Monday 10 April 2017

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam
10 April 2017

Living with our Ghosts

I was making Thosai (Pancake) for my husband of Vaddukoddai this morning and I made it the way he liked it – Jaffna style. Even though I grew up in Jaffna the Thosai at our home was Indian Thosai – and I learnt to make that Thosai  from my mother. My paternal grandmother from Araly in Northern Sri Lanka is likely to have made Thosai – the Jaffna way. Even though I consider my grandmother an outstanding homemaker and seek her blessings from time to time, my taste is as per my mother’s grooming.  In essence I am able to make Jaffna Thosai as well as Indian Thosai as per my current environment  because I carry the Divine Spirit of my ancestors  but not directly the benefits earned by them which become haunting Shades / Ghosts when we take them outside their natural environments.

The above thought about the Jaffna Thosai came to mind when one of my fans responded as follows to my article headed ‘Educating our Educated Tamil CM ?’:

[The writer is entitled to her opinion. But she is humbly requested to reconsider her opinion in comparing the Indian political King Maker K.Kamaraj with Mr.Mavai Senathiraja. Kamaraj is not a higher mountain but a mountain without comparison and cannot be  compared to Mavai Senathiraja.
Pardon me for my thoughts that differ.]

Due to the ongoing expressions of faith indicated by the responder I took it seriously and responded as follows:

[The responder is confirming that he is Tamil.  I am Sri Lankan of Tamil origin. Hence  I accepted the description of author of the article ‘Manekshaw’ that Mr. Senathirajah was kingmaker.  That was the Common footing for my article.  Unless I know of a kingmaker more eligible than Mr. Senathirajah from within the Sri Lankan Tamil  community, I am wasting my ‘vote’ to name a kingmaker. Those of us fighting for self-determination as Sri Lankan Tamils must demonstrate our independence and not relate with Indian Tamils or even Diaspora Tamils. If I am a kingmaker in my own environment then I have the right to contribute at policy level. Not otherwise. ]

Using the Thosai example to the above analysis – Jaffna Thosai is the best for my husband. Indian Thosai is the best for me. Even though Thosai, as per my knowledge originated in India – Indian Thosai is not superior to Jaffna Thosai in our global home.

A person who has realized her/his independence / sovereignty through a particular structure and its pathway would have the natural powers to motivate the person in that position, genuinely seeking to do good – to function through that position. That person becomes the kingmaker.

All my grandchildren love my Rotti. (Indian bread) My youngest granddaughter Anika Springford said once ‘Your first name is Rotti  and your last name is Patti (grandmother).’  Again another time when I pulled up my grandchildren – especially our eldest for separating from adult company – the youngest waited until I was calm; then walked up to me, picked up my hand and kissed it. That child to me is a ‘mother maker’ more than any other younger member of my family.

The Hon Kumaraswami Kamraj – whether he was recognized or not – was a kingmaker for parallel reasons. He gave up school education to support the family. Mr. Kamraj genuinely followed Gandhi. In Spiritual India he became kingmaker for which one has to have genuinely developed the skills needed in King’s position but since there could be only one king – that person channels her/his skills through the person holding the King’s position and/or develops and maintains the position itself. The gap in positions become ‘Divine Spirit / Energy’ as per the laws of Nature.

As per our Australian National Anthem we are not only ‘Young and Free’ but confirm that we are committed to inscribing ‘In history's page, let every stage Advance Australia Fair.’ In terms of  official relationships Australia would be classified as junior to England. But once majority of us  are able to claim that we are ‘free’ due to our sacrifices to remain in this part of the world, despite the loss of social and professional support we are Equal to England and are no longer juniors. This is highlighted as follows:

["Advance Australia Fair" was composed in the late 19th century by Peter Dodds McCormick under the pen-name "Amicus" (which means "friend" in Latin). It was first performed by Andrew Fairfax at a Highland Society function in Sydney on 30 November 1878. The song quickly gained popularity and an amended version was sung by a choir of around 10,000 at the inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia on 1 January 1901. In 1907 the Australian Government awarded McCormick £100 for his composition.
In a letter to R.B. Fuller, dated 1 August 1913, McCormick described the circumstances that inspired him to write "Advance Australia Fair":
One night I attended a great concert in the Exhibition Building, when all the National Anthems of the world were to be sung by a large choir with band accompaniment. This was very nicely done, but I felt very aggravated that there was not one note for Australia. On the way home in a bus, I concocted the first verse of my song & when I got home I set it to music. I first wrote it in the Tonic Sol-fa notation, then transcribed it into the Old Notation, & I tried it over on an instrument next morning, & found it correct. Strange to say there has not been a note of it altered since. Some alteration has been made in the wording, but the sense is the same. It seemed to me to be like an inspiration, & I wrote the words & music with the greatest ease.] Wikipedia

The anthem would generate  different forms of thoughts in each Australian mind. But to those who realized ‘freedom’ in Australia – the Common meaning would be to  Advance ‘Fairness’ at every stage of our history. We would identify with this,  if we were truly Australians.  Often junior migrants have to work harder than senior migrants and/or indigenous Australians to maintain our sense of independence that we had enjoyed in the past. The above Australian the Hon Peter Dodds McCormick must have felt the pain due to such challenges.

Sri Lankan leaders on both sides of this ethnic conflict originally came from India. Hence the conflict could be described as heritage of Indian Politics where Northern India dominates over Southern India. Using the analysis as per Australian-English example,  Sinhalese who disconnect from India would be the parallels of Australians driven by ‘White-Australia’ Policy. Likewise Tamils who disconnected from India and its Spiritual values.  They eventually form natural coalitions with Veddhas – the indigenous group Sri Lankans who are the parallels of Aborigines of Australia. They are the parallels of those who claim outside Jaffna - that Jaffna Thosai is the best Thosai of all and that it is the original. Indian Tamil superstar Rajinikanth said in one of his speeches regarding Sri Lankan Tamils that we spoke Tamil so sweetly. One could take that relatively - as Mr. Rajinikanth saying that we spoke better Tamil than Indian Tamils. On the other hand – it could mean that Mr. Rajinikanth identified with our speech as ‘young Tamil’ and us Sri Lankan Tamils - as Young & Free Tamils. In nations made up of migrant population – we need to be facilitated to realize our ‘freedom’ in our own way.

Where one migrant ‘tells’ another migrant – on the authority of  time-based seniority – then the return karma is accumulated as the  most senior settlers’ right to tell that senior migrant. Junior migrants who identify with the indigenous community through common victims’ pain – would thus become part of the original group which is not conscious of another origin. That was how our former Prime Minister – the Hon John Howard was defeated by junior migrant voters. Likewise Sinhalese Buddhists claiming Sinhala only and Buddhism foremost by claiming  that they were the original owners of Sri Lanka even though they allege to be practitioners of Buddhism. Such claims would naturally empower non-Buddhists who are conscious of their origins to form natural coalitions with Veddhas who worship Nature and/or live as part of Nature. In animal kingdom – the law of majority is natural. Likewise, those who claim Tamil only after accepting funding from India – would become India’s remote relatives. Those who have their own Sri Lankan ancestors become kings– but in that small territory to rule like kings. Those migrants who bring the Spirit of their origin but not the form – become kingmakers.

The Hindu-Veddha merger is described as follows :

[The original religion of Veddas is animism. The Sinhalized interior Veddahs follow a mix of animism and nominal Buddhism; whereas the Tamilized east coast Veddahs follow a mix of animism and nominal Hinduism due to Brahminical sanskritsation , which is known as folk Hinduism among anthropologists.
One of the most distinctive features of Vedda religion is the worship of dead ancestors, who are called "nae yaku" among the Sinhala-speaking Veddas and are invoked for game and yams. There are also peculiar deities unique to Veddas, such as "Kande Yakka".Veddas, along with the Island's BuddhistHindu and Muslim communities, venerate the temple complex situated at Kataragama, showing the syncretism that has evolved over 2,000 years of coexistence and assimilation. Kataragama is supposed to be the site where the Hindu god Skanda or Murugan in Tamil met and married a local tribal girl, Valli, who in Sri Lanka is believed to have been a Vedda.
There are a number of less famous shrines across the island, which are as sacred to the Veddas and to other communities]  Wikipedia

The fate of the ‘disappeared’ could be traced to the following ancestral habit:

[The Veddas practice a cult of the dead. They worshipped and made incantations to their Nae Yakka (Relative Spirit) followed by other customary ritual (called the Kiri Koraha) which is still in vogue among the surviving Gam Veddas of Rathugala, Pollebedda Dambana and the Henanigala Vedda re-settlement (in Mahaweli systems off Mahiyangane).
They believed that the spirit of their dead would haunt them bringing forth diseases and calamity. To appease the dead spirit they invoke the blessings of the Nae Yakka and other spirits, like Bilinda Yakka, Kande Yakka followed by the dance ritual of the Kiri Koraha. According to Sarasin Cousins (in 1886) and Seligmann's book - 'The Veddas' (1910).

"When man or woman dies from sickness, the body is left in the cave or rock shelter where the death took place, the body is not washed or dressed or ornamented in any way, but is generally allowed to be in the natural supine position and is covered with leaves and branches. This was formerly the universal custom and still persists among the less sophisticated Veddas who sometimes in addition place a large stone upon the chest for which no reason could be given, this is observed at Sitala Wanniya (off Polle-bedda close to Maha Oya), where the body is still covered with branches and left where the death occurred."] Wikipedia

When there are ‘system changes’ due to time and land displacements we need to restructure by using the Truth we discovered about ourselves through the old pathways. Those driven by the ‘seen’ would tend to shrink their environments, takeover and then control the folks by hook or by crook / by vote or by the gun. If we remember and actively use our past but without official relativity to our present work – we become our own ghosts in our present.  Those who claim to be foremost owners of Sri Lanka must pay their first respects to their Veddha ancestors. Wonder which one would step forward first – Sinhala Nationalists or Eelam Tamil Nationalists?

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