Sunday 26 September 2021


Gajalakshmi Paramasivam

26 September   2021

Politicizing Memorials

I was upset with Victorians who chose to protest against Covid related Government measures – at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance. On the same basis I was upset when the sacred land of Nallur was hijacked to pay tribute to LTTE fighter who had his own god of a different form to Nallur Murugan. As per my belief, both were for political benefits. As per Tamil Guardian report ‘I stand in solidarity with the Tamil people' - Sam Tarry MP responds to arbitrary arrest of MP Kajendran’ :

[British MP for Ilford South and Shadow Transport Minister, Sam Tarry, has slammed "the harassment and arbitrary arrest" of Tamil National People's Front (TNPF) General Secretary and MP, Selvarasa Kajendran, who was arrested for commemorating the death of Lt Col Thileepan.
On twitter Tarry maintained that the arrest and harassment of Kajendran illustrated "the need for international accountability for mass atrocities and a political solution that respects the right to self determination of Tamil people".

British Tamils do not have the mandate to speak for all Sri Lankan Tamils except through Sri Lankan policy that binds the government. Following is an excerpt from the communique released by the  UK group ‘Non Resident Tamils of Sri Lanka (NRTSL)’ which gives me hope:

[The Non Resident Tamils of Sri Lanka (NRTSL) welcomes the declaration made by the Hon President of Sri Lanka stressing his readiness to initiate a dialogue with the Sri Lankan expatriates. When he met the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on 19th of September in New York, he asserted that: “The Tamil diaspora would be invited for discussions” (sic). Engagement with the diaspora is particularly important at the time of multiple challenges faced by Sri Lanka needing multi prong approach to overcome them…..]

Effectively, this opposes and dismisses the Political Energy by the British Shadow Minister.

In terms of Natural Tamil Policy in Northern Sri Lanka, one needs to work out the law of the Land – in particular  - Nallur in this instance. Memorials by Hindus are conducted by priests where the family is committed to ancestral pathways and can afford the priest. Others perorm an ‘archanai’ / personal prayers at the temple. As I grew up it was usual practice for my aunt Mrs Manonmi Visvanathan of Brown Road Jaffna – to arrange a priest to perform the religious rituals for her husband who died while ploughing his farm in Kilinochchi. Even though my uncle was of high status we did not light memorial flames. Such seems to be strongly influenced by Christian traditions. They are not in harmony with Hindu Nallur.

It was reported recently that ‘the Tamil Nadu  Chief Minister MK Stalin-led DMK government has introduced Annai Thamizhil Archanai in temples across Tamil Nadu. Annai Thamizhil Archanai means ‘prayers in mother tongue Tamil’ But some devotees said that Sanskrit was better due to the feelings. In Nallur – Northern Sri Lanka – the prayers continue to be in their ‘official’ language of Sanskrit.

Genuine tributes through Memorials strengthen our investments in common heritage. Heritages are exponential in value and they are independent of current custodians of power. When Jaffna Courts heard the case relating to the intestate estate of my brother in law – Mr Subramaniam Yoganathan, it was stated to be heard under Thesawalamai law. But the Jaffna Courts ruled in breach of this heritage. To my mind, those processes were part of the memorial service which raised the estate’s real value to heritage level due primarily to our belief in the practice of settling our dues to those who contributed to the structures that supported our grooming. Accordingly, Thileepan was owed a Hindu service and not a political one that expressed the desires of current politicians. When we take small benefits on the way – we miss the big opportunities at the destination.


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