Lot of conversations around anti Brahminism in Tamil Nadu over the past few days. My two bits to the conversation. The ideological discourse against Brahmins, such as it exists in terms of caricatures about the community etc, trace back to the pitched battles (1/N)
That the non brahmin elite castes fought against brahmin domination of british babudom in Madras in late 1800s and early 1900s. The narrative of a narrow elite was since inherited by a strong section of educated elite across caste who owed some kind of allegiance to (2/N)
Tamil exceptionalism as ideals. But, it must be stated that this kind of narrative isn't really representative of the general populace and is certainly inconsequential as a political platform. Caste politics in Tamil Nadu typically works as consolidation of other (3/N)
Castes in a given region against the dominant caste there. Thus anti vanniyar, anti Thevar and to an extent even anti nadar platforms are real potent political platforms. Only dominant caste that have bucked this trend are the KV Gounders. Anti Brahminism, in comparison, (4/N)
Is not a useful platform. Infact, one could say that the Adi Dravidas voted for the aiadmk in huge numbers as it was led first by a nair and then by a Brahmin and both were seen as non dominant UCs in Tamil Nadu. (5/N)
So, why does anti-brahminism continue as a narrative? Primarily because of the hold that dravidianists enjoy in media, cinema and in social discourse. One sees that this is not even true of tamil nationalist extremists like seeman who make it a point to emphasise (6/N)
That they consider the "iyers" as much the sons of the soil as themselves. There are two reasons for the dravidianist elite reaction (and I add to say that this is not true of the population at all) - 1) their continued jealousy about the perceived relevance that (7/n)
"Iyers" still have over national agenda as relfected by mad rants by someone like pazha karuppiah about brahmin conspiracies is one. 2) The Brahmin community's own weak reaction to portrayals about them. Refusing to act upon it or impose cost upon in the name of decency (8/N)
When the DMK MP RS Bharathy made very derogatory remarks about Brahmins, I remember one of my gounder friends telling me "one of your people should just go and slap that guy silly and the tn people will support". He was not speaking an untruth. None in tamil nadu (9/N)
Likes their community to be abused and would be sympathetic to anyone who resists theirs being abused. Brahmins have failed there in imposing costs. (10/N)
That said, one should also acknowledge that as a community Brahmins have increasingly very little stakes in Tamil Nadu except for the poor and ashraya-less Gurukkals, Bhattars and vaidikas. There has been a very fast bailing out first from the rural areas and now from (11/N)
Urban areas to by Brahmins. This has largely been a voluntary process, Majorly driven by the urge to succeed and find better pastures, that started somewhere in the 1950s and continues to this day (N/N)
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