My biggest peeve about Chennai is the fact that it often seems to be on an exploratory mission up its own culturally superior posterior. Yes, it has terrible weather and rank filmi politicians and many other ills that put it in the list of bad Indian cities, but that is infrastructure and we Indians know deep in our heart that only a Chinese-style suspension of democracy will fix that problem so why even bother discussing it? It is this illusion of cultural superiority that I am speaking of. I mean, here is a city that prides itself on blending traditional and modern when, in reality, beyond the paneer rubber masala next to the sambar rice served at Tamil weddings now, there isn’t much blending going on. The real, honest way to render this ‘old meets new’ trope is that the anachronisms stay—even as they use FB and Whatsapp to aid in sustaining regressive social values in a spiffy modern way. The city still does the kind of moral policing that could earn consulting revenue doing training sessions for Saudi Arabia. The cops still demand to see marriage certificates of couples sharing a moment on Marina beach. The city still thinks that beer must be sold only at dens of state-run corruption and—unless silk saris, overrated veg food and formulaic Carnatic boredom is your thing—has no music scene. Yes, the city of Ilayaraja and A.R. Rahman is far too busy in a pointless multiplayer online death match over who is the better one when, truth be told, the creativity and innovation in indie Bolly music far outstrips the mind-numbing electro pop cringefests that play out on local radio all day. Heck, forget Bollywood and its large wallets, music from some of the newer films in Malayalam show more imagination in a single song than entire discographies from here. Yes, we are the ‘knowledgable’ Chennai crowd, the one that applauded a visiting Pak team for its historic win in the last Ice Age, but alas the only thing we don’t seem to be knowledgable about is that we’re stuck in the stagnant morass of our own illusory cultural sophistication. The day we get an inkling of that, I'll say we finally have a chance.
Krish is a techie, blogger, Madras liker and crow lover
Almost all the targets of Krish Ashok’s vents (One Word for a Year-II) seem a counter to some stand taken by someone, and the associated good buzz. It is akin to the advantage enjoyed by the debater whose turn is last. “The world is doing laudatory Chennai 375 montage videos, heck, let me do something different....” This unconvincingly contrarian piece is just that.
Santosh Kumar T.K., Hyderabad
Krish be damned, Chennaiites are the most simple living and the most knowledgeable creatures in the world.
V.N.K. Murti, Pattambi
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
Negatives of Chennai
Cultural sophistication, bad weather, kanjeepuram siks,
generation gap, cultural policing, All know attitude,
Too much democracy, unimagination, copy cats,
applauding the winning visiting pak team.......
So goes the peeves of Krish.
But acknoledge chennaites are most simple living knowledgebale
creatures in the world.
My guess - but strong nevertheless - is that this outpour is not an outcome of a long yearning for a change in the city culturescape. Almost all of his so called "creations" come as a counter to some stance taken by someone, and the associated praise or the good buzz that comes with it. It is akin to the advantage that is enjoyed by the participant in a debate competition whose turn it is the last.
"The world is doing laudatory Chennai 375 montage videos, heck let me do something different..." I admit it is actually quite a disadvantage to be aware of the writer's resumé. It takes away all the objectivity that one needs to appreciate a single piece of work with.
There are several online exhibits including nauseating attempts at pseudo TEDx talks to prove KrishAshok's irritating attempts at being unconvincingly contrarian. "The world likes Nokia 3310/1100, let me do a piece on iPhone 5S"
"The world disses photoshopping and looks down upon vocal processing in singing, let's do a there's-no-modern-work without-any-of-these"
"The world likes old world charm, heck let's do a there's-nothing-wrong-with-modern"
"It's fashionable all over to hate Justin Bieber, but Bieber is actually very talented"
"It's easy to hate pink pants, orange vests heck let's do a there's-nothing-sad-about-pink pants"
"The world laughs at T Rajendar, let's make a cool popcultural rockstar out of him"
"The world likes charming, salubrious Bangalore climate heck let's do a can-it-hold-a-candle-to-Madras" ... well until now
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