Tamil pride, where art thou?

Why don’t we, the Tamils, ever take pride in our heritage the way other communities do?
Tagore and Rabindra sangeet is so much a part of the Bengali culture. No Bong home is complete without records of his music and volumes of his work. For good measure, they throw in the (unreadable) Apu Trilogy by Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay, and they rave about the (equally unwatchable) movie version by Satyajit Ray. Of course, my opinion is neither based on cultural jingoism or studied appreciation of the arts.
It’s just a personal comment, that probably goes against worldwide view of the works!

Bangra is a folk dance from Punjab, the dandia/gharba of Gujarat… yet, it has received branding and promotion on a monumental scale. How come, no street or rural art from Tamil Nadu has gained this kind of push?

Why aren’t ALL our children exposed to Bharatiyar’s songs – how many have even heard of him now? Why isn’t the incredibly intelligent Kurals on the bookshelves of every Tamil household? Why isn’t Kalki’s magnum opus Ponniyin Selvan (far, far more intriguing a narration than Apu3) touted by us?

Why do people think our movies are all about overweight heroines, heavily made-up heroes and garish dance numbers? What about KB (of the past), Sridhar, Bharati Raja (of the past), and the dozens of other fantastic film makers and actors? Why do they think our music is merely of the O Podu and Malle Malle genre? The Maestro and ARR are products of Tamil culture too…

Why don’t we celebrate Pongal with the same aplomb as the Keralites do Onam?

And seriously, have you noticed? The Tamils when they meet will try to impress each other with their English skills!!!!! They think it’s infra dig to converse in Tamil.

We stake claim to Idli and Dosais – but both the Malyalees and Udipi folks refute that. And we give in without a whimper!

Fortunately, there is still the Kanjeevarams and Rajnikant that we can cling to.


15 thoughts on “Tamil pride, where art thou?

  1. Blogeswari says:

    Few years ago, the local tamizh sangam organized a get-together with all the tamizh families of the locality – with games, food etc

    Not a single soul spoke in tamizh – one old mama was compering the event in fulltoo englipees

    Ditto in the voicing (dubbing) industry – mallus n golts speak only in their mother tongue – bongs and gujjus – kekkave venam! they won’t utter a word in Hindi . But the tamizh karadis here speak … MARATHI and Hindi just to see if they get marathi and hindi voice opportunities.. We have one urvashi, one kamalagaasan , one indiran (all nicknames) in this tamizh karadi group. Will tell you about ’em when we meet up

  2. Teesu (very very Indian, very very good) says:

    Oh C’mon, Rajnikant is not even Tamil. But the good thing is, it SEEMS he’s a wannabe Thamizh and so…become one.
    I think it’s more the ‘educated’ (read English-educated) Tamils who are losing touch with all things Thamizhhh. Namely people like you and me.
    And our CM, instead of taking some backward steps in the name of Tamil, could take some leaps forward by making say, Bharathiyaar’s works a part of the curriculum …in English as well. If we know Tagore, we can and ought to know Bharathi. Even Vivek made fun of this in ‘saamy’. Just instances…
    And certainly, no Tamil should take any mockery of Thamizh lying down. I would n’t.Vaazhga Thamizhhh!

  3. Shyam says:

    Right there with you on the unreadable and unwatchable bits 🙂

    (and i wish i could hear the gossip too… long time no good gossip. so what if it’s ppl i dont know!) 🙂

  4. Sonia says:

    Bhartanatyam is Tamil isnt it? And so is Rekha. So is sambar and rasam- mulligatawny is just another name. And aren’t Tamilians so much in love with Tamil that at one time they were not willing to acknowledge Hindi as the national language?

  5. umm oviya says:

    shyam: when are you in india. we are masters at gossiping about people we don’t know. can be quite interesting.
    sonia: let’s not even go to hindi as national language. it’s majority lingo in the cow-belt only. the more developed parts of the country has its own lingo to plough thru’… and isn’t it about diversity? why thrust it down our throats. and bharatanatyam is more carnatic — so common to the whole of south really. not tamil per se. though patronised most in TN. and way too many folks staking claim on rasam and sambar.

  6. Sonia says:

    There you go! Dont think anyone besides the Tamilians have a problem with Hindi! Not the Bengalis, for sure. Though they love their sahitya, they talk hindi as well.

  7. umm oviya says:

    There you go again, thrusting it down our gagging throats… tell me how many communities outside of the south are as linguistic? we don’t expect people outside TN to converse in Tamil with us. We adapt quite well…

  8. mumbaigirl says:

    Hindi is one of twenty-two national languages, and those twenty-two include Tamil, Gujarati etc. It is not THE national language of India. It is one of the two official languages of communication, the other being English.

  9. umm oviya says:

    i just love spineless anon comments. makes me look good. give your name and details, and i’ll clear the facts!
    and as Rushdie said, the best way to not be offended by what you read is to close the book or the window in this case 🙂 cheers!

  10. mumbaigirl says:

    Heh heh…we need to get our “facts” right! What a joke! Go look up the Constitution and get your own facts straight. And who permitted you to call us “babes?” We ain’t your girlfriends. Keep feeling sad for us, we’re quite happy!

  11. Laksh says:

    I read this post only today, and agree 100%. What is it with us that we cant be proud of such a culture and language. In fact, I get the impression we are apologetic about it!!!!!! and this impression is strongest when I am in the land of Tamizhs!!
    And as an aside, am on Bk 5 of Ponniyin Selvan now, and absolutely in love with it.

  12. Dinesh Srirengan says:

    One thing though- Tamils outside India are much more pro Tamil.
    Singapore for example. Any Tamil i meet and if situation allows only talks to me in Tamil. The quality of Tail education here is much better than anywhere in India.
    I heard Malaysia is also like that and I think SL must be too.

    But Indian Tamils (1st and 2nd Gen migrants) to US and all are even worse, most i met cant speak a word- they say only thier grandmother speaks tamil !

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