Monday, 5 April 2021

 

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam


05 April 2021

 

 

 

CASTE AND NOT RACE

 

Tamil Nadu elections have confirmed that caste is an active component in the political game. In my presentation at the Sri Lanka Reconciliation Forum Sydney, I highlighted this, based on my own experience. Former Attorney General of Sri Lanka Mr Sunil De Silva who has since passed away, highlighted that he had identified similar in the JVP insurrection in Southern Sri Lanka. Both – Tamil insurrection and Sinhalese insurrection have been confirmed to be strongly influenced by Communist ideology adopted by that the respective leaders followed.

As per my experience in Northern Sri Lanka, caste based separatism and race based discrimination were indiscriminately mixed communist militants.  Wikipedia presents communism as follows:

[Communism (from Latin communis, 'common, universal') is a philosophicalsocialpolitical, and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of a communist society, namely a socioeconomic order structured upon the ideas of common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classesmoney, and the state. As such, communism is a specific form of socialism.]

As per the preamble in the Sri Lankan Constitution,

[The PEOPLE OF SRI LANKA having, ……. entrusted to and empowered their Representatives elected on that day to draft, adopt and operate a new Republican Constitution in order to achieve the goals of a DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST REPUBLIC, and having solemnly resolved by the grant of such Mandate and the confidence reposed in their said Representatives who were elected by an overwhelming majority, to constitute SRI LANKA into a DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST REPUBLIC whilst ratifying the immutable republican principles of REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY …..and assuring to all Peoples FREEDOM, EQUALITY, JUSTICE, FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS and the INDEPENDENCE OF THE JUDICIARY as the intangible heritage that guarantees the dignity and well-being of succeeding generations of the People of SRI LANKA and of all the People of the World, who come to share with those generations the effort of working for the creation and preservation of a JUST AND FREE SOCIETY]

Republic is presented as follows:

[A republic (Latinres publica, meaning "public affair") is a form of government in which "power is held by the people and their elected representatives". In republics, the country is considered a "public matter", not the private concern or property of the rulers. ]

Fact is the primary level manifestation of Truth;  and general is the primary form of Commonness. At primary level many representations are visible but at Common level only One is recognized. The law helps get from many to One. Those who have little knowledge of law, need to follow common culture to become One from many.

Thesawalamai of Northern Sri Lanka – regulated the caste-based relationships as per the types of jobs performed. When senior caste folks began abusing their power this was no longer law. But even now it is part of the cultural system of Northern Sri Lanka. Likewise, the dowry system – as if the bride was a trading commodity.

Lust is the parallel of Fact and Love is the parallel of Truth. This applies to all forms of pleasures including food and money. When we earn our money through work or through  respect, we move towards commonness. Those who get money without either – develop lust. With time and/or distance, lust also becomes common hatred.

Rebels who are armed without due commitment to rules of secure use , develop list. Likewise, those in the government’s payroll. The Sri Lankan armed forces also included such elements . Their lust was expressed through sexual misconduct – as is also the case with some of our Australian politicians and some leaders in the Tamil community here in Australia also. Once they think they have nothing to lose – they separate from the community and later when isolated by the community, they do not feel pain. It is their way of ‘taking’ benefits.

Such ‘taking’ prevents our work and sacrifices from becoming Energy – which is a Universal power. One who is self-governing as per her/his conscience is automatically connected to this Universal power. The best example commonly known is Gandhi.

I believe that it is my commonness with Gandhi in terms of working with the folks isolated by caste, that gave me the insight into the risks of damage to the Jaffna Tamil community’s sovereignty happening from the caste based politics in India’s Tamil Nadu. It also gave me insight into the way reason for discrimination was made common in Sri Lanka’s North, by the restless.

Like Thunaivi in Vaddukoddai Valvettithurai the hometown of LTTE leader was also separated from higher caste areas such as Nallur. As per Wikipedia:

[Valvettithuari is a coastal town bounded by the Indian Ocean to its north. It is situated at the tip of the northern province and is considered as a place of strategic importance due to the presence of the Palk Strait and its close proximity to the coast of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu]

The high risk of caste based politics coming into Valvettithuari needs to consciously acknowledged. The fact that Tamil politicians were killed by the LTTE, rules out Race being the main or only reason for the rebellion by Tamil youth. Given that it was easier for Vellalar / Farmer caste men to get into leadership than for members of the junior castes – would have been an issue used by youth to emotionally empower themselves – especially when they had no other reason due to isolation.

By attributing race as the reason – those doing so are burying the truth. This naturally divides and separates the community. The risk is being heightened by Tamil Nadu politics.

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