Gajalakshmi Paramasivam – 10 December 2015
|Group Led by Birth|
|Group Led by Public Service at the Place of Birth|
Self Imposed Separation
Unjust Discrimination often happens due to excessive use of status and the authority that goes with it. One of the avenues through which such unjust discrimination happened in Sri Lanka, taken as a whole Nation – was Race based – often practiced subconsciously – by those who had status as leaders of majority Race, but without the commitment to higher order of mind to facilitate all cultures the Freedom of thought.
Within the minority Tamil community, which became a victim of this system of Democracy which provided for majority to have ruling power, the pathway through which Discrimination happened was Caste – often justly and sometimes unjustly. Any work based discrimination using common measures on Equal footing, would be just discrimination. The principle of Common Measures flows from the belief that we are all connected to each other through our souls. Hence the soul is our Common feature. When we report to our souls, we report to all souls. That is the way we are made up.
Where we are conscious of our Commonness, we automatically come under one system of Relativity. Common pathways lead to Commonness.
Caste discrimination was originally based on work and its hierarchy in social structure due to this Commonness awareness in the Tamil Community. When practiced as per the structure of the original minds, it resulted in the whole Community functioning as a large Institution. It is true that there were abuses of this system by those in the higher caste – for the same reason why majority power became abusive at National level. Both were lacking in commitment to earn one’s benefits as per one’s position in the larger structure. But Caste based discrimination was protected from this abuse becoming excessive by the natural connection between the two ends of the vertical system. The Vellala Farmer at the highest level in the Jaffna system – produced the food that the Pariah Cleaner needed and the Pariah Cleaner was provider of an equally essential service for the well being of the Vellala Farmer. In Democracy we need to be multi-skilled to not need another to produce our food or clean our toilets. The strongest motivating factor for the lower castes today is land ownership – so they could produce their own food. It symbolizes their freedom from the Caste system. But it also confirmed that they copied/plagiarized the Vellala system due to desire for the outcomes.
The built in value of the Caste system was that the producer must be the last consumer of that produce. Hence, the Vellalan/Farmer had to have stronger discipline than the Pariah / Cleaner to remain within the system. One way of maintaining this was the Reward system through Process. Status thus became the higher value than the objectively measurable produce itself. Those needing highest level of discipline were shown highest respect through their positions being at the top. So long as the one at the bottom paid her/his respects to the one at the top s/he maintained her/his natural membership in the structure and was entitled to be ‘free’ to own through possession that which was received by her/him through the system. These two are like the Tax payer and the Welfare recipient, respectively. Migrants who preferred to become Welfare recipients in money rich nations – made Pariahs of themselves. Leaders lacking in discipline to be last in the queue of consumption but holding positions representing Commonness – such as Presidents, Judges and Commanders in the Armed Forces &Armed Rebels – also make Pariahs of themselves to the extent they consume their own produce by claiming ‘ownership through possession’.
The intellectual mind often fails to realize that where the founders’ power combined with the practitioners’ power is stronger than the idle beneficiaries’ power, the system itself expels them and one with feelings of ownership would make the connection between cause and effect – commonly known as the system of Karma. (Karma means Work).
Thanges Paramsothy, in his Colombo Telegraph article ‘Caste & Camp People In Jaffna: Landownership & Landlessness’ states:
‘The IDPs living in the camps face a number of problems in their everyday lives. Poor infrastructure facilities, limited privacy, lack of employment, poverty, limited access to land, water and places of worship, the social stigma of living as IDPs for many long years in the IDP camps and so on can be listed as some of the issues that they face in their day-to-day lives…….. Information pertaining to the caste composition of the people who live in the 32 IDP camps was collected in order to understand the correlation between landownership and caste. Surprisingly, certain caste groups, rather than a mixture of different caste groups, are predominantly present in all these IDP camps. Of the 32 IDP camps located in the Thellippalai, Uduvil, Sandilippai, Koppai, Nallur, Karaveddy and Point Pedro DS divisions, the inhabitants of 25 camps predominantly belong to three oppressed caste groups namely Nalavar, Pallar and Paraiyar, who were respectively known as today tappers, agricultural labours/toddy tappers and funeral drummers/cleaners. The remaining 6 IDP camps in the Point Pedro DS division only consist of Karaiyar, traditionally known as fishermen. However, it is well known that the individuals from these caste groups now do different occupations without limiting themselves to their traditional caste-based occupations. It is much difficult to decide one’s caste background based on their employment in today’s Jaffna, as each individual belonging to the different caste groups does various jobs after completing his or her higher education and obtaining professional qualifications.’
When in Northern Sri Lanka, I live as part of toddy tapper village – Thunaivi in Vaddukoddai District. Our Training Center is at Vaddukoddai junction. Yesterday, I noted during Spoken English lessons that twin brothers aged about 10, introduced themselves as being from Sangarathai (largely of Vellalar/ Farmer caste) while their relatives next door introduced themselves as being from Thunaivi. The former attend the more prestigious Jaffna College – paying a fairly high fee, while the latter attend local Public schools. The father and grandfather of the twins do not do toddy-tapping for a living, whereas the fathers of those who introduced themselves as Thunaivi folks continue to tap toddy for a living. At one stage the family of the twins moved more close to Vaddukoddai town – but later moved back largely due to the development work that they had the opportunity to be a part of – some of it happening through our family.
These are confirmations that the lower caste, make their own choices as per the pathways available to them. The choices they make confirm the motivating quality in them – often residing there without them being conscious of it. As our immediate past Prime Minister of Australia – the Hon Tony Abbott said – they make Lifestyle Choices. Within this one family – the branch of the twins is seeking to become leaders over others. Both parents work hard and the brothers, like many new Tamil migrants in Western Nations - are outstanding on merit basis. The special need they have is discipline to be Common and not break the queue to consume first now that there is no separation on the basis of Discipline needed to delay physical enjoyment of benefits in one’s possession. If not for the Tamil Leaders who are known/ thought to have had this discipline, the tendency would be for the producers to consume excessively – causing physical and mental disorders and/or for Reverse / Revenge Discrimination to happen to suppress the less (money) wealthy Vellalan. The latter then loses motivation to maintain her/his discipline and higher conduct fitting of a leader.
In terms of Jaffna Tamils, majority recruits by rebel groups came from those who remained in the lower caste social order. So long as these groups choose to remain in their own groups – ethnic war would continue to be a risk inherent in the Tamil Community – not due to the Sinhalese who are outsiders to majority Jaffna Tamils – but due to this plagiarism which LTTE leadership actively practiced to elevate itself above the intellectual leaders of the Tamil Community that often ‘took’ status as an educated group. There was recent discussion in a Tamil program as to why there was no Guru – Shishya relationship between the Teachers and the Students. One of the reasons highlighted was this greed for ‘grades’. The irony of today’s Vaddukoddai is that the students are actively going to tuition classes in Sinhalese including during School Holidays! They confirm that the Vaddukoddai Resolution – claiming Political Independence - is not for them. This then requires the real believers to be even more disciplined than the architects of Vaddukoddai Resolution – to maintain and treasure the value of the Tamil Community’s investment in self-governance.
With Democracy we did need to lose consciousness of the Caste system and thus prevent manifestations of Reverse Discrimination forces. The secular system often promotes lateral spread through its commonness. English thus symbolizes the language of that secular system in Sri Lanka. One Vellala boy – again about 10 years of age – was able to respond to my questions in Sinhalese but not to my questions in English – even though he obtained 100 marks for English at Jaffna College! This boy goes for special tuition in Sinhalese. English is more for grades through rote learning.
If the Vellala/Farmer boy did not learn Sinhalese and remains in Sri Lanka, he may one day hold a position below a Nalava / Toddy Tapper boy and that would damage the social investment we made as a community in Disciplinary Structure. This Vellala boy declines politely when offered even cakes and sweets at the home where he is dropped off when he is too early for the class. When asked his response was ‘that is god’s gift to me’. Yes, when we do practice such discipline beyond the average level – of our current environment – we invoke the powers of our ancestors – and that is ‘gift of god’.
The reason for the gap in inheritance is lack of interaction with intellectually driven leaders who within the Jaffna Tamil Community – are/were largely from the higher castes, within which groups, educational grades are closely associated with social hierarchy. The higher castes tend to fear the lower castes due to the inherited mind-order of the respective group. The higher caste groups tend as part of their culture, to invest in law and order to maintain their inherited higher status. They are the parallels of White/Christian Australia groups who see themselves as leaders. This helps them maintain their own commitment to higher social order even when they may be earning, in terms of money, less than an Asian migrant. Such is a natural protection against future wars. Why one is born in a particular environment / community/family – is not as per our current plans. It’s as per the Lord’s system which as my experience is Perfect.
The lower castes due to their inherited social values which are closely linked to Land ownership, tend to place a ceiling on their duty to the higher mind order. Likewise, the migrant strongly investing in Diversity through local Community culture rather than National Identity. There are still families in Thunaivi which do not have toilets and wells of their own. It is not solely due to lack of money – relative to the higher castes. It is simply not high in their priority listing. Within the lower castes there is this social order as per their status as service supplier or receiver. One without toilet tends also to spend more of his income in toddy drinking, relative to the one with toilet from within the one community. One finds such disparities within the higher castes also – where instead of toilets we have the education system and instead of toddy we have status consumption. One who uses more of her/his position as consumable status, tends to not invest in higher mind structure which is the real value of Education. Status must be an asset that is used and not bought or sold for cash – like trading stock. In contrast, one who preserves the status and improves its heritage value, develops the mind order of one who covers the whole group. In terms of inheritance, one would find more of such leaders in the Vellala / Farmer caste than in the Pariah / Toilet Cleaner caste. If the Caste system is still active in an area – including through Reverse Discrimination – then it is likely that one who was a Pariah in previous birth would be born a Vellalan in this birth and v.v. Those who live off the past for purposes of relativity – keep such systems active.
We tend to accept the ‘gene’ theory in terms of physical attributes more readily than we do in terms of culture – which is all about the order in which the mind works. Some of this order is inherited and if tampered with directly – is likely to bring about disorder of the mind – without either side being conscious of it. This applies also to race. Often, the older migrant with colonial inheritance, tends to submit to the White Australian/British due to desire for acquisition of quick status that could be shown amongst his group/family. This mind-order, when it is work-related – is a positive inheritance and is very much part of the social order of the group that the person is part of. This has assisted immensely in the globalization of Tamils who migrated to the West. But once this exceeds the work borders – it becomes abusive due to lack of connection to traditional roots. Until the younger migrant relies on her/his own investments in the roots of her/his own make-up – a community needs the older groups to continue with their own mind order to cover the whole. This may include unlawful racial discrimination but at the same time promote social harmony due to prevention of premature declarations of independence by the young and the restless. Likewise in the caste system. The above author who seems to be of the younger migrant group, states:
[The data show that they are going to remain in the same places with minimum facilities and limited privacy, even if the “HSZs” are dismantled and the land is released for the use of the civilians. Most of the camp people who have been used and displayed as the victims of state aided discrimination against the Tamil community by Tamil nationalist actors are not going to be the direct beneficiaries of the moves to reclaim land from the “HSZs.” There are many housing projects underway for the war-affected people following the end of the civil war. The fundamental criterion used for granting financial support under these housing schemes is that the beneficiaries should have a piece of land in their name. If they do not own land, they will not be eligible for getting financial support to build houses. As most of the war-affected IDPs in the camps continue to live as landless people, they are also going to be homeless in their own country even when the “HSZs” are released for the use of the people in the North.]
Majority of the Thunaivi folks without their own toilets – are those who ‘occupied’ others’ lands. If they were denied lands – they would accept that as karma . If they were allocated lands to recover from the war – it would disrupt the social order within their own community because in terms of status through land ownership - they would now be equal to those who worked hard and saved to own lands in which they lived before getting displaced. War did not and should not eliminate our work-related hierarchy. If it did – then Tamils would truly become Stateless – due to lack of motivation to own and represent their work through Land.
Lower Castes also separate themselves due to lack of motivation to develop higher value systems requiring strong discipline against immediate consumption. Higher castes seek separation once they know that there is no respect lost between them and the lower castes. This could be prevented through a common and reliable secular system. In the absence of such a system this separation also motivates them to compete physically with the higher castes who are now more outsiders than seniors in the same system. Hence the position of Equal Opposition. Once this ‘outsider’ component is greater than the insider component – they become enemies and contribute to promotion of war. This spreads to national and global levels, where the boundaries of community and country respectively are not firm and protective.
Mr. Thanges Paramsothy – who is described as - PhD Research Student in Anthropology, School of Social Sciences, University of East London, United Kingdom concludes with the recommendation:
[In order to address the issue of the landlessness of the (oppressed caste) people in the IDP camps, a constructive policy needs to be developed. The processes of distributing land for the war-affected, landless Tamil people in the North and the efforts to find them homes and shelter should recognize the historical injustice the oppressed caste communities faced and continue to face in pre and post-war Jaffna. Land and resettlement policies that fail to take into consideration the manner in which the caste-marked political economy of Jaffna shapes the individual and collective social existence of the oppressed caste groups are bound to fail and would deepen the social and economic inequalities within the Tamil community in the North along caste lines.]
Injustices or Justices when they are historical – are dealt with by the system of Karma/Work based on Truth. If Mr. Paramsothy seeks to play god – he needs to do so within his home territory – UK. Pampering out of someone else’s purse - those who seem to have less but are more close to us culturally than the one whose purse we are using – is in itself oppressive of the workers’ rights to enjoy her/his earned higher status. That is how Reverse Discrimination genes are developed by those desiring quick and easy status.