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Master Valluvan, the long-misunderstood Tamil Mentor - Part Five

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Master Valluvan, the long-misunderstood Tamil Mentor - Part Five

                            Part Five

Some couplets apart
         much remains redundant
    even obvious
inapt by way of pointing to fresher vistas
  and those that follow the rarity of your verse
imbibe nothing else from this age’s handy cornucopia
           of instant wisdom

Your lines served an eminent purpose in your time
  now we bed our minds down by encyclopaedic libraries
      we live on another planet
Your chain-ganged lines served to teach the meek
         the lame of mind
                the dislocated of your time

Yes some still wallow in the same myth
               not from want of will
but from the fear of rebirth
                imprisoned in conditioned belief

                                  and the essor of Dravidian identity
only defering to the feigned purity of Aryanising blood
       reverts to the same mythic belief
some kind of imagined power of breed

History is in the past
        It cannot help the present to liberate itself
If one has not understood the difference
If one has not disowned and let fall meaningless myths

If you dear Valuvan lived in these times
Would you not have disowned your own lines

well perhaps some or more
      not all finding their way into a florilège of your choice

for you know how love in the third part changed with moeurs
         changing with the times
so has the art of governance
      and the unconscionable ways and practices of the artha classes
other precautions more pressing than mere friendship
    would have compelled you to jettison many a couplet

Who knows even your first ten would have found their way
             into a bin
ethical lines of advice
              would turn sour in today’s ear

No child would heed to the letter your admonitions on behaviour
    Nor no wife take her place in the humiliating role of kitchen-helper
No political king will base his reign on your strict plans of concern for etiquette
    No youth seek virtue in the puritanical preachment of bygone observances

One singular contention:
                                     No peasant revolution
                   No women’s liberation
     No religious reformation
                                          grace your pages
the establishment the status quo the traditional hierarchy the Almighty
     All find mindful foundation
in your ardent didacticism
and extend licence to those who cry sacrilege
in the coming dismantling of the clans of castial power

(Continued in Part Six)

Copyright © T Wignesan

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  1. Date: 6/3/2012 5:06:00 AM
    yes, the times have changed. :)