Archive for June, 2009

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Enge Brahmanan – What’s the point?

June 13, 2009

Megaserials and reality shows have become the lifeline of satellite TV today. Among the whole heap of crap which gets shown each day, we happened to see an episode of a serial called Enge Brahmanan the other day.

For those who are not aware of this series, Enge Brahmanan is a book written by Cho Ramasamy and has been televised now. There is a story happening in the background and now and then, Cho comes in to explain aspects, importance and the practical use of the Hindu religion, cultural practices, rituals etc. If the couple of episodes which we saw are any indication, the series is nothing but a propaganda exercise by Cho& Co to uphold the Brahmin hegemony in the Hindu religion. No wonder the Tam-Brams of Chennai and elsewhere are going gaga about this series.

According to many tam-brams, Cho personifies the quintessential Tamil Brahmin; an intellectual whose knowledge on a wide range of topics is second to none and whatever he comments/suggests must be true. It is a pity that the wider audience do not feel the same. The series is full of Hindu rhetoric and most of Cho’s views are fascist and glorify the so-called noble values of the religion. All through the series he remains faithful to his role as the voice of the upper middle class elite. But at the end of all this, one begs to ask the question, what is the point of all these viewpoints? How is it going to better the life of the common man who struggles day in day out just to make ends meet. Sample this. In one of the episodes, a ‘rationalist’ character in the serial plans to buy a plot of land in the tamil month of Marghazhi. His wife being a staunch believer advises him not to do so as the month is considered to be inauspicious for venturing into anything new. In comes Mr. Cho explaining why the month of Marghazhi is considered inauspicious. Apparently, during this period, it is daybreak for the Devas of the celestial world and one must spend all their time worshipping them and not involve themselves in other mundane activities. In another episode, when explaining about the bad omen which gets initiated when someone says inappropriate statements, he cites the example of NS Krishnan (a rationalist himself) and Thangavelu (a famous comedian). Apparently, when rendering some financial help to Thangavelu, NS Krishnan said “en kitte irukkara lakshmiya un kitte tharein” and from thereon NS Krishnan’s career started declining and he ultimately reached financial ruin.

Even ridiculing the above two viewpoints would be a waste of time as it would mean we are giving it too much importance. That being said, the conventional brahmin himself has evolved a lot and doesn’t stick to the rules of his religious books. When the author himself doesn’t follow everything he wrote and picks and chooses the values he espouses, how can he expect the viewer to subscribe to everything he says? At a time, when logical reasoning and rational thinking are the need of the hour, efforts such as Enge Brahmanan should be vehemently discouraged. The series insults and ridicules the intelligence of the viewer to reason out things and tries to preach stuff which can safely be termed as ridiculous. As Voltaire remarked ‘Those who make you believe in absurdities will make you commit atrocities’.