5/30/2010 at 9:37 AM
There is a very strong Stereotype among the Kerala populace and among Kerala Christians. It goes like this:
*Achayans(Syrian Christians) are people who drink along with their family on all occassions like christmas, easter, birthday, navathy, baptism, hartal, new year, etc.
*Randennam adichillengil achaayanaakilla. (If you dont drink, you are not an achayan).
*Consuming alcohol is a Syrian Christian family Tradition.
All this is are Lies, they are falsifications.
These stereotypes Insult our ancestors. We have become a people with a very poor sense of history. We dont know who our ancestors were or how they lived.
How many know that our real Syrian Christian Ancestors abhorred from alchohol as if from poison??
Consumption of Alcohol was considered a very great evil by our ancestors. They never drank even a drop of alcohol. It was haraam for us.
Those who drank were ostracised by the community and not even considered Syrian Christians.
But by the generation of our parents, those who dont drink or smoke became a small minority among syrian christians. Drinking was mostly limited to latin belts like ekm, idukki or north kottayam. But by 70s and 80s it reached Central Travancore and orthodox christians too took up the habit. Movie industry also helped glorify Drunkardness as if its some unavoidable and integral Nasrani trait. Many got carried awasy with this false stereotype.
The same stereotype given to Goans and North Indian Christians was applied to the Syrian Christians. Drunkardness was glorified as a Nasrani Tradition. This False Propaganda swept many descendants of nasranis off their feets and they too revelled in drinking.
Drinking was their link with their nasrani idenity, or so they idiotically thought. All this because we never had a proper sense of history, or a proper idea of how our ancestors lived or who they really were.
Instead we were fed with fictional characters and stereotypes. We started imitating the drinking habit of portuguese and british to became more christian.
The Portuguese, Dutch and British converted away many of us, and with them the european culture of Feni and Strong Drinks flourished among kerala "syrian christians".
In the 80s, and even 90s christians led other Kerala communities in Alcoholism. Now hindus are also not so bad, they learned from Tony Kurishinkal and Kottayam Kunjachan.
But the muslims, who still retain the Semitic Zeal(like our Syrian Christian ancestors) have succeeded more than other kerala communities in keeping away this evil.
Alcoholism and suicides are correlated to some extent. That is why muslim majority districts have lesser incidence of both.
Drinking invited bhrashtu(excommunication)
We used to follow many conventions and traditions regarding "Cleanliness and Uncleanliness" like the Jews &Brahmins. According to Shankaracharyas teachings, a brahmin who drank alcohol was made "bhrashtu"(stripped of caste title).
Syrian Christians and Jews of Kerala too had a similarly harsh punishment for thoise who drank alcohol. Eating Pork was also prohibited and considered a great evil by our ancestors. Our ancestors also did not work on Saturdays(sabbath) or Sundays(Lords day).
Quoting below From the article by prof. menachery: ("Aspects of the Idea of “Clean and Unclean” among the Brahmins, the Jews, and the St. Thomas Christians of Kerala.")
"The overriding concern for “Cleanliness” dominates, or used to dominate, the ritual and daily life of the three communities of Thomas Christians, Kerala Brahmins, and Jews from the earliest times.
Many more examples could be given from the Holy Scripture (for the Jews), from works by Hindu scholars (for the Brahmins) and from tradition and practices (for the Christians). But I suppose enough is enough.
There is much to be said about the similarity in the attitudes of these communities with regard to clean and unclean animals, uncleanness as a result of death, corpse, and funeral, dirts like mildew, cleaning of pots and vessels, skin diseases, bodily discharges including wet dreams and bowel movement and urination, sexual practices, and so on and so forth.
Paul also concurs:
And so the Lord says, “You must leave them and separate yourselves from them. Have nothing to do with what is unclean, and I will accept you”. (2Cor 6.17)
In the same chapter v.14 says: “Do not try to work together as equals with unbelievers, for it cannot be done. How can right and wrong be partners?”