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KKK – Karunanidhi-ji, Kushboo-ji and Kalaviyal April 1, 2010

Posted by Gomathi Reddy in Desi Indian, General, Love and Life, News and Current Affairs, Politics, Uncategorized, Women and Children.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

If this sounds like the Ku Klux Klan, often abbreviated KKK, a far right hate group, then let me explain. The KKK I am talking about, is just the anti-thesis of the white American KKK, in this blog entry.

The Dravidian KKK stands for the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Kalaignar Karunanidhi, the actress Kushboo who was brave enough to face eggs and tomatoes for her statement on pre-marital sex, and Kalaviyal, a literary treatise on pre-marital sex, that is part of the Classical Tamil Literature.  If this sounds a bit like Greek and Latin, let me try to help – No, this is not Greek and Latin, this is Tamil – a Dravidian language that boasts of being the oldest living language, and one which is highly conventionalized. The subject matter of Classical Tamil literature is often highly complex for the uninitiated, but if you talk to a master, like our Chief Minister, Kalaignar Karunanidhi, he would probably simplify the poetry of the first three centuries of the Christian era.   Now why ‘am I beginning to sound like a history teacher – for a reason !

Isn’t all history and related literature a reflection of the times and its people?  So, if the early Christian era Tamilians, spoke of Kalaviyal, even eulogized it from an earlier era, does that mean that we can take a trip down the memory lane or even better, go on a time warp and believe that pre-marital sex is fine by 20th century Tamil standards – Maybe, unless this blog finds its place in the next modernized-Sangam Tamil literature, after I am dead and gone! And the background to this blog entry will not be the Chera genology and Nakkirar’s commentary, but Chief Minister Karunanidhi’s statement and Kushboo’s stance on it, and the Supreme Court’s observations.

But, the real question is, does the current Tamil society believe that anything that is “technically and grammatically correct, as per Tamil literature” is acceptable to us, now?  Aren’t our young people getting into all kinds of personal and health-related issues because of indulgent behavior with their bodies, and the concept of love and sex?

Many young people who come to Chennai, considered the business capital and hub of Tamil Nadu – probably New York to those who are away from their conventional home towns –  get their first fat salaries from IT and ITES jobs, go ahead and experiment with “being modern.”   If you are part of the IT clan, there are plenty of one-evening stands and live-in relationships that you get to know, and begin to accept, as changing times of the society.

If someone, especially the political class,  who are supposed to represent the people and their aspirations, make such completely disconnected statements about references to pre-marital sex being a slur on Indian women, stage walk-outs, pick on public personalities as their eggnog targets, drag the issue for more than 5 years, get media mileage out of it, then wait for an erudite scholarly Chief Minister to make a passing remark about Kalaviyal, then pick the threads from there again to begin moral policing on the younger generation, adding one more vociferous and meaningless statement to the public domain…phew, it beats me!

Where are we today?  While Kushboo’s statement was only meant to showcase the need for women to take care of themselves, while Chief Minister Kalaignar Karunanidhi’s statement was only meant to highlight the fact that these issues tantamount to much ado about nothing and while the Supreme Court’s judgment is an acceptance of the reality of times, I wonder why isn’t anybody talking about supporting data?

Not-for-profit organizations like Nalamdana conduct outreach programs to educate young adults on protecting themselves, from HIV and AIDs.  Jeeva and Nithya Balaji, key personnel at Nalamdama share from their experience that, while reaching out to more than 6000 college students, mostly young women, they were surprised by how little our younger generation understands about safe sex.

Moralities apart, there is enough supporting data in this country to show that educating young people on HIV, AIDs and safe sex, is a must, and it has to be done on a war footing.  Why would our democratically elected representatives, waste their time talking about values of a bygone era – which in any case seems to be only a colonial perception.  Why wouldn’t traditional media talk about the need to protect our young people, and cite the KKK connections to create positive interest in these subjects? Why wouldn’t the learned men of our judiciary make pointed, clear judgments and not make oblique can-also-be-read-the-other-way kind of judgments, skirting real issues?

Why do we wait for others to lead us into living our lives?


1. Giri - April 2, 2010

A few messages:

1. Kushboo or Karunanidhi or any other Citizen of India has a constitutional right to free speech. So, thumbs up to Kushboo for standing up to the goons who wanted to pry away her right to hold an opinion and voice it.

2. Speaking about morality and not creating a literate young nation that can choose for itself is plain simple bigotry.

Spread the light!

Gomathi Reddy - April 2, 2010

Thank you Giri, for sharing your feedback and thoughts.

2. paddy - April 5, 2010

The ‘Dualism’ of TN psyche is very tough to understand ! It was “Periyar’ (EVRamasamy naicker) who poo-poohed virginity/chastity, institution of marriage etc and he described them shackles of women’s emancipation. The custodians of tamil culture would never question EeVeRa but would do so in case of Kushboo ! Their anger is due to ‘How can a woman (non-tamil too !) rubbish the concept of chastity ?’ They would not dare take on EVR or KK on this subject. Ofcourse KK’s comment is a flippant one -more to showcase his knowledge of sangam lit rather than taking a stand on this issue.
However SC’s obervations as interpreted in the media can lead to dangerous trends of destabilising the institution of Indian marriage.
SC never encouraged Pms/liveins but merely upheld individual’s right to speak on the subject. But it has the potential to be misunderstood as ‘licence’ granted by the highest court !

Gomathi Reddy - April 5, 2010

Hi Paddy,
Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

India or for that matter, in any other country, people live according to what works for them. A ‘license to kill’ is required, but a ‘license to live’ is not required :) I am not talking of the moral policing brigade though. Rules and frameworks come into play, only when another individual’s right to live in peace, is in jeopardy. As long as that doesn’t happen, the judiciary and executive have no role to play. Even in this case the SC did make a relevant point – that pre-marital sex and live-in relationships are not an offence, since there is no law that prohibits live-in relationship or pre-marital sex. This is a fact. It does not mean that the SC approves or licenses live-in relationships. In fact, if you look at the recent additions to the law against domestic violence, the purview of the law now covers, domestic violence against women living in live-in relationships. This more or less accords the same status to these relationships as people living in regular-society-approved marriages.

In this case, the SC did rebuke the counsel, and the exact words were, “Please tell us what is the offence and under which section. Living together is a right to life,” the apex court said referring to Article 21 which granted Right to Life and Liberty as a Fundamental Right. And I don’t think young people are the types waiting for the SC or Kushboo, to appove of their ways of life. All this confusion and chaos by politicians is only because of their own lack of knowledge about our constitution and the realities of life, in India, and the media playing truant so that there is some meat for their front pages, and TRP rankings for their channels……for the next few days.

3. adam - May 27, 2010

I would like to know more on how to become a member I’m in SC and have wonted to join ever since my uncle died he helped me understand that I can be part of somting biger than myself can someone help me join in on the fight to a better way of life.

Gomathi Reddy - May 27, 2010

Hello Adam,

Thank you for stopping by. Your request is not too clear to me, and I am not sure, how I can help you. Can you please rephrase your question?


4. sarathkumar - July 14, 2012

indha vayasula ivanukku idhu thevaya

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