Wednesday, August 30, 2006

It is a funny world

The Englisht News channels in the country try hard to make you believe that there is a big issue over singing of Vande Mataram. If ever there was a non issue, this is it. How many people in the country know the song in full? I can speak for Tamilians, stating that almost no Tamilian knows the song in its entirety. At the most, they would know the first two lines, I don't even know that. So the controversy is essentially about a song which no one knows more than a stanza.

In the all the schools I studied (except the one in Madras), we were taught only the தமிழ்த் தாய் வாழ்த்து - the song singing the praise of Tamil, written by Manonmaniam Sundaram Pillai. To remind my Tamil readers of that beautiful song, here is the text.

நீராடும் கடல் உடுத்த நில மடந்தைக் கெழிலொழுகும்
சீராரும் வதனமென திகழ் பரத கண்டமிதில்
தெக்கணமும் அதிற் சிறந்த திராவிட நல் திருநாடும்
தக்க சிறு பிறை நுதலும் தரித்த நறும் திலகமுமே!
அத் திலக வாசனை போல் அனைத்துலகும் இன்பமுற,
எத் திசையும் புகழ் மணக்க இருந்த பெரும் தமிழணங்கே!
நின் சீரிளமைத் திறம் வியந்து செயல் மறந்து வாழ்த்துதுமே!
வாழ்த்துதுமே! வாழ்த்துதுமே!

So when the news channels have hour long programs about this non issue, we see it as a humorous thing.

Not that we Tamils lack in sense of humour. Take Periyar E.Ve.Raa. He was a man who stood for rationalism (a much maligned word in TN, akin to Secularism), broke idols of Pillayar (as Vinayaka is called in TN) on the streets, and took processions desecrating Rama's pictures. You can criticise his actions and view points, but you can't erase his impact on TN.

As happens with all such revolutionaries, he too became what he opposed - a God with idols all over the state. Yesterday there was a furore in the TN assembly, due to the fact that Periyar's statue was desecrated in Dindigul, a town near Madurai. The rationalist government promised that strict action would be taken against the miscreants. So what was the desecration? Sacred ash was applied on the statues forhead, sandalwood garlands were placed and incence sticks were lit.

Is it only me who finds this incredibly funny? A statue breaker has his statues installed. And then his followers get angry when it is "desecrated". What would happen if the miscreant owns up and says "I idolise Periyaar. So I did these things out of respect to him"?

It is a funny world.


Anonymous said...

Ha ha! Had a good laugh man.
Funny world, indeed!
And, the miscreants (against whom Karunanidhi has promised a lot of action) are the funniest of the lot.

And was Rationalism maligned in TN? I thought it almost became a household term.

Ravages said...

Zero: Exactly. The minute a word, concept, idea, whatever becomes a household term, it gets maligned. its core twisted so out of shape, nothing of the original remains

F e r r a r i said...

I find it hilarious!!

A Deeper Shade of Blue said...

Well said ravages, this is what happens when you try to make an ideal appeal to the lowest common denominator. It loses its essence.

Ravages said...

Yaaru pa idhu, deeper shade of blue.
There are actually people agreeing with me? Oh wow!

Anonymous said...

Ravages, I chose to interpret maligned as "criticized" or "hated" ("damaged" did make sense), just in case.
Because I've heard people telling that Periyar faced a lot of flak, though from what I saw he had great following among the mass, albeit in a "twisted" way.

Premalatha said...

Hi chenthil,
about நீராடும் கடல்உடுத்த
Did you write from your memory or did you refer a book?
i have some questions, that is why.

Chenthil said...

Premalatha, I remmber the song since I sang it in school for close to 8 years. Being lazy, I took the lyrics from the Tamil nation website here

Echo/Lavanya said...

What a farce!

>>As happens with all such revolutionaries, he too became what he opposed

spot on Chenthil

Anonymous said...

I read the kaalai vaazhthu song only now.
Isn't it tharithanarum (not sure about which r, r/R, comes where) instead of thanithuNarum?

Premalatha said...


it is tharithanarum. (also, kadal eduththa?)

the meaning goes like this.
land mass in the big ocean,
and the country India,
then decan
then dravida nadu.
and this dravida nadu is like a bindi on a girl's moon like forehead.
(thariththa - vaichhirukkira
narum - maNakkum)

Premalatha said...

regarding other things you are talking about,
I have no clue and do not understand a single bit. so, pass.

Chenthil said...

Premalatha and Zero, you are right. It is tharitha naRum, that's the way I sang it, but didn't check while copying.

It is Kadal udutha - like the land mass wearing the sea as a covering.

Anonymous said...

Good God, I remember the song well. Ha, I feel like a maRathThamizhan now..

Vidya said...

And what abt the Kushboo-staring-in-Periyaar movie controvery?, makes no sense to me. As far as I know Periyaar had *different* views on *Karpu*. Now PMK is protesting that Kushboo not star in this movie only because her opinions on *it* vilified the sanctity of women in TN.