Gajalakshmi Paramasivam – 17 March 2015
|Children of Thunaivi|
Jaffna’s Lifestyle Choices
I was so exhausted last night that I felt sick. But Jaffna delivered once again through its High Court. My Appeal papers as a lay litigant were accepted by the High Court of Jaffna even though it was an exception to the norm. Initially – the staff were reluctant and wanted me to submit the papers through a lawyer. I did try – but failed to get one with the right makeup at the right price. Some did not want the job at all whilst others wanted fees that were relatively as high as they are in Sydney – where I am a self-represented litigant. Yesterday I opened an email with Lord Ganesh prayer and felt blessed in my work in relation to the above legal matter. To me it was also a contribution to improving the cultural system in Northern Sri Lanka as well as strengthening its Justice Administration. In thanking the person who sent me that message I wrote about the staff of the High Court of Jaffna who facilitated this lay litigant:
‘I took it as a mark of respect for my service there. Self-Represented litigants are virtually non-existent in Jaffna and hence there was much resistance from many quarters of the legal fraternity. We obviously are not as vocal in Judicial governance as we are in politics. Getting it done from here was even more difficult. Could not have done it without Swami’s Blessings’
I now recognize more and more the Lord’s share in my experiences. That completes the picture for me and therefore I feel conscious of the full reality of my environment at that place (in that culture) at that time. When we are in virtual reality we know the minds of others as if they are our mind. We also place ourselves in those minds and are able to draw on that investment each time we go into virtual reality with that person. That is the value of Love, Truth & Nationalism. Those who truly believe in God – would have the experience at the level of God’s contribution. I therefore had that kind of experience through my application to the High Court of Jaffna as a lay litigant.
This morning I read fellow Australian H.L.D. Mahindapala’s article ‘Siri Gamage Brings Down Academic Standards’ . Mr. Mahindapala raises the issue of caste in the management of Jaffna Tamils:
‘Take, for instance, two leading examples: 1. C. V. Wigneswaran and 2. M. A. Sumanthiram, who have never ceased to accuse the Sinhala-Buddhists of denying the Tamils their fundamental rights. Both came from Royal College, the leading educational institution of “the Sinhala-Buddhist state”. Were they denied entry to Royal College because they were Tamils, following the example of the Jaffna Vellahla supremacists who not only denied entry to low-caste Tamils but also burnt down the schools of the low castes? Did they face any discrimination at the hands of their teachers, or their fellow school mates? Did the Royalists discriminated against them and forced them to sit on chairs lower than that of the Sinhalese because they were Tamils? Remember how the Vellahla casteists forced the low-caste Tamil children to sit on chairs lower than their to maintain their superior status even in the classrooms? Were they asked to pay fees because they were Tamils? Did the Roman Catholic Church in the south have special seats for the Vellahlas in the front and relegate the low-castes into the back of beyond?’
In other words, to the mind of Mr. Mahindapala there is no Tamil Heritage in Royal College? THIS is the problem suffered by both side politicians claiming ‘Nationalism’. The above legal matter is all about my fight against family members who failed to show me due respect as a relative through marriage. Sinhalese and Tamils taking a ‘position’ with each other are like relatives through marriage. Those who recognize only birth relationships claiming ‘ownership by possession’ would not be good married relatives. At the primary level – we are like animals – without any recognition of relationship once the mother ceases to feed the child. The parental feeling ceases to exist once the mother feeds the child. Man extended this system by using his higher intelligence and hence we have relatives beyond mother and any blood connections. The highest form of relationship is with one to whom we are not physically connected at all. Where one recognizes the Lord as the Father and Holy Mother as Mother – one is in the highest relationship of all.
Our work relationships are in the following order :
1. Those aimed at Economic Independence
2. Those aimed at Status Independence
3. Those aimed at Rights Independence.
Most of us do not go past Economic self-sufficiency through our work. When our employers treat us to be less than the person with entitlements as per our POSITION STATUS – they confirm their own Economic Dependence. Most get to the Rights level of Independence struggle in their senior age.
Our Australian Prime Minister – recently made the following comments about Aborigines living in remote areas :
‘If you or I chose to live in a very remote place, to what extent is the taxpayer obliged to subsidize our services and, I think, this is a very real question.
It is incredibly difficult for the kids to go to school, if there's only half a dozen of them, and getting teachers there is all but impossible.
Similarly, it's very difficult for the adults to get a proper job if there's no employment within hundreds of miles and this is where we have to be a little bit realistic’.
There have been many expressions of disapproval and the most vocal ones are the young ones who do not take responsibility for parents and grandparents in their own families. To the Prime Minister – the who country is workplace. Would our Universities and Schools facilitate Aboriginal students learning in environments of their choice but within these Institutional structures? Likewise – would the grandchildren in a Common Australian family fund the lifestyle choices of their grandparents – say from Thunaivi in Northern Sri Lanka? The Government has the responsibility to facilitate remote communities to resource themselves and preserve their Rights – Independent of any other culture. Once we marry Westerners of a different culture – the whole group has to be independent of other bigger cultures.
Caste could also be a lifestyle choice by those who seek to be self-sufficient living close to Nature. Mr. Mahindapala – a Sinhalese says ‘Remember how the Vellahla casteists forced the low-caste Tamil children to sit on chairs lower than their to maintain their superior status even in the classrooms?’
Even today in Australia also – we bow to the Judge in a Courtroom and lawyers have priority seating in a Courtroom. A member of the Public is allocated backseat in Law Courts. Where this allocation is based on ‘workplace relationships’ it is a just allocation. Caste was work based system and hence the arrangement. In every valid relationship – there is a provider and there is a beneficiary of benefits/visible resources. The least visible is the sharing of Rights in completed relationships. This sharing happens at the deepest root level. The pathway is through Respect by the beneficiary to the provider. Without this respect by the Junior to the Senior – there is no relationship pathway to Commonness.
Now that Caste is not an active basis of status allocation in urban Jaffna and beyond – there are some adverse consequences especially to the Pariahs and Nalavahs. Our Attorney for the above case is of latter group. It happened that way for natural reasons. Each time we compliment this guy – he says ‘I am grateful for the Opportunity’. When minds of different groups come together in a common environment – there is natural sharing. But to come there – some groups need to take lower status – as lay litigants do in a Court of Law proud of its Judiciary. Nalavahs of Thunaivi tend to resign themselves to their Natural habitats and many are known to ‘occupy’ lands abandoned by the higher castes – including during the recent civil war. To my mind, a person so doing after making all efforts to buy the land from the legal owner – is doing a service to that land and therefore to the nation that the land is part of.
In terms of Mr. Wigneswaran and Mr. Sumanthiran – Tamils who are part of the legal fraternity – to the extent they hold the status they do now – they have brought credit to every institution they had membership with. Hence Royal College would be grateful to them as much as they are grateful to Royal College. To get here – they would have had to take lower seats than their teachers and administrators – not because of their caste but because of they were students then. It’s needed by the junior. Even with my grandchildren who try to be ‘friends’ with me – I take ‘senior’ position and get accused of yelling! I said to one of them recently ‘What to do – I have a loud voice!’. To me bringing them into that relationship as my juniors is more important than being ‘friends and associates’. Hence, to me the ‘yelling expressions’ by our Prime Minister is for that purpose of ‘relationship’. Young Aborigines who seek to be common need that yelling. So long as the purpose is genuine – the relationship will happen one way or the other.