Thursday 22 December 2016

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam
22 December   2016

Common Citizen v Dual Citizen

[These are terrible times for ethnic and religious reconciliation. The Siva Senai was launched 09.10.2016 with TNA footprints. Its leader Maravanpulavu Sachithananthan is on the Federal Party Central Committee. His Co-Coordinator, Seeniththamby Yoheswaran, is a TNA parliamentarian. Siva Senai’s pogroms have focused on Muslims and Tamils too in Bombay.
According to Sachithananthan, the Siva Senai was started because Hindus here face problems from Sinhala-Buddhist colonisation, Muslims being funded by countries like Iran and Iraq, and Christians receiving Western missionaries’ support, while “Hindus alone have no support.” Sachithananthan seemed blind to the hundreds of Hindu temples coming up on encroached state and private lands using Diaspora money.] – Professor Ratnajeevan Hoole – in Colombo Telegraph article ‘Navalar Myths Aborting Reconciliation

When someone criticizes me about my ‘looks’ – for example that I have put on weight - I dismiss them if they had not praised me when I was looking good/slim. I may or may not express it, depending on how open / transparent they are with me in issues that are important to me. But in my mind, they are placed as per their net  record. The actions and expressions of such folks are received as per my placement of them. This is needed for mental balance – especially as we grow older and have to live with the relatives in our mind. Where those relatives are strongly influenced by the ‘outside’ and we are open to their judgments – we bring the outside world into us including through them. When we let the outer world flow into us – we often lose connection with our inner Truth. Hence we would go up and down with others’ assessment of us. When such assessment is political – it would be one sided. This means the other side seeks to diminish our status to elevate themselves. Had they expressed positive comments when we did look good – then it is Administrative and we need to bring such observations into ourselves. Right to rule due to majority vote is based on this. With one individual – it is whether the person made positive assessments in the past is the criterion. This is Time based.  

When it comes to more than one – and a mix of those who knew us previously and others who did not – majority vote is the decision at primary level. It is like dividing the one person into two to calculate the net value from outsiders. When we measure that net value with our own assessment of ourselves – as per our work and sacrifices – exercise and food control in the case of physical looks – if the two are in agreement – we are relatives and if they are in disagreement we are foreigners to each other.

On that basis – Professor Hoole is taken as a foreigner to the looks of the Constitution of Sri Lanka which has  ‘Buddhism foremost’ included through Article 9. The above mentioned members of Siva Senai – are the real Political Opposition in Sri Lankan Parliament – in terms of Balancing Article 9. If we do not have the position to vote – we need to do more in action to maintain Democracy’s essential criterion of Equal footing at the beginning start. I am reminded of Indian Tamil Leader the Hon Kamraj whose experience as a child was shared with us. Young Kamraj whose family was poor especially after the death of his father – brought home the welfare ‘food’ from school and when his mother asked him why it was so little – he said that that was all he got – even though others got more. When asked why he did not complain to the teacher – he said he did and was told that the five fingers of the hand were not Equal!  They are not equal looking. But each one has a function and when each finger operates within its natural boundaries – they together support the Common Hand. In Democracy we make them look equal in our mind’s eye, by elevating the position of the lesser looking participant. Mr. Kamraj was a great Administrator due to his insight into the difficulties of those living in his home area. This helped him identify fully with Gandhi and in South Mr. Kamraj was known as Black Gandhi. He did not argue with his teacher that he was entitled to equal share. He adjusted. That sacrifice went towards his elevation as a greater Political Administrator.

Through personal experience - between Professor Hoole  and  Mr. Sachithananthan, the latter has shared positive assessment of my work with me whereas the former has never responded to any of my articles – not even to the ones regarding the Australian University system. To my mind that is also discrimination on the basis of who one seems to be of lesser status than others – even though one has shown deep insight based participation in a particular issue. One with insight would recognize the other. There is a famous quote from Ramayanam about the first meeting of Rama & Seetha: ‘ Annalum nokinaan Avalum nokinaal’ /  He looked and She also looked (i.e. Love at First Sight). When Senior Indian Politician Mr. Satyamurti met Mr. Kamraj – for the first time – the former said to the latter that it felt as if he had known the latter a long time. These are due to deeper Common values.

The personal experience that comes to mind happened in Colombo a few years back. I was going to Sabeenas our  Muslim tailors at Colombo 4, when someone said ‘Ms Gaja’. I turned around but could not recognize the guy in the tuk-tuk driver’s seat. The guy said words to the effect ‘I am Samad Ali’s brother; You were very good to me when I worked at New Olympia’. During that time I was about 7 months pregnant with  my second child and yet this guy recognized me – more than 30 years later, without even seeing my face! That is Divine experience and it came from a Muslim. Another similar experience happened at St. Anthony’s church in Kochchikadde – Colombo,  with a person with whom I worked at Prima Ceylon Ltd.  I believe that the current Coogee home-unit purchase happened also due to such connection with Prima Chairman who was present at the auction as owner.  All these confirmed my net positive value in those organizations – shared in common with those folks. I recognize also that the contribution I make to Governance through Democracy travels with me wherever I go and I am entitled to invoke its power. During times of real need – that Power invokes Itself to deliver as per God’s system.  

Professor Hoole reveals yet again his lack of insight into the Customs of Sri Lankans which included caste – including within the Sinhalese. In Northern Sri Lanka, it was part of Thesawalamai law at that time. Professor Hoole states:

[Religious reconciliation seems distant in Jaffna. The TNA’s Mavai Senathirajah hides behind “conservative Hindus,” telling southern officials that they do not want Christians holding high university office. Is he for or against minorities being put down?
Madam Chandrika Kumaratunga’s Office of National Unity and Reconciliation lists as Governor Mr. Nilakandan who told the Virakesari that the Jaffna VC has to be a Hindu.
What is Madam Chandrika’s position? Why and how is Nilakandan a Governor of ONUR? What is the TNA’s and Mr. R. Sampanthn’s position on TNA leaders supporting the oppression of caste and religious minorities? On Navalar as a national hero?]

ONUR – Office for National Unity & Reconciliation is made up of persons of high status. Those of us who have made genuine investments in National Unity & Reconciliation – not only between Sinhalese and Tamils but also between members of different castes and religions, would naturally empower such groups, to the extent either side does not block that connecting pathway. To the extent the position holders enjoy status and cash benefits – they convert their investments to benefits and hence there is less towards ‘ownership’ force that those of us who invest with ‘service’ attitude acquire.  Even when we study the subject matter at depth – we accumulate such powers. As a Christian, Professor Hoole is likely to have identified with that kind of power that Jesus Christ had. The depth of study is like Research in a University environment. Within the University system – one is rewarded with highest status – that Professor Hoole also carries.

Our deeper investments would remain to empower our heirs who believe in us. If we are genuine – we have the opportunity to  share our  investments – with those who identify with our work. They may not be the highest ranking officials – but the sharing would be close to Absolute value where both sides are genuine.

Whether it is the President of Sri Lanka or the Prime Minister or the Governors of ONUR – they are mere outer forms. If they are not empowered, they need Equal Opposition to give form to the stated Policy and hence the likes of Mr. Neelakandan – a strong practitioner of Hindu Temple culture and holder of high official positions within the Hindu Community in Sri Lanka. In addition, he is also a lawyer. When they operate within those boundaries, it would help prevent disintegration to their real positions in Unity & Reconciliation. In a country where there is a wide gap between theory of law and practice of order – it is more important that we have those who have maintained their good name and entitlement to high positions rather than ‘showing’ their real positions. One who cares would add her/his strength internally to support such maintenance. This is why they say in Tamil – Poruthaar Puvi Aalvaar / Those who forbear will rule the Earth. The Christian parallel that comes to mind is ‘Blessed are the Meek for they shall inherit the Earth.’

We need the structures through which to invest. Personally to my mind, I would have been a good fit in that position – but no one with power asked me and even those without official position – for example Professor Hoole – did not suggest my name. The strength of my investment in this issue is not affected because I did not ask but rather have been doing the work – primarily in Vaddukoddai where folks continue to be highly conscious of caste and religion. But I have discovered that apart from some old ladies who habitually use caste – there is very little abuse of each other. It is however natural deterioration due to lack of an alternate system of teaching and learning.

This lesser use of caste based status does not mean that we have improved our social standards. Often the lower caste youth  with quicker access to modern facilities – than their parents had -  idle and act disrespectably towards older folks. Due to their own choice, many idle and damage the investments made by others in Common property. Whether it is caste, race or religion – where the discrimination is work related – it is socially healthy due to this learning hierarchy. Eliminating such relationships due to desire for quick changes weakens the natural social structure.

In Thunaivi, Vaddukoddai – I am known as the Kovil-Ammah / Temple madam.  I limit my ‘disciplinary’ actions and expressions to the current positions through the Temple system – which places the priest at the higher level than the cleaners – including cleaners from the higher caste who try to make out that they are of the same level as the priest. I observed that the tendency to takeover – exists also with lower caste to whom cleaning was also job-related. If not for my strict rules regarding their tasks within the temple – especially the altar – the cleaner would have held expectations of becoming priest and if he had majority support – he is likely to have rebelled. I observed the signs – of the cleaner washing the Deity a preliminary ritual of the Priest’s tasks. I made the ruling that he needed to limit his work to washing the temple floor.  The outer work of the priest can be easily copied. But the deeper belief through study and practice of Hindu philosophy cannot be easily brought into the ordinary person. That is like the Research work of an Academic. This is shown through high respectable status.

The parallel of the caste system prevails also in the Western University system – where Academics hold highest positions even though they are often lacking in experience of Managing  Democratic systems, but like Professor Hoole, they carry the American labels. A Pariah (Toilet Cleaner) who completes her/his job as per her/his position is equal to the Vice Chancellor / President of the University who has completed her/his job as per her/his position. If such a Pariah seeks to discuss her/his discovery about the University system – such Pariah has the right to be heard before any senior who is yet to complete her/his job as per the stated position requirements.

Professor Hoole states:

[Government policy on reconciliation is being obstructed by the UGC Chairman Mohan de Silva’s new communalist requirements to teach engineering. When I was rejected for the post of Senior Lecturer at the University of Jaffna, one of the reasons de Silva gave Madam Kumaratunga who kindly queried why, was my writings on Arumuga Navalar, “an iconic figure” to Hindus. Professor Carlo Fonseka swears to this in an amicus curiae brief. Refraining from critiques of popular figures is now a majoritarian requirement for university recruitment! It is sad that the UGC has become a tool in the hands of Jaffna’s Caste Establishment in putting down religious minorities and keeping us out of the university.
Does Madam Kumaratunga who stands for National Unity and Reconciliation, and Minister of Higher Education, Hon. Lakshman Kiriella, who stands for Good Governance, support these new UGC requirements to teach engineering?

As per my assessment – Professor Hoole suffers from the weakness that many leaders within the Diaspora do. To my mind, we are entitled to take credit from our highest held position in an institution, family, nation after lapse of time and/or distance. Professor Hoole who according to Wikipedia holds dual Sri Lankan and American citizenship does not hold the record of having achieved Vice-Chancellor/President position in an American University. Yet, on merit basis he did achieve a position within University Grants Commission, in 2003 – 4 years after returning to Sri Lanka. This was followed by winning on merit basis – the position of Vice Chancellor in 2006, but left Sri Lanka due to death threats from the LTTE.

In contrast Professor Hoole’s brother Dr. Rajan Hoole is reported to being  a senior lecturer at the University of Jaffna's Department of Mathematics and Statistics. As per published report – Dr. Rajan Hoole graduated through University of Ceylon, and in 1982  he capped it with a PhD from the University of Oxford. From 1988 he seems to have continued working with the University of Jaffna – including as a Human Rights Activist. Between two brothers of similar grooming – including religious grooming – one seems to have higher expectations than the other and on the basis of public records available – one would conclude that the American influence is part of the ‘expectations gap’.  

The example that comes to my mind to eliminate this ‘gap’ from our own mind to become Common citizen between America/Australia in my case and Sri Lanka,  is the Hindu example of Palani Murugan – Who renounced all parental wealth when His expectations as per His interpretation of the rules were not met. (Ref. Mango Legend). When coming to Australia, I needed to take rebirth and start from zero base. In the process my material wealth – money and status needed to be lost consciousness of. Murugan renounced. I had to lose consciousness of because I did not hold the parallel or lesser Australian qualifications. I needed to earn immediate money to take care of my young family. Hence I started from zero base but carried my true knowledge/wisdom from my training in Sri Lanka as a Chartered Accountant. This helped me rise quickly to higher positions but not the highest I did hold in Sri Lanka. I believe that due to this – I am good at General/Common Management. In fact our home-accounts are taken care of by my engineer husband. During Nallur Murugan festival in 1998, I renounced my Australian status and wealth-earning opportunities  - after hearing Ms Pauline Hanson asking us to go home and I decided to return to Sri Lanka. I believe I continued to have Divine Guidance during the process of restructure. I recalled the positive higher status in Sri Lanka – shown as Respect and internally merged the two systems to eventually become Common Citizen of Australia and Sri Lanka.

Using that as a measure – I find many members of the Diaspora ‘showing’ their ‘foreign’ status to be higher than Sri Lankan through the way they ‘spend’ money – the Diaspora Money that Professor Hoole refers to in terms of temple construction. It is quite common for Diaspora leaders to become leaders of the Community through temple Administrative positions and hence so long as they show such leadership as ‘Common Citizens’ or remain ‘facilities’ that Sri Lankan leaders could rely on – such constructions are healthy. Whether they are done on Hindu lands or non-Hindu lands – is the question to be asked. Land ownership documents are not yet regularized in war-torn areas. There is a Buddha statue in front of my land in Colombo 5 – which was encroached by a Buddhist. I continue to await the final verdict of the Judiciary in terms of any improvement to that property. In the meantime I pray to that Buddha every time I go there, to look after my property for me.  If Hindu lands are left unoccupied – they are likely to contribute to encroachment habit by the less orderly folks – including the Buddhist Government. I believe that our temple property in Thunaivi would have thus been taken-over by the Armed Forces who had a camp close by or by the local folks who have the natural encroaching habit.  Our family Hindu heritage was strong enough to call me back to confirm our claim.

The Sinhalese attitude could be interpreted through the following:

[The government is now engaged in preserving the `national heritage’ of Jaffna. The most important part of the National Heritage of Jaffna is its Buddhist civilization. This must be preserved first. Jaffna is Nagadipa. Therefore Jaffna must replace Nainativu in the list of ‘solosmastana’. Facilities must be provided for Buddhists to worship in Jaffna. Buddhists should have asked for this long ago. Jaffna must be given back its original name ‘Nagadipa’.] Sri Lanka Guardian article ‘Buddhism in Ancient Jaffna’ by Kamalika Pieris.

As a native of Jaffna – I cannot relate to this. If the author is also a native of Jaffna – s/he has the right to make her/his claim based on belief – even if s/he were a minority of One – as Gandhi would have said. Truth is absolute and hence belief based expression is of the highest value. But to take status through such claim – the claimant has to first renounce any power as part of the  majority community which elects Government for the whole of Sri Lanka. Likewise, Hindus in Jaffna using Provincial Government status.  

The example of Professor Hoole failing in this regard is known through the following report by Wikipedia:

[During the 2011 local government elections in Sri Lanka Hoole documented and reported on violations of electoral law by the Eelam People's Democratic Party, a government backed paramilitary group led by government minister Douglas Devananda.  After Devananda complained to the police about the "defamatory article", Hoole gave a statement to the police on 2 August 2011. On 4 August 2011 the police summoned him to appear at Kayts magistrates court the following day, telling him that he may be remanded.  Hoole did not attend the magistrate but instead sent his lawyer N. Srikantha. The magistrate found Hoole to be in contempt for not attending in person and issued a warrant for his arrest if he did not attend the court on 15 August 2011. Fearing detention in Kayts, Hoole fled Sri Lanka for a second time.]

The Australian (NSW) Police also summoned Professor Rory Hume – then the Vice Chancellor of the University of NSW when I claimed that I had every right to assemble peacefully at the University of NSW and yet I was arrested as a criminal. Like Professor Hoole – American trained Professor Hume also sent his Barrister in addition to the University legal officer. But unlike in Sri Lanka – where the magistrate ruled that Professor Hoole was in contempt of Court, the Australian magistrate accepted the application by the Australian barrister to set aside the Police subpoena. That was abuse of legal process by the legal profession in a court where the barrister took-over the mind of the magistrate to compromise on the citizen’s right to Equal access to Due Process of Justice. Unlike Professor Hoole who ran away – I faced the punishment of going to prison and continue to honor my bail conditions to serve my punishment outside the prison after the preliminary period.  The punishment is not to step into the University of NSW.

Professor Hoole, in similar pattern to the above Buddhist author -  has published his conclusions sans intellectual backing:

[In 1969, when the Federal Party was elevating Navalar, Mr. Shanmugathasan (CP-Peking) orchestrated protests with the objection that Navalar was a caste revivalist. In 2011 when high caste Hindus took a statue into Karaiyar Valvettithurai, villagers came out and blocked entry.
The division is this: the high caste and those aspiring to high caste want Navalar elevated. The vast majority of Jaffna who are oppressed caste Hindus want nothing to do with him, calling him chaathi-veriyan or caste-crazed. The exaltation of Navalar is considered an intimidation of the oppressed castes.
Imagine the psychological and social impact on oppressed caste children to see a man who openly despised them being glorified in their schools!]

I grew up in Catholic environment in Jaffna. Hence I am not aware of majority of Jaffna being ‘oppressed caste Hindus’. One has only to go to Nallur to know that there is no caste based oppression amongst Hindus. Even I am not allowed into some areas reserved for priests and patrons. As for folks of Valvettithurai opposing Navalar in 1969 – they ended up producing the LTTE leadership – did they not? If the investment in self-governance made in Northern Sri Lanka – was by the group categorized as ‘ high-caste Hindus’ and they were rejected – then those rejecting are left with their own investment – which led to not only takeover through threat of armed force but also the leader himself converting to Christianity – the religion of majority Karaiyar. If Farming was considered to be a higher profession than fishing – then the hierarchy is as right as an Academic being considered to be of higher rank than an Administrator without academic status – UNTIL KNOWN OTHERWISE THROUGH MERIT. The gap increases when the Academic is American and the Administrator is Indian-looking Sri Lankan.

Whether it is caste, race, religion or position based – abuse is  abuse. The Common terminology is Subjective power. Subjective power is positive where there is enough common faith to make us insiders. Where there is insufficient common faith – and we continue to use the Subjective power – we become abusers – including within families – on gender and age bases.

 In a democracy all of us have the duty to start from zero advantage and our performance is required to be measured through independent outcomes and expressions where even one side does not know about the other through prior performance. If this does not happen – due to subjective power – we have the choice of adjusting and carrying on or leaving/separating. If we adjust without compromising – we have sacrificed and hence we accumulate ownership power – as we do when we ‘forgive’. If we compromise we lower our status and assimilate to eventually become dependents. 

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