Tuesday, September 21, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 75 (Vol #4) Dated 21 Sep 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 75 (Vol #4) Dated 21 Sep 2010.

(These e-mails are translations of talks given by Periyaval of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, over a period of some 60 years while he was the pontiff in the earlier part of the last century. These have been published by Vanadi Padippagam, Chennai, in seven volumes of a thousand pages each as Deivathin Kural. Today we are proceeding from the second para on page number 407 of Vol 4 of the Tamil original. The readers may note that here in 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too mostly. These e-mails are all available at http://Advaitham.blogspot.com updated constantly)
27. Let us look at the Employment market. When we select people for jobs, out of the many applicants who will all claim that they have the qualifications as given in the advertisement say, we still have a process of filtering, interviewing and selecting the suitable candidate. The selection committee is made up of people who know what they are looking for! If the applicant has certain qualifications, the selector has to have qualifications too. Is it not so? Here we are going to select people who are going to rule over the country, including ourselves! Do we not owe it to ourselves that we do a good job of the selection, instead of suffering later due to our own poor selection as voters? So, you will agree that it is essential that the voters know exactly what they are opting for! So, they have to be capable of doing so and the data for such assessment should be made available before they exercise their franchise!
28. For the rule to go to the correct and capable hands, the electorate has to be knowledgeable about governance, policy matters, national and international relations and their immediate and long time impact on life! Otherwise we run the risk of endlessly putting the round peg in the square hole and the square peg in the round hole, ad infinitum ad nauseum! Most importantly, it will be tantamount to handing over the guard duty to a gang of thieves! We have to agree that even knowledgeable people could be selfish and corrupt. But we have to opt for reasonable checks and balances instead of gambling on our responsibilities. So it is felt that as a reasonable safe bet, instead of giving the option to elect, in the hands of unread, poor proletariat, it should be in the hands of people with certain minimum qualifications to be able to assess and evaluate the relative worth of the contestants.
29. In view of all the above, some people are of the opinion that we should first decide on a minimum level of age, education, real estate properties as assets, political and general knowledge; who should be entitled to cast their votes in these elections. Such right to vote should be irrespective of the caste or religion. Then only it will be a true democracy. Instead if we go for simply adult franchise, in a country like ours with a majority of uneducated poor people, it is likely that the power of governance will go to unworthy characters of unclear loyalty to the nation! That is the fear of the ‘some’ knowledgeable people that I am talking about, whom these so called leaders of progress describe as the ‘old, ancient and archaic bandicoots’!
30. These leaders of India had instigated the entire population of India and got them involved in the freedom struggle for independence that caused the Britishers to quit India. So it is but natural that if they did not get them involved in the next big thing of elections and started assessing and evaluating their relative merits, there was a genuine fear as to what could be the reaction of the masses! There was apprehension that what they had taught the general public to do against the erstwhile rulers, could be turned against themselves! If the general public is such, that they could misuse what was meant to be against the foreigners, against their own people; it evidently means that they are lacking in political acumen! The universal suffrage in India is thus a power given to the general public out of fear of their potential for mischief! So, it is more than likely that their voting rights will be misused. It is also equally likely that politics being the muddle that it is, irresponsible selfish elements are likely to exploit those conditions.
31. Our old ancestors of that period of Sozhaas could think of all such possibilities and devise ways and means of avoiding those pitfalls! So, while ensuring that regional leaders are locally elected instead of being appointed from the centre, they opted against universal suffrage! In giving the right to vote selectively, they also ensured that such an arrangement does not lead to any rupturing of the social fabric either, avoiding any superiority or inferiority complexes! Thus what I am now going to tell you may look ‘vichitram’ or strange in which both appointments of persons from outside the local area and universal suffrage are both obviated! The moment I have used the word ‘vichitram’ to mean odd, strange, queer and stupendous; your desire to know it might have been kindled. So, I am not going talk about that ‘vichitram’ matter just now. I am going to come to that point after covering certain other connected matters!
32. Sozha Vamsam or Dynasty. In Tamil Nadu there were Sera, Sozha and Pandya kingdoms thriving as early as the 3rd and 4th Century B.C., as accepted by the modern historians. Many of the Sozha kings have been eulogized by the literature of that period in history known as the Sanga Kaalam. Those who were famous as per the PuraNas were for example Muchukunda Chakravarty, Manu Needhi Sozha and such. Historically accepted greats were Kari Kaalan and Kochchengat Sozhan and others. Then Sozha dynasty went into a period of decline. Around the 5th Century A.D., it was the Pallavas more heard about, expanding in all directions. Sozhaas again came up to prominence around the 9th Century A.D., when Vijayalaya followed by Rajaraja and Rajendran were holding the flag of Sozhaas high till the thirteenth Century.
33. Amongst them after Vijayalaya Sozha there was Parandaka Sozha. An edict etched on stone of his time in the year 920 A.D., describes in detail the election procedure I am talking about. This edict is in Uttara Merur near Kanjipuram etched on two stones. That place is known today as Perur. That edict is not about the election of the parliament or state assemblies for a whole state. It is about a general proclamation about election of local bodies in each city or town.
34. The Sozha kingdom was sub-divided into many smaller areas for administrative convenience. Nowadays, we know of Jilla, Taluqa or Tehsil and Fuqua; from whose names we can make out that they are of Muslim origins and later clearly defined during the British times. Much before all this, the entire area under the Sozha Empire was divided in to Mandalam, VaLa Nadugal, Coortram, Kottam and finally Oors. These Oors were normally villages. More than trade and commerce, agriculture was the major occupation. So there were not very many Nagaras or towns. Normally a Mandalam was thus made up of some 18 villages. You need not think of these villages as too small. Uttara Merur under discussion had an area of some 32 wards of the present day structure as discerned from the edict on stone.
35. In such a Oor or village, on the basis of SreNi of Vedic period arrangement, for each Jaati, that is division of the society on the basis of their profession, there was a NattaNmai. In this, in places where the business community had a fairly autonomous control over their area, at least as far as Tamil Nadu was concerned; it was known as Nagaram. That is how in Ramanatha Puram district, the business community in Nattukkottai area have a specific name as ‘Nagaraththaar’! Similarly when you say ‘Sabha’ it meant an association for a particular caste to meet and discuss their specific matters of concern. So you had separate Sabha for each community and then you had Oor Sabha or Graama Sabha or Graama Maha Sabha, where all the communities were represented. The two stone etching edicts I am referring to were thus meant for Uttara Merur Graama Maha Sabha.
(To be continued.)



Post a Comment

<< Home