World Beyond Illusion

Tag: Obviously Privileged

‘Enjoy Enjaami’ is a lot bigger than you think

Image Source: Pinterest

“Enjoy Enjaami” is all over the internet. As of now, the internet sensation has 178 Million views on Youtube only in the few weeks of its release. And if you still haven’t heard it then you must be living under a rock. But on the other hand, this gives you more of a reason to watch this video and understand that in the world of the exhaustive list of chart-toppers with monotonous melodies just to repeat the success of the previous one, this Tamil song comes with new sounds, fresh vibe packaged with history, artistry, and meaning.

About The Song


Enjoy Enjaami is a song by Arivu and Dhee, both Tamil Independent Artists, and the music is composed by Santhosh Narayan, a popular name in the Tamil film Industry. The song came out from the production house Majjaa, which is a tech – platform by AR Rahman to promote South-Asian indie artists on a global scale, without compromising the creative control of the artists.

Though “Majja” has produced the song yet they don’t own the right of the song, it is all the artists who have the copyright. This “artist-centric” approach of the platform allows the artist to be vocal about the things that matter to them. And this freedom helps the rapper Arivu to pen down such politically conscious lyrics and make a strong statement about his identity and the politics around it on the song.

Understanding The Lyrics

The song’s lyrics take inspiration from the history of Aruvi’s ancestors, the Jaffna Tamils or Sri-Lankan Tamils or Ceylon Tamils who were landless laborers in Sri-Lanka for generations and then were forcefully sent back to India in the 1960s under ‘Sirima-Shastri Pact’, resulting in their separation from the families they made in Sri-Lanka over the years.

This story is told in form of a conversation between Aruvi & his grandmother ‘Valliamma’ who was one of those Ceylon Tamils. Aruvi asks her about how she procured that “Shrink bag with betel and nuts.” That “what magic did (she) do”. She answers with “(As a) Blessing to lead a good life, our ancestors have bequeathed us this soil. Across the river banks and on the fertile fields, our forefathers have sung through their life.” After hearing this story Aruvi realizes that “Bitter Gourd in my canopy, it has given us seeds, left by our mom and dad (ancestors).”

Aruvi made very clever choices of words and metaphors while writing this song. It speaks of the oppression of marginalized communities through the words like

• “Lilly is making fun of me” (the privileged think that they are superior),


• “The lakes and ponds belong to the dogs, foxes, and cats too.” (Public resources being denied to the people classified as untouchables, but should be equally accessible for everyone),


• “The hen is laying the egg. Who dolled up the peacock? Algae spreading its green. Nest arranged by tiny twigs.” (The marginalized are always denied of their due credit when they’re the ones working hard for the success of people, the peacock, who gets it all)


• “I planted five trees. Nurtured a beautiful garden. My garden is flourishing. Yet my throat remains dry.” (It directly connects to the history of those landless laborers who gave away their life working in fields, making gardens for someone else and got nothing but pain & oppression in return)

The actual brilliance of ‘Enjoy Enjaami’ begins apart from this story because even after years of oppression that still continues Aruvi doesn’t demand revenge but hopes for an egalitarian society where everybody believes that

• “Swimming frog in the water is the sister of the caterpillar” (We all are humans first, that is all we need to exist together happily)


• Where everything is “our sea, our bank, our forest, our people, our lands, our clan, our place, and our track.”

This message is the core of ‘Enjoy Enjaami’ like the word Enjaami has two meanings, one is ‘my dear’ and the other is ‘my lord’ (what marginalized people used to call their master/bosses in the old times). Hence this song is a song of love, a song of hope, inviting all who is dear and who were/are the oppressors to end their differences, to end their foolish quarrels under this pointless social hierarchy and “come together as one” to enjoy & celebrate this wonderful world and their people as our equal.

Understanding The Symbolism

Through the lyrics, Arivu has courageously told the story of his people, but apart from the lyrics the signs of resistance, breaking stigmas and a peek in his culture were all over in the music and visuals too. The creators have brilliantly placed them in the right place, complimenting the song and sending the message strongly.

• Arivu other than her Valliamma has also tributed Mukul Paranthaman, a scholar who collected folk songs all his life and publishing them as books. And from one of his works only, Arivu performed an Oppari bit in the song. He sang “I planted five trees. Nurtured a beautiful garden. My garden is flourishing. Yet my throat remains dry” expressing the grief of his ancestors. Oppari is a folk song tradition, but traditionally sung in death ceremonies is now a dying ancient art but after Arivu adding it is probably one of the biggest songs of the year hopefully changes this.


• The song incorporates the Parai drumming; it is the part of the traditional dance Paraiattam in Tamil culture where people dance to the rhythm of Parai. But, the caste-aligned history of the instrument only associates it with the Dalit community, and the stigma around it that it is only played at funeral procession is also inaccurate as historically it has been played in the courts of Cholas and Pandiyans. Though many are working towards bringing respect to the art form, incorporating Parai in a song that celebrates life not and not death is a very strong statement by the creators to the society.

• The visuals focus multiple times on the land, close-up shots where hand approaches land showing the attachment of the people to the lands. Those lands make them remember the struggle of their people and that same land holds their bright future. Valliamma has done menial jobs to educate Arivu’s mother which later on gave freedom to Arivu to follow his passion, music. That’s why he gives the whole credit of the song to Valliamma.

Final Thoughts

In a world where people at top of the social hierarchy, celebrate the life of their ancestors who have been warriors or politicians, who feel proud of their strength and valor, Arivu wearing his identity on his sleeves and talking about the exploitation of his ancestors faced, unapologetically is very inspiring. Yet, he is not filled with hate and does not want revenge, he hopes for a better future for everyone. And that’s why he sings enjoy my dear and come together as one.

Share This:

Does ‘Black Lives Matter’ in India?

Image Source: Pinterest

The now superpower America is in news again, but not because of being the worst affected country from Covid-19 or some stupid remarks by their president but for something more serious. A black man named George Floyd was murdered by a policeman in broad daylight for using a counterfeit bill of 20$ in a store. But unlike Indians, American people didn’t validate the police’s reaction instead they asked “why for such a petty crime the guy was killed so brutally? Why police need to perform judgment on the street like an uncivilized barbarian?” maybe like us Indians they are not fans of encounter or movies where the policeman is a violent superhero who kills for justice.

Now when the video of the whole crime scene broke the internet, the people started to react and took to streets even in the whole pandemic situation against police brutality and which is specifically targeted against the African-Americans. The incident is new but the reason behind isn’t, the long history of slavery and treatment of blacks in America has affected generations, though steps are being taken still systemic racism prevails.

When the whole movement of Black Lives Matter went global, Indians have also started responding to it; even many public figures have spoken (who are apolitical by the way). But after this, a new debate took birth that we are hypocrites because we outrage selectively as most people have never condemned police brutality or racism in our country. People have been saying that “privileged turn a blind eye to racism in India as it strengthens their ease of living” And yes we are obviously privileged and ignorant so we don’t have a clear answer to it so the next best step was to educate ourselves and here is what we have found.

Are We Historically Racists?

One may say Black Lives Matter doesn’t make sense in India because we are neither black nor white but a brown race, racism is a foreign concept” and this is true. The creators of The Vedas, Aryans have emigrated from Iran to India and they had wars with the original residents of Indian subcontinent Dravidians but these wars were for the control of land and cattle not because of skin color. If we go look back to that very first document, we can find the earliest classification”VarnaVyavastha”, which was based on occupation, which assigned Brahmans with education, Kshatriyas with fighting and ruling, Vaishyas with business and Shudras with craftsmanship.

Later in history powerful people have improvised it according to their convenience and linked it with birth and declared noble occupations with high status and unclean occupations with low status and that’s how you get a 3000-year long history of discrimination but that is the story to tell on some other day.

The discovery of different sea routes connecting continents facilitated the trade business but it was quickly followed by the idea of invasion. Muslim invaders came to India in the early 8th Century and but during their dominance the discrimination based on the skin was still not happening, even though the invaders were light-skinned.

Then came The Englishmen, people with different facial features and ego of considering themselves intelligent & superior. It changed everything. In their rule, entry of “Black Indians” was prohibited in restaurants and educational institutions with boards outside stating “Indians and dogs not allowed.” But Britishers were outnumbered they can’t run a foreign country without the help of natives so they start employing light-skinned Indians by providing them low-status jobs. And the skin prejudices formed a new system where light-skinned were allies and they were getting more benefits than their black counterparts.

Britishers even formed settlements named “White Town” and “Black town”. And this went on for two hundred years which forms the common notion of White Skin with power, desirability, and beauty. As the already prevailing caste system coupled with skin color made the discriminatory situation so worse that it still exists, seemingly invincible.

Systemic Racism in India

As we are evidently not a British colony now but we are still not free from the concept of white supremacy. The uncle who always complains about the western influence on you is right about this racism bit. The lengths of trouble we all go to make our skin tone light or keep it fair are the evidence of it. The concept of beauty is directly proportional to the fairness of the skin. All the beauty products are basically “tone down skin tan” products. The business on an individual’s insecurity is a multibillion-dollar industry and they are successful just because we as a society are racist.

No matter how much we glorify the sacred bond of marriages which is basically the matrimony of souls is plain bullshit when your matrimonial advertisement says “fair bride or groom required”. You definitely are marrying flesh and blood instead of souls for sure and maybe that is why products to make your genitals clean & fair are in the market too (no kidding).

Similarly, A policymaker needs to be unbiased but in this case, they aren’t. Politicians too are racist and many have made derogatory remarks in past, one such example is of Tarun Vijay, a BJP MP who said “if we were racists, we wouldn’t be living with south-Indians” and he made this statement on national television after an African student was attacked. This is unacceptable as people like him deciding our future will make sure to maintain a biased society.

All mainstream media hire “fair” people. You can simply get an idea from counting the number of movies you have seen with a dark-skinned protagonist, which is simply none, at least in the mainstream. Whether they are TV shows, or ads or news anchors wherever you see a face it is fair-skinned, which tacitly establishes the notion that fairness is required for success.

So, the idea of fair skin as a blessing and dark skin as a curse is not true but its omnipresence in the system is enough to mess up lives. Talent and beauty simply rejected for its color.

Why Racism is Poisonous?

Englishmen considered blacks as animals and no doubt on some level we do too. After labeling them unworthy of beauty and success we went one level below and denied their human existence.

“Kala” is a word in the Hindi language which means black but used as an insult. The tone of it is disrespectful and a reminder that you are not one of us. Thanks to caste system lower caste have been associated with low-status jobs thus making them work in fields rather than cubicles. So We presumptuously label them as unhygienic just because they are dark-skinned. Not sharing food with them, not bringing them to your place or going to theirs, and treating them as filth.

The north Indians are fairer in skin color than people from other parts of India so they have different insults for them like “Madrasi”, “Bihari”, “Bengali”. Some northeast Indians are also insulted with the calls of “Nepali” or “Cheeni (Chinese)”. Again the disrespect in the tone generally implies that they are inferior, unhygienic, foreign, and thieves by nature.

Hate crimes in India against the Africans are not invisible. Mostly Nigerians came to India for better education and life but it becomes their worst experience. There are more than a million Nigerians in India. They face racism at every turn. They are considered drug dealers and prostitutes and called “monkey” and whatnot. The inhumanity of various incidents of a mob attacking Nigerians just because of prejudices is a serious matter. As these people came here to know the very culture that we all are very proud of but will only know that we Indians treat others as animals.

Conclusion

Protests are ongoing in America, we have seen violence too but you can’t argue that with systemic racism for eternity. You can’t hack the movement by saying “All Lives Matter” as not everyone is facing racism right now. In this time where we are boycotting foreign products and moving on a way to be self-reliant then we should boycott racism first. When an Indian gets attacked in a foreign country we condemn it and show our outrage but when we attack an African and justify or defend it as them being potential threat then yes we are nothing but hypocrites.

When we debate about merit in professions and deprive opportunities to others because of their skin color yes it made us hypocrites. When we say God created all men equal and every soul beautiful then do not treat them as such then yes we are hypocrites. If I ask you to trade your life with a dark-skinned person, will you? If not then yes you are both racist and hypocrite.


Even if this realization comes as shocking, all is not lost. There is a future tomorrow and we can free it from this evil if we begin to change right now. Change our attitude, build our understanding, and build a world where equality is not just a word.

Share This:

Crime Against Women and The Reason in our heads

Image Source: Pinterest

We live in a country where there are multiple cultures, languages, ancient heritage, and whatnot. We are led to believe that there’s nothing to feel but pride. The pride that you live in this country that inhabits diversity, unity, and hospitality.

At the same time, We want to compete with everyone who is not us, to show our deserved superiority. But a woman who resides here is still unsafe from all kinds of atrocities committed against her kind and even though most of us feel disgusted by the fact, we don’t try to make an effort to change it. Rather, we have an opinion of why it happens or to put it another way, whose fault it is. This time, we urge you to try to at least understand what ordeal we’re facing exactly and why it matters?

WHERE WE STAND

According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), there were 3,59,849 crimes against women in total in 2017. It means in less than 2 minutes a crime is committed against a woman, that is a lesser amount of time it’d take you to read this blog.

27.9% of these crimes (about 1,00,398 cases) are of ‘Domestic Violence’ which reflects the ingrained fallacy of our presumptuous culture.

20.5% are of Kidnapping/Abduction, 21.7% are of ‘Intent to outrage modesty’ (i.e. The crimes that just stop short of penetration) and 7% amounts to 32,559 reported rape cases. It is important to note that a majority of such crimes go unreported due to fear of society, unawareness of crime and threats given to the victim, etc.

According to the above data, a woman/girl is raped every 15 minutes in this country (considering only reported cases), which is a scary figure on its own.

You might think that this is bad but not the worst, that we’re doing better than most of the world. Though such competitive thinking on this subject is deplorable, still to free you from your delusion lets look at the following facts.

Thomson Reuters Foundation, a charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, based in London surveyed 550 experts on women issues in 2011 to find out the top 5 worst countries for women. India was in the fourth position.

In 2018 they did the survey again to find out how much effort those countries made to put the trouble in the grave. This time, shockingly, India was at the 1st place. Even the war-torn countries like Afghanistan and Syria were at 2nd and 3rd place respectively.

The survey was performed on six criteria namely HEALTHCARE, DISCRIMINATION, CULTURAL & RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS, SEXUAL VIOLENCE, NON-SEXUAL VIOLENCE, HUMAN TRAFFICKING. Each country was given a rating from 1 to 10 in each of the above criteria. (1 being the worst)

Ratings for India were:
HEALTHCARE = 4
DISCRIMINATION = 3
CULTURE & RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS = 1
SEXUAL VIOLENCE = 1
NON-SEXUAL VIOLENCE = 3
HUMAN TRAFFICKING = 1

All of this is sufficient to conclude that we’re not as good as we ignorantly believe.

WHO’S TO BLAME

Now that we’ve acknowledged that the problem is real, it’s time to think about where it originates from and why? To put it bluntly, the answer to this question is not brief, but we fail to accept that. And hastily try to pin this problem on someone or something. It is because of two things, 1. The subconscious desire to prove that you know the answer to everything and there’s nothing left for you to learn. 2. A desperate attempt to find a reason no matter how little sense it makes.

Due to the above reasons, we conclude that The Inappropriate Clothing of the Victim, Suspicious character of the victim; Negative effects of modern films, online streaming content, pornography or other media on the males, etc lead to rape of a woman/girl. Let’s scrutinize each of them to figure out if they’re true.

To blame the clothing or the character of the victim rather than the mentality of the person who committed the crime is lamentable, because if that was true then what should be the clothing of a child that was barely few months old and what should be the character of a 70-year-old woman who could barely stand, to avoid rape.

Another common thing supposed to be the cause of rape is modern television & film media, pornographic content, etc. Even though an effect to a certain degree due to these things can’t be denied but to say that the whole rape culture is due to these provocations seeded into our minds is just plain bullshit, because if we look into history, the rape culture existed long before any of the above things were invented by mankind.

In Indian mythology, the rape of Ahlya where Indra disguised himself as her husband Gautama; the rape of Vrinda, the wife of demon Jalandhar, by Vishnu disguising himself as Jalandhar and the rape of Araja by Danda, son of Ikshavaku, are few of many evidence of rape culture & misogyny throughout our history.

What’s more disturbing about the above examples is the treatment given to the victim in these stories. Ahlya was turned to stone by Gautama; Vrinda cursed Vishnu to turn into the stone then jumped into a pyre and later She took birth as Tulsi and married off to her rapist (Shaligram); Araja was told by Shukracharya to do Tapasya and ‘purify’ herself.

This proves that the origin of these atrocities lies somewhere else than our common belief. It proves that our perspective and our culture have always been cruel to women and the misogyny is too old in this country for the blame to be put on any form of media we produce now. It means that we can’t find a solution unless we first understand the root of the problem.

HOW TO SEE

We’ve come far ahead in terms of technology and science but we’re still lacking a lens that will correct our blurry vision towards these crimes. We associate rape cases to shame, the shame of the victim and its family to be precise. Even some news articles refer to the victim as ‘shamed women’.

Does a question need to be asked here why a woman has to bear the shame? She is the victim of crime!! The one who should be ashamed is the rapist and the rapist only. We don’t put shame on the victim of theft, assault, etc. so why should a rape victim be different. She should be allowed to live her life with her head held high. And instead of criticizing her lifestyle, you should criticize the rapist’s mentality and the custom of our patriarchal society which denies the fact that a woman is just as much a human as a man, that she’s not an object or property of her father, family or husband.

A Road To Find A Cure

Even though questioning things is necessary but we can’t find a solution just with that. The very thing needed for a cure is the realization that this is first a problem of the society & culture than a problem of the government. As the government can only punish the crime but an educated society can prevent it.

The role of government is to recognize even the microscopic roots & branches of misogyny in all shapes & forms and then take steps to uproot it.

Our role as an individual and a society is to educate ourselves that a woman and her wishes & decisions are just as important as that of a man, that thought of rape or any other crime against her itself is a crime and should be killed right at its birth. To teach each other the same. To educate everyone the difference between good and evil and to grow out of misogyny imposed by traditions, gods, pride, and stupidity.

Share This:

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén