the imfartance of being aravindan kannaiyan

January 28, 2016

The first part here: the importance of being aravindan kannaiyan.

Rushpucted Saars & Meydums – unfartunately for you, there is no speeling mushtake in the tightle; so, interpret it if you must, on an ‘ass is where is’ basis, though it is gastly.

The thing is that, slander happens rather too easily in the world of Tamil Literature, what with its half-baked & clueless charlatans running amok – but to set it right, to show the twisted bent of mind behind the slander, takes a bloody loooong essay.

So, sorry fellers – for, this second and last instalment; there won’t be anymore of ‘eulogizing the glory of HH Aravindan Kannaiyan’ on this blog, hopefully – and don’t you worry too much about my insanity! I am happy to report that I continue to be my normal mad self! And, I do not apologize for the sad fact that, this blog entry is nearly 3000 words in length –  yes, THREE THOUSAND freakin’ words wasted on confronting cretinous slander, even as I correctly read your gasp!

So, patience, patience


I know that, given the nature of the discourse and the very erudite & incessant Contrarian faffing that goes on elsewhere – things can only steadily go downhill from here, all the way down to the centre of our bloody earth, that is! Of course, knowing myself helps. Such is the nature of things and the gravity of the situation.

But then, am repeating my fervent slogan. Yes.


Yes. The problem with the Internet and its  poor adopted cousin ‘the Web’ is that – any idiot with a reasonable connection to it can utter, deliciously random pearls of wisdom, and soon enough, there will be enough fellow wastrels who will not only not read it, but also pretend to go gaga over it.  Believe me, it happens to me all the time. I happily get carried away by all the fluff.

Idioticus Indicus and more specifically, its sub-species called NRIus Arrogantus is a strange, self-serving creature indeed. Even as I know this for a gaspel truth, I do not take myself very seriously either. But unfortunately, not many folks seem to have this level of mental imbalance, the case in point being, tada:


This lack of meta-cognition (Read: Unskilled and Unaware of it) is what is driving folks to say absolutely blasphemous things with all sincere conviction – and forces them to make enormous fools of themselves. A truly larger than life picture indeed!

I do not have a problem with AK being generally uninformed. But when he makes a virtue of it and revels in ignorance, and is in love with his own supposed greatness, I think, there is a debilitating mental condition.

One should first read the unbelievable trash that my friend Aravindan Kannaiyan (AK)  has painstakingly written, an example of stuff that he continues to write these days  – if you have not already done that, please spend a few minutes at – Asokamithran, Ilayaraja, Vijaykant and a Feudal Society: Thou Shalt Not Question

This incredible & nonsensical verbal diarrhoea of AK has a bunch of things – but the central theme is that, India continues to be feudal.

But, I am tossing this central premise. By now, am sure AK has no rudiments in Sociology or Political Science (or for that matter, in Literature too!) whatsoever. All his corpus of corpulent knowledge, apparently stems from Objectivism. That too from that great  fellowsuffer, Grand Ma’am AynRand! Mommeee!!

And again, India is the land of pulses. Like toordal. Like uraddal. Like moongdal. Likewise feudal. Simple, no?

Ah, I  understand now, our AK’s IT trained, Amerikki citizened mighty train of thought.

Bravo AK, whattey youthful dalliance, I say! India is an obvious home to feudal, indeed!

Glory be unto thee, O’ my Lord, my AK God, glory be unto thee!


Okay; AK has made use of three incidents/happen-stances to bolster his premise – 1) Asokamitran’s essay 2) Vijayakanth Spat 3) Ilayaraja-JokerJournalist Spat. Of these, I am taking into consideration only the first; AK is of course, out of his shallow depth in the case of the other two too, but then, it is besides the pointlessness of his.

Even with that, I am tossing all the incredibly silly value judgements and self-righteous indignation of my friend – including a kludgey broadside on the prose-style of Asokamitran – all this, by reading only a few of the rather rich oeuvre of this Author; incidentally, AK’s friend Jeyamohan has written a fine and short essay on Asokamitran’s place in the modern Tamil literature, which AK has not bothered to read, am sure. (நமது கோட்டையின் கொடி)

What Asokamitran has written for ‘Tamil Hindu’ was essentially a light hearted, self-deprecating kind of an essay, which nostalgically looks at a few past events. There is nothing feudal in it, unlike what Professor AK seems to infer from it.

However, I am not looking either – at AK’s  grand statement ‘Asokamithran is the quintessential bourgeoise middle class citizen‘ or at his accounts of the Emergency period under Indira Gandhi and much else. There are so many uncalled for assumptions stemming from an essentially asinine attitude & massive ignorance, hiding in there. But then, what else can one expect from the likes of AK?

So, I am  considering only the text spun by AK around the affairs regarding Doctor Zhivago.  Like ‘That the authors could be bought over by an Empress deigning to speak to them shows a dangerously feudal society.’

I am also going to comment on the rather sad and sarcastic commentary of AK – ‘By the way Indira could not have contemplated banning Dr. Zhivago the book since it was published in 1957‘ – a dastardly innuendo hinting that Asokamitran pretty much lied.

In fact, it is this uncalled for lie of AK, which prompted me write my tirade (this!) against the most venerable AK.


Now, I feel that I am competent enough to write about the above two incredible pearls of wisdom of AK, because of the following four reasons:

1. I am a lucky dog; in the past nearly 45 years that I have been reading good (um, okay, let me also sheepishly admit to this – I have also read AynRand; oh, the wasted days of my youth…)  books, I have had a very reasonable exposure to the best of the so called ‘world literature’ in all its unending richness – and as part of this, I have read practically every word that Asokamitran has written; Including a few nice and scholarly translations (N Kalyan Raman!) of his work to angrezi.  As part of a ‘little magazine’ group, I have visited and chatted up with him quite a few times, he was a sweet feller, but all these happened more than 25 years back!

I like my Asokamitran. I respect him for what he is and what he has contributed. I also take him as a package. (I would  say almost the samething about AK’s friend Jeyamohan too, but for the fact that I would perhaps have only read circa 60% of what Jeyamohan has written)

2. I have a reasonable understanding of Indira Gandhi’s (née Ghandhy)  psyche, I think – based on what I have read about&by her and her dad – and chatting up with a few officers who were working with her at various points. I also happened to reasonably know G. Ramanujam, the great INTUC leader – and thru’ him have already gotten to know about a few interesting facets of this grand ma’am.

3. Subsequent to my reading of AK’s despicably random info-mongering, I chatted up with two much retired IAS officers who were then closely working with Indira Gandhi, about the details of this Zhivago affair, relevant to India. I also spoke to my really ageing Marxist friends/scholars, about the continued trend of  going after ‘banning Dr. Zhivago affair’ – I respect them a lot for their balanced worldview and knowledge of intellectual controversies of that bygone era. I did not talk to any angrezi newspaperwallah or some other hack about the subject, though I could have. This is because, I am generally losing respect for many of these so-called journalists, especially the current newshound breeds.

4. I also reread & combed through the relevant parts of the book –  ‘The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book‘ by Peter Finn and Petra Couvee, to brush up my memories of things past.

Screenshot from 2016-01-26 17:41:28

This book reads like a fantastic crime thriller, with all kind of interesting tidbits about international espionage, human rights, Nobel shortlistings, CIA, KGB, MI6  and assorted conspiracy theories – all in the background of publishing a book, lovely; strongly recommended.


My takes about the whole affair are as under:

A. Unlike what AK probably thinks and positively hints at,  Indira Gandhi was a very well read person, though there have been random rumours to the contrary; it appears to me that, she probably would have read many more books in a given year than, what AK (or for that matter, yours truly!)  has so far perhaps read in his life time;  (I do not know how well read AK is about scholarly books that he quotes extensively from, mostly in random contexts; am beginning to get more and more sceptical with his put-on wikipedian and googlean erudition.)

B. Nehru was also a very well read person (to say the least) though he was not very knowledgeable in the Indian traditional phenomenological systems and forms of enquiry – in fact, it appears to me that, he was contemptuous of them; however,  Nehru seems to have read many of the ancient western classics/philosophies, though the daughter does not seem to have been immersed in them as she went for relatively modern classics. However, this father and his daughter, apparently used to spend significant amounts of time discussing literature, international politics and much else.

C. There was this Italian super-rich man – from a monarchist/fascist supporting family background called, Giangiacomo Feltrinelli (1926 – 72) – who became a leftist and then went on to become a left-extremist rebel during his waning years. Anyway, GF  had established a publishing house in Milan (Italy) called Giangiacomo Feltrinelli Editore during the fag end of 1954.  He was a good acquaintance of Jawaharlal Nehru.

Now, Nehru’s autobiography had already been published in 1936. But, it was the fervent wish of GF that, his publishing firm come out with Nehru’s autobiography as the first title to roll out from his house.

And so it was.  In 1955, an italian/european edition of the book came out thru’ GFE. It got sold out, in those days of febrile socialist dreams and grand ideals of equality, liberty, revolution and all that… With all this, Feltrinelli and our Nehru grew fond of each other .

D. The second book to be published by GFE was Dr. Zhivago. The manuscript of this book (written by Boris Pasternak) had reached GFE via a grand series of interesting events. This book was/is critical of USSR model of life at various levels, and therefore had a formidable roadblock ahead of it.

Nehru had known of this book and though he was very enamoured of the Soviet model of development, he was also a strong backer of this book, which speaks well for his genuine credentials in respect of the ‘freedom of expression.’  Nehru actively pushed for the publication of the book with his friend, and lobbied using his connections with the Soviets. A truly commendable work on part of our Nehru, I must add. At this point, Indira Gandhi was nearing 40 and had all the while been under the active tutelage of his father, at his home, I must also add.

Screenshot from 2016-01-27 09:13:34

Feltrinelli with his second title of Pasternak; first title was the autobiography of Nehtru.

…Though a whole lot of the ‘free world’ statesmen pushed for the book, USSR commissars did not like the idea, they tried their best to block it – but anyway, this book got published in 1957, and went on to become a super hit best seller.

E. When Boris Pasternak was awarded the Nobel prize (1958: Literature)  for Dr. Zhivago, USSR made a huge fuss of it and asked the author not to accept the prize. There was a very fair bit of conspiracy and controversy to make Pasternak relent. So, Pasternak had to publicly repudiate the award. But then, there was a huge outcry in the rest of the world. And our Nehru was one of the prominent leaders to rally behind Pasternak and he used all the powers of persuasion at his command with the Soviets, but then…

F. After this award fiasco, Pasternak’s family was increasingly under the scanner of the USSR internal security services;  and painful harassment by the commissars was like, total, epic – as my teenage daughter would say.

“I won the Nobel Prize for literature. What was your crime?”, October 30, 1958 | Bill Mauldin castigated the Soviet Union for not permitting Boris Pasternak to travel to accept his Nobel Prize. With this cartoon, Mauldin won his second Pulitzer Prize |

| I won the Nobel Prize for literature. What was your crime?”, October 30, 1958 | ‘Bill Mauldin castigated the Soviet Union for not permitting Boris Pasternak to travel to accept his Nobel Prize. With this cartoon, Mauldin won his second Pulitzer Prize’ | |

…Again, Nehru weighed in with his charm, and as a leader of a great nation, with mutually beneficial relations with the then USSR – was able to ensure that no great harm (such as him being sent to Gulag) was done to Boris Pasternak or his family; of course there were other great people who were involved from the point-of-view of human rights, but Nehru’s commitment went beyond all that. Indira Gandhi was there, near her father, when all this happened. One absorbs attitudes.

G. All this while, there was a continuous clamour on part of (then) CPI to ban Dr. Zhivago in India. But thanks to Nehru and Indira Gandhi, it did not happen. Meanwhile in 1964 or thereabouts, CPI split and CPM got formed. But the clamour continued on both camps, which was rather unfortunate. (However, there were some real communists, who were not for silly bans like this, I must hasten to add!)

H. Dr. Zhivago was adapted to screen and thusly a film directed by David Lean was released in 1965.  It were to be released in India too. Again there was a concerted attempt including petitions by the communists of all shades – to ban the film.  Finally after some simple cuts – just 25 ft of celluloid, Indian Censor Board cleared it in February, 1967.

Screenshot from 2016-01-27 11:05:59

Screenshot from 2016-01-27 11:06:27

I. Even after this, off and on, there were instances of pressurizing the Indian Government to ban the film and the book. All this appears so silly, but it has to be seen in a reasonable context & historical necessities. Indira Gandhi had to work with her leftist colleagues like PN Haksar and Mohan Kumaramangalam; there was also a need to work closely with CPI (considered as USSR worshippers) because India was then, very tied to the economic and developmental benefits of associating favourably with the USSR.

J. In 1975, Indira Gandhi had imposed a ‘National Emergency’ situation on India. CPI (under SA Dange?) supported it. Of course, any support would always come with a price. Again there was this silly clamour for ‘ban’ perhaps because, these CPI folks wanted to please their Moscow handlers; and though not many CPI comrades were after this ban, it would have been very easy for Indira Gandhi to satisfy these noises by a token gesture – Okay, let us ban the book, the film and what not, and be done with it. Who would have questioned the imperious empress, even if she banned them?

K. But, the strong character of Indira ensured that nothing of the sort happened. This is because, she, for all her faults, had some redeeming features too. The book continued to sell and the film did not face any restriction whatsoever – with or without Emergency!

L. Though the restructuring of the Soviet system (=’Perestroika’) had kicked in by the mid 1980s, much thanks to Gorbachev,  it took up-til 1995 for the Russian cultural establishment to rehabilitate the book. I remember that, around 1991 or so, the journal ‘Soviet Literature’ had brought out one commemorative number each on Boris Pasternak and his friend Anna Akhmatova. I still have these two volumes somewhere in my attic.

M. Indira Gandhi was of course a tyrant in many respects, but she also had many redeeming features. Without loss of generality, what Asokamitran wrote nostalgically about was correct.Asokamitran did NOT lie.  Yes, ‘Indira also refused to intervene in a dispute about banning obscene works and had a familiarity with creative literature.’ – Asokamitran was once again correct.

O. Indira Gandhi did not merely ‘contemplate banning Dr. Zhivago’ – in fact, she positively refused to do that! But, one can say that, there was a sentimental attachment angle – what with Nehru-Pasternak connection and the fact that there was an adoring relationship between Nehru and Indira, commonality of interests etc etc; but she also did not want the banning of literature, fatwah and all that shit. She was actually quite invested in good literature and had her own yardsticks.

P. Anyone with any sense of respect of recorded histories or ability to do ‘proper’ research, would not outlandishly say the things that AK has said. What a shame. He also got so many details wrong – apart from randomly slandering!

P. What bothers me is the lack of basic integrity in AK. Not only that, his strutting about like a virile peacock, irrespective of his ‘halo around the hollow’ – also bugs me no end. His tenuous grasp of reality and what passes for his ‘research’ gives me belly-aching laughter. Tears stream down my cheeks, even as I ROFLMAO.

Q. Hope I am grossly mistaken. And sinners do have a future, if there is a sincere repentance for the wrongs one has done so that things can be set right. I hope so, at least!

PostScriptum: In all probability, I will stop reading Aravindan ‘Contrarian’ Kannaiyan henceforth, though he is capable of being occasionally clueful. It is perhaps, my loss. I would still go ahead and suffer the ‘loss’ because, I should preserve my sanity & health, or so I tell myself. ’nuff is ’nuff.

’nuff said. Thanks.  And, sorry, am withdrawing & winding up my campaign:

AravindanKannaiyanForAmericanPresident2016 :-(

The reason being, I am  a well-wisher of the poor USA too! :-)



10 Responses to “the imfartance of being aravindan kannaiyan”

  1. Mahesh Says:

    Sir, point ‘N’ na vituteengalae.
    Seriously though, not seen Indira G. shown in this light. Thanks.

  2. Goof-up noted, but Mahesh Saar – the reason could be: N-nnith thuniga karumaandiram?

    Sometimes, the Tamil scene is oh so nauseating, what?

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    • dagalti Says:

      Came from the other post where you had mentioned Nehru’s awe for Soviets.
      So was expecting to read about his awe being unreasonable. Instead got this story about him resolutely standing for FoExpression.

      கண்கள் பனித்தன, இதயம் இனித்தது.

      • actually siree, while pointing to this ol’ post, I specifically said there are a few positives about the gent too – no, not AK47, there is no redeeming factor in him apart from his chequered career and/or shirt.

        (but even those +ves of chacha, have an evil explanation from me, is besides the point)

மேற்கண்ட பதிவு (அல்லது பின்னூட்டங்கள்) குறித்து (விருப்பமிருந்தால்) உரையாடலாமே...

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