The Tamils are intelligent people. Proud, techies and very passionate. But intelligent. Even when they were uniformly called madrasis, there was a reverential respect for their famed IQs.
They occasionally set themselves on fire when a leader died, or half of the state went hungry when a leader fell ill. But who is perfect! Intelligence does not always lead to reason, but you can’t fight law of averages. It pulls down the best of us.
But then a community is led by its role models. The bongs, from the earliest times, were as progressive as their tallest leaders. The jats, even today, struggle to produce a leader who can lead. The Tamil leaders that did come forward on the issue were from the tallest rank – AR Rahman, Kamal Hassan, our chess genius Viswanathan Anand. Rahman fasted for a day or half a day and others made some noise on how the state and its culture is being shortchanged.
Culture by itself is not a good or a bad thing. Culture can be progressive or regressive or downright disgusting. We get used to things, we get used to people. Mothers protect murderous sons, brothers fights to save brothers, no matter what they have done. We defend what we perceive as our own, we are blind. The outsiders will never understand how we will fall apart if we don’t hold on to it etc etc. Slowly and steadily, this leads to insanity.
Most of the Tamils have gone insane. Sati was our culture and it defended as fiercely. Child marriages are still being performed in secret. We can defend our brutalities in the name of culture but that does not change the nature of the culture.
Some cultures are against humanity. Some cultures are built on torturing a class of people or animals. The ones who can see reason when it is tough to will save humanity, others are just the burden humanity has to bear.