Discovery of India was there on my flipkart wishlist for a long time.i had till last month never though myself ready to read it , as i started reading , the book quickly got hold of me . internship came as a boon as i could be in it 24*7 even in the clinic. there are many view points at looking at Nehru , but over the years the minority views were suppressed and he was made a divinity like Gandhi. so for a guy in his mid twenties this book opened up Nehru more as a human being than the god that he is perceived to be.
the book is aptly titled a classic that it is , for its narration. opening at the Indus valley it passes smoothly through Vedas , Mauryas , Guptas and the sultans to reach 1944. for someone who calls himself an atheist his knowledge of Indian philosophy and advaita comes out as a revelation.for me the book really starts with the advent of British , to have the first hand narration of the freedom movement. the stubbornness of Indian national congress over partition is barely emphasized these days , Nehru vehemently opposed the idea and could rarely meet eye to eye with Jinnah. the decision taken not to support the Nazis and japan during the second world war is praiseworthy . Nehru was totally against the tactics of Indian national army and Subhash Chandra boss to side with Japanese as he believed that such an alliance would just change the imperial government at Delhi.
the book presents the constant turmoil both inside and outside , that compelled him to look at things at a new angle , from the past . so at Ahmadnagar fort he slowly unravels . the author may come out a bit too western for an average Indian for his constant references to Greek , roman and European literature , but his understanding of the Indian problems were equally deep. though a prophet of industrialization , he was of the view that india could prosper only with villages as autonomous units. the foreign policy doctrine and the non aligned movement were evident in his writing.he looked up to the African and Asian countries for guidance especially china , which he considered as the eternal friend of ours. hence it was not surprising to imagine his initial reactions in 1962.
the book opens itself in bits and as it reaches the final pages you would feel your heart heavy with pride . Mr Nehru i feel privileged to know you in person.
I have always been a fan of the dooms day prophets , especially the ones who see the apocalypse in the immediate future. I had thought of it as a genuine reaction to my secular upbringing , as we never cared about a god who would return to push us off into ovens of fire. But the developments in the last few months have made me realize the real reason , its a communicable disease called “the eternal pessimism” which makes you an ardent member of the great Indian middle class.
a middle class guy is supposed to be pessimistic it seems, especially with the political class . we take pride in blaming the system , naming it clumsy and worthless , without even trying to understand what the system stands for. we forget the fact that nothing called india existed 60 years back ,it was our founding fathers who painstakingly pieced together a democratic setup , which holds all of us with same dignity. i have heard many praise the chinese model of governance echoed especially in print by our national newspaper , a one party state where bloggers like me would have been jailed and arnab goswami surely executed . the real problem with the middle classes is that, taking the global que ,we want change, but don’t know what to change. at first we wanted tougher anti corruption laws , then wanted to put all the corrupt in jail and till a month ago we wanted stricter anti rape laws. its seems to me that all we want is to shout and not resolve real issues. protests can only ignite discussions , following it up is perhaps more important.in a democratic setup like ours that would be long , as over a billion plus voices must be heard and taken into consideration. this desire to change the whole setup overnight is absurd and blaming the system for it is plain stupidity . iam proud of what we have achieved since 1947 , our system could have crumbled in 1962 , during emergency or in 1993 , but it did not. our system is resilient and constantly adapting to face new challenges , such a juggernaut cannot change overnight but evolve over time , i wish the middle class could understands that.
THE HINDU have been a regular part of my life for almost 11 years .i still remember the first copy that my dad brought for me at shornur bus stand , at the time when the afghan invasion was at its peak. the news paper have made me open up to a new world outside the chauvinistic malayali universe of manorama , the editorials are the masterpiece and my vocabulary on the blog is mostly thanks to its articulate use of words. the impartial take on most issues have always been its forte , even ready to take on the king of frauds – sharad pawar . the things i always resented were the leftist and tamil propaganda it dishes out. the sheer weightage it gives to the ramblings of the CPM , MDMK and CPI , which are all but minor players at the national level at the expense of the more popular parties is a dichotomy to its egalitarian stand. this leftist stance was all but visible in the articles it published on the anniversary of the 1962 war , they were pro chinese to the extent that some of them solely blamed nehru for its outbreak . the pro tamil agenda and the open opposition of srilankan president mahinda rajapakshe and his efforts to reunite the war torn country is unwarranted , even though the final days of military action were unjust from a civilian point of view.
the left leaning publications of the group have never really gotten over the fact that the red bloc have fallen decades ago and the largest communist state is more capitalist than ours . the nostalgic tone with which it pays tribute to the soviet era is all but evident from the fervent with which it bashes the “imperialistic” united states . the Beijing bureau headed by the scion of the group irritates you the most with the chinese national anthem he renders on a daily basis , yes china is the future , we all must recognize that bitter fact , but it must not be over our national interests. if you glance the articles it becomes very clear that communism is the only way out of the bourgeois parties that rule us , this outright patronization in the form of leftist tilt is and will remain the only black mark on the earnest initiative that is “THE HINDU”. the group must realize that being impartial doesn’t mean it has to be anti establishment , a more just society within the folds of what we have is what we , the people want.
iam a great fan of conspiracy theories , hence the latest mystery , the north indian blackout story made me think the various reasons why exactly the blackout occurred ? . the peak of the indian summer is behind us and the monsoon though deficient has set in , the heat wave have subsided and the temperature have settled in early 30s ( though humidity is high … we indians are used to that aren’t we? ). so the extra power consumption for air conditioning doesnt seem like a reasonable explanation.the other reason given is the irrigation one which blames the farmers of punjab , haryana and western uttar pradesh , who supposedly took more than their share to irrigate the farms due to the failing monsoon , but here most commentators overlook the fact that northwestern india is the region which is least dependent on monsoon rains. owing to these iam putting forward a few conspiracy theories , some may be silly but others are points to ponder. .
1 LARGE SCALE PRIVATIZATION – since 1990s the main aim of the governments at the centre is to get out of all the profitable corporations and retain the cash cows ( like air india ) . they call it liberalisation. making every aspect of indian life to be dictated by market forces. like, if you wish to travel from thrissur to kodakara or chalakudy the one way ticket on NH 213 will cost you rs 55 , which goes to the BOT firm .its the same with every other sector . so if the large scale privatisation of the power production and distribution ( which is now limited to pockets like mumbai ) occur, it is a win win situation for the government and the tatas or ambanis.so for the privatisation to happen there must be a contingency of this scale.
2 TO GET ENVIRONMENT CLEARANCE – many hydro electric power projects are caught under the red tape of the environment ministry , so is the case with coal mines . a mass outrage can push these files more easily out of the ministry , giving the nod to fill himalayan valleys with flood water and giving ammunition to the maiosts in central india with proliferating coal mines.
3 NUCLEAR POWER – we all know the resistance to the kundankulam nuclear powerplant , and how its next to impossible to built a nuclear power plant there . hence an artificial shortage can fuel the counter movement with mass support especially of the middle classes to hasten the various nuclear power projects . (indo – us co operation)
4 JUST A REASON TO BLAME AKHILESH YADAV – poor thing.
5 TO REDIRECT THE POWER FOR SOME SECRET EXPERIMENTS – the cheap but sophisticated indian version of hadron collider ..
6 CLOSE ENCOUNTER OF THE THIRD KIND – somewhere in haryana a space ship must have landed with its alien passengers due to some error . electricity must have been redirected to power the space ships off earth , as the government do have a handful of issues and was not interested to add the alien issue to it.
7 JUST PLANE HOARDING OF POWER – the north indian style.
8 POWER USED FOR NATIONAL SECURITY – which iam not allowed to explain.
these are just a few theories you are welcome to add more…
the contemporary culture of a country is framed by many factors including the media it consumes , so thanks to the media we Indians have become sensation hungry “at your face ” kind of people who even in presence of dignitaries like the president or the prime minister boo the one we think have brought shame to the country . Isn’t booing in front of so many foreign dignitaries a national shame , more embarrassing than the crores of rupees slashed down the drain by these corrupt officials ? . we have become so insensitive that we actually follow – tv shows like emotional atyachaar , news channels like times now which thrives on plain speculation or serials where women are treated not more than slaves . how have we,one of the oldest and greatest civilisations came to be the long-lost twin of the Yankees? , how come a country as diverse as ours came to be so homogeneous in its tastes ? – the answer to these two questions is – the great indian media .
the run up to the commonwealth games have shown the news channels and news papers stooping so low that BBC and its Indian reporting came to be more palatable . the media thrashed the countries’ image into pieces that the foreign media started to speculate whether the games were ever going to happen . TIMES NOW – the mother of sensational news in india was in the forefront , HEADLINES TODAY – the cheap cousin of the times group flagship channel followed the suit . so we were bombarded with filthy toilet stories , mosquitoes and dengue . have they been not living in India ? these are basic realities here . I bet even arnab goswami must have been bitten by mosquito, at least once . they just blew things out of proportion that it was made into a national issue . in a country where millions die of malnutrition these stories dominated the airspace for weeks .and finally when the D day came the opening ceremony went smooth . so WHY did they make such a lot of noise about the games – was it just for the country to be ridiculed by a country like New Zealand whose population is smaller than many districts in India or Australia which is barely the size of mumbai? . i guess so , as we will never get the answers – the critics have become admirers of the games, and asking questions to a patriot about the treason he did is treason in itself .
the youth channels have become places were the human emotions or dignity are alien concepts . u have shows like ROADIES where people line up to be insulted to the extent that the average viewer’s heart goes out for his whole extended family . the reality shows which pit people against each other and manipulate their reactions are so inhuman that in front of those producers Stalin would look a better person .
commenting on the TV serials is more pathetic than they actually are.
there were talks of the government bringing in new regulations to make the media more responsible as of now this has not happened . but such a watch dog is a necessity or else we will turn into a society so driven by these manipulating thugs that we will have our own Iraq invasions and we will never respond to that.
just a day after the naxals killed 80 CRPF jawans we saw one of those instances of rare unity between the ruling party and the opposition . there were media “speculations ” about the home minister quitting his post, taking moral responsibility for the incident , to this bjp came up with a statement that the H.M must not resign as it would be a moral victory for the perpetrators of this heinous violence . this was quiet a shocking statement from a party whose leaders wanted shiv raj patel out right the next second after the Mumbai attacks. why did the opposition react that way?.lets find out the answer.
the various entities that form india is more diverse than the E.U which cannot even stand eye to eye in rescuing Greece . the common thread connecting these thousands of small entities is the de facto religion of hinduism and many of its cultural extensions . we hindus may call ourselves secular but beneath this thin membrane of pseudo secularism is the anxiety about our existence . the fear of going back to servitude and falling back to the nearly thousand years of foreign rule . this fear of extermination which brought us together is still keeping us united.
in this respect india is more like isreal , but not as aggressive in defending its identity . since we are nearly a billion hindus vs a few million jews we could be complacent , but the indian government still tries to defend its identity . it knows how to keep this billion under control , so it utilizes tragedies like the above mentioned ones to keep this fear of unity alive . they not only make us fear the minorities(external forces) but make us assert our power on minorities like the many riots till gujrat to make us feel how much safe we are under them. through not punishing the guilty they give us assurance that we will never have to face any forced conversions or loose our gods under their guardianship. we all complain of hindu chauvinism but it is not bjp or rss that is keeping it alive but the ruling class that always reminds us of our imminent peril whether in the hands of pakistan or the godless chinese.
the Mumbai attacks could be taken as the best example – we had islamic terrorists bringing india’s business capital to a standstill (the best case scenario) this tragedy was taken up as an opportunity by the pseudo secular forces and their allies in the media to derail the ongoing india – pakistan peace talks . the normalisation of relations would mean enemy no 1 would be enemy no more . though pakistan is a major nuclear power ,the constant comparison and the fear in the indian psyche is just exaggerated . what can a country the size of uttar pradesh do, other than the proxy war it does , a direct confrontation means the complete annihilation of our smaller neighbor . we may also face casualties but will still survive . this is the worst case, will the international community allow such a confrontation in the first place?. so the threat posed by pakistan is more on paper than in reality , whose existence is essential for our existence .
the naxalism is another of the “threats” facing us , the ruling class will never take action to suppress them nor will they stop making fables about their ability to overthrow the indian union .here the anxiety is not about getting converted but loosing gods en mass . more over the socialist ideology is projected as the threat to the free economic system that shows 8% growth figures , the liberal media funded by these vested forces will never try to see the other 75% of india who suffers . so we will have arnab goswami questioning the patriotism of socialist thinkers and never questioning why naxalism is spreading through the jungles at this pace. it is a fact that naxals could never overthrow the indian union , but the capitalist lobby is taking extra mileage of this situation , they care less about the poor whether it be the widows of the dead soldiers or it be tribals caught in the cross fire.
these forces would take undue benefit of our fear if we never believe in the stability and longevity of this great conglomerate . so lets all try to make sense of reality than get guided by fear.
the problem with the indian english language media is that if it gets a news it feeds on it for weeks. this time the media have re discovered its passion long forgotten since the jessica lal case – “fighting for justice for the north indian urban upper middle class”.
the ruchika murder/suicide and the following cover up was one of the shameful incidents done in the confines of our system, which boasts of equal rights for all. its pity that the police officer who is said to have molested the girl got a minisculest verdict that he deserved . it’s the duty of the media to fight for justice and we must all fight against such inherent problems in our system and try to make it perfect.
my point here is that the so-called third eye of the society fights its battles only for a particular strata . the criterion are –
1.the victim be from the punjabi north or goa( tourist or catholic native). who can fluently speak english.
2. from upper middle class , that is who can tweet,use face book et al.
3.the perpetuator from a powerful background.if politician the best. so that they can chant all the anti politician slogans.
4.the family/friends of the victim able to conduct rang de basanti type candle light vigils.
some of you who chance up on this article must have gotten hyper by now so for them I like to give an example for the injustice of media justice.
in kerala there were two such cases involving rape(even serial rape) and murder . that too of girls of the same age as ruchika’s. one of them anakha- a brahmin girl from poor background was raped by people who were having connections with many prominent politicians in kerala. the girl and her family committed suicide that is how the whole story came out in open. the malayalam media was very active in finding the truth but their smaller reach meant smaller effect. the story slowly died down , no one except some scape goats were arrested.the other case is of shari ,with some of the same people involved.
had anakha or shari be born to some rich punjabi family their justice would have been done by now. in anakha’s case the culprits killed a whole family,is anakha’s justice less important than ruchika’s , why isnt the english media taking up its arms for the victim? or asking the home minister of the country(that too for a state matter) the all important “questions”. the answer can be found in the above mentioned criteria.
there are many unheard anakhas or sharis in other parts of the country the culprits in their cases may not be big guns , they may be a zamindar or a petty police constable. so the media must widen its area of vision to incorporate all of india, not just focussing on one core group. the middle class anger against the system must be also be diverted to the fight for justice of these poor lads too .
the ctn I started must be taken up urgently or we as people will fail these hundreds of unknown ruchikas .
our valluvanad was one of the final frontiers for western civilization. A land of immense beauty inhabited by people with unique traditions and practices which could at best be categorised as animism . Hinduism which used to be practiced here identified itself more with the plethora of indigenous beliefs than with the Vedas. Though Tippu Sultan’s invasion and the subsequent British rule did expose us to the world outside , we remained in our small universe happy and content for a much longer period. Hence till the 1970s most of this region was relatively untouched by the seeds of modernity unlike the rest of Kerala . This helped us preserve our Tharavads , pambin kavus, the tradition of velichapad at bhagavathy kavus and of course the rich mythological universe of our ancestors . One of the integral part of this mythology is the supernatural world inhabited by Odiyans and practitioners of Odiyanseva .
Odiyans were the professional assassins (yes!) hired by landowning nair/ ezhava families to kill members of rival clans without leaving any evidence that could link them to the murder . Being an agrarian society most of these rivalries were based on land disputes or succession related issues .The Odiyans hailed from the untouchable castes like the panars,pulayars or the choklears who were also the family serfs. They were well known for their physical stamina and was often feared for their patronage of powerful tribal deities . It was believed that DURMANTRAVATAM (worship of these gods) gave them powers which could be matched only by a seasoned MANTRIKAN (powerful magicians) and hence could be used against lesser mortals.
According to the folklore , the odiyan used to apply an oil obtained from killed human fetus on their ear lobes , which gave them powers to assume forms or shapes that they desired to be . In reality they never changed into the objects they intended to be, but created a sensory illusion on their prey making them more vulnerable to a mortal blow. For example the Odiyan would assume the shape of a bull or a cat or even a granite rock and stood on the route that the victim routinely uses at night .As the prey approached this unfamiliar sight on a familiar terrain he would at first be amused and would try to remove it from the path. Seeing his target getting closer the Odiyan would transform instantly into his human form , overpowering and killing the prey instantly.
The question that may pop up is , why go to such lengths to kill someone if he could be stabbed or shot at plain sight ?. The reasons according to my grandmother were :
1.Most of the able bodied men at the time had kalari training from a young age hence it would have been difficult to over power them other than through a ruse.
2. The operations were covert so the people who arranged the assassin did not want themselves to get involved in the mess.
3. Odiyans were experts in disposing off their victims , leaving no trace .
The tactic used to over power the victims was the element of surprise . The forms the Odiyans took were abnormal .For example the bull that appeared in front of you might be a three-legged one or a tailless one which could amuse the onlooker . This gives the odiyan enough time to mount an attack and kill the prey as it approached .
These abnormalities could also be their undoing . A seasoned mantrikan or a Tharavad elder could easily recognize these anomalies and act accordingly to uncover the bluff. There is a story about a well known mantrikan who was returning home at night when he encountered two bulls . Realizing the trap , he pronounced some spells to counter the odi vidya and to overpower the odiyan’s charm . Then he tied the two bulls together and took them to a riverine nearby and washed their ears . With the oil washed off they retook their human forms and begged the mantrikan for forgiveness which was eventually granted.
The illusionary power of odiyan comes from the oil they apply on their earlobes . It is said to have been derived from the amniotic fluid of an unborn human fetus which was killed in the womb. Their targets were young women in their first pregnancy. During the day time while at work as the serf they would identify their victim and mark her off with a sign which was inscribed on the walls of the tharavad . At night , the pulaya or pana would return as odiyan and using his spells make the woman walk unconsciously in her sleep to a predetermined spot where he would be waiting . The woman’s womb would be surgically opened with sharpened knifes made of bamboo and the fetus taken out . The fetus is then hung from a bamboo pole to harvest the fluid while the woman walked back home to her room where she would eventually bleed to death.The amount of oil obtained from one child would be too little ,may be a few drops ,but it could last for a handful of odi tricks.
The history of Malabar is obscure before the advent of the British . The odiyan belief could have its roots in the tamilakam period of Kerala history when tribal practices played a major part in religious beliefs of the people. Sangam literature talks about a magical force that resides in all objects – living or non living called ANANKU . The panans and parayas (who were the untouchables then too) were enthrusted with rites and rituals to appease the ananku . A person with uncontained ananku was considered powerful , making the guardians of ananku dreaded beings . The concept of odiyan taking up different forms could be attributed to the presence of ananku in all beings. Like many of the sangam traditions ananku might have metamorphised into the odiyan tradition over time. But unlike most of the tamil practices which became part of vedic religion it remained in the fringes , away from brahmanical strong holds hidden in the foothills of western ghats.
what happened to them ?
Even today Valluvanad believes in Odiyans and their magical powers with many mysterious deaths still being attributed to odiyan seva ( latest case being reported last month) . But , With the advent of modern education and westernised lifestyles coupled with the social emancipation of panars and pulayars there are no takers for the job these days. More over their patrons found new ways to settle disputes thanks to the robust judicial system , forcing the odiyan seva to die out over a period of few decades without revealing many of their secrets like many other Indian traditions.
If you are interested in knowing more about the institution of velichapad press on the link below