Tamil pride: cherry picking



Anonymous said...

I see this is another one of your random angry rants aimed at a lot of things. What's your main complaint though? We shouldn't talk about pride till we can match western standards of living?

Suresh said...


Not really. I don't know if you've read my views on pride in general (click on the label for a quick glance). I'm saying that our culture (or any culture) is essentially what it produces as a system. Do you think our systemic products worth feeling proud about? I'm not contrasting it what the west produces either. There's a lot of historic exploitation (of all kinds) and ugliness behind them too. Just have a nuanced perspective. That's all I'm saying.

I'll quote the last post I made in that thread
Point 1: Most of the people that have been cited and then related to as having brought pride to Tamil have a little to do with Tamil language. At least they have'nt really said that. It's not like Tamil poets or writers won the Nobel prize [1]. You cannot correlate individual achievements to an entire "culture" or community. It's inappropriate. It's racist. It's almost like saying "more than 90% of the Nobel prize winners are white so white people should feel proud about it".
There's a post saying M N Shyamalan is half-Tamil. What is he trying to say? He made one decent and a few other half decent movies because he's brown skinned and he has parts of genetic lineage that came from the southern part tropical India? Can this idea get any racist?

Point 2: There are bigger, glaring issues that actually represent Tamil culture or Tamil language to judge how we are doing - like politics, literacy rate etc. There are systems that can be related to our "culture" and to an extent the language. What's our condition there? We have one of the highest rates of caste based crimes, our literacy rates are good only in the Indian context. Our political system is extremely corrupt. Our artistic expressions -movies, novels, poems - have become stale.
That's what I tried to point to by quoting those statistics. They represent the outcome of a system. I didn't quote rapes and murders to blame Tamil or its "culture". They are individual crimes (for the most part). But caste based discrimination or "kalla vote" culture or poor literacy rates are not.

When we make significant strides on what I've mentioned in point 2, people can then probably (yeah, probably) feel proud. I'm saying this, of course, from a conventional point of view about pride. Let's leave out the postmodernist view on the pride and how or why it's invalid. That perspective will only make this discussion all the more muddled.

The pride discussed here is misplaced. They readily dismiss glaring issues as "kollu paati elavu." They want to pick and choose a few individual achievements to feel proud about on the face of a disturbing alternative reality. A reality that is far closer to the overall reality. For them, an individual becoming a president is far more relevant to Tamil culture than over 15 million people being illiterate, or over 5 million people treated worse than animals, as lesser humans.

That's the "objective" idea that I've been trying to convey here, apart from my annoyed reactions to individual posts (which were still relevant to the main point).

I don't think I can put this any clearer. Obviously people are going to jump over me again, but that's expected.

[1] - Tamil language has had some great writers (mentioned by Raj above). We have some of best literary works in the world. Even though we didn't have too many writers and poets that won international awards, their literary worth is no lesser. But let us be level headed enough to acknowledge literary scholars in other languages too.


Suresh said...

The thread under discussion

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