Hindu epics do not have ideological percepts

My posting on the article in the Hindu http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/indias-epic-dilemma/article17960992.ece?utm_source=true&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=Newsletter#comments

This is a very interesting article on the Hindu epics. I am of the same opinion that these epic stories are only ethical texts. To impose on them ideological or moral percepts is wrong. Rama may be called MARYADA PURUSHA but he was still a man constrained by the mores and customs of the age and the place.  Such epic stories must be debated in each age.. I enjoy rereading of these epic stories from Iravathi Karvet to Devadutta Patnaik. It is not only religiously orthodox people who find ideological meanings behind them.  Even Peiyarists (followers of Periyar) find ideological meaning in the stories. One Periyarist says that he was intrigued by Ravana who kidnapped his somebody else’s wife but never molested her is considered bad whereas Indra and Krishna are considered as gods.  Indra is (atleast now) is not considered as god of the pantheon but Krishna is. The periyarist  gives ideological meaning to the epic stories.  But Krishna is an epic hror and very fascinating character with his amorality (yes I repeat amorality) both in this young age when he flirted (perhaps even more) with the girls older to him or as a war hero during his adult period who maneuvered to see that his friends Pandavas win (hook or crook).  In Peter Brooks depiction Krishna agrees at the end that there was no other way out for good people (comparatively) to win.  Yes I also agree Bhisma was ambivalent in his RAJA DHARMA. He kidnapped the three daughters of Kashi king for his blind brother and this shows  that Bhisma considered women as property. That is the reason why he quietly allowed Draupadi to be molested in the open court. He may have given many advises to the warring clans on his deathbed but my feeling is he was repeating some well established ideological percepts.  See http://www.harekrsna.de/artikel/bhisma.htm.  The eldest Dharmaputra in spite of his dharmic character erred in many ways. Durdyodhana and Karna the darling of the Radicals were full of false morality. Duryodhna abetted the disrobing of his cousin’s wife in the open court Karna enjoyed disrobing because Draupadi refused his love, similar to the  present day boys  killing the girls whom they love unilaterally. I welcome re-interpretation of epics, particularly Mahabharata, by every age and more number of times in each age.



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I live in India. I am moderately hearing deficient. I view TV with a headphone so that I can clearly hear the audio.  For some time I am viewing BBC World and CNN international.  I prefer CNN because the audio is very clear, with NEUTRAL  accent and also loud enough for understanding what the commentators talk. They talk with open mouth. On the other hand I find that it is difficult to clearly understand the audio in BBC World.  The news readers and the commentators talk with clipped and probably heavy local  accent and speak with almost closed mouth. The worst offenders are the second generation of immigrants to England who seem to think that they should talk with classical British accent ( I presume it is British accent as I have never lived in England wales, Scotland or Ireland.).  These immigrants’ children seem to impress that they are more English than the English. Sometime I do  not clearly hear even their names, though I should be familiar with the names..

This is my personal view. Perhaps this may be due to some problem in my hearing. Because of these accent problem (particularly in conversation) in Indian TV channels movies and other programmes in English do have English sub titles which are very essential for those who are not familiar with England’s or American accents but have done English as second or third language.


BBC world should not take this as  a complaint but look into the problem particularly with Non-English nations and change if necessary. Remember “world” is the operative word in BBC World just “international” is operative word in CNN international.


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LOVE in Tamil country

In the past two days there were two instances of assault and murder of two young women by disgruntled lovers.  Till about ten to twenty years back there were not much “love” between boys and  girls both in schools, colleges and workplaces. Everybody accepted their location in the society and agreed their mothers to choose their spouses. Even though there was Agananuru and other love poetry in Tamil  I think there was not much “LOVE” in the middle class society in Tamil country.  Only recently due to the influence of movies both foreign and Indian and increase of Tv serials and also books Tamil boys  have come to know of “LOVE”.  But they are still followers of chauvinistic Tamil society where MAN is the higher being and WOMAN is lower being to serve MAN.  The already educated sub sect of society and newly educated liberated sections of society came to know of LOVE. But they have not liberated themselves of sexist chauvinism of the society. The MAN thinks that once he likes (loves??) a WOMAN she immediately becomes his property (ennudiya pon).  It does not matter at all whether the WOMAN agrees to his wooing. WOMAN”s acceptance or otherwise is not relevant to him. More so if WOMAN first agrees to his proposal and later rejects him, it is an INSULT TO HIS MANLINESS. Woman is a property and if the property is taken by anybody else murder is only the solution. It is worse in the case of married couple. If wife wants a divorce the man thinks it is again an insult to him. He is not able to understand women have a right to accept or reject an offer and even if she accepts first she has the right to change her mind. This clearly shows that Tamil society and culture is not something great. Our culture is as bad as some other culture though every culture may have some good and many bad points. That is why I am amused when an Indian finds an American or westerner follows our culture and habits  (eating with their hands) we are greatly thrilled and feels that our culture is very great (IT IS NOT).  Let us not cheat ourselves of the greatness of culture.

Only solution is that both boys and girls must be taught even from their childhood that what LOVE is and means and how not only to love but also to respect each other.  The present elders are not fit for this job because they are the culprits. Have you ever heard of a mother ever accepting that her son was in fault (except in ancient poetry). Tamil society has to learn lots of things.

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wooing in tamil films

I saw “On the waterfront” once again in TV after many decades. I particularly liked the scenes where Terry woos Edie. Those scenes are excellent. When I compare those scenes and similar wooing of male character wooing a girl in a recent film where Surya acts. I suggest Surya see these scenes and intelligent actor like Surya can learn quite a lot of things.

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In another about 60 days I have to make a decision. These are my PURELY PERSONAL thoughts. My aim is not to persuade anybody to my views. I am a supporter of political and social democracy and so let thousand flowers bloom and thousand views come up. Who knows which view is correct?

AADMK: monolithic party. There will be no pretenders to the throne. The leader is learned and efficient. But the leader is not capable of taking all persons with varied views along with her. The leader is presumed to overlook corruption within the party or bureaucracy.

DMK –The leader is politically much experienced and suave. In spite of strong views he had in his earlier times, he matured into a cosmopolitan politician and is capable of taking persons of different views along with him. He has been a good administrator. Only his alleged weak point is that he is family oriented (but many leaders in India and even In the world are family oriented-Lalu Prasad Yadav, Nehru family, Munde family, Mulauym singh Yadav, Badal family, even Clinton couple, Bush family, Butto family, Mujhubir Rahman family, Kenyatta of Kenya, the handsome Trudeau of Canada. In England, to my knowledge, it looks there had been only one example Pitts.). He has also to contend with accusation of corruption in his family members and friends though none have been finally punished.

Pattali Makkal Katchi-Leader and heir apparent and chief minister candidate are educated people. The leader is a shrewd politician and CM candidate has useful ideas for good governance. But he has not clarified what happens if somebody close to him in family or party is accused of corruption. Will he make his own enquiries and find the truth and take strict action or just try to defend him or her. It is time for both of them to clarify. This party was originally caste based party and will it come out of that stranglehold caste politics?

Makkal Nala katchi- led by four seasoned and experienced politicians. These four parties do not have common viewpoint on politics and economics of India and Tamizhnadu, though they have prepared common minimum programme. I understand and appreciate their wise decision not to choose CM candidate. I think it is perhaps because we still do not know how many seats each participant of this coalition will get? There is no point in choosing a CM candidate now and by chance if his party gets less number of seats. But their ambiguity about DMDK which says their own leader will be CM is confusing and shows lack of firm views. One more thing is what happens if this party is capable of forming a government and then how will they choose the CM.? Will there be scope for jockeying and power struggle. So far none of them were in power and only parties in power can be corrupt or not. What is the mechanism to fight corruption not only in general bureaucracy but also by members close to their families and friends or higher-ups in their parties?

I am thinking of the dark horse Naam Tamizhar Katchi led by a mercurial leader. He has some efficient ideas for good governance but he is too strong in ethnic ideas and in the 21st century Tamizhnadu he has to be flexible in his views and verbal outpourings. He may be a good orator but his style is rather outdated.

DMDK- The leader and his consort are charismatic leaders. They need strong intellectual and economics back room boys and girls for good governance. I am also little worried about charismatic leaders without strong political background. But at the same time I think who knows what unexpected leader may give better governance than the traditional political leaders (example Kejriwal. Of course he had experience in a NGO and has strong educated back room volunteers)

BJP- By itself at the present time I do not think this party even with coalition of some other parties can form the government.

There are few smaller parties and they can only buttress this party or other.

I shall vote for the party who have good governance potentiality in spite of whether that party has chance to power or not. There is no compulsive point to vote for the presumably winning party. It is better if everybody knows how many people will choose a particular partY as first priority. It will be a good augury for good politics.

There is a too much emphasis by the parties on Prohibition and corruption. I agree corruption free government is necessary but not sufficient. Everybody in a poor country like India is corrupt in small or big way. If a middle class person cheats Income tax in a small way is also corrupt. Merely incorrupt but inefficient parties or leaders cannot ensure good governance for prosperous Tamizhnadu. May be many people will vote mostly with some gut feelings and I am not underestimating that aspect. It is not the learned and thinking section of the public makes correct decision on whom to elect. I am also not accepting the view that the leader should be a formally educated person. Atlee a Barrister was not a successful Prime Minister as Winston Churchill who was a bad student in Harrow. These learned and educated sections of society are also partial and have their own whims and prejudices.

Of course there is a facility of voting “NOTA” but I think such persons are having utopian views on who can govern. You have to choose keeping the existing polity of leaders or parties.

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I am always intrigued about the concept of caste system among the set called the Hindus. Various explanations have been given from the origin ascribe to GOD (perhaps God of the Hindus) to some sociological structure of the society. While reading about the structural basis of the Hindus I wonder why such divisions are not there in other societies and peculiar only to the Hindus. Besides it looks illogical that a set of people is willing to relegate themselves in the lower levels of hierarchy. If you read early Tamil literature none of them speak about castes in such strict terms as prevailing in the recent centuries. Some Tamil scholars argue there was no caste system during Sangam period. Or the early Tamil scholars did not talk about the prevailing caste system. If it is the former then why Tamil society allowed them to be enmeshed in the caste system. Recently I read Ambedkar’s views on the origin of caste. (http://www.ambedkar.org/ambcd/01.Caste%20in%20India.htm)
Even this did not satisfy me completely. Ambedkar was a rational and honest sociologist and he ends his note “For myself I shall find as much pleasure in a positive destruction of my own ideology, as in a rational disagreement on a topic, which, notwithstanding many learned disquisitions is likely to remain controversial forever. To conclude, while I am ambitious to advance a Theory of Caste, if it can be shown to be untenable I shall be equally willing to give it up.”.
This(Ambedkar’s notes) must be read by all including those who support caste system and those who are against the system and willing to discuss this dispassionately.

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“Vedic poetry lacks human suffering” Oldenberg

I started reading “The Religion of Vedas” by Hermann Oldenberg (tr. Sridhar B Shrotri).  It is a pity in the absence of books on Rig Veda in Tamil we are obliged to read books either in English or translated in English.  Oldenberg is not the type of western admirers of Hind religion and Vedas   He is very critical of it. I came across this passage in that book “It (Vedic poetry) lacks human suffering……………….The poetry knows little of the abysses of misery”.  It is not surprising. A Judeo-Christian speaks here. Their philosophy believes that mankind was born of sins. First sin was the fall of Satan due to pride. The first human sin was defying the advice of God by Eve and so by Adam.  There was subsequent misery of Cain killing Abel.  Then is the story of Abraham offering to sacrifice his son Isaac.  Jesus Christ suffered for the sins of human beings.  So the Christian theology winds round sin and suffering and it is no wonder Oldenberg cannot understand that Rig Veda the basic literature of the Hindus did  not talk of sin or misery but more hedonistic  views of  Yagna( my personal view is translate this to “sacrifice” is wrong) and Soma rasa.

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