Why This Book Is A Must-Read For Tamils

by Aravindan Neelakandan - Oct 22, 2022 05:01 PM +05:30 IST
Why This Book Is A Must-Read For TamilsThe cover of Pa. Inthuvan's book.
Snapshot
  • This book is a veritable guide for every Tamil.

    Particularly those who love both Tamil Nadu and India and want to disprove the manufactured binary between Tamil and Hindu/Indian culture.

Tamilar Panpadu: Kutharkammana Kelvikalum, Thelivana Pathilkalum (Culture of Tamils: Mischievously critical questions and very clear answers). Pa. Inthuvan. Swasam Publications, 2022. Pages 279. Rs 288.

For a person who has been watching TV debates in Tamil Nadu for many decades now, a point of despair is the way the anti-Hindu side recycles the same questions and how the pro-Hindu side mostly come is mostly shown up as unprepared.

Though the questions have been the same, the answers have not been prepared with precision and authenticity.

TV debates are only indicators. The last two decades have seen considerable lacunae among the Hindus of Tamil Nadu in arming themselves with facts and convincing arguments with regard to questions about our own civilisation.

Of course there have been conspicuous individual exceptions.

But they are individuals and few and far between. A systemic approach to the problem has been wanting.

Now a solution has come.

A book has come out in Tamil that takes 28 such questions and answers them in 278 pages.

  • Who was the first person to identify himself as a 'Tamizhan'?

  • Did Tamils have the tradition of invoking Divinity before embarking on any new venture?

  • What is the actual Tamil New Year?

  • What is the real meaning of the Mantras used in the marriages?

  • Are Brahmins Tamils or did they infiltrate Tamil society from somewhere else?

  • Did any ancient Tamil king perform Yajna?

  • Did Cheraman Peruman, a famous ancient Tamil king, convert to Islam? (a very persistent myth intentionally spread)

  • What is the truth about Sri Krishna stealing the dresses of Gopikas? What do ancient Tamil literature say about such deeds?

  • Was Karna rejected education because he was not seen as 'high-born'?

  • Is there a religion called 'Hindu'?

  • What relations do Tamil people have with Ayodhya?

  • Why should Tamils care about Ramayana and Mahabharata which are Sanskrit epics?

  • What is the truth about Devadasi system?

  • Was Ganesha worship a superstition propagated and brought by 'Aryans' in Tamil Nadu?

These are just some of the sample questions. Three or four questions are bundled together in each of the twenty eight questions.

Every answer is a detailed essay rich with facts from ancient Tamil literature and then these facts are further substantiated by evidences from inscription and then linked to the current cultural as well as social contexts.

Both in TV debates as well as in social media memes, to the really culturally-illiterate assertion that the words 'India' and 'Hindu' are recent colonial constructs, the answer given are equally culturally illiterate: 'Did the words Tamil Nadu and Dravida exist back then?'

This is not only the wrong approach to the problem but also shows the fact that we or a section of us have internalised the binary of 'India versus Tamil Nadu'.

'Breaking India' forces 1:0 Nationalists.

The book takes the same question and points out that how the term 'Bharat', 'Jambudweep', 'Tamizhakam' etc. are well established in the vocabulary in Tamil classics as they were in Sanskrit texts.

The author points out the continuity through Bhakti literature. He even points out foreign sources, from the Hebrew Bible to 'Indica' of Megasthenes, perceived India as one geo-cultural unit.

The author brings them all together in one place. He presents irrefutable substantial arguments without getting into the binary trap, and that is the genius of the book.

The language is lucid. The conversational style does not in any way compromise the content. Also, it never deteriorates at any place to unnecessarily taunt the opponent.

Mostly the answers take the form of the way a teacher explains to a curious student.

What surprises one most is the fact that the author is a very young person. He is not even 30.

A boyish, bright, young face appears on the back-cover of the book. Pa. Inthuvan is a well-known personality in Tamil social media circles.

Though popular in social media, he has never fallen into the vicious cycle of abuse and aimless fights. His posts have always called out cultural literacy.

And now he has come out with this book. The work he has put in by contacting epigraphists and Tamil scholars is phenomenal, though he is not a student of Tamil literature or history.

His interest is as a Tamil who loves is his culture and traditions. This love has made him toil and write this book and we are all richer because of that.

This book is a veritable guide for every Tamil. Particularly those who love both Tamil Nadu and India and who want answers to break the binary purposefully fabricated between Tamil culture and Hindu/Indian culture.

Those on the side of holistic and positive patriotism shall do well to read this book before they go for any debate. The book should be made a compulsory reading material in their culture sessions.

The cover of the book with a very muscular ferocious Shiva sets the tone for the contents that follow. The format of the book—critical, uncompromising questions and detailed evidence-based answers—is quite impressive.

On the whole this book is a must-read for Tamil society during these critical times.

To order online click here.

Aravindan is a contributing editor at Swarajya.

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