KERALA – BANDHS AND GUNAS

September 6, 2008 at 11:43 pm | Posted in Kerala | Leave a comment
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After the Aryans intellectually overcame the Malabar of those times, they imposed Varna Ashrama in the land. They studied the people and socially categorized them into layers that would ultimately benefit the Aryan scheme of things. The Aryans naturally took the highest level of Brahmins for themselves. All those that aligned with them like the Ambalavasis or temple workers, were made half or quarter Brahmins. The Nairs were the warriors and kings and could not be antagonised. The money and lands were with them. Therefore, the next rung was practically theirs. Nevertheless, only the Kings among them were made temporary Kshatriyas through elaborate rituals.

The Varna categories had to be justified through genetic dispositions or gunas of the people. In Samkhya philosophy a guna is one of three “tendencies”: tamas, sattva, and rajas. These categories were a common means of categorizing behaviour and natural phenomena in Hindu philosophy, and in Ayurvedic medicine, as a system to assess conditions.

The Brahmins had to have the Sattva element, translated to mean balance, order, or purity; in their genes. The Kshatriyas had to have Rajas or activity; the Vaishyas were of Rajas or Tamas, and all the rest possessed only the Tamas quality.

The Aryans in their wisdom attributed the Tamas disposition to the majority of Malabaris. In fact, except for the Aryan Brahmins or Namboodiris, all others in Kerala are Shudras and Chandalas. While this might all be traced to political considerations, the ‘scientific’ basis of the classification cannot be merely wished away in view of the general personality make-up of Mallus as seen in their current bandh/hartal/strike culture.

Tamas (originally “darkness”, “obscurity”) has been translated to mean “too inactive”, negative, lethargic, dull, or slow. A tamas quality can imply that a person has a self-destructive or entropic state of mind. That person is constantly pursuing destructive activities. Indologist Georg Feuerstein translates tamas as “inertia

Tamas, or tamo-guna, is the lowest of the three gunas. It is a life force or energy   that is characterised by one or more of the states of: (1) darkness, (2) death, (3) destruction, (4) ignorance, (5) sloth and (6) resentment. Tamas is static, unlike rajas or sattva. This most negative guna rejects Karmic Law and the central principle of dharma that one’s Karma must be acted out and not ignored.

Now to Kerala’s all-paralyzing Bandh culture. Kerala celebrated its 78th all-state Bandh of the year on 20th August 2008 as part of the national strike by Left unions. There had also been several ward/pachayat/village/constituency/district bandhs in the State in between. Being too usual, these are not enumerated anywhere.

Keralites are said to actually celebrate Bandhs. The cable TV and the Internet have made the salaried middle classes look forward to days of such enforced leisure. Kerala Civil servants do not have a dies-non on Bandhs. The government pays them salary for striking work and joining Bandhs. The manual labourers of Kerala are higher paid than their counterparts anywhere else in the world and they too do not mind a day without work. The characteristics of the tamo-guna are thus strongly exhibited in the work culture and lifestyle of Mallus at home. They themselves thus prove the Aryans right in classifying them all as Shudras and Chandalas.

What lets such forces of darkness, death, destruction, ignorance, sloth and resentment colonise the fertile brains of Mallus, only when they are within Kerala? It could all merely be the effects of the extreme humidity of the climate and the radiation from the coastal mineral sand in God’s own country! The evil forces of Globalisation that are said to be attempting exploitation of this labour paradise ought to research this.

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