Tower of Chathurvarnya / ചാതുര്വര്ണ്യ ഗോപുരം
My painting- "Tower of Chathurvarnya" repost now for my art lovers who can not understand Malayalam.
(Thanks to Ms. Jaya M for English translation)
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.
Chithrakaran T Murali
( My sincere thanks to Ms. Jaya M for this English translation of painting description )
Medium: Acrylic on canvas. August 2015. size: 91 cm x 61 cm.
Painting by Murali T, Kannur, Kerala, India -670005.
ചിത്രകാരന്റെ പെയിന്റിംങ്ങുകളുടെയും ചിത്ര വിവരണങ്ങളുടെയും സമാഹാരമായ 'അമണ' - ചരിത്രത്തിലില്ലാത്ത ചിത്രങ്ങള് എന്ന 2016 മാര്ച്ച് മാസത്തില് പ്രസിദ്ധീകരിച്ച പുസ്തകത്തിലെ ഒരു ചിത്രവും ആ ചിത്രം വരക്കാന് കാരണമായ വസ്തുതകളും ചിന്തകളുമാണ് ഈ പോസ്റ്റില് ചേര്ത്തിരിക്കുന്നത്. ചിത്രകാരന്റെ അമണ പുസ്തകം വാങ്ങി വായിക്കാന് കഴിയാതിരുന്നവരുടെ സൌകര്യാര്ത്ഥമാണ് ഈ പോസ്റ്റ്.
ഈ ചിന്തകളും ചിത്രവും ഉള്ക്കൊള്ളാന് മനസ്സില് ഇടമുള്ളവര്ക്ക് ഇമേജ് ക്ലിക്കി വലുതാക്കിയോ ഡൌണ്ലോഡ് ചെയ്തോ വായിക്കാം.