Monday, December 12, 2016

Thursday, November 24, 2016

ನವದೆಹಲಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ತುಳು ಪಾಡ್ದನಗಳ ಹೊಸ ಅಧ್ಯಯನ ವಿಧಾನಗಳ ಕುರಿತು ವಿಚಾರ ಸಂಕಿರಣ

ನವದೆಹಲಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ತುಳು ಪಾಡ್ದನಗಳ ಹೊಸ ಅಧ್ಯಯನ ವಿಧಾನಗಳ ಕುರಿತು ವಿಚಾರ ಸಂಕಿರಣ

ದೆಹಲಿ ತುಳು ಸಿರಿಯು ಕರ್ನಾಟಕ ತುಳು ಸಾಹಿತ್ಯ ಅಕಾಡೆಮಿ, ಮಂಗಳೂರು ಹಾಗೂ ದೆಹಲಿ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕ ಸಂಘದ ಸಹಯೋಗದೊಂದಿಗೆ ತುಳು ಪಾಡ್ದನಗಳ ಹೊಸ ಅಧ್ಯಯನ ವಿಧಾನಗಳು ಎಂಬ ಒಂದು ದಿನದ ವಿಚಾರ ಸಂಕಿರಣ ಮತ್ತು ತುಳುನಾಡಿನ ಜಾನಪದ ನೃತ್ಯರೂಪಕವನ್ನು ದೆಹಲಿ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕ ಸಂಘದ ಸಭಾಂಗಣದಲ್ಲಿ ಇದೇ ಭಾನುವಾರ ೨೭ನೇ ನವೆಂಬರ್ ೨೦೧೬ರಂದು ನಡೆಸಲಿದೆ.   

ವಿಚಾರ ಸಂಕಿರಣದ ಉದ್ಘಾಟನೆಯನ್ನು ಮಾಜಿ ಕೇಂದ್ರ ಸಚಿವರು ಹಾಗೂ ಸಂಸದರಾದ ಡಾ. ಎಂ. ವೀರಪ್ಪ ಮೊಯಿಲಿ ಅವರು ನೆರವೇರಿಸಲಿದ್ದಾರೆ. ಕರ್ನಾಟಕ ತುಳು ಸಾಹಿತ್ಯ ಅಕಾಡೆಮಿಯ ಅಧ್ಯಕ್ಷರಾದ ಶ್ರೀಮತಿ ಎಂ. ಜಾನಕಿ ಬ್ರಹ್ಮಾವರ ಅವರು ಉದ್ಘಾಟನಾ ಸಮಾರಂಭ ಅಧ್ಯಕ್ಷತೆ ವಹಿಸಲಿರುವರು. 
 
ತೀವ್ರವಾದ ಜಾಗತೀಕರಣ ಪ್ರಕ್ರಿಯೆಗೆ ಒಳಗಾಗಿರುವ ಕರಾವಳಿ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದಲ್ಲಿ ಶತಮಾನದಿಂದ  ಉಳಿದು ಬಂದಿರುವ ಪಾಡ್ದನಗಳು ಇದೀಗ ನಿರ್ವಹಿಸುತ್ತಿರುವ ಕಾರ್ಯ, ಅದರ ಸ್ವರೂಪದಲ್ಲಾಗುತ್ತರುವ  ಬದಲಾವಣೆಗಳು, ಪಾಡ್ದನಗಳು ಸಮಕಾಲೀನ ಸಮಾಜದೊಂದಿಗೆ ಹೊಂದಿರುವ ಸಂಬಂಧ, ಅದರ ಧಾರ್ಮಿಕತೆ, ಪಾಡ್ದನಗಳನ್ನು ಈಗ ಹೇಗೆ ಶೈಕ್ಷಣಿಕವಾಗಿ ಅಧ್ಯಯನ ಮಾಡಬಹುದು ಎಂಬಿತ್ಯಾದಿ ಮಹತ್ವದ ವಿಷಯಗಳ ಕುರಿತು ಈ ವಿಚಾರ ಸಂಕಿರಣದಲ್ಲಿ ಚರ್ಚಿಸಲಾಗುವುದು. 

ಮೊದಲ ಗೋಷ್ಠಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಹಂಪಿ ಕನ್ನಡ ವಿಶ್ವವಿದ್ಯಾಲಯದ ನಿವೃತ್ತ ಕುಲಪತಿಗಳಾದ ಪ್ರೊ. ಬಿ.ಎ. ವಿವೇಕ ರೈ ಅವರು ಪಾಡ್ದನಗಳ ಅಧ್ಯಯನ ವಿಧಾನಗಳ ನವೀನ ಕ್ರಮಗಳ ಕುರಿತು ಪ್ರಬಂಧ ಮಂಡಿಸಲಿರುವರು. ಮಂಗಳೂರು ವಿಶ್ವವಿದ್ಯಾಲಯ ಯಕ್ಷಗಾನ ಅಧ್ಯಯನ ಕೇಂದ್ರದ  ಮುಖ್ಯಸ್ಥರಾದ ಡಾ. ರಾಜಶ್ರೀ ರೈ ಅವರು ಸಮಕಾಲೀನ ತುಳು ಸಮಾಜ ಮತ್ತು ಪಾಡ್ದನಗಳ ಆಂತರಿಕ ಸಂಬಂಧಗಳ ಸ್ವರೂಪ ನಿಷ್ಕರ್ಷೆ ಕುರಿತು ಮಾತಾಡುವರು. ಕರ್ನಾಟಕ ತುಳು ಸಾಹಿತ್ಯ ಅಕಾಡೆಮಿ ಸದಸ್ಯರಾದ  ಡಾ. ದಿವಾಕರ ಕೊಕ್ಕಡ ಅವರು ತುಳುನಾಡಿನ ಸಮಕಾಲೀನ ಧಾರ್ಮಿಕತೆ ಮತ್ತು ಪಾಡ್ದನಗಳ ಕುರಿತು ಮಾತಾಡುವರು. 

ಎರಡನೇ ಗೋಷ್ಠಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಶ್ರೀಮತಿ ಎಂ. ಜಾನಕಿ ಬ್ರಹ್ಮಾವರ ಅವರು ಭೂತಾರಾಧನೆ ಮತ್ತು ಪಾಡ್ದನಗಳ ನಡುವಣ ಆಧುನಿಕ ಸಂಬಂಧಗಳ ಕುರಿತು, ಮಂಗಳೂರು ಸೈಂಟ್ ಅಲೋಸಿಯಸ್ ಕಾಲೇಜಿನ ಕನ್ನಡ ವಿಭಾಗದ ಮುಖ್ಯಸ್ಥರಾದ ಡಾ. ಗಣೇಶ್ ಅಮೀನ್ ಸಂಕಮಾರ್ ಯಕ್ಷಗಾನ, ನಾಟಕ, ಸಿನೇಮಾ ಇತ್ಯಾದಿಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ಪಾಡ್ದನಗಳ ಆಧುನಿಕ ವಿಸ್ತರಣೆಗಳು ಕುರಿತು ಮತ್ತು ಮಂಗಳೂರು ವಿಶ್ವವಿದ್ಯಾಲಯದ ಎಸ್.ವಿ.ಪಿ. ಕನ್ನಡ ಅಧ್ಯಯನ ಸಂಸ್ಥೆಯ ಅಧ್ಯಕ್ಷರಾದ ಡಾ. ಬಿ. ಶಿವರಾಮ ಶೆಟ್ಟಿ ಅವರು ಜಾಗತೀಕರಣದ ಸಂದರ್ಭದಲ್ಲಿ ಪಾಡ್ದನಗಳ ಕುರಿತು ಮಾತಾಡಲಿದ್ದಾರೆ. 

ಕರ್ನಾಟಕ ಸರ್ಕಾರದ ಕನ್ನಡ ಮತ್ತು ಸಂಸ್ಕೃತಿ ಇಲಾಖೆ, ಕರ್ನಾಟಕ ಜಾನಪದ ವಿಶ್ವವಿದ್ಯಾಲಯ, ಹಾವೇರಿ ಮತ್ತು ಮಂಗಳೂರು ವಿಶ್ವವಿದ್ಯಾಲಯ ಈ ಕಾರ್ಯಕ್ರಮಕ್ಕೆ ಸಹಯೋಗ ನೀಡಿವೆ. 

Monday, November 21, 2016


On JNU Kannada Language Chair in Suvarna News-India gate

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLaDqlFClXI

Sunday, October 23, 2016

ಮಳೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಸದೃಢ

2009 ರಲ್ಲಿ ಜಪಾನಿನಲ್ಲಿದ್ದಾಗ ಹನಮಕಿ ( ಇವಾತೆ) ಯಲ್ಲಿರುವ ಕೆಂಜಿ ಮಿಯಾಜವ ( Kenji Miyazava) ನೆನಪಿನ ವಸ್ತು ಸಂಗ್ರಹಾಲಯಕ್ಕೆ ಹೋಗಿದ್ದೆ. ಕೆಂಜಿಯವರ ಕವನ ಸಂಕಲನವೊಂದನ್ನು ಅಲ್ಲಿಂದ ತಂದು ಹಾಗೆಯೇ ಇಟ್ಟಿದ್ದೆ. ಕೆಂಜಿಯವರು 40 ನೇ ವಯಸ್ಸಿಗೇ ತೀರಿಕೊಂಡ ( 1896-1936) ಪ್ರತಿಭಾವಂತ ಕವಿ. ಅವರ ಒಂದುು ಕವನವನ್ನು ಕಾವ್ಯ ಪ್ರೇಮಿಗಳಿಗಾಗಿ ಅನುವಾದಿಸಿದ್ದೇನೆ-
ಮಳೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಸದೃಢ (ಮೂಲ: ಮಿಯಜವ ಕೆಂಜಿ)
ಮಳೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಸದೃಢ, ಗಾಳಿಯ ವಿರುದ್ಧ ಬಲಶಾಲಿ
ಹಿಮಕ್ಕೆಂದೂ ಬಲಿಯಾಗದವ ಅಥವಾ ಬೇಸಗೆಯ ಬೇಗೆಗೆ
ಆರೋಗ್ಯಕರ ಅವನ ದೇಹ, ಎಲ್ಲ ಬಯಕೆಗಳಿಂದ ಮುಕ್ತ
ಕಳಕೊಳ್ಳನವ ತನ್ನ ಭಾವೋದ್ವೇಗವನು ಮತ್ತು ಮುಗುಳ್ನಗೆಯ
ದಿನಕೆ ಕೇವಲ ನಾಲ್ಕು ಗಿಣ್ಣಲು ಕುಚಿಲಕ್ಕಿ ಅವನಿಗೆ ಬೇಕಾದುದು
ಮಿಸೋ ಮತ್ತು ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ತರಕಾರಿ
ತನ್ನ ಉದ್ವೇಗ ಹಾಗೂ ಭಾವೋತ್ಕಟತೆಗಳ ಅಲಕ್ಷಿಸುತ್ತಾನೆ ಅವನು
ಕಿವಿಗೊಡುತ್ತಾನೆ ಇತರರಿಗೆ,
ಚೆನ್ನಾಗಿ ತಿಳಿದುಕೊಳ್ಳುತ್ತಾನೆ ಅವರನು
ಅವರು ಹೇಳಿದುದನೆಂದೂ ಮರೆಯದಿರುತ್ತಾನೆ
ಬದುಕುತ್ತಾನೆ ಅವನು ಪೈನ್ ಮರದ ಕಾಡಿನ ನೆರಳಿನ
ಹುಲ್ಲು ಚಾವಣಿಯ ಗುಡಿಸಲಲಿ
ರೋಗಿಷ್ಠ ಮಗುವಿದ್ದರೆ ಮೂಡಣದಲಿ
ತೆರಳಿ ಅಲ್ಲಿಗೆ ಆರೈಕೆ ಮಾಡುತ್ತಾನೆ ಅವನು
ದಣಿದ ತಾಯಿಯಿದ್ದರೆ ಪಡುವಣದಲಿ
ಹೋಗಿ ಅಲ್ಲಿಗೆ ಅವಳ ಮೂಟೆಗಳ ಹೊರುತ್ತಾನೆ.
ಯಾರಾದರೂ ಸಾವಿನ ಹಾಸುಗೆಯಲ್ಲಿದ್ದರೆ ತೆಂಕಣದಲಿ
ಅಲ್ಲಿಗೆ ನಡೆದು ಹೆದರದಿರೆಂಬ ಆಶ್ವಾಸನೆ ನೀಡುತ್ತಾನೆ ಅವನು
ಏನಾದರೂ ಜಗಳ ಅಥವಾ ಮೊಕದ್ದಮೆಗಳಿದ್ದರೆ ಬಡಗಿನಲಿ
ಅಪ್ಪಣೆ ಕೊಡಿಸುತ್ತಾನೆ ಅವನು ಬಿಡುವಂತೆ ಗುಂಪುಗಳು ಜಗಳಗಳನು
ಅಳುತ್ತಾನೆ ಅವನು ಬರಗಾಲದಲಿ
ತಣ್ಣನೆಯ ಬೇಸಗೆಯಲಿ ಚಡಪಡಿಸುತ್ತಾ ಅಡ್ಡಾಡುತ್ತಾನೆ ಅವನು
ಪೆದ್ದನೆಂದು ಕರೆಯುತ್ತಾರೆ ಜನರು ಅವನನ್ನು
ಹೊಗಳುವುದಿಲ್ಲ ಯಾರೂ ಅಥವಾ ತಲೆಕೆಡಿಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳುವುದಿಲ್ಲ ಅವನ ಬಗೆಗೆ
ಅವನಂತಾಗಬೇಕು ನಾನು

Friday, October 21, 2016

National Seminar on Kanakadasa


Many Texts, Many Voices


National seminar and symposiums
 ifc   Indian Folklore Congress
Kelina campus, University of Mumbai
October 18, 19, and 20, 2016

Synopsis

Since the 21st century, oral history in India has grown from being a method in folkloristics to  become a key component in academic discussions. Oral history continues to be an important means by academics in 'writing new history'. Practitioners across a range of academic disciplines have also developed the method as a way of recording, understanding and archiving narrated memories. One should be happy to know that oral history has also emerging as an International movement . The dominance of written sources by professional historians is diminishing all over. ‘History from below’ (Perkin 1976) and ‘hidden from history’ ( Rowbotham 1977) were the two key concepts extended the boundary of writing oral histories.   
In India, oral history is providing an alternative to conventional history, filling gaps the latter leaves in the wake of its demand on being ‘written’. Often those who involved in this ‘written history’ herald from the ‘elite’ classes and therefore, fail to sufficiently represent the views and sentiments of the masses. The absence of oral narratives, legends, tales and other materials by various communities, only aggravates this gap, giving rise to a ‘history without people’.   
In this paper, I am intended to explain the importance of oral history where many texts proclaim many voices by taking an example from history of medieval Karnataka. While doing so, I have rejected the standard stereotypical distinction between history, literature and folklore, which has predominated in Indian academic domain for the past two centuries. It is my belief that there need not have to be a distinction between them as all constitute part of the same discourse and are internal to language.  
Much have been written, published and discussed on the ancient city of vijayanagara ( Purushottama Bilimale 1998).  It is an established truth that Hampi  was the urban core of the imperial city and the surrounding principalities of the capital of the vijayanagara empire  during the 14th century to 16th century CE. Notes by foreign travellers such as Abdur Razak , the Persian who visited Vijayanagara in 1440, mention seven fortifications before the gates to the royal palace.  The notes of Robert Sewell describe countless shops and bazars  (markets) filled with people from different nationalities.  However, surprisingly, the writings on Vijayanagara history never mention much about Kampila’s son Kumararama who lived in the early period of Vijayanagara. Historians pushed his name to footnotes, because inscriptions do not speak much about him. Neither Kumararama had an extensive kingdom, nor did he build any big temple or a fort. Hence, his place in Karnataka history has been completely downsized. However, in the folklore of Karnataka, Kumararama has been considered as the most popular hero and a cultural champion.  
To mention a few, four major medieval epic texts were available in Kannada language on  Kumararama. 11 folk epics on him have been collected by scholars. Five major festivals are attributed to his name. Lt. Col. Mackenzie collected six kaifiats ( written documents) on Kumararama during 1798-99. He is a hero in many legends and tales. His story has been recreated in Burra katha form both in Telugu and Kannada languages. Yakshagana and puppetry made him hero in their performances. There are few films made on him, novels have been written on him. Wooden sculptures represents Kumararama in festivals.  
With this huge information, a question is asked, why Kumararama has become so important to Kannada culture and not so important to historians. This paper will try to answer this question with an understanding of writing history on the basis of oral traditions is not easy.  

(The presentation is supported by audio-video materials on Kumararama)  

Ethnic identity, Folk epics and Internationalization of Knowledge production


This paper explores the complex relation between ethnic identity, folk epics of coastal Karnataka and the process of an Internationalization of knowledge production.  The main observations are based on my regular interaction with the artists of Bhoota worship who narrates night long stories of the birth and death of local heroes, locally known as PaDdnas, which are the best expressions of the contemporary spirituality and religious experimentation. This has long been connected in Tulu tradition and religion with local myths.

Three main questions will be asked in this paper-

1.      The problems in understanding desi knowledge system thru these narratives,  as the so called Desi knowledge production is also a mixture of many cultures and changes. For example the Bhootas of Tulunadu have been influenced by Buddhism,  Jainism and Islam
2.      How these local knowledge systems are currently replaced by the process of Internationalization of knowledge production,  as Globalization is necessitated by the new economy for the expansion of market beyond cultural borders, and
3.      Our immediate responsibilities

There has been an intensive dialogue on these subjects in recent years, involving governments, NGOs and academia of both developed and developing countries, on the conceptualization of Desi knowledge, and  its sustainability,  its relation with poverty and cast system, information delivery mechanisms and evaluation of various forms of development activities. Much of these dialogues have been concentrated on either bridging or parting the division between east and west, upper caste and lower caste, urban and rural, written and oral etc. Surprisingly, there is not quite as much vibrancy in exchanges of perspectives between written and oral or in other words between desi and non-desi knowledge systems, and its impact on development cooperation strategies and institutions and on their approach to the ongoing debate on the global development agenda. In such a fast changing and critical situation, where we, folklorists stand?  Can Indian folklore, which exists in various regional Languages from time immemorial, survive the global challenges? 
Let me begin with my experiences with Mr. Bolya Ajalaya who expired recently. He was a Bhoota performer, belongs to a untouchable caste called Ajilaya or Ajalaya. He was a god during ritual and an untouchable during day time.   As you may be knowing, Bhootaradhane or Bhoota worship, is a form of worship, special to Tulunadu. Bhoota means, the past, the bygone, meaning thereby the spirit of the ancestors. Bhoota worship has a history of about eight centuries. This ritual has a complex structure with beliefs, rules of worship, apparatus, literature, music color and  other theatrical elements. About thousand Bhootas are being listed now. The songs sung in the Bhoota  performances are called ‘PaDdanas’ They are long narrative epics with tragic end.   
I was watching Bolya Ajalaya performing    variety of Bhootas and reciting hundreds of paDdans through out night. In a place called Mogra, in Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka State, he had a task of performing 100 Bhootas overnight. Such a talented Bolya, started asking money with me for his son’s education. After I got a job at a college at Sullia, I helped him financially and his brilliant son, Mr. Kepu Ajila got a BA degree with good marks  in 1982. Latter He got a job in a bank with a good salary. After that, the first work Bolya did was asking his son not to participate in a Bhootaradhane, which he nurtured at least for half century. When I asked about this departing, Mr. Bolya thanked me and told that, ‘my sufferings should not be transmitted to him, let him live a dignified life’.
This is the hard reality in the field. The barriers of the epics are no more interested to transfer their wisdom to the next generation, but we expect them to do so, hence  we are moving in opposite directions.  There are less and less narrators for epics like Dhola Maru ( Gharwal), Annamar Kathei ( Tamilnadu) Palnadu ( Andhra Pradesh), epic of Guga and Devnarayan ( Rajasthan) Malemadeshwara ( Karnataka), Khandoba ( Maharashtra), Hir Ranza ( Punjabi), Pandvani ( Chattisgarh) etc. The children of these epic narrators wanted to join schools and get modern education. Folklorists wanted to study the creative expressions of various epic narratives, including their music, dance; beliefs, artistry of the expression itself. They examine an epic, for instance with in its larger social and political context in order to understand and appreciate the epic better.  Most of us are interested in knowing how the artist and his community understands and appreciates the art form. These approaches contribute to the understanding of a local knowledge, which we often vaguely refer as a desi knowledge system.   Many others believe that these knowledge productions belong to Pre-colonial India. We are furthering our studies with such understandings, sometime with confusions, and some time with misperceptions. In this context, let us Look for the following issues when we work on folk epics.   

  1. Firstly, over the travail of centuries knowledge production by uneven communities spread across the Indian sub-continent underwent the long processes of continuity and change involving innovations, additions and abandonment in the wake of marches and migrations of material cultures, interactive co-existence, assimilation and acculturation, relationships of control, stratification and domination, cults and sects, hierarchy and exclusion, invasions and subordinations, dissents and protests, incorporations and reconstitutions. The major marches and migrations were of Mediterranean, Persians, Macedonians, Parathions, Greeks, Kushans, Sakas, Chinese, Huns, Iranians, Turanians, Afghans,  Pathans, Jews, Arabs, Mongols and Mughals who came to the sub-continent at different points of time roughly between BCE 1000 and A.D 1600, impacting  knowledge production. Hence we  should be very careful while referring to Desi knowledge production particularly in epics. Epic knowledge is also a mixture of many cultures and changes.  We have Buddhist impact on PaDdanas of Tulunadu, Jainism impact on Death rituals, Islamic impact on performances and so on.
  2. Secondly, Epic knowledge had differences in terms of theoretical as well as technological levels from region to region at all times as required by particular language, materials and environment, and as enabled by the varying heritage of communities. Hence we should not forget that the epic knowledge system has been produced in the contexts of time, space, communities/ Castes and individuals. This intellectual tradition is multiple in nature. My friend Bolya has used modern colors effectively.

  1. Thirdly, traditions of epic knowledge production in the sub-continent were many but all of them underwent the processes of continuity and change in the wake of the historical incidents.  

The emergence of a new class of socially unencumbered laborers, revival of trade and markets, accumulation of money in the hands of the towns-men, migration of laborers into towns, transformation of the guilds into small factories, growth of production beyond local consumption, expansion of market, enhanced development pressure on productive technology, distributive need for quicker transport etc. are the new languages of our culture. Globalization was necessitated by the new economy of mechanized manufacturing, need for expansion of market beyond cultural borders. Global Control is far more than mere political subjugation and economic exploitation. Internationalization is an irresistible process of the penetration of Western culture into the local cultures and traditions, and their slow, traumatic and fundamental reconstitution from within rather than a sudden disruption or replacement. It is a process of the transformation of the traditional self into a self- Uprooting, self from within, a thorough revamping of the traditional worldview from within. It is a process of voluntary acceptance of a set of new meanings, measures and parameters of knowing ones self and the world distinctively, following them to judge the right and wrong, and living them mechanically through ‘mimesis’. It is a process of enthusiastic internalization of the truth about oneself, one’s culture and the cultural past as represented by the West, and seeking to live the representation as real and ideal. This internalization of the culture is believed as truth by us and our younger generation, which brought fundamental changes in the regime of knowledge production. Internationalization is thus a natural and easy process for which Mr. Kepu, son of Late Bolya was easily succumbed. We have no moral right to tell him to go back to his father’s profession.

Currently, trade in higher education services is a billion dollars industry, including recruitment of international students, establishments of University Campuses abroad, franchised provision and online learning. Higher and technical education has become a big service industry and is expected to increase 100% during this decade. India is a signatory to WTO, which includes General Agreement of Trade in Services ( GATS), where education is one amongst the 12 main sectors classified as services. Globalization of higher education has been on the thematic priority of the UNESCO and International Association of Universities ( IAU). Number of recent studies has indicated rapid increase in global demand for higher education. The economic impact of higher education is also important. According to NAFSA (National Association of Foreign Student Advisers) report, during 2012-13 academic year, 8,19,644 international students and their families at universities and colleges across the United States supported 3, 13,000 jobs and contributed $24 billion to the U.S. economy. This is a 6.2% increase in job support and creation, and a nearly 10% increase in dollars contributed to the economy from the previous academic year. With about 4,00,000 international students in Australia and about 9 billion Australian Dollar revenue to the Australian economy, and 5.7 billion New Zealand dollar to the New Zealand economy with about 2,00,000 international students, higher education now represents a largest export sector. In this context, recently the University Grants Commission has projected a vision for Indian Higher Education as part of its five year plan and set up a special standing Committee to promote Higher Education . This committee strongly recommended-

  1. Internationalizing higher education system and then exporting it. This will have
economic and political benefits, including playing a vital role in building bridges between countries and across geo-political lines.

  1. Starting twinning programs through international linkages where Indian and Foreign institutions enter into voluntary combinations to further their mutual objectives and interests. Twinning programs are collaborative arrangements between two universities for enhancing or build capabilities of both the institutions to operate, manage and administer undergraduate or graduate programs, and to provide students with the opportunity of an International degree

  1. Establishment of Education Excellence and Export Zones ( EEEZs) to house world class Indian or International Universities and branches or campuses  of other international institutions to overcome the problems rigid controls, dilapidated infrastructures, out of date curriculum  etc.  

 As a result, higher education in India is rapidly changing and is ready to be governed by the business rules. As a result, English has become a national link language, resulted in creating global monoculture.

In such a fast changing and critical situation, where we, folklorists stand?  Can Indian epics, survive the global challenges?
To be very honest, we do not have, at least not in sufficient quantity or depth, are analyses of the cultural implications of this new world order.
If we work hard on these issues, we could provide a model for what the rest of the world could be like.

Lastly, while reading this paper,   many of our epics are vanishing away. I urge honorable Prime Minister of India for creating a Indian Folklore Archives ( IFA) and establishing a National Folklore Academy ( NFA) for preserve and study of our great epics at least in archives, before it vanishes away from our soil.  

He Ram

ಹೇ ರಾಮ್
ಗಾಂಧಿಯ ಎದೆಗೆ ಗೋಡ್ಸೆ ಗುಂಡಿಟ್ಟಾಗ
ಹೇ ರಾಮ್ ಅಂತ ಯಾರೋ ಕೂಗಿಕೊಂಡರಂತೆ
ಗಡಿಬಿಡಿಯಲಿ ಯಾವುದೂ ಖಚಿತವಿರಲಿಲ್ಲ
ಅದು ಗಾಂಧಿಯ ಸ್ವರ ಅಂದರು ಹಲವರು
ಗೋಡ್ಸೆಯದಿರಬೇಕು ಅಂತ ಕೆಲವರು
ಹಾಗೇನೂ ಇರಲೇ ಇಲ್ಲ ಅಂದವರು ಮುಂದಿನವರು.
ಕಾಲ ಕಳೆದಂತೆ ವಿಷಯ ಜಟಿಲವಾಯಿತು.
ಕೊನೆಗೆ ಏನೂ ತಿಳಿಯದೆ
ಗಾಂಧಿಯ ಹಿಡಿದು,
ಗೋಡ್ಸೆಯ ಅಪ್ಪಿ
ಇಬ್ಬರಿಗೂ ಒಟ್ಟಿಗೇ  ಗುಂಡಿಕ್ಕತೊಡಗಿದರು ಜನರು
ಆಗ ಗುಂಡಿನ ಸದ್ದು ಬಿಟ್ಟು

ಬೇರೇನೂ ಕೇಳಿಸಲಿಲ್ಲ. 

Bendre remembered at Bombay University



Bhakti Version of Social Justice:

An example from Karnataka

This paper intends to examine the case of 12th century Karnataka Bhakthi  movement as an illustration of the way in which Bhakti tradition contributes to social justice. In the following, I shall elaborate the meaning and implications of the concept of social justice and present a brief account of the Vachana   version of the Bhakti movement.  

While in some form or other, social justice has been at the heart of modern sociological theory or politics. We need not go into the complex historical developments which together pushed the concept in to the center of sociological attention and focus. Suffice it here to note that the historical fact of systematic decolonization of most of the non-western world- leading to its political independence raised the issue of social justice as a central issue in politics,  literature and indeed in the social science as a whole. Theoretical discussions and formulations reflected the concern for the practical problems of social justice in modern societies. As a consequence, the concept came to be mixed up with political realities of our time complicated by the near end of political imperialism in the non-western world.

One important consequence of this situation was that social justice became historically tied to the process of development which had brought the modern west into existence over a period of centuries since Renaissance. We may name this as the ethnocentric phase in the development of the concept of social justice. In this early phase, much theoretical energy was spent in constructing patterns, sequences and structural functional models of social justice, all equating uncritically western historical development as the only pattern of social justice.  In terms of theory, this exclusive concentration on a narrow historical experience led to a dichotomous frame in which traditional judiciary system and modern system were cast in polar roles. The traditional judiciary was conceptualized simply in negative relation to what was a modern judiciary. The model presumed in this frame work was that of a highly urbanized, industrial society run economically on the lines of a capitalistic system of competitive free enterprise, characterized sociologically by increasing individualism leading to dissolution of traditional structures and characterized politically by the nation state. In this conception of justice it was clear that the country like India was doomed never to catch up with the west, since there remained an eternal gap between the west and east. Therefore we have to work with the concept of justice as a process by which any society at any time transforms itself structurally and functionally to realize the values of Individual freedom, equality, rationality, and community. Further we must hold that social justice can not take place unless all the four values are co-present in some proportion.  

Bhakti movements in India:

Before considering the vachana movement in some detail, it is better to have a brief general account of Bhakti movements in India. A careful consideration of the Bhakti movements in general shows that they tend to get organized and function with in the existing socio-cultural order. In the Tamil linguistic region it emerged as far back as the sixth century, and continued for the next three and half centuries. It was carried on in the Shaiva represented by the Nayanar saints.  Their modality of action was temple building and Sanskritization, and among their positive achievements was the creation of a Tamil linguistic cultural consciousness cutting across political divisions. But such popular consciousness was neutralized and comprised since the movement was essentially geared not to eliminating the Hindu Brahminical system but to making it more workable and acceptable to the discontented masses. The movement was also mystifying in the sense that it diverted ordinary people’s actions and consciousness from their mundane lives and problems through emotional outbursts of personal devotion to God. These movements therefore could be integrated easily into the mainstream elitist Sanskritic, Brahminical Hinduism. These comments apply equally to the Vaishnava bhakti movement and to the Dasa in Karnataka, who also attempted to renovate, and streamline Brahminical Hinduism to make it acceptable to the masses who were groaning under the inequalities of the caste order. The saint poets of Maharashtra in the period from the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries, while more vocally universalistic and egalitarian were not ready for any organized confrontation with the establishment. The much discussed Warkari saints were more socially oriented, but this orientation had the objectives of making religion easier to practice socially. In the north the outstanding case of Kabir shows that the movement as in the south and in Maharashtra had egalitarian and humanistic aspirations. This frame work was continued in Nanak, Dadu Dayal and others. The examples of poets like Surdas and Tulasidas is very significant because it illustrates the unresolved contradiction in the Bhakthi movement in general between a rejection  of caste inequality at the level of an intensified bhakti mode of religious action and the acceptance of the hierarchy in other secular contexts.

The vachana and Dasa Movements:
While there is some controversy about whether Basavanna and Purandara dasa  were was the founders of Vachana and Dasa movements,  or whether they merely revitalized a pre-existing traditions, there can be no controversy whatever about the fact that they were the persons who forged it into a well organized ideologically articulated and mass-based movements in the 12th and 14th century Karnataka.  They all challenged the existing social order and worked for the new order with more social justice to the lower strata of the society. Thus the Bhakthi movements were therefore born as a movement that aimed not at reforming the existing order but at overthrowing it and replacing it with a new order based on Shaiva bhakthi and  Vaishana Bhakti visions of human freedom, equality, rationality and brotherhood.  Most of the writers  acted in the name of a universalistic and humanistic ideology.
Bhakthi model of social justice:

Through an examination of the ideas of vachana writers and Dasa writers , we can evolve a Bhakthi model of Social justice. Both ideologically and in its subsequent efforts at institutionalization of its value, this is very close to our formulation of the concept of modern Judiciary system. As I said in the beginning of my paper the process of social justice may be conceptualized best as a process of realizing the values of respecting individuality, equality rationality and community in any given setting.

Caste:

The society in which the movement was active was based on the caste-system. This system implied two things- a) there was a hierarchy of castes in the sense that each caste had its own gradation in the social structure, b) each caste had its own occupation to pursue and a person born in to one caste was expected to pursue its particular occupation. In the social hierarchy the Brahmins were at the top and the untouchables were at the bottom. Between these came other castes like merchants, agriculturists’, weavers, potters, and others. The Dalits were not only untouchables but also invisibles.

It is possible, as we shall show, to relate Shiva Sharanas ideas, objectives, aspirations and vision to the modernistic social values. From a sociological point of view, Sharanas rejected a major principle of social organization underlying the Brahmanical Hindu tradition-the caste hierarchy. Basavanna, by birth was a Brahmin, asserts-

  • The son of the slave in Cannayya’s house
(Channayya was an untouchable man)
The daughter of the maid in Kakkayya’s house
Those two went to the fields for dung and fell together.
I am the son born of these two.
Kudalasangama deva is my witness.

  • Our untouchable Chennayya is father
Drummer Kakkayya is grand father
Look, Chikkayya is our father
Kinnari Bommayya is brother
How can they not know me?.

  • My mother is Nimbavve
She is a water carrier
My father is Cannayya
He carries the king’s weaponry
You say I have no kin
My sister cooks at Kanchi
You say I have no kin
Out of your hand I received
Kudalasangamadeva
The devotion my ancestors
Have generated.

Basavanna demystified Brahmanism by giving his own examples. He clearly stated- “the birth less has no caste distinctions, no ritual pollution”. In another place he states that true self knowledge would dissolve the ignorance that gives to caste distinctions. He says- “To him who has self understanding, there is but one caste”. Rooting his rejection of caste in a humanistic ideal of equality, Basavanna exclaims- “The murderer is an untouchable, the eater of filth is untouchable”.

The equality of man is associated with his equal right to have access to god. Thus man’s belief in god becomes the basis of Basavanna’s equalitarianism. Further, the assumption of equality is related to individuality, since a man should be judged not by the ascriptive criterion of who he is, but rather by the achievement criterion of what he has done. Due to this strong commitment for the casteless society, Basavanna was able to arrange a marriage between an untouchable boy and a Brahamin Girl, which was termed as viloma Vivaha, completely rejected by the traditional Hinduism even today, sparkled the fire at 12th century and burnt few people. How ever Sharans concept of casteless society is still remained as dream.  

Religion:

Sharans rationality based on there faith in the power of human reason, led them to reject Hindu Brahminical ritualism and its uncritical adherence to sacred texts such as Vedas. Bsavanna states-

  • ‘Shall I call Shastra great?
It glorifies Karma
Shall I call Veda great?
It enjoys animal sacrifices’

Basavanna some time moves close to a position which may be termed divine humanism. At other times he moves closer to what appears to be a different position-naturalistic humanism. In Basavnna’s thinking, however the two positions stem from the same assumption-that god creates man but he also creates nature as man’s context.

Basava’s humanistic rationality results in his outright rejection of supernatural sanction, traditionally formulated in the concepts of heaven and hell. He advances his position as follows-

  • There is no other heaven and hell
Truth speaking is heaven, lying hell
Performance of right conduct, heaven,
Its non performance hell

In these lines Basavanna maintains that the natural human world of experience is the only context in which human life must be lived. It does not need any supernatural point of reference.

Anthropologists like Robert Redfield and Milton Singer speak of Great and little traditions in Indian civilization, other pair of terms have been proposed popular/learned, folk/classical, low/high, parochial/universal, peasant/aristocratic etc. The native Indian tradition speaks of Marga (classical), and Desi (Folk). The Sharanas reject not only the great traditions of Vedic religion but the little traditions as well. They not only scorn the effectiveness of the Vedas as scripture they reject the little legends of the local gods and goddesses. Following are two examples which mocks the orthodox rituals and recitations-

  • ‘See-saw watermills bow their heads
So what?
Do they get to be devotees?
Or the master?
The tongs join hands
So what?
Can they be humble in service?
To the lord
Parrots recite
So what
Can they read lord?

  • The sacrificial lamb brought for the festival
Are up the green leaf brought for the decorations
Not knowing a thing about the kill
It wants only to fill the belly
Born that day to die that day
But tell me
Did the killers survive?
O lord of the meeting rivers
Religions set apart certain

The general belief is that if you die in Varanasi, which is an epicenter of Hinduism   you will go straight to heaven. The following vacana represents the contempt of the saint for all sacred space and sacred times-

  • ‘There’s no dawn
No new moon
No noonday
Nor equinoxes
Nor full moons
His front yard
Is the true Varanasi
O Ramanatha’

The Sharanas do not believe that religion is something one is born with or into. An orthodox Hindu believes that a Hindu is born not made. With such belief there is no place for conversion in Hinduism. A man born to his caste or faith cannot choose and change, nor can others change him. But if he believes in acquiring merit only by living and believing certain things, then there is room for choosing and changing his beliefs. He can then convert and be converted. If as these Sharanas believed he also believes that his god is the true god, the only true god, it becomes imperative to convert the misguided and bring light to the benighted. Their monotheism lashes out in an atmosphere of animism and polytheism-


  • How can I feel right?
About a God who eats up lacquer and melts
Who wilts when he sees fire?
How can I feel right?
About Gods you sell in your need
And Gods you bury for fear of thieves
Kudalasangamadeva
Self born one with himself
He alone true god.

  • The pot is a God
The winnowing fan is a God
The stone in the street is a God
The comb is a God
The bowstring is also a God
The bushel is a God and the
Spouted cup is a God.
Gods Gods there are so many
There is no place left for a foot
There is only one god
He is our lord
Kudalasangamadeva

Basava’s rejection of polytheism and his acceptance of one God should not be seen as inconsistent with his rejection of the supernatural. The position is a great deal more complicated. What Basavanna does is to use the doctrine of one god as the basis of human equality and the bonds of community. Basavanna rejects the Brahmanical Hindu notion of Karma and rebirth as being outside his frame work of naturalistic or divine humanism.  He holds for instance that the activists committed to the Sharana movement, the Sharanas, were not bound to Karma because they had negated it. Basava’s ideology recommends a rigorous commitment to empirical reality, the here and the now, blocking any escapist route towards a non existent past or the future. He clearly says-

  • Let what is supposed to come tomorrow,
Come to us today itself
What is supposed to come today?
Come to us this moment
Who is afraid of this?   Who is upset by this?

Basavanna’s rejection of the supernatural order, ritualism and the sacred texts implied a rejection of priestly class. Following is an excellent vachana-

  • The rich will make temples for Shiva
What shall I a poor man do?
My legs are pillars
The body the shrine
The head a Kalasha of gold
Listen,
Kudalasangamadeva
Things standing shall fall
But the moving ever shall stay.

He emphasizes an active life commitment to this world and its problems. All the social problems could be solved by this type of world commitment. His statement -‘The world of empirical reality, Samsara is our salvation’ really sums up epigrammatically his whole ideology and philosophy. ‘Kayaka is Kailasa’- which means ‘doing work is heaven’, is the final manifesto of the Sharanas.

This type of arguments constitutes a system of ideas in which the individual, his freedom and his rationality are defined with in a communitarian and egalitarian context. This ideological structure became a basis of the first major effort in Karnataka to establish a society based on what may be characterized as socialist society.

Basavanna was no mere philosopher but great institutional innovator. His efforts to build an ideal community with the help of his devoted colleagues, remains the first monumental effort in Karnataka to establish a community based on social justice. The Sharanas established Anubhava Mantapa or a House of experience, a forum where the Sharana leaders developed a critical and progressive consciousness as necessary preparation for the challenging task of building a universal, egalitarian community of free rational and equal individuals who had broken through the fetters of the prevailing Brahmanical Hindu structures. The Institution of Dasoha also tended to generate a sense of sharing between free and rational individuals. Unlike Buddha or Mahavira, the Virashiva saints do not appear alone; they seem to appear in droves, in interacting groups of three or four in these early times. They often form a composite Sharana each taking on a different face of the religious experience. Basavanna is the struggling reformer, Allama Prabhu is extraordinarily metaphysical, imperious, the master, Akka Mahadevi, the women saint is in love with God, and God to her is a sensual and aesthetic experience, Jedara Dasimayya is fierce, even crude at times and hates those who do not sees, Chennabasavanna  is a theologian aptly the son in law of Basavanna. Each saint has a different signature line, expressive of his/her special identity – Kudalasangama deva (lord of the meeting rivers), is the signature for Basava, who yearns for social unity and equality. Guheshwara (Lord of caves) for Allama Prabhu, obsessed with knowledge and ignorance, light and darkness, given too dark sayings and twilight language. Chennamallikarjuna (My lord white as jasmine) for Mahadeviyakka, who is all eyes for the beauty of her lord, and Ramanatha, the Shiva who was worshipped even by God Rama, for Jedara Dasimayya .Each saint chooses an aspect, an epithetic, for his God that suits his own temperament and career. Thus the Virashiva movement was not made by any one of the saints, but by this composite. They thought of as one, singular yet plural in writings, an excellent image for contemporary India.

Woman:

Many of the male saints like Basavanna and Dasimayya have families; they do not reject family life as most of the female saints do before they pursue their careers as saints. Whereas men may retain their families and in some instances direct their poetry toward social reform, women continue to choose love as the subject of their poetry, despite the enormity of the social protest implicit in their lives as they reject parents, husband, children, house hold, and shelter even cloths. However Sharanas made it clear that there is no difference between men and women. Jedara Dasimayya writes-
  • If they see
Breasts and long hair coming
They call it woman,
If beard and whiskers
They call it man,
But, look the self that hovers
In between
Is neither man
Nor woman,
O, Ramnatha

However the crusading militancy at the heart of Bhakthi makes it double edged bisexual as expressed in poems like the following-

  • Look here dear fellow
I wear these men’s clothes
Only for you
Only for you
Sometimes I am woman
O Kudalasangama Deva
I will make war for you
But I will be your devotee’s bride

Manu says in a notorious passage-‘in childhood woman should be protected by her father, in youth by her husband, in old age her son, verily a woman does not deserve freedom’. It means woman should live always under man. But Sharane or saint like Mahadevi found it difficult and ultimately impossible to settle their traditional marriage with her inherent urge to love the lord. In fact this symbolizes the tension between Bhakti and Dharma. God is their first love. Unlike upper caste male saints they need not undergo conversion. They challenge their parents, by escaping marriage in one of several ways. They attain God by single minded love as Andal does, or win him by extreme forms of worship and sacrifice, and as does Rekavve, who use a piece of her own flesh to complete the Lords garland because she can not find a flower. Or they may obtain their divine lover as a courtesan; this is how Virasangavva manages to win Shiva. Another possibility to become transformed into an unmarriageable old woman, like Avvai, or into a male God’s grace, as Tilakavve does. Finally the woman may simply renounce marriage. Goggavve is so stubborn that she refuses to marry the disguised Shiva; even when he threatens to kill her she does not yield. The woman saint like Akkamahadevi however is not typically bound to a man.  Instead she is dedicated at an early age to god-
  • .I love the handsome one
He has no death
No decay or form
No place or side
No end or birthmarks
I love him O Mother Listen
I love the beautiful one
With no bond nor fear
No clan no land
No landmarks
For his beauty
So my lord,
Channamallikarjuna
Is my husband

  • Take these husbands who die
Decay, and feed them
To your kitchens fires

She does not care for the living as she has full faith on what she does-

  • For hunger
There is the town’s rice in the begging bowl
For thirst there are tanks, streams, wells
For sleep there are ruins of temples
For soul’s company I have you O lord
Channamallikarjuna

  • Make me go from house to house
With hands stretched for alms
If I beg make them give nothing
If they give make it fall to the ground
If it falls before I pick up
Make a dog to take it
Channamallikarjuna 

It is very significant that Mahadevi is called ‘Akka’ i.e. elder sister, which separates her from marital roles. Her devotion was no mere mental discipline which enabled her to achieve liberation while performing traditional roles. It was an all-consuming, disruptive emotion which turned the normal world of social roles upside down.

In the next phase the woman saints further defies social norms and taboos. For instance they rebuke men for the sexual advances, and teach them a lesson when they treat them as a sex object. In Tamilnadu, Karaikalammai turns into a skeleton before a lust obsessed male. Akka Mahadevi boldly throws away her clothes and with them the investment in society that the division between male and female that differential clothing signifies, abandoning modesty, she walks naked, covered only by her hair. Some of Akka’s most touching poems are in defense of her nudity. This is the most excellent type of protest I ever heard, perhaps only one in human history.  In this phase, like the untouchable and low caste saint, the woman often defies caste hierarchy. She usually teaches a lesson to an upper caste man, a priest, an elder, or even a senior saint, by some miracle or piece of wisdom. Feminists may have to get inspiration from these types of protests and philosophy.   

Conclusion:

It is said that Mahatma Gandhi while presiding over the Indian National congress in Belgaum, Karnataka, remarked that what he was trying to do in India had in a way been done by Basava in the 12th century. Sharanas tried to integrate their radical and revolutionary ideology into a strategy of radical and revolutionary re-structuring of society in Karnataka along lines which challenged the ruling system on every crucial issue.