An Aariyan Red Panda Kshatriya, ‘Kraken’ Bhattacharjee recently wrote about the churn in Indian Right Wing and about Raytas and Trads in form of two articles that were published on OpIndia. As the ‘Crown Prince of Red Pandas’, both of them left me a little disappointed as they focused on one part of political social media and their petty differences and had no mention of the part of Right Wing that is actually fun to be in and free from all forms of vicious toxicity that any conversation between Raytas and Trads often displays.
Thus, this is an attempt to introduce the participants, the backstory and terminologies of the twitter “Lemurverse” comprehensively. You may have likely come across people responding to each others with memes, pictures and gifs of Red Pandas, Raccoons, Monkeys, Lemurs and Squirrels with English written with gibberish spellings.
You may have ignored them because they may not have made much sense to you at the time. This is the Lemurverse. The meme’s origins are unknown as the original participants who started the meme discourse are either not active on social media anymore or do not want to identify themselves as the progenitors.
Lemurverse is a satirical parody response to the ‘Dravidian’ politics of South India, especially Tamil Nadu. In Tamil Nadu a popular political discourse, which is inconceivably mainstream, is that ‘Dravidians’ of South India are an ethnically separate people, completely different from Aryans of North India. This is based on the popular theory of existence of a land called Lemuria. And although this theory is false, it gets official recognition from Tamil Nadu government, the political parties of Tamil Nadu and is even taught in schools! Much in the same way the Aryan Invasion Theory, Greatness of Sufi Islam, Evils of Hindu Society, etc. are widely accepted and constantly repeated without much demonstration of proofs.
The ‘Dravidian’ narrative combines several theories and myths. Firstly, the theory that there was a land mass joining Madagascar with India and Australia. This theory was first given by Philip Sclater, in 1864 to explain findings of bones from lemurs and related animals in South India and western coast of Australia when these animals are indigenous to Madagascar. When Continental Drift theory and Plate Tectonics theory emerged, this was discredited.
However, Dravidianists continue to promulgate this theory while associating Lemuria with Kumari Kandam, a mythical land in Tamil & Sanskrit literature. Secondly, the now discredited Aryan Invasion Theory is collated in the narrative. Along with the AIT, the work of 19th century Evangelist and Missionary of the Angelical Church, Bishop Robert Caldwell, is also used significantly to establish a separation identity between ‘Aryans’ & ‘Dravidians’ and to disassociate Tamil culture and Literature from its Hinduness while associating it with Christian underpinnings. Caldwell in his works disassociated and separated ‘Dravidian’ languages and Sanskritic languages.
When a separation of ethnic and linguistic identity is thus achieved, imagined victimhood begins. All sorts of things are blamed on Aryans, Dwija Varna Hindus- especially Brahmins, to justify toxic hatred of Hindu dharma. Myths like ‘Dalit women not being allowed to cover their breasts’ are often repeated and atrocity literature is manufactured. Words like Manuvaad, Brahmanvad, Brahminical tyranny get thrown around. The result is visible in the absolutely toxic nature of political discourse in Tamil Nadu, attacks on Brahmins where their Janeu/Yajnopavit/Poonal are cut. The Church nexus uses and promotes this narrative heavily in a bid to proselytize more and more Hindus.
Since, the narrative is based on finding ancient skeletons of Lemurs in southern India and the non existent land is called Lemuria, the participants of Lemurverse who masquerade as Dravidian moolnivasis take on the moniker of Lemurs. Consequently, people masquerading as the Aryan oppressors (Oppressors as per the Dravidian political narrative) take up the moniker ‘Aariyans’ and are Red Pandas.
You may have noticed that the narrative of hate for ‘Aryan oppressors of moolnivasis/dalits’ is not unique to Dravidian politics. And although, it is present throughout India, in Maharashtra it is especially pronounced and as such it gave many “Moolnivasi” icons such as Ambedkar and Phule. Thus, participants masquerading as moolnivasi of Maharashtra take on the moniker of ‘Shekru’, which is an indigenous species of Giant Squirrels found in Maharashtra.
The participants of Lemurverse also use many a words and phrases apart from deliberate misspellings of english words that an unaware reader may not understand such as Sarakku/Sarraku, tr00 laard/lawd, benchpressed, veeran, vandheris etc. Some of these words are from Tamil, others are misspellings and some others are misspellings of “code words” of sorts, to differentiate between a serious discussion and a satirical one, to avoid offending the uninitiated people and to hide twitter suspension. These can be daunting to decode for someone unaware of their meaning. So, here are a few of them explained.
Sarraku/Sarakku means alcohol and is often used while alluding to the free alcohol distributed by Dravidian political parties. Sarakku is often accompanied with “kauvva piryani” or simply “piryani”, a misspelling of Biryani. Kauvva or crow emphasizes the often questionable nature of the meat used in this free biryani, which can be anything from chicken to goats to beef to dogs.
Tr00 laard/lawd is a misspelling of True Lord, a reference to Christ. Another word used for tr00 lawd is hebooze, a play on the pronunciation of Jesus as hesus and turning water to booze. Other references to people include, Appa for Bishop Robert Caldwell who has become revered by Dravianists. Beam kaka & Flower kaka are Ambedkar & Phule, Thanthai is ‘Periyar’ E. V. Ramasamy. Veeran means brother and is used by Lemurs to refer to other Lemurs politely. Vandheris means outsider/invader and is used by Lemurs & Shekrus to refer to Red Pandas.
Armed with funny misspellings, unique sentence structure, onomatopoeia, and pictures of endangered animals, this meme discusses extremely serious issues like the nefarious network of the Church and its conversion activity or ‘soul harvesting’ through actively sowing such difference and animosity between people groups- the theory of Lemuria was popularized as a means to increase proselytization in Tamil Nadu; The Church’s interference in India’s politics through pastors guiding the vote of their parish; The ridiculousness of the Moolnivasi vs Aryan narrative; The stupidity of the apparent Dalit-Muslim socio-political alliance achieved through a false victimhood narrative and hiding or twisting of any news stories of conflict between them; And the use of alcohol addiction by the Church to manipulate people.
Here endeth the lesson.