Re. Black and Bright and Beautiful

Maran Kathirchelvan maran_kathirchelvan at HOTMAIL.COM
Sun Nov 12 14:58:54 EST 2000

Vanbakkam Vijayaraghavan states rather authoritatively:

>But generally many Tamils refer to Africans as 'karuppargal'
>meaning blacks - with the assumption that they are not blacks

I am surprised that Mr. Vijayaraghavan, who has demonstrated  his scant
familiarity with the Tamil langugage in this list, continues to make such
authoritative statements.  "Karuppan" is a common name that Tamils use for
themselves.  I wonder how Mr. Vijayaraghavan can come to the conclusion that
Tamils assume that they are not black.  Tamils don't identify themselves as
whites or browns either.

>'Apprikka Azhage' meaning African beauty , is used as a snide
>remark even by 'dravidian' politcal[sic] parties

Mr. Vijayaraghavan has made this statement very frequently.  With his
previous assertions in this list that the word "thondai" means heart and
that the words "saivam" and "vaiNavam" entered the Tamil language in the
post-British era,  he has demonstrated that he does not know Tamil (literary
or colloquial).  And yet he continues to make unfounded assertions! I would
like him to cite a reference to support his claim that "'Apprikka Azhage'
meaning African beauty , IS USED  as a snide remark even by 'dravidian'
political PARTIES."

That there is a complexion consciousness in modern India is undeniable and
it cuts across the spectrum of the Indian society.  But that does not imply
that things were always so in India.  As the citation from Kampa rAmayaNam
shows, as late as the 13 Century C.E., Tamil poets were still singing the
praise of dark complexion.  If Mr. Vijayaraghavan can add scholarly insight
to this discussion, that will be welcome.  But it is disappointing to read
continual mischaracterizations from Mr. Vijyaraghavan whose Tamil language
credentials are suspect.


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