Thursday 26 March 2020

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam

26 March  2020


I spoke to our Temple Priest in Northern Sri Lanka to conduct the necessary rituals in relation to the death anniversary of Sri Premakumar, at his home-shrine. I was firm about not being an exception to the Curfew. Sri’s wife Vathanee arranges this in honour of her husband’s life to be conducted at our family temple in Sangarathai, in Northern Sri Lanka. I made the arrangements with the priest in February when we were physically there. After learning that the curfew has been extended – I restructured the arrangements.

I was therefore shocked to read the report under the headline ‘COVID-19: Sri Lanka agrees to provide medical personnel as aid’ at

The parallel of that here in Australia would be for Australian medical personnel to go to New Zealand.

To my mind, this means that the Sri Lankan government  does not feel the threat of Coronavirus to be serious. This is possible due to it distancing itself more and more from the global leadership. This is fine if Sri Lankan government feels that Sri Lanka is self-sufficient to protect itself from this enemy about whose causal influences we seem to know very little. Those who are like family to me in Northern Sri Lanka expressed much appreciation that I called often to ask them how they were coping. I advised those with school-going children to do home-studies and to not idle. Isolation breeds its own problems. Hence the ongoing mind-sharing with those who are still recovering from the war.

Sri Lankans are entitled to the full and complete services of fellow Sri Lankans. This is the reason for self-isolation at National level. Maldives is NOT part of Sri Lanka.

When there is nothing I think I can do to make it better for someone, I pray. When my prayers are heard, I feel more calm. When Gwen Harrigan, who is part of my University of NSW (UNSW) family expressed appreciation for my article ‘Value of Pain SharingI connected it to my self-isolation pain during the ownership challenges I faced at UNSW in which Gwen also shared.

I do not have the medical expertise to cure the victims. But I do have the depth of mind to share and ease the mental pain of the new victim.

In 2003, during the time I got ready to go to Sri Lanka on a UNDP mission, my maternal uncle from Myanmar about the torture experienced by my uncle Ratnum Durai:

ON 22 JANUARY  1944 BY

Q:        Do you have any information concerning the death of one RATNAM DURAI at the New Law Courts Building, Rangoon, Burma? If so, please state what you know of your own knowledge concerning the incident?
Capt. Maloney: When I was placed in the New Law Courts Building, RATNUM DURAI was already confined in a cell adjacent to the one to which I was assigned, and was moved to my cell in about 10 days. On nearly every day for several weeks after I arrived, one or more interrogators, usually the interpreters, would come to the cell and ask him questions. I understood from the questions that they were seeking information as to the radio frequencies and codes he used as an agent for the United States intelligence, where he was trained, and the names of other natives trained with him. The interrogators would frequently beat him with a heavy club or rubber hose while in the cell. At other times he would be taken from the cell and be gone for a period of from a few hours to 2 days. When he was returned to his cell his body would show evidence of very severe beating, and frequently he had been so badly mistreated that he could not walk. About half the time he was given nothing to eat and did not recover. He died in January 1944, about 6 weeks after I arrived. He had no diseases or injury, except from apparent beatings, when I first arrived.

Q: State what was told to you concerning this mistreatment and of the background of RATNUM DURAI?
Capt. Maloney: I was told that DURAI was a Hindu and a citizen of Burma, but had been trained by the United States Intelligence and dropped from a plane behind the Japanese lines in Burma as an agent; that he was captured during the latter part of November 1943 and immediately brought to the New Law Courts Building.
DURAI told me that he was always beaten when he was taken from his cell for interrogation and that on several occasions he was hung by his feet from the ceiling of the interrogation room, so that his head was barely above the floor, and that water was then poured in his nose.

Q: Can you give any information as to those responsible for the mistreatment resulting in the death of RATNUM DUARI?
Capt. Maloney: There was one Japanese interpreter who was on the case continuously and gave many of the beatings. He was about 25 years old, about 5’5” tall and could speak good English. He said he knew a little about boxing and that he was one of the few Japanese there who wore their hair long as in Western style.
Signed : RAYMOND A.MALONEY, Captain, AC. ASN 0-726056

I read this when I feel there is nothing more I can do. By dying in custody in a global war, my uncle protected those who share in his pain from experiencing that pain. That is the way of belief. I now feel sad but not anxiety for war victims. All those who suffer deep pain in this Coronavirus war would protect all of us who feel their pain as  ours. Self-isolation at physical level helps us to focus on our commonness which protects us from particular pain.  

Sri Lankan government’s first duty is to Sri Lankans. Until the end of Coronavirus war – they have no moral right to use Sri Lankan resources to help foreigners. Quid Pro Quos have led to this pathetic situation.

The deepest mind connects to the truth in Nirvana (Nakedness) where there is no mind; Just absolute stillness of truth. As Saint Yoga Swami of Jaffna said – Summa Iru/ Be Still. 

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