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Just Shoot Me

Bala, 28, Gordon Gekko in the making, pseudo-intellectual, cynic, bibliophile, obsessive compulsive ranter...

The Conservative War on Coffee

November 02, 2009

As i have written before culture conservatives are hilarious. All one needs to do is read old magazines to see what ridiculous stuff they were railing against in the past. And less than a hundred years ago, they were waging a war against Coffee!!!. There is this great book called In those Days there was no coffee by AR Venkatachalapathy on how Coffee came into our lives despite their opposition. This is how some conservatives felt about coffee:

"..இந்நாளில் முக்கியமாய் எல்லா வீட்டிலும் புகுந்து போராட்டம் கொடுப்பது காபி,டீ என்ற விரோதிகள். அவைகள் உணவல்ல. சாப்பிட்டவுடன் கொஞ்சம் உத்ஸாகம் கொடுப்பத்து போலத் தோன்றி, படிப்படியாய் ஜீர்ணக் கருவிகளின் வீர்யத்தைக் குறைத்து, தேகபலம் குறையும் காலத்தில் முன்பின் அறியாத வியாதிகளை வெளிப்படுத்தும் என்று அச்சுறுத்தியது"
- ஸ்த்ரீ தர்மா (Official Organ of the Indian Women's Association), 1926

"..சென்ற பல ஆண்டுகளாக வேறு சில நச்சுப் பண்டங்களும் உணவுப் பொருள்களாய் கிளம்பியிருக்கின்றன. அவை: காப்பி, தேயிலை, கொக்கோ, சாராயம் என்பனவாம்.."
- மறைமலை அடிகள்,1933

"அமாவாசை விரத்த்தை அடியோடு கெடுத்தாயே
ஆனதோர் கார்த்திகை விரதத்தைத் தடுத்தாயே
ஏகதாசி விரதம் இடுப்பை உடைத்தாயே
இன்னும் பிதிர் கருமத்தை இன்னல்கள் செய்தாயே
கொலைகாரப் பாவி ஆசாரத்தைக் கெடுத்த சண்டாளத் துரோகி.."
- இங்கிலாந்து காப்பிக்கும் இந்தியன் பழையதுக்கும் நடந்த சண்டைச் சிந்து, 1914

==
The book is great and full of nice nuggets of history. The foreword and the first chapter are available for preview in google books. Go read it.

PS : This blogger does not imbibe coffee, tea, alcohol and other "drugs" ;-)

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posted by Bala, 7:57 PM

3 Comments:

the opposition to coffee might have been a proxy for opposing "kapikadai mundangal"...at least that is my hazy memory of reading the book.
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 3:04 AM  
Anon,

I just checked my copy. The chronology runs like this - The initial reaction was knee jerk against coffee itself (1900-1930). The opposition to "kappi clubs" came later after coffee became entrenched and the "Kappi clubs" became prevalent. in the later stage, the dravidian movement seems to have tilted only against coffee clubs and not against coffee itself.

1) "Kappi kadai mundangal" first appears in 1948 (kuyil, bharathidasan).

2) Periyaar's kudiyarasu editorial against coffee clubs is written in 1938. the railway restaurants agitation in the 40s and the murali cafe agitation was in early 50s

3) The earliest incident on coffee clubs given is the pollachi city council desegregating them and the subsequent case against it was filed in 1930.

So the initial reaction was knee jerk conservatism. then coffee becomes assimilated(!) into the caste system. The dravidian movement starts tilting against it after it becomes accepted (>1930s)!
commented by Blogger Bala, 9:55 AM  
well..the diatribe against cofee clubs still continues however its now an elite cafe..
commented by Blogger IB, 1:02 AM  

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