This is the comment made by Mr. NagarajanDear Mr. Nagarajan,
which can be in continuation of my previous
posting. My reply and his subsequent reply
is also posted for your view. My father who
had tuft,(kudumi) also wentto M.R.Radha's
"Keemayanam" by covering his head with
a towel(Mundaasu). It only goes to show
how brahmins (Tamil) were patronising
Mr.Suriyanarayana sastri, a brahmin scholar
changed his name as Paridhimal kalaignar and
not asparidhimalvazhudhi.I think since the
subject was Tambrams, those who are not
Tamilians may not deserve to be in this list.
I have been really enjoying your blogspot
entries,full of wonderful music and other
material. I was very touched by your entry
on mother. My own mother who passed away few
years ago was personified all these
attributes.I was silently crying for her loss.
The Iyer article was very interesting and
captured the spirit of the community. It
hasthe right combination of information and
humour. The list of eminent Iyers and Iyengars
was also very interesting. Of course, many
additions and deletions can be suggested. I am
sure you have already received some messages
on this topic.
Here are mine:
Mahaperiyaval was not born a Tamil Iyer. He
was a Telegubrahmin, as was Thyagaraja. In
any case, sanyasis shed their caste once they
assume sanyasam.That is why they do not wear
poonal. Sadasiva brhamendra who has composed
many wonderful songs was also a Telugu brahmin.
[His samadhi is in my mother's
native village Nerur (near Karur).My mother's
uncles and now their sons are in charge of
brahmendral's utsavam which is still
conducted every year, attended by well-known
musicians. As a boy, I attended the utasavam
during which Anayampatti Dandapani played
Jalathrangam and his brother Ganesan
(who now plays Jalathrangam)played violin.
Among musicians, Alathur brothers were
missing.In this combo,Srinivasa Iyer was Tamil
Iyer and Venkatasubbier was actually a Telugu
M.S. Subbulakshmi's father was Subramania Iyer
who had his own family and was also
maintaining a family through Shanmugavadivu.
I have read that he was so fond of M.S. that
he gave her the nickname: kunjamma. Now,does
that qualify her as Iyer? Same issue applied to
MLV whose father was Ayyaswamy Iyer who had a
relationship with Lalithangi. Srirangam
Gopalaratnam belonged to the Andhra Devadasi
community. Was her father an Iyengar, I wonder?
N.C. Vasanthakokilam was from an Iyer family.
Did U.V. swaminatha Iyer make it to the list?
How about Tamil scholar Suryanarayana Iyer who
Tamilisedhis name to something like
My reply was:
It was interesting to read your mail about my blog.
Thank you for nice words. Why don't you post your
opinion on comments, so that others also can view your
opinions. Interesting to know Sankaracharya and
Thiyagaraja are not Tamil brahmins, because their
forefathers were speaking Telugu. How about Periyar
who considered Thamizhar thandhai? His mother toungue
was also not Tamil. However, he is not quoted in the
list of eminent Tamilians. I will wait for some more
comments before deleting these names.
His reply was:
I meant that Periaval and Thyagaraja were not Tamil Iyers.
Of course, they were brahmins domicled in the Tanjavur area
probably from the time of the Naiks. I am not at all suggesting
deleting their names. Perhaps an explanatory note might do, if at all.
As for periyar, he belonged to a Kannadiga business family domiclied
in Erode. He was pretty proud of his Kannadiga heritage. I remember
once he was doing his propaganda in Ulsoor, Bangalore with his posters
all over the walls in the neghbourhood. He was probably serious when
he was describing Tamil as the language of kattumirandis. He could
get away with it because his Tamilian followers were so naive.
Ironically, his chief disciple Karunanidhi campaigned to get Tamil
designated as a classical language. Periyar would have probably objected
Despite his anti-brahmin propaganda, he got all his professional
services from brahmins. I remember in Trichy his chartered accountant
was teaching in St.Joseph's College when I was a student. I used to see
Periyar and his entourage visiting his office. His C.A. used to report that
Periyar used to say that his anti-brahmin propaganda was just his
livelihood. May be, but it was a poison the effect of which is felt to this
day. Anyhow, this is another example of what was written in that article
about Iyers wanting to stay behind the crown.
I see Periyar as a mild form of Hitler. Hitler started by baiting Jews
and moved on to eliminate them. Periyar started baiting brahmins.
Fortunately, things did not go any further. Hitler had his Brown shorts.
Periyar had his black shirts. I remember once these black shirts tried to
enter our agraharam in Trichy to cut off poonals from people walking
by. I am glad they did not think of cutting off peope's heads with
arivaal. Can you imagine what would have followed if he were to get
delivered his Dravidasthan?
As a boy, I once went to hear his impormptu speech to a crowd in
Mayavaram on the banks of the Cauveri. Our family's tailor was there
and he got scared to see me. He thought some harm might come to me
as a brahmin boy. So, he moved towards me and kept me protected.
I was only a couple of feet away from Periyar soaking in his rhetoric.
The crowd paid no attention to me and dispersed after his speech. Our
tailor advised me to stay away from such crowds. I did not. I later
listened to M.R. Radha (the actor) and many other visiting Dravidian
dignitaries. I always liked to listen to various points of view, a habit I
carry to this day.
Keep up your wonderful blog.