Saturday 10 June 2017

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam

10 June 2017

Freedom or Independence?

While regretting the way things turned out, I hope the media will act responsibly to protect the new found freedom which we have fought and won for them’ - Minister the Hon John Anthony Amaratunga, Sri Lankan Minister for  Tourism Development, Christian Religious Affairs and Land, as reported by Colombo Gazette.
But world is changing and women's rights are overtaking values including the dress women wear and what they do etc. In a dynamic world we are compelled to accept unacceptable things as acceptable. If we don’t move with time it will end up like Islam which is too static without understanding the values or reality of the present situation and end up in calamity. Today’s freedom is to do what ever one likes to do and expecting  everybody to accept it as freedom.’ -  Member of the Australian Tamil Diaspora

‘UNBELIEVABLE!  AND the entire world allows this to go on….!  A teeny weeny concession.
The rise in status of womenfolk in Saudi Arabia is a positive step. I do hope the Saudis would start to treat their foreign housemaids with more respect and compassion now that their own women are considered to be mammals and not chattels as previously recognized.’ Member of the Sri Lankan Diaspora on the basis of the article headed:
[Saudi Arabia: Panel of Scientists admits Women are Mammals, yet ‘Not Human’
Riyadh | In an unprecedented ruling, a panel of Saudi scientists has concluded that women are actually mammals, granting them the same rights as other mammal species such as camels, dromedaries and even goats.]

Sri Lanka produced the first female  Prime Minister in the world. It happened due to Sinhalese who to my mind are more flexible than Tamils and possibly Muslims in terms of relationship positions. Where the real powers of the women in a group is stronger than that of men and the positions are more amenable  to changes in the form of leadership – the gap between past and present narrows.
Tamils of Sri Lanka are yet to produce a female political leader which I believe is due to this rigidity in structure – for better or for worse. The above mentioned Tamil Senior made those comments during discussion invoked by a Tamil video clip in which a young male laments that his wife from homeland disappointed him due to her expressions of ‘freedom’ including in clothing. I pointed out that that guy was wearing Western clothes and his hairstyle was very trendy. I wrote in response:

 [Young ones dress as per the 'freedom' they perceive they have. The guy who
is rambling is himself enjoying this freedom that his father did not have. A good example of discrimination against women which in turn earns us discrimination from those we consider to be above us - for example whites  who may be employing this guy.

When I decided to go to Sri Lanka’s North in 2003, through a UNDP project, to help LTTE develop their Public Administration Structures and Systems, one of the organizers said to me that the dress code was Saree or Churitha. I overrode it and dressed as per my earned status in Northern Sri Lanka – which at that time itself was global due to my mother and my Convent education. The female LTTE cadre who were assigned to be trained by me wore their army attire  pants and shirt. THAT was the acceptable code and more appropriate for training LTTE women in Administration. I believe in respecting structures and bow to them when I go in there. This may not win favours with current leaders who did not themselves pay their respects to the original founders of the core value – in this instance the LTTE failing to pay its respects to the Politicians who sacrificed earned benefits and sometimes status of heritage value towards Political Independence to make our own laws.
LTTE fought for ‘freedom’ to express itself and on behalf of others who were operating at its level. They did not fight for Independence of the Tamil Community at its highest level of investment in civilization. Tamils have through the last elections, yet again confirmed that they have preserved their investment / heritage in Democracy. This is possible not because of ‘showing’ our commitment to old culture – but more due to the independence that we have invested in especially at family level.
As written previously, a lawyer lady of about my age – did not pay her respects to Mr. Shiva Pasupati former Attorney General – who is her Professional elder. That was because that lady herself did not elevate her status to that level by consolidating her investment in her career with her social and family status. Those who pass exams largely for economic reasons would fail to develop such higher conduct. It did not matter what Mr. Pasupati was as an individual, so long as he did not show bad conduct while in that position. I feel that this lady would have been the first to stand up on tip toes to  shake hands with the Hon Philip Ruddock also a former Attorney General  who is close to the Tamil community in Australia ! But some of us treasure and protect our positions at National level through our elders.

Through my Colombo land matter I learnt about Substitution in the Sri Lankan legal structure,  after a party to the original matter   dies. The current position holders substitute to enable completion of the legal process. But at family and workplace levels – I usually substituted myself to complete the experience, when the other side to the relationship failed to demonstrate the higher conduct denoted by her/his position. That’s when we the governed become governors. That was how Tamils through their sacrifices have established that Equal position in National Parliament. If majority Tamils had supported ‘freedom fighters’ this would not have happened because the current generation would have lacked the ability to invoke those who ‘sacrificed’ enjoyment of  current benefits to be independent as a whole at National level.

As I often say to my students – where one is driven by immediate outcomes / benefits, one would not develop structures to treasure and protect Common Values. Independence happens when we sacrifice earned benefits to be part of the whole. LTTE did not sacrifice their wins to elevate the Community through its elected leaders. They kept the wins themselves and thus stunted the real status of the Community as a whole.  Had they sacrificed they would have become one of the best armed forces in the world – the reason why Indian leaders wanted them.

 The Hon John Amaratunga claims that the current government won the ‘freedom’ for the journalists. Independence cannot be ‘won’ for one by another. It has to be earned from within  by committing to one’s Truth. Then Independence is shared naturally through our investment in Independence which would have happened through sacrifice of benefits over which we had control.
Tamils of Sri Lanka who carry the Independence heritage invoke that in other Sri Lankans. Those who disowned Sri Lanka would also invoke this in true Sri Lankans provided they stay within their earned boundaries in terms of position.

Muslim women who enjoy their investments through the males in their family may not find the above ruling offensive. They are more valuable to the issue of independence than those women who take more than their share in the name of ‘freedom’. This often happens with those who breakaway from relationships in which they are juniors. The core value is independence from enjoyment of small pleasure to experience the great happiness. That enjoyment usually comes in many forms and shapes.

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