Gajalakshmi Paramasivam – 14 November 2015
Nainatheevu or Nagadeepa?
Eelam or Lanka?
Sri Lankan or Australian?
“Since the names Nagadeepa and Nainathivu are both used for the same place, it should not be used to incite racist sentiments” - member of the Northern Provincial Council, M.K. Shivajilingam of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA)
One would therefore conclude that as per this TNA member – it matters not whether we call Ceylon - Eelam or Lanka. What was LTTE then fighting about? – Is it not about this mental picture of ownership? The above picture says it all. If a Buddhist could identify with the above picture with feelings as would a Hindu – then it matters not whether we call it Nainatheevu or Nagadeepa.
At the age of 4 our daughter Gayathri protested when two South Australian grandmothers called her Gay. Gayathri said ‘If you can call my brother (Pradeep) and my sister (Uma) by their names then you ought to call me also by my name!’ The grandmothers themselves shared this with us, in appreciation of Gayathri’s high self-esteem.
When I was arrested by Australian Police for Peaceful Assembly – they listed me as ‘Sri Lankan’, despite my strong protests that for legal purposes I was Australian. The Courts did not see anything wrong with it. One leading lawyer claimed that there was nothing wrong in referring to people by their nationalities of origin. That was confirmation that there was no separation of powers between social values and legal values when the person listening seems to be of minority power. The stronger powers then get ‘free listeners’ to talk down to. In an Equal Opportunity system – this Common start is essential to eliminate Racial Discrimination. But despite my protests – the Government as well as the Courts failed to identify with me as an Australian. Hence the Truth that they considered me Sri Lankan was recorded in legal documents also. This gave me the ticket to live like a Sri Lankan here in Australia and ‘retired’ me as an Australian for official purposes. One must read the judgement as per the combined Truth. Now there is no controversy. I take higher authority than any other Australian – in Sri Lankan issues. I take the position allocated – however small that position may be. Often the other side feels ‘free’ to express their true-selves to this nobody. Truth to me is more valuable than pretense however good-looking the pretense may be. The lifetime of pretense is relative to its commonness. Truth is Eternal.
The rule of majority must be upheld wherever there is firm diversity. Within our own local cultural groups we could use our ethnic names. But where there are challenges to ownership – one has to use the Common terminology. In Democracy – this measure is majority at current times at that place. Once this majority is officially recognized – that is the lawful name. Mr. Wigneswaran is developing this official system as per his position duty.
Logically this means that there would be greater harmony if the name in the language of majority of current times is used. In terms of total values – one needs to also consider carefully the Traditional values. As the picture reflects the priest is following rituals of ancient times – confirming the strong value of heritage. Land holds that heritage value as Energy. Good as well as bad are carried as Energy when they are upheld beyond their physical life. Earth as well as Humans carry this Energy. True believers invoke these positive Energies. The negative Energies invoke the negative powers of those who activate disbelief.
Mr. Sivajilingam may not believe in these Traditions. But majority Tamils do. Most of us do not know the workings of Truth except when we identify with our own Truth and have an experience that we cannot logically explain. But once we identify with our own Truth and then seek through the experience – we would make the connection between this Energy and the effects that happened. That was how I made the connection between my investment in Equal Opportunity Laws and our former Prime Minister Howard’s fall preceded by his presence at the center of 9/11 manifestation.
Closer to home – the strong protests against Mr. Sumanthiran during his recent visit to Australia – to my mind happened due to his disconnection with the roots of the Tamil pain. We may give it different forms but the connection must be ‘felt’ – as if we were having that pain here and now. The question was raised by the protestors as to what Mr. Sumanthiran was doing here when young Tamil prisoners were resuming their fast. To ‘own’ we have to be like them. This is why Gandhi renounced his excess status to become part of them and connect to the problems felt at the root level. He activated his solution of non-cooperation after that – so they also could participate in developing the solution.
In the case of Tamil Politicians – whether Mr. Wigneswaran renounced or not – it so happened that he lost his Colombo life for Jaffna life – whereas Mr. Sumanthiran is doing the other way around. Given that the source of the opportunities in both instances is this pain at the root level – it was Mr. Wigneswaran who represented the families of the young prisoners to the President. I feel that Mr. Wigneswaran successfully communicated with President Sirisena – who is a good man.
Mr. Sumanthiran – as per his role was talking logic but to the wrong group. A group like Sri Lanka Reconciliation Forum, Sydney would have brought about more rewarding outcomes for him and those driven by democratic principles of multiculturalism. Talking logic to the emotional ends up in chaos. Emotions need to be matched by emotions. Mr. Sumanthiran and his Sponsors needed to listen to the woes of these refugees who have their own kind of pain. Mr. Sumanthiran became a target due to the organizers who are more interested in playing their own politics and being seen to be in the company of high status Australian officials than in feeling for the refugees as if they were the refugees. Sometimes the connection is not direct. But once we identify ourselves as part of their group – we would do the right thing by them – which would also be right for Australia. But like Mr. Sampanthan’s advice to the Sri Lankan Government – these Tamil leaders also lack the courage to risk their own Australian status for the needy in Sri Lanka. They are relatives and not yet family.
The simple rule is that the source of our benefits must also be the receiving vessel of our costs.
Each Community has its own unique structure. It is the primary duty of that Community to maintain this diversity if the source of its benefits cannot be identified fully or largely with current identities – for example Nainatheevu & Nagapooshani are inherited names just as Gayathri is. The longer the name is carried with belief the stronger is its Energy. Legalizing it for that area is giving recognition to our Diversity officially and helps raise our self-esteem as Tamils and Hindus. A person of high self-esteem would not easily be swayed by external temptations. Those who followed LTTE Leader Prabhakaran as a person – may not appreciate the deeper values of Hinduism because Prabhakaran became a Christian at some stage. If Mr. Sivajilingam is one of them then it is understandable that he would not appreciate this deeper Traditional value that goes to the roots of our Community. But it would be wrong of him to express while in office as a Tamil, opinions that dilute the work of any Tamil who contributes to Common Belief of that Land area.
We Tamils render value to Vastu in architecture and horoscopes in terms of the person. We Northern Tamils continue to carry the customary law of Thesawalamai as part of our legal system – even if we live in Australia – seeking outcomes in a Northern Sri Lankan Court. These are due to the powers of the Land. Without this Belief there is no claim for Separation of Powers. Cleverness in use of arms alone does not render that entitlement.
The Tamil Community itself is multicultural due to diversity of Land and the origins of our cultures. We must develop high enough structures that would accommodate all such diverse forms of belief – including those of Muslims, Christians and Buddhists. We must respect other cultures but not become one generic mix. Without the traditions maintained by temples such as Nagapooshani Amman temple – Tamils have little grounds on which to claim self-governance on the basis of Diversity.
We are born as individuals and we leave earth as individuals. When we are born we are not aware of our commonness with others. The extent to which we feel commonness with someone who is physically far away from us – is the confirmation that we have realized the core purpose of our life in this particular form. That person is the source of Common Energy that benefits all. Such Energy is Universal. One who identifies her/himself with those physically closest to her/him – and finally only her/his physical self – would die without experiencing the sweetness of higher life.