Archive for November, 2008

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What about the Violence Off Campus?

November 13, 2008

“Law and religion are two forces which govern the conduct of men. At times they act as handmaids to each other. At other times they act as check and counter-check. Of the two forces, Law is personal while religion is impersonal. Law being personal it is capable of being unjust and iniquitous. But religion being impersonal, it can be impartial, it is capable of defeating the inequity committed by law. Religion is believed to ennoble man and not degrade him. Hinduism is an exception.” – Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar

I remember a few years back talking to a friend (affiliated with the Periyar movement) who had a lawyer friend and he apparently went along with him to Chennai and stayed at Ambedkar Law College hostel.  He was telling me that there was already some kind of trouble brewing among the students and he told me that while he was in the room a few students barged in and started asking questions about who he is and from where he had come from.  Unfortunately for him he had an accent which gave away his apparent caste identity and not before long he recounted that he was chased down the hallway by an angry and irate mob who mistook him for a thug sent by the rival ‘casteist-student’ gang.  Fortunately for him the lawyer friend arrived on the scene and pacified the mob explaining his political affiliation and so forth.  I remarked to him what kind of barbaric attitude they had but I was quickly chided by my friend saying that this incident shouldn’t be seen as an isolated incident but rather as a culmination of casteist oppression that these students underwent and undergo in the hands of Hindus on a day to day to basis that they have lost any kind of sympathy or trust for their oppressors and they see only distrust and disdain.  He further went on by saying that the lawyer friend of his also comes from a Hindu background but since he has renounced it, he has been accepted into their fold.

As I saw the videos and pictures of the violence that took place inside the  Law College campus being splashed across even in the national media I could only see the brutality and the sheer carnage that was being presented to the public concealing the basis for such an outrage.  Surely that kind of an aggression would not have stemmed overnight but from a deep and sustained enmity over a prolonged period of time.  The alleged reason for the violence was that the students belonging to the ‘thevar’ caste pasted posters on the occasion of ‘thevar jeyanthi’ by identifying themselves as Law College Students which actually should have been Ambedkar Law College.  ‘What’s the big deal?’, ‘Who the hell is Ambedkar?’, ‘Proscribe Ambedkar’ are the voices of sanity in a place where ‘sanity’ has itself traded places with ‘obscene insanity’.  No one cares to question what the heck is ‘thevar jeyanthi’ and why the hell would a bunch of students be commemorating that event or why such an act would enrage a particular section of students.  But the sad state of affairs is that if one were to ask these questions would be paramount to being an anti-national, anti-hindu, anti-this and anti-that.

No law abiding, tax paying, fervently patriotic person cares to question themselves whether this hatred and violence is limited to the compounds of the ‘Ambedkar’ Law College.  Not a single day passes on without caste tensions across the country.   But shamelessly these people as always point the finger of blame on these students.  These students are the product of a society sown and harvested in a climate of contempt against their own fellow human being.  This contempt can be seen in some of the comments that I read in the news items which were pretty interesting and to say the least were appalling.   One wise guy goes on to say that reservation should be abolished and another jackass says that politicians should be put behind bars and the army should rule the country and the ‘voices of sanity’ rambles on.  ‘Everybody’ wants to skirt the issue as just another act of violence and that ‘everybody’ are those who perpetuate it by being part of the bandwagon that proliferates these people with a ‘mindset of derision’ which has become a plague across the whole country claiming victim after victim with the passing hour.

 

 

 

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Eelam and the Tamil Question

November 8, 2008

Tamil Nadu is on boiling point over the Eelam issue at the moment.  There has been widespread protests by every known political party and association and this sends a message that the very creation of Eelam is on the anvil and all it needed was one final blow but alas on a closer view it all seems to be a distant mirage like it was a few decades back.  This hope or to be precise ‘notion’ stems from the fact that everyone who seem to be boisterously backing the Eelam struggle are sending a signal that the the whole ‘race’ have fallen in line as one putting behind the differences that have plagued the Tamils for centuries if not for a millennium(No prizes for guessing ‘caste’ as bringing in the difference).   Let me put one thing to rest ‘I am a staunch supporter of Eelam but provided the struggles addresses certain issues in its course and particularly ‘caste’ which should cease to exist the day Eelam is created’.  This would pose an interesting but a prevalent question “How would one eradicate caste?”. Caste as such has become a state of mind and this state of mind is given credence by the acceptance of certain practices by the Tamil society.  Eradication of caste starts with the origin of caste which has to be by liberal speak be uprooted and if possible obliterated.  This means totally repudiating the so called Hindu religion, its texts and other stuff it clings on to.

Lets leave that subject there and move along with the protests and other things thats making the headlines in Tamil Nadu and as a conversation point on the dinner tables of the Tamil diaspora.  The Tamils are being annhilated screams director Seeman, we would be murdered here if this is allowed bellows actor Vadivelu, ours is a warrior race thunders Bharathiraja and it goes on.  Some have gone to the extent of saying that they are willing to sacrifice everything for this cause(the likes of Cheran, Ameer, Selvamani etc.).  The first question that I want to ask them was ‘when did the whole issue crop up’ was it like last month and do they really think that this empty rhetoric will serve any good.  The other thing is how come they have never ever shown their sense of social consciousness in any of their movies.  Finally do they really think that they can deceive us by instigating the Tamil people by totally concealing the differences that exists among us.  Even today there are caste tensions and conflicts in many parts of Tamil Nadu but never have these patron saints of Tamil Nationalism come out to condemn it. Even while all this was going on there were celebrations honouring the caste bigot Muthuramalingam.  This applies to Eelam as well which is well trenched in caste divisions and people with a mindset of jingoistic beliefs but no one seems to address it and only a superficial treatment is given even if it is addressed.

To sum it all I am of the belief that Eelam should  and would be created but I am sure that the time is not ripe enough.   Practically they(downtrodden classes and caste) are under a kind of imperialism at the moment but they would end up in the hands of another kind of oppressors who are more brutal and  more systematic.