The unbreakable clique that is the Tamil Brahmin community, despite the genetically hard-coded culture of jealousy, has withstood crushing peer pressure and built an enviable unity over centuries, purely based on a false belief that they were better than the rest. Enter Subramanian Swamy.
The child prodigy that was Swamy, had become the Tyler Durden for Tambrahms. He bickered for an India that they wanted- a nation where they would get to make the rules. A society that believed that even in their sordid unfairness towards the rest, they wanted the best for everyone.
Swamy mouthed the repressed desires of the ‘have-beens’ in India, for whom to have it all again, they must take it back from the Vasco Da Gamas, the Mughals and even the ‘have nots’, if they wish to.
And as all mercenaries, Swamy had immunity from the otherwise stringent rules of the community. Swamy did not do the daily ‘sandhyavandanam’, he enjoyed his whisky and chicken, married outside the community and yet, he was extolled by the Tambrahms because he was fighting their battle.
Meanwhile, in another corner of this world, there was another Tambrahm living by the rules and setting an example for an entire generation. It was Raghuram Rajan, who had rendered NR Narayanamurthy passé.
Rajan was the Tambrahm dream child- topper, topper among toppers, a room full of degrees and an enviable job in America. But it was still incomplete. No Tambrahm was ever complete without a bank job.
So what did Rajan do? He came back, swooped in to grab the biggest bank job that is in India- the RBI governor. True to his style, Rajan was not just a banker, he was the Banker for all bankers.
But like all good Indians, Rajan liked America. He was certainly not anti-national. Perhaps, he wanted to be ‘bi-national’. And that is where his road crossed with that of Swamy, on the way to the US embassy.
Swamy used to get day passes to America, and he saw Rajan gunning for a Green Card and making progress.
Here was Swamy struggling, for a few years every time, to get a government job in India and getting bruised and battered in trying to keep it. And there was Rajan walking with fingers in multiple pies.
The infamous Tambrahm envy kicked in.
As the mercenary turned the gun to one of his own, Swamy exposed a fault line within the Tambrahm ego that was less known before.
The ideologue and the achiever- these were never two different people for Tambrahms. Once you had ‘achieved’ you could automatically preach.
Rajan had not espoused the Tambrahm cause entirely. He had been spoilt by liberal thoughts. But he was an ‘achiever’ like no other. Swamy embodied the cause and even improvised on it, but had ‘achieved’ little otherwise.
The Tambrahms were not prepared to choose between the two.
As Swamy looked around, he realised that these people who apparently revered his motor mouth, were not doing anything more than just cheer for him.
No one voted for him anymore, and yet they would egg him on to take on the mightiest in the country.
Swamy had the short end of the stick. The people he was fighting the battle for, did not want their children to be like him. Rajan had become the role model instead.
Will the conscience keeper of the community turn rogue? Will the Tambrahms have to watch their favourite son Rajan lose the bank job?
P.S : Apologies to tambrahmrage for using the phrase without permission.