Monday, January 02, 2012

Communism and Kerala - VI

I'm reading George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. I have finished around 150 pages and I find it difficult to read further. The initial excitement at his description of a totalitarian system has been vaporized by a  colligated romantic story.

It could be said that even in his imagination of a totalitarian society he had been helped by the existing systems elsewhere and had taken it to the logical conclusion. However, it was his female characters that one would feel a total letdown.

I'm not mixing my thoughts here. A totalitarian society is created by a collection of people. Females are individuals. One can stereotype a totalitarian society and still get it right because it is not  individualistic. However, a person's experience of females cannot be stereotyped because at  the end of the day he's dealing with any female as an individual. Here I found Orwell had caricatured females.

Both Katherine and Julia are stereotyped females. One has obedience in her bones; the other has rebellion. I get the feeling that neither of them grew into their selves with some kind of irrational or rational logic. They just happened to be like that. On the other hand, Winston is trying to piece together the situation rationally.

He pities himself for his physical limitations. However, the character is confident of its intellectual capabilities. Altogether, I get an impression of an intelligent rational with masochistic tendencies. That makes neither of the females as his equals. It's beyond comprehension how self pity reduces Winston to Julia's equal. George Orwell could be limited in his imagination of a rational woman.

However, that is not the reason I started writing this entry. I wanted to discuss 'newspeak' that he describes. Newspeak is a short hand language with no antonyms and no words for many concepts which are deemed anti-establishment. It's a way to make people think in a very restricted way thus eliminating any thoughts of rebellion from their mind. Eliminate the words that articulate the opposition to the establishment thus eliminate the opposition itself.

Anyway, many Indians can intuitively identify 'newspeak' with 'castespeak'. The Indian languages were/are vehicles of castiest and slavish mentality. However, somehow communism in Kerala has been able to turn Malayalam, the worst castespeak, as a revolutionary tongue. It has achieved it by bringing Sanskritized Malayalam to common people.

My Malayalam(the Kasaragod variant) has a very limited number of Sanskrit words (probably the percentage of Prakrit words could be higher). At family level conversation this has  been sufficient as far as I could see. I find it difficult to follow Sanskritized Malayalam of my relatives (with humble background). Sometimes I find it difficult to believe they can utter those words with a straight face. I'm fairly aware of many Sanskrit words, since I studied in Kannada medium. Still I find it difficult to follow some of the known words used by native Malayalis. Probably because they take some of the obscure meanings (or the meanings which aren't dominant in Kannada literature). In any case, if I use some "grand" Sanskrit words while speaking in Kannada, I could become a laughing stock."Sakhav" (comrade in Malayalam) type of words can only be used in Yakshagana in Karnataka. I feel Malayalis are immune to such thinking.

Sometime back I mentioned about a study that found that among the students completing their primary education, Kerala students had the best grasp of Malayalam, whereas, Kannada and Tamil students had the least of their mother-tongues. I wonder whether the communist movement enabled common people to get used to a vast vocabulary in Sanskrit to express many concepts which in turn helped their children to grasp the language better. The school books would invariably use Sanskrit words in vernacular languages to express many concepts.


anilkurup said...

That is an interesting theory. Possible too.
But overdose is always a issue and when the "ism" is some what antediluvian and anachronistic in the present social milieu?

milieu said...

Slightly Off-topic to the post, but you might be interested in know that M Night Shyamalan's father is coming to India to prove Aryan origins of his caste, the Thiyyas of Kerala.

Manhun(ಮಂಞುನ್) said...

In some of my posts I have observed that Indo-European R1a1 is salient among all castes in North India and Brahmins and lower castes in South India. Most of the dominant castes in South India (Gowda, Reddy, Vellala) show almost negligent R1a1 (Dravidian tribals too). This I had theorized as the reason behind the survival of Dravidian languages in South India. The chieftainship was still with the Dravidian males.

Of course, there are two exceptions. The original Dravidian chieftainship has been wiped out by Brahmin gene flow in Kerala. A substantial amount of Indo-European lineage (~20%) among Marathas has turned that Dravidian region of Maharashtra into an Indo-Aryan region.

The Indo-European input is irrelevant if the interest is on Aryan origins. I believe that's mostly West Asian and could be found mostly among Brahmins (identified by the presence of Y-Haplogroups J2a, G2 and mtDNA N1a). If you have more matches with Iran, maybe, you can claim Aryan origins based on the small percentage of men/women who did have that.