Endogamy a Taboo – George Poozhikkala

George J. Poozhikala

Mr. Mathew Joseph's writing which denuded my community was humiliating. It was a mortifying experience. Obviously, truth hurts. Unfortunately in my community there are only very few, man enough, to take punches of truth and enlightened enough to learn from it. Enlightenment is the sun which rises above the evils such as hatred, snobbishness  racism, parochialism and nepotism. And the practice of endogamy is a breeding ground for such evils.
First of all a few words of appreciation of many of our endogamy traditionalists. They are exceptionally articulate and consequently 'the mob' persuasive. The content of their writings resembles a firework display, colorful and noisy followed by smoke. Their figurative language, full of rhetoric resembles a female dress, contour explicit and erotic which enhances nudity instead of covering it, worn by a leper deformed with infected limbs, and discharging mucus. They manifest the Machiavellian phenomenon which prevails on man and on Knanaya community in particular.

Inhibition as well as alcohol and tobacco is addictive. This mental disease surfaces itself in disorders such as denial, distortion of truth (nyaya abhasam) and articulation. The attention obsessed Machiavellians  dump their lies on 'the mob' concealed in articulation. History testifies that gift of articulation can be a curse because what brought Hitler to power was his exceptional skill in articulation. Brutus' idealism got wiped out in Mark Antony's articulate sophism.

The endogamy maniacs take the position of a paid lawyer who defends his client in a court trial with no interest in justice and truth. By doing so they are taking advantage of the 'mob'  vulnerability. When treated with juicy sentiments served in articulation crystal- glass the mob becomes the moth that saw a glowing fire ( pantham kanda perum chazhy ).     

The Sudhist (Knanaya) population in 1911, at the formulation time of the Kottayam Diocese was only 15000 (fifteen thousand).This is, more or less, mere 10% of what would have been the Knanayapopulation had it observed endogamy from A.D. 345 when the Knanaya population was 400. This assumption is based on the demographic growth pattern of Asia during this period according to the statistics in Vikipedia. Compared to the rest of Asia Kerala had a variety of favorable conditions  for the exponential population growth which is not taken into consideration in the above calculation. 

Mar Makil's appointment as the bishop of Chenganassery diocese marked a minority domination on a majority. In terms of effectiveness and acceptance this appointment wasn't the best possible move the Latin Church made. Considering the already existing split in the congregation which lead to the creation of two V.G.s to accommodate the split the appointment doesn't make sense and suggests poor diplomacy. In Catholic Church which turned into a solidly political institution rather than a spiritual one it is highly impossible for some one who is naive to be in  powerful positions such as that of a Bishop or even that of  a Vicar General. So such naive move is inconsistent with the winners in a rat race which proves their sophistication in administration. At the mean time, it is highly important to take into consideration the proven corrupt moral values and absence of sense of justice and fairness of the Latin Church authorities, from their centuries old dealings with the Syrian Christians. This factor is decisive in evaluating the history of the Syrian Church and the decisions of the Latin Church during the period in question. A dove will never come out of a serpent's egg.          
The above mentioned history, suggests that Mar Mathai Makil was a retaliation weapon for the Latin Church which rejected, resented and violently opposed the independence, even the existence, of the Syrian Christians. Their strategy was to 'divide and destroy' as the original 'divide and rule' strategy was out of place in this context. The Latin Church move to free the Syrian Christians from the Latin Church domination was not a spontaneous response to their sense of fairness. It was a dead end surrender of the Latin Church  to the centuries old struggle of the Syrian Christians for fairness which proved to be beyond suppression.

But the Latin Church in Kerala resented it. Mar Makil's appointment as the Bishop of the most popular Syro-Malbar diocese was a 'panacea worse than the disease' for those who understood the spirit in its struggle against the Latin Church. The inspiration which lead to the centuries old bitter struggle of the Syrian Christians manifests in the slogan of the movement " We won't accept any foreign bishops". But what they got was worse than what they opposed to. Because the original Latin domination was only a distant 'individual- delegate' rule. But under Mar Makil, it was a virtual 'foreign occupation' as he originally represented ,as V.G., a community which claimed distinct and refused to integrate with the rest of the congregation. What they got (Mar Makil) was virtually a 'foreigner' in disguise as he claimed his belonging to a community which boasted distinction and kept distance from the rest of Syrian Christians with the practice of endogamy which meant a taboo against them in spite of their common ethnicity and brotherhood which inevitably meant equality under the divine paternity.  

With the expulsion punishment the kind of endogamy the suddist practiced was caste-endogamy. It insinuates racial purity,superiority of the expeller ,hatred of fellow-man, and caste inequality in disguise. In the caste-system which was predominantly present around the Syrian Christians, in a non-endogamous, inter-cast marriage, the receiving caste of the expelled endogamy violators was the lower caste. This also meant that the community which expels the violators to be superior caste. MarMakil's approval of his community's endogamy practice was also his approval of the superiority of his community to the rest of the congregation. They all addressed him 'pithave' . But he was only a step-father to the majority ( vadakkum bhagar). Under the circumstances, if Mar Makil got rejected, being a discriminating father, he deserved it.   

Mar Makil  manipulated the Papacy into the formation of the Kottayam Diocese. In his request for a separate diocese for the Suddists ( Thekkumbhagar ) he did not reveal the endogamy end of the future diocese. To expect the Vatican to presume endogamy practice in a diocese in the preparation of its legal documents is to expect coconut trees and domesticated elephants in the Vatican's back yard. Because practice of endogamy is exclusively a product of caste-system. Which was unknown out side the boarders of India. It is cheating to hide facts which are not obvious and impossible to presume. Obviously, the Papacy, within its reach, conceived that Mar Makil's request was only for the establishment of an eparchy of an ethnic peripheral.  

The following confirms the above assumption;- (1) The Papal decree, establishing the diocese of Kottayam, doesn't stipulate the, unavoidable, congregation- destiny of the endogamy expeled victims of the endogamous diocese. If the Papal intention were an endogamous diocese of racial purity with the endogamy- expulsion the expelled are, consequently, on a 'no man's land' without an authorized Church designated to administer on them the sacraments which, as per the church ruling are essential, inevitable and mandatory to be in divine grace. This makes it a serious negligence of the Church and also inconsistency with its claim of matriarchal love and shelter and failure of its canonical precision. 

But a close look at the circumstantial evidences proves that there is no inconsistency  or negligence in the decree.  Rites are isolation of different cultural entities,based on the ritual practces, within the Church- not racial. In a legal system that which is normal -status qua- is 'presumption'. To particularize it is redundancy. Unless otherwise stated the presumption evolved from the status qua prevails. And as per the status qua and Christian values the Catholic Church is  non endogomous    

(2) The authorities of the Kottayam Diocese from its very beginning have been playing a dirty game,cheap and hypocritical, on the candidates who seek exonomous marriage. They  compel them to volunteer to submit a request to terminate their membership in Kottayam Diocese and permission to leave the diocese . If refused to yield to the above blackmail tactics the clearance certificate that qualifies the candidate to receive the sacrament of marriage will not be issued. This crafty behavior proves the undeniable truth that there is no provision in the Papal decree, in question, to expel the candidates of non- endogamous marriages from the diocese of Kottayam and its awareness of the diocese authorities. This further establishes that the motive behind this blackmail is to cover up the above mentioned 'presumption factor' and the illegitimacy of the endogamy-expulsion as well as the violation of the spirit of the said decree.              


All the endogamy maniacs in Knanaya community has one thing in common; In a confrontation with reasoning and moral values they hide under an escapism called attention deviation such as; the deliberate erotic exposure of the vendor woman to deviate the customer's attention from the measurement facility or the tactics a mother uses when she feeds a fussy baby who is reluctant to eat. The tactic here is to draw the child's attention to a distant object like the moon and by pass the child's resistance. When the moral value of the endogamy practice is questioned the endogamy bullies draw the mob attention to the community's contributions,sacrifices, antiquity and tradition value of theduracharam of endogamy, technical excuses, other people's sense of fairness and generosity as solution to the wrong consequences of endogamy, etc.,etc.,in exaggeration and distorted truth. On the other hand sometimes they beg, plea, plead and solicit the movements that oppose the endogamypractice for their understanding with a touch of sympathy. 

The wide spread obsession of the Knanaya community with endogamy is incredible because it is an empty shell with nothing in it. It is morally wrong, no cultural value, as a tradition it stinks. It stinks worse than a never washed koupeenam which was a tradition as well. It is an out-dated duracharamthat embarrasses the civilized people. It is a pagan heresy to original Christian teachings. To top it all, it is fatally counter productive as it lead the community to demographic negative growth and eventual extinction. It is the irresistible nature's law that what doesn't adapt extincts. 

In spite of all these crystal clear disadvantages and evil in endogamy why is it a wide spread obsession for the Knanaya community ?. In spite of its inbreeding, it is predominantly a community of sane, normal people like any other community. As a matter of fact much better than many other communities in wealth and prosperity as well as education and professionalism. Further more, this insanity is very well supported by a lot of highly educated members of the community. This again, is a strange contradiction. Then again in most cases, irrespective of its level and kind, education means acquiring survival skill- not enlightenment.

A contradiction in human behavior, in most cases if not all, is superfluous. In the case of Knanaya Community's endogamy fanaticism there is a phenomenon which super impose this contradiction in the subconscious level. This phenomenon manifests itself in the rat race in the community for different leadership lime lights. The motivating factor of this race is exhibitionism, exposure and the mob attention which abundantly gratify any body's ever annoying, irresistible craving of the inferiority complex and insecurity feeling. 
In spite of all the above mentioned evils in it the endogamy practice, it is justified by its supporters with one thing which not even a reason but a silly excuse. The excuse leveled is the 'tradition value of the custom.This again is a contradicting insanity that doesn't make sense at all. Because, man's history of civilization is predominantly history of change of customs and traditions which were also taboos like the practice of endogamy. Most importantly, Jesus Christ  never valued tradition and Christianity itself is a rejection of tradition. In some of his words Jesus was even contemptuous of traditions and traditionalists (Mathew-15:1-9, Mark- 7: 1-13) 
The explanation that would normalize the above contradiction and insanity can be detected in the sub conscious of the community in general. The clue is in the word the endogamist use consistently " paramparyam" (tradition, that is). Taboos are customs which become tradition (parmparyam).Endogamy is one of them. When people value something which apparently has no value and constantly talk about it and glorifies it, it suggests that the value of it is symbolic and they get emotionally hurt in the absence of that which is valued symbolically .
The symbolic value of paramparyam (tradition) is that it symbolizes aristocratic origin (abhijathyam). And on the other hand, with its symbolic value, a claim of it suggests ones aristocracy, which also masks the poor origin and pacify the hurt of the shame  of being of poor origin. The claim of paramparyam is an escapism.

Fashioned after the feudal tradition of the Catholic Church the Knanaya congregation virtually was a 'serfdom' of the 'have nots' with a few 'haves' here and there until.the recent prosperity of the American migration. The 'haves' who also constituted the exclusive club of aristocracy by consensus dominated the community's lime light and recognition which mostly originated in the Church. Parmparyam was crucial for the eligibility to that exclusivity  And  'paramparyam' (tradition) was consistently and constantly attributed to them as their most out standing merit and virtue. Paramparyam determined ones acceptance, recognition and respect in the community. At the mean time not having paramparyam (tradition) meant exclusion, suppression,rejection and discrimination in the Church and community. Parmparyam, as well as caste, was a cause for endogamy. The parmparyam based endogamy is called class endogamy. The difference between the class endogamy and caste endogamy is that the former is enforced with exclusion while the latter is enforced with expulsion. The class endogamy enforced exclusion also included matrimonial alliances as well as  recognition in the church and community. The nursing professionals " the stone which the mason rejected turned out to be the corner stone" who were the foundation of the above mentioned boom were also the victims of the class endogamy exclution. 

The Ccommunity's perception of the parmparyam as a highly valued asset proves that the victims fails to recognize the evil in the practice. This establish the unfortunate fact that the victims of the evil of domination do not realize the denial of human right and social justice in it. On the contrary, they envy the perpetrators on account of the kick they indulge in. To envy is to appreciate. 
So it is the KICK that promote endogamy.  
George J. Poozhikala

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *