S Krishna mahadevasiva at hotmail.com
Mon Jun 9 23:02:02 UTC 1997

This post is rather long! Please bear with me for the inconvenience!

>>> Aha! The Kumbakkonam effect!
>Stuff and nonsense

  Aha! I would like to offer the following refrences in order to back
up my arguement and prove that there is "stuff making sense"( as opposed 
to "stuff and nonsense") in what I am trying to convey:-)

1. The following sentences are from "The Man Who Knew Infinity"
( the biography of Srinivasa Ramanujan) by Robert Kanigel published
by Maxwell Macmillan International, 1991)

On Page 17, we find:
"Kumbakkonam was more cosmopolitan than its surroundings, and was a 
center for the work of eye, hand and brain". 

 I realise that he eventually  describes the skills of the craftsmen
of Kumbakkonam, but I submit to you that the same hands that can
weave a sari from silk thread can also fashion a noose out of
sturdy coir:-),:-).
Lest I be accused of sophistry and reading between the lines, let us
pass onto Page 24 of the same book
"In Brahmanically steeped Kumbakkonam, one in five adult males could 
read and write, more than anywhere else in South India with the possible 
exception of Tanjore and Madras itself. Kumbakkonam
Brahmins had a taste for philosophical and intellectual enquiry
, a delight in mental exercise that led one English observer to
pronounce them "proverbial for ability and subtlety". (EMPHASIS MINE)

Please note that this reputation for "subtlety"is restricted to
Kumbakkonam Brahmins alone and doesn't extend to Tanjore, where
educational standards were better.

2. The following quotation is taken from the Marathi book
"MaraThI sattecha utkarSHa" by nyAyamUrti mahAdeva gOvinda
rAnaDe( published by varadA books, puNE, 1995). In the chapter
titled "dakshiN hindusthanAtIl maraThey", he says "kumbhakoN
navAchyA baDyA shaharAt prasiddha marAtha gharANyAncha.....
......... He goes on for the next five pages(which is why I
cannot reproduce the whole text:-)) to describe the achievements
and skills of Kumbakkonam Brahmins. I realise that his comments 
were largely restricted to Marathi speaking Brahmins, but it must
be noted that he uses the adjectives "rAjakAryadhurandharattva" and 
"vidvatta" generically i.e. with respect to all Brahmins from

3. The last quotation is from "History of Andhra Movement"
(Vol 2) compiled by G.V.Subba Rao and published by "The
Committee of History of Andhra Movement"( 1978). On Page 485,
we find under the heading KRISHNA PENNAR:
" The second act of injustice by the Pro-Tamil Madras Ministry
was a veritable "Kumbhakonam", by name the Krishna Pennar
project. Ostensibly, it was said to serve the Rayalseema
people, but was really intended to benefit the Tamil districts
by diverting the Krishna waters to Madras and further South."

  While the first sentence uses the word "Kumbakkonam", the
second line describes what a "Kumbakkonam" is all about.I
would like to remark that the whole text is in English and
NOT Telugu.The original tract was written sometime around March

 I would like to add at this stage that I can bring up many
more references to back my point but am hampered by the fact that
the University of Michigan library, Ann Arbor( where I live)
functions in a peculiar away. Many *rare* books( read 50%
of the books on Indian history/mythology) are stored at the
Buhr facility which is open only between 8 A.M. and 4:30 P.M i.e.
conventional work hours. Since I cannot  look up references
in the Buhr facility, I am forced to rely on the Harlan HAtcher
Graduate Library, where the number of books available on
"Kumbakkonam" and related topics are very few. I am sure that
I can dig up any no of references to back my statetement had 
it not been for the above stated impediment.
  I would like to quote the musicologist-bereaucrat S.Y.Krishna
swamy on Kumbakkonam( This is from his autobiography:"Memoirs of
a Mediocre Man", I am quoting from memory and may get the wording
wrong): "The people of Kumbakkonam are like the local variety
of mosquito, which is  known for its steady, humming noise
and the intensity with which it bites one in the neck."
  If one were to look up the "Indian REview", it is possible to dig
up a letter from a prominent Kumbakkonam citizen written to G.A.Natesan, 
the editor urging him not to use the word "Kumbakkonam"
while refering to any scandal since it would bring disrepute to the

... as a person with strong connections
>to Kumbakonam and the overall Tanjore area

I do realise that one may be familiar with contemporary Kumbakkonam,
but can one claim familiarity with the state of things, terminology
phraseology and lingo as existed 40 years ago or more? Most people
would recognize India, Bharat or Hindustan but how many would recog
nize the word "Juzr"? Yet, Al Beruni the Arabian traveller refers to
India by this term. Likewise, most Indians would recognize Chinese,
Cheenee or Mandarin as being a language of China. How many of
us would recognize " Po To Hua" as being the same?

let me quote 
>N.Raghunathan, the late lead-writer for The Hindu, "Tanjore 
>is innocent of any elevations except for those of mind and 
>soul". 	;-)

With all due respect to N.Raghunathan ( I am aware of the good
work done by him at the Hindu newspaper....he certainly spoke
and could have outspoken many Eton/Harrow/Oxford/Cambridge
educated Britishers in terms of Victorian English), I must
modify his statement:
Tanjore may be largely innocent of elevations except those of mind and 
Thank God it has produced only so many a fiend to be sent to the 
goal, :-),:-)
( KEy Words: Mind, Fiend,Soul, Goal)

We must not forget that the same Ramabrahmam and Seetamma of the
Tanjore dist who gave birth to Tyagaraja also gave birth to Japesan,
Tyagarajas bete-noire:-).

To all those involved in the Brahmans-poking-fun-at-each-other thread
, I am begining to realise that I seem to have started on some kind
of a Akhil Bharat Padayatra. After *skirmishing* in MAharashtra,
I've now come south to Kumbakkonam. I am mentally preparing myself
for some gentleman from Bengal throwing a pebble at me after which
somebody from up north can have his/her chance. :-),:-),:-)( Just 

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