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My Online Writings - 2004 - '07

Part 4
It is foretold! The torrential flow of inexorable destiny!
Communal Tension and Language Codes

What is the basic cause of all communal and caste issues in India? Well, it is all connected to the communication code, that is language. It is a huge theme, and cannot be dealt in detail here. But I would like to take a few parts of its contents and deal about it here.

Look at the Hindu-Muslim issues. Is it really connected to what is said in the Quran and in the Hindu scriptures that is causing the problems? Well, to say yes would not at all be correct. For the very simple reason that not many persons really know for sure as to what is exactly said in the Holy Scriptures.

I do not want to go into that arena now. Let me take tiny aspects and see how it affects the common mood.

Our languages have a feudal quality, and makes a social communications structure that arranges persons in a sort of pyramid structure. Individuals get arranged in a particular pattern of communication. For example, a Indian man goes to a Tamil speaking interior village. There is a big man there, and others arrange themselves under him in varying strata of communication. The big man is addressed by a particular term of respect.

If an Indian man comes to reside in this place, he cant generally go to the big man and address him with a Mr. as can be done in English. (England also has feudal social area, but that need not be connected here as the effect and situation is entirely different). It depends on the new comers antecedents. If the man is not of equal social level, then the addressing thus can really cause distress and trouble.

Even the persons arranged in varying levels around the big person will measure the new man and place him in a particular level, from which level he will have to communicate with all persons. Actually, all communication disseminate as per this communication lines. So, in many ways, the liberal social thinking process as envisaged in English is really not possible here. Even though, people think that they are free to think as they want, it really is not the reality. When it comes to items that fall directly into the arena of the big man- and his pyramid structure, this is the essential truth.

For example go to any village and talk about any misdemeanour done by a commonly revered person. It could turn out to be a dangerous action and the person who indulges in it can get physically hurt. Free thinking and idea dissemination can only be done about unconnected persons and issues. A point in this regard, can be talking about Gandhis experiments with celibacy, which actually would have literally taken him to national disaster, had he not been able to camouflage it with the declaration of the Quit India Movement and the general distraction caused by the Second World War. His own death more or less, saved him from further damage, as well as saved in his main protégé from a negative hangover, as well as gave him a saint to position himself in a powerful position in the Indian peoples mind. See this Search

Whatever education and liberal thought one gives to a person, in feudal language areas, people are connected by an inner powerful link to certain centres of communication that hold them in a sort of stranglehold of command and obedience. It is like an Asian person in England. If he is living in a community where the people are all from his own language, and he is connected to specific religious centres like his own-language church, temple, mosque etc. then, the liberal social settings of England may not register into him or her. For such powerful words like (in Malayalam) nee, avan, aval, mon, mol, chettan, chechi, mash, sar, guru, achhan, musaliar etc. will connect him or her to command centres that have very powerful hold on him or her.

So when Hindus, Muslims and Christians live in close proximity, actually in many cases only perfunctory social communication takes place. Even though they mix, and interact socially, attend each others wedding, meet in a common social area, and also interact for commercial purposes, all of them do have powerful inner links that are really exclusive of others.

Moreover, inside each such communication structures there would specific strata of communication links that usually may not be acknowledged by the others who are outside this structure. For example, a chettan among the Hindus, need not necessarily be so acknowledged by a Muslim or Christian. But then in many cases, they do, but there is also a great chance they do not. It can cause a strain. Moreover, a Muslim showing what is discerned as an unnecessary reverence to another Muslim who in the viewpoint of a Hindu is not a person deserving such reverence can also cause rancour. But then due to the requirements of social survival, people act out some level of acknowledging of such reverence, which they really do not have.

Now look at a scene in North Malabar. I am thinking of a spot which is considered to be a communal hot spot.

The labour class is the Hindus, mainly the thiyyas. They have their own persons of respect, referred to as Chettan, Checchi, etc. Many of these titles are connected to age. However, the rich persons here are the Gulf connected Muslims. They also belong to the erstwhile poorer class of the yesteryears. But then now they are rich, or at least seemingly so. They have a powerful link among themselves, which is very enwrapping.

Now look at this scenario: A young boy, Muslim, by name Muneer, aged eighteen, addresses his labourer, Kanaran: Karnara, Inji (nee) poyee aa randu thenga ingu kondu va. {Kanara, you go and bring two coconuts here}. IWmcm, Cªn t]mbn Hcp c­v tX§ C§v sIm­p hm. Actually, from English these are very innocuous words, with nothing literally provocative inside it. And possibly, Kanaran also would not have mind the sting of the words, as he is used to these words since his very childhood.

But then his grandson is Muneers age. He will be distressed to see his grandfather, who other youngsters inside his own community address as Kanarachchan or Kanarettan, be thus addressed. The word Inji (nee) would also provoke immensely. But then, there is the economic dependency to be seen to and nothing really goes wrong usually, however the arena is pretty dry and a spark can ignite.

Now that is an issue that transcends the religious barrier and the provocations do not have any link with Quran or with the Hindu Scriptures.

Now what about the situation inside the Hindu community?

Some Thiyya youngsters had once told me how distressed they are to see their grandfathers being addressed in more or less the same words {like: Karnara, Inji (nee) poyee aa randu thenga ingu kondu va} by Brahmin youngsters.

There is another side to this. The lower castes generally do not have respect for themselves and their offspring. They were much like to introduce their own children as well others of their own community with derisive words. For example, Kanaran the labourer would go to Muneers house and tell his father, Moidu thus: Naale yenta chekkane ingu vidaam. Oan thenga eduthollum. {I will send my son (chekkan) here. He will take the coconuts). Well, here the father himself is lending derisive words about his own son: Chekkan, Oan. His son would be forty five, and when he comes to the house in the morning, Muneer would tell his father, Chekkan vannittundu: Chekkan has come.

If Kanaran is introducing his daughter, he would use the words: Pennu, Oal etc. all more or less inferior levels of introduction. Actually, the youngsters really want protection from the introduction lend out by their own kinfolk to escape the social strangulation. For their parents and elders do not provide it, and aid in the social slicing.

However, in many places the issues is being stamped out by the common education that is being doled out by the government schools. In the school, everyone is treated like a low caste by the teachers, who now become the new feudal lords. They now are the mash in the social arena and many others are inji oan(avan), oal (aval) etc.

Now, what happens is that with this education Muneer becomes the chekkan, Oan, Inji (nee), eda etc. and his sister becomes the Pennu, edi, Inji, Oal etc. Kanaran becomes the Kanarachchan, or Kanaraettan.

There is a social upheaval, and the positions become reversed. It is a tussle between these two social situations, and it can create a social and also individual distress and unrest.

However, this unrest is not confined to religious and communal issues, but to all levels of communication, including that of interaction between the people and the bureaucracy.

Actually, there is another issue of the language keeping certain persons in a lower level, that also irks others. For, a lower class person is in a very powerful position and can literally cut another mans individuality by just equating himself to the other man. In this situation, he is a repulsive person, just because of this demonic power that has become encoded within him, due to his lower station in a feudal language. I will write about that issue later.

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143. Attributes of ‘Sar’

144. Indian Marriages

145. BP Oil Spill and the infections that led to it

146. Money and Indian Languages

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149. Communal Tension and Language Codes

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158. Racism: A skin deep, yet painful, 2

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160. Where Islam and Muslims diverge

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