Wednesday 8 December 2021


Gajalakshmi Paramasivam

08 December   2021



Left, Right & Caste

"Thiruchandran had carried out field research in Jaffna, Mullaitivu and Vavuniya to understand the post-war dynamics of caste. She unsparingly records the many acts of discrimination in employment and education that have been conveyed to her" – A Review of ‘Caste and its Multiple Manifestations: A Study of the Caste System in Northern Sri Lanka’ by Selvy Thiruchandran, Bay Owl Press 2021. – review by Dr Ahilan Kadirgamar

The pictures above were taken during Thai Pongal festival in 2015. More than six years later, we have achieved stronger cohesion through Caste based Equality, while the idle minds continue to capitalise on the caste issue through imaginary ideas.

A member of the Jaffna Hindu College alumni wrote as follows:

[Excellent review by Ahilan’s Kathirgamar about the book published by Selvy  Thiruchandran, daughter of reformist and social thinker, Handy Perinpanayagam.


Very disappointed as none of the members responded so far. Are they also consciously silent party of Jaffna community, the  way  our ancestors, political leaders and Tamil elite behaved over 100 years?. Instead of talking about lynching in Pakistan, some actions by  LTTE, achievements by self, unrelated less important  stories about west, I will appreciate if members could voice their opinion, genuine or hypocritical , so that we all can debate this major issue in our society, a real curse. I am very interested to know the stance taken by every member including Sunthar.  I will post my comments soon.


Sunthar the book must be an excellent one, could you please let me know  how to get one, hard copy by post or an online publication. I wish to do some research on the issue. I gather Selvy is an author of several books, this being her latest one.]


I responded as follows:

You state:

[I wish to do some research on the issue. I gather Selvy is an author of several books, this being her latest one]

I stated as follows:

[But Selvi has not contributed to this forum. I have. My Tamil book about Thesawalamai law which included the right way of practising caste, has been published online also. That is based on gender equality which is also on the same basis of caste equality.


Selvi and I were recruited to Air Lanka around the same time. Selvi was Reservations executive. I was Agency & Interline Executive. Selvi was asked to resign and as per Selvi’s own words – she did not know why. Selvi said that as per the Commercial Manager ( Mr Colin Martinus seconded by Singapore Airlines) it was like a marriage divorce. I was not aware back then that of positive or negative merit based reason. But each time I was sidelined I spoke out and demanded to know why – so much so that Mr Martinus asked why the men were silent while I the female member , was speaking out? – a bit like this forum. Mr Martinus allocated the responsibility for Colombo Stopover package to me. He also refused to transfer me to Finance where Mr Kulasegaram the GM wanted me to come. Once when Mr Martinus pulled me up for sending memos to Bently who succeeded Selvi I asked Mr Martinus why he was not pulling Bently  up? He said that he had separately. That was his divide and rule policy.  In action Mr Martinus confirmed that he valued me – especially for my courage. That was my experience based measure to understand the reason why Selvi’s services were terminated.

Later I met Selvi at a meeting of Friday Forum and realised that she was well respected. Selvi seemed to have the respect of Karthigesan master’s daughter Sumathi. I guess along the way I worked out that Selvi’s separation happened also due to her being a communist. Air Lanka needed to be commercial and Selvi as a Leftist would have had difficulty adjusting to this structure. With all this in my mind I gave the review a miss. Those who read it or want to read it without having read mine – become my opposition]


As explained above, to my mind the reason was structural. President J R Jayawardene’s mind structure is presented by Wikipedia as follows:

[In contrast with his predecessor, Sirimavo Bandaranaike, Jayewardena's foreign policy was aligned with American policies (earning him the nickname 'Yankie Dickie') much to the chagrin of India. Before Jayewardena's ascendency into the presidency, Sri Lanka had doors widely open to neighboring India. Jayewardena's tenure in the office restricted the doors to India a number of times; once an American company tender was granted over an Indian company tender.]

Also is confirmed the role of Communism in the Black July massacre that is largely attributed to racism. But was it? Let’s look at the following:

Reuters Aug. 3, 1983



[The Sri Lanka Government, which accused an unnamed foreign power of instigating ethnic riots last week, has arrested the leaders of the outlawed pro-Moscow Communist Party.

A Government spokesman, Douglas Liyanage, announcing the arrests, said the leaders of two other banned leftist parties wanted by the security forces had gone into hiding.

President J. R. Jayewardene banned the Communist Party, the extreme-left People's Liberation Front and the New Socialist Party on Saturday.

Officials later charged the parties with direct involvement in last week's rioting, which claimed more than 215 lives and destroyed hundreds of houses, shops and factories. Arrest Orders for 31 including the leaders of the banned parties. Up to noon today 18 had been detained.

Those arrested included the Communist Party's general secretary, K. P. Silva; the editor of the party's daily newspaper, and at least one other member of its Politburo.

Mr. Liyanage said orders had been given to arrest 31 people, including the leaders of the banned parties. Up to noon today 18 had been detained.

Those arrested included the Communist Party's general secretary, K. P. Silva; the editor of the party's daily newspaper, and at least one other member of its Politburo.

Mr. Liyanage told reporters that security was being restored after the clashes between the island's Sinhalese majority and Tamil minority.

The police reported one death and 11 cases of arson on Sunday, and 7 minor incidents, like robbery and looting, on Monday, he said.

Bustling crowds streamed past the blackened shells of burnt-out buildings today as a semblance of normal life returned to the capital for the first time in a week. Curfew Lifted Briefly

A night curfew was reimposed throughout the country today after being lifted briefly this morning. People lined up for food, and offices reopened as security forces patroled the streets during the few hours in which the curfew was lifted.

Food is not being rationed, but shopkeepers are limiting the purchases of each family to prevent hoarding.

The Sri Lanka Parliament is due to debate a bill on Thursday to ban parties that advocate separatism. This would affect the Tamil United Liberation Front, which is leading a political campaign for a separate Tamil state.

The front denies any connection with an outlawed guerrilla movement fighting to establish a Tamil state in the northern Jaffna district.

A guerrilla attack in which 13 soldiers died on July 23 touched off the violence, which flared first in Colombo early last week and then spread to other parts of the country.

Today the Government tightened press censorship, restricted the movement of journalists during curfew hours and expelled a foreign correspondent.

Mr. Liyanage said Stewart Slavin of United Press International had been asked to leave the country for transmitting through unofficial channels material turned down by the censor.

He said hotels in which foreign correspondents were staying had been ordered not to accept news dispatches for transmission. Correspondents can telex reports through the Information Department, he said.

A Pro-Tamil Strike in South India

MADRAS, India, Aug. 2 (Reuters) - A 14-hour general strike protesting ethnic violence in Sri Lanka crippled businesses, schools and government offices and halted transportation in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu today, a government spokesman told reporters.

In Madras, the Tamil Nadu state capital, demonstrators burned effigies of the Sri Lanka President on street corners, and shouted slogans protesting violence against Sri Lanka's Tamil minority.]


As per the above, the, in the mind of the Pro-American president – the cause was Communists first and Tamils next. This is because the President himself was of Sinhalese origin and it would have been easier to read a Sinhala mind than a Tamil one. The parallel caste based reading happened in the junior castes amongst Sinhalese who used emotions to attack their enemies – who were seen as South Indians who did rule Northern Sri Lanka. There was no common cause due to the Sinhalese community being already divided especially through JVP whose leader was indoctrinated in Russia.


The links through socialism happened in the UK also:


[Whilst at Cambridge Kandiah met leftist students from Ceylon including Pieter KeunemanS. A. Wickramasinghe and A. Vaidialingam. He came under the influence of communism and Marxism. Kandiah, Keuneman and Vaidialingam were members of the Communist Party of Great Britain. After returning to Ceylon Kandiah and the other young leftists founded the United Socialist Party in 1941 and its successor the Communist Party of Ceylon (CPC) in 1943. Kandiah was the CPC's candidate in Point Pedro at the 1947 and 1952 parliamentary elections but on each occasion was defeated by the All Ceylon Tamil Congress (ACTC) candidate T. Ramalingam. He however won the 1956 parliamentary election and entered Parliament. A delimitation commission in the late 1950s created a new electoral district for Udupiddy from parts of Point Pedro. Kandiah stood as the CPC candidate in the new electoral district at the March 1960 parliamentary election but was defeated by the ACTC candidate M. Sivasithamparam] Wikipedia


In his Island article ‘A strategy for leftists and nationalists’ Mr Uditha Devapriya, confirms this by quoting as follows:


[This is not the time… for despair and anger for the Tamil people, but one for sustained opposition to injustice and sustained effort for the formation of a Government of justice. In no case must Tamil people think in terms of division; instead they must think of building the closest unity with the Sinhalese people… It is very curious but true that there are only two nationalist parties in the country, namely, the LSSP and the Communist Party, and that all other parties have given up their national character, having become sectional political parties.” (P. Kandiah, Debate on the Official Language Act No.33, 1956)]


Mrs Bandaranaike’s SLFP’s heritage in Jaffna continues to be carried not only by the University of Jaffna but also by her own party in Udupiddy where in the 2020 Elections - Mr Angajan Ramanathan gained highest preferential votes followed by Mr CV Wigneswaran’s group strongly influenced by Communists in Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nationalist party - ITAK came third and Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam’s party – the Tamil Congress came next. In Udupiddy Tamil Congress defeated the Communist Party in the 50’s which has been inverted by reverse Nationalism due to revenge actions by the LTTE of that area as well as dilution of Nationalism by Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam’s and his father’s alliance with the LTTE which was driven by Marxism and not Nationalism.


The Communist Party of India published the following – at


The Marxist

Volume: 03, No. 2

April-June, 1985

Developments in Sri Lanka


[…..It was only in 1956, when both the major political parties the United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lankan Freedom Party (SLFP), opted for the Sinhala-only language legislation that the Tamils finally turned towards federation federalism. Even then, every Tamil candidate who campaigned for separation lost his security deposit. After the riots of 1956 and 1958, the university admissions crisis of the early 1970s and the adoption of the first republican Constitution in 1972, which eliminated the guarantees given to the minorities, the Tamils still rejected separation. Finally, in 1975, separatism was accepted by the major Tamil political parties, which formed the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF). Even then, at the 1977 elections, a majority of Tamils voted for candidates who rejected separation. Most of those who voted for the TULF voted for a party that championed Tamil rights and not for separation in itself. The demand for separation was then seen as a bargaining chip.

..In his broadcast speech after the violence began, President Jayewardene charged the Left parties with being in league with the “extremists” of the TULF, and his Government banned the communist party of Sri Lanka and two other Left parties and arrested their leaders and activists. The ban was later lifted, and the arrested persons were released.]

How is one to know the difference between Nationalism and Communism?


In Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan Nationalists were in fact Communists. Likewise, many Tamil Communist leaders like Mr Kathigesan had overridden caste consciousness. This naturally separated them from Tamil Nationalists who were not only caste conscious but were also Capitalistic in their mind-structure. This separation has been taken by Tamils to their new nations. In the UK the London Assembly adopted  the following :


“London’s Tamil community, originating from Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa and elsewhere, makes a strong contribution to the life of our city.

There are an estimated 15,000 Tamils working for NHS England as doctors, nurses and front-line health professionals, thousands of Tamils serving as teachers and teaching assistants in our schools. Over a hundred adult social care facilities are operated by Tamils in and around London, caring for some of the most vulnerable in our society.

Tamils have made significant contributions to the social, economic, cultural and political fabric of the UK; from serving in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War to Tamil scientists working on the Astra Zeneca vaccine. 

This incredible work takes place against the backdrop of persecution and abuse abroad, deeply affecting the wellbeing of the family and friends of Tamils in the UK. 

The London Assembly thanks the Tamil community for their invaluable contribution to our city. We are profoundly grateful for the work that they do. 

The Assembly notes that January marks Tamil Heritage Month and that Pongal – the Harvest Festival – commences on 14th January. We call on the Mayor of London and the London boroughs to ensure these occasions are marked and that our much-valued Tamil community is supported across the city.”


This London Resolution, while mentioning Sri Lankan Tamils  first, includes also Tamils from India, Malaysia, Singapore, and South Africa. That was/is  also the case with Sri Lankan leaders who carried the British heritage. This commonness is easier with intellectuals and is rare with manual workers. The manual workers need belief based commonness which is often developed through self-imposed isolation as in parts such as Thunaivi shown above and Valvettithurai – the local area of the LTTE leader. Being physically driven – they would lack the ability to use the higher thinking of the brain but are more comfortable with the use of inherited skills.


If we therefore make it equal at the lower common factor, which is physical, there is some loss of higher intellectual abilities. That is democracy. If majority of this category – then the leadership has no need for the high level thinking. Where the policy is to give preference to intellectual leadership – the gap is filled by subjective leadership – through loyalty to higher thinkers.


Tamils who were attracted by immediate results as shown by armed militants lost the value of intellectually driven leadership. Hence the strong criticism of the likes of Mr Sumanthiran and Mr Shanakiya by LTTE supporters in USA and the UK.


The solution is in recognition of Equality of Caste through conscious recognition of the diversity by one group about the other. With caste out of the way – political reasons would be more clearly identified with – in all ethnic communities.






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