வெள்ளி, 23 ஆகஸ்ட், 2013

தமிழ் அறிக - 13




                               TRB: ஆசிரியர் தகுதித் தேர்வு – ஒரு வினாவும் விடையும்

18.08.13 அன்று ஆசிரியர் தேர்வு வாரியம் நட்த்திய ஆசிரியர் தகுதித் தேர்வுக்கான வினாத்தாளைக் கண்டேன். தமிழ்ப் பாடப் பகுதி வினாக்கள் பெரும்பாலும் நேரடியாக இல்லாமல் பொருத்திக் கண்டுபிடிக்கும் வகையில் அமைந்திருந்தன. துறை சார்ந்த அறிவில் ஒருவருக்கு எத்தகைய புரிதல் இருக்கிறது என்பதைக் கண்டறிய இத்தகைய வினாக்கள் உதவும். அவற்றில்  ஒரு வினாவுக்கான விடைகளில் மட்டும் தெளிவில்லை. அவ்வினா:

“பஞ்சியொளிர் விஞ்சுகுளிர் பல்லவம் அனுங்க” – இச்செய்யுளடியில் உள்ள தொடை விகற்பங்கள் யாவை?
A)   ஒரூஉ மோனை, இணை எதுகை, இணை இயைபு
B)   இணை மோனை, பொழிப்பு எதுகை, இணை இயைபு
C)   கூழை மோனை, ஒரூஉ எதுகை, இணை மோனை
D)   பொழிப்பு மோனை, கூழை எதுகை, ஒரூஉ இயைபு

நான்கு விடைகளிலும் இடம்பெற்றுள்ள தொடைகள் மோனை, எதுகை, இயைபு ஆகியவை. தொடை விகற்பங்கள் இணை, பொழிப்பு, ஒரூஉ, கூழை ஆகியவை. 

இது கம்பராமாயணப் பாடல். அழகிய பெண் வடிவெடுத்து இராமனை மயக்க நடந்து செல்லும் சூர்ப்பனகையை வருணிக்கும் பாடலின் முதலடியே இங்கு கொடுக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது. இதில் அமைந்துள்ள மோனை கீழ்வருமாறு:

 ஞ்சியொளிர் விஞ்சுகுளிர் ல்லவம் அனுங்க

பாடலின் முதற்சீரிலும் மூன்றாம் சீரிலும் மோனை அமைந்துள்ளது. இவ்வாறு அமைவதைப் ‘பொழிப்பு மோனை’ என்று யாப்பிலக்கணம் கூறும்.

இவ்வடியில் அமைந்துள்ள எதுகை வருமாறு:

ஞ்சியொளிர் விஞ்சுகுளிர் பல்லவம் அனுங்க

முதல் சீரிலும் இரண்டாம் சீரிலும் எதுகை வந்துள்ளது. இப்படி வருவது ‘இணை எதுகை’ ஆகும்.

இப்பாடலில் இயைபுத்தொடை இருக்கிறதா? இருக்கிறது.

பஞ்சியொளிர் விஞ்சுகுளிர் பல்லவம் அனுங்க

முதற்சீரிலும் இரண்டாம் சீரிலும் இயைபு வருகிறது. ஆனால் இதை தொடை விகற்பமாக இலக்கணப்படி கருத இயலாது. இயைபுத் தொடை என்பது இறுதி எழுத்தோ அசையோ சொல்லோ சீரோ ஒன்றி வரத் தொடுப்பதாகும். இதற்கு விகற்பம் காணும்போது ஓரடியின் இறுதிச் சீரிலிருந்து கணக்கெடுக்க வேண்டும். அதாவது நான்கு சீர் கொண்ட ஓரடியில் இயைபுத் தொடை விகற்பம் காண வேண்டுமானால் நான்கான் சீரை முதற்சீராகக் கொள்ள வேண்டும். மூன்றாம் சீரை இரண்டு எனவும் இரண்டாம் சீரை மூன்று எனவும் முதற்சீரை நான்கு எனவும் கணக்கிட வேண்டும். 

அவ்வாறு பார்த்தால் இவ்வடியில் மூன்றாம் சீரிலும் நான்காம் சீரிலும் இயைபு வந்துள்ளது. தொடை விகற்பம் என்றால் முதற்சீரில் கண்டிப்பாகக் குறிப்பிட்ட தொடை அமைய வேண்டும். இதில் அவ்வாறு இல்லை. மூன்றாம் சீரிலும் நான்காம் சீரிலும் இயைபு வந்தால் அதைத் தொடை விகற்பத்தில் சேர்க்க இயலாது. ஆகவே இப்பாடலடியில் இயைபுத் தொடை விகற்பம் இல்லை என்றுதான் இலக்கணப்படி கொள்ள வேண்டும். 

வினா எடுத்தவர் முதற்சீர், இரண்டாம் சீர் ஆகியவற்றில் இயைபு இடம்பெறுகிறது என்று கருதியிருப்பாரானால் இதில் இணை இயைபுத் தொடை விகற்பம் வருவதாகக் கொண்டிருக்கக் கூடும். அப்படியானால் விடை : பொழிப்பு மோனை, இணை எதுகை, இணை இயைபு என்பதாக அமையும். இப்படியான விடை ஏதும் கொடுக்கப்படவில்லை. 

ஆகவே இவ்வினாவுக்குக் கொடுக்கப்பட்டுள்ள நான்கு விடைகளும் தவறானவை. தேர்வு எழுதியோர் இதனை ஆசிரியர் தேர்வு வாரியத்துக்குத் தெரிவித்து இவ்வினாவை மதிப்பீடு செய்யாமல் நீக்கக் கோரிக்கை வைக்கலாம்.

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ஞாயிறு, 18 ஆகஸ்ட், 2013

A Journey Through the Wind




A Journey Through the Wind


My mother died on 2nd December 2012. We knew six months before that she may not last long.  I thought she may live at the most for a year more.  Even friends and relatives who had visited felt the same way. We differed only in terms of surmising how long she would live. Even then a few of them asked, “Where are you going to ‘keep’ Amma?” ‘Keep’ is the term used in common parlance in this region for burying or cremating. It is common practice to point out to a place and say that so and so was ‘kept’ there. I could not immediately decide on where Amma would be kept.   I was hesitant about deciding on this matter right away. I also had a moral dilemma about discussing this matter while a person was still alive. I felt tormented by these feelings. But at a point it had to be decided.     

 

At present I am a resident of Namakkal city. My native place is Thiruchengodu which is forty miles away. Not  Thiruchengodu proper  but Kootappalli which fell within the municipal limits of Thiruchengodu. The general belief is that wherever one dies one’s body must be kept in one’s native place and that only that will bring rest to the soul. Additional considerations for doing it in one’s native place are that it made it convenient for relatives and others to pay their last respects and to perform all the necessary rituals. I have lost many in my life till now. The deaths of Appuchi (maternal grandfather), Thatha (paternal grandfather), Appan, Paatti (paternal grandmother) and Annan happened one after the other with short intervals. Appuchi was kept in the Koottappalli cremation ground. But my father wanted to keep my Thatha in our own land and so that was done. Appan would often roll on Thatha’s grave and weep or even sleep there whenever he was drunk. Within a year Appan too passed away. Many commented that since he used to lie on his father’s grave his father took him away soon. So we decided not to keep Appan in our land and took him to the cremation ground of the village. Paatti and Annan’s final resting place was also the same. When I say cremation ground of the village what I mean is the cremation ground that belonged to exclusively to the Gounder caste.

   
At present a lot of progress has taken place in Koottappalli. Since it falls within a municipal limit, apartments built by the Housing Board have come up. Big cities that have emerged along with this process have completely linked the village with the city. Earlier it was said that our village was five miles away from the city. But now it has become a part of Thiruchengodu.  Located on the highway between Thiruchengodu and Erode and considered an ideal place for living, Koottappalli has become a very popular place.   The moment I say that I belong to Koottappalli someone or the other would say that he has a relative there. I listen quietly because it would be difficult to explain to him the Koottappalli I am referring to. 
Although the distance between the village and the city has been practically wiped out, the village has retained its individuality in two matters. The first is the temple. The second is the cremation ground. The Housing Board residents and others put up a lot of struggle regarding this. But nothing changed. Under the We, for Ourselves programme they have built a compound wall around the cremation ground and protected it along with a platform for burning and also a stone pillared structure. Till the present time they have allowed no intermingling of castes and have kept it exclusively for themselves. My relatives wanted my mother to be kept there. There was no way a place won’t be given for my mother there. No one could refuse because I have been paying the tax for the village temple without fail. In the village we stay closer to a village called Ayyakkaundanpalayam.   It is not our native place but we have been paying tax for the temple of that village too. That village also has a cremation ground. Those in that village also cannot deny the space. 
I have bought a house in Namakkal and live there. My house is in an area which is part of a village called Kondichettipatti. All along it was under the village panchayat  which  was the local self government unit there. When I bought the house in 2005 and began to live there those in that street had enquired about my caste. They had asked one of my colleagues in the college who resided in the same street. They did not mind my being from any caste but they were hoping I was not a Dalit. My colleague had also asked many in the college about this but it was not easy to find out which caste I belonged to.
I live in  Namakkal district but I don’t  belong there. I was a newcomer to that region.  I moved freely with many different people but I had not linked myself with any caste-based group in the teachers’ association. This is why my colleague was not able to identify my caste. Since many students who thronged around me were Dalits some people had told him that I was a Dalit. But he had no strong proof to confirm the fact. There was a teacher in our college who could use several devious methods to find out someone’s caste. He was a Gounder.  He set a trap for me. Nothing elaborate.  He asked if a bride could  be found for the  son of a relative around our native place.  So one could not avoid talking about caste. 
    
When Kongu Velala Gounders discuss marriage the first thing they would discuss would be the specific group-belonging. If both the parties belonged to the same group they would be related in a way they could not marry. If they belonged to different groups then it was a marriageable relationship. So in accordance to this practice I enquired which group the boy belonged to. The conversation went on and I replied to questions like which group I belonged to and which was my temple and I walked into the trap very easily. The trap door was shut immediately and I was caught in the cage of caste.  So my caste was ascertained through him and the street now knew about it. But they still had doubts.
My wife wears a nose-ring. It is a small single-stone nose-ring. The Gounders of this region do not wear nose rings. Caste is normally ascertained through attire and jewels, through accents in speech, facial features and body structure and the rituals observed.  My wife’s nose ring put our caste to question. Even after confirming our caste some of them asked why my wife was wearing a nose ring. If a person loses two or three children one after the other, there was the custom of piercing the nose of the next child, if it is a girl, and naming it Kuppayi. I had mentioned it to some people. But even then they were not satisfied. They said that even if the nose is pierced for such reasons the nose-ring is removed later; that was the custom among Gounders. Only the hole would remain and the nose- ring would not be worn; only other castes wear nose-rings they argued. Many people hesitated to move closely with us till they were clear about our caste. Somehow we were accepted finally in that street. I could then understand how painful such a situation would be for a Dalit. Even if one lives in such suburban areas the clutches of caste remain. After the street acceptance there was the problem of village acceptance.    
 
Village acceptance involved the temple and the cremation ground mentioned before. Every year in the month of Masi (13th February  to 13th March; the 11th month of the traditional calendar)  some ten fifteen people from the village  would come with a note book to the street. They would explain that there would be a temple festival and that a certain amount of tax had to be paid by the house owners and tenants. The tax had to be paid. Till today I don’t even know where the temple is. But I have been paying the tax for some seven or eight years. What would they do if the tax was not paid? It was understood that they would not permit entry into the village cremation ground. Here also the village cremation ground belonged to the Gounders. If one wanted space there one had to be a Gounder or be from other backward castes. They never collected tax from Dalits because they would acquire rights if they paid the tax. A cremation ground on one side of the lake is well maintained even here.  Like all villages in this village also the Dalits had a separate cremation ground.  Whenever I walked along the cremation ground the thought that I was paying an annual tax for a place there would cross my mind.    
   
Thus I was paying taxes in three places and reserving a place in the cremation ground.  So long as she was keeping good health my mother stayed alone in our native place. It was only towards the last one year that she stayed with us in Namakkal. Once during a regular conversation I asked her as if jocularly, “Tell me, Amma, where should I keep you?” Amma replied indifferently: Keep me anywhere. Which street does a dead body belong to? She knew that there was a confirmed reservation in three different places. She used to ask me angrily why I was paying taxes in three different villages. I used to respond, “Okay, tell me where I should stop paying.” She thought about it and said, “What is the point of opposing the village? Let it be. It is for god, after all. It is okay if you pay. Tomorrow if I die, a cremation ground will be needed to keep me, isn’t it?” I was a little upset that despite knowing all this she did not specify where she would like to be kept. If one could choose one’s own final resting there would be no problems. 


I had to think seriously about the place for my mother when I was forced into that situation. I decided it would be Namakkal. I took that decision because I thought choosing the place where one lived would make it easier to perform the rituals after death. I had also considered donating her body to the medical college. My father-in-law and mother-in-law had donated their bodies this way. An NGO called Uthavum Ullangal had taken the responsibility to take their bodies with all due respect, to the CMC Hospital at Raya Velur. The way that NGO carried out its responsibilities satisfied all the relatives. Namakkal did not have an organisation like that.

Ayya Na Pa Ramasamy is a collector of rare books in Namakkal and his family had signed a document saying their bodies would be donated to the Mohan Kumaramangalam Government Hospital at Salem. A few months ago Ayya’s wife passed away. The hospital made no arrangements to take the body away. They had to take a lot of trouble to reach the body there. Ayya was very upset about the way the hospital administration had behaved. After hearing about that experience I gave up the idea of donating Amma’s body. 

Although I was paying the temple tax, for some reason I was not keen on keeping my mother in the Kondippatti village cremation ground. It was under the control of a particular caste and I would have to go and request permission from people not known to me. Moreover, I passed that way every day on my way to college and it would keep reminding me of Amma. So I decided against it. Namakkal Municipality had a cremation ground. It was a common one for all castes and religions. But it was a garbage dump and gutter water ran through it. Anyone seeing it would not want one’s final resting place to be that. Life has its own problems but must there be so many problems even after death? 
All these thoughts were running through my mind when the young son of a colleague of mine at the college died of blood cancer.  I went for the cremation of that little child and that is when I saw the electric crematorium. It had been newly set up. It was very beautifully maintained with trees and plants and I felt that that was the right place to be after death. So I decided that for Amma it would be the electric crematorium.
It was a common place for all and beyond all castes and religions. But no one could claim even six-foot space there. Within an hour the body is burnt and it gets contained in your palm. The body melts into space as smoke. I sent Amma away in this manner through the wind. Amma was one who lived without knowing anything about the outside world; let her now see all the worlds and be happy. Those who come late to offer condolences ask me where I have kept Amma. I point to my heart. They laugh thinking I am joking. The space in the electric crematorium cannot be claimed by any caste. So where else could I have kept Amma except my heart? Maybe I could say she is where the winds blow.
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குறிப்பு: என் அம்மாவின் இறப்பை ஒட்டி எழுதிய ‘காற்றுவெளிப் பயணம்’ (உயிர் எழுத்து, பிப்ரவரி 2013) என்னும் கட்டுரையின் ஆங்கில மொழிபெயர்ப்பு இது. SPARROW (SOUND & PICTURE ARCHIVES FOR RESEARCH ON WOMEN) என்னும் அமைப்பு வெளியியிடும் SPARROW newsletter ஏப்ரல் 2013 இதழில் வெளியாகியுள்ளது. இதன் ஆசிரியர் C S Lakshmi (அம்பை) ஆவார். அம்பை அவர்களுக்கும் அவ்விதழுக்கும் நன்றி.




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