29 July, 2021

'We Are Like The Jews'

Politics apart, Brahmin-bashing is rampant in literary and cultural worlds too

'We Are Like The Jews'

The acclaimed Tamil writer opens his heart to S. Anand on the experience of being a Brahmin in Tamil Nadu.

For the Tamil Brahmins, it has been one century of being on the defensive. The community feels castrated. The Brahmins have never anyway been the placard-holding type; they have rarely expressed their feelings openly. The Tamil Brahmins have been used to taking insults. Hence perhaps the lack of visible protests or reactions. Theirs is a guilt-ridden existence, their spirit has been killed by a negative self-perception… They have been driven to a quiescent state. Their situation is very similar to that of the Jews in the 1930s.

With the anti-Brahmin movement dictating the terms, the urban Brahmins began to eschew ethnic markers that revealed their identity. They gave up the kudumi (tuft), began to sport moustaches like non-Brahmins, changed the manner in which they spoke Tamil, changed their attire, some even began to eat meat… they...

In this article:

More from Ashokamitran

Latest Magazine

August 02, 2021

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section