Tuesday 6 February 2018

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam

06 February 2018                                    

Tamils Celebrating  British Arrival

On 26 January we celebrate Australia Day. It could also be stated as the celebration of the  arrival of the British which is mourned by some Indigenous folks.

Sri Lankans claim to celebrate 04 February as their Independence day. To me as an individual 05 November is my Independence day. That was the day Natural Forces manifested themselves in the form of confirmation that I needed to confirm my ownership work at the University of NSW. I have shared this as follows through my experience when I was arrested for peaceful assembly – as an expression of that feeling of ownership:

[When we were ready to go, Dr Hayes handed over a report to the Police Officer and looked back at his office as if to see whether anyone could hear him. He walked with us to the door and said that his report says that I did not need to be treated by them but that I needed to be under the supervision of Community Care. I asked him whether he had spoken to my husband and he endorsed what I had said but had accepted what he the doctor wanted to do. I found the second part a bit difficult to balance. When I rang Param the following day from Mulawa prison’s Brady East unit, Param said that he was very upset when Dr. Hayes rang and had said that I was quite normal and that I had received glowing references from Professor  Bruce Dowton, the UNSW Dean of Medicine and for Dr. Hayes to ring Professor Dowton up first before going further. My husband said to me that Dr. Hayes had told him also that they had the power to force the medication into me if I refused to take it. Param said he asked him not to do that and that I had been cleared as being sane by Prince of Wales psychiatrist – Dr. Peter Vaux.  Param said that he was so upset that he called Dr. Hayes back again and insisted  that I was sane. I realized after listening to Param that if not for Professor Dowton’s glowing references from a high position and my husband’s own position and the strength with which my husband had said it, I would have been placed under the care of  Dr. Hayes who would have forced medication into my body. I thanked Professor Dowton in my mind and heart for his genuine expressions of appreciation. As per my knowledge – Professor Dowton was not contacted by Dr. Hayes. But my belief in Professor Dowton’s endorsement of my higher mind and my sharing of that with my husband, came to my help in a way that was more acceptable to Dr. Hayes than if I had said them myself.  They were the cows with silver bells – ‘mani kattina maadukal’. I felt that that influenced them to not go ahead with their proposed ‘treatment’. That was the value of faith. I had faith in Professor Dowton and Param connected to this and used that faith to influence Dr. Hayes. In other words, Param became Professor Dowton because of that genuine faith.  It is the same faith that I felt in Gandhi and Sai Baba. The time I feel faith in Swami Sai Baba is more than the time I feel faith in anyone else. The reason for this is Swami came to me on 05 November 98  by materializing holy powder – when no one else (including Professor Dowton or Param) seemed to connect to what I was doing and saying and help endorse me to myself for myself. Swami Sai Baba  knew and therefore to me He is God. ] Chapter 25 Naan Australian
The above confirms that to my mind, I was independent of Australians of British origin also. Likewise of my husband or any human being. The manifestation of holy powder happened to confirm that independence.

In his article ‘How Could You Expect Us As Tamils To Celebrate The Fourth Of February?’ published by Colombo Telegraph, Mr. Wigneswaran, the Chief Minister of Northern Province who wears the holy powder ‘kungkumum’ states:

[70 years since February 4 1948. We Tamil speaking People were told that we had obtained Independence from the Britishers in 1948 and we looked forward to the creation of a happy, contented, prosperous Country free of foreign domination. Mr.Lee Kwan Yue of Singapore had pointed to the then Ceylon as his role model for economic prosperity and communal harmony…………………
Hence we feel the celebration of Independence from the Britishers has lost its significance due to our coming under the domination and hegemony of the Sinhalese. Until we obtain real devolution of power under a Federal Constitution we cannot retrieve our lost rights in full. Hence how could you expect us as Tamils to celebrate the Fourth of February? I have not discussed this with my Co-Chairmen. But I am sure they will endorse what I say because all of us Tamils feel cheated and let down.]

As per the above, the British were foreigners to Mr Wigneswaran also. As a Tamil I certainly do not feel cheated and let down by Sinhalese, because I became independent as a Sri Lankan, through British values also. I do not depend on external political celebrations to confirm my independence.  To me 04 February 1948 was not the zero based start day of my family’s ancestry. Mine is Ceylonese – under British governance. Once we pay our respects – the duality ceases to exist. We are known by our current identity. If that is Tamil only for Mr Wigneswaran – that is fine. But it is not for me – a person younger than Mr Wigneswaran.

When I feel at home with the Tamil community – I share that sense of Independence with Tamils also. I believe that British contribution to education in Sri Lanka helped me realise independence at the higher level and this gives me the duty to share it at the intellectual level rather than political level.  It was this value that I brought with me to Australia to become Independent Australian. Today I share that sense of Independence with Sri Lankans  and Tamils who are Tamil only.

Below is the acknowledgement of my book of Independence from the University of Jaffna:

To me it was no coincidence that Dr Darshanan who valued my Intellectual Independence enough to share my book Naan Australian with the University of Jaffna, was considered valuable enough to be  interviewed by IBC Tamil Radio on 04 February (Independence Day).  https://soundcloud.com/dr-darshanan/london-ibc-tamil-radio-interview-drdarshanan-04022018
IBC Tamil is presented as follows by Wikipedia:

[The International Broadcasting Corporation for Tamil is a mass media company offering 24-hour televisionradio and online services to Tamil audience living all around the globe. Headquartered in London, the company is licensed and regulated under European media law. The channel’s core audience consists of Diaspora Tamils from Sri LankaIndia and elsewhere.]

To my mind, the book finding a home in the Library of University of Jaffna – contributes strongly and naturally to the value of Independence in Jaffna and all those who fought for Independence through the intellectual pathway and this includes those who actively opposed the quota system for University entrance which resulted in the promotion of Parameswara College followed by Ramanathan College being promoted to University status. Both these colleges were founded by Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan who was a lawyer and a high achiever in many fields of intellectual pursuit.

But as militants did in politics, the custodians of power at University of  Jaffna as well as at University of NSW here in Australia, failed to pay their respects to elders whose Energy is the true foundation of the respective University system.
Northern Province of Sri Lanka produced many world leaders under British rule.

Mr Wigneswaran highlights the expression of  Singapore’s founding father as follows: ‘Mr.Lee Kwan Yue of Singapore had pointed to the then Ceylon as his role model for economic prosperity and communal harmony’
Mr Ajit Kanagasundaram – also a Singaporean Tamil of  Ceylonese origin states as follows in his article ‘THE CEYLONESE CONTRIBUTION TO SINGAPORE’
[Jaffna Tamils valued education above all else and the education system the missionaries set up emphasized the English Language and mathematics. The British valued this education and The Jaffna Tamil propensity for hard work and recruited them for the minor government positions such as clerks and station master both in colonial Ceylon and in the Federated States of Malaysia and Singapore.
It was said that in the 1930s you could travel by train from Singapore to the Thailand border and every station master enroute would be a Jaffna Tamil! It was their descendants who were to play such a significant role in the history of Singapore as an independent nation. The contribution of the Ceylon Tamils were in four main areas – politics and government, law, medicine and sports and I will describe each separately.]

But Singapore groomed also Mr Arjuna Mahendran  whose role in the Central Bank Bonds issue has brought disgrace to Tamils as a community. The reason, to my mind is lack of respect for elders of that institution strongly confirmed by the following Wikipedia report:

[In 2015 he was appointed as the Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. He was extremely critical of the Sri Lankan tax system and called the revenue which is only 10% of the GDP "pathetic" and compared the low tax collection in the country to the tax collection of a poor Sub-Saharan country and also criticized the complexity of the tax system and proposed to simplify it and introduce online tax payment systems to streamline tax collection. He also slammed inefficient loss making state-owned enterprises as they have created losses in state banks while giving a "free ride" to private banks as they exploit significant lending spreads by the government banks and proposed to make public enterprises more efficient so that the banking system can be more efficient and make the economy grow faster.]

A Governor Criticising the tax system strongly indicates lack of confidence in her/his own ability to manage with the resources available. Mahendran was not the Chairman of Monetary Authority of Singapore, whose Chairman Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam,  is of Ceylonese Tamil origin. If Sri Lanka had not been like a ‘poor Sub-Saharan country’   Mr Mahendran  would not have gotten that position of governor of Central Bank. Had he paid his respects to those elders within the Sri Lankan Monetary system – they would have protected him.

This is the problem with Dual Citizenship. They want it both ways. Mr Wigneswaran also seems to suffer from this syndrome – confirmed as follows:

[Little did we realize that the Sinhalese political leaders had other ideas. They, as the majority community, had taken full control over all State power and authority from the Britishers and started to harass the minorities under the pretext that they had been discriminated by the Britishers. This was not true. Britishers always gave preference to merit and in open competition the Tamil speaking did well to hold many Government Jobs and other jobs. But discriminatory laws were brought to weaken the Tamil community in every way.]

The first lesson in Independence is to speak for yourself and the group you represent due to common faith. If to Mr. Wigneswaran’s mind, the British did not discriminate – then Mr Wigneswaran is British Tamil and not Sri Lankan Tamil or worse – Eelam Tamil. 

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