Saturday, 29 November 2008
Mother India, Or, How Can I Keep Things Straight About Mangalore?
Attempting to prepare for a possible encounter with Freida Pinto -- one never knows, do one? -- I thought I would mug up on Mangalore with some help from Wikipedia. Here's just a bit of what I found:
"The four predominant languages in Mangalore are Tulu, Konkani, Kannada, and Beary. Malayalam, Hindi, Urdu and English are also spoken in the city. A resident of Mangalore is known as a Mangalorean in English, Kudladaru in Tulu, Kodialgharano in Catholic Konkani, Kodialchi or Manglurchi in Goud Saraswat Brahmin Konkani and Manglurnavaru in Kannada. Hinduism is followed by a large number of the population, with Mogaveeras, Billavas, Ganigas and Bunts forming the largest groups. Kota Brahmins, Shivalli Brahmins, Sthanika Brahmins, Havyaka Brahmins, Goud Saraswat Brahmins (GSBs), Daivajna brahmins, and Rajapur Saraswat Brahmins also form considerable sections of the Hindu population. Christians form a sizable section of Mangalorean society, with Konkani-speaking Catholics, popularly known as Mangalorean Catholics, accounting for the largest Christian community. Protestants in Mangalore typically speak Kannada. About 80% of the Muslims in Mangalore are Bearys, who speak a dialect called Beary bashe. There is also a sizeable group of landowners following Jainism.
Many classical dance forms and folk art are practised in the city. The Yakshagana, a night-long dance and drama performance, is held in Mangalore, while Hulivesha (literally, tiger dance), a folk dance unique to the city, is performed during Dasara and Krishna Janmashtami. Karadi Vesha (bear dance) is another well known dance performed during Dasara. Paddanas (Ballad-like epics passed on through generations by word of mouth) are sung by a community of impersonators in Tulu and are usually accompanied by the rhythmic drum beats. The Bearys' unique traditions are reflected in such folk songs as kolkai (sung during kolata, a valour folk-dance during which sticks used as props), unjal pat (traditional lullaby), moilanji pat, and oppune pat (sung at weddings). The Eucharistic procession is an annual Catholic religious procession led on the first Sunday of each New Year. The Srimanthi Bai Museum, in Bejai, is the only museum of Mangalore.
Most of the popular Indian festivals are celebrated in the city, the most important being Dussera, Diwali, Christmas, Easter, Eid, and Ganesh Chaturthi. Kodial Theru, also known as Mangaluru Rathotsava (Mangalore Car Festival) is a festival unique to the Goud Saraswat Brahmin community, and is celebrated at the Sri Venkatramana Temple. The Catholic community's unique festivals include Monti Fest (Mother Mary's feast), which celebrates the Nativity feast and the blessing of new harvests. The Jain Milan, a committee comprising Jain families of Mangalore, organises the Jain food festival annually, while festivals such as Mosaru Kudike, which is part of Krishna Janmashtami festival, is celebrated by the whole community. Aati, a festival worshiping Kalanja, a patron spirit of the city, occurs during the Aashaadha month of Hindu calendar. Festivals such as Karavali Utsav and Kudlostava are highlighted by national and state-level performances in dance, drama and music. Bhuta Kola (spirit worship), is usually performed by the Tuluva community at night. Nagaradhane (snake worship) is performed in the city in praise of Naga Devatha (the serpent king), who is said to be the protector of all snakes.
So it's going to take me a while. I hope Freida can wait. I'm hoping they don't call her die ewige Freida for nothing.
Posted on 11/29/2008 11:44 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
30 Nov 2008
"die ewige Freida"? I know there's more to that than meets the eye, but I don't know what it is.
30 Nov 2008
Well, "ewige" means "eternal," and I was taking liberties with the word in applying it to Freida Pinto, a not-impossible ewige-weibliche Pinto, eternally feminine and so, Penelope-like, perhaps willing to wait patiently for me to learn about her native Mangalore before our first fated rendezvous.
And last night, I made a rundown on the the history of Goa, a place settled, in large and unsurprising part, by a great many Marranos fleeing the Inquisition (the same phenomenon can be seen in the high proportion of Jews among the Spanish and Portuguese who settled in the New World). But once Inquisition got going in Goa -- see the nasty Duque de Albequerque -- many of those Marranos fled, and many went to Mangalore, and many did over time become devout Catholics. I don't know if this possible provenance for Freida Pinto, the model-now-actress who plays the life-interest, all kismet-and-kisses, for Dev Patel's (fleetingly Muslim) character in the excellent "Slumdog Millionaire," is the correct one, but it is plausible.
To come back to your original question. It wasn't Goethe's eternal feminine that I had in mind. I was making a punning allusion to Kant's essay, Zum ewige Frieden (Toward Eternal Peace), of 1795. A joke -- and it would certainly have helped if Freida's mother had been as traditional a speller as Mrs. Kahlo. Yes, I know. There is no such thing as a joke. Okay, then, I was just trying to stay off the streets by playing in the backyard. Stickball, and ring-around-the-rosy, and king-of-the-castle, and kick-the-can, and catch-as-catch-Kant, or catch-as-Kant-can, or something.
So, that's my final answer. Are you satisfied? Do I win the 10 million rupees? Can I go back out to play now?
30 Nov 2008