An Ancient Beautiful Tree
by J Venkatasubramanian on 19 Aug 2014 5 Comments

“Today’s breeze is cool” said Sambamurthy (Sambu) Ayyar, formally inaugurating the discussion. Many ‘aye’s were heard in the group of over 20 persons, most of them long time friends. The housing society park was a giant ten acre plot which had walking tracks, children amusement gardens and even a water fountain. All the walkers on the track almost always sat for a 30-minute chat. Many would even miss the walk but not this meet.


Sambu was the organizer, anchor and arbiter in these meets. He was the one who pressured the housing  society to convert this reserved plot into this park and today it had become a landmark in the whole taluk.


Suddenly Rudramurthy burst out, “Sambu, you know what, Sivakami teacher lost quite a good amount in her investment in that mutual fund”. Kailasam jumped in, “Why did she go for it? She does not even know what is share trade or the risks in such funds. I have some safe things like fixed deposits, gold and even chit funds.


By now there were murmurs about the safety of chit funds, but after Kailasam explained his choice of the company and his mode of operation, most nodded in agreement. Many of them had some ‘disposable’ income and it mattered how to save. They took careful note of Kailasam’s instructions.


Meanwhile, Ganesh passed some burfi around for “my daughter’s birthday”. After the congratulations and handshakes were done, Sambu Ayyar cleared his throat, his usual gesture for his masterly contribution of the day which everyone awaited eagerly.


“Do you know why we all save?” he asked now. “Sambu, What do you mean? Saving is for the future” Ranganath quipped. “But why?” Sambu insisted. Usman Sait chipped in, “Savings is for my family, what else?” “If you are a single person, with no commitments, will you still save?” Sambu persisted, the group now beginning to understand that he was driving at something else. Kailasam replied, “Doubtful. Why these questions?”


Sambu replied, “I have a point. Do you know which countries save the most?” Ramu, an accountant, suggested, “European countries obviously and America of course.” “Wrong,” Sambu promptly retorted, “Anyone ?” “Australia?” asked Seshanna helpfully.


“OK. Let me add that the world’s top savers are all Asian countries. Can anyone tell me what they have in common?” Sambu now asked. Usman now brightened up. “I got it. All these countries are family oriented.” Sambu beamed. “Great Usman! Now you know why Europeans and Americans save very less. It is either because they do not have families or the families are crumbling.”


“That’s awful; they are so filthy rich”, said Karthikeyan, a dentist. But Murali, a retired headmaster, said, “Earning does not make you rich. Do you know that 70 percent of all mined gold finds its way into India? Abroad, even in married life, there is no certainty for the couple whether the relationship will be safe. So, as a safety rule both spend their earnings fearing the other might usurp it. Their marriages are born of illusory love and once lust is satisfied and gives way to ennui, the ‘bored’ partners look for more exciting stuff elsewhere. Separation becomes imminent”.


“So, what does one conclude?” Sambu probed. Nagaraj, a psychology professor, now joined in, “It means that in any society where the individual is valued ahead of the family, savings do not take place. In USA and Europe, they send their children away at around 18 years and from then on, they have to support themselves with less assistance from parents. In turn, the children do not care.”


Other voices now chipped in – “We Indians are more loving as a family unit;” “Love in a family comes from a sense of sacrifice”; “It is because of the long lasting community set up in our country that this love and sacrifice comes easily. Culture is passed through successive generations.” Another added, “this is our Gothram and Kulam, or it is Jati?”


Sambu now asked, “What is a marriage in the Asian, and especially Indian context?” By now the group was totally engaged in the discussion, aware that the evening was turning out to be something unprecedented. Murali summed up that marriage was the passing on of culture from one generation to another, and Jati is the only storehouse of the culture.


Once marriage is within the Jati, culture is preserved. All that we can boast of as great products of our culture have come only through the institution of Jati. Sculpture, Music, Teaching, our great epics and Puranas, Martial arts, temple arts, and above all devotion; all are transmitted through Jati tradition only. Jati cannot be transmitted except by marital relationships.” So Sambu continued, “For which events do people save in India?”  


By now all were explicit - for marriages, functions, medical emergencies, and education. That is to say that roughly 50 per cent for marriages and functions which are the domain of culture and the rest for security for the family.


Sambu now added, “this is the nature of very old and mature civilizations where culture comes before everything. Our ancients knew that love is best expressed after marriage. Today’s psychologists are echoing the same fact. They vehemently deny love as a natural expression. They say it is the reproductive urge which creates such hallucinations as love in teen people.  In fact, once love is expressed in a cultured consummation as in a traditional marriage with the consent of the society, the couple now takes on the burden of culture to be transmitted to the next”. 


It follows, therefore, that a society is not made up of individuals, but of Jatis, which further divides into clans or kulams with their gotrams. If this is understood, we will understand India, its society and its superiority. The individual and his rights are less valuable than that of the kulam and Jati. All of us are safely under the protection our Jati and only those out of such a protection can feel its pain.


Nagaraj added, “That is why people even commit suicide when their children elope and marry outside.” Sambu concurred, “Not only that. Jati is the only uniting point in our country. See, if someone says someone of your Jati is being beaten, what will be your reaction?” The group answered in unison, “We will go personally and stop that and take all possible actions, including police and judicial”.


Sambu continued, “The reality is that Jati is above everything. This may sound bitter to some, even unpatriotic, but it is true. Also, let me add that no Jati has demanded a separate country, so there is no danger there. People know that each Jati is duty bound to make the country complete and safe. Jati is vilified for no fault. The greatest lie of the twentieth century is the statement that Jati is evil”. 


The venom against Jati, he continued, was partly due to ignorance. But mainly, political parties in their mad quest for progress, aped their European counterparts who do not acknowledge culture, but honour the individual. Hence they are trying to impose the model of a chaotic and egoistic society upon us.


Jati, he added, “was not created by us or our government and neither we nor they have any right to destroy it. Jati gives us strength, culture, prosperity, security and happiness. Why should we lose it?” moreover, with Jati, “we can become the best saving nation. Saving is the hallmark of a strong vibrant society. We will save for our sisters, brothers, children, Jati and the nation. Without jati we will be reduced to dry straws jutting out of a dried field ready to be burned and decimated.”


Hinting at international forces that seek to weaken Indian society, Sambu elaborated, “Winning over India militarily is impossible now. The easier way is to destroy it from within. The international community has understood us better that ourselves. They gave us a stupid form of democracy, foisted pessimistic individuals as our leaders during our period under alien rule, foisted an alien language upon us, introduced human rights in a queer manner, gave us a lopsided secularism, made us forget us roots, and so on. They still teach us that we came from some unknown grassland in central Asia. They ridiculed our Varna system, and have imposed a constitution that seeks to destroy India. It is because of the continuance of Jati at the personal level that Indian society is still clicking.”


“What about internal enemies?” someone asked. Sambu obliged, “just look at the newspapers; see who all are launching a tirade against Jati. Some stray opinions are born of ignorance, but a sustained pattern of attacks indicates a design.”


The Marxists, he warmed up to his theme, “lead the list with their front organisations for human rights, dalit emancipation, trade unions et al. they are closely followed by the Congress party. Then come the professional feminists – not your neighbourhood school teacher or sister who finds a problem with the way women are treated - but a deadly group that will pounce on every women-related issue and magnify the problems. Invariably, they will target Jati. They have managed to squeeze their way into television talk shows. Many are funded by missionary bodies and are given foreign awards for nonsense books, which are then referred to in all international communications. They lead a westernised life and openly flaunt their live-in relationships with celebrities. Many previous governments consulted these women on women’s issues in the country even though they attacked the family and jati as a burden on women’s freedom”.


Seshanna summed up the situation, saying “Destroying our jati set up is akin to destroying our whole country! Why didn’t we realise this earlier? How much we have lost?” Jati, intoned Sambu gravely, “is like a beautiful tree. It will nourish us with fruits and flowers if we take proper care of it. So let us preserve what remains. 

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