A case for TamBrahmland

December 10, 2009


The Central Government’s decision to grant statehood to Telangana bodes well for the long suffering TamBrahms’ demand for a state of our own. Our claim for a separate state is one of the most justifiable in the annals of Indian history. In the interest of brevity (we do have an undeserved stigma for being verbose), I am listing a few of the several reasons that cry out for carving out a TamBrahm Pradesham.

1. Tamil Brahmins (TamBrahms for short) have contributed significantly to Indian politics, arts, business, literature, cuisine,culture and science. Not to forget the bureacracy which was, till recently, our hegemony. Sample these for further proof.

a. Indian polity would not be what it is without the contribution of eminent TamBrahm luminaries like C Rajagopalachari, S Radahkrishan, T T Krishnamachari (who went on to found a business conglomerate that continues to thrive till date), and several others. It is commonly believed and rightly so, given his Machiavellian tendencies, that the great Chanakya himself was a TamBrahm. This rich legacy continues to this day, thanks to the efforts of people like Jairam Ramesh and Mani Shankar Aiyar.

b. Over the years, our sisters have graced the silver screen with dignity and elegance. Divas like Vyjayanthimala, Hema Malini and Rekha have lit up the screen with their beauty and lest we forget, talent. And unlike today’s starlets from other parts of India, their personal lives have hardly been tarnished by scandals. They continue to be role models for Indian women. I am told by very reliable sources that even in the Hindi heartlands of India, to this day, loving mothers lavish praise on their nubile daughters using words like “meri beti Hema jaise dikhthi hai”. Polymaths that they are, both Hema and Vyjayanthi have gone to become respected members of the Indian parliament and have initiated heated discussions among the honourable members on topics of national importance like the benefits of exempting movie stars from income tax, removing entertainment tax on movie tickets and subsidy on Kent RO Water Purifiers.

c. Not to be outdone, our brothers have been equally visible on the screen. Although he may be loathe to admitting it these days, Kamal Haasan, owes his histrionic talents to his TamBrahm genes. He need look no further than his brothers, niece, niece’s husband to realise this logic. Our very own Mani Ratnam has redefined and rerefined the art of making technically brilliant movies which have very little else going for them. He is helped in his endeavors by people like P C Sriram, again one of our very own.

d. Indian business has been extremely well served by the vision and energy of TamBrahm industrialists like T T Krishnamachari, T V Sundaram Iyengar, N Srinivasan, Venu Srinivasan, and so many others. Although statistically, we constitute less than 4% of Tamil Nadu’s population, thanks to our brothers and sisters in business, we control more than 30% of the state GDP. But for the rise of business-politician families like those of Karunanidhi, our share of the state’s GDP would have been closer to 100%.

e. When it comes to sports. given that we are intellectuals, we favor cricket and tennis over all other forms of sporting activities. It also helps that cricket is the most forgiving of sports when it comes to the requirement for physical fitness. Almost all the Tamil Nadu players who have represented the country (and with distinction at that) have been TamBrahms. S V T Chari (he played one “unofficial test” for India in the 1930s), S Venkatraghavan, K Srikkanth, L Sivaramakrishnan, W V Raman, V B Chandrasekhar and the list can keep going on. But for the bigotry of the TNCA and the unwritten reservation policy of the BCCI the list would have been even longer. Even the cricketing blood that flows in Rahul Dravid’s veins can be attributed to the fact that one side of his family is proudly TamBrahm. Given the cricketing talent in our midst, it would be fair to say that it is possible for us to assemble a representative team of our brethren which could give the current Indian team a run for its money.

Ramanathan and Ramesh Krishnan have our torch bearers in tennis. Ramesh holds the record (unlikely to be beaten ever) of running the least yards on the court to reach the quaterfinals of a Grand Slam. Words like minimalitistic and economy of effort are words that best describe Ramesh on the court. It is a credit to his talent that he overcame such crippling disadvantages like a genetic hatred for physical training to reach the top 20 in tennis. I am told that no one infuriated John McEnroe more on the tennis court than this legendary TamBrahm.

Physics- Sir C V Raman, Mathematics – S Ramanujan, Astrophysics – Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, Agriculture Sciences – M S Swaminathan, Literature – Pico Iyer, Music and the fine arts – Lalgudi Jayaraman, Semmangudi, Palghat Mani Iyer, L Shankar, L Subramaniam, L Vaidyanathan, the Bombay Sisters…. do I need to say more.

The Curd Rice has been our contribution to world cuisine. A dish that is the final course, dessert and stomach settler, all rolled into one. Again, a product of our ingenuity and parsimony. Our “Sevai” has been shamelessly copied by the Chinese and the Italians and passed off as noodles and sphagetti respectively. Let it be known that our “idli” has inspired “rice dumplings” and “rice pancakes” and our Dosa continues to confound chefs around the world.

The Kanchipuram saree and its arcane derivative, the nine yard saree, which can take as much as a day to be draped around a woman (legend has it that this was a subtle way of torturing women in the earlier days) is our contribution to haute couture.

The most eloquent reason for a separate statehood that I have heard was the fact that next to the Jews (who we hold in high regard, notwithstanding our Aryan heritage), the TamBrahms have the highest number of actuaries in the world. In my mind, this clinches the debate. To be number two in one of the most complicated and mind bending academic stream like actuarial sciences straight away qualifies for statehood.

Is it any wonder that we would prefer not be lumped with the rest of the Indian diaspora and want our own identity. Forget the state, I think we deserve a separate country. By doing this we can also continue to exercise our internecine feuding traits and in the process create underling states like Iyer Land, Iyengar Land, Palakkad Brahmin Land and so on.

P.S. Given our innate sense of occasion, we would like to plead that we be the 50th state of the Indian Union. The rate at which the nation is being splintered, we are confident that we will not have to wait long.

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