Thursday, 14 February 2008

Monkey business at Cricket Realty Show

Monkey business at Cricket Realty Show
By Remigius de Souza
Andrew Symonds is an Australian adivasi – aborigine, if I am correct. (I hope this is not a racist statement!) No wonder he is an all-rounder in cricket game. By his present status as a chosen cricketer he is also part of the global corporate capitalist society.
A glimpse of Australia: We have heard that Britain used to send the hardcore criminals and convicts, under life sentence, to Australia, an open country then, with adivasi – the aborigine. There was no built prison. It was similar to British India’s Kala Pani at Andaman Islands for the convicts – criminals and freedom fighters; thankfully there was a built prison. What may be the population of the descendants of those criminals now? Are they reformed after the period of time? We have heard similar Kala Pani was established by the French in Le Reunion in African continent.
Andrew Symonds’s basic aborigine instinct may not have changed, hopefully. He deserves all the respect, at least mine. The aborigine, as I know from contact with a few communities here, are upright persons with self-esteem and dignity. They don’t have the slave mentality of the colonial subjects or low class/caste people exploited for centuries by the higher ups in hierarchies.
Whosoever a player or some Tom-Dick-and-Harry from the stands at Baroda, Gujarat, among the spectators, who go for passive entertainment, may have (I’ve not heard) called him monkey is out of shear envy. We Indians have to prove ourselves above board in our individual and the collective abilities and responsibilities, not only in cricket but all fields.
Particularly Baroda’s record of collective responsibilities, after 1960s, is questionable as the city has been riot-ridden with sporadic eruptions of violence, even artists and academics are not spared. Baroda was called ‘saanskar nagari’ – a city of culture, once. Now I don’t know.
Showing Hanuman with Symonds’s face by the Australian media serves us well. Why should our sentiments get hurt! In the first place to call any human by names of animals – monkey, donkey, pigheaded, dog, vulture, cobra etc – is an insult to the animals and animal world. Chittapavan Brahmins are called cobra, at my native place, Konkan; it is an insult to cobra. Animals, from bacteria to large mammals, have integrity and sense of community.
There is Katkari tribe near Mumbai in Raigad District. They believe that they are descendants of Hanuman, Sugriva etc. in the times of Epic Ramayana. Scientific hypotheses believe that Katkari tribe migrated from south India in ancient times. Hanuman and his clan are portrayed as monkeys.
Were they monkeys? Was it a derogatory term because of their facial features were different compared to Aryans’? It is known that Aryans called the locals or the non-Aryans by names – Rakshasa (demon), Danava, Daitya, etc. – that are derogatory.
There is Bhil tribe in Gujarat and surrounding region. They do not use their thumb in archery, their traditional skill – art, game, or sport. This practice is has been going on for millennia. This is to commemorate their ancestor Ekalavya. Ekalavya had cut his right thumb and offered it to Dronacharya, a Brahmin by caste, his absentee guru, according to guru’s demand for fees. He had learnt archery by self access and surpassed Dronacharya’s pet pupil Arjuna in the skill.
Katkari or Bhil, or other tribes, such historical records come down by oral tradition or mnemonic method, from generation to generation through millennia. Even Vedic scriptures are no exception. Whatever sciences or written texts may say or authenticate.
Ironically Bhils are forbidden to carry their bow and arrows under the Arms Act, but in the name of religion Sikhs are allowed to carry a sword. Adivasis – the tribal – in Gujarat are a minority like Muslims and Christians and have to face atrocities at the hands of people or the state. Sardar Sarovar Project – The Narmada Dam – is a known example that has become a controversy regarding the rehabilitation of the displaced adivasis.
Their traditional skill of archery is being destroyed by the great democracy of India. Even the so-called development in Gujarat has ignored this skill. Forget cricket in Gujarat; it has overshadowed all other games, athletics and sports. Archery is also a spiritual icon in the eastern cultures. Indeed archery should have been a national sport of India. Unfortunately adivasis may not ever see a day when they shall participate at Olympics in archery events. Such are the hypocritical claims of development and progress in India.
We are fond of the Past and boast a lot about its glory. If we start digging the past, many skeletons will be exposed; we must be prepared to learn from it. Instead of studying anthropology of the pluralistic society of India a section of Indic society has turned to its polarisation.
It is said one of the non-Aryans, Ravana, had ten heads. Such magical forms could be imagined, painted or sculpted any time, or constructed now by computer animation. In the present turbulent times, how long shall we continue to live in virtual reality of the past, and/or by magic by technology in the present, devoid of soul? It is time to remove our blinkers of superstitions and look beyond our eyelids the real world.
While writing this, I hear the news on Channel News Asia that the Australian Prime Minister apologizes the Australian aborigines. I am happy. I revere the adivasis – the aborigine – in India – they are Indian Archetypes – so also those all over the world. Tribal – aborigines – are most precious world heritage to be saved.
Remigius de Souza
© Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

1 comment:

  1. This 'monkey bussiness' is evident almost in all the fields that is being played by the great Indian democracy.

    Otherwise there should have been no occasion for the farmers to commit suicide, there would not have been kidney racket, no special economic zonex...