Jayaram And Tamil: Some Scattered Thoughts On The Anti-Black
Mass Culture In Kerala
By Joe MS
17 February, 2010
The recent ‘jest ‘of film star Jayaram against the Tamil as black skinned , buffalo like and therefore less human has been taken as just a joke by the cultural scene of Kerala. Not only that sympathy was expressed for the poor victim that he is, inadvertently cracking an innocent joke and thereby exposing himself to the ire of ‘violent’ Tamil,even solidarity was expressed with the right to crack such jokes by the ’ordinary folks’. The latent ideological and cultural premises hidden behind this whole controversy needs to be enquired into to understand the reality. The natural outburst of violence against Jayaram for the upholding dignity of the Tamil has been understood by the ‘superior’ Malayali culture as typical of them who are inferior, passionate, emotional, devoid of political education , filmy so on and so forth. The intellectual community of Kerala was not less.
The height of irony was the sigh of relief heaved by Sebastian Paul, the(retired? )left liberation theologist, in his newspaper article in Madhayamam (dated 12th February), for the subsumption of controversy as the fight against Jayaram has subsided in Tamilnadu. Here he presumes that Jayaram only made a joke and absolved him of all sins( because of the kinship called Malayali fraternity), and that the Tamils reacted violently and unnecessarily , which is nothing but parochialism. This is no wonder. At the level of mass culture, cracking of jokes and the wit mania , epitomised by mimics culture , and internalised by Malyalee to fill the philosophical void in his competitive life, is simply racist,. Popular culture as practiced in Kerala, is naked racism, which would have called forth acts of reprimand even from a capitalist state in the west.. And all such jokes insulting the physically challenged to the people of subaltern culture has escaped criticism of the left-oriented Kerala
.For the left any act of subversion which questions the status-quo of Sanskrit-Brahminical cultural dominance is smacking of parochialism and jingoism and therefore not progressive. This is due to parroting of historical materialism without understanding its real potential, for liberation and blind application without understanding the Indian context. Yes, it is true Marxism has the huge prowess to help in transforming and liberating a society. But only if applied with ingenuity.
The so-called post revolutionary mainstream culture of Kerala culture constituted by mainstream leftist too, has always been Brahmanical, pro-Sanskrit, pro-Hindi, patriotic and as a corollary posed against all discourse hostile to the dominanant discourse. The making of Sebastian Paul, despite being claimant to the revolutionary status of marginalised section with in the Christian communityre, shares the same outlook in aping the hierarchical configuration of the Siriyan hegemony, especially in its nurturing of caste system, And his stint with parliamentary leftism , would have instilled its theoretical approach in him, which abounds in ‘bhadralokism‘. The mainstream Malaya lee‘s canonical identity has been cultivated , and ideologically rooted in a kind of anti Dravidiansim , the pioneers of whom were naturally leftists. India is a country in which epidermically determined racism is still a reality, despite claims to the contrary from the left. The scientific rigour exhibited by their intelligentsia in disproving the historical accuracy of Aryan-Dravidian divide, only as a colonial construct and discourse ,and the scant disregard for the efficacy of such a dichotomy at least in the cultural domain, is inspired by ulterior motives .
The need for a secular Dravidian myth, subversive and libertarian, was exemplified by the practice of Periyar The emotionality of romanticism in the mythicization of Che proved positive and progressive for the world. So there is nothing wrong in the Dravidian myth cultivated by Periyar, celebrated and manifest in the counter cultural practice of Keemayana, extolling the virtues of Ravana, the villain of the brahmanical lore, Ramayana. But all these efforts were sidelined by the left in their nation building enthusiasm and theoretical gratitude , engraved in the unconscious, due to the organic link to Brahmansim,(maybe existing as a scholastically oriented secular atheistic practice, in effect working as detached denouement in a genetically ordained socially stratified scenario,) to the aestheticised obscuranticism of Gandhian ideology. It has informed their outlook and practice, the result was , the mainstream culture of Kerala, of which the left takes pride in, which is Brahmanical , skin-based; marginalises , dalit and adiviasis, and nakedly practice slavery to the people of dark-skin vagrants seeking job there. Jayaram is only the tip of the iceberg. (See the naked practice of Brhamanism in the nexus between Jayaram, kamala Hassan and N.Ram(the icon of such leftist culture exemplified in his secular atheistic, devoid of cultural rationality, despite their mutually absent save real acquaintance, facilitated through the working of social capital)The radical left, constituted by the self same class forces, despite some originality in introspection and nobility, stops short of owning up a Dravidian spirit. The endless masturbation of the post-modern brigade, with European born anti Euro-centric theory, results in only sharing the crumps of state benevolence..
Another incident which bears testimony to the Savarna hegemonic oeuvre of intelligentsia in India is the muted response/silence/participation of the urban intelligentsia in the recent perpetration of genocide on the ‘Dravidian race , by the powers that be in the subcontinent. Kerala , despite being , the bordering state, and which can boast of its intellectuals as a community, and which parrots an Immanuel levinas to Badiou, did not even take notice of such happenings , and shared the mainstream view. This is because the cultural sphere of Kerala , ploughed as it is by Marxism, is organically linked to the right , as the intellectual praxis here is without the radical rupture with in consciousness,, and practically amounts to economism. The Malayali identity is largely built and defined as contradictory to , distinct from, and as a counter-point to the Tamil(read black skinned), ridiculed as linguistically chauvinistic .Thus it was genetically integrated in to the Sankritised terrain.The inherent tribalism , immediately inferred by Malayalee , to the angry nationalist outburst of Tamils to Jayaram’s invectives , will be termed as jingoistic parochialism( see Nehru’s invective on Tamil movement as ‘Kattu Mirandi‘).The anti-Brahmanic cultural content in the struggles of periyar, his anti-casteist , anti-Hindi position etc. were never looked at with respect by the right and left intelligentsia . In fact Periyar’s Dravidian rationality provides avenues for a counterculture , with its Dravidian lore, a libertarian site on which to wage the struggle of subaltern, oppressed culturally, thereby assimilating the multitudinal streams antagonistic to the dominant culture into its fold, and creating a space towards a radical rupture, extremely necessary to break from historic and ideological oppression, and to create a new proletariat , liberated from ideological subjugation of Brahmanism. Like Black bolshevism, propounded by Harry Haywood .in the US, what India need is a Marxism dialectically linked to a Dravidian cultural rationalism with its emancipatory potential.