Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Four Napoleons and the Steam Engine


Dr VS Ramachandran sent me this clipping and photo by email a few days ago. It is a memorial  to Sir William Jones, founder of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, at the University College chapel in Oxford university. Ramachandran is a huge fan of Jones and his scholarship, and the founding of Indology (one branch of Orientalism). He believes that the Tamil Heritage Trust can continue where the British Indologists left off, and we can do this best by forming a new Indology society.

The sculpture shows Jones seated at a table, taking notes from Hindu pandits (Sanskrit scholars). This is an artist’s interpretation. One line in the website of Prof Faisal Devji, says He was of the 'Orientalist' party, opposed by the 'Anglicists' who thought Indian knowledge and traditions worthless.”

For this essay, I use this line as a launching pad for my thoughts about this period.

I think this a very poorly studied period, except from the view of colonialism. Before the arrival of Jones and the discoveries of the Asiatic Society, Europeans had an extremely poor understanding of India. They were completely unaware of Sanskrit, its riches, Hinduism, Buddhism, Indian architecture: in fact all the sixteen items listed in Jones' list of things to study, on the ship to India.

But equally, India was almost completely unaware of the amazing progress in Europe since the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. In science, in economics, in military techniques, in seafaring, in conquest. These filtered through to large sections of society, especially Hindu society, only via the Industrial revolution and English education.

Also, there is a reason the Anglicists gained the upper hand by 1840 or so - before that Europeans may have considered themselves superior, but between 1770 and 1840 they had indisputable proof that they were superior, in several fields – science, technology, military ability, seafaring, economics, management. They were not superior to Indians in music, agriculture, medicine, art, architecture, law and order, judiciary, dispute resolution, taxation, water management, etc.

But let us look at some technological and military achievements of the British (not just Europeans)

1740s-1760s The Cotton Revolution, the first Industrial revolution in England

1746: The Battle of Adayar, France captures Madras under Governor la Bourdannais

1747: Major Stringer Lawrence creates the The Madras Regiment, the mother regiment of the Indian Army

1749: France returns Madras to Adyar

1757 : Clive gains an empire, Madras and Bengal

1774 : Lavoisier / Priestley discover modern chemistry

1775 : James Watt patents steam engine

1776 : Adam Smith publishes Wealth of Nations

This is all very inconvenient to the political historians. We have at least three isolated islands of history, one of military conquest and colonialism, one of technological and scientific leaps and a third of the massive collection of information about India and its civilization, the project of the Asiatic Society and similar organizations. We get these as separate streams of discourse, because for each group the other two are quite inconvenient. 

At the start of this period 1770, Imperial France was a mighty rival to England in politics, finance and military strength, perhaps considered superior culturally. The Netherlands was a business equal to England. Germany equal in science and technology, but not quite unified, or even Germany. Spain and Portugal had a larger political base, but far behind in science, technology, trade.

1789: French Revolution, effective American independence

This saw French decline in the colonies, especially their rivalry in India, but Napoleon soon became a major challenge in Europe, and threatened to even make England a French colony. In India there were three Napoleons who were a threat to England : Hyder Ali / Tipu Sultan, the Mahrattas and the Sikhs. These are insignificant names outside India, but the victories over the first two were among the most torrid and coming within such a short time, of very great significance.

But between 1799 and 1840 England saw amazing and significant military conquests in India. Lord Cornwallis who had lost to George Washington in the Revolutionary War that led to the formation of the USA, held off Tipu Sultan in one of the Mysore Wars in 1793. Tipu Sultan was completely routed and killed in 1799. Arthur Wellesley, who served first under Cornwallis, and was Governor of Mysore after Tipu’s defeat, later defeated the Mahrattas at Assaye, in 1803, and used this experience to beat Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815. Wellesley later became the Duke of Wellington. He himself said, that while his defeat of Napoleon was more significant, the battle against the Mahrattas was the fiercest he fought in his life.

And after the death of Ranjit Singh, the Sikh kingdom also fell to England. Only the weak Mughals in Delhi were left to conquer in 1857. In about forty years they conquered as much of India as Muslims did in nearly 700 years (but still less the either Chandragupta Maurya or Samudragupta did). And they were discovering things about India, Egypt, Sumeria, Persia, etc all old civilizations in steep decline, and barely aware of their own past greatness

This was also the period 1799-1840 when England discovered electricity via Faraday and others, improved the steam engine and built the railways, massively exploited mines and discovered minerals and new elements, explored the world, and went far ahead of others in the Industrial revolution.

No wonder the Anglicists felt superior, and triumphed over the Orientalists. No wonder Macaulay and Mill became the guiding lights who would bless and improve India with the benevolence of British knowledge and wisdom.

This was helped by the fact that Indians themselves wanted all the new marvels that the English brought along (long before the steam engine). Paper, printing, clocks, telescopes, a hundred tiny engineering marvels. A number of liberal and progressive Hindus also used the English to reform Hindu law and a number of customs.

Which set the stage for the next quote. Which I will write about in a separate essay. 

“Both parties, however, agreed on the need to codify the laws of India's communities”


New Asiatic Society needed – Times of India report

THT program video - VS Ramachandran announces a new Asiatic society

William Jones and the Asiatic Society

Antoine Lavoisier - The Discovery of Modern Chemistry 

Macaulay, Sanskrit and English

History blogs

Thursday, 4 June 2020

I am black, I am not oppressed, I am free

I saw this video on Twitter, today (June 4, 2020) This is at one of the protests against George Floyd's death. This picture below is from one of the comments following this tweet. I think that there are black conservatives might come as a surprise to some people.

This is my transcript. If you see any mistakes, please let me know. If significant, I will correct them.

My transcript of the conversation  

Black lady: When black people kill black people they (social justice protestors) dont come and do this crap (protest, riot, etc). You only do this when white people kill black people. They are the racists.

It is wrong for white cops to kill a black person, that is for sure. But if it matters, it should matter at all times.

White Lady: What are you fighting for? You are not here to fight injustice...

Black Lady: This is about violence, this is not about blacks
White Lady: It is about a uniform world

Black Lady: You think blacks are oppressed. I am black, I am not oppressed. I am free
White Lady: Good for you, you are an individual person This is a systemic issue.

Black Lady: Where? I am black lady, this is  a country where you can can do what you want,  you do it. Stop forcing on people that they are oppressed. I am not oppressed. I am black.

Stop forcing people into accepting that they are oppressed. You are forcing a rhetoric into their minds, which is not true. Violence is wrong, period. It is not about blacks. You see white people kill white people too, right? Have you ever seen anyone complain that white lives matter? No! Violence is wrong.

White Lady: (something indistinct)

Black Lady: Blacks kill blacks in black neighbourhoods every single day. I have never seen Black Lives Matter in those neighbourhoods. When a black person kills a black person, do you know what they say : "When the police come say Snitches get stitches." (waves her hands in exasperation) Snitches get stitches. But when a white person kills black people, Black Lives Matter. 

Stop the hypocrisy. 

If it matters, it should matter in black neighborhoods. Stop killing at home.

White Lady: So why dont you start? why dont you start?

Black Lady: I dont need to be told black lives matter. I know I matter. You guys are wasting everybody's time.

End of transcript and video

Corrected July 1, 2020: The twitter link was flawed, I have corrected it, you can see the video

Related Blogs

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Labour Statues of Mamallapuram

மாமல்லபுரத்து உழைப்பாளர் சிலை (Tamil version of this essay)

There is a statue called Triumph of Labour, opposite to the Senate Building of the Madras university and adjacent to the MGR and Jayalalitha graves at the Marina beach in Madras. This was designed by Roy Chowdhry, a former Principal of the Government College of Fine Arts, Egmore. The college is only  a couple of miles away from the statue.

It depicts four people straining their sinews in hard physical labour, trying to move a large boulder with a long rod. It was not only art, but a political statement, a celebration of Marxism and democracy. a tribute to the Labour movement of the early twentieth century.

Labour Statue, Marina beach, Madras

There are several other statues in the Marina beach, mostly commissioned and installed to mark the World Tamil Conference held in 1968. The previous year 1967, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam won elections and formed the government. These statues are celebration of Tamil literature, culture and the Dravidian movement, an alternate to the Congress and the Communist parties that were popular until then in Tamilnadu. Hence there are statues to ancient poets Tiruvalluvar, Ilango  and Avvaiyar, modern poets Subramania Bharati and Bhaaratidaasan, and Kannagi, the heroine of the Ilango’s great epic Silappadikaaram. A statue for the medieval Tamil poet Kamban was added in 1971. 

Three foreigners who enriched Tamil literature were also  honored with statues. They are : Italian priest Constantine Beschi (who called himself Veeramaamunivar in Tamil and wrote the story of Jesus Christ as the Tamil epic Tembaavani,), English Bishop Robert Caldwell, then considered the discoverer of the Dravidian language family, and GU Pope, who translated Tirukkural and Tiruvaasagam into English.

Before the era of British rule in India, statues in public were rare. There are no mentions of such statues in literature and no archaeological evidence. After India became independent, Indians adopted the British custom and festooned the country with statues of politicians in practically every street. In Madras, there are also statues to poets, authors and cinema actors.

While most of these other statues in Chennai may not excite connoisseurs or critics of art, the Labour statue is quite noteworthy. But rarely do visitors come to see this statue for its artistic merit. It is simply something else to on their way to the beach. People who visit Madras to see sculptures visit either the Egmore museum or Mamallapuram.

Art Galleries

Temples are the galleries of art of India, for painting sculpture or architecture. They are the monuments which are renovated least and hence offer the best snapshots of the past. Parthasarathy temple in Tiruvallikkeni is perhaps the temple in Chennai with oldest sculptures, of the Vijayanagar period.

Art historians consider Mamallapuram the cradle of Dravidian architecture and sculpture. (Here Dravidian refers to a style of sculpture as per the Hindu shilpa shaastras, not the language family or the political movement). Some of Mahendra Pallava’s caves precede Mamallapuram, but have few sculptures, all of Gods or dvarapalakas. Few people visit them. From the Pallava era, and even earlier, till now, temples are the primary art galleries of not just Tamil country, but also India. Several historians and scholars, primarily Marxists but also quite a few others, inject political and social perspectives to temples and sculptures, but the fundamental intention of temples continues to be religion. The art serves the religion. 

In the centuries that followed Mamallapuram, when temples in granite proliferated the Tamil country, the sculptures of the Pallavas, Pandyas, Cholas or their feudatories, all depicted episodes from the itihaasas Ramayana and Mahabharata, the Puranas or the episodes from the lives of the Alwaars or Naayanmaars. Only from the Vijayanagar era, ordinary people, kuravan kuratti, scenes of daily life etc started to proliferate.

But Mamallapuram is an exception.

The Worker Sculptures of Mamallapuram

The Great Penance panel in Mamallapuram or Mallai, depicts either Arjuna or Bhagiratha in penance, as Siva appears to grant his book. Devas, Gandharvas, Rishis, Vidyadharas, Kinnaras, Kimpurushas, flock to see this marvelous sight. A number of birds and animals are also featured in the magnificent spectacle. Among these are four hunters, or kiraatas. Kiraataarjuniyam was a great Sanskrit epic, composed by Bharavi around this time. Siva disguised as a kiraata arrives to test Arjuna : the test turns into a war first of words, then arrows, then hand to hand combat. The Penance panel doesn’t feature Siva as a kiraata, but the four kiraatas in the sculpture may indicate this episode. They all carry tall bows, but none bears the carcass of a hunted animal. One carries a jackfruit.

Great Penance panel - Mamallapuram

They are not gods, or royalty or landed gentry, but daily toilers. They are not shown lifting or moving something heavy, straining their muscles, suffering from the heat of the midday sun, or sweating profusely. They are working for themselves, not being exploited by a moneyed class. Nothing for a Marxist to criticize, an union leader to organize, a writer or artist to lament, or a social justice warrior to exploit. There maybe some scope for an anthropologist or an art critic, but they generally seem to have ignored such sculptures.

Kiratas in the Great Penance

A curious aspect is their neutral expression – there is none of the vismaya of the celestials, the languidness of the animals at rest, or the delight of the elephants charging towards the water.

A stone’s throw from the Penance panel is the Govardhana Panel. Krishna lifts the mountain with his hand, with Balarama Subhadra and a host of the Yadavas and their cattle all taking refuge under it. The most remarkable aspect here is the utter normality of village life while a storm rages all around. Here a cowherd milks a cow, a lady vends her buttermilk, another carries a pile of straw on her head, a man plays the flute, his wife warns him that it is disturbing the sleeping baby, and so on. All people at work; but the primary intent of the sculptor is show the Grand Deed of Krishna, not the toil of the workers.

center: Krishna lifting Govardha
right : Lady carrying pots with buttermilk

right: Yaadava milking cow
left: Lady carrying straw

The Dharamaraja ratha, tallest of the Five Rathas, features several marvelous sculptures in the second and third floor, mostly of Siva and some of Vishnu, and their devotees. Among these are five temple workers – a priest (archaka), an attendant with a bell in his hand (parichaaraka), a cook (svayampaka), a water bearer (a lady with a pot) and a musician (oduvaar). Four of these are on the eastern wall, the lady with the pot is in the western wall. 

As temples became bigger, they acquired a larger band of workers, but none of the later Pallava or Chola temples ever depicts a single such worker.

In some temples of the Nayak era, sculptures of kings, queens, ministers, generals and donors are etched on some pillars. But in the ancient and medieval era, not a single poet, administrator, artist, architect, businessman, scientist, scholar, were apparently considered fit to commemorate with statues in temples. We have no idea what Kamaban Tiruvalluvar Ilango Avvaiyaar and others looked like. We don’t even know the names of the sthapathis and silpis of most of the temples, leave alone portrait sculptures. Perhaps some were featured in paintings in palaces or palm leaf manuscripts or other forms of painting, now lost.

In this respect, the statues of the workers, commoners as depicted in Mamallapuram remain unique.

If you liked this essay, check out other such essays by me 

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Moral Numbers

Once upon a time, the world only had numbers, but creative and brilliant mathematicians then discovered several types of numbers, each with its own distinct and remarkable name. So we have irrational numbers, negative numbers, and imaginary numbers, and their counterparts. At some point mathematicians realized that fractions are also numbers, so non fractions were named whole numbers. While all these numbers exist in nature, animals and plants and fungi ignore them, and mathematicians have to make special efforts to persuade people to take notice of them. And share their joy with those swimming in apathy about theoretical classes of numbers. So they named the numbers people use as Natural Numbers, and flooded textbooks in schools and colleges with the delights and joys of unnatural numbers, all in the name of education.

In Europe several of these people who taught mathematics early were Christian priests or their trainees. In India, higher mathematics were the field of jyotishas or ganakas, technically astronomers but usually astrologers, substantially a large number of whom were brahmins. Indian jyotishas either cruelly and haughtily withheld the mathematics of unnatural numbers from the teeming masses or were so kind that they spared them horrors of sums and homeworks and entrance exams, until the benevolent British decided that all children should suffer equally, a principle they borrowed either from the Prussian inventors of elementary schools or the American inventors of equality.

To  add to the merry confusion, around the seventeenth century, non religious Europeans, still often funded by various churches, started learning mathematics with a vengeance, and formed societies where they shared their discoveries. They invented new categories of numbers like transcendental numbers (without the advantage of Vedanta! Before Osho! Horrors!), sets, fields, quarternions, boolean numbers, and so on. They also discovered friendly numbers and perfect numbers. Shockingly they never bothered to invent moral numbers. Whether this is a failure of Christianity, of atheism or sadists, it is not clear. What is astounding is that Indian mathematicians or philosophers didn’t 
discover moral numbers either.

A Mystery

How could Punyabhumi, Jambudvipa, the mother of history and the grandmother of religion, as Mark Twain described her, with such a long history of mathematics (and morality), not have discovered, or at least invented, Moral Numbers? We put morality in everything. Our panchatantras effused the animal kingdom with morality. Our philosophers moralized the living daylights out of everything from death to drinking, to brushing teeth and revering palm leaves. Today Indian intellectuals are compensating for some of these absurd traditions, by disrespecting almost everything that our ancestors venerated. Never mind.  Varahamihira wrote half a book simply on the morals to be observed about combs and couches, while the planets and stars oversaw their fortunes. And thanks to the printing press, high taxes, a socialist constitution, a massive population, and a desperate desire to get certificates that we are at least as educated as the next person, everyone is taught all kinds of mathematics! So many types of numbers – except Moral numbers.

An objection may be raised. Why do we need morality in numbers? We have them in our laws, judgments, customs, in habits, food, drink, dress, entertainment, sports, cinema, music, literature, application forms, other forms, tax policies, goods and services, loans, write offs, grants, donations, fees, fines, in construction, inauguration, economics, economic opinions, in newspaper editorials, social media essays and tweets, public speeches, private speeches, outrage, occasionally even in religion. The sciences we learn or teach are free of morals, at least they are amoral, rather than immoral, but we compensate by loading our scientific institutions with morals. So much so, that we value their moral standing and probity more than any scientific output. Only our mathematics, sadly lacks morals, and that I think because we havent invented moral numbers. We can forgive Aryabhata and Bhaskara for this lapse, but our future generations will not forgive us if we don’t create a new system of morality among numbers, and propagate them for the benefit of Mankind.

After all if some numbers can be perfect, some irrational, and some even imaginary, surely some numbers can be moral?

But how do can we separate numbers into moral and immoral (and perhaps some amoral or doubtfully moral). What if some numbers prefer to be moral in public and immoral in private? We will then have a whole class of hypocritical numbers. A property so far confined to people and words. But since we have had centuries of experience with these, we can perhaps deal with numbers which are hypocritical too. But we may be jumping the gun.


Isnt morality subjective? Like truth, justice, fairness, even honesty etc which are all subjective. Unless of course you believe in particular set of truths and consider everyone who doesn’t accept these as immoral by choice? Eureka! Why would this principle not apply to numbers also? And consider the possibilities of academic research in mathematics, which so far has been unfairly confined to people who are excellent in mathematics! How exclusionary – to leave our journalists, politicians, preachers, philosophers, writers, artists, who all usually avoid any mathematics that isnt financial?

That is the beauty of it, a beauty GH Hardy and Paul Dirac and S Chandrasekhar would have appreciated. The case for moral numbers is that they will not only help us understand morality, they will help humanity achieve equality. We live in a terribly unequal world, where rewards frequently go to competent or hard working people. This must be rectified as soon as  possible. Why confine equality to equations?

But how would a mathematician discover which numbers are moral? Is there something inherently moral about some numbers, but not others (a dangerous possibility of inequality, which is immoral, but we must theoretically consider this)? We must also consider that the morality of numbers may be independent of the mathematicians who investigate them or even the areas of mathematics where they could prove to be useful (or useless). We may discover that morality is not binary – or discrete as mathematicians like to call them – but has many shades of grey. There may a Fuzzy Arithmetic, a counterpart of Fuzzy Logic, just waiting to be discovered. Fuzzy Logic was first propounded by an Aryan called Lofti Zadeh, and it would be fitting if Fuzzy Arithmetic came from our beloved Dravidian land. It would be so poetic, if our beloved Madras aka Chennai which gave the world three language families, could also give the world several new number families. And even our omnipresent Malthusians and Ehrlichians wouldn’t object on the grounds that this doesn’t come under family planning.

I have drowned you, dear reader, in words, in an essay purporting to be about numbers. Wrong, I know. But I am merely trying to drench my ankles as I wade into a sea that may not even exist, and I will only know if the sea is watery when my ankles become wet. Sadly, until now, my ankles like this essay, are dry. Now, Tamilnadu is hardly a dry state – but so many of our fellow citizens have parched throats in this never ending Corona Virus Lockdown.


The Lockdown, similar to what Isaac Newton suffered in his early twenties, has inspired this flow of thought. Unlike I Newton, owing perhaps to a lack of apple trees in Madras, I have not discovered a single law of physics in these forty days. I thought I must at least explore the possibilities of mathematics. A notable Indian author wrote a famous book called the Algebra of Infinite Justice, which was sadly lacking in algebra, but compensated by being finite. Is it not our duty then to explore such other topics as the Calculus of Limited Economics, the Geometry of Tangential Discussions, the Statistics of Sesquipedalian Solipsistic Sophomoric Soliloquies, the Probability of Profoundly Perfidious Perspicacity, the Differential Equations of Indifferent Inequalities, and so on? Some mute inglorious Milton in Meenambakkam, some Cromwell in Coimbatore, surely is working on these. Will moral numbers help them or the current mathematics suffice?

So moral numbers may not be merely theoretical mathematics, but applied to. This would have disappointed Hardy and Dirac. But the word application is music to the ears of lawyers, bureaucrats, and software developers, so let us not worry too much. In fact there may be some basic Pythagorean theorem of morality, whereby the happiness of some people may be equal to the sum of the discontent of the neighbors on two sides of their houses. It may be quantifiable as a number. Happiness and discontent are currently not measured with numbers but only by vague notions, but once we assign numbers to them, we can compute them, develop a quantitative economics about them, securitize and monetize them, tax them, collect distribute them based on other principles, and so on. Surely this will lead to greater happiness and contentment. What a marvelous similarity this would be to the world’s central banks, which simply print more currency notes whenever economies start floundering, and thus increase the world’s overall wealth. One of these days we will all be billionaires. Perhaps, Happionaires too.

I will wait for reader’s suggestions before revealing some of my other ideas on moral numbers. I have visualized a small set of operations, equivalent to arithmetic operations, but I still haven't figured out how to determine which numbers are moral and which aren't.

If you liked this essay, check out other such essays by me -

Thursday, 23 April 2020

மெக்காலே – கல்வி மொழி - சம்ஸ்கிருதமா ஆங்கிலமா?

Macaulay on Sanskrit education - This essay in English

“நான் இந்தியா முழுவதும் பயணித்தேன். ஒரு பிச்சைக்காரனையோ ஒரு திருடனையோ இந்த நாட்டில் பார்த்ததில்லை. இந்தியாவில் உள்ள செல்வமும், உயர்ந்த பண்பும், மக்களின் தரமும் கண்டபின், இந்தியாவின் முதுகெலும்பை முறித்தால் தவிற இந்த நாட்டை நாம் கைப்பற்ற மாட்டோம். இந்தியவின் கலாச்சார மரபும் ஆன்மீகமும் அதன் முதுகெலும்பு. இந்தியாவின் மிக தொன்மையான கல்விமுறையை ஒழித்து ஆங்கில கல்வியை புகுத்தி, இந்திய நாட்டின் பண்பையும் மரபையும் விட ஆங்கிலயேர் செய்தது யாவும் சிறந்தது என்று நம்பவைத்தால், இந்தியர்கள் தங்கள் சுய மரியாதையையும் கலாச்சாரத்தையும் இழந்துவிடுவர். பின்னர், நாம் விரும்புவது போல அடிமை நாடாக மாறிவிடுவர்.”
- தாமஸ் மெக்காலே துரை, பிரிட்டன் பாரளுமன்ற உரை, பிப்ரவரி 2, 1835

இப்படி ஒரு தகவல் சமூக வலைத்தளங்களில் பரவி வருகிறது. இதை சில வருடங்களுக்கு முன்னர் ஒரு நண்பர் அனுப்பி, உண்மையா என்று கேட்டார். சென்னையில் ஸீ-டிவி Zee-TV குழுவின் நிறுவனர் சுபாஷ் சந்திரன் இதை எடுத்துக்காட்டி ஒரு முறை பேசும் போது நான் அரங்கில் இருந்தேன்.

மெக்காலே இதை சொல்லவில்லை. இந்தியாவின் தொன்மையான மரபை ஆங்கிலம் சீரழித்துவிட்டது என்று நினைக்கும் பலர், சம்ஸ்கிருதம் அவரால் தான் வழக்கொழிந்தது என்று நினைக்கும் பலர் இதை நம்பி, பகிர்வதுண்டு.

ஏன் மெக்காலே? அவர் கவர்னர் ஜெனரலாக பதவி வகிக்கவில்லை. அந்த பதவியை வகித்த ராபர்ட் கிளைவ், வாரன் ஹேஸ்டிங்க்ஸ், கார்ண்வாலிஸ், டல்ஹவுசி என்று வேறு யாரும் செய்யாததை மெக்காலே எப்படி செய்யமுடியும்? மேலும், இங்கிலாந்தின் நாடாளுமன்றத்தில் கல்வி அறிக்கை எனும் புகழ் பெற்ற உரையை மெக்காலே பேசியபோது இதை சொன்னார் என்பது குற்றச்சாட்டு. ஆர்வத்தில் அந்த கட்டுரையை இணையத்தில் தேடி நான் படித்தேன். இதை எதிர்த்து பலரும் எழுதியுள்ளனர். குறிப்பாக மிச்செல் டனினோவின் கட்டுரையை படிக்கலாம்.

“ஒரு திருடன் ஒரு பிச்சைக்காரன்” என்ற சொற்றொடரே இது ஒரு புருடா என்று சிந்தித்து படிக்கும் எவருக்கும் எச்சரிக்கை. உலகில் பிச்சைக்காரரோ திருடரோ இல்லாத நாடே இல்லை, வரலாற்றில் இருந்ததும் இல்லை.
மெக்காலே ஒரு ஆங்கிலேய ஆதிக்கவாதி. இந்திய இலக்கியத்தை, மரபை, அறிவியலை காழ்ப்புடன் நோக்கினார். ஒட்டுமொத்த சம்ஸ்கிருத இலக்கியம் ஒரு அலமாரி அடுக்கில் உள்ள ஆங்கில நூல்களுக்கு சமமாகாது என்று நினைத்தார். அது அவரது அறியாமை. ஒரு மாமேதையின் செருக்கில் பிறந்த அறியாமை. அவர் இந்தியாவை சிறந்த நாடாகவோ ஆங்கிலேய ஆதிக்கத்திற்கு ஆபத்தான சக்தியாகவோ நினைக்கவில்லை. தாழ்மையான இந்திய கலாச்சாரத்தில் மேன்மையான ஆங்கில கலாச்சாரத்தால் முன்னேற்ற வேண்டும் என்பதே மெக்காலேவின் வாதம்.

இந்திய நிர்வாகத்திலும் சட்ட அமைப்பிலும் பல மாற்றங்களை அவர் அறிமுகப்படுத்தினார். இதில் இந்தியர்களுக்கு பிடிக்காவிட்டால் என்றோ நாம் தூக்கி எறிந்திருக்கவேண்டும். நாம் அதை எல்லாம் வைத்துக்கொண்டு தான் ஜனநாயக இந்தியாவை நடத்துகிறோம்.

வாரன் ஹேஸ்டிங்கஸ் ஆட்சிக்காலம் முதல் கிழக்கிந்திய கம்பெனி வேத பாடசாலைகளுக்கும் இஸ்லாமிய மதராஸா பள்ளிகளுக்கும்  பாடம் நடத்த சன்மானம் கொடுத்துவந்தது. கம்பெனி ஆட்சிக்கும் முன் மன்னர்கள் ஆட்சியில் நடந்த வழக்கத்தை கம்பெனி தொடர்ந்து வந்தது. அதை ஒழிக்கவேண்டும் என்பதே மெக்காலேவின் திட்டம். சம்ஸ்கிருத பாரசீக அரபு மொழிகளில் கல்விக்கு கம்பெனி சன்மானம் அளிக்கக்கூடாது. ஆங்கில மொழிக்கல்வியை இந்தியர்களுக்கு அறிமுகம் செய்து ஐரோப்பிய கணிதம், அறிவியல், சட்டம் எல்லாம் நடத்த வாதிட்டார். அதனால் சென்னை, கல்கத்தா, பம்பாய் நகரங்களில் மூன்று மாநில கல்லூரிகளும் உருவாகின.

ஹோரேஸ் வில்சன், ஜேம்ஸ் பிரின்செப் போன்ற வங்காள ஏசியாடிக் சங்கத்தின் உருப்பினர்கள் மெக்காலேவின் கல்வி திட்டத்தை எதிர்த்தனர். இந்தியர்கள் தங்கள் கல்விமேலும் மொழிமேலும் கலாச்சாரத்தின்மேலும் கொண்ட அபிமானத்தை இழப்பார்கள், என்று இவர்கள் தான் எச்சரித்தனர். இவர்கள் இந்தியாவிற்கு செய்த பணி அபாரமானது, அற்புதமானது. இந்த மாமேதைகளின் பெயர்களும் பணிகளும் படைப்புகளும் எல்லா இந்திய மொழிகளிலும் பாட புத்தகங்களில் இடம்பெற வேண்டும். கட்சி மாறினாலும் காட்சி மாறாமல் இதை மறைப்பது இந்திய அரசாங்கத்தின் போலித்தனத்தையும் குறுகிய மனப்பான்மையையும் மெக்காலே போன்ற அறியாமையையும் காட்டுகிறது.

நூறு வருடம் கழித்து மோகன்தாஸ் காந்திக்கும் ரவீந்திரநாத் தாகூருக்கும் இதை போன்று ஒரு விவாதம் நடந்தது. ஆங்கில மொழி இந்தியாவிலிருந்து அரவே ஒழியவேண்டும், ஜனநாயகம் தேர்தல் இவையாவும் இந்தியாவுக்கு தகாத ஆட்சிமுறை, ரெயில்வண்டிகளினால் இந்தியாவில் சோம்பலையும் ஒழுக்கமின்மையும் பரவுகின்றன, மேற்கத்திய மருத்துவத்தை புரக்கணிக்கவேண்டும் என்றெல்லாம் காந்தி கட்டுரைகள் எழுதினார். நீதிமன்றங்களை முழுவதும் புறக்கணிக்கவேண்டும், வக்கீல் தொழில் விபச்சாரத்துக்கு சமம், அந்த தொழிலையே இந்தியர்கள் செய்யக்கூடாது என்றும் ஆக்ரோஷமாக வலியுறுத்தினார். காங்கிரஸ் கட்சியின் முக்கிய பிரமுகர்கள் பலர் அப்படியே செய்தனர்,. ஜவஹர்லால் நேரு, வல்லபபாய் படேல், ராஜாஜி, ராஜேந்திர பிரசாத், மௌலானா அபுல் கலாம் ஆசாத் தங்கள் செல்வமீட்டும் வக்கீல் தொழிலை தியாகம் செய்தனர்.  ஆனால் காங்கிரசுக்கு வெளியே இருந்த இரண்டு முக்கிய அரசியல் தலைவர்கள் இதை ஏற்கவில்லை. தங்கள் வக்கீல் தொழில்களை விடவில்லை – முகமது அலி ஜின்னாவும். பீமராவ் அம்பேத்கரும்.

தாகூர காந்தியின் வாதத்தை ஆவேசமாக எதிர்த்தார். பரந்த மனப்பான்மை வேண்டும் இப்படி குறுகிய சித்தாந்தம் தகாது என்று காந்தியை சாடினார். “அனைத்து நாட்டு கலாச்சார காற்றும் இந்தியா எனும் இல்லத்தில் ஜன்னல்கள் வழியே வீச வேண்டும். ஜன்னலடைத்த ஒரு சித்தாந்த சிறைச்சாலையாக இந்தியா மாறிவிட கூடாது,” என்றார் தாகூர்.
சுதந்திரம் கிடைக்கும் வரை காந்திவழி சென்ற நேருவும், காங்கிரசும், 1947க்கு பின் இந்த கொள்கையில் தாகூரையே பின்பற்றியது.

இந்தியாவின் அரசியலமைப்பு சட்டத்தை உருவாக்கும் போது தேசிய மொழி ஹிந்தியா சம்ஸ்கிருதமா என்ற ஒரு வாதம் நடந்தது. சம்ஸ்கிருதத்தை ஆச்சாரமான ஹிந்துக்கள் தான் ஆதரித்தனர் என்று நாம் நினைக்கலாம். ஆனால் அம்பேத்கரும், நாம் மறந்துவிட்ட முஸ்லிம் ஒருவரும் சம்ஸ்கிருதமே கல்வியிலும் பாண்டித்தியத்திலும் தொன்மை மரபுள்ள மொழி, ஹிந்தி ஒரு கடைத்தெரு பேச்சு மொழி மட்டுமே, ஹிந்தியில் சட்ட நூல்கள், அறிவியல் நூல்கள் ஏதுமில்லை என்று பறைசாற்றினர். ஹிந்தியை தாய்மொழியாய் கொண்டவர்கள் மற்ற தாய்மொழி பேசுவோரை இரண்டாம் தர குடிமகன்களாக நடத்தும் நிலைமை நாட்டில் அமையக்கூடாது என்றும் அவர்கள் வாதாடினர். சம்ஸ்கிருதம் அனைவருக்கும் கற்க கடினம் என்பதால் அதில் அந்த பிரச்சனை இல்லை என்றனர்.

தேசிய மொழி விவகாரம் அரசியலமைப்பு பேரவையில் வாக்கெடுப்பில் முடிந்தது. இரண்டு மொழிகளும் சமமாக வாக்குகள் பெற்றன. தன் தலைமை வாக்கை ஹிந்தி மொழிக்கு ராஜேந்திர பிரசாத் அளித்து, ஒரே ஒரு வாக்கு வித்தியாசத்தில் ஹிந்தி இந்தியாவின் தேசிய மொழியானது.

நணபர் பாலாஜி தண்டபாணி இந்த தகவலை அனுப்பினார்.

அன்புள்ள கோபு, அரசியலமைப்பு பேரவையில் சம்ஸ்கிருதத்திற்கு குரல் கொடுத்த முஸ்லிம் மேற்கு வங்காளத்தின் நிஸாமுதின் நஸிருத்தின் அகமது. அவையில் அவர் சொன்னது:

“ஒரு மொழியை தேர்ந்தெடுத்தால் உலகின் மிக சிறந்த மொழியை அல்லவா தேர்ந்தெடுக்க வேண்டும். இந்தியாவுக்கு வெளியே சம்ஸ்கிருதத்திற்கு எத்தனை மரியாதை இருக்கிறது என்பதை இந்தியர்கள் அறியாதது மிகவும் வருத்தமான நிலைமை. ‘சம்ஸ்கிருதம் ஈடு இணையில்லாத செல்வமும் தூய்மையும் கொண்ட மொழி,’ என்று டபிள்யு. சி. டெய்லர் கூறுகிறார். இதுவே உலகின் அதன் அந்தஸ்துக்கு சான்று.”

இன்னுமொரு தகவல். மதறாஸ் மாநில உறுப்பினர் டாக்டர் பி. சுப்புராயன், லத்தீன எழுத்தமைப்பில் (தேவநாகரி அல்ல) ஹிந்தி மொழியே தேசிய மொழியாக வேண்டும் என்று வாதிட்டார்!

ஒரு நாட்டை ஆளும் வர்கங்கள் தங்களை சிறப்பித்தும் தமக்கு முந்தியவரை தாழ்த்தியும் பேசுவது உலக வழக்கம்.
நம் பல்வேறு பிரச்சினைகளுக்கு 1947ல் பெற்ற சுதந்திரத்தின் பின்னும் ஆங்கிலேயர்களை பழி சொல்கிறோம். ஆனால் அவர்கள் செய்த மிகச்சிறந்த நற்காரியங்களை விட்டுவிடுகிறோம். நம் ஆட்சி முறை, சட்டம், நிர்வாகம், நீதித்துறை, கல்வித்துறை, மருத்துவம், ராணுவம் என்று அனைத்தும் ஆங்கில ஐரோப்பிய தழுவல்களாக வைத்துக்கொண்டு இந்த மாதிரி வாதங்கள் அபத்தமானவை.

நாம் மட்டும் செய்யவில்லை. எல்லா நாடுகளும் செய்கின்றன

குறிப்பு, ஏப்ரல் 29, 2020. திரு “ஒத்திசைவு” ராமசாமி அவர்களின் விளக்கத்தை இந்த கட்டுரையின் பின்னூட்டத்தில் இன்று படித்தபின், மேற்கு வங்காள உறுப்பினரின் பெயர் நஸிருத்தின் அகமது (நிஸாமுத்தின் அல்ல) என்று தெரிந்து கொண்டேன். திருத்தி விட்டேன்.

அவரது மிக விவரமான பின்னூட்டத்தை படிக்குமாறு வாசகர்களை கேட்டுக்கொள்கிறேன்.