Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Murugan Syndrome

Mr. Dark Glasses Wearing That Yellow Shawl would like us to believe that his dear Tamil Nadu is, was and will be an atheist state. The profusion of religious programs in his own family run network ‘Sun TV’ is an eloquent commentary on how off mark, the old man is, in his assessment.

It is a historical fact that 12 of the 33 districts in Tamizhagam owe their names to mythological beliefs tied to either the Shaivite or the Buddhist stream. So, outright denial of the pervasive influence of faith is akin to not noticing the moon on a full moon day.

I will adduce one more phenomenon to highlight the theistic nature of Tamil Nadu. I call it the ‘Murugan Syndrome’. Basically, the crux of the matter is: Tamilians have a huge fascination for anything that goes by a Murugan theonym (names synonymous with the second son of Shiva).

May be that’s why Saravana Bhavan (hotel named by Kripananda Variar after the six faced lord) has the most devout fan following among the saapatramans of our land. Unsurprisingly, Velu Military Hotel and Murugan Idli Shop are the other two restaurants gaining converts in droves.

Have you ever wondered why both Kumaran Silks and Kumaran Stores still have worshippers in Panagal Park? Or for that matter why Padaiyappa is Rajnikanth’s biggest ever hit? The answer clearly lies in a subconscious Skanda Cult residing somewhere in the minds and hearts of the Tamil Kudimagan.

Otherwise we’ll never be able to explain the reason behind the innumerable success stories of brands and celebrities sporting the Tamizh Kadavul’s name (the Tamil god). The stupendous popularity of Subramanian Swamy in politics, the loud guffaws earned by Senthil and Vadivel in comedy, the adulation enjoyed by Sivakumar (born as Palanichami Gounder), Karthi and Karthik in Kollywood, the chartbusters churned by singer SP Balasubramanian, the fearsome reputation of Velupillai Prabhakaran, Dinesh Karthick and Murali Kartik’s dalliance with fame, Karthi Chidambaram’s frequent incursions into the limelight, MS Swaminathan’s date with glory, and Quickgun Murugan's immortal cameo in our minds, all seem to flow from a coincidental connect that’s bound to make you go, “oh my god!”