South Korea and Tamil Nadu
South Korea’s Constitutional Court has upheld the Parliament’s decision (a few weeks earlier) to impeach the President, Park Geun-hye on account of corruption. The more one reads about the events in South Korea, the more one is struck by the similarity of Korea with Tamil Nadu.
Both are ‘infamously’ First
Park is the first President of South Korea to be ousted from office andJayalalithaa (had she been alive and therefore continued as Chief Minister) would have been the first Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu to have been similarly treated.
Park came into politics more due to legacy (as an ex-President’s daughter), Amma came to power (though with more difficulty initially) due to MGR’s (earlier CM) mentoring. Park is known as the Queen of Elections, thanks to her remarkable ability at the hustings and Amma likewise was able to wield political power in Tamil Nadu over five terms as Chief Minister.
Jayalalithaa was not close to anyone as a relative or friend. She build a ‘partnership’ with Sasikala Natarajan. Park likewise did not seem to have anyone close to her and built a friendship with Choi Soon-Sil.
Special Friendship and Corruption Charges
The late (Tamil Nadu Chief Minister) Jayalalithaa had been accused and proven guilty of corruption charges. She and her friend Sasikala Natarajan had amassed assets disproportionate to known sources of income. Similarly, South Korean President Park Geun-hye is believed to have been misled by her friend, Choi Soon-Sil. The latter is believed to have taken money from Business houses.
Park has admitted to Soon-sil being privy to confidential papers, which she officially could/need not have had. Similarly, one would have to be very naive to believe that Sasikala wasn’t aware of any governmental plans in advance.
Tamil and Korean
Amidst all these ‘negative’ similarities, there is also some heart-warming similarity between Korea and Tamil Nadu. It is now known that ancient Tamil Kings had conquered large parts of South Asia and they may have also asked some of their people to settle in the Korean peninsula, since some of the food traditions in rural Korea (for example with rice and millet) are simply ‘Tamilian’.
Some of the practices seen in Korean upcountry areas are reminiscent of rural Tamil Nadu. (link below) .
Related GK: Origin of the English word Rice?
How many of us believe that the word for Rice could be derived from ‘Arizi’ in Tamil. Ancient Tamil Nadu traded heavily with the Roman empire where it was known as ‘Oryza’, which became ‘rice’.