Gajalakshmi Paramasivam – 04 November 2015
Testing Oru Paanai (One Pot) through Oru Sohru (One Grain)My last two articles as per my assessment of the new Sri Lankan High Commissioner in Australia – were based on my conclusion that Mr. Skandakumar was more English than Tamil. I received today reference to Pahana Community Newspaper - Nov 2015 edition with reports of the High Commissioner’s meeting with a section of the Diaspora in Melbourne, Australia. http://www.pahana.com.au/paper/id/65
Given the strong interest from the Community, I went back to the article forwarded to me earlier by a Tamil Community Leader. One of the highlights that I was directed to was the Oru Paanai project to which the High Commissioner also referred at the recent gathering organized by the Sri Lanka Reconciliation Forum – Sydney. As per that article at https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2012/08/14/oru-paanai-or-one-pot-reaches-out-to-sri-lanka-and-its-north/ :
Editor’s Preamble: there are numerous private organisations involved in welfare and philanthropy in Sri Lanka. Some have a reconciliation edge and seek to bring people of different communities together. Some reach across to the people of the north and east in response to the suffering and the underdevelopment that these regions experienced over the past 29 years……..
[an Oru Paanai class under a tree
Or, rather, Jeremy met Skanda — Royalist, cricketer, cricket-administrator in years past and, above all, a Sri Lankan patriot of the moderate kind. And SO, I was led to Oru Paanai or One Pot, which is the brainchild of Drs. Dan Muthuvaloe and Nandhabalan in England. This reconciliation philanthropy is best introduced via Skanda’s private clarification to Jeremy, a Note from Dr. Dan Muthvaloe and some extracts from their official website.
Somasundaram Skandakumar to Jeremy Liyanage, early August 2012 - Oru Paanai has a wide remit – from feeding children to education and health. Our first concern was with hungry children and ensuring one good midday school meal — to some kids this is the only proper meal for the day, because there is poverty at home. It is a UK based charity (approved ) and I chair the Sri Lankan branch. Last year we fed 20,000 kids in and around 175 schools, and we are now at 30,000 kids in 300 identified schools. Having consolidated our work here and created a reasonably stable financial base for its continuance, we turned our attention to Education….a crying need in many parts and the only avenue/weapon against the trap of poverty and hunger.
During the war many schools were not functioning and many students were displaced several times. The environment was not conducive for education. The children were living in fear and apprehension. There are kids who are 10, 12 years old in the Vanni who are unable to read or write in their mother tongue. So we ventured into the supplementary tutorials for o-level students in deprived rural areas. I personally sponsor one such school at Rs. 14,500 a month and there are others doing likewise. If you know of individuals or organisations wishing to sponsor one such school we could identify it for you. My Dad’s 100th birth anniversary fell on the 22nd of July and we contributed a further Rs 100,000 to OP in his name to be used for an identified school in the Vaddukoddai area , as his ancestral home was directly opposite Jaffna College.
We also have an involvement with the school for deaf children in Kaithady who need hearing aids and teachers skilled to teach and help them. Dr Tony Sirimanne, a renowned professor in the field in the UK, has a direct involvement in it along with other eminent professionals as Dr Ranjit Thambyrajah and Deutram Thambapillai all residing in the UK.I will send you some pictures from a seminar held at Kaithady recently. Jeremy has responded….. let’s see if I can twist Kushil Gunasekera’s arm to persuade Murali to be present at the final in Mannar.!! Cheers, Skanda]
Paanai in Tamil means Pot. There is a saying in Tamil – that one Pot of rice is tested through one grain/Oru Paanai Sohtritku Oru Sohru patham. Accordingly, I tested Oru Paanai’s credentials through the grain that I was exposed to. In terms of projects Vaddukoddai is my one grain of Service to prevent future unjust wars in Sri Lanka. The project must uphold the Standards of my service any time anywhere. Mr. Skandakumar refers to his father’s ancestral home in Vaddukoddai as follows:
[My Dad’s 100th birth anniversary fell on the 22nd of July and we contributed a further Rs 100,000 to OP in his name to be used for an identified school in the Vaddukoddai area , as his ancestral home was directly opposite Jaffna College.]
Even as I read the above this morning, my mind slipped back to last evening when I was teaching a young female student who was idling after her University Entrance exam. – while awaiting appropriate placement. The student is from the Toddy Tapper village of Thunaivi and the place where she was receiving her education was Australian Tamil Management Service - diagonally opposite Jaffna College –which means we are now next door neighbors of Mr. Skandakumar’s father. I have already made arrangements for this young lady and some others like her to be enrolled to follow Accounting classes conducted by Jaffna College – Undergraduate Section in Jaffna Town – which is also the head office for my Alma Mater – the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka. Given that Professor Veerasingham Prem Kumar of Singapore and his wife Madam Thavamani who contributes to development of women’s dignity through Soroptimist International, had sent me their regular donation for Educational projects at that time of making the above arrangements – I allocated funds out of that for these new students – to be given on loan basis returnable when they started earning. The Provider of Funds and the Receiver of Funds were thus merged through this Australian Human Resource.
The only school in that area is Jaffna College and unless Mr. Skandakumar’s father contributed to Jaffna College the connection between the Provider and Beneficiary is not elevated to invoke the blessings of Mr. Skandakumar’s father. My father-in-law Mr. Nallathamby Subramaniam did contribute not only money but also to the high status of Jaffna College by sending his children there for education. To the young ones in Thunaivi – my husband is Aiyah or Sir and I am Amma or Madam. Not so to Mr. Subramaniam’s grandchildren of Vaddukoddai town who are now in Australia and Colombo and have been ‘dismissed’ by us for failing to respect their grandfather’s investment in higher education – the most valuable status being evident through my husband who won the best Science student prize in the final year at Jaffna College. The grandchildren got the money opportunities through our sponsorship to Australia and we inherited the status that my husband’s father had developed through his higher interests. It’s a bit like Mr. M.A. Sumanthiran going to Colombo and Mr. C.V.Wigneswaran coming to Jaffna.
As I trained this young lady I kept thinking of Professor Higgins in My Fair Lady. The way Professor Higgins highlighted the connection between language and class – I highlighted that this young lady did not know her Hindu culture – even though she had high grades in that subject at University Entrance level. I myself did not learn Hinduism formally but I believe/d in Hindu Philosophy. Hence when the young lady was in a hurry to repeat English words at the same speed at which they were corrected by me – and got it all mixed up – I gave her a lesson on Sivapuranam – the special verse in this instance being ‘Praise be to the Feet of the Lord who kills speed / Veham Kedduththaanda Venthanadi Velha’. This was because I fully believe that the Lord Himself became my Guru – and gave me a deeper understanding of Hindu Philosophy – in preparation for my work in Sri Lanka’s war damaged areas. Like with Prince Arjun in Indian Epic Mahabharatham in whose mind Lord Krishna placed the Hindu Bible – Bhagawath Geetha – right in the middle of the battlefield – I had my lessons right in the middle of my Administrative battles at the University of NSW. The main lesson was to do our DUTY as per the Position taken by us. My first Service Opportunity was to structure Tamil Health Administration of global standards and the invitation came from a Yoga Swami devotee in 2003 through a UNDP project. If I therefore accept Madam status from a student – I have to ensure that I had higher knowledge of a subject that was common to both of us. This is NOT English for Thunaivi or even Vaddukkoddai but Hinduism – as Buddhism is to Sinhalese. The mind order from our inner Truth is developed through Belief. Language is the outer cover through which such belief is presented.
Again the mind goes to Lord Krishna who upholds Arjuna’s wife Throupathi’s chastity who was being stripped of her clothes in Public in the King’s Court. Later when asked by Throupathi as to why Krishna took so long to respond to her call – Lord Krishna reminded her that she kept referring to him as per His positions allocated by others. But when he called out as the Indweller of her Heart / Iruthaya Vaasa – he came immediately. This means that those who have already brought the Truth within themselves would be protected by the Truth instantaneously. The subjective system fails when we do not have such indwellers – the reason often being quick benefits from outsiders.Status is the ‘form’ through which a lower investor could connect to the higher investor. English is ‘foreign’ to most young ones in this area. http://www.austms.org/news_and_events/Thunaivi_devt.pdf. My parallel of the above tribute by Mr. Skandakumar to his fathers is:
[Thunaivi is a small village within the District of Vattukottai in Northern Sri Lanka – made up largely of descendants of those by tradition were toddy-tappers. Today, many young ones of Thunaivi have put themselves through formal education and are seeking higher standards of living.
Owner-Managers of Australian Tamil Management Service are part of the Community of Thunaivi due to their ancestral Temple at Thunaivi-Sangarathai junction. This Vairavar-Kali temple was founded by Manickam Aachi of Arali of the family of Dharma Udayar. The temple was taken care of by Mr. Visvalingam Navaratnam – the youngest son of Manickam Aachi, his wife Sironmani and their children. During the war years, Mr. Shanmugalingam, nephew of Mr. Paramasivam who married into the Navaratnam family, oversaw the affairs of the Temple, until Mr. Shanmugalingam passed away on 18 July 2006. The People of Thunaivi wrote and asked us as follows on 09.09.2005:
Respected owner of Thunaivi-Kali temple,
We the residents residing close to the Kali temple, in the property of ‘Maavaddi Addaikalamthottam Kanthaswami Temple’ write to you as follows:
We live under the line of poverty and have a difficult life. For 40 years we have lived in this Maavaddi Addaikalamthottam Kanthaswami Temple’ property in a crowded manner. We do not have lawful access to transport. We use the Kali temple access to access the main road. Now, NECORD organization is Reconstructing Thunaivi village. If you would donate part of Kali Temple land for a path that would join your access path, we could have electricity, transport and water facilities through this program. Therefore we are asking you kindly, humbly and prayerfully to allocate land for us to have a lane.
Accordingly, land was allocated for this Public purpose. ]Instead of donating money – the High Commissioner with Government status ought to have personally visited places like Thunaivi. I did ask the previous High Commissioner – a Military person and he said he would come. Later he called me personally and explained that he had been allocated another urgent task and therefore could not make it as promised. Status sharing is essential for a changeover to Zero Base Management.
This lack of proficiency in English in Southern Sri Lanka was highlighted during discussions of the Sri Lanka Reconciliation Forum in the presence of the High Commissioner. That was to negate both rebellions. To my mind, this kind of ‘quick’ and ‘convenient’ measures as per the mind of the senior – (in this instance a lady whose children were proficient in all three languages) – leads to alienation once the junior knows the senior to be false. This is how Sinhala Only and Buddhism first which were legalized led to rebellion. A true believer in the value does not need the aid of external law.
Democracy was recognized due to majority citizens not being able to genuinely look up to their seniors. When we do not SEE ‘status’ through which we are able ‘think’ and even dream that we would one day become seniors – we lose higher order in the mind. Hence, in Democracy, we have ‘objectively measurable outcomes’ at junior levels as per the ‘position’ - replacing ‘status’ of the person. This system, to work successfully requires the following essential criteria:
1. The placement of ceiling at the highest level of subjective relationship – as senior-junior.
2. One party does not ‘tell’ the other as confirmation of that ceiling of status – confirming closure of the subjective system.
3. Both parties become Equal in status and are assessed from then on through the Objectively measurable outcomes produced by them independently for Public Consumption –for example the Vaddukoddai Resolution
4. The producer does not ‘enforce’ the outcomes on the other – for example (1) the Laws banning declarations of Separation beliefs such as the Vaddukoddai Resolution and (2) the LTTE seeking to enforce its outputs on People and (3) both JVP and the LTTE threatening the Government to take up those senior positions with status.
The Business Unit approach is recommended in Democracy so that the independent outcomes of both parties could be marketed on Equal footing. But Seniors who invested in ‘Yes Sir, No Madam’ system would tend to not recognize the other as being of Equal status – due to attachment to the benefits of the old system. I address our Masons and General Laborers as Sir/Aiyah (for retirees) or by Name (for Activists) to bring their allocation of status to me and my associates - to Zero base.
The Sri Lankan High Commissioner was addressed as his Excellency by the moderators of the meeting of the Sri Lanka Reconciliation Forum. The ‘Panel’ was also seated in the special row in front of us. The reminder was made that we followed Chatham House Rules through which only the details of the issues discussed could be published but not the names or other particular identity of an individual or a group. But the moment one is addressed without protest as his Excellency and/or has special seating – the protection of Chatham House Rules, does not cover that individual.
It is ok to represent only a section of a community provided we are transparent about it. One who represents the whole of Sri Lanka or Australia – needs to be committed to the system of Democracy – the stated system of the current Government/s. As per this grain – the Pot is still Autocratic in both my Nations.