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Much Ado About Andal

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by Balajee, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. Balajee

    Balajee IL Hall of Fame

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    Trust politicians who can’t even get their deposits if they stood for assembly and parliamentary polls In Tamil Nadu to rush to score brownie points and get their 30 seconds of fame like BJP”s national secretary H.Raja notorious for his foul mouth.

    The latest occasion for loose cnnon Raja to shoot his mouth was provided by Poet and film lyricist Vairamuthu in his speech on Tamil vaishnavite poetess Andal Throughout his speech Vairamuthu extolled Andal, one of the 12 most revered vaishavite saint poets known as Alvars placing her above the other 11 alvars and the 63 shaivite saints known as Nayanmars. He praised Andal as a liberated woman with a social consciousness but towards the end of his speech made a remark that provided fodder for Netas like Raja .

    Vairamuthu mentioned in the passing that an American author had mentioned that Andal was a devadasi (literally meaning ‘Servant of God but also as ‘temple courtesan’) who spent her entire life in Srirangam Tamil Nadu. And all the hell broke loose.

    Raja screamed murder and accused Vairamuthu of being the son of a prostitute and demanded an apology. Both Vairamuthu and the Tamil newspaper Dinamani in which Vairamuthu’s speech was published apologised and the newspaper promptly withdrew the article from its website.. But that ws not eough for Raja and his coterie who are stil baying for Vairamuthu’s blood.

    Raja also wants an apology from the poet for hinting that Andal was not the daughter of Perialvar one of the 12 alvars. But Raja neds to go into vaishnavte lore before shooting his mouth on this. Andal was NOT Perialvar’s daughter, at least not the biological daughter.

    She was a foundling, that he found as a baby while going to perform worship at the temple. Foundlings don’t have castes. Without investigating her origins, he brought her up as his own daughter.

    First thing I don’t understand with the whole affair is why should Vairamuthu apologise. After all he didn’t call Andal a Devadasi but merely mentioned the remark by an American writer. Instead he should hav asked Raja to apologise for his remarks about his mother.

    As carnatic vocalist T.M.Krishna points out, the attitude of both Raja and Vairamuthu shows that they look down on Devadasis viewing only its degenerated version of later years when they were forced into prostitution due to collapse of state patronage and impoverishment of temples that supported them. The attitude of both sides is cattiest and sexist as Krishna says.

    Devadasis were considered "brides" of God and revered by the society. Their livelihood was looked after by the temple to which she was attached and there was no need for them to pick up customers. Devdasis became courtesans and common prostitutes much later. When a Devadasi died, no prayer was offered at the temple to which she was attached for a day as God was deemed to have become a widower!



    They were repositories of culture, music and dance. If people scorn devadasis, they shouldn't listen to the music of Gangubai Hangal , M.S.SUBBULAKSHIMI AND M.L.VvASANTHAKUMARI, BRINDA, MUKTA AND KISHORI AMONKAR WHO WERE ALL OF DEVADASI ORIGIN. The contribution of Balasaraswati to bharatanatyam cannot be ignored. Until Rukmini Devi Arundale took to stage and D.K.Pattammal started giving carnatic concerts these dance and music forms were nurtured by Devadasis (though the dance form was called ‘Sathir’ then).T.M.Krishna clinches the issue by asking a question that remains unanswered so far. “Would we have revered Andal any less if she had been a devadasi?”

    My one grouse with Vairamuthu is he provided ground for Raja to shoot his mouth. And he should watch his back.. We are living in dangerous times. Remember Kalburgi? He said Kannada Shaivite saint Basavesvara’s brother in law belonged to the shoemaker community. Within a few days he was shot. Vairamuthu only has to watch Raja’s speech on Youtube. It is hair raising bigotry. Despite Raja’s claim that he is a democrat and didn’t believe in violence, the tone of the speech itself was an incitement to violence.
     
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  2. GeetaKashyap

    GeetaKashyap IL Hall of Fame

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    Balajee Sir,

    Nice article. H Raja must be using this incident to gain some political mileage. A chameleon's colours and a politician's words cannot be trusted!
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
  3. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Balajee,

    After much hue and cry, I viewed the YouTube talk of Raja and it is unacceptable talk from any politician about anyone. He has a right to question Vairamuthu's assertion but not speak derogatory about his family nor he has the right to incite violence.

    No individual's reverence comes from birth but from their accomplishments. Andal's Thiruppavai are most respected among the Vaishnavites and is part of 4,000 Divya Prabandham written by 12 Alwars. In my view, her origin would have made no difference in reciting her Pasurams every day in the Temples. As you rightly pointed out, didn't we hear MS Amma's melodious voice everyday by listening to her Vishnu Sahasranamam and Bhajagovindam?

    Vairamuthu also should have used his common sense to choose what he needs to talk in Srivilliputhur Temple. Sometimes, he tries to demonstrates his knowledge and speaks something beyond his level of intelligence. This is not the first time he got into controversy and definitely not going to be the last time either.

    I am a full supporter of freedom of speech but one should choose the words properly depending on the location. Even Rationalist EVR respected the sentiments of the people and did all he needs to do outside of Sanctum Sanctorum.

    P.S.: In my personal view, whether a parent has biological or adopted children, they are considered as parents and there is no need to differentiate whether the child is biological or not.

    Viswa
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
  4. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan Finest Post Winner

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    :hello:thanks for rummaging analysis.
    2. i only hope your premonition or foreboding vis a vis Raja's speech (in u tube) does not come true.
    Regards.
     
  5. jayasala42

    jayasala42 IL Hall of Fame

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    This has been a hot topic for discussion in Tamilnadu.


    A great Vaishnavite Upanyasak is engaged in collecting a retinue to stand before vairamuthu's house.
    As Viswa has said, Vairamuthu need not have quoted a foreign author especially in
    a talk connected with Andal in the month of Margazhi, which he knows is famous for Thiruppaavai of Andal.One may have views contrary to a certain community, certain Goddess or certain poet. But he should know about the platform in which he shares his thoughts. He would have been much appreciated if the talk is included in a book like 'Periyaar Chinthanaikal( Thoughts of Periyaar.Vairamuthu should not have given room for
    the politicians to talk.
    Words spoken, whether it is a 'quote or his own opinion,cannot be taken back.However much Dinamani regrets, Vairamuthu's speech would be mistaken as his own wantonly made statement to irritate the normally silent community,noted for patience.

    But in these days, no community can be taken for granted. A small spark is sufficient to ignite.
    Shri T. M. Krishna, with his unique behaviour and writings has already incurred the displeasure of the Carnatic music performers and Rasikas.
    This topic will sustain until another juicy topic arises and later it would gather dust.
    People's forgetfulness is fully taken adavantage by everyone.

    jayasala42
     
  6. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan Finest Post Winner

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    :hello::clap2:I am sure every ILite member watching this thread would be unanimous with your views.
    2. Some one or few among celebrities wants to be in limelight and press & media needs to highlight to keep their mill running and things occur so frequently people tend to focus on the current.
    Regards.
     
  7. Vidya24

    Vidya24 Gold IL'ite

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    Balajee,

    A good read from you as usual.

    Both H.Raja and the kavipperarasu have been idiotic n explosive in their words. Raja is a small time political goon trying to get the 'right' attention. The poet should have chosen his words n works of reference with care and with respect to the subject, and the audience. It is easy to debunk greatness, but there is no excuse apart from pettiness in that.

    And let us not talk of Kalburgi n the nose quivering vairamuthu in the same post. I guess even the blood thirsting rightist know who is a real threat, and who is a paper tiger living on plagiarised words. Kalburgi was a reformer and rationalist, a real human being and threat to right wing clowns.

    Vairamuthu is just what the cat dragged in on a really bad day.
     
  8. PushpavalliSrinivasan

    PushpavalliSrinivasan IL Hall of Fame

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    When there are lots of knowledgeable persons in Tamilnanadu who are well versed to speak on the specific topic given, Dinamani had made a blunder by giving the task to Vairamuthu, that too at a place nearer where Sri Andal is worshipped as Goddess.

    Srivilliputtur Andal Temple Tower is Tamil Nadu's Emblem.

    Unnecessary tension created by Dinamani.
     
  9. Balajee

    Balajee IL Hall of Fame

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    While Vairamuthu's remark was at best tactless Raja's ws poisonous, divisive and violent words aimed at provoking violence. His party can't even win its security deposit in even a local election in TN but is dreaming of filling the power vacuum created by Jayalalitha's death by creating social divisions.
     
  10. Balajee

    Balajee IL Hall of Fame

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    Precisaely Viswa as they say in Tamil, Nadhi moolam rishi moolam parkkakoodathu (Don't probe the origin of rivers and saints). That is why Andal's birth or caste is unimportant Vaiamuthu did not question hr birth but merely saiod an Amrican writer did that. Raja's speech is more than unacceptable, it is venomous meant to deepen faultlines between communities.
     
    Viswamitra likes this.

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