Monday 11 March 2019

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam

11 March 2019

Gargi Awards 2019 – in NSW, Australia

Separation of Powers – Queendom and Kingdom
The Hindu Community of Australia celebrated International Women’s Day by including through Gargi awards. I participated in the celebrations because I felt that natural forces influenced the custodians of power to include me in the 2 finalists  for Journalism category. Ms Harita Mehta of SBS Radio won the award. I was happy to be second especially because Journalism is a natural category that I like to be included in. My credits were presented as follows:

[Upholds diversity and equal opportunity through the publishing channel (Naan Australian; Jaffna is my Heritage, not my dowry)

Continues to fight odds against racial discrimination, rising above the complacency attitude and caste barriers to epitomize and uphold values that Gajalakshmi holds dear. She goes by the belief ‘we have done our best ad sacrificed as much as we can for the common good to be where we are’]

I believe that it was the common courage as a minority that influenced the valuable outcome above that I shared almost immediately with the war-victims in Northern Sri Lanka who believe in my leadership. They are currently the minorities in Sri Lanka as well as in the Global Tamil Community.

This morning, my attention was drawn to Colombo Telegraph article ‘International Women’s Day: A Plea For Helping Tamil Women In Sri Lanka In Their Search For Justice’ by Ms Usha S Sri-Skanda- Rajah.

I smiled as I read the following comment to Usha:

[Dear Aunty
Did you wonder why the majority of suicide bombers were women> Did the LTTE think women’s lives are more disposable than men’s? Also why were those women not from the upper castes?
While you and your kind were living in Canada and UK, the majority of the women who fought for YOUR liberation, were from poor, lower caste families, were’t they?
I hope you do fight for the rights of those women, who did not have a voice when forced to take the cyanide pill or to explode themselves, so that the men would survive to create more mayhem and lead to the last major blood bath.
Can you stop? Do you want to destroy several more generations of Tamils living in the island?]

Gender based discrimination was an issue that I took up with LTTE leaders at a conference in Vattakachchi, in Northern Sri Lanka,  in which I participated as a UNDP volunteer. My question was based on my personal experience – where I was ignored by the young guy distributing the agenda, while serving the two men on either side of me. Thamilini – the women leader said she would address the issue. But can a woman who apparently accepts the leadership of a man above her address this issue? Both Thamilini & Usha accept Velupillai Prabhakaran’s leadership. To the extent such is for the purposes of a job the regulations of the institutional structures become the measure. The Tamil Community of Northern Sri Lanka, governed by Thesawalamai law had no excuses to claim that their women suffered from gender based discrimination. Thesawalamai law clearly provides for separation of powers on the basis of gender based diversity.
Those of us women, who claim separate space for our Tamil nationalism need to have first established our own queendom in that area of Northern Province of Sri Lanka, where gender based diversity was celebrated through Theswalamai Customary Law.  In other words, Thamilini ought to have established her own queendom within LTTE and shared the leadership status with Velupillai Parabhakaran.

Separation of Powers in Theswalamai Customary Law confirms that our  Tamil men and women elders were independent of each other including  within the family.  Those of us who claim Tamil Nationalism need to recognize this gender based diversity that culminated as customary law. One who neglects such ancestors confirms lack of belief  in the independent kingdom of Jaffna.
I was recognized for the above nomination by the Hindu community – largely of Indian origin and by white Australian lady judges and NOT by the male dominated Jaffna Tamil community leaders. This I believe confirms the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora’s acceptance of gender based discrimination in public life. We then do not have the moral authority to find fault with others for racial discrimination. We are then limited to use of evidence based assessments.

It is reported that one of the grounds on which Cardinal Pell’s legal team is appealing is:

["On the whole evidence, including unchallenged exculpatory evidence from more than 20 crown witnesses, it was not open to the jury to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt on the word of the complainant alone.]

The Vatican, by failing to renew  Mr Pell’s leadership position confirmed that it did not believe in Mr Pell. That is the natural verdict. Belief does not need proof.  One has to believe in Commonness to be entitled to Common Discretionary power. I wrote to Archbishop Pell during my pain which I believed was caused due to racism. Archbishop Pell did write an acknowledgement but failed to share his status with me or more importantly share any belief that I was right – including in relation to Caritas doctors who threatened me with enforced medication. Eventually – all unaddressed unjust discriminations become ‘common’ with time. That which is truly common – cannot be cured by particular power.

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