26 April 2017
Caste or Democracy?
Northern Tamils of Sri Lanka are often accused of caste based discrimination especially by Sinhalese who deny racial discrimination in Sri Lanka. Even though I am rarely accused of caste based discrimination, I accept those accusations on behalf of those in my community who did abuse the Caste system. As per my knowledge caste based structure was needed by the Tamil community at a time when majority were not educated through the common system but relied rather on Common family belief to stay together as a Sovereign Unit.
They say that there is god in each one of us. This then means that all of us in our natural forms would tend towards Sovereignty – some as individuals and others as groups. Recently, I was approached by a fellow Australian to explain her Will to her children. In my draft (Appendix) I brought out the dignity due to self-respect that this lady had developed as an individual and as leader of her family. If there was no needs based hierarchy, we are likely to distribute our wealth Equally. Common Law in Australia and in Sri Lanka provide for Equal Distribution as per biological grouping – for example there is no distinction between sons’ and daughters’ share in the parental wealth. But the law of Thesawalamai which included the caste based structure also, provides for separation as per biological structure on the basis of sons and daughters. Anyone who blames the system of caste based separation of powers, would be writing off in her/his own mind, the support value of that system in that part of the world. To the extent caste based system did lead to just society, it must be respected as a positive system that gave us a strong heritage.
In terms of Northern Sri Lanka, one of the main causes of the LTTE going beyond Defence into Attack is this lack of respect for system hierarchy, as per their inheritance.
As per Colombo Telegraph article ‘Annihilation Of Caste Is Now Available For The Sinhala Readers’:
[A Sinhala Translation of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar’s book Annihilation of Caste is now available in Sinhala translation entitled “Kulaya Mulin Uputa Demeema” The book has been translated into an easy, readable language by Osadhi Nayantara Gunasekera and published by the Asian Human Rights Commission. The book is now available in bookshops in Sri Lanka.]
Many readers whom I am yet to meet in person, asked for my book ‘Naan Australian’ which eventually has ended up in National Library of Australia, through the Natural pathway. Asian Human Rights Commission has shown no sign of having obtained a copy of it. Yet, it is promoting a Sinhala translation of this book on Annihilation of Caste. This as per the action and mandate of the Human Rights Commission amounts to unjust discrimination. It is the Right of every Human to enjoy status as per her/his contribution to her/his home environment’s Sovereignty. Taken as a territory, Asia is the environment of the Asian Human Right’s Commission and not Sri Lanka only – where Sinhalese is the language of majority. Unless caste based discrimination was a high ranking problem in Sri Lanka, the translation ought to have been of books like Naan Australian which are about Racial Discrimination.
As per my experience based intelligence, the caste system when prematurely annihilated leads to bottom up rebellion due to unearned ‘freedom’ especially by young ones. The media for example often depicts this premature freedom. As per the above article:
[Dr. B. R. Ambedkar is one of the greatest Indian leaders who was also in charge of the drafting committee on the Indian Constitution. He is now a legendary figure in India. His statues can be seen in all parts of India. They are particularly in areas where those once termed untouchables but now call themselves Dalits, live as the majority. One can see in almost all legislative buildings in various states of India, the figures and statues of Mahatma Gandhi on the one side and Dr. B. R. Ambedkar on the other. In a popularity survey held a few years back, Ambedkar received more votes than Mahatma Gandhi as one of the makers of modern India.]
The question is whether the heritage value of Dr. Ambedkar would live and support societies beyond those bound by the caste system? It’s the difference between A value expressed through Majority Power of current carriers of the value and Traditional Power of time based accumulated value. Where a group is true to itself – the two would not be in conflict with each other. The caste system was as per the mind structure of a group and when that mind structure was carried beyond one generation, it became part of the heritage of those born in that structure. Our physical structures at birth confirm our Sovereignty and those who contributed to their groups through higher mind – carried that higher mind with them. This could be reflected through junior position in a group which has abused the caste system or senior position in a group that has followed the caste system as per its architects.
Every system must be judged with respect to the positive value to our society by those who practiced the system in good faith. If one is not able to so respect – one is a ‘foreigner’ to that system and has no authority to judge. It’s our common belief that renders us the natural authority to judge and allow ourselves to be judged. If we allow ‘foreigners’ to judge us – we fail in our Human Responsibility to uphold our Natural Sovereignty. Such judges would elect unjust rulers to rule them. We Tamils need to be on our guard to Defend our Traditional values being attacked by such popularity driven rulers.
It’s better to discriminate on the basis of caste and allocate jobs according to the skills of those who are yet to invest in wider common system, than to do the jobs ourselves to ‘show’ equality or to ‘import’ from outside. Work based hierarchy is essential to develop the higher mind. Premature annihilation would lead to separation, where the junior castes would be denied the experience through senior castes. Remaining connected to each other’s mind through a vertical system is essential until we are proficient in the lateral system of democracy. Until we have successfully completed our experiences in Democracy, reading such books carries the risk of ‘blaming’ others to promote ourselves. The mandate of Human Rights Commission is different to the mandate of academics. When the two are indiscriminately mixed – the risk of mental disorder is increased.
As I prepare myself to physically farewell you in due course of time, I have written this Will in my own way to keep the family balance going, through my own contribution to our family and social heritage. This may or may not meet with the approval of some of you and to them I say I am sorry for not doing better to satisfy all. Even as I write this Will, I wish I could do better to satisfy the expectations of all my loved ones.
I believe that as a family we have developed a certain structure that confirms the values we have developed – especially by foregoing our preferred activities and enjoyment, to be with the ones in need. All my children have supported me by being there when I needed them most. I want to live as long as I can so as to be there for anyone who might need me from time to time. Thereafter I want my heritage to support you.
In terms of monetary wealth, my distribution takes into strong consideration the ability of each beneficiary to maintain this heritage value and pass on those family values to the next generation. As all of you would appreciate, I have been an independent person most of my life and my sense of independence is reflected by my monetary wealth also. Your professional status that I have contributed to is also confirmation of my own standards of conduct within the family and with wider world.
I believe that this is the best distribution to motivate each one of you to maintain that which you received and included as part of yourselves. Those with higher status due to my contribution would therefore need less monetary value to confirm the heritage from me and our common family. In terms of money I have tried to balance the equation by allocating more to those who received less support from me at a stage when I had to go out and earn money to keep our family going as an independent unit of society.
I believe that this Will best confirms the total value of my contribution to our own family structure –as per that which is being carried forward by the individual and not just the apparent value of my contribution. The needs of each child were different and I believe I did my best to satisfy those needs even though it may not have been enough to the beneficiary at that time. We are not all equal to each other but as a parent I have tried to maintain the balance so one would not feel less than the other. I shared my time and money as per my assessment of each one’s need. This has helped me develop my own self-respect and Dignity as a parent.
Through this Will, I express my hope and prayer that our Common values of Dignity and Self-Respect are treasured, protected and carried forward by each one of you.