Monday, September 23, 2019

My book critiquing Vairamuthu's article on Andal

Sharing the happy news with the readers that my book critiquing the article written by Poet Vairamuthu on Andal had been published recently on 5th September 2019 and now made available for reading in print or e-book version. The book is in Tamil and has been brought out by Rare Publications.

(Click the pic to enlarge)

The cover picture of the beautiful, young and innocent looking Andal made by the famous artist Sri Keshav, melts our hearts of how Vairamuthu could think of maligning her. The various insinuations by Vairamuthu have been aptly defused in this book besides giving a concise description of how the controversy developed and spread, to make this book a kind of record for posterity. 

The paperback version can be obtained by sending your postal address to
The book costs Rs 50 only.

Request the readers to buy a copy for yourself and for gifting to others to  spread awareness. Your patronage helps me to take care of the free distribution of the book to religious institutions and libraries for wider dissemination.

புத்தகத்தைப் பற்றி.....
திரைப்படப் பாடல்களின் மூலம் தனக்கொரு அடையாளத்தைத் தேடிக் கொண்ட கவிப்பேரரசு வைரமுத்து அவர்கள், தமிழை ஆற்றுப்படுத்துவதாகக் கூறிக் கொண்டு தினமணி நாளிதழில் தொடர் கட்டுரைகள் எழுதி வந்தார். அவற்றுள் ஒன்று 'தமிழை ஆண்டாள்' என்னும் 'ஆய்வுக்' கட்டுரை. 2018-ஆம் ஆண்டு ஜனவரி  7- ஆம் தேதி அக்கட்டுரையை அவர் வாசிக்க, அதற்கு மறுநாள் தினமணி பத்திரிகையில் அது வெளியிடப்பட்டது. ஆண்டாள் தமிழை ஆண்ட பாங்கினைக் கூறுவதாக இந்தக் கட்டுரைக்கு அவர் தலைப்பிட்டிருந்தாலும், ஆண்டாளின் குலம், கோத்திரம் முதலியவற்றை ஆராய்ந்து அவள் ஒரு தேவதாசி என்ற முடிவுக்கு வந்து தமிழை ஆற்றுப்படுத்தினார் வைரமுத்து!
இதைக் கேட்டு வெகுண்டனர் ஒரு சாரர். அவர்களை எதிர்த்து வைரமுத்துவுக்குத் தோள் கொடுக்க வந்தனர் இன்னொரு சாரர்.  இவர்களுக்கிடையே வைரமுத்து எழுதிய முழுக் கட்டுரையுமே அபத்தமும், பொய்யுமாக இருக்கிறதே என்று வருந்தினர் ஆண்டாளைப் பயின்றவர்கள்.
மூவாயிரம் ஆண்டுகாலத் தமிழின் தொன்மையை ஆற்றுப்படுத்துவதாகக் கூறிக் கொண்டுதொல்காப்பியர் முதல் பல பெரியோர்களை பற்றி எழுதி வருவதாகச் சொல்லும் வைரமுத்து அவர்கள் எந்த அளவுக்கு ஆண்டாளை அறிந்திருந்தார்அவ்வளவு ஏன்? எந்த அளவுக்கு அவர் தமிழை அறிந்திருந்தார் என்பதனை அவரது கட்டுரையே பறை சாற்றுகிறது  என்பதை உலகுக்கு நாம் காட்ட வேண்டாமா?

அது மட்டுமல்ல, ஆய்வு சொல்வதாகக் கூறிக் கொண்டு அவர் கொடுத்துள்ள ஆய்வின் தரம் என்ன என்பதை தமிழ் பேசும் நல்லுலகம் அறிய வேண்டாமா? மூன்று மாதங்கள் ஆய்வு செய்த வைரமுத்து ஒரு ஆய்வினை எவ்வாறு செய்ய வேண்டும் என்பதை அறிந்திருந்தாரா என்பதைச் சுட்டிக் காட்டுவது மட்டுமல்லாமல், அவர் எந்த அளவுக்கு ஆண்டாள் பாடிய தமிழை அறிந்திருந்தார், எந்த அளவுக்குத் தொன்மைத் தமிழை அறிந்திருந்தார்  என்பவற்றையும் வெளிக்காட்டுவதே  இந்தப் புத்தகத்தின் நோக்கம்.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Leave the language to us Amit Shah ji.

Somehow a stereo-type is emerging in the way the BJP Government under Modiji is dealing with its language policy. Soon after winning the elections in 2014 Hindi was proposed as the language of the social media and the Government went ahead with posting its circulars in Hindi in the social media. As if not to have learned why such a move is unpopular with the non-Hindi States – and not just with the non-BJP parties, the same policy was sought to be promoted again now after winning the elections the second time. The Home Minister stirred a hornet’s nest and went back but not without dropping hints that he and his government would not lose another chance to come up with the same policy viz-a-viz Hindi.

This is causing me a lot of concern, not just as a BJP and Modi supporter (why my government is doing this?), but as a parent who had a monumental task of helping her two children get the best education and successfully they did without speaking a single word in Hindi! They went up to the maximum studies available in their respective fields and now I am a satisfied parent for where they reached, but Hindi had no place at all in their growth and success. This must give the reader the first awareness that language is a different domain and education well planned in a language that gets them access to what makes them satisfied intellectually and financially must be provided to them. I managed it for my kids, and the Government is expected to come to the aid of all the parents of this country to get what the parents and their wards want, and not what the Government wants them to have.

The language of education and learning a language belong to the domain of education and cannot be meddled with for political and even national reasons. In fact a well educated person is a national asset and as such the medium in which he or she is educated cannot be dictated by the government but decided by the parents and their wards. Government is only a facilitator.

Basically there are issues with the way most of us (including the honourable Home Minister) think about education. It is easy to say – study this language or that language. Only a parent, that too, a middle class parent who knows the value of education and invests his / her life and money in educating the wards, is aware of the limitations in the learning capabilities of children. First let us accept the fact that not all kids are good at learning languages. Even if one has no first-hand experience in understanding it, let one is not out of sync with the latest research findings on language learning.

A research by Florida Atlantic Universitychallenges the belief, held in and out of scientific circles that children are linguistic sponges who quickly absorb the language or languages they hear and become proficient speakers of both languages.” This issue is alive in multi-cultural societies such as the USA and Canada where the mother tongue is something other than English and the kids have to adapt to speaking English outside their home circles. While this inevitable bilingualism is being frowned upon as a stress by those societies, in India where every child can have access to study in the language of its native tongue, three language formula is being forced, of which Hindi is being pushed with Government patronage.

Researchers  further state that only that language that continues to be heard by the children in their surroundings will be learned well and such language is a ‘majority language’. Any language that is not widely spoken around the kids is a ‘minority language’ – and it will soon be forgotten. “Research demonstrates that we need to reshape our views of early bilingualism: children are born ready to learn the language or languages of their environments without confusion or delay (Werker & Byers-Heinlein, 2008). To promote successful bilingual development, parents raising bilingual children should ensure that their children have ample opportunities to hear and speak both of their languages. As children get older, interacting with monolingual speakers (especially other children) is important for motivating ongoing language use, especially for minority languages not widely spoken in the community (Pearson, 2008).”

By this study it is known that if all the Indians must become proficient in Hindi as the Home Minister wants, there must be a Hindi speaking environment everywhere in India and not vice versa. In other words, only when one keeps hearing Hindi all around, can one become reasonably proficient in conversational Hindi. This can be best fulfilled by Hindi movies and Hindi tele serials but not through curriculum at school. What a ‘Kolaveri di’ song did to the whole of India must be done by Hindi songs and dance sequences on a regular basis. But should we need all this?

What is implied here is that the Home Minister and any policy maker in future in favour of Hindi must know that such an attempt is unscientific and bound to be a failure. In return they would only get their political opponents muster strength which would further require them to press the Governor of the State into service to diffuse the opponents!

So it is essential to know some basics on limitations in language learning. Not many children are good at learning languages. Exposure to bilingualism or tri-lingualism at school does not ensure understanding the language at all times in later life. Tiny tots listen to what is spoken around them and pick up immediately – a faculty aided by Broca's area  in the brain. But as they grow old, limitations do occur says a Study. That means learning a language a little later is also a difficult task for a child. Though it is possible for some people to learn many languages even at later times due to the level of activity of their Broca’s area, not all can accomplish it.

This fact can checked with any parent of school going children. In fact the students who excel in science and Maths do badly in language studies. For them the language skills necessary for their interest in science and Maths are enough. They know very well that language is for communication and expression. Many students excel in conversation than in reading and writing a language. Only a parent or a teacher knows how language study is a drudgery for many a student.

So my request to the Home Minister and the BJP party in general is to think of other ways to integrate the nation. The need for a link language is of course there and already guaranteed that English would continue as long as the States prefer so.

·       There is no use telling that English is a foreign language, for Hindi is also a foreign language for many in India. In this age of global collaborations and English speaking countries in the favourite list of many as destinations for education and job opportunities, discouraging English study is anti-people.  

·       There is no use in branding English as a colonial hang-over, for Hindi is also a hang-over of the Muslim Era. Needless to say that Hindi has more ‘foreign’ elements from Islamic influence in comparison to many South Indian languages that have no foreign component. The presence of Hindi in most north Indian States can also attributed to Islamic rule of those States compared to least or nil influence of Islamic rule in Southern States.

Even when non-natives ruled southern States, they did not impose their languages. The Nayaks and Vijayanagara kings and Pallavas far back in time didn’t impose their languages among Tamils. In fact Grantha script is proof of ruling Pallavas’ attempt to speak Tamil the way native speakers spoke. Therefore to say that a single language – despite that being foreign to a people - can integrate the nation is untenable.

To say that a particular language which is foreign to 60% of the people of India, must be learned by all for national integration and to get a global identity, shows that there is much to be learnt by the powers-that-be in many spheres.

·       National integration happens by the identity as an Indian and not by what we speak. Even the National Anthem is not in Hindi but reflects the idea of people from different parts of India aroused by the single name ‘Bharat’. The idea of Bharat integrates, and not the language.

·       The next most important integrator is the culture of this country and that culture has a language which is not Hindi, but Sanskrit. This culture eulogises the heroes of this land namely, Rama, Krishna, Skanda et al and deities such as Durga whose etymological meanings can be traced to Sanskrit only. Even an old language such as Tamil has 30% words that are Sanskrit. Sanskrit which is the basis of worship is still in vogue in olden temples of Tamilnadu that account for nearly 90% of olden temples in the country.  Knowledge of Sanskrit can very well help the people to understand what they chant and that could further help in strengthening the cultural roots of the country.

One must remember that Tamils had come out of the Dravida-Maya at least as far as temple worship is concerned. I myself was a witness to the worship of the DMK first family in the temple of Budha (TiruveNkadu) many years ago where they conducted the Puja in Sanskrit. It is high time venues to learn Sanskrit are introduced across the country. National integration is a definite outcome and Sanskrit would get a global identity as the language of Bharat.

·       Also Read Imposing Hindi in Social Media

·       And don’t skip this blog wherein I have given at the end, the report on ‘Apa-Brahmasa’ being the root language of almost all the languages of India. Cartoon controversy on Hindi agitation in Tamilnadu and what people must know. This is to show that a lot more is needed to researched in the language unity of Indian past. Importance to Hindi which is of recent origin is bound to eclipse and erase some important facts and features about a unitary language of a distant past.