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Life as I'm learning it

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Location: Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, United States

"It little profits that an idle king, By this still hearth, among these barren crags, Match'd with an ag├Ęd wife, I mete and dole Unequal laws unto a savage race, That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me."

Saturday, June 03, 2006

All for a movie!

This week, a movie festival was organised at my company. Originally, 2 Tamil movies, 2 Hindi movies and an English movie were planned to be screened. Because of some unforeseen circumstances, one of the promised Tamil movies could not be screened. And this happened to Chandramukhi - the Rajnikanth starrer, the most successful Tamil movie ever.

The Tamil brain has suspicion and conspiracy hardwired into it -- someone suggested that the movie was not screened because the earlier Tamil movie was not well-accepted by the non-Tamil audience. Wow, what a way to trigger the Northie v/s Southie debate!

The subsequent debate which raged on in the bulletin board had all the elements of the usual slanging match. Funny as it might to a sane individual, it also brought out the differences hidden in the deepest corners of many hearts. Some suggested that a conspiracy was being hatched against Tamil movies; some others criticised non-Tamils for not being receptive enough; to which the response was the usual rant -- that Hindi was India's national language, and that everyone must learn to appreciate Hindi movies. An additional spin was given to this -- those who do not know Hindi are a national shame! Ouch!

And the root cause -- the distributor who had promised the Chandramukhi movie reel could not provide it. Goodness me!

Why would someone be so passionate about something as trivial as a movie screening? My Tamil friends, you could have accepted the inability of the organisers to screen a particular movie. And my non-Tamil friends, you could have chosen to act "as the Romans do". After all, you are aware that Tamils feel strongly about their culture. More importantly, our popular culture is not dictated by what happens in the Hindi heartland, but is pretty indigenous. It isn't such a bad thing to partake in our way of life, or is it? At least for a couple of hours?

This argument about Hindi being our national language reminds me of an interesting scene from Cho Ramaswamy's classic Mohammed bin Tughlaq. The Council of Ministers are in a meeting and the problem being discussed is which language should be ascribed the status of India's national language. The usual debate rages on, and it turns into chaos. Tughlaq, the Prime Minister, intervenes and declares, "From this day, I declare Persian as India's national language!" Everyone looks puzzled. Tughlaq explains, "Yes, Persian will be our national language. It is a language alien to India. The Hindi speakers do not know it. Nor do the Tamils, nor the Bengalis, no one... So, if Persian is elevated to this status, there will not be any quarrels. Everyone has to learn a new language, and no one will dare complain of favoritism!"


Blogger Karthik said...

Damn this country! ;)

6/04/2006 11:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Vignesh said...


// those who do not know Hindi are a national shame! Ouch!

Recently in a post on the same discussion, some one pointed it out as, if you are particular to learn hindi as its our official language, then u should have Tiger as your pet instead of dog/cat, which is our national animal ..

i guess, its a valid (!!!!) argument

-- Vignesh

6/04/2006 12:01:00 PM  
Blogger Selva said...

If Hindi is a national language, so is Tamil (at least officially).

If Tamil movie is not screened, are Hindi movies screened? Not that I am for a tit-for-tat, but the logic stumbles if that is the case.

I could not agree more with Tughlaq!

6/05/2006 10:04:00 PM  

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