Friday 30 November 2018

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam

30 November 2018

How about Maaveerar Naal at Jaffna Court Complex?

Economy Next report headed ‘Sri Lanka president indicates ending power-struggle shares with us the following message:

President Maithripala Sirisena indicated a softening of his stance and agreed to end the constitutional deadlock by recognizing the United National Party as being the largest single group to form a new government, official sources said.

Talks between him and Speaker Karu Jayasuriya ended on an optimistic nore, the Speaker’s office said without giving details of their closed-door talks with the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo

To me this is a victory to those who genuinely followed Due Processes in Sri Lankan Public Administration and Parliament. Due Processes confirm our heritage and adherence to them confirms our respect for our ancestors who live with us through such Due Processes. Feeling Gratitude is the deepest connection to the systems that facilitated our present.

A Sri Lankan journalist drew my attention to Shenali Waduge’s article headed :
Commemorating Maaveerar Naal is Tamil people’s right – Wigneswaran” – then who is going to commemorate Tamils killed by LTTE

That brought to mind, a family experience in which a close relative joined an older family friend who was taking credit by stating that my mother did not cook well. The young relative got carried away by the ‘gossip’ that the older family friend who is also friend of my mother’s,  demoting my mother to elevate her own status in cooking. I openly recalled my mother’s culinary skills through special dishes I enjoyed then – such as Rotti and Tomato curry – which my grandchildren love due to my practice of my heritage. My youngest granddaughter said a few years back ‘Your first name is Rotti and your second name is Patti!(Grandmother). The little one would have been just four years old then. But to me it felt as if my mother was also blessing me through the little one – because  I carried forward the heritage as a permanent consciousness. Much of this heritage is through Due Processes born out of our shared difficulties relative to others with greater comforts. These Due Processes render us our Dignity.

To respond to Shenali – yes, Mr Wigneswaran has joined the bandwagon celebrating militancy – just like the above  young relative joined the old friend to ‘gossip’ and thus ‘lost’ the connection to her own heritage. Mr Wigneswaran has the DUTY to carry forward the heritage that supported him to become a judicial leader. The early signs that Mr Wigneswaran was disconnected to his heritage surfaced when Mr Wigneswaran was the chief guest at a ceremony in Thunaivi – Vaddukoddai for the opening of  a cultural building built by a member of the Tamil Diaspora on someone else’s land. The parallel of that is for Maveerar Naal to be celebrated at Jaffna Court Complex.

LTTE values are not more traditional than the family heritage of  Mr Wigneswaran – which was developed also by Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan about whose heritage I learnt from the conduct of  Professor Henry Sathanthan first and then from Wikipedia:

[Ramanathan was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in the 1889 Birthday Honours. He was made a Knight Bachelor in 1921. Ramanathan founded two schools in northern Ceylon – Parameshwara College, Jaffna and Ramanathan College. In 1907 Ramanathan rebuilt the Sri Ponnambala Vaneswara Temple at Sea Street in Kochchikade, founded by his father. He helped establish the Hindu Education Board in 1923 and served as its president and manager of schools. He was also president of the Thiruvalluvar Maha Sabai in Madras.  Ramanathan and other leading figures founded The Ceylonese, an English-language newspaper, in 1913. He was president of the Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club from 1917 to 1930. Ramanathan opposed extending voting rights to the people and urged reservation of franchise only to men of the Vellalar caste.]

These two colleges are the foundation of University of Jaffna where Maaveerar day was celebrated to honor those who suppressed all Tamils of Northern Province their right to vote in the 2005 Presidential Elections. I shared in this ‘suppression pain’ through my folks in Northern Sri Lanka. More recently I understood  why the Senior caste did not want voting rights for the junior caste. It is like today’s age based right. The lesson I learnt from my current experience – without any hierarchical borders is that the juniors start ‘telling’ seniors when we are in the territory where they are in majority.

Thunaivi – Vaddukoddai is a toddy tapper village. To be a senior there – one has to be senior in their culture and therefore junior in law and order. Likewise with LTTE areas. I put up with many such excesses especially from the younger generation and continue to facilitate their merger with mainstream community – starting with me as an equal with the person of highest status in their culture.  Since 2016 when our Pongal celebrations were disrupted by youth playing loud cinema songs – I stopped staying there but stayed in my home area of Jaffna – where I believe my heritage protects me. But I continued to tutor students from that area until the best of them told me recently how I should structure my teaching work!  That is the way of majority power without discipline – strongly driven by immediate outcomes. It demotes the whole.

Power through ‘ Immediate visible outcomes’ is also unjust discrimination – adversely affecting those who escalated their pathways to the highest level – by foregoing immediate pleasures. The above mentioned cultural hall that Mr Wigneswaran ceremonially opened is confirmation of such habitual occupation of others’ territory. By celebrating those cultures – through LTTE we become traitors to our own culture that carries the dignity of education as its core value. Higher education teaches us to escalate benefits as opportunities and beyond as ownership.  

Mourning the dead is due process in most cultures. But whom we celebrate confirms the height of our heritage. In terms of Common Law – common to the highly  educated and less  educated Tamils,  armed militants who openly opposed democracy - are ‘foreigners’. Likewise the Sri Lankan soldiers who killed for lower level pleasures but were not disciplined. By honouring  Tamil militants, their heirs are honouring also the Sri Lankan soldiers against whom the Tamil Diaspora is continuing to push for war-crimes investigation. It defeats also the ‘genocide’ claim because LTTE killed the heirs of Tamil Education. We respect our own Educational Heritage by staying away from such celebrations. Mr Wigneswaran may be part of that culture for whatever reason. This is why he did not connect to the Administrative heritage of his own family ancestors. Likewise all young lawyers who USE militant heritage for their own purposes as current costs – to derive current benefits. They include Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, Kumaravadivel Guruparan, Visvalingam Manivannan and Sugash Kanagaratnam. Good militants must be respected as being of different culture. Their culture should not be applied to all Tamils – especially as Shenali highlights –  Tamils who were killed by militants to ‘show’ power. Those Tamil elders protect me when I function in Thunaivi. I honor them as my elders.

Former Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran’ husband was killed while praying at Sri Ponnambala Vaneswara Temple. Had he and his wife who later sang the praise of LTTE in Jaffna – failed to pay their respects to the founders. Had they done so – they would have been protected by the Energies of those elders. I feel protected at that temple which I believe is due to my admiration that the temple functions at high standards even when there are only a few devotees. I believe that I brought forward that value to our family temple in Thunaivi-Sangarathai where not many devotees come now due to my rules.

We have a saying in Tamil for the above youth as well as professionals who fail to demonstrate the dignity of education (and this includes Mr Sirisena) – Avittu Vitta Maadukal (unleashed cattle).  

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