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Where are we going?

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This is a favorite subject of mine. These remarks are not addressed to any segment of the community or anyone in particular. This thread is born out of Anguish.

Matrimony is one of the most sacred relationship in all religions. In Hinduism it plays a very important role. We expect it to be "Till death do us apart".

The bridegroom taking the palm of the bride into his hand helps her to rise and then they both shall walk round the altar, the bride leading. Then facing the east take the solemn vows:

The bridegroom:
O virtuous one! I have accepted thee thoughtfully and so hast thou accepted me. Out of the fullness of love have I accepted thee and so hast thou accepted me. I am the Sama and thou art the Rik. I am the Dyau (heaven) and thou art the earth. We marry each other joyously. May we be blessed with bright, heroic and long-lived children!
The bride and the bridegroom:
Let us be devoted to each other. Let us share each other’s joys and sorrows, wish each other well and look upon each other with love and live for at least a hundred years. May we live happily for at least a hundred years. May we live, listening to sweet words for at least a hundred years.
But what is happening in practice. You have to only glance at the matrimonial advertisements in the Hindu newspaper to see how marriage has been reduced to a business transaction or worse.

People want Bride Grooms with specific qualifications. Earlier a good job was the only pre-requisite. But now everyone knows how difficult it is to get a bride if you are not in U.S.

Again the qualification required for a bride reads more like a job advertisement.

I have seen this from my personal experience. A boy who is educated abroad, but who has come back to India and has an excellent job has no value in the marriage market. Girls who are very intelligent, sophisticated, but have only a graduate degree have no value.

This is an indication of the values in our community. Your status in society depends on whether you have a son or daughter in U.S. People of the older generation who went to U.S. for higher education, but came back to India to pursue careers here have no value in the society. They are called fools or worse.

Where is the Tamil Brahmin community headed? Where is our sense of values?
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Going with the world " Money is Honey "!

"kaasey thaan kadavulada !"

or at chennai the saying goes " Kayilley kasu Vayilla Dosa "

who ever doesn;t have money - " Vazhvey maayam intha vazhvey mayam !"

There is very little value for any other credentials - say innar Kudumbam - No innar kudumbam as they have been migrating 10 places ,
no value for " Maniyana pasanga " - as money supercedes everything !

Yeh hai kismat ka kamaal !
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Mr Nacchinarkiniyan,

Your anguish is well received.

However I am finding it a bit difficult to accept your anguish in entirety. Hence kindly permit me to play a bit truant here.

I think Saint Thiruvalluvar, with the great foresight that he had, called it right eons ago when he wrote :

“Porul illarukku ivvulagamillai”.

So as much as we want to despise there is no escaping from the fact that ‘social status’ was, is and will be continued to be determined by wealth.

My anguish is considerably diminished when I consider that whatever you find hard to reconcile with, is nothing but further ‘verticalisation’ after the ‘filter of wealth’ has been applied.

The first sifting is always on the barometer of wealth and once it “meets the standards” are the other “cut-offs” applied.

Frankly I don’t think it is too bad to narrow down the search for a spouse since it is a matter of personal choice and there is very little moral policing that it can be subjected to. I am not suggesting here that you favour moral policing just to make myself abundantly clear.

At the risk of getting a bit more flippant, if I haven’t already been, future ‘thaamboolam exchange’ could perhaps be the photocopies of the green card or the ‘technology certificates’ of the man and woman to be married.

The day the rich realize the immense power that their money has and the potential that it can ‘unlock’ we can only be mute spectators to the ‘gory avarice’ of money making as we cannot for obvious reasons legislate against money making.

We can only hope for a change of heart, as hope as they say is the only elixir of life.
Hari ji,
I suppose Thiruvalluvar did not mean porul as Thuttu !
may be he meant ' Arms and Ammunition' to fight wars !
....A tamil kavi to comment !

I think the point the thread starter wants to make is :

Under these circumstances , what do the less privileged Do? Do they have to remain unmarried / unsettled till they reach mid-age ?? A msg of worry seems to be the tone of this msg , I think !

and hariji, its making me sick of copy-pasting ur words into the net literally hunting for the meanings - Do make my life easy by having the colloquial english or tamilish meaning of the complex words that u use within brackets , it will save me and may be some others , a lot of time !
( Yenappa Ithu , simple english intha shabtha thagoli , yejamanrey!)
Thanks for the favour !
It works both ways, actually. Whilst the bride demands that the groom be 'well settled' in US, whatever that means, the groom also is guilty of expecting the bride to be 'fair and lovely', which also is ridiculous, considering India is a third-world country with a predominantly dark-skinned population.

As one can notice, both parties happen to be superficial, so there really is no justification for blaming one and ignoring the other. Indians, in general, have become utterly shallow and silly, that's the central issue.

I will split my post to two topics. I had quoted the marriage issue as an example. Since people have responded to that I will write about that.

A boy who is earning more than Rs. 100,000 per month in India and who has enough inherited property to last at least two generations without any income should attract the best alliance from the society.

Yes they do get alliances from the rich and sophisticated girls. But if the family wants a girl from a middle class family, it turns out to be a disappointment.

The middle class ( who form the huge majority) prefer grooms in U.S. Again when you want a non career oriented girl you get the shock of your life. The middle class girl values her career (even if it is a Rs. 5000 job in one of the Credit card associates).The girls from the richer class are happy to be home makers, but not the middle class.

It is tradition in many families to look for the tradition of the family rather than financial status for getting a bride. A family of teachers, pundits, musicians is preferred. You do get a number of proposal from budding musicians, but all boys may not prefer them.

If someone thinks that there are very few very rich Tamil Brahmins around, they have to only look around. The increase in the value of the landed properties in Mylapore, Nungambakkam, and T. Nagar have created a whole generation of Lakhpatis if not Koteeswarans.
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We need to get ahead with time

I feel we need to adapt ourselves to face the situation. Its a demand and supply situation. Its not true that if one is not in US he wont get married at all. But he may need to lower his expectations. Its their wish and they have every right to choose their future. But of course its not the case always. Many have different preferences. We need to get one who suits us. When many are earning high naturally the rupee loses its value . So even 1 lack may seem not to be extraordinary now.
Many do compromise for money in life. Are people sitting in US not losing their relationship back in India? People who have interest in science subjects are entering IT ,just because of money. So we cannot expect all at one hand. We need to lose one to get another.
Ideally all the people has to get married in the end. So in the overall system it doesn't make any difference except it may lengthen our search.Everyone wants to become a doctor when enters plus two. How many actually does? At the end all will get whatever they apt for. They cannot blame the system.

Now a days a lot of people are involved in risk based investments and turning into an asset class.Its good for them and i guess its unavoidable too. But on the real estate side i do have concerns .I feel the IT story has been overplayed.

Marriages last when husband and wife share common values. Attitude towards money, desabhimanam and religion are the most important ones. We are starting to see a number of divorces in our community. It is bound to increase exponentially.

When I was looking for a bride for my son, I started looking for brides from other Brahmin communities. The Andhra, Kannada, and Marathi Brahmins have a lot in common with us. We share a lot of common culture with Bengali, U.P, and And Bihari Brahmins. We can always find some Brahmins with the same values. Tamil non-brahmins would have been an ideal choice but for the fact that their food and religious traditions are so different.

It is easier to get a bride groom who is well settled in India. The problem is only getting brides. On every social occasion we find parents making anxious inquiries about good brides for their sons who are in India.

Of course it is better than the Natashas, Tonyas, Michaels and Edwards who have started permeating our society. More about that later.

The pity is that it is not the younger generation who is responsible for this state of affairs. It is the older generation who is squarely responsible for teaching their children that Getting a green card is Jenma Saphalyam. The writers and the intelligentsia of the community are also responsible as most of the Tamil intelligentsia have forced this sense of values on their children.
Marriages are made in Heaven, Divorces in hell
but the number of times these things happen in a young man's life
will depend only on him, he's responsible for the make or break!
The parents can give him education, love and guidance but cannot be blamed for
the son's destiny as he alone shapes it based on his karmas !
(all this provided the parents invoke the most important aspect - the decision making process
in the brain of their child early , at least before adolescence )
Both partners are responsible for any divorce. Girls from our community are walking out of marriages. There are cases of boys who have lost their job in U.S, but are not able to come back because they will lose their wives also. Girls have said " I married you because you were employed in U.S. If you want to go back to India do not expect me to accompany you."

Whosoever is to be blamed does not really matter. The fact is that divorces are becoming more common in our community and are increasing.

There are many more serious issues which threaten the very existence of our community. I will post about them later.
Migration Abroad

Tamil Brahmins started crossing the seas when the British government started recruiting them for Burma service. But almost all of them came back and their inter action with the Burmese was minimal.

In the early sixties U.S. Immigration visas were available for the qualified engineers. If I remember correctly it cost $100 about Rs. 800. The people who were serious took some training in the local petrol bunks, as the only jobs available in U.S as soon as you reached, was that of service station attendants. But our parents did not encourage us to migrate abroad. They were totally against it.

Many of our boys went abroad for higher education. But they came back. One of the main motivators for coming back to India was the discouragement from the parents for staying back.

But the attitude of the community slowly underwent a change starting from the early seventies. Parents did not mind their children staying back abroad. Then it went to the extreme case of wanting to have all their children abroad. They chose schools and colleges which suited that purpose. The children knew that the parents will be happy only if they get a job abroad.

Now the entire community is in the grip of this. As I said earlier the person whose children do not stay abroad has no status in the community. You are Persona Non Grata. This mostly affects the middle class who are the back bone of the community.

There is another trend in the last 15 years. That is migration to Australia. People who hold good jobs in India are willing to go to Australia and start from the bottom there.

These trends affect the very existence of the Tamil Brahmin community.

We will see the effect and what the future holds later.
Effect on older Generation

How does this migration affect the older generation?

The parents are very much in demand by children in U.S. Especially during pregnancies. The mother is very important because she is a free domestic help. But the importance of parents comes down as the children grow up. But almost in all cases the children buy flats/houses, cars etc. for the parents and make their life comfortable.

As far as Australian migrants go the parents are also taken Australia. Of course they have to give declaration that they have no one to take care of them here. So people who have five daughters here in India have no compunction in giving such a declaration to be with their son in Australia. Well to do people who had a very comfortable stay here do not mind going to Australia and help in washing vessels and vacuuming the floor. Their faith in Kolli and Pindam by the sons is absolute. But it remains to be seen whether the children will keep them at home when they get very old or pack them off to an old age home there.

The problem arises when the parents get very old or sick. A number of old age homes have come up with all the modern conveniences like air conditioned rooms, medical facilities etc. These are mainly targeted at these parents whose children are abroad. Facilities are now available for keeping the dead body for a number of days so that the son can come from abroad and perform the last rites. The people are generally happy that their ambition has been fulfilled.
Present Generation who are abroad and GenNEXT.

The present generation who have migrated abroad take a lot of trouble to retain the Tamil Brahmin culture. They have been encouraging Carnatic musicians, building Hindu temples etc. In fact they are more conscious of their culture than their parents, for many of whom Sandyavandanam, amavasai tharpanam and annual shraddham was the beginning and end of their identity as Tamil Brahmins.

What about the next generation who are born and brought up abroad?

This generation has to necessarily move with people from different cultures. They have to adapt if they do not want to feel like an alien. In fact their life is tough.

When they grow up, there is no way anyone can ensure that they will be married to Tamil Brahmins. The main reason for people choosing to marry within their own caste are

1. Non acceptance and pressure from the Society.
2. System of arranged marriages.

The next generation will not accept arranged marriages. There is no pressure from society in general to marry within your community. Pressure by parents will only lead to problems in the family. This is shown by the experience of the Indian communities in U.K.

They will get married to a person of their choice who may belong to any religion or community.

In many of the families who have gone abroad earlier, we see Tonyas and Natashas as daughter in laws and Michaels and Edwards as son in laws. The parents have very little say in the matter. Many parents are worried about live in marriages which have become common. They are delighted if the children get married to Indian Hindus.

The Indian community is large enough in many places to retain the Indianness for may be a couple of generations. But the Tamil Brahmin community is not large enough for that.

I will conclude my soliloquy with my next post.

What does the future hold for us? We have already pressed the self destruct button. It has a slow fuse.

The community will not become extinct because there are a number of people who are interested in carrying on the culture and tradition. But the majority of the community will be gone.

Is it wrong? Should we not be in tune with the changing times?

I have no answers to such questions. I have only outlined my thoughts based on actual experiences of my family and friends.

Thank you.
Perfect ending

What does the future hold for us? We have already pressed the self destruct button. It has a slow fuse.

The community will not become extinct because there are a number of people who are interested in carrying on the culture and tradition. But the majority of the community will be gone.

Is it wrong? Should we not be in tune with the changing times?

I have no answers to such questions. I have only outlined my thoughts based on actual experiences of my family and friends.

Thank you.

Nacchinarkiniyan sir,

I guess the eerie silence that you met with was perhaps more due to the fact that there are no simple answers to your questions.

I also think that 'ethnicity' as a concept will get more and more broadbased. Not only for us but for everyone. As you have rightly said, TBs and if i extend it further Bs, simply dont have the numbers so the impact will be felt severely.

Whether at all the 'turf should be protected' is a moot question, (of certain right-wing neo-brahmins if i may say) again with no easy answers. I will only say that as a society we will mature the day we realise that everyone has a right to live the life they want and respect their personal liberty - whether one wants to be a beef eating brahmin or a unjavarthi brahmin.

I will stick my neck out and still say that "econmic level balancing" is the key and lasting solution to the myriad of problems that today we are grappling with.

I have a smearing suspicion that finally ethnicity will get defined on the basis of economic resources.

Dear Nachi Sir and Hariji,

A definition of Tamil Brahmin Community (pl. note my emphasis) has indeed changed during and since the days of the British control of Tamilnadu. State intereference with the Brahmin community has happened in the past as can be seen from the 'recorded history' as early as in the days of Ashoka when majority of Brahmins have converted into Buddhism due to his proselytisation campaign. During the rein of Harshavardhana who became a Buddhist it is said that over 10,000 Brahmins were killed on a single day because they opposed Buddhism. The infamous massacre of over 20,000 Brahmins by the Spanish occupiers in Goa is a black mark of history. Yet the Brahmins jumped back to form a cohesive community in pursuit of thier Vedic goals of Purushartha. Somehow I get the feeling that Sri Hariji thinks that the Tamil Brahmins have changed for good and would never go back to their Vedic ideals and is eager to brand any one who has a different view than him as "right-wing neo-brahmins". I can only say that history repeats and does so endlessly! Anyone who does not recongnize this has a myopic vision.
Please read in my last post as 'Portugese occupiers of Goa' instead of Spanish occupiers. The error is regretted.

Please read all my posts. This thread is about the social problems facing our community. This has nothing to do with Vedas or persecution of Brahmins.
kesava ,Narayana, madhava, govinda, vishnu, madhusudhana , trivikrama, vamana
sridhara, hrishikesha, padmanabha , damodahra..........

So many God's to help us on a Day-to-Day basis !
I understand the worries from experience , but it's always advisable to take a mouthful , swallow and then take the next serving !
Let us take LIFE , the same way !
The events and occurrences in this world are uncertain and unpredictable !
Living Today is more important than worrying about how the future will unfold !
There's a phrase - Don't worry worry until worry worries you!
So this problem highlighted here rings in the same tone to me as the effects of ozone layer depletion , danger to the world from the increasing nuclear arms around the world etc etc.... Any prediction as to how our community will be decades from now , will be a gross approximation and it's going to be as per GOD wishes !
He should decide whether our community is worth surviving , in comparison to others !!
Let's wait and watch !! As humans ,we have very little choice !
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By God's grace I do not have to worry about my children. My only worry is about getting good flowers for the Puja in the morning.

We should be aware of the happenings in the community.
Exactly! There is abundance in this world !
A bookby Nick williams "Unconditional Success " just gives us more insight
on unconditional love , power , safety , creativity and much more !
Fascinating ! Each soul born in this world will have his share !
May it be a brahmin or anyone else !
Vedai vechavan thanni viduvan !

Somehow I get the feeling that Sri Hariji thinks that the Tamil Brahmins have changed for good and would never go back to their Vedic ideals and is eager to brand any one who has a different view than him as "right-wing neo-brahmins". I can only say that history repeats and does so endlessly! Anyone who does not recongnize this has a myopic vision.

Well Sri Ramaa ji,

I think i made a poor fist of what i wanted to say presumably due to my poor mastery over Her Majestys Language. (Ms Prema Mahadevan : Are you reading this ?)

Let me make an attempt at explaining myself

Tamil Brahmins have changed for good

I think we have changed, hopefully there's no disputing that ; else i should be having an ucchikudumi and chant mantrams ; for good ? Not wholesomely but definitely recognizing the need to loosen the vice like grip on certain aspects of religion, i would say is a welcome change ; not sure 'blindly' aping the west (in certain matters) is so welcome ; learning to live amidst chaos is a welcome change ; displaying willingness to move out of hostile environment and adapting to a new state / region / country is welcome.

would never go back to their Vedic ideals

I dont know whether i came thru so assertively on this, but i think it is a fair comment to say that 'majority cannot afford to go back to vedic ideals' for myriad of reasons.

is eager to brand any one who has a different view than him as "right-wing neo-brahmins"

Heres where i think you got me completely wrong. I am on your side of the fence sir.

Let me explain up.

1. First of all i was a poor student of marketing, so branding not really my forte.

2. I participate in another forum, more pluralistic. The participating brahmins, a majority of them are atheist, condemn brahmins to the core, condemn brahmanism to the core, reeking in such contempt and anger, frothing in the mouth vituperativeness.

Their grouse : Brahmins oppressed the dalits ; "Only" brahmins oppressed the dalits ; Brahmins "continue" to oppress the dalits ; Brahmins "refuse" to make way for others ; brahmins have a "disproportionate" share of state benefits in terms of employment etc.

Their solution : Cleanse the society to create a "brahmin-less" one ; brahmins - repent, repent, repent - flog yourselves like followers of Islam do on Muharram ; bootlick ; drop all aspects of brahmanism (you know what i mean)

These, sir, are "right-wing neo brahmins". It is they whom i was referring to as the ones who "question whether at all brahmanism should be preserved".

Who is a neo-brahmin then ?

Simple, seedha saadha, god-fearing, ritual-agnostic, who doesnt care much for what happens around him as long as "naamaathulla ellarum kshemama irundha porum" (not that i am any different)

So in the absence of a more socially conscious neo-brahmin group, the shrill of the right-wing neo-brahmin is reaching massive proportions. It is them who i was referring to, most definitely not others.

I can only say that history repeats and does so endlessly!

You know, in another thread, i argued passionately for giving history a honest, decent burial. I will stick to it yet again.

The way forward for us is to introspect and de-weed brahmanism for certain despicable provisions, disown some (like some portions of Manu shastram), build a more inclusive religious order.

Anyone who does not recongnize this has a myopic vision.

Quite true. -2 in right eye and -1.75 in left.


PS : Mrs Prema Mahadevan taught me english.
Dear Sri Hari,

Usually, the 'right' is reserved for conservative orthodoxy, while the 'left' is reserved for liberal progressiveness. So by this definition you are actually dealing with the 'left-wing neo brahmins'!

Either way though, a 'potato' is a 'potato' however it is called!

Hijacking of Threads

All the threads in this forum are being hijacked by the protagonists of the so called Vedic culture. If in every thread there are going to be only posts of persecution of Tamil Brahmins and how all problems would be solved by going back to the Veda Patashala, there does not seem to be much point in posting here.

Thank you.
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