Continuity and Change: A Socio-Cultural Study of select Tamil Short Stories Translated in English
Any society and every society is a continuation of the past, but a range of continuity is maintained even in the midst of change coming into the same society from time to time. This is how the identity of a society is maintained over a period of time. Even otherwise some continuity is essential because human nature is immutable. The notions of ascribed status, hierarchy, ritual purity and impurity have been the basic ingredients of Tamil social structure. These have been attacked from time to time by social and religious reform movements, secularization process and host of others. But the system seems to have a remarkable resilience. It yields some ground but returns again. For instance, when caste is sought to be dislodged from the religious (ritual) domain, it enters into the political process and caste consciousness comes back with a vengeance through urbanization. In the face of scientific temper, religiosity and ritualism also increased and a substantial segment of the modern educated class shows latent and sometime overt acceptance of the religious phenomenon sometimes steeped in irrationality and superstition. The joint family norms instead of fading away in the face of urbanization and industrialization may still be retained by adapting to the process of democratization and acceptance of dissent. The joint family today is more democratic and the traditional autocratic authority head of the joint family has become a thing of the past. All these examples point to the past.
Another dimension of continuity in Tamil society may be explained through the continuity of Traditions. Even among the modern, educated urban people, during sickness in the family, a modern physician visits the patient in the morning. Tamilnadu’s village is the puja for the tractor bought by a farmer, invoking the blessings of the local deity, performing aarti and applying pottu to the tractor, a product of modern technology. Not only the continuity between the Traditions and also in everything, even two different Traditions may go together or get fused into one another. Praying in a temple in nor unusual or mutually contradictory. It does not dilute their beliefs. It tells us that there is something inherent in Tamil tradition which facilitates the cultural continuity. “Kameshwara iyer had offered a lot of dowry and gifts at the wedding. Rukmani’s in-laws were very satisfied. After the marriage, her mother in law would often take Rukmani away to her house” (“Peepul by the Tank” P.7 )
In the story of peepul by the tank by va ve su iyer portrayed marriage ceremony and dowry system. Still it is exist in our society.
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