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Tribulations and intractability of improving others!!



It is foretold! The torrential flow of inexorable destiny!

Back again to Travancore


01. The finer aspects of social training

02. The tragic side of a social reform

03. The terror of lower class people developing

04. Revolutionaries cannot improve the nation


Now let me go back to the issue of Travancore being an independent nation. At the time of forced amalgamation with India, its population was more than the population of New Zealand of that time. Sir CP might have been a person with great insight and farsightedness. To steer a nation into English standards is not easy.

The greatest stumbling block would be the people themselves, who in each and every word they speak would pull the nation back to the cesspool of a feudal language social system. If the lower-caste Ezhavas are let loose with no one to train them into refinement, the higher castes would be in terror. On the other hand, the higher castes would also need to be trained to accept a pose of refinement from the lower castes. There are very fine issues involved. And simply saying that the government is going to change the nation does not mean anything.


The Travancore Manual, written at the behest of the Travancore royalty, itself gives a very bleak picture of the Travancore officialdom. Even though the Ezhavas were not allowed to join it, it seems quality was quite bad. Corruption was rampant. A streak of impoliteness was everywhere. Police were brutal and used physical violence on those whom it could lay its hands on. Naturally, the brutal nature of the feudal Malayalam language would aid in all these. There is this quote I have taken from the Travancore Manual about on benevolent king:

QUOTE: Another anecdote exists of a poor Brahmin who received a danom (gift) worth four or five rupees from His Highness’ hands, and when he rose and left he asked His Highness for being permitted to retain the whole of it to himself. This quite puzzled the Maharajah, not knowing how the Brahmin could have doubted that what he received from his own hands should belong to any one but himself (Brahmin). The Maharajah forgot that about Courts, as in all high places, there are hangers-on like parasites on valuable trees, who corrupt and distort the pure channels of charity and justice, or as Sir Sashiah Sastri so well put it, “ It is impossible all the world over to prevent abuses creeping round charity institutions, whether they be in the nature of Lazarettos, Hospitals or Poor houses, or Chuttroms.” What the Brahmin meant was that no portion of the danom should be allowed to be taken away by palace servants at whose instance he was introduced; the Maharajah was much pained and it is said that he did not go to his breakfast until the matter was inquired into and the corrupters of the fountain of charity were duly punished. END OF QUOTE

MY COMMENT: This forced sharing of governmental benevolence to the layman, by the concerned officials is rampant even today. END OF DIGRESSION

There is this quote from Native life in Travancore [by Rev. SAMUEL MATEER, F.L.S. of the London Missionary Society published in 1883] which also can be used as an evidence of the quality of the Travancore kingdom’s officialdom:

QUOTE: A particular instance of fraud, which occurred a few years ago, may be mentioned. “A Pariah got a piece of jungle as mortgage from a Sudra, cleared and planted the land, so that it became worth about a hundred rupees. Then the Sudra called the man and told him to bring his document, along with sixty fanams, for which, he assured him, he should get the land registered in the man’s name. The Sudra afterwards produced a new document, assuring the Pariah (who could not read) that it was the proper deed, and he received it with pleasure. But soon afterwards, the land he had cleared was registered in another person’s name, and taken from the poor man, who was unable to obtain any redress. The Sudras in these parts, being connected with the police clerks, can get anything they like done against these poor people, who are easily cheated and oppressed.” END OF QUOTE

MY COMMENT: Here it is seen that the slightly higher caste of Sudras also did not bring in quality to the officialdom.

The government can build bridges, roads, bus stations etc. But the maintenance of these infrastructures at a high level of cleanliness and efficiency requires a social system that can uphold refinement. I remember seeing the newly-made Calicut Bus stand in the year around 1980. It looked so clean and splendid. As if it was not made by any local institution. However, within a few years, it was filled with noise, filth, litter and a general feel of untidiness. However, no one is bothered.

For, most people come out from the fetters of their social and familial circumstances. For them, the general feel of crowd and rush makes them feel as if they are in a carnival. They feel that they have reached the heights of humanly possible social development.

However when one such young man whose father had emigrated to the UK from the Middle East as a serving person, went to London on a permanent resident visa, I heard that he could not believe what he saw. He called his friends back home and said that ‘England is unbelievably good looking’. Actually like his mental picture of Paradise.

The finer aspects of social training

Now when one speaks about social training, there is this to be mentioned. It is like me training my wards to address me with a Mr., no need to pay obeisance to me when I enter and can sit down in a chair when they speak to me etc. Now if I tell my wards that this is the way that they should behave in the outside world, what would happen? Well, the affects can be quite disastrous. If they go to a local police station, mention that they want to meet the Police Sub Inspector, the constable would be quite distressed to see such assertiveness. He would invariably put them down with a Nee. If that is somehow avoided and the person meets the Sub Inspector, then what?

He is in the Sub Inspector’s room. He asks ‘May I sit down?’ If it is asked in English, there is not much of a problem. However, if it is asked in Malayalam, it can sometimes have a very funny outcome. Usually sitting is not allowed in front of a Sub Inspector, unless the person is a socially acknowledged ‘Gandhi’ or ‘Nehru’. Meaning, he should be some kind of social leader.

I did once, many years ago experience this issue with a senior ‘officer’ of the state government. He did not seem to have an elegant at-home-in-English looks. So I translated my usual words to Malayalam asked ‘May I sit down?’ Well, in Malayalam the words do not sound like it would in English. The tone and stress and implications are all different. The guy took it as point to make a clown out of me. Well, that is how the Indian officials generally act towards the natives of this land.

Now, if my ward is allowed to sit, and he addresses the Sub Inspector with a Mr., then things can really get quite awkward. It is possible that the Sub Inspector may feel that he is dealing with a madman. Or a really outrageous rowdy. In both cases, it would be a very rare case if my ward escapes without getting really bashed up. This is how refined approaches would come to be defined in India.

One-sided social training and its negative effects

I will bring up this theme for pondering on this issue:

A Sub Inspector of Police has to reach the Police Station from his place of residence in the morning. His official vehicle is not there. He stands on the road. Many auto-rickshaws pass by. They are all occupied by passengers. Ultimately he flags down one, which has passengers inside. He tells the auto-driver to come back after dropping the passengers where they want to alight (next stop).

He tells the driver thus: ‘You drop them and come back’, in Malayalam. In this sentence, he can use the word Nee for You. In which case, he is being snubbing, insulting and brutal, especially if the driver is not a youngster. Or he can use the word Ningal to the driver. In this case the driver can think that the Police Sub Inspector is a sissy, has no power of command, and is an ineffective man.

Well, this is the issue of communication that can come up. When the higher man is trained to be refined, the lower person who has not been given a corresponding training would think that the higher man is a sissy and ineffective. The lower man would act impertinently.

If the lower man is trained to be more assertive, and self-dignified in communicating with the higher man, the higher man would understand that the lower man is stepping beyond his limits. And being quite impertinent.

What I wanted to stress here is that social engineering aimed at social development cannot be done as a lopsided effort. Simply pushing up a lower caste without giving them proper training in what is acceptable and not acceptable is a heinous act. Also, when the lower people are being given more rights to articulation, a corresponding training needs to be imparted to the other side also, so that they can better understand the quality improvement and not mistake it for impertinence. Along with that both sides would need to be made to understand the truculent issues of negative indicant words.

However, all these issues of social engineering that can bring in an overall social development that is self-sustaining can be brought in only in English and not in ‘Indian’ feudal languages. Social development enforced through Malayalam and other feudal languages can only be a change of persons in the different position slots. Social relationships would continue in the same heinous manner.

The tragic side of a social reform

In Kerala during the first rule by the communist party, a land reform Act was enacted. It removed a lot of people from large land ownership. The serf tenants in their lands were suddenly made the landowners. Many poor families improved and many landowners suddenly went into penury.

However, did it change the social system?

Well, not much other than the fact that people couldn’t any more hold much land in one single owner’s name. What ultimately came into eventuality was just a change of positions of persons. The poor became rich. They simply became like the old landowners. Feudal and suppressive to their subordinate classes. The rich became poor and the focus of snubbing lower indicant words.

The terror of lower class people developing

Now back again to Sir CP Ramaswamy. His aim of improving the people was quite a dangerous thing. For, it is the various media, not just the print one, but almost everything else including word-of-mouth, loudspeakers, party meetings, study classes by low intellect persons and various kinds of leaderships, which can inform the concept of improving in various manners.

Everyone in the scheme of things is perturbed by the idea that the society would be changed. It is quite an unnerving thought. For, everyone’s mind goes to deal with the issue in the manner in which Malayalam codes would try to decipher the idea. What would happen to one’s own indicant word level as low-class people improve? There is no one to explain that it is not an improvement that should be confined to a Malayalam ambience, but something quite beyond anything that has been visualised in ‘India’ or Travancore. That of bringing in an American Model of administration. In actual understanding, it means bringing in an English system.


Not only the Communists who were literally leading a mass of un-educated, no-English knowing working and other lower class people, but also the Congress men, who were more or less the conservatives who had their own sinister aims, stood against his ideas. There was some concerted action by the communists in some village areas near to Alleppy. A police Inspector went to talk and pacify them. However, he was hacked to death.

This need not be identified as a communist behaviour, but only the standard behaviour of the violent mob in South Kerala. Actually, in South Kerala, there is a streak of violent street fights that runs through the culture. I have myself seen many times, persons being severely beaten up. When the beating starts, everyone joins, as a sort of once in a life-time experience of beating up a person. The experience is valued and prized.

There is another connection to the small time rioting in the villages of Punnapra and Vayalar. Travancore had a history of around a fifty years of caste based civil fights going on, between the lower castes of Ezhavas and similar placed groups and the higher castes. In many place there were scenes of real street fights. The issue was basically connected to the fact that the lower castes were not allowed right to join the public service.

Moreover they including their females couldn’t wear upper class dresses. This amounted to the fact that their females had to walk around bare-chested. It was ultimately British intervention from Madras, through their Resident in Travancore that the lower castes received their right to wear the dress of their choice and their females to cover their breasts.


QUOTE: Reference has already been made to the establishment of the London Mission Society in South Travancore and the great toleration afforded to the Christian Missions by the Travancore Government, that led to the rapid spread of Christianity in Nanjanad. The result was that the Shanar converts (it may be observed here that the Mission work of conversion was mostly if not exclusively confined to the Shanars, Pariahs and other low-caste people), who were looked down upon by the high-caste Hindus, relying on the support of the missionaries, caused great annoyance to them.

The casus belli in this case arose from the Shanar Christian females assuming the costume of high-caste women. By long-standing custom, the inferior classes of the population were forbidden to wear an upper cloth of the kind used by the higher classes.

During the administration of Col. Munro, a Circular order was issued permitting the women referred to, to cover their bodies with jackets (kuppayam) like the women of Syrian Christians, Moplas, and such others, but the Native Christian females would not have anything less than the apparel of the highest castes. So they took the liberty of appearing in public not only with the kuppayam already sanctioned, but with an additional cloth or scarf over the shoulders as worn by the women of the higher castes. These pretensions of the Shanar convert women were resented by the high-caste Nayars and other Sudras who took the law into their own hands and used violence to those who infringed long-standing custom and caste distinctions. END OF QUOTE

Now these fights need not be visualised as a fight between a very refined lower castes against a very crude higher-caste. The fact is that both sides would be quite crude to each other, with the possibility of the lower castes being cruder more. It is possible that in the verbal fights, such highly provocative usages as Poorimone, Pundachimone, Thayoli, Ammaye Pannathayoli, Pundamone etc. will be used lavishly. It is these crude cultures that were to be refined by the English Missionaries from England.

It must be admitted that even though the English Missionaries did exemplary work, there is no need to imagine that the Christians folks thus created in Travancore were similar to the Missionaries from England. For, in the ultimate count, the local Christians would still be bearing the innate negative crudeness inherent in the feudal local vernaculars. Dirtyfing those who come under and ennobling those who come above.

I take two quotes from NATIVE LIFE IN TRAVANCORE BY The Rev. SAMUEL MATEER, F.L.S.of the London Missionary Society:

1. An intelligent Sudra woman, residing near such a congregation, bore clear testimony not long since to the effect of Christian teaching upon these people. “We acknowledge,” said she,” that Christianity is a good religion, because formerly the Pulayars and Pariahs were afraid of demons: they used to spend all their earnings in time of harvest for offerings to their terrible demons — but now a great change is seen. They also used to steal our property, but do not do so now ; and we must acknowledge that it is your religion that has produced such good results.”

2. Yet such is the corrupting influence of caste prejudice that it was equally necessary to warn a few of these Christian converts against attempting to carry out the same unjust and cruel prejudices against Pulayar Christians. In 1877, some of the latter wished to attend the church at Arpukara near Cottayam, but the Chogan Christians appealed against this to the Bishop of Madras on the ground that they would lose some employment and advantages in their work for Nayars if they were obliged to mingle with Pulayars every Sunday, and threatening to secede if they were obliged to do so.

An admirable reply was given by the Bishop, explaining the spiritual principles of the gospel, the duty of brotherly kindness to the long-despised Pulayars, and the impossibility of Christianity adapting itself to heathenism ; at the same time, enjoining the Pulayars to attend divine worship clean in person and dress, in order that no reasonable cause of offence should be given. The Chogans were displeased, and held worship separately for a time; but being judiciously advised, they returned by degrees, and all goes on well now.

MY COMMENT: Modern Kerala Christianity does not want to acknowledge all this history. They claim that they are Mappillas, which they interpret as Maha Pillas (great Pillas). Any reference to the way the British Missionaries took up the task of improving the suppressed castes of Travancore is viewed with repulsion by them, and removed. I have heard them, even their priests, speak with repulsion about the lower Hindu castes of Travancore, the Ezhavas, and the rest below.

See this page on Wikipedia. One and then this. The first one is fast edited to make the Christians higher caste. The fact was that any reference to Christians being lower caste converts is fast deleted by certain persons who are known to work as ‘white-washers’ on Wikipedia.



One can also see this page on Kerala Christians. There is not even one line connecting them to lower castes. This is the current stay of Indian Christianity. Yet, the fact is that the English influence has given the converted Christians a lot of social, mental and physical improvement. This improvement is not to be connected to Christianity. For, Christianity in itself is not English, and current day Kerala Christianity is full of feudal Malayalam.

I also want to mention this ‘Maha Pilla’ issue. I heard this many years ago, I think in 1980 in Trivandrum. In South Kerala Mappila is a Christian. In Malabar it is a Muslim. Around 1995, I started hearing about ‘Maha Pilla’ in Malabar, with local Muslim leaders claiming that they were high caste converts. The fact is that North Malabar Mappilla Muslims are basically the off-springs of Arabians living with local females. The South Malabar Mappilla Muslims have a lot of local Thiyya blood. South Malabar Thiyyas are very much different from North Malabar Thiyyas in many aspects. [Read my commentary on MALABAR MANUAL]


As to the South Kerala police, they are generally very crude and also violent. Beating up a person in their custody is more or less the rule than the exception. The senior police officers are just dummies who can do nothing about it. For, if they interfere too much in their funfair, which is every police constable’s divine right, he or she may find it difficult to get ‘respect’ from them. It is a give and take situation. “Give us the leeway to misuse our authority and we will lend you obvious ‘respect’. Try to block us, and then you are nothing but ‘stinking dirt’ to us.”

When the police Inspector was thus killed, the police force literally went berserk. They came with guns and literally went into a shooting spree. No one mentions this shooting of ‘Indians’ by Indians, even though every history is voracious about British-Indian army outrageous.

During a public function, Sir CP was physically attacked with a sword by a Travancore man. It is said that he narrowly escaped with injuries. Whatever it was, in the total melee of an un-understanding population, an arrogant Indian leadership which had been handed over the vast infrastructure of the erstwhile British Empire, including the British-Indian army, a self-seeking communist leadership, destabilising and sly Congressmen, totally ignorant worker class, a police force that went amok, and a totally idiot as the Prime Minister in Great Britain, Sir CP resigned from dewanship and went back to Madras.

There is one minor, yet significant issue that may be mentioned: In 1947, July 20, when he met Lord Mountbatten, he gave an apt description of the leaders of the new nation of India. This description is more terrible than what Winston Churchill called them, ‘men of straw’. Sir CP mentioned Nehru as an ‘unstable’ man. Gandhi was described as the ‘most dangerous influence in India’ and as a ‘sex maniac who could not keep his hands off young girls’. Within one week, he was brutally attacked in Travancore, barely escaping with his life.

It is not easy to find fault with individuals including the revolutionaries. Everyone wants to be a leader. For in ‘India’ without being somebody, one is a nobody, who has to bow to everyone who is a somebody. Even such persons as Gandhi and Nehru worked on this principle. Persons like Sir CP with profound intelligence and near total commitments would find it quite difficult to compete with sly cunning guys like Gandhi and Nehru.

Revolutionaries cannot improve the nation

I have heard of people saying that only a revolution can improve the nation since my very childhood. And I have seen an immensity of revolutionary activities. However, on close observation I have found that all revolutionary leaders are basically trying to gather a group of people who would keep them as some sort of divinities. What they aim to set up is a social scene in which they come on top of a hierarchy of social layers. The feudal language communication persists. There is no change in any human looks or social relationships. The same craving for higher indicant words remains in everyone. This can be achieved by money, power and position.

Even so-called communist leaders have just been persons who were on the lookout for a possible avenue to reach the heights of social leadership, with the people under them in the same guise as serfs under the feudal lords. The same loyalty and adoration that serf’s had for their feudal lord is seen in the followers of any communist leader. Communist party-villages are pretty much like a village dominated by a feudal landlord.

The only difference is that the feudal lord is replaced by the communist party leader. He is addressed with respectful higher indicant words, and he addresses his followers by powerfully snubbing lower indicant words. If this is so, where is the social change that communism is said to herald? Actually Karl Marx was aware of the communication problem in feudal languages. That is why he tried to bring in a new word of egalitarian address to both sides: Comrade. However, changing the basic codes of a feudal language is not as easy as that. A simple introduction of a new word would not change the huge software arrangement.

Even the French Revolutionaries tried this to remove the feudal content in their own language, by bringing in the new word of Citizen. Yet, it did not change the social communication.

It is here that the greatness of the British rule is very visible. A very small-time education and exposure to the very frill elements of English communication systems changed the very mental and physical demeanour of a small section of lower caste people in a small place. Well, in the tremulous hugeness of the newly formed India of 1947, this change was slowly wiped out. Yet, the possibility of changing the social looks and tedious social relationship through an egalitarian language was very clearly seen. However, to understand this change, one needs to have a very wide-spectrum vision and social experience. In that a person who is inside this social scene will not understand the change.

However, a person who happens to see a very wide number of groups of populations may be able to see this. This has been my experience. What basically helped me to see this was the fact that I never allowed myself to be part of any social system, social relationships, locality, professional level or even family domains. My life experience has been to move from one experience to another in a very fast manner. Even though I can write much in this regard, I must not enter into those things here, for it may lead me to very deep experiences. And I may go into sub-routes, from which it might be quite difficult to extricate myself.

0. Book Profile


2. Essence of improving

3. Command codes in the language software

4. Spontaneous block to information

5. Forgetting as a social art

6. What the Colonial English faced

7. The third quandary

8. A personal briefing

9. Fifth issue

10. The sixth issue

11. Conceptualising looting

12. Insights from my own training programme

13. A colonial British quandary

14. Entering the world of animals

15. Travails of training

16. Notes on education, bureaucracy etc.

17. On to Christian religion

18. The master classes strike back

19. Codes and routes of command

20. The sly stance of feudal indicant codes

21. Pristine English and its faded form

22. How they take the mile!

23. Media as an indoctrination tool

24. How a nation lost its independence

25. Social engineering

26. Social engineering and sex appeal

27. Conceptualising Collective Wisdom

28. Defining feudalism

29. British colonialism vs American hegemony

30. Revolting against a benevolent governance

31. The destination

32. Back again to Travancore

33. Media and its frill sides

34. Online unilateral censorship

35. Codes of mutual repulsion

36. Understanding a single factor of racism

37. Light into the darkness

38. The logic of blocking information

39. Mediocre might

40. Dangers of non-cordoned democracy

41. The barrage of blocks

42. Greatness of the US

43. Where Muslims deviate from pristine Islam

44. Film stars as popular trainers

45. Freedom of speech and feudal languages

46. Wearing out refinement

47. Leading the Anglosphere

48. Indian Culture

49. The miserable Indian media

50. A low quality idea

51. What a local self government could do

52. The aspects of quality improvement

53. Parameters of spamming

54. Profound quality enhancement

55. The innate English stance

56. Frill elements of quality improvement

57. Enter the twilight zone

58. Continuing on human development

59. Refinements in automobile driving

60. Back to Quality Improvement

61. Entering an area of tremulous disquiet

62. Stature on an elevated platform

63. The sly and treacherous debauchery

64. Reflections of a personal kind

65. Observations on the effect of gold

66. Facets of the training

67. Secure refinement versus insecure odium

68. Clowning around with precious antiquity

69. Handing over helpless entities to crooks

70. Trade, fair and foul

71. The complexities in the virtual codes

72. Mania in the codes

73. Satanic codes on the loose

74. Jallianwalabagh incident

75. A digression and a detour

76. Teaching Hindi in Australia

77. Seeming quixotic features

78. Disincentives in teaching English

79. Who should rule?

80. What is it that I am doing?

81. When oblivion takes over

82. From the ‘great’ ‘Indian’ history

83. Routes to quality enhancement

84. Epilogue

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