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Re: [WMASTERS] Tamil Inferiority Complex (Was: Selvaa's suggestions)


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At 10:10 AM 9/27/97 +1000, Bala Pillai wrote:

>At 08:56 AM 9/26/97 -0400, Harold F. Schiffman wrote:

>>... linguisic purism .... seems to serve a purpose for some time,
>>uniting people in a cultural struggle of some sort, but today, it has to
>>be admitted (whether people like it or not) that SANSKRIT IS NO LONGER THE
>>ENEMY.  Puristic movements also, unfortunately, tend to become one-issue
>>movements, and need to single out a constant enemy to beat up on.  

>I have often wondered about this Sanskrit "enemy". At the risk of causing a
>flame-war - Couldn't it be put to one main cause - "purist" Tamils reaction
>(defensiveness)  to a deep-seated inferiority complex?

I am wondering at the absurdity of this question! May I ask you Bala why
can't I turn around ask the same question of people who slavishly take
English/Sanskrit words in to the Tamil language?  What sort of complex
propels people to use "Jalam" instead of "thanneer"  or "stool" instead of
"mukkaali"?  Would you concede that there is a "standard" English that is
used in Universities, legislatures, royal courts and news media that
differs from "slang" spoken English?  While yiddish, polish, spanish words
are commonly encountered in urban spoken English you seldom see them in the
NY Times, Wash. Post or LA Times.  Now what is that standard for Tamil media?

Prof. Schiffman states that an elite is trying to thrust a purist Tamil
down the throats of an unwilling populace.  My observation is the opposite!
 The Thani Thamizh movement may have had its origins in elite classess (
Parithi Markalaignar, Maraimalai Adigal).  But it was energised by the
mainly low caste groups out of power.  The mEdai Thamizh popular today in
Tamil politics came from the grass roots.  I don't know how familiar you
are with the recent history of Tamils.  But to think that the Dravidian
movement is an elitist movement is inaccurate.  

In all of Prof. Schiffman's examples the purist movements came from the
top, the elite, the government and religious establishment.  The Thani
Thamizh Iyakkam was and is resisted tooth and nail by the establishment.
Yes it does have a missionary zeal and is suspicious of outsiders (mainly
Madras based) and at times has the appearance of jihad.  But I am genuinely
puzzled at Bala's characterization especially considering your "Nothing
Less Than A Tamil Digital Renaissance Now" pitch.  The Thani Thamizh
Iyakkam sparked a real renaissance and has at times called itself "Thamizh
marumalarchi Iyakkam."  Why would you denigrate such a movement and
attribute it it to some complex.  It is akin to me asking you when you
stopped beating your wife. ( I am sure you are familiar with such slander
tactics in American politics.)

>From Prof. Schiffman's emphasis I see that even to a "neutral" observer it
is obvious that SANSKRIT WAS ONCE THE ENEMY.  He puts it in the past tense.
 I don't know when Prof. Schiffman thinks that the threat from Sanskrit
receded.  From his words (not mine) there was a battle/war between the
languages and Tamil has survived.  Did the purist movement have a role to
play in that? And how a recent past is this?

 . ׯ

Mani M. Manivannan
Fremont, CA, USA.

    ݍ -   Only a sculptor knows a sculpture's flaws


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