The Tamilian…


Disclaimer :  As always these are my thoughts, if you think that there are certain phrases which may ruffle up a spicy Tamil’s spirit or dents the ego of the majestic Malyalee or kick’s the Telegu chap where it hurts or slaps the well wishing Kannadiga , I cannot stop you thinking this way.

Everything down south of the Vindhyas is Madras and its natives are Madrasis according to even some of my most erudite North Indian friends. The tendency to club the four southern states and giving it the generic terminology is more common than the South Indians labeling UP and Bihar the cow belt of India and its respective folks, the cowherds of India. This is not how the average sambhar loving / licking Tamil thinks, not sure about the Malyalee who probably believes that the land mass to the West of the Arabian Sea and bordering the Persian Gulf is Kerala and they worry about where they will set up their next tea stall in the desert terrains. The Telegu folks are busy sorting out between themselves how to butcher their own state into two and what name to give them and which cities will be partitioned between the sub states. And the peace loving Kannadiga worries about which way will Cauvery flow if he is not getting distracted with eating his bise bele bath or reminiscing about Vishnuvardhan or Dr Rajkumar.

But at this moment I wish to speak a bit more about the average Tamil, coming fresh from the previous blog on Amma, Tamil has occupied my mind. Tamil has been accorded the oldest language status amongst all Dravidian languages and the first to be accorded the classical status too. The Tamil is also in my opinion a lot older than his counterparts of the southern diaspora and has a result become the closest homosapien relative to the great apes. The average Tamil for some peculiar reason tends to be a lot more emotional than his other south Indian counterparts and I am not sure whether this has to do with his genetic connections. He is the first amongst the south Indians who demands, he demands for his own state, he demands for water from his neighbor’s state, he demands for recognition of Tamil as the national language, he demands for more seats in the ruling coalition, he is demanding by nature.

The Tamils are also intellectually better of than most Indians. Bengalis could give the Tamil a run for his money, but genetically I think these two races are a bit ahead of the other ethnic races. I have done zero research in evolutionary biology, but there is a familiar pattern whilst plotting their brain waves on the graph. Tamils tend to excel in academics and are superior in their grasp of Carnatic music and other fine arts but somehow they fail miserably when it comes to evaluating their emotional quotient. Not sure if the years of feeding on curd rice and sambhar has softened the aortas, but they tend to be more emotional than most.

The Tamils in Singapore are happy, Singapore has ensured that a truly democratic set up operates within it’s Malay, Chinese and Indian populace. The Tamils in Malaysia were in strife with the Government there, it has settled down a fair bit now but they complain about being given the cold shoulder.Tamils who have been in the midst of civil wars in Sri Lanka are an extremely sensitive breed not because of their staple diet but because of the trauma that they have undergone at the hands of the Sri Lankan Government. I understand this reason in toto. I also think that the DMK Government in Tamil Nadu virtually turned a blind eye in the last few years when the LTTE was being decimated by the Sri Lankan Government. The Sri Lankan Government has killed thousands of innocent Tamils under the pretext of exterminating the LTTE without a doubt. The Indian Government did not interfere and Karunanidhi toed Sonia’s line. The Tamils of India were upset, the Tamils world wide were as upset. What did the Indian Tamil do? He raised slogans and protested outside the Parliaments of most commonwealth nations. The Tamil film industry too dressed in black, wore matching wristbands,organized rallies and rhetoric talk was reverberating at these rallies. They vowed support to the dying Tamil across the Palk Strait. The Tamil is very vociferous when he has to. Masked in their speeches was the underlying support for the LTTE, who they hailed / hail as the voice of the Tamils in Sri Lanka. The LTTE is a declared terrorist organization. The average Tamil has failed to separate the LTTE from the Tamil, they are one and the same.

In support of this belief, I have interacted with numerous Tamils who have migrated to Australia from Sri Lanka. These refugees have worked hard in other countries such as Australia, Canada, UK, Singapore, and Malaysia and have secured a sound future for their next generation. Their determination and resolve is admirable. Not one of the Tamils that I have spoken to regard the LTTE as a terror outfit, they well and truly believe that the LTTE had been their only option. It was a choice between a power hungry Prabhakaran or despotic governance. The Tamils of Sri Lanka chose the former. One can write a thesis on the rise and fall of the LTTE and India’s cat and mouse game in Sri Lanka.

But, despite fair reasons for the Tamil’s aggression, I do tend to believe that the Tamil finds it difficult to assimilate to his surroundings and take action where necessary. He is constantly fighting a complex battle with the world at large. Despite every act of atrocity that the Tamil feels has been levied against him, he makes a big hue and cry but seldom does he take action to resolve the core issue. If the Indian Tamil felt so traumatized about his brothers across the sea, he needs to realize that he and his state Government have failed miserably on all counts in providing any form of succor. The state government too does not believe that the LTTE is different to the Sri Lankan Tamil; this is how the Tamil’s look inside the bloody kaleidoscope that Sonia looks into. Picketing outside Mr. Bachchan’s house and asking for the IIFA not to be held in Sri Lanka is a useless act. They may as well wish that India stops trade and commerce with it’s neighbor, they must ask Muthiah Muralitharan to quit playing for Sri Lanka, demand for ban of cricket with Sri Lanka!There is no point in crying over spilt milk. The LTTE has been pulverized; the Tamils who remain in Sri Lanka are at the mercy of the Sri Lankan Government. The Tamils need to regroup and rethink about their future in Sri Lanka. The Government of India and more so the state of Tamil Nadu needs to make in roads with the Sri Lankan government to ensure the safety of the Tamils and more importantly pave the way for democratic participation in Sri Lanka. The only way forward for the Tamil is peace. I wish them well, from one Tamil to another, Tamils must be more demanding for peace.





38 Responses to “The Tamilian…”

  1. Aishwarya Says:


    I am so hurt! You have dented my majestic Malayali ego! How could you?! I mean…how could you!!!

    ‘Tea stall in the desert terrains’! Come on! Last I heard a Malayali was offering tea to Neil Armstrong when he landed on the moon. Surely we should have progressed to Mars by now! 😉

    Excellent post.

    Peace always,


  2. Lakshmi Jag Says:

    Sharmila…being a Telugu, I completely agree with you about us fighting to split the state. How short sighted can we get? Once again an excellent post, if only we can move all the politicians to another planet and make sure no Malayali will follow to set up a tea stall…Aishwarya, just kidding.


    • Hee hee Lakshmi, wonder what Aish will say to this!

      • Aishwarya Says:

        Aish says, “No guarantees!”

        A Mallu might have set up shop already! 😀

      • Here is an interesting ploy that worked on a small group of people.

        We noticed that a certain type of people (I won’t say Mallu or any other) accepted jobs without negotiating salaries. But after joining, they found reasons to refuse any work that was profitable to the company… either denying knowledge or going pig-headed slow…

        After some deliberation the sponsors came up with a novel solution that has worked for the past 15 years.

        They laid a condition in the sponsorship agreement… The monthly salary is accumulated and paid once in a year or at the time of repatriation.

        Every month he is paid incentives calculated against the worked done.

        Result is good… everyone works… less than 50% go home every year… and all are happy!

        Unionism doesn’t work in ME!


      • Aishwarya Says:

        Hey! Thats my ego, not a pin cushion! Ouch, ouch…I get the point, I get the point!:P

        Actually I dont. Come July and I see most ME NRIs enjoying their summer hols here every year! Salaries be damned or did the Mallu ‘simbly’ not understand?:)

      • I didn’t say Mallu or any one specific. 😦

        In general on a construction site, the Arabs find it easier to manage Indians.

        If Mallu’s create problems, the Tamils provide the solutions and vice versa. If Bihari’s create problems, the marathi’s provide solutions etc. The Arabs have no difficulty in managing. Just discuss the problem with the other type!


      • Aishwarya Says:

        And if Marathis create problems, the Mallus provide solutions?;)

        Just kidding. I know you didnt say anyone specific.:)

      • Thank you. I was a bit worried.

        If Marathis make a problem, tell the Punjabis. If the Punjabi makes a problem give him Rasam for lunch!


      • Aishwarya Says:

        Lol, R. Are you sure about the rasam? He might save it for the Marathi friend, and it could be over the head. Soch lo.:)

      • No, he won’t. Rasam, with enough ginger and garlic, makes his eyes pop out and he starts steaming out of the ears.

      • Aishwarya Says:

        Seems like you have witnessed the scene before.:)

  3. Sharmila,

    Its impossible to wholly agree or wholly disagree with the post.

    I am not a Tamilian, so I am not qualified to comment on them. But I am also not a Kannadiga, a Maharshtrian or from any other statist community. My father was in Civil Defense, and we, as a family, were always Indians…. Not first or last…. Just indians…. like always.

    But, with due apologies, permit me to quote from geological history.

    The Birth of India:

    “The Ganges, though flowing from the foot of Vishnu and through Shiva’s hair, is not an ancient stream. Geology, looking further than religion, knows a time when neither the river nor the Himalayas that nourished it existed, and an ocean flowed over the holy places of Hindustan. The mountains rose, their desires silted up the ocean, the gods took their seats on them and contrived the river, and the India we call immemorial came into being.” – E.M. Forster, in A Passage to India (1924)

    Gondwanaland and Lemura:

    “In the days of the pre-historic ocean the southern part of the peninsula already existed and the high places of Dravidia have been land since land began, and have seen on the one side the sinking of a continent that joined them to Africa (Lemuria), and on the other the upheaval of the Himalayas from a sea.” E. M. Forster, A Passage to India

    So thats how it began. Or may be it didn’t. Forster ofcourse has the carte blanche of a novelist, but even the plate tectonics people may be building sand castles, the plate tectonics theory is after all a speculation, albeit a scientific speculation based on good evidence.

    In 1876, Ernst Haeckel, a German biologist of a Darwinian persuasion, published his “History of Creation”, claiming that the lost continent of Lemuria was the cradle of humankind; in 1885, a British historian argued that the Dravidian languages had been brought to India when the ancestors of the Dravidians came from Lemuria.

    This myth nurtured among the colonial powers was then taken up, in the 1890s, by Tamil speakers on the southern tip of South India, who began to regard Lemuria as a lost ancestral home from which they were all exiled in India or to argue that the extant India, or Tamilnadu, or just the southernmost tip, Kanya Kumari (Cape Comorin), was all that was left of Lemuria; or that when Lemuria sank, Tamilians dispersed to found the civilisations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, the Americas, Europe, and, in particular, Indus valley.

    Nowadays some Tamil separatists want to reverse the process, to detach Tamilnadu from the rest of India, not, presumably, physically, to float back over the Indian Ocean like Gondwanaland in reverse, but politically, in order to recapture the glory of their Lemurian past.

    Whether or not a subcontinent once shook the dust of Africa off its heels and fused onto Asia, the story of Gondwanaland reminds us that even after the vedic people had strutted around the Ganges Valley for a few centuries, all they had done was add a bit more to what was already a very rich mix.

    The multiplicity characteristic of Hinduism results in part from a kind of fusion – a little of Ravi Shankar in the night, a Beatle or two – that has been going on for millions of years.

    (Source: The Hindus, An Alternative History by Wendy Doniger, The Penguin Press, New York 2009)

  4. Emotional Quotient has a limited scope and impact.

    A feeling is not an opinion. I feel sad, happy, angry etc are not opinions. At best, I’d say, they are a reactive state.

    Feelings drive behaviours, opinions give rise to attitudes.

    When a person immolates himself during a political protest, the fanatic frenzy is caused by an incorrigible rush of feelings. Its a behavioral pattern.

    When a person detonates a piece of RDX around his waist, he is pronouncing a belief. Its an attitude.

    Sometimes I feel sad for the common man who gets carried away by sloganeering and pretensions. But that feeling disappears once I see it as a sort of intoxication that the man himself seeks.

    • Reader – Geography plays an important role in separatism beliefs and talk as in the case of Sri Lanka. There is a belief that Tamils were the original inhabitants of Lanka, unfortunately, the current state of affairs plays a more important role than dwelling in the past. Tamils are no longer the majority in Lanka, they need to work peacefully with the Sinhalese. The Sinhalese too need to be democratic in allowing Tamil participation in the day to day affairs of the state. Peace in my opinion is the only way forward.

      • Sharmila,

        Amen for the peace.

        Do you see a parallel in this with Kashmir?

        Till 1950, Kashmir was a state with Hindu majority. In just 5 decades, they have been out-numbered by Muslims and now the Hindus are struggling for an identity.

        These imbalances can be avoided, either way, if ‘pragmatism’ is kept out of the value-chain of politics.

        Sri Lanka is one example, Tamils in Malaysia and Singapore are another.

        Peace is possible if one race is not allowed to dominate over another. This repeating history of violence is surely avoidable.

      • Reader – True “Peace is possible if one race is not allowed to dominate over another. This repeating history of violence is surely avoidable.” But is war the answer to bring peace? what peace have the tamils gained with their years of fighting? If they respected the peace accord that they signed with Sri lanka during Rajiv Gandhi’s tenure, things MAY have been better. Prabhakaran was thirsty for power and refused to let any other Tamil besides himself to be at the helm.

      • Reader – I do see a parallel. My heart does go out to the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits in that region, not much has been done about it either politically or otherwise.

      • I had the occassion once to discuss the subject of the crisis with a Sinhalese patriot. It’s not wise to disclose the details on a public platform.

        But suffice that, to me, he sounded somewhat like Jews in Israel surrounded by threatening Arabs, except that the Sinhalas did not migrate to Sri Lanka. They were also original inhabitants who adopted Buddhism around the 10th century.

        The Tamil big five, Iyengars (Vaishnavites), Iyers (Shivaliks), Devars (Warriors), Chettiyars & Mudaliyars (Merchants) have not set foot on Sri Lanka except for business and trade.

        In contrast, the Namboodaris and Nairs from God’s own backyard are known to have travelled upto Badrinath and Kedarnath in the North.

        The fierce violence of the Sinhalese government is not unlike the reactions of Jews in Israel who attack Lebanon, Syria and Palestine at the drop of a hat.

        There is a belief that goes in Mumbai, that the Police cannot be everywhere to protect us. If a thief enters the house, we kill him first and then call the police to clean up. Its permitted by the IPC.

        I think, that is the kind of distrust that was bred by LTTE in Jafna and their Sinhalese counterparts in Colombo – each one fueling the divide more and more for the last 25 years.

        Peace between Tamil Lankans and the Sinhalese government is as difficult as asking Jews to adopt palestinian children.

        But, one can’t be too sure. Peace has not had a chance for a long time.

        Who knows…

      • REader – It would have been a good debate if you revealed what this man said, but you are the better judge. That is true, both the LTTE and the Sinhalese govt did fuel the divide, probably peace is difficult, but with the Tamils being completely stripped off their LTTE power in Sri Lanka, they have no choice but to make inroads with the Govt. Unless India and more so TN wants to adopt every Tamil and help him evacuate SRi Lanka!

      • I decided against quoting him because I thought he seemed defensive despite his aggressive tone, which can be easily mistaken for arrogance.

        I agree that a balanced opinion is possible if one has the view of both sides involved.

        One man’s terrorism is another man’s invasion. Hmmm.. something wrong about that line. Does it sound like the same thing?

    • Reader – I honestly think only fools tie a RDX around their waste and sadly we forget these fools soon after the foolish event. The one who lives to fight his battle in peace wins and is always remembered.

  5. MonaLisa Says:

    Would you put/consider patriotism in the same category!? How would one differentiate between patriotism and fanaticism!?
    When Emotions overpower, Intellect is subdued. when intellect is subdued, one can get carried away easily due to diminished power of decision making. Ignorance is not a bliss in such cases.

    • MonaLisa,

      Indeed, you hit the nail. I am even tempeted to say, ignorance is a more serious hazard than faith.

      The geological reality of Earth is, the actual shape is nothing like the speculations of writers and myths.

      If take one large bite from the side of an apple, and smaller bite from the other side, the remaining shape is the Earth without water. THe continental shelves, tectonic movements etc are not proved because the sheer depth of the oceans is impossible to fathom with the present technology.

      When patriotism or fanaticism is based on myths, it has to collapse at some point.

      The resulting loss of self-esteem can damage an entire nation of people!

    • MonaLisa,

      I don’t differentiate between patriotism and fanaticism. Both are cousins. Probably the same blood group with a small rhesus variant.


  6. Did you know it actually was the Indian Army that had trained and armed the LTTE when the Indian Govt had decided to act as the big daddy and decided to interfere to satisfy its tamil Population back home…and it was these same tamils that beat tham black and blue when the Indian Army tried to remove Ltte from Northern Sri Lanka. The LTTE mishap was actually one of indias biggest folly which could have just been solved with a peacefull dialogue in the inintial stages, except india tried to appease them.

  7. Ningo engey irkengal!


    • Thanks for asking Reader, will be back in a jiffy!..Caught in the chaos of India and her roads..:)

      • Thats all the Tamil I know actually! I was afraid you might reply in Tamil.

        Are you in India? You have been on the move.

        ‘Caught in the chaos’ is lyrical. That would have inspired Sahir, Wodehouse, Rudyard Kipling et al.


      • Reader – This is enough tamil to thrive in the heart of Tamil Nadu!

  8. Hi!!! Sharmila,

    I’m sorry I haven’t read this post, but I definitely will first up on the morrow. Now I’m more worried for your voice. Get your voice back and I promise I’ll swing to your tune. There’s a lot to catch up with and I’m mad with myself. Take care and do care too.


  9. Wonderful description……I aslo have a Tamil friend.And you know what……..he has the courage to do CA and B.Com simultaneously.And he is doing it so.I think only a Tamil can do this…..haha

  10. Mohan Raman Says:

    I agree with you when you say that Tamils have to rethink as well as follow peace.
    Tamils emigrated to many other parts of the world like the West Indies – South Africa. There they integrated well with the local population and faced no issues. When they tend to be clannish and group together , they tend to disturb the minds of the local population. This is true of most Indian emigrants.
    I do not believe the average Joe in Singapore had democratic rights for Singapore is an efficiently run corporation with a strong leadership that does not tolerate any opposition. The major plus point is that Tamil is recognised and not discriminated against.
    What is a “freedom struggle” for one is invariably insurgency and terrorism for the Government in Power. Even the Mahatma was arrested and jailed for Sedition by the British.
    The Indian Government cannot openly come in support of the “Tamils” – then we open doors for pakistan to come in and “interfere” with Kashmir. So too most Nations.
    Tamils need to listen to the voice of peace and Moderation – It is stupid to protest against Bachchan or anyone else.
    What did the “Tamil” world do when the kargil war was on…..did they run to the support of their “motherland” – they must realise that they have , by their actions cut the umbilical cord and must not blame their Country of origin for any action or inaction.

    • Mr Mohan Raman – Thank you for your wonderful comment, it is a privelege to have you visit my blog. Your comment wonderfully illustrates that clannish attitudes eventually leads to strife and isolation. I recall a similar situation happening in the Fiji islands as well.

  11. Mr Bachchan’s response –
    ab says:
    June 5, 2010 at 11:25 pm
    sharmila .. your thoughts are well taken ,,, i will give you a response but in good time ,, the medi a because it hates us and because they have taken it upon them to oppose Raavan have deliberately started this story and IIFA connection ,,, it has got nothing to do with it ,, IIFA premier is on the 4thJune , the film releases on june 18th ,, no producer director releases his film to public 2 weeks in advance of official opening ..

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