‘ Sri Rama Sethu’ and Karunanidhi’s existential dilemma!
By U.Narayana Das
"A model of development and a haven for mayhem!"
The state is a mix of paradoxes. It is one of India’s most developed states. And yet it is one of her most conservative societies. The state is home to a glorious ancient culture and literary tradition. It has produced great litterateurs and musicians and seers and scientists. The state has the maximum number of temples in any Indian state, many of them built to magnificent scale in size or architectural grandeur. That the temples in the state continue to practice ancient traditions of worship and rigid dress codes is surprising in a state ruled by professed atheists for over half a century.
Most middle class families in the state initiate their girl children into the study of classical music or Bharata Natyam to nurture their artistic sensibilities. The growing crowds every year at Tiruvayyur during the annual Tyagaraja Aradhana festival are proof of this. And lumpen elements find their way into the cadres of political parties to cause murder and mayhem for love or for money. During the anti-Hindi agitation in the sixties its crowds burnt alive, police officers, who in the line of their duty obstructed them from venting their anger by burning public property. The people of the state are very expressive in their emotions. This could be the reason for the Thalaivars or Thalaivis (leaders, male or female) to encourage their cadres to prostrate before them in public, as an expression of reverence. For the same reason, it was no surprise, when some of its citizens were so grieved that they did not hesitate to immolate themselves when their hero MGR passed away. They can make a temple for an actress one day if her anatomy is appealing enough and bring it down when is she is seen to be crossing a conservative Rubicon.
In Tamil Nadu, democracy and freedom of expression, lofty ideals for media men and women, are only to praise the Thalaivars or Thalaivis with encomiums and prefixes like Puratchi (revolutionary) and Kalaignar (litterateur). Even the most virtuous journalists dare not omit prefixing the names of Thalaivars or Thalaivis with the honorary doctorates that the states’ universities routinely confer on them like confetti in a wedding. Governance in the state is in a permanent state of musical chairs with the Thalaivars or Thalaivis of one dynasty alternating the other.
Political parties nurture private armies of goons to do their bidding. When these mobs go on a rampaging spree no body save their masters are safe. We have seen only recently, the internecine warfare within the ruling dynasty spilling out into the streets of many towns causing murder and mayhem. All in the name of social justice and secular ideals, it saw the burning of a newspaper’s offices with some unfortunate employees included. This is not something new to the state. Beating up of journalists for offending the Thalaivars or Thalaivis has been such regular a happening that it no longer surprises.
T. N. Seshan the tall Chief Election Commissioner who made mighty political parties cover did not find the five-star Taj Coromondel hotel in Chennai safe, when he uttered something that displeased a Puratchi Thalaivi. Her goons ransacked the hotel guarded by one of the most powerful security companies that money can buy, only to find that the bird has flown the coup. Her private army did not flinch when ordered to kidnap the editor of a national, secular newspaper in the capital of a neighbouring state. She did not hesitate to have a Shankaracharya arrested on trumped up charges when he crossed her path or when she felt that it would serve her political interests.
Anti-Brahmanism as a credo…
The lynching of Alfred Dreyfuss in Paris is said to be an indication of simmering anti-Semitism in Europe, which led David Ben Gurion to seriously contemplate the need for a separate Jewish state. The roots of anti-Brahmanism in Tamil Nadu are not clear but may have something to do with Christian missionary work. In any case it gave Ramaswami Naicker a handle to beat Brahmins with holding them responsible for all ills of the society although they have, if at all, only exceptionally wielded political power.
The Dravidian movement made persecution of Brahmins its ideological plank to seize political power. The tufts that they wore as a religious symbol were pulled causing acute pain, the holy tilak they wore was licked or forcibly erased, their customs ridiculed and their women molested. The situation of Brahmins during most of the twentieth century in the state was similar to that of the Kashmiri Pundits in J & K during the last decades of the century. The cream of them emigrated to other states or nations. Those who remain have to struggle for their existence in a state in which they are overtly not wanted. The reservation policy, an instrument of positive discrimination that gave a handicap to the downtrodden in other states, is an oxymoron in Tamil Nadu as at 69% it is designed to only exclude Brahmins from jobs, educational institutions and parliamentary democracy. There was a time when political persecution was extended to institutions owned by Brahmans as well and The Hindu, it was said, contemplated moving to Bangalore. Indira Gandhi’s infamous emergency was a godsend for Tamil Nadu and more for the paper as she dismissed the Karunanidhi government based on charges of possible secession and corruption. The grateful owners of the paper jumped on to the Samachar News Agency bandwagon shunned by all self-respecting newspapers as it was formed as a handmaiden to sub-serve her majesty’s interests and to control the flow of news and information. The Veeranam project conceived to transport drinking water to Madurai was never completed but the ‘existential dilemma’ of evidence saved Karunanidhi from corruption charges - as all other political leaders in India at whom a ‘needle of suspicion’ pointed. And as the wheel of musical chairs turned to bring his party back into power the charges were totally dropped.
As the Hindu religion and rituals are considered a part of Brahminical culture it was portrayed as a north Indian import and the myth of Aryan north and the Dravidian south was fuelled as a continuous tool to achieve political ends. Although later archaeological and other scientific evidence negated the ‘Aryan-as-an-alien’ theory, originally propounded by Christian missionaries to drive a wedge in the Hindu society, it suits the Dravidian parties to continue with its perpetuation.
The recent remarks of Karunanidhi, the secular chief minister of Tamil Nadu, posing an existential dilemma about Sri Rama whom millions of Indians worship fits into the general scheme of Dravidian politics, exhibiting if not ignorance of advances in scientific knowledge, low animal cunning pandering to a constituency that may be slowly slipping away as the imaginary enemy, the emasculated Brahmin is no longer a perceptible threat.
An apology will only enhance Karunanidhi’s stature…
When his predecessor, for personal or political reasons resorted to having the Shankaracharya of Kanchi arrested, there were no violent protests in the state, mostly because the Hindu pontiff was perceived as an icon of the Brahmin community, known for its stoic forbearance of hardships and not given to violent expressions of anger. While most of the secular media remained a mute spectator, The Statesman of Kolkota was the one newspaper, which exhibited courage, objectivity and balance in questioning it. In an editorial entitled “God, man, law - Is India principled, secular enough?” the paper asked, “Jayendra Saraswati is acknowledged as a pontiff of India’s majority community, and that hasn’t stopped his arrest. But it could be asked, could the law go as far with religious leaders of the minority community - that, too, is a test of secularism.”
Could one ask whether Karunanidhi who wanted to know which engineering college Sri Rama attended for constructing the Sethu, would be bold enough to ask people of other faiths to proffer proofs of their messiahs and their credentials? And by the same token could one ask an atheist to obtain a postgraduate degree in genetics and prove the legitimacy of his birth?
According to the scripture, Sri Rama respected the word of a lowly citizen as more venerable than familial ties. Would the erudite Karunanidhi be gracious enough to respect the sentiments of millions of his own citizens and apologise for hurting their sentiments? It will only enhance his stature as a great leader.
UPA cabinet, Ram sethu & the genetic code:
Standing against vs standing up
Now that public memory is slowly receding from the anti-Ram affadavit filed by the upa government its time to look at it unemotionally and objectively.
Jiddu krishnamurthy has said that mind evolves over generations. It is a product of what it has been subjected to. Historically speaking Muslims have been invaders at least in the Indian context. Their mindset is one of aggression, killing, rape and plunder. They have lived by the sword and you can see echo of it in the modern world as spilling blood is not considered being un-Islamic. A Caucasian christian is known to have the tag of a coloniser.He has ruled many countries worldwide put people to slavery with devastating effects and has killed & plundered though rape is not something which is associated with him. You can see that sense of superiority in them when they deal with other people. It is so plain and visible.
Hindus on the other hand were a good hosts for both the muslim hordes and the later caucasian christian colonisers. This over a 1000 year history has made them less aggressive personalities. I'ts surprising that even a casual browse of Hindu religious books can calm down a person even though one of the most holy books "the gita" has its origins on the battlefield calling for action and in the other holy book "Ramayana" there was the epic warfare across ocean.
But things are changing and there is strong urge among the hindu youth to claim their place on earth. This is fundamentally against the known stereo type of hindus. The secular world of India which includes rightwing Christians and Muslims are having great difficulty in accepting it as a reality. Hence if you see any aggressive defensive posture by hindus it is attacked in a co-ordinated way by both Indo christians and Indo muslims. It's interesting to note that in other parts of the world muslims and christians are not great friends.
When the nation is emerging out of slavery and dependence it looks upon to its leaders to show some leadership qualities. Leadership qualities like "Self -respect" dignity and the courage to defend it. There is fundamental difference between standing against and standing up. Standing against is opposing and can be enemy action, but standing up is not enemy action and it just means safe guarding your self-respect.
The majority of the UPA cabinet are from the hindu religion. They are all hindus first. The least they can do when their god was questioned was to stand up and protest. This has nothing to do with politics. Its basic self respect. Let's see how the UPA cabinet has responded to the offensive affadavit filed by the union government.
NAME MINISTRY RELIGION COMMENT
Mrs.Sonia Gandhi Chair-person Christian Communal forces should be defeated
Mr.Manmohan singh Prime Minister Sikh silence
Mr.Pranab Mukherjee External affairs Hindu silence
Mr.Arjun Singh Human Resources Hindu silence
Mr.Sharad Pawar Agriculture Hindu Its a matter of faith
Mr.Lalu Prasad Railways Hindu Spoke something
Mr.A.K.Anthony Defence Christian silence
Mr.Shivraj Patil Home Hindu silence
Mr.Antulay Minority affaris Muslim silence
Mr.Sushil Kumar shinde Power Hindu silence
Mr.Ram vilas paswan Chemicals Hindu silence
Mr.Jaipal Reddy Urban development Hindu silence
Mr.Sis ram ola Mines Hindu silence
Mr.P.Chidambaram Finance Hindu silence
Mr.Mahavir prasad Small Industries Hindu silence
Mr.P.R.Kyndiah Tribal affairs Hindu silence
Mr.T.R.Baalu Shipping Hindu anti-hindu
Mr. Shankersinh Vaghela
Textiles Hindu silence
Mr.Vaylar Ravi Indian affairs Christian silence
Mr.Kamal Nath Commerce & Industry Hindu silence
Mr.H.R. Bhardwaj Law & Justice Hindu silence
Mr.Sontosh Mohan Heavy Industries Hindu silence
Mr. Saif-ud-din Soz Water resources Muslim silence
Mr.Raghuvansh Prasad Rural development Hindu silence
Mr.Priyaranjan Information Hindu silence
Mr.Mani shankar Iyer Sports .. etc Hindu silence
Mrs Meira Kumar Social Justice Hindu silence
Mr.Murali Deora Petroleum & Gas Hindu silence
Ms.Ambika soni Tourism & culture Hindu Anti-hindu
Mr.A.Raja Communications Hindu silence
Mr.Anbumani Ramdoss Health Hindu silence
Mr.Kapil sibal Science & Tech Hindu silence
Mr.Premchand gupta corporate affairs Hindu silence
It's amazing that the statement of Ms.Sonia has been swallowed by all the hindu ministers in her cabinet. This has nothing do with secularism because secularists from other religions are first either a muslim or a christian and later a secularist. Why was almost the entire hindu cabinet silent? Why are they so timid? agreed that they have all acquired the defective genetic code but they should have made efforts to take the nation away from the mindset of crawling and bowing ! Are these leaders making the same mistake of the multitude of small rulers who ruled india earlier made.. the inability to stand up for their rights.. the inability to fight... the inability to defend their self respect... Does this timidity explains why a handful of invaders could rule the nation for thousand years.
If they cannot utter a meek whisper of protest.. against the most blatant attack on their basic faith, can we expect them to stand up to face other challanges of the nation ? We give two recent examples of this government's inability to stand up for the rights of its people...
Example 1:US Ambassador Mr Mulford's statement:
Ahead of the IAEA meeting on the Iran issue, the US ambassador to India Mr.Mulford said that if India did not vote against Tehran’s nuclear programme, the fallout on the Indo-US nuclear deal in the US Congress would be ‘devastating’.
The UPA government was silent and this cabinet consisting of heroes of anti hinduism were silent too.... it was left to Mr Vajpayee the opposition leader to respond.. he said “The statement of the US Ambassador to India is outrageous. It violates all diplomatic norms. Ambassadors are not required to make personal remarks denigrating their host country,” “The reaction of the Ministry of External Affairs to the Ambassador’s remarks is routine. It hardly expresses the indignation of the people of the sovereign and independent republic of India.”
It was after this that the UPA government gave out a formal protest. What has prevented this govt from protesting. It had to look to the opposition for leadership... .
Example 2: Indians attacked in Germany:
Eight indian men were attacked by a mob of around 50 Germans at a street party in recently in the small town of Mügeln in the eastern German state of Saxony. What was the response of the government.. silence.. it was left to one of the tallest leaders from the opposition,Mrs.Sushma swaraj who said that the German ambassador to India should be summoned for a protest.
Response of the upa govt. You guessed it right... silence
Should not the members of the government of the now resurgent india demonstrate that freedom means both political and psychological and its time to make attempts to change their psychological dna code from slavery to freedom.
This frontal attack against hindusim has already turned many moderate hindus into right and far right wing hindus. Right wing hinduism is in very small numbers today as compared to right wing christians or right wing muslims. Its a wonder why these secularists of india want to contribute to the growth of right wing Hinduism.May be that is what Hinduism needs now. It appears that the UPA government wants to provoke the moderate hindus so that it can "complain" of right wing Hindusim.
The response of other religions to this affadavit was interesting. Some Muslim organisations in south India came to the defence of religious rights but not in defence of hindusim. That is some response. However for all its claims of being a fair and just religion none of the Indo-christian organizations made even a general statement on this. True christians would have come out with a statement to uphold civility.But Indian church is yet to learn the civility and politeness of the western church.
For the hindu ministers of the UPA cabinet who have a defective genetic code we offer them inspiration from other world stories,
1. Christian denominations disagree with each other but neither question the existence of Christ
2. Muslim nations fight among themselves but neither question the existence of Allah
Members of the UPA cabinet, you have stood up to challenges for your political career and fought for it. You can do the same for your faith. We expect you to stand up. Remember standing up is not standing against.We request the UPA cabinet to stand up to the many challenges which the nation is facing.