By Aditya Aamir
The Malayali is a global citizen. Some call the Malayali the ‘Sardar’ of the South. Like the Sikh, Malayalis are found in all corners of the Earth. The Gujarati, too. But the Malayali temperament kind of matches that of the Sikh. This is a viewpoint. But look hard and one might pop out of a wigwam or a teepee.
You see, the Malayali is a class act. Many are pioneers. The ‘First’. The first Shankaracharya was a Malayali. He set up mutts in the four corners of the subcontinent and saved Hinduism from being devoured by Buddhism and Jainism.
So, Shashi Tharoor commenting on Hinduism is maybe without taste but is not without base. Before alluding to Hindus of what they were capable of, Tharoor went to a “mutt”. Now, we wonder whether Tharoor was at a mutt or had he gone to see a mutt, the sort that barks and bites.
But, hey, say his many friends, Tharoor was not the first to speak of Hindus descending to the level of the despicable Pakistani. That dubious distinction goes to the politician whose name has both ‘Sita’ and ‘Ram’ in it. But who cared what a commie said? Besides, Yechuri is not a Malayali.
The Malayali is ambidextrous. Like Bruce Lee and Jet Li, the Mala-Ya-Lee! A two-in-one. Long before Indians saw and heard Mohammad Rafi on a transistor-cum-tape recorder, the Malayali brought one to India, from “Persia”, “Dubai” and “Saudi”. He built shells of mansions and left there the two-in-one to keep mother, wife and sisters in happiness.
CPM leader EMS Namboodiripad. Athlete PT Usha. Footballer Vijayan. Sound technician Rasul Pookutty and cricketer Sreesanth. All Mala-Ya-Lee. Pookutty won an Oscar. It’s in his soundtrack. And somewhere in the deep in South Africa, Sreesanth caught India its first T-20 World Cup. He also allegedly “fixed” cricket. Nobody other than a Mala-Ya-Lee can do that.
Shashi Tharoor is a Mala-Ya-Lee, twice over: The first to take a shot at the Moon! He contested the United Nation secretary-general’s post and lost to the Korean. And, now, he is the first to cast the Hindu in the Muslim’s mould. Don’t know why Muslims are not raising Cain! Tharoor is not the Abel we knew.
The other day, two new Malayalam films hit screens – Kallai FM and Sudani From Nigeria. Both can claim the Mala-Ya-Lee tag. Kallai FM for being first from any of the filmy-woods to pay tribute to Mohammad Rafi with a movie featuring “Rafi in spirit”. Bollywood should hang its head in shame: A biopic of dubious mortals like Sanjay Dutt but not one about “immortal” Mohammad Rafi!
The second, Sudani From Nigeria, is a gift from the Mala-Ya-Lee of Malappuram. The simple story of a Nigerian boy who wins an “opportunity” to play and earn from football in India. A Christian, he lands in Muslim Malappuram and dreams of giving a “better life” to his grandmother and sisters – who are in a refugee camp in Africa – but ends up in dire straits.
Losing his “fake passport”, he’s hauled to the police station, but is saved by his ‘Mala-Ya-Lee Manager’ and returns home to his sisters with blessings and gifts from his Malappuram Mala-Ya-Lee “mothers”. It is with a touching farewell that the movie ends.
Nowhere in the class of Tharoor, the characters in Sudani From Nigeria and Kallai FM are not fake liberals. They not only speak but also live universal brotherhood and communal harmony. It would do Tharoor good if he gives mutt and mandir a miss and sits down to watch Sudani From Nigeria and Kallai FM before he returns to Delhi. Maybe, he will learn that there is more to life than the United Nations and throwing tricky English words at desi Indians.
It beats hell why an erudite Mala-Ya-Lee like Tharoor, who is out on bail in one criminal case, has to invite a second FIR, this one lodged at a police station on the Gomti in Lucknow. Kallai FM’s “location” is on the banks of river Kallai and the movie is about people of all faiths living harmoniously, listening to the mesmerizing songs of the golden-voiced Mohammad Rafi.
So much so, one actually starts believing that Mohammad Rafi was another Mala-Ya-Lee! The sort who through the ages gave runaway Christian, Muslim and Jew a place to feel at home. Nobody from God’s Own Country ever before spoke like Tharoor.
Could be that Tharoor is just another Malayali, like the author of this column! But ‘Hindu Pakistan’? It should worry Pakistanis more. They got their ‘Muslim Pakistan’ 70-plus years ago. Now, this scare about ‘Hindu Pakistan’. Don’t you see the double-meaning in Tharoor’s two-in-one – Hindu Pakistan! What a Mala-Ya-Lee? And they say he is only a wordsmith! Couldn’t have come up with two more dangerously deceptive words. (IPA Service)