Brahman divisions

S Krishna mahadevasiva at
Sat Jun 7 02:15:43 UTC 1997

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>From: Lars Martin Fosse <l.m.fosse at>
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>Subject: Re: Brahman divisions
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>>          The only exception of sorts i.e. where people make fun
>>of Brahmins coming from a PLACE as opposed to a SUBSECT seems to
>>be in the case of Kumbakkonam town. The well known "Kumbakkonam
>>business/Kumbakkonam effect " seems to be true of all Brahmin natives 
>>this town irrespective of origin/subsect.
>Excuse me, but this is getting very interesting: What is the well known
>"Kubakkonam business/Kumbakkonam effect"?
>Lars Martin Fosse

  Aha! The Kumbakkonam effect! The town of Kumbakkonam ,located on the 
Cauvery is known for the intellectual quality of its Brahmins i.e
Srinivasa Ramanujan, the mathematician, M.S.Swaminathan,the agricultural 
scientist and the eminent Dewan-politician Sir Tanjavur Madhava Rau, to 
name a few, are all natives of this place(The last
named gentleman was a distinguished politician of the last century
who manged the unique feat of making it to the dewanship of three 
different Indian states and there are writings by people of the likes of 
Mahatma Gandhi refering very respectfully to the good work done by him 
in various states.) In the last part of the 19th century, the 
localcollege was the pre-eminent educational institution in South India 
and earned the sobriquet " Oxford of South India". But if the Brahmins 
of this town were capable of great intellect, they were equally well 
known for their skill at the art of intrigue. There were any number of 
Kumbakkonamites who went to become DEwans in the native Indian states. 
The writings of quite a few people i.e. S.Y.Krishnaswamy,S.Krishnaswamy 
Iyengar, M.G.Ranade( yes, M.G.Ranade of Bombay), J.Chartres Molony refer 
to the intellectual/intriguing skills of the natives of this town in 
different contexts. 
  I guess that the term "Kumbakkonam effect" is an "extinct"
term now, but if one were to peruse writings, debates originating
in Madras of the 30s and 40s, then one would encounter this term
to describe a situation where there was more than what met the eye
at first sight. I remember this term being used frequently in the
"Indian Review"( edited by the legendary G.A.Natesan).


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