Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Malayalees in top positions

The following clipping from the Indian Express is obviously because I am from Kerala, the southern most state of India. The article says Malayalees (people from the state of Kerala -- so called because they speak the language of Malayalam) occupy many of the top positions in Delhi.

But what I like the best was this paragraph: "Yet, with all the accompanying eminence for the Malaylee’s unwavering sincerity, efficiency, devotion and hard work, there is no visible Malayalee caucus or coterie which has come to dominate Delhi. In fact, the Malayalee mutant is still invisible, unlike the Tamil Brahmin, Bengali or Allahabad Brahmin."

Here is full article. It is quite interesting, for even non-Malayalees, I guess!

Quietly, the Malayalee takes over

From NSA M K Narayanan to RAW chief Hormis Tharakan, the roll call is virtually a who’s who in power

By Vrinda Gopinath

NEW DELHI, MAY 28: Why did the Malayalee cross the road? To join the UPA, he thought it was a trade union. As the first anniversary celebrations of the UPA government fade out, there is still quiet jubilation in a little corner—to exult in the arrival of the Malayalee in Power Delhi.

For the ‘Mundu Mafia’, as they are uncharitably called, has stealthily and silently come to win the confidence and trust of the two most important people in government—Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president and UPA chairperson, Sonia Gandhi.

The roll call is a veritable who’s who in power—in the PMO, it is the Numero Uno, National Security Advisor (NSA) M K Narayanan, a former Intelligence Bureau chief. Initially, while Narayanan looked after the commanding internal security, it was a fellow-Malayalee, the late J N (Mani) Dixit, former foreign secretary, who was the NSA, until he passed away this January. Narayanan simply moved into the job later.

Then there is T K A Nair, principal secretary to the PM, a post which had assumed intoxicating power when Brajesh Mishra occupied the post during A B Vajpayee’s time. Nair, a former Punjab cadre IAS officer, was handpicked by Dr Singh when they served together in the bureaucracy.

The present bureaucratic hierarchy is equally tantalising for the Malayalee:

• The present RAW (our CIA) chief Hormis Tharakan is a Kerala cadre IPS officer—he was pulled out from the state where he was DGP

• The Secretary to President A P J Abdul Kalam is Madhavan Nair—he was former Secretary, Defence Production

• The Commerce Ministry seems to be bristling with key Malayalee bureaucrats despite Kerala’s dismal reputation for trade: S N Menon, Commerce Secretary; K T Chacko, DG for Foreign trade; G K Pillai, Additional Secretary, who now heads the Free Trade Area Cell in the Ministry; Christy Fernandes, Additional Secretary, Anti-Dumping Cell.

• Culture is dominated by Babu Rajeev, DG, Archaeological Survey of India; Dr Sudha Gopalkrishnan, Mission Head, National Manuscripts Mission at the IGNCA.

Then there’s V George, former steno-turned-private secretary to Sonia Gandhi, who invented the phantasmal ‘‘source at 10, Janpath’’, and P P Madhavan, OSD to Gandhi and now close aide to her son, Rahul.

Yet, with all the accompanying eminence for the Malaylee’s unwavering sincerity, efficiency, devotion and hard work, there is no visible Malayalee caucus or coterie which has come to dominate Delhi. In fact, the Malayalee mutant is still invisible, unlike the Tamil Brahmin, Bengali or Allahabad Brahmin.

While the Malayalee Majesties are low-key, the Malayalee majority are quite happy being faceless clerks, forever preferring to file papers in countless rooms in endless corridors.

‘‘The Malayalee is instinctly skeptical and cynical about power and institutions of power,’’ says lauded Malayalee poet K Sachidanandan, Secretary, Sahitya Akademi. ‘‘And joining the establishment is an act of betrayal of the revolution. Because of his in-built sense of freedom and radicalism, he views power as bourgeoisie, shameful and pro-establishment,’’ he says.

However, the ‘bourgeoisie’ Malayalee is seen as unhelpful and distant, and can never be accused of packing his ministry or department with fellow-Malayalees.
‘‘The Malayalee has an intrinsic moral fear of tarnishing his reputation,’’ says Prof N N Pillai, principal, post-graduate college, Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan. ‘‘So he refuses to oblige even a small favour. He has come a long way from home, and has a lot at stake. Whether the fear of helping his community is good or not is debatable,’’ he says.

Perhaps it is celebrated Malayam author M Mukundan—now ready to launch his new book—who explains the peculiar ‘‘Malaylee anxiety syndrome’’.
Says Mukundan, ‘‘Tension and anxiety is in-built in a Malayalee. When two Malayalees meet for a drink at the India International Centre (IIC) bar, there is no joking and laughter like the Punjabis, instead they worry about a range of issues, from the effects of globalisation to global warming. This is because their education has instilled in them a strong sense of social justice and compassion. For the common Malayalee, this overriding guilt has made him impractical and unambitious.’’

12 comments:

  1. Have you read India:From Midnight to Millenium by Shashi Tharoor (another mallu in top position,he is the undersectratary to Koffie Annan)??In it he beautifully explains the reasons for the Mallu phenomena ( so many mallu beurocrats, why mallus capitalised on the gulf boom etc etc )
    --------------
    An old joke:
    When Amstrong went to Moon (Giant leap for mankind...) infact he saw a mallu running a chayakkada there...
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    If you throw a stone into the Central Secrateriat,it will hit either a dog or a mallu.
    ---------------

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    Replies
    1. No dont trust Malayalees. They are opportunitst. Yarai nambinalum malayalathanai nambabthai. Malayalathan kalakalaka pesinan and Manjan thunee pottu kaluthu aruthaan.

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  2. I read this article when it was posted in another blogers blogspot and the mallu chest swells with pride.

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  3. I think mallus are the most ubiquitous ppl existing, they are every where and can survive anywhere :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No dont trust Malayalees. They are opportunitst. Yarai nambinalum malayalathanai nambabthai. Malayalathan kalakalaka pesinan and Manjan thunee pottu kaluthu aruthaan.

      Delete
  4. great article!

    i always knew that mallu's make excellent secetaries and bureaucrats!!

    infact a hilarious incident from my school days come to mind!. i was (and still is!) pathetic with hindi and was dozing peacefully in the class. our hindi teacher, who was from aurangabad (u would know vittekkar sir, pradeep) pulled me out and asked my name. as soon as i said my last name (mathew) he had this great outburst on MO Mathai (the secretary to Nehru and probably the first "big" mallu bureaucrat).

    it seems Mr. Mathai, after the death of Nehru, published a quite uncharitable memoir (uncharitable to his mentor!).

    I had no idea who this Mr.Mathai was. even after i found out, i still cant figure out what was the connection between his "ingratitude" and my much more pardonable crime :)

    anish

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  5. Time and Tide ! So well chosen.
    Well, one cannot but agree with the Indian express article especially regarding the charecterestics. Other facets of Mallu, one should wait in Dubai airport either outbound or inbound near counters.

    Proud iam to be a mallu . but when one goes home, seeing the polarisation taking place , ican no longer say mallus are great. The simplicity of mallu village is gone, camaraderie between religions a thing of the past. It is not even grey. Very black and white. Perhaps those who have moved out retain the feelings and qualities which they picked up in their youth.

    What comes to my mind is Vivekanandans words ! Brantalyam !

    Enlightened Mallus should come together , and bring back the Old keralam back, where religion was not so important

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  6. Okay I agree with most of the views in the post and I am happy to see such blogs
    can make malayalies happy to say that he or she is a Malayali. You can also look to my blog on nair
    community in kerala
    http://www.naircaste.blogspot.com
    and can post some comments there.That blog deals from nair caste to nair products and Meera nair to navya nair
    every thing on nairs including the history and relevance of this warrior community. Nairs has a great role in kerala population. So my blog has a relevant part to play in kerala malayalees' views - Regards-
    S J Nair

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    Replies
    1. What so good about nair's... They all own Tea shops all over the places....

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  7. If M.K. Narayanan is a Malayalee then Rajiv Chandrasekharan , FICCI president and majority stake holder of Asianet will also be a Malayalee because I read that M K Narayanan is his uncle.

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