20 April 2017
Thank you Sir Suntharalingam
I was feeling elated after watching two clips – one about the Mexican Ambassador using the auto-rickshaw in Delhi, India and the other our own Prime Minister the Hon Malcolm Turnbull going around Delhi as if he were Indian. Then I read the ugly article by Professor Ratnajeevan Hoole about our Community elder the Hon Chellappah Suntheralingam which grounded me to action.
It was just yesterday that I recalled with admiration that Mr. K.Satchichithananda, a Tamil had established the firm Satchithananda, Schokman, Wijeratne & Co. Chartered Accountants where I had the opportunity to serve articles and be groomed as an Accountant. I was pulled up a couple of times by the partners – once by Mr. Satchithananda himself. Relatively speaking, I was pulled up only once in my high school – Holy Family Convent, Jaffna. But my family had groomed me to absorb any pain from such disciplinary actions by elders who established or inherited those ‘structures’ that support us. Those structures to my mind, are the consolidated value of all minds that discovered the Common Ethics that we need to follow in our respective professions. I believe I became a good Accountant due to such acceptance of discipline even though back then, I might have considered it unfair – relative to my good record in school. Such acceptance shaped me to face the tougher challenges that were to come. Had I reacted and thought ill of my professional elders – I would have not inherited their strength in our common profession. Mr. Satchithananda married Mr. Suntharalingam’s daughter and his other daughter is the wife of Mr. Samy Pasupati who was also a partner in our firm which is now PricewaterhouseCoopers. Our professional elders together with their spouses enjoy high respect in the Australian Tamil Community and hence my dislike of the negative article about Mr. Suntheralingam. Professor Hoole’s academic supervisors are the parallels of Mr. Satchithananda and Mr. Pasupati within the circle of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka.
Caste based hierarchy seems to be Professor Hoole’s weakness and this is brought out as follows in his article:
[In his letter to grandson Prof. Gnanalingam Anandalingam, CS boasts of “the position in the social order in which your Appah’s parents belonged.” That is himself. After describing their caste, he gives the purpose of his communication: to know that “life is influenced by heredity and the early environment of home life and home gossip.” Anandalingam, despite the advice, home life and home gossip, married a Catholic Malayaali. Curiously, after advising the difficulties of arranging marriage to children if one marries below caste, CS urges Anandalingam to value men by their intrinsic worth rather than their parentage.] C. Suntharalingam, Part II: Grandfather’s Letters by Professor Hoole
Unless caste is an active measure in our current environment, we need to use the fundamentals to analyze rights and wrongs or absorb weaknesses through strengths. Using caste as an active measure for or against a person who is no longer active, confirms lack respect for ethics - academic ethics in the instance of Professor Hoole.
Using fundamentals, there is a big difference between marriage between two individuals and marriage between two families. The confusion between the two is also a serious challenge for migrants from Northern Sri Lanka to Western nations including Australia. Marriage between two individuals is strongly driven by current values unless at least one of them is committed to heritage. When we carry the family values of those above us in the family structure – we raise our mind-order to that higher level to include the structures developed by others before us. If not for those others – Professor Hoole is not likely to be entitled to the title of Professor.
As I said recently to an Engineering Academic – the principles / theories that we use in solving problems are the consolidated value of the work of those who discovered those principles / theories. I believe that electronic programs are the minds of those who worked on those programs and they become our guides and tutors when we believe in them and attribute credit to them – at least in our minds. Without such attribution, we have to remain relatives and do not enjoy common ownership, as for example become family, community or Nation. Hence the statement “life is influenced by heredity and the early environment of home life and home gossip” is considered to be sharing of wisdom. Heredity confirms the soul value of one’s group. A Christian elder within the Sri Lankan Diaspora in Australia wrote to me yesterday:
[We too believe that the soul never dies. Dust thou art to dust returnest was not spoken of the soul.]
Without this soul-value, there can be no real heritage. Heritage cannot be marked right or wrong as per today’s measures. Sins lead us to live far away from the soul , while virtues keep us close to our soul. Neither is within our control but both influence our lives. Sins are harmless in the environment in which they become ‘past’. But if one were influenced by it during current period, they can only be offset by their ‘other side’ virtue. It is for this reason that Hindu Tamils usually match horoscopes as an essential step in arranging marriage.
Professor Hoole goes on to state:
[Curiously, after advising the difficulties of arranging marriage to children if one marries below caste, CS urges Anandalingam to value men by their intrinsic worth rather than their parentage]
Valuing people as part of society is different to positioning them within family structures and restructures due to marriage. Former is like University and latter is like High School. If one were to consciously carry forward the credits earned in school, one would fail to experience the University through self-search and discovery. The intrinsic worth of fellow member of society is identified with through our discovery of our own worth in a ‘free’ environment. Such discovery leads to ‘sharing’ and is the end of ‘giving and taking’ that happens in relationships. When such giving and taking is money driven we become outsiders to each other. Once we connect to the intrinsic value of another member of society we become that society with the soul power to drive it.
The Mexican Ambassador to India for example connected to the soul of India through her simple gesture of travelling by auto-rickshaw. In contrast, Professor Hoole showed disrespect as follows for our Judicial structures:
[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 ]
15 August is the anniversary of India’s independence from British rule – led by Mahatma Gandhi – who would have accepted the punishment of the Courts even if he had felt it was unfair and unjust. I did and hence my article about Gandhi’s Ahimsa, in response to Justice C.G.Weeramantry was published by Daily News on the same day (01 November 2004) the NSW Mental Health system endorsed me as heir of Gandhi. http://archives.dailynews.lk/2004/11/01/fea03.html
The above happened due to my true Belief in Independence – including intellectual independence which seems to be seriously lacking in Professor Hoole. One cannot be Politician and Academic at the same time. The former is a one-way street and the latter is two-way – allocating rights and wrongs at each milestone – until one discovers the scientific Truth showing the connection between cause and effect.
In the meantime, the best heritage from Mr. Suntharalingam to us those who believe in him is his commitment to "One language two nations, two languages one nation" discovery.
Caste based discrimination is a particular term to describe class based discrimination. When one takes up Academic status above those who seem to be non-academic – even though they are committed to intellectual pursuit above politics – one is as guilty as having discriminated unjustly on the basis of caste. Professor Hoole who does not respond to my articles despite receiving them through email, is guilty of unjust class based discrimination. Professor Sathananathan of Monash University on the other hand often referred to me as Dr. Gaja. I attribute the reason to be our soul connection through development work in postwar Sri Lanka.
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