27 April, 2018

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Acquiescence To Oppression: Caste, The Sangha & Government Office

By S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Prof. S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

We are supposedly living in a secular country, notwithstanding Buddhism being the foremost religion sponsored by the state.

And yet, when my friend and senior schoolmate, Mr. K.C. Nithiananthan was to come as Governor of the Northern Province, effective 6 April, it did not seem to happen and his old posting as Governor of the Western Province is still on the relevant website.

On enquiry I am told that our former Governor, Reginald Cooray, who had been posted to Kandy, had been rejected by the Mahanayakes there, saying a fishing caste Christian is unacceptable but they would allow a Christian if he is of the agricultural caste. Unbelievably, negotiations happened. Cooray and Nithiananthan had a meeting in Colombo with the authorities. The government apparently bought this line by the Mahasangha and, as I gather, Cooray will go to Kurunagala and a woman of the right caste will go to the Central Province!

This is against all the laws and principles we profess and a part of the fraud that Sri Lanka is – preaching high principles and doing the opposite. Welcome to Sri Lanka, perhaps the most racist and communalist country in the world. Worse, our non-agriculturists have acquiesced by accepting their slavery – there are so many powerful fishing caste people in government from whom we have not had a whimper. People are people, cut from the same rags I think. Wondering about this, I asked my driver who worships Arumuga Navalar and is not an agriculturist, whether he knows Arumuga Navalar’s teaching to agriculturist school children in his Paalar Paadam that if a low caste person or a dog sees his earthen cooking vessels, he ought to destroy them and buy new ones? My driver was aghast and said no one taught him that.

Why just today (Sunday 8th) I drove from Jaffna to Batticaloa to attend the fiftieth ordination celebration of my good friend The Rev. Fr. Joe Mary tomorrow Monday. I settled down in my car to read my Sunday newspapers. A prominent English language Sunday newspaper had its top, page 1 story with the headline emblazoned: New Year Gift to the North: Army to free 650 acres. They take our private lands and think they are giving us a gift by vacating it? The Editor, presumably the best of the Sinhalese intelligentsia, let that headline pass thinking he is really giving us a gift of what is ours. All the way from Vavuniya through Trinco and Moothur  to Batticaloa, I saw all these encroached and forcibly settled lands, wondering what our future in this country is as Tamils.

I also recalled with bitterness my brother-in-law’s land which he had purchased in Keerimalai for a resort home, which has been taken over for the presidential palace. A government that promotes free trade cannot afford to violate people’s ownership rights over their property.

As we reached Batticaloa, I wondered if the people of Batticaloa who worship Pattini/Kannaki and at the same time had Navalar statues erected by their MP Yogeswaran, know that Navalar decried Pattini as a low caste Jaina Chetty goddess and demanded “What temples for that Chettichi?” The people of Batticaloa also have acquiesced to their slavery.  We are all willing slaves to those who oppress us. It is the culture of oppression.

The root of this master-servant relationship can be traced to the Mahavamsa where in the Second Century BC (if the Mahavamsa is to be believed) King Duttugemenu’s son, the Prince Salya, marries a low caste woman, Asokamala. For this, he is banished. The only difference now is that we are doing the same horrible low-class thinking in the twenty-first century. Lord Krishna said in the Gita that he created the castes according to their moral qualities – the higher the qualities, the higher the caste. In Sri Lanka we have those claiming to be high castes exhibiting very low qualities in disrespecting the rights of those who are not agriculturist.

Until the worldly powers of clergy are removed we will always be a third rate country. In Jaffna, we have in Neduntivu (or Nainativu) a monk who has the Navy in his service. According to a reliable professional from there, he has fathered some 10 children through Tamil women. These ladies, like the fisher caste people who accept that they cannot be governors of the Central Province, are willing concubines while he claims to be the Mahanayake of the North. These ladies have acquiesced to their oppression.

I do not regard Nainativu as a part of my heritage because of how the Navy behaves and foisted criminals as our representative. I visited there for the first time only recently when a relation, on the occasion of my daughter’s marriage, gave us all a picnic-tour of Jaffna. The bus she hired took us at some point by ferry to Neduntivu. We walked about and a monk without asking any permission, came and sat on the front seat that I had been occupying. I politely told him it is a private bus, but he glared at me. I am a slave in Jaffna and knew I could not throw him out without the Navy coming to his protection. I too had acquiesced to my oppression.

Should we not rethink the foremost position for a religion that brings out the worst in man – acquiescence to our own oppression. All jobs should be open to everyone based only on qualifications. Does the government have a new policy on caste as a qualification?

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Latest comments

  • 8
    24

    Tell us you are with a DSc, rotting inside a elelction Commissoners Office or the building. What is wrong . Was the field of engineering too discriminating you ?. YOu have your genology published in the internet. It says your roots are in Tamilnadu. How come you brag about rights in Sri lanka ?

    • 3
      1

      Jimmy,
      How is the caste system in Toronto? Do people mind that you are a toilet operative?

      • 0
        1

        I know, definitely, marakkkayas do not use their muslim name. I know one mohommad use the naem mike and ask not to say the word word mohommas becayse they may take me to a terrorist. Only in sri lanka, marakkays can build mosques every where when jews say it s our old books bibles say that isreal and jerusalem are lands. but buddhist can not have sinhala to us alone becase catholics, christians and muslims build mosques even by the side of the public toilet and start chaitng from the loudspeaker.. we respect ourmother, sisirters and daughters and do not eat or kill cattle, pork or chicken. but marakkayas do all thise and sell even rotten meat. do you do that too ? it is mohommad who is incestous andmarried even children and to that even todate.. for us those are disgusting

      • 0
        0

        If CT is humble enough to leave this comment alonge, i can meet you in sri lanka and show my credentuials to understand whether i have to be one like you. I know you work for mahinda rajapakse and write in a newspaper.

        • 2
          0

          Jimmy,
          So you do work in Toronto. You haven’t answered the question.
          ” becase catholics, christians and muslims build mosques even by the side of the public toilet ” . Ah, so they have built one next to your workplace, and that makes you angry. I feel for you, Jimmy!

        • 0
          0

          Yusuf,
          .
          I, too, have repeatedly asked this “Jim softy” to reveal his identity. I use my handle only to indicate from what perspective I write, but my identity is no secret.
          .
          Identity becomes particularly important when the person’s comments are mostly ad hominem.

  • 7
    12

    The caste system is the problem of Tamils and it is not a big issue for Sinhalese. yet, it has become a big issue. for FS case is said to be caste related one for some people. yes, Sinhalese community too has got some caste but it is little bit difference tamil caste system. It is killing india now. War for caste will be a big issue for india soon. Do need that her,e

    • 0
      0

      //And yet, when my friend and senior schoolmate, Mr. K.C. Nithiananthan was to come as Governor of the Northern Province, e//

      K. C. Logeswaran?

  • 34
    5

    A proud buddhist nation is full of bigots. Until the umbilical cord that exists between the state and religion is severed, the whims and fancies of a few will always be entertained over the wishes of a majority. Religion has drained the very essence of life out of the state.

    • 7
      22

      SRI Why don’t you severe the umbilical chord betwwen your crappylanguage and different tribes speaking the same dialect ? You people are migretns from South India, and all over the Island who could resist the Casteism. We have a culture, we gave you enough space. Hoole did not get a job in the north. Only jobs including the one he could not hold was from the south. but, he cannot shed his religious fanatic, casteism coat. Why if he is magnanimous go and find a job in north and not in the south. YOu tamils are disgusting.

  • 5
    17

    IT is Human insecurity. some kind of Caste or Class problem is everywhere i nthe world. In the west, It is royals, kngights, sirs, loyal subjects, celebrities, rich and famous, poor and welfare receipients. In Sri lanka, It is tamils who despise other tamils because they are of a lower caste. In the Srilankan south, the caste problem is as not pathetic as as in the Tamil community. In the in which I think even Hindu Tamils are respectable and would not budge about giving his seat to the Bhikku. Besides, that private bus’s .licence should be cancelled if it was not respecting a bhikku. One christian came and be littled a bhikku means he showed how big he is. This author is well known that is not a big problem. These things are possible in Sri lanka. but not in Tamilnadu.

    • 26
      0

      Jim, “even Hindu Tamils would………
      .can you not see your outlook is the issue. I’ve met Hindu Tamils that would hate, kill, cheat, love, give, share just like every other human on the planet.
      Why can’t you grasp the labels you live by and use are false.
      Why should any one give up a seat for a man wearing a robe. Just look at SOME monks in Srilanka spreading hate. respect has nothing to do with the robes or clothing you wear, or the the caste or place in society you were born into. The monk (man in robe) could have used love and respect to aquire a seat in the said private van, not his caste of choice in attire. Most comments from you Jim are negative, lacking truth and at times delusional. Is this the only platform you have that gives you a false sense of understanding or authority to share your worthless opinion.

      • 15
        2

        Max

        “I’ve met Hindu Tamils that would hate, kill, cheat, love, give, share just like every other human on the planet.”

        The only difference is the Tamils think/claim they are cleverer second only to Jews. However Achchige Patali Champika Ranawaka claims the Sinhalese discovered ZERO and Sinhala language is older than HEBREW.

        Is there any truth in both claims?

        • 3
          1

          It was the chair of archeology in Madurai university, some Devaneya Pavanar who said Tamil is 20,000 years old. That bugger went onto saying Tamil evolved even before humans left Africa :D ..imagine the head of a history dept saying that! And the Tamil racists treat it as some gospel truth….

          Who is champika? what did he say? Do you see sinhalese saying that? Sinhalese do NOT suffer from mythomania like Tamils do.

        • 4
          0

          Prof. Bandaranayake taught us that Paali was a language originating in Sri Lanka and spreading to India.

          There was Prof. Arjuna de Zoysa, Math guy at the Open University who taught us new recruits to OU, at the staff orientation, that we don’t need education, with a serious face at that, and that Buddha had taught Newton’s Laws. I looked around and saw starry-eyed adoration! Dean Arjuna should switch departments.

          I then just a new recruit said that I want life long education (then a hip thing to say at OU) and that I don’t want to go back to the jungle, 3000 years back with no education.

          There is a section titled National Service on our Professorship forms. True contributions get cut off if you are a genuine academic because you can play with points on it. Anything like these highly enlightening pro Buddhist, pro Snhala ideas get extra credit. So Bandaranayake and Arjuna have made it to Profs, fast track. These are our interview panelists.

          God save Sri Lanka – a land where there is no Buddhism left.

          PS: Prof. Hoole there is no episcopal succession of Budhdhists monks from Mahinda Bikshu, in Sri Lanka. Thus no true Buddhism anymore, only illegitimate monks.

      • 2
        0

        Very well said Max….this guy who calls himself Jim Softly is such a negative thinking, low minded fool. No matter how nicely you try and explain , this bozo is determined to be offensive. The professor’s well meant presentation here of his personal experience should be commended for his bravery and not condemned. Keep it up….

      • 0
        0

        There are POPEs who were not cannoized because they instigated in killing JEws. why don’t you catholics give up castlic religion. Mohommad preached killing non-believes, kaffirs why don’t you ask muslims the same questions. Buddha was non-violence. so, why don’t you say your opinion is worth less. If Hoole is anglican, there are books written saying how anglican royalty killed catholics and how biths catholics terminted anglicans. the present problems are partly not becuse china is around, itis partly evangelists need a big twlwvision tower in yapanaya from which they can spread the baby jesus’s message to tamilnadu too.

    • 1
      0

      Jim softy,
      .
      It sounds as though it was a privately HIRED bus, not a road bus.

      • 1
        0

        S.M,
        If it was privately hired, why was the monk allowed to get in?

        • 0
          0

          The monk obviously forced his way in. Hoole says that he is “a slave in Jaffna”.
          .
          Disgusting, yes. But did Hoole need to talk about the illegitimate children? Just that bit of reticence, or someone else adding that detail, may have been more effective.

  • 10
    17

    Prof. Hoole
    Why condemn only castism and remain silent on communalism? A Tamil MP has stated one of the ten undertakings given by Ranil Wickramasinghe to obtain support of TNA to win recent NCM was to appoint persons of Tamil origin as District Secretaries in the Noth and East. That is communalism and deserves condemnation. Or would it be acceptable for only people of Sinhalese origin to be appointed as District Secretaries in a similar fashion in the rest of the country? Such a situation will help no one.

    • 28
      3

      It is plain logic that an officer who deals with people must know their language and customs. If a Sinhalese does know Tamil as well and the customs of the people there is no reason why he should not be appointed. But, that is most unlikely. Most documents are kept in Tamil as they would be kept in Sinhalese in Sinhalese areas. It is not sense to have a Sinhalese in these jobs. Simple practical common sense. GL Peiris, the plagiarist, has said something similar. Just thumping the communal drum for political purposes, the same way he plagiarised to become professor.

      • 4
        1

        There have been Sinhala officers in Jaffna for decades and they have been doing a very good job. Example – Nevile Jayaweera. For language, having a translater is enough. By that logic even in areas where Tamils live like in central province, only Sinhala officials should work.

      • 0
        2

        Mama Sinhalam,

        This was the case before 1956. Almost all of the Tamil civil servants didn’t new Sinhalese. The very people they supposed to help. Wasn’t it a crime that their authority was toppled so that Sinhalese could be installed to the same positions?

        Besides, there are ample Sinhalese civil servants who can read and write in Tamil. Why can’t they be employed? Why are you supporting this communalism?

        • 5
          0

          Shenal,
          “This was the case before 1956. Almost all of the Tamil civil servants didn’t new Sinhalese”
          Probably you were born and “educated” after 1956, which explains why you make imbecilic comments.
          For your info, ENGLISH was the language of administration before 1956. All govt. officers were familiar with it.

          • 0
            3

            raman,

            This is not about language of administration. This is about whether or not the administrator knows the language of the people he governs. Tamils didn’t knew Sinhalese while they served their British overloads. That was the problem.

        • 3
          0

          Yes, the dethroning of English n 1956 was necessary. But that’s another matter.
          .
          Before that all correspondence was in English – look at your own property records.
          .
          But I’m pretty sure that all those civil servants (even Tamils) SPOKE some Sinhala.
          .
          Shenal, sorry to say it: YOU are the one who sounds racist and communal.

          • 0
            3

            Sinhala_Man,

            No Sinhala_Man. It cannot be possible that all the Tamil civil servants spoke some form of Sinhala. If so, there was no need for Tamil civil servant to cry fowl over the “Sinhala only” act.

            • 2
              0

              Shenal,
              “It cannot be possible that all the Tamil civil servants spoke some form of Sinhala.”
              Yes they could. Trust me, I was there, unlike you. They couldn’t read or write Sinhala, but there were interpreters for that. How do you think the colonial rulers managed for 450 years? For that matter, how did the Tamil Nayakkar kings manage? Do you know the origins of the Sinhala names “Liyanage”, Palliyaguru, Liyanamohotti, etc?
              Don’t make silly arguments. Do your research.

              • 0
                1

                old codger,

                No it can’t be. If that was the case. They wouldn’t have to cry fowl over they do not know Sinhalese in 1956. By the way if you think the colonial rulers could do it for 450 years, why now Tamils ask for exclusive right for civil servants working in Tamil areas? Can’t their be Sinhalese civil servants with interpreters? And for your knowledge. The Tamil Nayak kings were well rehearsed in Sinhalese language. In fact they were Sinhalese. I don’t make silly arguments. It is but you.

                • 2
                  0

                  Shenal,
                  “No it can’t be. If that was the case. They wouldn’t have to cry fowl over they do not know Sinhalese in 1956”
                  Well, I can’t help if you don’t believe it. As I said, I was there.
                  The problem was that the Tamil officers cold not READ or WRITE Sinhala. They had to learn in a couple of years OR lose their jobs. The Burghers migrated but the Tamils stayed.
                  BTW “fowl” is a bird that you eat.Hindus are vegetarians.

                  “The Tamil Nayak kings were well rehearsed in Sinhalese language. In fact they were Sinhalese. I don’t make silly arguments. It is but you.”
                  This is even more silly than I expected from you. Do you even know that Sri Wickrema Rajasingha’s real name was Kannasamy???? And why have many of the Kandyan nobility signed the Kandyan Convention in Tamil????
                  If you don’t know these BASIC facts, please don’t waste time with fanciful arguments.
                  I am NOT trying to justify Tamil racistm, just pointing out some FACTS which any serious commentator should know.

                  • 0
                    1

                    old codger,

                    You testimony cannot be taken as truth. It is absurd to believe that every Tamil civil servants knew Sinhalese prior to 1956. If that was the case there would not have been a backlash against them. The same is true for the Burghers as well. Their understanding of the majority Sinhalese population was bare minimum. One cannot expect a country to function well with a civil service who can’t even connect with the local populace.

                    Their are rumors that Kannasami was the child of Pilimatalawe Adigar (senior) but that besides the point. It is well known fact that Madurai relatives of the Randoli held greater power during the final period of the Kandyan kingdom. It is also a well known fact that Tamil was the language of the court during those final years. That is the reason why Sinhalese chieftains put their signature in Tamil. Sinhalese had to over throw the Tamil king because of this reason. Do you see the pattern? When the general populace feel that they are distant from the rulers they naturally tend to take remedies to correct the situation.

                    • 2
                      0

                      Shenal,
                      Your argument ” It is absurd to believe that every Tamil civil servants knew Sinhalese prior to 1956.” is pointless. I said clearly that they cold NOT READ or WRITE sinhala.
                      ” Sinhalese had to over throw the Tamil king because of this reason. Do you see the pattern? “
                      So now you accept that the King was Tamil? Please make up your mind. I really believe you are a teenager, moving the goalposts to “win” arguments.
                      So you believe that replacing a Tamil king with a British one was patriotic? That explains a lot about your kind of patriotism.
                      “One cannot expect a country to function well with a civil service who can’t even connect with the local populace. ” Since you don’t know, it did quite well up to 1956, thank you. Ask your grandfather.

                • 0
                  0

                  Shenal,
                  ” By the way if you think the colonial rulers could do it for 450 years, why now Tamils ask for exclusive right for civil servants working in Tamil areas? “
                  I can’t believe you are so dim. Do you KNOW even what “colonial rule” means??? You really think anybody could ask for their “rights”?
                  Are you an adult or a teenager pretending to be one?

                  • 0
                    1

                    oldcodger,

                    Well for a fact that Tamils never resisted the colonial rule now do they? Sinhalese at least tried twice after 1815 and many more times before.

                    • 0
                      0

                      Never heard of Sankili and the Portuguese either, I see.
                      Maybe he was Sinhalese too?

              • 0
                0

                Dear “old codger”,
                .
                There have been many comments on this (fairly important) point. I think that you’ll agree with me that all was not PERFECT, pre-1956, although better than now.
                .
                SOME changes had to take place, but this cannot be the place where that can be gone in to. I think that I have noticed the results of some half-hearted attempts to have more Tamils in government service recently.
                .
                A bit of friction over appointments and the like will always be inevitable, but what is disheartening is the defence of injustice.

                • 1
                  0

                  Dear S.M,
                  “I think that you’ll agree with me that all was not PERFECT, pre-1956, although better than now.”
                  Yes, I agree. It could have been done with more finesse. But that is a word that the likes of Shenal don’t understand.
                  We would be living in a much better country today.

                  • 0
                    1

                    old codger,

                    Doing it finely is one thing but asking for exclusive Tamil presence in their so called homeland is another thing. Moreover, what will happen to the Tamils living in Sinhala areas. Do you expect them to learn Sinhala?

                    • 0
                      0

                      Dear Shenal,
                      .
                      Your question: ” Do you expect them to learn Sinhala?” is ambiguous. I think it is a FACT that almost all poorer Tamils (who usually have not mastered English) who interact with Sinhalese people end up knowing quite a bit of Sinhalese. Don’t bring politics in to it, and it will happen.
                      .
                      Why is it that I don’t know any Tamil? Knowing Sinhalese and English has been enough for almost any situation that I encountered.

                      But your use of “expect” seems to suggest that you want to make any rights that they will enjoy contingent upon their knowing Sinhalese. There will naturally be resistance to such a requirement.
                      .
                      “Government jobs” are not as important as they used to be. To grant such jobs, again depending on the nature of the job, trilingualism can be either made a requirement, or (more sensibly) those having that ability could be REWARDED with a salary increment. We all know what areas there are where only Tamil speakers live. No government servant should ever be sent in to those areas unless he/she knows the language.
                      .
                      We shouldn’t try to stipulate what the private sector ought to be doing.
                      .

                    • 2
                      0

                      Shenal,
                      “what will happen to the Tamils living in Sinhala areas. Do you expect them to learn Sinhala?”

                      What happened to the Indian Muslims who decided not to move to Pakistan? That’s how civilized countries work.

          • 3
            0

            S.M,
            “Before that all correspondence was in English – look at your own property records.”
            This “history expert” Shenal probably lives in Australia. What would he know?

          • 4
            0

            Sinhala man,
            Quite clearly Shenal’s IQ is low too, because he types : “Wasn’t it a crime that their authority was toppled so that Sinhalese could be installed to the same positions? “. A credit to his community!

        • 1
          0

          Shenal: Another crack pot crack from you.Before 1956, Sinhalese had to pass an oral test in Tamil and the Tamil an oral test in Sinhala.The oral test ensured that one could speak with the people of the other race and be understood,

      • 3
        0

        Make up your mind Mama Sinhalam. It has either to be the principle of all government officers for all positions regardless of ethnicity or else, Tamil officers in Noth and East and Sinhalese/Muslim officers in the rest of the island. The likes of you can not have the cake and eat it at the same time.

        • 2
          1

          There is no inconsistency in my view. The Grama Niladari is by necessity a person acquainted with the people and the culture of the area he oversees. It is obvious that he must be a Tamil in a Tamil area and a Sinhalese in a Sinhalese area and a Muslim in a Muslim area.This is very logical. It should be so for higher officials as well as they have ultimate power of decision. The rule must be varies where there is a person who is well steeped in the language and culture of the other group.In fact when the Indian and Ceylon Civil Service operated, such skills were required as a condition of continuation. But, now the public servant is almost always confined to just one language. So, we have to deal with our monolingual public servants who would be useless outside their regions. This is practicality. There is no racism involved as the nincompoop GL Pieris suggests.

          • 2
            1

            That is a load of bull. Prior to ‘Sinhala Only’, all civil servants, both Sinhalese and Tamil studied in Englush medium schools and spoke little or no Sinhala and Tamil. So make up your mind. Is it Tamil officers only in North and East and Sinhalese / Muslim officers in rest of the country you want? National question will never be solved with your type of mind set.

            • 3
              0

              Eagle Blind Eye

              “Prior to ‘Sinhala Only’, all civil servants, both Sinhalese and Tamil studied in Englush medium schools and spoke little or no Sinhala and Tamil.”

              What a load of c**p?
              My Elders tell me prior to the enforcement of Sinhala Only language policy many Tamils and Sinhalese were fluent in not three languages (Tamil, Sinhala and English) but also they knew Sanskrit/Pali or both.

              Read excerpt from
              The People of the Lion The Sinhala Identity and Ideology in History and Historiography
              By R A L H Gunawardana
              The Sri Lanka Journal of the Humanities, vol. v , no . 1 & 2 , 1979

              Evidently, this was a period of cosmopolitan culture when fluency in
              six languages was considered to be a desirable accomplishment by Sinhalese
              scholars. The hierarch of the Galaturumula fraternity who lived at the
              end of the thirteenth century or the beginning of the fourteenth century
              was the first person to be referred to by the title sadbhasaparamesvara,, “the
              lord of six Ianguages.’ The reign of Parakramabahu VI marks a high
              point in the development of cultural contact between the Sinhala and
              Tamil linguistic communities. Nanniirutun Minisannas, a Tamil prince
              who was married to the king’s daughter, composed the Sinhala lexicon
              Namavalia. It is clear from this scholarly work that the author had
              attained a high level of proficiency in the Sinhala language. The author of
              the Kokila Sandcsa spoke proudly of his ability to preach in both Sinhala
              and Tamil. It was also a period when Tamil poems and songs were
              popular among the Sinhala community. According to the Kokila Sandesa,
              poems composed in Sinhala, Tamil, Pali and Sanskrit were recited at the
              court of Parakrarnabiihu VI.
              Continued:

            • 2
              0

              Eagle Blind Eye

              Excerpt Continued:
              The People of the Lion The Sinhala Identity and Ideology in History and Historiography
              By R A L H Gunawardana
              The Sri Lanka Journal of the Humanities, vol. v , no . 1 & 2 , 1979

              Maha Valigatua was described by the same
              poet as a place where Tamil songs were sung, and his description clearly
              reveals an appreciation for this genre of music” The popularity of the
              cults of Ganapati (Ganes a) and Pattmi was a factor conducive to the
              expansion of Tamil cultural influences among the Sinhalese. The Paravei
              Sandesa, written in the middle of the fifteenth century by Totagamuve
              Rihula, refers appreciatively to Tamil songs being sung at the temple of Ganapati in southern Sri Lanka.96 The Vayamim,tlaya, a poetical work on the’ goddess Pattini which has been assigned to the period of the Kotte
              kingdom, was a translation of a Tamil work.” ..
              The interest of the Sinhalese literati in Tamil literature persisted
              during the period of the Kandyan kingdom when a significant number of
              Tamil works was translated from Tamil into Sinhala. Some of these, like
              the Mahapadaranga Jataka, were Buddhist works'” and point to the prevalence
              of Tamil literary works of Buddhist inspiration even at this late date.
              Kitirnativave, the scholar responsible for some of the translations made
              during this period, speaks of his knowledge of several South Indian scripts.P?
              South Indian scripts were used at times even to write the Sinhala language.
              The Grantha and Tamil scripts were used by some leading figures
              among the Sinhalese officials in the Kandyan kingdom even in their
              signatures.’?’

              • 0
                0

                Dear NV,
                .
                Thanks for the quotes from Prof. of History R A Leslie H Gunawardana, who was not only a Senior Member of the Communist Party, but even a Minister:
                .
                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leslie_Gunawardana
                .
                He spoke out in the University Senate in 1983 – before July. There had been a dress rehearsal, starting May 11, in the University of Peradeniya for the island-wide pogrom. I was a student, but accounts of his brave stance trickled down to us.
                .
                https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/violence-against-tamils-at-peradeniya-university-a-portent/
                .
                He followed up by suggesting that some of us who showed some commitment should start learning Tamil. He was serious about it, but I certainly didn’t add to my academic work-load.
                .
                However, we (who were doing Special Degrees in English) were required to sit a “Sri Lankan Background” paper. The Sinhalese component was handled by Prof. KNO Dharmadasa, with Emeritus Prof. Ediriweera Sarachchandra giving us at least ten lectures on Sinhala Drama – delivered in English, of course..
                .
                Tamil background, too, was handled by two Professors. I’ve forgotten one name, but Prof. Poololasingham was the other.
                .
                Contradictory things were said in the lectures on Sinhala and Tamil. We did some background reading, but we knew that what was important was attitude; how could one possibly KNOW everything about two cultures?
                .
                A bit of humility is necessary in all things.
                .
                To return to Prof. Leslie Gunawardana: he was mercilessly harassed by pseudo-historians of the (Dental Professor) Gunadasa Amarasekera, and the Jackson Anthony sort. They broke him. I remember getting through to him on the telephone. The once genial giant who used to greet me heartily in the streets, was now afraid to even talk.
                .
                Please think of this as a serious matter. The racists in our midst could make things even worse on this island.

          • 0
            0

            Mama Sinhalam,

            I agree with you on the point that civil servants who serve his people must be well acquainted with the people and the culture of the area he oversees. However, it must not necessarily be a person from the same ethnicity of the area. It is very absurd and racist to even suggest that kind of request.

  • 28
    0

    The holy Hooly cannot write anything without referring to Arumuga Navalar. From before Navalar’s time, Christians were destroying Hindu temples. Around and after Navalar’s time, Christian churches had pews based on caste. Let us who live in glass houses not throw too many stones and disturb the peace just because peace is not a thing that the cantankerous Hoole likes. Caste is a bane of Hindu society despite the fact that sages from ancient times have spoken out against it. A reputed saying is that there are only two castes: those who give to the poor and those who do not so give. It is strange that Hinduism and Buddhism which recognise the equality of all life forms still make distinctions between humans on the basis of caste. They also kill each other in SL. It is indeed not a good advertisement for these religions.

    • 2
      6

      Sinhala People are are LEarning Tamil and it takes time.

      • 14
        2

        Jim softy

        “Sinhala People are are LEarning Tamil and it takes time.”

        Please let the Sinhalese learn proper Sinhala first then we can discuss about them learning other languages.

        • 1
          1

          Dumb native Veddo: DO Tell me which language you know properly and completely ?. Hoole is indirectly showing his ignorence. IF Hindu texts say, it is the action important and not the birht, that is what Lord buddha said and not by Hindu Brahmins. Even JEsus Christ di dnot understand this eventhough he had learned Buddhism (say he is a buddhist Bhikky at one time). Jesus understood that, so he did not preach to powerful but only to the people living underground. Befire the Lord buddha what Himdu texts or Bramnisn said was Brahmins were born from the top part of Brahma.

          • 2
            0

            Dear Jim softy,
            .
            Now that statement of yours:
            .
            ” Even JEsus Christ did not understand this eventhough he had learned Buddhism (say he is a buddhist Bhikky at one time).” is typical of the nonsense that Christians allow to be uttered.
            .
            Quite impossible! Jesus NEVER visited India.

            • 0
              2

              Sinhala Man Lord buddha’s first 60 arahant bhikkus had roamed the earth and it is belied by the time of buddha’s parinirvana those arahants had reached greece. Jesus had enough years to learn buddhism. did you read MILINDA PRASHNA. King Milnda (or Menanadus ) is said to be a roman/greek king. you havenot read enough. ask your beloved BBC. It is said Jesus’s body is in KASHMIR.

              • 1
                0

                Jimmy the arahat,
                “Sinhala Man Lord buddha’s first 60 arahant bhikkus had roamed the earth and it is belied by the time of buddha’s parinirvana those arahants had reached greece”
                Yes, and this proves that the Buddha used the same plane to fly 3 times to Sri Lanka.

              • 1
                0

                Dear Jim softy,
                .
                I know that I haven’t read enough, although I’ve read a lot.
                .
                By now I’m an old man.
                .
                It may be that I must read a little more, but be assured my future reading will not be decided on the sort of crazy criteria that you seem to recommend.
                .
                Can we please have some common sense?

        • 1
          1

          NV, You worried mate that Sinhalese will be soon be proficient in Tamil that they will demand all the jobs in the Jaffna too..my nieces and nephews can read and write and speak a bit of the Tamil language. Looks like in ten years most Kids will be proficient in Tamil.

          • 1
            1

            wannihami

            “my nieces and nephews can read and write and speak a bit of the Tamil language. “

            Good for them.
            Are you sure they learn Tamil?
            Where on earth do you find people and write Tamil, your ignorant is showing. What they write and speak is fluent Thanglish.

            In a country where at least 4 Million people are believed to read, write and speak Tamil look at the sign boards in Tamil, Police stations, government department, ………..

            By the way why do the Sinhala Speaking functionaries speak louder in Sinhala to Tamils as if the Tamils were deaf?

          • 1
            1

            wannihami

            ” You worried mate that Sinhalese will be soon be proficient in Tamil that they will demand all the jobs in the Jaffna too..”

            Whether the Sinhalese are proficient in Tamil, Sinhala, English, Hindi, German ……….. or not the mere fact that they are Sinhalese is alone is sufficient qualification and particularly being a good long serving b***s carries take them a long way.

            I believe you are/were holding good job despite being lazy bum.

        • 3
          1

          NV
          Ha ha, does the progeny of London dishwashers and Toronto street cleaners read and write Tamil???

          • 0
            0

            How about Norwegian fishermen ?

          • 1
            0

            Arbitrator

            “Ha ha, does the progeny of London dishwashers and Toronto street cleaners read and write Tamil???”

            I would not think so. Even they are not proficient in their own mother tongue Sinhala leave alone Tamil.

    • 2
      1

      Dear Mama Sinhalam,
      .
      I guess you have heard this one:
      .
      “Cecil B. de Mille
      Rather against his will,
      Was persuaded to leave Moses
      Out of ‘The Wars Of The Roses’.”
      .
      I think you know, Mama Sinhalam, that I wish all of you in the North well, and I’m so happy with the many good things that Prof. Jeevan Hoole is doing and saying. However, he does have one or two bees in his bonnet, and Arumugam Navalar is certainly one. I believe that Navalar lived more than a century ago. What Hoole should, perhaps do is to write a series of focussed articles on Navalar, and destroy any myths about him once and for all.
      .
      In a way, it may be like the Mahawamsa myth. If we Sinhalese didn’t try to deify Bikkhu Mahanama, the learned Pali writer could be honoured by us all. Even to me, the Mahawamsa has by now become a joke – which is sad. There the analogy breaks down.
      .
      In this case, I consider both the Hoole Brothers to be among the greatest countrymen of our generation. Dr Rajan Hoole always maintains his poise. Unfortunately, Prof Jeevan Hoole comes through as a man who is personally angry with persons.
      .
      Let me, like you, thank Prof. Hoole for his immense contributions to our country; but I hope that he sees my humble plea to continue writing wonderful articles, but without getting side-tracked in this way.
      .
      The same more or less applies to the Naga Deepa monk and his concubines. Expose him in a separate article.
      .
      Such a brilliant and decent man (sigh), but he just can’t control himself on Navalar!
      .

    • 3
      1

      No need to be cantenkerous about a daily fact:

      “The holy Hooly cannot write anything without referring to Arumuga Navalar.”

      In fact no Jaffna Hindu writer or orator can write or speak without referring to Arumuga Navalar. The papers are full of him. Any speech called great would have included the praises of AN. Poor kids. From my infancy I have been taught how to caste-discriminate, thanks to Navalar. Now I can’t go to heaven for caste prejudice is second nature to me.

      It should have been the great Tamil poet Parathiyar: Yaavarum Kelir (all our kinsman) who would have made me noble.

      Buddha wanted no caste when he left Hinduism. Now the Mahanayakes are anti-Buddha. Too much food and money and political clout-anathema to the preaching of the noble one.

  • 22
    0

    Hoole
    In which stanza of the BagavatGita does Krishna say that he created castes?
    Even if it is granted that Krishna said so, Can you please show some element of proof that he said it to justify discrimination between castes? Or are you in your own religious zeal are just broadcasting your own frustrations?

    That apart would you also show anything more tangible to justify your comment to your Hindu chauffeur to pass time during your Batticaloa trip about Navalar’s edict to destroy household kitchen utensils if a dog had happened to caste it’s eyes on them?

    • 1
      0

      Interestingly Uthunagan our Hoole Brother is blaming Asoka Mala and Saliya, looks like he does not know Vedic history from Adam,

    • 2
      0

      Uthungan

      “In which stanza of the BagavatGita does Krishna say that he created castes?”

      In one of the commentary to Gita, the author says the caste is not determined by birth or the family but by the conduct of the particular person. A person who performs 7 specific duties including learning, teaching, ……………is a Brahmin and a child born to a Brahmin parents is a Sudra.

      I cannot remember the title of the commentary. I think I have a copy somewhere and need time to find it. I will let you know.

      • 2
        0

        Native Vedda
        Correct.
        It is said that even one who is born to Brahmin parents and regarded as a Brahmin by birth, can become Sudra by virtue of his conduct.
        I do not know if there are any true Brahmins in SL or even in Fascist RSS Modi’s India today.
        They have all become “arisi vitkum andanar”, ie.rice selling business minded rouge Brahmins.

        • 2
          0

          Uthungan

          “They have all become “arisi vitkum andanar”, ie.rice selling business minded rouge Brahmins.”

          The most luckiest ones are in Indian Security Services, RAW, internal and external bureaucracy, ………………. strategizing and plotting the down fall of India by perverting the course of democracy inside and outside India. The clever dicks continue to exert total control over every aspects of Indian life and continue to believe the country is in safe hands.

          You know how the Hindians recruited VP as a sub contractor to destabilize the island and everything went out of hand. They do not regret and still continue to meddle in Sri Lankan affairs. The war of 30 years could have been avoided if Hindian strategists kept their hands on their willies and never groped this island.

          They start with half baked ideas, messed it up, and leave without remorse without seeing through the entire project, ……………. all because they are Brahmans and Brahmans are still in control not only policy making but also implementing, hence no need to apologize for their blunders, mistakes, ……………. The puny size of the Hindian Brahmins are known here in this island as Sinhala/Buddhists. Both the Brahmans of Hindian establishment and the Sinhala/Buddhists of Sri Lankan puny establishments are very capable of constantly creating new problems, new conflicts, ………………….. and they don’t see the need to solve the previous ones.

  • 5
    0

    Mankind is not given a choice on birth. Prejudices and discrimination based on Race, Religion, Caste, Class, Sect, Color, Sex, etc etc is unfortunately something mankind has created and will have to live with.

    • 4
      0

      Uthungan
      This man pulls things out of a hat, and they often go unnoticed or unchallenged.
      The Gita talks of the danger of mixing between the Varnas. (Caste, although supported by the Varna concept, is something else.) The man seems to be confusing Krishna with Manu.
      *
      Re citing A. Navalar, there is much of his usual fertile imagination at work.
      Chettis are, strictly, Vaisya and one rung above the Vellala, called ‘good Sudhras’ by AN.
      AN, in fairness, has all along opposed the worship “small deities”.
      I disagree, and think that people should have the right to worship or not worship, and enjoy the right to as many gods as they please, and of their choice and description as necessary.
      *
      As for the bus episode, it seems pretty poor showing for the hero who only months ago vanquished a less educated cop in court.
      *
      Steve
      All but Sex in your list is man made.
      You have to blame God for that.

      • 0
        2

        Oh Oh
        “You have to blame God for that.”

        So SJ believes in the existence of a God and His attribute as the Creator of things and creatures.

        At last, some hope of redemption. Wish you well bro,

        • 0
          0

          Redemption for whom? Me or your God?

      • 0
        0

        How can a Vaisya be a Sudra?

        • 0
          0

          D
          It is the Vellala who were called “good Sudra’ by AN.

    • 5
      1

      Steve

      Yet Buddhism teaches us otherwise. Buddha taught us that it is deeds that define who we are and not any of the things you have listed.

      Since we claim to be a distinguished Buddhist country we have to follow the teaching of the Buddha an refrain from giving into the petty mindedness in us. That is the whole point of being Buddhist, follow the teaching of the Buddha in the first place, isn’t it.

      The need to feel one are better than the next person I believe comes from deep rooted insecurity in our core. Some inferiority complex inborn in most of us that manifests in twisted ways that drives us to constantly reassure ourselves that we are better than our neighbour. It is a monster we all have to face and overcome. Life will be much simpler and happier without having a constant need to judge people around us and keep track of trivial things about others instead of living and enjoying our lives.

      This trait is found in most South Asians and it is one of the reasons for lack of progress when compared to the others that have gone far ahead of us.

      We really need to look into ourselves and try to get over the trivial ways in which we try to stereotype everything and everyone by judging based on abstract assumptions. Naturally the flip side is also true and badly affected our society, we tend to give undue respect to criminals who package themselves as noble trustworthy people, eg our politicians. They may have the right cast, the right religion, right language and right everything but a thief is a thief underneath it all.

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 2
    2

    The kandyan sanga was corrupted due to association with Hindu kings in the kandyan period. It was them who started casteism among monks in Kandy. The Sinhala Buddhists should intervene and stop this idiocy.
    Meanwhile I am happy that racist nut job Wigneshwaran is kicked out from his CM post. Poor fellow!

    • 0
      0

      So you now admit that Tamil Hindu Kings ruled from Kandy with the help of the Sinhalese Sangha Monks?
      As for NPC CM Wigneswaran,the TNA will think twice before daring to kick him out by the TNA. That would be the end of the Sampanthan,Sumanthiran and Mavai Senathi who is the biggest knave of them all. .

  • 5
    2

    Hoole – you are also a racist so much so you have to drag Armuga Naavalr in every article you write…

    not withstanding that the …Monk in Nainathivu may well be from fishing caste……as soon as a low class thug adorn the robe he becomes a superior class….no one can challenge him ..even the Mahanayakes…who think they are in fact Lord Buddha

    ..

  • 1
    4

    Hoole,

    Caste-ism is still widespread in Jaffna and some other places. Tamil displaced people are refusing to live with other castes. Chelvanayagam was a terrible casteist, once he was deeply offended when a low caste Tamil hostess served him on the plane, on his way to Madras, and he complained.

    There is no encroachment by Sinhalese, they are merely re-settling in their ancestral land- North and East.

    Your future as Tamils in Sinhala-Buddhist Sri Lanka depends on how well you integrate with Sinhala-Buddhist. Have you stared learning Sinhalese yet?

    • 1
      0

      He can’t learn Sinhalese at HIS age. Are his grandchildren learning it?
      .
      I doubt it. Why?
      .
      We are trying to force them? Do you remember this Aesop’s Fable:
      .
      http://www.bartleby.com/17/1/60.html
      .
      Or there is a choice of YouTube animations:
      .
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1tXpD02x5Y
      .
      Play to your grand-children; it will help them learn English as well as social skills.

  • 2
    1

    Be ware of Lion Brand People and The Sole Owners of Buddhism! Mahaa Naya Kaas are more powerful the the Buddha.

  • 4
    1

    I could never become a monk in the Asgiriya or Malwathu chapter (Siyam nikaaya) because they are caste based. My caste is unaccpetible to them. This one reason why Amarapura and Ramanya nikayas came to prominence since they don’t have caste issues. Sinhala-Buddhism is NOT Theravada Buddhism. Buddhism is castless. On the otherhand, Hinduism does have castes (Varna?). Sinhalese are culturally and at least 50pc religiously Hindu (Hence the heavy belief in deities, astrology, etc ). Sinhala new year is another good example. You can see it as a celebration of our ancient Hindu past. Even literal Sinhala is not pali based. Pali constitutes only maybe 20pc (or less). 70pc to 80pc of literal Sinhala is Sanskrit based. Guess where sankrit come from? You can swap most of the Sinhala script with the Devanagari script and you wil still be able pronounce a Sinhala sentence (with a few exception like ඇ, ඈ, ඟ, ඦ, ඳ, ඹ, ෆ). Now try replacing them with Tamil or English characters which are actual spoken languages in SL. Pronounciation of Sinhala sentence will be an outright mess. Moral of the story is, when you say Buddhism in SL, it is NOT Classic Theravada Buddhism. It is a weird hybrid.

    • 0
      0

      ThanoS: Almighty created everybody equal and there is onlyon eJesus and only one bible. Yet, Puritanist and protestants and there are over 4100, Denominations. why is that ? Why protestants go behind Czatholics and at one point even threatened arresting POPE for sexul assulats on children by Catholic priests. WHy ? Sinhala began from MAghadhi from which began Sanskrit. Until recently, sinhala peole used highly Pali (Prekreet) from which sinhala is highly connected. DO NOT TALK STUPID BECAUSE YOU are CHRISTIAN. JESUS CHRIST DI DNOT PREACH A RELIGION IT IS THE ROMNS. RMANS DI DNOT PREACH 41000 DENOMINATIONS. MOHOMMAD DI DNOT PREACH 79 SECTS OF ISLAM. YOU PEOPLE ARE RACIST AND COME AND BASH SINHALA BUDDHSTS. LEARN ORIGIN OF NIKAYAS FIRST.

      • 0
        0

        Jimmy,
        Why are there so many different Sinhala Buddhist Mahanayakes ?

  • 4
    3

    Problem ofthe Tamil caste system is that some of the lower castes cannot sit at the same table as the higher castes and are deemed untouchables.The system recognised and created by the Hindu religion so it created fertile ground for Christian missionary work. People like Hoole are Christians and from the lower castes, so they despise the higher castes and the Hindu religion. However history is in the past, and people like Hoole should not be insulting to the Hindus and not create problems.

    • 3
      1

      Poo K Nool,
      I know few of the kith and kin of Prof.Hoole (whom I don’t know personally) who are Christians, educated, well mannered people and are welcomed to the family functions of both Hindus and Christians, and for sure I know they are from agricultural ancestry. I salute him for the love he has for the soil he was born to, unlike the Sinhala cardboard patriots who live in confort in western countries and bash Tamils in this forum.
      EnAG

    • 4
      1

      Interesting!
      “People like Hoole are Christians and from the lower castes,”

      We are Christians who live in Jaffna. We are actually out-castes, outside the wicked Hindu caste system and not low or high castes. How dare you call us low castes! Give us facts and figures if you want to pretend to be a scholar, without writing utter shop.

      Hate speech is illegal and is not based on proven fact. Such nonsense by haters, and should not be allowed in CT columns .

      To call the grandson of Maviddapuram Kodimara Sangara low caste what caste are you?
      To call the great grandson of Tamil Pandithar Hoole of St. John’s College is low caste?

      The utterly uneducatable call Christians low caste for political gains. It is pure hate speech by the Hindu holy men.

      We Tamil Christians have been there on record from Jesus’ century, to stop or reverse conversions to Christianity in Chera, Chola and Pandiya Tamil areas in India and Tambapani Ceylon. Thanks to the doctrines of Krishna, the cow-herder all non Kerala Christians have been thrown into the outcastes or Asanga, beneath the thurumbars and Paraiyar’s, St. Thomas was lanced on Tamil soil by a Tamil brahmin because the Chennai royalty was converting to Jesus’ religion in South India. Holy blood spilt.

      Like the Mahanayakes of Sri Lanka, the brahmins too were filling the belly from state funds. Conversion is loss of income to them and the temple.

      Q: If God created all, how did he come up with a caste system between his children? A: (Hindus never get it whatever their qualifications.)

      Q; If god is defined as love, why did Krisna create such intense and perpetuating caste hate?
      A: Such a god must be a wicked and negative Being.

      Therefore Krisna is not a god by definition. Bagavad Gita was composed after Christ, not in original Mahabarata said Gandhi, Rajaji and modern scholars.

  • 3
    0

    Navalar was bigoted probably driven by what he felt was the bastardisation of the then way of life. Academics rate Navalar as a genius.
    Caste is a bane. There is not much difference in the way caste permeates Sinhalese society or Tamil society.

  • 11
    1

    Is Colombo Telegraph a place for racist nonsense from the educated uneducated?
    Uthungan I think is a B.Sc. Peradeniya Engineer,. Sivasegaram is also and has his PhD. Both simply deny what the Gita says without any backup and accuse Hoole of untruthful writing,.

    Both debate in Tamil style saying that Krishna creating caste is pulled out of a hat by Hoole and is from Manu. It is a case of projection. They seem to think that others behave exactly as they themselves do.

    It is a simple matter to get an online version of the gita and search for the key words. Here is what I got at https://www.holy-bhagavad-gita.org/chapter/4/verse/13

    Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 4, Verse 13

    चातुर्वर्ण्यं मया सृष्टं गुणकर्मविभागश: |
    तस्य कर्तारमपि मां विद्ध्यकर्तारमव्ययम् || 13||

    chātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛiṣhṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśhaḥ
    tasya kartāram api māṁ viddhyakartāram avyayam

    chātuḥ-varṇyam—the four categories of occupations; mayā—by me; sṛiṣhṭam—were created; guṇa—of quality; karma—and activities; vibhāgaśhaḥ—according to divisions; tasya—of that; kartāram—the creator; api—although; mām—me; viddhi—know; akartāram—non-doer; avyayam—unchangeable

    Translation
    BG 4.13: The four categories of occupations were created by me according to people’s qualities and activities. Although I am the creator of this system, know me to be the non-doer and eternal..

    Let’s please act at least according to our training without letting down our alma mater. Avoid name calling because that is what people without any facts to argue with do.

    Editor, Colombo Telegraph: You are failing in our duty when you allow abusive comments calling names without any facts to backup.

    I hope I will not pick up bad history by reading abusive CT writers

    • 1
      0

      The Gita talks about Varna not caste.
      Caste existed before the Varna concept entered many parts of Indian society.
      As for abusive comments, you should know well who resorts to such.

  • 0
    0

    A person becomes wasala not by birth but by act thus the questionable Mahanaykas if this story is true are wasalas.

  • 0
    0

    Why puritanists/protestants have so much religious intolerance and in our culture and civilizations. why should we tolerate this nonesense anymore. even americans from the southern bible belt want us to be evangelists when they are very hostile at bhikkus on the roadand when they burn qurans to hurt muslims when they do not respect POPE.

  • 8
    2

    Writer Sinhala Man seems to think Navalar is irrelevant to the article.

    Not so. The oppressed caste Sinhalese are insulted and put down by the Sangha and still the oppressed Sinhalas go and bow before them and lick their feet.

    Similarly Navalar has insulted the oppressed caste Tamils and still the oppressed erect statues for Navalar and worship him.

    Is the similarity not obvious? In both cases the oppressed fear to object because it would be to reveal their caste. In both cases the oppressed seem to have no sense of self-worth and totally lack dignity.

    It is time to grow up.

    • 1
      0

      Dear Jon,
      .
      Hoole is a great man, working hard to ensure the unity of our country – Lanka. Forget the “Sri” part of it. It means “blessed”. We were insane to force the whole world to call us that. Let us first clean this country.
      .
      We have to deal fairly with the “minorities”. I understand most of what has been written.
      .
      You’re right. I think Navalar is irrelevant to this argument – as much as saying that Moses had a part to play in the Wars of the Roses between the Houses of York and Lancaster, as spoken about by William Shakespeare in his History plays. I’ve never been to Europe, so this is all based on reading.
      .
      As for the North of Lanka, I’ve been there only on three short visits. Navalar means nothing to me. So, I just don’t understand. Please, one thing at a time! We guys are trying to understand!

  • 0
    0

    The article is good but thought of clarifying on the reference to Caste in Gita.
    If you read Gita in its entirety, it is against the priestly class. In a way, Krishna (or whoever actually wrote/thought those noble thoughts) was the forerunner to Buddha in this regard. Krishna says that elaborate rituals are not necessary and God can be worshiped with simple things, He accepts anything offered with love & devotion.
    Arjuna worries about the loss of Varna but Krishna says don’t bother. And even this Varna was not caste in the modern sense. Varna became Caste much later – probably during the time of Buddha as is seen from the Ambattha Sutta where Buddha points out to a Rishi’s descendant enjoying life by utilizing the respect of the people for that Rishi (and in turn Varna).
    Stratification of the society was a pagan concept. All pagan religions believed that God stratified the society and King was considered to be the embodiment of Godhead. But nowhere in Gita it has been stated that a King’s son should become a King and an agricultural laborer’s son should do the same occupation. This perversion came much later – you find this in Adi Sankara’s treatises. You find this view reflected in the later day Hindu Mutts & Clergy but you don’t find this either in Vedas or Upanishads or Bhagwad Gita.
    There is this Purusha Sutta (Purusha Suktam) which describes the Purusha and there it has been stated that Brahmin Varna came from the head of the Purusha. But this ‘Brahmin Varna’ was the old segment of Seers (aka Rishis) not the modern day descendants of those Seers (in simple terms the original reference was to Varna and not to Caste).

    • 3
      0

      Gita was written centuries after the Buddha

      • 0
        0

        FC
        True.
        It was a much belated Brahminist postscript to the Mahabharata.

  • 4
    3

    In response to Uthungan and SJ, thanks first to Sitta for the reference from the Gita. It issaid in the Britannica that many Hindus swear by the Vedas but have never read them. The same seems to be true of Navalar fanatics who as someone above pointed cannot make a speech in Jaffna without invoking him.
    Well, for the Navalar fanatics who have not read him, here is my translation from Paalar Paadam, Book IV, 1932(24th edn): Page ka0koo
    Earthenware must not be touched before bathing. If the low-caste, those without religion or of foreign religions or women in their periods (thoorasthiri), a camel, local pig, donkey, fox, dog, hen, crow, hawk or koohai sees it or dirties it or spit touches it, such wares should be destroyed and thrown away, and new ones acquired

    All Tamil children were taught these lessons for children in some form.

    PS: The government has relented. Reginald Cooray is going to the Central Province. Democracy works! A good learning exercise for the Mahanayakes to work with him. But for some reason KC Logeswaran is not coming to Jaffna

    • 0
      0

      Can Hoole give reliable sources for his various citations of AN?

      • 1
        0

        SJ, Please do not write for the sake of writing. Navalar’s own Paala Paadam is as reliable a source as any. Similarly his own Yaalpaanaththu Chamaya Nilai where he insults those who went to mission’s house for drinking coffee from the kusini Paraiyan.

        It seems you want only your CT comments to count as reliable citations.

        Defend Navalar and expose yourself. So long as there are people like Sivasegaram around, caste oppression will continue

        • 0
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          Hoole
          What I questioned were statements attributed to AN in the article.
          If Paalapaadam had any of it kindly say where.
          *
          There are smarter ways to duck for cover.

      • 6
        0

        Why is Sivasegaram defending Navalar and denying what he said in his own books? For everything he wants citations, even for Navalar’s well-known caste prejudices. Krishna’s pronouncements on creating the 4 castes by people’s quality is well known to all of us Hindus. That is why we are taught that if we are bad we will be born in a lower caste and if we are good we will be born in a higher caste.
        .
        Amazingly, Sivasegaram has not heard of it.

        I once had some respect for him since he claimed to be a Peking Marxist. I sympathized with him because he is from Trinco and expected him to be opposed to caste because Trinco people are oppressed on grounds of caste?

        Then Sivasegarm made claims to being from Mavittapuram! Now in a comment below he claims not to know the caste of people.

        I have lost all sympathy for him. Fake Marxist. Fake egalitarian. Fake writer.

        • 2
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          Professor Sivasegaram used to come to the Engineering faculty occasionally in sarong. It was to show fraternity with the saronged workers we were told by our seniors. Others said it was to annoy his classy father-in-law prof. Sivapragasapillai

        • 0
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          C
          Like someone else here, you have a great knack for distortion.
          Carry on regardless.

        • 1
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          C
          What are supposed to be Krishna’s words in the Gita, are not really those of Krishna the Avatar (with many human failings) but meant to be a revelation by the supreme being (the Brahman?) through the personage of Krishna. (It is not said in Vaishnava texts that ‘Krishna’ created anything.)
          The Gita was an add on with strong Vedantic undertones and considered a reaction to Buddhist concepts that were gaining acceptance.
          It talks of the four Varnas and not caste, which has a fifth category as well.

          • 5
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            This guy is ignorant on Hinduism, even the Jaffna variety. He is exposing his ignorance in public. Obviously the comment is purely for hitting at Professor Jeevan Hoole, as usual. Keep to your mech. engineering drawings for your kill as you did to us all.

            Go get copies of Navalar’s works and biographies. Study them and then speak. That is the academic tradition.

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          This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

    • 6
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      Gosh! I grew up in a poor Vellala family.
      My mother had no servant. Fortunately she did not worship Navalar.
      Otherwise every month we would have starved for 5 days when she could not touch the cooking pots while having her periods.
      Navalar did not marry. He did not know women. That is why he had these stupid rules.

    • 3
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      Hoole
      Your R.Sitta’s arty- farty conjecture about my Pera BSC Engineering degree is as remote as your reliance on Navalar’s ‘Pala Padam’ quote if there is one as such..
      I can understand that as you had not seen the light of day during the period he lived.
      Almost all of the people who lived in this island during Navalar’s period would have used clay earthenware utensils. For purposes of hygienic purpose he may have advocated the said prohibitions. you had detailed.What is wrong with that,and what is your big objection to children during that time knowing some hygiene?
      Why go to the extent of exaggerating a point so laboriously as though Navalar had committed a big crime.Speaking about him I too am no great fan of his to say the least.

      But believe me when I say, that a great injustice had been done to the engineering faculty students at the Jaffna University by depriving you of the post
      that should have been legitimately yours on the flimsy basis that you are not a Hindu.. .
      .. . .

      • 8
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        Uthungan, Where is the hygiene in breaking pots seen by an oppressed caste person? Are oppressed caste people really dirty? Even their seeing the pots dirties the pots?

        Defend Navalar. Defend caste. Expose your real mindset to the whole world.

        • 0
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          R.Sitta
          I usually do not waste time with anyone who suffers from a delusional with an unhygienic mindset.
          Thank you. .

        • 1
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          R.Sitta
          Thank you.
          I usually do not waste time with any poor soul who suffers with an unhygienic delusional mindset.
          . .

  • 3
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    Why is Cooray going as planned but not Logeswaran?

    The caste fanatic CM and his followers asked for Cooray to stay saying he has done many things for the people and did not want Logeswaran to come.

    Why when Tamils asked for a Tamil governor for a change? Because Logeswaran’s caste is not acceptable in Jaffna?

    • 0
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      I do not know the caste of anyone concerned, and it does not bother me one bit.
      But despite addiction to caste, people use other considerations as well.
      One cannot go on oversimplifying things in terms of religion and caste to suit personal interests.

  • 14
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    Thank you Prof. Hoole for giving that citation about having to break pots sighted by the lower castes. To confess, I was also surprised and wondered if it is true. I have now verified that it is.

    However, we Hindus are not as bigoted as we might seem from the denials by readers of what Prof. Hoole cites.. We are simply ignorant of our own heritage and need to see Navalar with some balance.

    I was educated at a CMS school before going to a bigger girls’ school. My teacher in Grade 4 was Achippillai Vaathiyar, a good Christian lady. We had no textbooks. She read here and there and taught us the Lessons for Children by Navalar. She only mentioned having to break up pots if a dog had licked them.. That made some sense, although today we may scrub with good soap rather than break the pot.There was nothing in her lesson about breaking up pots touched by low people or menstruating women.

    We went away with good memories of Navalar from a Christian school. Hence our shock when you reveal the real Navalar. Perhaps it should be left at that at schools.

    I think Achippilai Vaathiyar was a good teacher. Her use of her teacher’s discretion was commendable. But now at least as adults we must take a balanced look at Navalar. Building statues for Navalar and mentioning him in every speech must be doing violence to those among us from oppressed backgrounds. How insecure they must feel, having to pretend to hero worship Navalar.

    I hope that with this article we will grow as a people rather than insult writers who say things that are uncomfortable to us. Professor Hoole must continue to educate us. We Hindus should have big enough minds to read him as he enlightens us.

  • 5
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    Prof. Hoole

    Thank you for the article. But please keep your noble ideas on universal coverage etc to the public domain and not our kitchens. It is an intensely private affair for a woman. In my younger days I too tried to be a communist. But it is not practical at least for people striving for spiritual progress or even in Priest’s homes. It is a Rule we live by.

    You are the son of a priest and the grandson etc of priests and priests in Jaffna. Priests have a rule they promise to live by. Kitchen work is holy work as is housework, which you seem not to understand. There are asaaram ways which are logical and pious to run a kitchen. You can’t let people who don’t understand these ways to come and mess up not just you kitchen but the woman’s prayer life. It is like bull in a china shop situation on a woman’s or even monk’s observances, Christian or Hindu.

    You are doing a great job for women with the 25% etc. Please leave our kitchen to us.

  • 2
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    This man Hoole may be suffering from some serious inferiority complex perhaps because in the past he had been treated as a low caste Christian. Casteism is there to stay among the Tamil and Sinhala communities having survived all these years despite British, Dutch and Portuguese rulers introducing western thinking in our motherland and converting Hindus and Buddhists into Christianity.

    Did Hoole’s forefathers became Christians because they were low caste Northern Tamils? Or, did they became Christians because of the offer of positions or because they wanted to seek better education for themselves and their children?

    It is a pity that a journal like Colombo Telegraph allocates space to Hoole and allow him to vent his religious hatred towards the Hindus and now the Buddhists.

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