatrul
Migai naadi mikka kolal"

These are the words of Poyya Mozhi Pulavar. I think you got the message.
Shri Nara...
May I try to dwell somewhat on Thiraiyin Pin Nirkindraay Kanna...Unnai Marai Odhum Gnaaniyar Mattume Kaanbaar...
Of course, thirai can be taken to be the veil that comes between any devotee and the lord's murthi in a temple...that is the very basic meaning..but how many veils there are between us, the individual souls, and Him, the all-pervading Vasudeva...
All the signs of our individuality...one's beauty, personality, knowledge, caste, riches...well anything and everything in oneself that we take to mark us from other individuals also separate us from God....That is why we suffer...the identification with the body..the dehatmabuddhi is the very strong factor that separates us from god..as Krishna says, the body is only the garment that the soul wears...yet we find it difficult to identify ourselves with the pure, bright consciousness that we are....
A yogi whom I met recently pointed out that human beings are not even aware of the soul that inhabits the body...they are swayed here and there by a hundred desires and a thousand fears...by the time they suspect that there is something higher, their life is over...First one should look into the heart and see how the mind is working and slowly get in touch with the intelligence, the consciousness that is within us...from that...the uyir...the unarvu...we will see the higher light....
As such a hundred thousand veils come and mask the truth from us...Maraiyodhum Gnaaniyar Mattume Kaanbaar...should not be taken literally as only those who are lisping the Vedas can see him...In fact does not the VEda itself say that God is Yato Vaacho Nivartante Apraapya Manasaa Sahaa....The words, and the VEdas, come back without touching Him...But the beauty is that the Vedic seers found that one truth upon knowing which one knows everything..the one reality after experiencing which nothing more needs to be experienced...This is the boundless Gnaana on which the great Vedas...are based...This is the truth which Bharat Maata embodies...And this is the greatness to which all of us...Brahmins too in a big way...are heir too....Our Mahatmas are the Maraiyodhum Gnaaniyar...they are not just the Gnaanis mouthing the Vedas...they are in fact the Gnaanis whose fame and greatness the Vedas themselves are proclaming!....Rajaji, whatever the faults and prejudices his enemies may attribute to him, was a great Karma yogi who stood for the values preached by India' greatest sons....He himself was a true son of India...May this great soul find God's peace...May we all understand this great soul and ourselves try to emulate his great qualities...
Dear Shri Vamanan, Greetings!

May I try to dwell somewhat on Thiraiyin Pin Nirkindraay Kanna...Unnai Marai Odhum Gnaaniyar Mattume Kaanbaar...

I read your explanation, but I am sorry to say I am still left with the same feeling I had before about that particular line.

Hey, that is no big deal. One line here or there cannot and must not serve as a litmus test for anyone, let alone a great man like Rajaji who did dedicate his life for the nation.

I am the kind of person who is willing to respect any great man without elevating him to great heights that other mere mortals cannot emulate.

I am also uneasy when Rajaji is praised to the hilt and at the same time, an equally dedicated reformer EVR is vilified. Of course there are probably 10 times more people who vilify Rajaji and deify EVR.

Thanks for your response, cheers!
"திரையின் பின் நிற்கின்றாய் கண்ணா, உன்னை மறை ஓதும் ஞானியர் மட்டுமே காண்பார்."

This sentence was controvertial for our little group too. After discussing for sometime, we came to a conclusion (don't know whether it is right or wrong), 'thirai' is our illusion (Maya thirai). It is up to us to remove the thirai. only 'Marai odhum gnaniyar'? We could not come to terms with such an exclusivity. Our discussion ended there.
Respected Sirs....I think Brahmins have internalised much of the abuse heaped on them...thanks to EVR....
For example...You will see how many Brahmins called his education scheme 'Kula-kalvi', when that was only the abuse that was showered on it by EVR and gang.
In the same way we have gone so much away from our moorings that we believe that much of what Brahmins stood for is stupid.
Yes..At the turn of the 19th century and later, India itself was in decay...An old civilisation had to rejuvenate itself..it had to be born again...that was done by great men starting from Rammohan Roy and Ramakrishna...Before Ramakrishna we were even cursing idol worship and the presence of many gods..
As I have said in my work, Calcutta Nettru Indru Naalai...'Mattravargal Kaduvulai Pattri Pesikkondirundhaargal...Ramakrishnar Kadavulidam Pesikkondirundhaar...Hindu Madathin Sarithiram Maarivittadhu'.
In an eclectic and spiritual religion like Hinduism...Marai has, in it deeper sense, meant only the secret knowledge of god...Gnaaniyar also is anybody from Gunankudi Mastaan to Marcus Aurelius and Brother Lawrence (the last two were translated by Rajaji Himself)...
To even think that Rajaji was laying down some narrow axiom when he said Marai Odhum Gnaaniyar Mattume Kaanbaar...is, to say the least, misjudge the wisdom of one of the wisest men of our times...
Rajaji had come a long way from orthodoxy....He was not a jeer of Hinduism....He was a modern man who knew his values...During the height of the freedom struggle, when Rajaji had given up practice, he championed as a bystander of good feeling, the case of a Harijan who had entered the Tirupati temple (Harijans were not allowed by law to do so at that time) and won his case. (Gopalakrishna Gandhi, Gandhi and Rajaji's grandson, and present Guv of WB, has connected this case with the writing of Kuraiyondrumillai, in an article in the Hindu...)

Rajaji's reading was wide and cosmopolitan...He had read the classics in Tamil, English and Sanskrit in the original...Remember he could not forgive Rama for the way he treated Sita after the war...He would not stomach the killing of Vali the way it was done...Could the same man be saying that only those who recite the Vedas can see god...Yes...only those who know the great Experience that the Vedas are speaking of...Only those...whether it is Emerson, Thoreau, Eckhart or any other great man of the west..or our own gnaanis...can know Him....Others are far away...
Meanwhile, an old friend told me that a Congressman called David Pitchai...circulated a pamplet championing Rajaji's scheme during those days. You will see in Jayakanthan, Oru Ilakkiyavaadhiyin Arasiyal Anubavangal, that he holds Rajaji's scheme in high esteem. Ma.Po. Si...too welcomed the scheme and had to face a murderous attack for doing so. He has chronicled this and other things in his Enadhu Poraattangal.
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Please read the book 'Naanarinda rajaji' by Ma.Po.Si. where the education system is referred to 'half a day school' scheme. 'Kula kalvi Thittam' is the name given by DMK and DK. As the no. of schools, teachers and other infrastructure and funds for improvement were scarce, in order to double the no. of schoolgoing children in one stroke and to make the hitherto non-school going children the scheme was introduced. The two shifts will automatically provide for double the no. of students with the existing infrastructure itself. A man who all along striven for the upliftment of the poor brought about this scheme. In order to meet the criticism the children will waste their newly found additional leisure time it was suggested they will learn the work of the family/ village and therefore not waste the time.
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