THE INDIAN MATCHMAKING…

The Elite are at it again.. This time it is a show on Netflix about arranged marriages that is getting them triggered. According to them arranged marriages are a part of the regressive feudalistic past which we have done and dusted wtith decades ago , but to see it happening in 2020 among the much tauted futuristic generation have made them go crazy. The most interesting part about the show was that it was purely about matchmaking among the upper classes in India and abroad , and oh boy the English speaking globe trotters talking about docile wives was humour to my middle class ears.

This brings me to the topic of the day – My trials and tribulations of finding a life partner in Modern India. Born to parents who married out of love , I was always a fan of finding your life partner by yourself theory. So when puberty kicked in , my search for true love commenced. Being an average looking nerd , who was effeminate according to macho mallu standards , it was an arduous journey. Though there were many one sided crushes , my first true relationship started in 2010 when I saw her   on the staircase , painting on a t shirt at an Interdental college competition at Thiruvananthapuram. It started with phone calls , progressed to dates and then to the day of Reckoning. By 2014 we had both completed our degrees and were ready to tie the knot. Being from a household where falling in love was never seen as a crime , My parents had been aware of my relationship right from when it started . But the other side was a whole different world.

Ours is a nuclear family in the real sense. It was just the four of us and the extended family was something which we saw only on family functions. They had no say in our lives and we never interfered in theirs. I was wrong in thinking that it was the case with all the Nuclear families. It changed the day when a car full of strangers stopped in front of our house. They were hesitant even to introduce themselves , their air of superiority was there on their sleeves for anyone to see. The first thing one of them said was…”It is not going to happen”. As we were from two different castes , me being a Nair and her being an elayathu , our love does not fit into the age old tradition of endogamy. The funny thing was that one of them was an officer at the irrigation department , the others worked at a cooperative banks ( The shining beacon of communist movement in Kerala) and local self government institutions. Being benefactors of modern secular setup , they were vouching for racial purity making the whole Kerala Model social awakening a joke. Once they left I called my girlfriend who was not even aware of the escapades of her relatives. This rude incident exposed me for the first time to the regressive tyranny of casteism so rampant in our society and also to the dictatorship called extended family. From then on it has been an uphill battle. Finally in 2015 out of desperation we decided to register our marriage at cherpulassery with my parents as the witnesses , which we did. Then one fine morning her parents suddenly grew a pair of spine and decided to stand up for their daughter. So we got married in August 2015 with all of my relatives and just her parents in attendance.

Even to this day none of her family including her parents have apologised to me or my parents for dragging us through the hell that was 2015. Most of her relatives are still not in talking terms with us which talks a lot about their maturity as adults. People like them make up 99 percent of our society so the outlandishness exhibited on screen during Indian matchmaking was nothing new to me. This is the reality of India and it will remain so for centuries to come so dear elite …. Just deal with it….

WHY IAM SICK OF THE ENGLISH SPEAKING URBAN ELITE.

Let me start by acknowledging the fact that like many English medium products, I too was a part of the crowd that Iam about to rant against.so this article is sort of a self realisation piece which unfortunately would not get wider publicity as I do not belong to any “persecuted minorities”.Many before me have written tons of literature about the Indian class which apes the west like the canines therefore I will be skipping that part and moving directly to the crux of my outrage.

Iam sick of the Black Lives Matters thing . Yes African Americans are a persecuted minority and it is an universally acknowledged fact , But tell me , how is it relevant in India?. Racism( except against the people from North East or Africa) is not a pertinent issue in our country and you trying to equate it with colorism or cultural/ religious chauvanism is ridiculous and pathetic at the same time. The English speaking elite’s tendency to draw Indian parallels to American political events is not new but this intellectual slavery to the west must stop somewhere. Why can’t you look inward and question issues within our country. I am talking about the real issues not the politically motivated CAA NRC fiasco or the Naxal insurgency.  But , for that you will have to come out of the bubble and work with the plebs , the cattle class whom you despise. This hypocrisy of this pretentious wannabes is what made me question my indoctrinated beliefs and allegiances.

My story is no different from any (Upper?) Middle class Indian. From day one we are taught the greatness of the west and how we should work towards achieving that zenith of human evolution. You are also told that India was beyond redemption and it would be better to migrate to the garden of eden than to live in this hell. But in the mid 2000s something changed , the rising racist attacks forced them to redraw the curriculum  and it became fashionable to be Indian. If you can’t go to paradise why not make it’s miniature here ?. This resulted in the proliferation of gated communities. But we were not satisfied , 2010s saw the elite taking up causes to bring “change” (Anna Hazare Gandhi) which actually caused a counter revolution and polarisation , pushing BJP to power.  But by that time I was slowly opening up to the real India. So 2014 was not a shock to me unlike many of my compatriots . Then came the awakening in 2019 when the hypocrisy started to unveil as I became a plebian for real. The Class divide became a reality as I was now on the other side of the fence. After the initial repulsion I began to start liking my new world. It was dirty, loud and uncouth , but was Indian to the core. They were proud of this identity and wore it on their sleeves. Today I feel a sense of belonging that I never had in my previous life , one that is rooted in my land.

Though I care nothing about the things that happen in their world , the things like George Flyod is pushed down my throat via the media that cater to them.  My usual response is to swipe down my mobile screen , but you cannot escape it for long. I sincerely hope for an all India English news media outlet that would cater to people like me , so that we don’t have to go through this torture every day.

DEAR INDIAN MUSLIMS

Your uneasiness with the current political disposition at the centre is understandable considering many of its blatantly communal overtures , But the path you have taken to lodge your protest is only emboldening your opponent. The amount of islamist/salafist vitriol being churned out by the most vocal among you is making a large chunk of secular Hindus question the very meaning of secularism that they have vouched for , for decades. This is slowly pushing them towards your enemy camp and if it happens , there will never be a going back to pre Modi India.

I consider Social media to be an apt barometer to guage the public sentiments. Though the government was and is quiet popular among the netizens with or without the help of the IT cell , there was visible criticism to some of its most idiotic decisions like the demonitisation fiascco. But once the criticism against the government started becoming a mudslinging competition against Hindus, this opposition voices within the majority community started to die down. The concerted attack by the woke Hindus and the so called secular warriors from various minority communities especially the salafist ones and the evangelical Christians have been so relentless that it became impossible to be a Hindu in the cybersphere. Ironically the tactic the opposition took was one which had been successful across the world. It was an Indian version of American ideological right Vs left warfare where you could shut your opponent down by pulling the ” white Guilt ” card or the ” racist” card. But what these keyboard warriors in India failed to understand was the whole cultural and historical difference between the west and India. Indian Hindus could never be compared to American whites or Indian Muslims to African Americans. But if you know your history right it was the other way around. Hindus especially the ones outside Kerala and Tamil Nadu are still deeply pained by 600 year long brutal Islamic rule and the atrocities committed by few of its rulers. To publically shame them for the acts of the government had only aggrevated their sense of victim hood pushing them towards Modi – Shah combo. If you analyse any article criticizing the government , most of the comments would be from handles with Muslim names ( IT cell psuedos includes) showering profanities at the Prime Minister with indirect potshots at his percieved supporters ( Hindus ) . This came to the tipping point during the CAA protests when even Muslims who were considered apolitical started sharing political commentaries including pure Islamic theology. This shocked many including myself as we saw the CAA as an assault on Indian secularism and not as a war cry for jihad. Suddenly quotes from Qur’an started to appear as WhatsApp status of many of our close friends and some social media commentators started to show off their deep knowledge of scriptures. I would attribute the failure of the whole movement to this one aspect as public sympathy slowly vanished as salafism took centre stage.

The sense of apprehension among Hindus have started to boil over and is making the current power centres more powerful. Even though the economic downturn was palpable before the Corona crisis no one raised their voices against it . Now the unplanned Corona crisis management , which is nothing more than a disaster is being appreciated ( God knows for what) . So my Muslim Brothern please remove the communal tinge on your attack on Modi and be more inclusive of dissenting voices. This would only add heft to your voice , which would ultimately take you towards your desired destination.

SUBH MANGAL ZYADA SAVDHAN

Yesterday , while watching the trailer of Subh Mangal Zyada Savdhan trailer something not short of a revelation dawn on me. I was watching a trailer of a gay love story set in Hindi heartland ( cow belt ) while living under a fascist regime. Wow…what? Really?. Then as I started scrolling down to the comment section it got worse. Almost all of the comments were enthusiastic about the concept and surprisingly those who sneered were heavily trolled. But how can this happen during a Nazisque administration , weren’t the homosexuals sent to concentration camps in droves under Hitler?. This is were the English language media narrative about the ruling dispension at the centre starts to unravel.

The problem starts with the liberal belief that globalization is a done deal and hence human beings around the world now constitute a monolith. This generalisation is not restricted to the present but they also see parallels from the past to what is happening today. This lopsided worldview , which clouds their judgement stems from the lack of exposure to the real world outside their echo chambers. Let’s analyse this argument with the prime example of BJP and the duo who call the shots at the centre.

Firstly let us look at the statement – “BJP is a right wing communal party” . Now let us dissect the statement. There is the allegation of being right wing and there is that of being communal. BJP is a nationalist party that prides itself in India’s past glory. Hinduism being the indigeneous religion of the land , it would be natural for them to identify themselves with it. Together with this there is a staunch anti Islamic bias. This stems from the belief that the glorious Indian civilisation started to decline with the Islamic conquest and the ravages it brought with it culminated with the partition of Bharat Mata. For the party and its supporters the fight against Islam is the fight for survival and it is ethical to take any route to success including riots. So BJP is communal.

Now let us look into the right wing aspect of BJP. Though Hinduism is the basis of the party ideology , it cannot be called right wing conservatism. Here is where the anglicised journalists starts to go astray. Hinduism is not a monolithic like Christianity or Islam and is basically an amalgamation of multitude of local beliefs. So one cannot have a Iranian style theocracy in this diverse and more populous land. Brahminism or the priesthood version of vedic religion is being projected as what Hinduism will metamorphosise into under a prolonged spell of BJP rule. But the critics fail to notice the broader caste base of the party cadre today and the anti caste stand of the parent organisation the RSS Moreover the RSS blame the lack of unity that was prevalent during the medieval period as the main reason for the ascend of Islamic forces. So BJP cannot be called conservative in terms of casteism , Moreover it is the least casteist political party in India ( if we look at the caste make up of the top leadership ) and it would rank second behind the BSP in Dalit participation. The failure to notice the difference between BJP and the other conservative entities in the West arises from the elite’s tendency to extrapolate western idioms into Indian reality. In Europe conservative parties are seen as the extension of the dominant church of that country , but India lacks a national church and the dominant religion lacks a theology. Take the movie which we started this post with – subh mangal zyada savdhan , In a western reality homosexuality is a sin and hence the conservatives would be up in arms ( The social reality in the West today cannot be equated with ours as it is more woke , so let’s take the reference point as the 1990s). But Hinduism is vague about sexual ideals and some of the puranic stories even endorse homosexuality. This has resulted in lesser opposition to the removal of article 377 or commercial release of movies with similar story lines. So the argument about BJP’s conservatism also falls apart.

Now comes the most important part – the economic one. All the right wing parties from the conservatives in UK to Republicans in the US are spokespersons of extreme capitalism and globalisation. BJP is an exception here too. Its main ideology is much closer to the left than even congress’s . The cold reception Jeff Bezos received in India shows the movement of BJP closer to the RSS dream of a self sufficient Bharat. In this respect one could see the adoration the BJP cadre has for China , which they yearn to simulate here. The capitalistic set up BJP yearn is also similar to the Chinese government controlled market place with more emphasis on MSME sector. Though the media celebrate the Modi – Ambani nexus , it totally ignores the impetus the government provides for startups and smaller industries. MSME sector is an extrapolation of Gandhian self sufficient Villages in the modern era , which the RSS endorses at great length. Hence it would be correct to call BJP a centre left party in the economic ecosystem.

This is what BJP is , it is a Nationalist Hindu party which is moderately conservative with a centre left ideology. Seeing this party through a western lense cannot help us explain its success or its ever consistent support among the masses.

The average Indian is a nationalist to the core ( Have anyone seen the number of reaction videos on YouTube by foreigners and the self appreciating Indian comments on those pages ) and Hindu ( they make up 80% of the population). The Hindus today are more proud of their heritage than they were 20 years ago thanks to the free flow of information ( or misinformation) through internet and sees no problem in asserting their right over their land. Indians are also sceptical of the elite especially the English speaking upper wafer thin crust who mock at every turn , the liberal culture is often associated with this group and as a counter reaction the masses gravitated towards the moderate conservatism of BJP. The liberal media have painted the anti CAA protests as a student revolt , but the reality is that the protests are limited to a few minority institutions and the left fortress of JNU. Most Indian students come under the category of silent majority that supports the ruling party and are happy with the actions of the government even the fatal shootings. Ordinary Indians also hate the old rich and their previleges , so Modi supporting a self made Ambani group ( thanks to the movie Guru ) is acceptable while a dynast like Rahul Bajaj preaching them sanity is anathema. Unlike the West where the “ordinary” people are the rural white collar folks , Indians come in all hues with the richest to the poorest United by nationalism. This group is inherently centre left due to their disdain for the rich from the license Raj era ( old money ). This brings me to my conclusion that it is not the BJP that moulds the people as the elite in the media wants us to believe but the people who see their projection in BJP or in short the success of BJP can be attributed to the rise of a Nationalistic Hindu populace with a centre left ideology.

VALLUVANAD IN MALABAR MANUAL

Malabar Manual by William Logan published in 1887 could be considered as the first treatise on Malabar by a Modern scholar . Though the book is intended as a manual to help future British officials to navigate the administrative complexities of the region with ease , It’s importance as a historical record of the period cannot be contested. As the British took up the administration of the region in 1792 they were confronted by the task of rebuilding a region utterly devastated by the Mysorean invasion and the British offensive. They started from the basics like repairing the roads (built by Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan), connecting the region to the railway grid and most importantly reverting the administrative machinery back to the indegeneous system of amsams and desams from the persianised system of the invaders.

Valluvanad as we know today is a British creation. It comprises of ;

1. The core regions of erstwhile state of Valluvanad which comprises of the present day taluks of Perinthalmanna and Mannarkkad.

2. The peripheral region of Nedunganad including parts of Ottapalam and Pattambi taluks which were ruled separately by the Samuthiri . Nedunganad was an independent state for many years before being annexed by Vellatiri. The region never really came under the sway of the new rulers and was mostly autonomous.

3. The chiefdom of Kavalappara with its Muppil Nair was semi independent. It comprised of the regions around Shoranur and the ruler often shifted his allegiance between Samuthiri and the King of Kochi.

Now let us see what the Malabar Manual says about the region;

The first major reference to the region comes with the list of navigable roads in the region. It talks about a road broad enough to carry guns running from Tanur through thirunavaya , Tritala , Kavalappara and Lakkidi to Palakkad mentioned by Captain Johnson in 1796. This must be the Palakkad – Ottapalam – Pattambi road which now serves as the main artery of the region.

The second road to be mentioned is quiet fascinating one which is rarely used these days. It starts from Feroke , passes Venkadakkotta (Kottakkal) then on to Angadipuram and Cherpulassery finally terminating at Mannarkkad. This actually validates the antiquity of the Perinthalmanna – Kottakkal route and Cherpulassery – Mannarkkad road. This road also had an extension to Lakkidi from Cherpulassery which must be the Cherpulassery – Ottapalam road.

In the section relating to the geography of the region Logan talks about the Kalladikode ranges and the intensity of rains in the region , of Ananganmala near Cherpulassery and most importantly of the Ponnani river. I had always found the names Bharatapuzha and Nila to be artificial constructs hence to see Logan call the river Ponnani seems to vindicate my hunch ( though Perar is my preferred nomenclature ). The river as it is today was seasonal but it’s tributaries like Thoothapuzha is said to be perrenial.Valluvanad is said to be hilly with abundant paddy fields in the valleys between them. Arakurussi amsam was the largest in the whole of Malabar district and the wildlife of Attapady is described in great detail.

The history of Valluvanad is superficially touched upon with the Samuthiri’s partitioning of the nadu and the placement of a zamorin branch at Karimpuzha. It is the Mysorean invasion and the aftermath that is discussed in detail( may be highlight the British superiority) . It details the atrocities committed by invading forces on the Nairs including forced conversions and temple desicrations. What interested me more was the sectarianism that was prevelant at the time especially after the British conquest till the 1880s. Initially the foreigners were the targets of the Mappila insurgents but it soon turned against the Nairs. Though much of the incidents took place in the Eranad taluk , Valluvanad proper (Perinthalmanna) was a battle field. Though most of these attacks were tenant uprisings some of them were pure religious fanaticism. For example in Kunhippa Musaliyar of Thoota mosque ( currently in Malappuram) in 1872 took offence of the Komaram of the Velichapad (who supposedly insulted Islam) of Thootha Kavu on the other side of the river. Musaliyar crossed the river at night with some of his friends and killed the Velichapad. Kolathur was notorious for communal violence , even Thirumandham Kunnu temple was desicrated in 1849. It is a heartening thing to note that religious harmony was restored over the last 150 years and no traces of animosity remains today.

The British taluk of Valluvanad was headquartered at Perinthalmanna with a sub registrar office and a Deputy Tehsildar office at Cherpulassery ( Kacherikunnu).But over time Cherpulassery lost its place to Ottapalam. The initial importance of Cherpulassery might be due to its importance as the erstwhile capital of Nedunganad. Cherpulassery is listed as an important town in the book while Ottapalam, Pattambi and Shoranur are mentioned merely as market places or railway stations which is quiet strange in the modern sense. Other important towns are Angadipuram, Perinthalmanna, Karimpuzha, Mannarkkad and Vaniyamkulam.

Vaniyamkulam chanta is described as the largest fare in the region conducted on Thursdays with over 5000 in attendance. Here it must be noted that even Angadipuram Chanda would have 1500 attendees.There were chandas at Mankada, Kulattur, Thiruvegapura , Cherpulassery , Pattambi , Pattiripala , Ottapalam , Mannarkkad , Sreekrishnapuram and Alanallur. Other important fact is the use of cheruvannur for Shoranur, this might might only have changed in the 1900s which makes shornur the youngest of the major towns in Valluvanad.

Among festivals Thirumandam kunnu puram was the largest by far with 8000 people attending. The second comes the Mannarkad pooram with 4500 attendees and the third is a tie between koonathara Aryankavu puram and pariyanampatta puram with 3000 attendees. Other purams with over 1000 participants are Mulayankavu pooram, Muthassiyar Kavu Thalapolly , Mundakkottukurissi Cherumulayankavu puram ( Kayiliad ), Mulanjoor Bharani Vela , Chinakkattur puram, Chettallur pooram ,Thoota pooram, Cherampatta pooram , Elumbulassery Nallisery pooram and Karimbuzha utsavam. Cherpulassery Ayyappan Kavu utsavam is said to have an attendance of 2000 but there is no mention of Puthanalkkal pooram.

During the British rule roads expanded with Palakkad – Ponnani road and Palakkad – Kozhikode road being the most important. There is mention of a roads originating from Pattambi railway station to Nilambur , Kuttanad , Cherpulassery and Thritala. Railway stations at Ottapalam, Lakkidi, Cheruvannur , Pattambi are mentioned.

Though the book talks more about Kozhikode and Kannur , the smaller bits here and there about Valluvanad is quiet helpful in building the history of the region especially of the 18th and 19th century. It is a sad fact that our local history is never studied with vigour or is taught to us , it is high time that regional histories be brought to the forefront or some of the local knowledge will be lost for ever.

THE DONKEY NATION

India is a blemish on the face of this planet. How much i wish this ignorant mass of worthless souls be cast into the abyss of outer space. We don’t deserve democracy nor we deserve this facade of equality. The unending streams of invaders were right in conquering us as this worthless sea of humanity could be nothing more than a slave brigade.

Why should we be given the right to elect our leaders when we never learn from our mistakes?. We as a herd could easily be manipulated by political dimwits with their tacky punchlines of “Mandir ” ,”Garibi” or “Mathil” over and over again. Even after 70 years of existence we could never look past the sacred thread of caste , churning out diktats against intercaste marriages with lethal impunity , all the while hiding under the mask of benovelance. This nation of donkeys should never be called a “paradox” or an “Aberration” , it should instead be called an absurdity which should never be celebrated.

Hinduism must have met the fate of its contemporaries in Rome , Greece or the Andes where a fractured society ruled by the elites was overthrown by faiths which preached equality. I envy Indonesians who escaped its clutches and became a true egalitarian state. This billion caste worshippers could never create a true Nation state or wield power of any stature . So you stupid optimist stop dreaming of a future for this nation of miserables. Let it sink into the ocean for good.

NEDUNGANAD OR VALLUVANAD

Every time the bus crosses the river from Malappuram to Palakkad at Thootha I used to wonder why this river became the demarcation line between the two regions which were once part of the same taluk named valluvanad. yes there were some subtle differences  between the areas north and south of the river , mainly the demographics , but that never solved the puzzle. That is when I stumbled up on Mr. S. Rajendu’s “Nedunganad Charitram”.

Erstwhile Nedunganad once extended from the kalladikkodan hills in the east to the Arabian sea in the west with its core lying between the thoothapuzha and Bharatapuzha. Its rulers were quiet weak resulting in parts west of Bharatapuzha being lost permanently to Eralpad by the 13th century . The Valluvakonathiri to the north always had an eye on this fertile region of which certain parts were annexed by him in the 15th century. According to Rajendu sir’s research the present day taluks of pattambi and Ottapalam remained independent of valluvanadan rule till the Mysore invasion of the 18th century. This might be the reason why this region was spared of the atrocities Tippu committed in other parts of southern Malabar. Nedunganad lost its identity forever when it was merged with Valluvanad taluk in 1860.

Ottapalam , Cherpulassery , pattambi and Shornur are your quintessential Valluvnadan areas . Under the light of newer findings could the region be called Valluvanad at all?. Should it be called Nedunganad instead?  . share your opinion in the comment section.

Here is the link to Rajendu sir’s site

http://nedunganad.blogspot.com/

NOT ALL MALAYALEES ARE BEEF EATERS

Ever since BJP came to power 4 years back Beef as a delicacy has become a contentious issue. Kerala is often thrown as a counter punch against the sanghis by all the so called free thinkers as a haven for beef eaters. It has reached such a proportion that a non beef eating malayali is now getting automatically identified as a BJP sympathiser. The food habits of keralites are a bit complexed to be categorised into well defined brackets. Though over 90% of us are non vegetarians , vegetarian hotels are one of the most lucrative businesses in the state. It is true that beef is served at every nook and cranny of the state , a significant number of Hindus from all castes refrain from consuming it due to religious reasons. In a state where Hindus make up just over 54% that could come to somewhere near 30%. Though a relatively large percentage of Hindu men consume it with the traditional toddy , women rarely make it a part of their diet. Kerala is a highly religious society , Hindu tenants do hold sway especially at the household level . Hence the percentage of non beef cooking households could go up to around 45 percent.

Culinary choices are personal preferences hence eating beef is not a crime and the atrocities being perpetuated in its name is shameful. But forcing beef on others just to prove ones secular credentials is equally deplorable.

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