Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Tower of Chathurvarnya / ചാതുര്‍വര്‍ണ്യഗോപുരം

ചാതുര്‍വര്‍ണ്യഗോപുരം എന്ന ഈ ചിത്രം കേരളത്തിനു പുറത്ത് പ്രദര്‍ശിപ്പിക്കുന്നതിനായി ഗൂഗിള്‍ പ്ലസ്സിലെ ജയെച്ചിയുടെ +Greta oto സഹായത്തില്‍ മലയാളത്തിലുള്ള ചിത്രവിവരണം ഇംഗ്ലീഷിലേക്ക് പരിഭാഷപ്പെടുത്തിയിരിക്കയാണ്. ചാതുര്‍വര്‍ണ്യ ഹിന്ദു മതത്തിന്‍റെ ശരിയായ ഘടനയും ചരിത്രവും പൊതുബോധത്തില്‍ നിന്നും വളരെ വിദഗ്ദമായി മറക്കപ്പെട്ടിരിക്കുന്ന ഇന്നത്തെ സാഹചര്യത്തില്‍ സത്യാന്വേഷികള്‍ക്ക് ഉപകാരപ്പെടുന്ന ഈ ചിത്രവും ചിത്രവിവരണവും ഇംഗ്ലീഷ് പരിഭാഷയോടെ പോസ്റ്റു ചെയ്യുന്നു. ഈ ചിത്രത്തെക്കുറിച്ച് 2016 മെയ്മാസം നടന്ന മുംബൈ എക്സിബിഷനില്‍ രസകരമായ ഒരു അനുഭവമുണ്ടായിട്ടുണ്ട്. അത് അടുത്ത പോസ്റ്റില്‍ വിവരിക്കാം.
Tower of Chathurvarnya

 (Medium: Acrylic on canvas. August 2015. size: 91 cm x 61 cm. 
Painting & Description by Murali T, Kannur, Kerala, India. 
English Translation of Description by Ms. Jaya M) 

This painting is an effort to provoke some in-depth discourse on chathurvarnya, the state of four strata, how is it rooted, what is its history, to what extent its relationship with racist bigotry is discernible etc. The legend of the righteous King Mahabali can be read as an allegory of the ascendance of the casteiest religion into power in Kerala around the 8th century CE. King Mahabali was wise, judicious and extremely generous and the people were happy during his regime.

The story is that the Devas became jealous of the fame of Mahabali and on their instigation Lord Vishnu assumed the form of a brahmin dwarf and begged for alms from King Mahabali. When the whole kingdom was not sufficient to meet the requirement of the dwarf, Mahabali was kicked down to the netherworld, thus displaying the racist hatred of the brahmins towards the Asuras. It may be noted that this Vamana -(dwarf-beggar incarnation of Lord Vishnu) put his foot on Mahabali's head and pushed him down into Pathala (the Netherworld), taking side with the racist brahmin society .

That incidence of the legend is depicted symbolically in this painting as the obscuring of the whole Buddhist tradition by pushing it down into the earth. The chathurvarnya , an establishment which advocated casteism, inequality and injustice , which replaced the then existing regime of social justice and high moral values was not even a religion. It was just an unjust hegemony of the brahmanic priesthood put into force through deception and dishonesty.

Symbolic proofs are there in temple rituals, old sayings, proverbs etc. that large scale torture and annihilation of buddhist scholars were conducted by hanging, cutting off their tongues, decapitating etc. during the period between 8th century to 12th century. In the temples and sanctuaries and centres of learning which were seized from the Buddhist adherents (amanas), festivals were instituted in which the head-less bodies of the Buddhist scholars were displayed as decorations and flags and trophies of the brahmin-race's victory.

Even now a symbolic ritual of 'Kavutheendal', which re-enacts the capturing of 'Kurumba kavu' in Kodungalloor, a centre of trade and a haven of buddha bhikshunis of the time, is being conducted annually. This horrifying ritual consisits of pelting stones (now it is coconut) towards the temple, breaking the roof of the temple with wooden poles, calling out filthy names towards the female deity of the temple etc. which are all the relics of the violence of a bygone era. These are being conducted ritually as per the order of the "Kodungallur Raja".

This painting is an effort to illustrate the violence imposed on the just buddist society by the despicable chaturvarnya system. The situation that even now, in this democratic country, more than seventy percent of the people are still enslaved in this heinous caste system introduced by the brahmin priesthood and are subjected to casteist oppression is the context and relevance of this painting.