Friday, October 15, 2010

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 86 (Vol #4) Dated 15 Oct 2010.

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 86 (Vol #4) Dated 15 Oct 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 first para on page number 479 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 updated constantly)
125. Dharma Saastraas that have been in use from the time of Manu & Mandaataa, with the same qualitative requirements and conditions were being used by the Manu Needhi Sozha’s lineage for the members of the village administration at Uttara Merur. These conditions are what we have been considering item by item (in the past few e-mails). It was considered that whosoever had these qualities, if and when given the responsibility as a member of the Sabha, will do a fairly good job of it. Nobody went around the village telling all and sundry that he had these qualities. Nobody stood for the elections and contested, the way we see it happening nowadays! Some people are generally known by their reputation as good, honest, capable, respectable, learned, hard working and so on, is it not so? So also some are known for their bad reputation too.
126. As the city or town is divided into a number of wards, those days, as I said before, the Oor was divided into a number of ‘Kutumbs’ and the Sabha was made up of one rep from each Kutumb. Thus the Oor or village was divided into 30 Kutumbs and there were 30 members in the Sabha. As said above, anyone with people’s approval was enabled to be selected. This was democracy in function, is it not so? This was not as appointed by a King or anyone else officially nominated but, selection with people’s approval completely in line with the concept, ‘of the people, by the people for the people’! Let us now look at how were they selected, which I have been delaying revealing to you, talking about there being, no publicity, no canvassing and no voting! Please be patient with me! So what was the method?
127. As I said earlier, people in each Kutumb were aware of those respectable worthies. Their names were checked against the qualitative requirements as well as relating to see if there was any reason for disqualification. The names of those with the qualifications were included in to the ‘may be selected’ list from within which one rep from each Kutumb was selected. Who did all this short listing, checking, approval and selection? Was it done by the erstwhile Oor Sabha members? If the present existing Sabha was having the onus to select the future incumbents of the Sabha, then there were more chances of any number of things going wrong, as we have been talking about all along! As per the rules then, the present incumbents could not have selected the subsequent members anyhow. They had made such an arrangement to obviate this possibility completely!
128. Now in the yet to be made arrangement of our new democratic republic, there is scope for this type of a doubt to arise. That is, when the conduct of election is in the hands of the existing government, other parties contesting the election could have this doubt as to misuse of administrative infrastructure in a way favourable to the party in power! The arrangement was that all the present members of the Sabha should stand down from all existing offices. Then the election is to be carried out by, ‘Dharma Krutya Sabha’ of totally a neutral set of people! Other than being divided in to 30 Kutumbs, the village had been divided into 12 Cheries under 12 NattaNmai-s. Do not get flabbergasted about this word Chery. The Agra Haaram was also a Chery only. These 12 NattaNmai-s together formed the Dharma Krutya Sabha, whose job it was to do the selection of the members of the next Sabha. The words of the Saasanam are as follows, “pannirendu cheriyilum dharma kruttiyam kadai kaaNum vaariyare madhyastaraik kondu kuri koottik kuduppaar aagavum”.
129. All the members of the Oor Sabha would stand down at the end of their tenure of one year. Then for a short period of a few days, the interim administration will be done by the Dharma Krutya Sabha with some impartial neutral observers, who will also have the responsibility to select the members of the next Sabha. In a small place this will not take more than a couple of days. As in an Oor Sabha the 30 people who have worked together for a year, if they select the next thirty persons to form the next Sabha, there could be some camouflaging, hiding and perpetuation of wrong doings possible. But when these 12 heads of each caste known as NaattaaNmai-s get together, within them the possibilities of unholy nexus is very limited. Each Jaati and caste with their pride and the urge not to let down their reputation in the eyes of their own and others being strong, there is least likelihood of any underhanded designs. Now the selection of the next 30 persons, who are going to constitute the next Sabha, will be done by these 12 reps of each one of the 12 Chery-s in the most democratic manner! In addition to these 12 NaataaNmai-s there would be neutral observers from the government, {as I told you earlier about VelaaN and Bhattan (in para 39 of Deivathin Kural # 76 (of Vol # 4) of 23 Sep 2010)}, to supervise the action of the NaattaaNmai-s. These are the checks and balances that I was talking to you about how the fairness in selection was ensured, those 1,000 years back in Uttara Merur.
130. Unlike the way it happens nowadays mostly, when somebody wishes to stand for elections, he asks somebody else to nominate him and asks another person to second the proposal. None of these things are done out of their own volition but stage managed. But then those days, without anyone wishing to or aspiring to be elected, the organisers selected the members as per the wishes of the people. Even today, (unlike for all other jobs where the aspirant applies for the job himself,) the reason for being proposed by somebody and seconded by another is to bring some semblance of civility in the whole procedure. That is how it was those days, which is being enacted as a farce these days! The past reality is possibly the reason for the present day make believe!
131. The Election Procedure. From the 30 Kutumb-s a number of people’s names were picked up by the Dharma Krutya Sabha members with the help or concurrence of the neutral observers, the names were written in individual Palm Leaf Olai-s. Then for each of the Kutumbs separate bundles would be made. Then the Village Grand Sabha (Grama Maha Sabha) will be called for and the election will be done by a procedure known as “kudavolai ezhudip puguvadu”!
132. When there are a number of aspirants from many parties with some of them known as independents, not aligned with any of the parties, the list can be very long. What we see or likely to see are propaganda through many bit notices; advertisements in news papers, radio and so on; public meetings with loud speakers; claims and counter claims some real and some fictitious; clashes from supporters, some time resulting in stone throwing and fisticuffs; more than all this, purchase of votes on promises, assurances and cash! All this was obviated by the decent “Kudavolai” method! We know as to what is a Kudam or Pot! We know the Olai that is the palm leaf on which individual names are written with ‘ezhuththu AaNi’ an iron pin used for writing on the palm leaf with perforations. That is the voting paper. Now we will see as to what this ‘Kudam’ is and how it is used for the election!
(To be continued.)



Post a Comment

<< Home