27 July, 2017

Caste In Jaffna: Mirage By K. Daniel

By Charles Ponnuthurai Sarvan

Prof. Charles Sarvan

Caste in Jaffna: Mirage by K. Daniel. Translated by Subramaniam Jebanesan; edited, introduced and annotated by Richard Fox Young. Kumaran Book House, Colombo, 2016.

This novel depicts and indicts caste among the Tamils of Sri Lanka as Daniel (1927-1986), an apostate or a “convert” from (religious) Catholicism to (secular) Marxism, observed and experienced it. “This particular novel takes place in the village where I was born and grew up… All the characters who pass through it were people I saw with my own eyes. Some are still living. Each incident that occurs in the novel actually happened” (p. xiv):  it’s an instance of the novelist as witness and testifier.

If racism means the subordination and oppression by one group of another group or groups, then casteism can be seen as another manifestation of racism. I would suggest that Tamils who don’t protest Tamil casteism in Sri Lanka lose the moral right to protest Sinhalese racism. One cannot claim from others what one denies to one’s own. Some Tamils, both Hindu and Christian, may be upset by what I write but I hope, very much, that displeasure will lead to honest, detached, thought rather than to emotional, “knee-jerk”, denial and rejection.

Caste is not simply an upper-class lower-class dichotomy for there are gradations, sub-divisions, particularly enforced on the latter. If one speaks of the Dalits, the so-called ‘untouchables’, then Daniel belonged to what I would ironically call the caste of the “unseeables”: upper-caste people considered it a bad omen even to see a member of this caste, and would sometimes strike them for daring to appear in their sight (p. 304). Even their shadow was deemed polluting. They were the lowest of the low, the washer folk, the “dhobis” of the washer folk. Teased and bullied at his Catholic school by upper-caste pupils, Daniel dropped out. (The UK Observer of 2 July 2017, reporting on the suicide of a Dalit student at a university in India, comments that for Dalit students university is a place of constant insult and abuse.)

Caste in Jaffna: Mirage by K. Daniel. Translated by Subramaniam Jebanesan; edited, introduced and annotated by Richard Fox Young. Kumaran Book House, Colombo, 2016.

The translator, Dr S. Jebanesan, was Bishop of Jaffna until his retirement. Richard Fox Young, a Professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, provides a wealth of anthropological and historical information, drawing attention to detail that an uninitiated reader may miss. “I doubt that Thampappillaiyan will keep quiet” (p. 48) is glossed as: Until now Nanniyan had always referred to him as Thampappillaiyar. The minor change of the “ar” ending to “an” signals in the original Tamil the casting aside of an undeserved respect (p. 249). On page 51, a woman refers to her husband as “that man” and Young clarifies that in traditional Tamil society (and in Sinhalese society, I’d add) a wife didn’t mention the name of her husband. So too, it was customary and polite not to say, “I’ll go now” but, “I’ll go now and come (return)”. Shortened and contradictorily, on leaving one would simply say, “I’m coming”.  A boat shaped like a toddy cup would be understood by Jaffna readers because toddy was “served in cups made out of green Palmyra leaves shaped to resemble this very kind of boat. What that actually looks like, Daniel does not need to say” to his original Tamil readers (p. 255). The characters in the novel refer to incidents and figures drawn from the Tamil Makaparatam, and Professor Young relates and clarifies significance. His contribution heightens understanding and interest, and enhances the value of the book.

The maltreatment of the dalits ranges from the gross to the casual. In the name of religion and ancient time-honoured practice, power and privilege are preserved on the one side; exploitation and suffering perpetuated on the other. One could reformulate the title of Bloke Modisane’s autobiography, Blame Me On History, to read, self-exculpatingly: “Blame fate or the gods – not us”. Truly, the gods have their uses! The key in vellalar (upper caste, land owning) control is economic: they own the land; can give or withhold work. The pitiful dalit huts are built on upper-caste land. “The Palmyra tree we make our living from, belongs to them… the well belongs to them. We live off their soil” (p. 48). Everybody who is somebody belongs to their caste (ibid). “We’re like animals caught in a trap” (p.50). Resistance can lead to an entire village being burnt down. Rape and murder are not investigated because the police and the law are with the upper castes. In the novel, provoked beyond endurance, a dalit kills a vellalar. Seizing the opportunity, evidence is fabricated and three dalits charged with the murder. Often the poor go without food. What is most painful to adults is helplessly to see and hear their little children crying in hunger. A Sinhalese word, learnt by a dalit while incarcerated, is most apt. It consists of “bada” (stomach) and “gini” (fire): extreme hunger, close to starvation, is a self-consuming “fire in the stomach”.

I cite from Professor Young’s explanatory notes (pp. 269-70): Dalits were forbidden to enter or live near temples, to draw water from wells owned by the higher castes, to enter cafes, keep their women in seclusion, wear shoes, sit on bus seats, attend school. The list of prohibitions is very long indeed. “Dalits were customarily prohibited from enhancing the external appearance of their dwellings in ways that the higher castes reserved to themselves” (p. 271). Various semiotic signs immediately established caste identity and, with it, status. For example, low-caste women were not allowed to wear the traditional “sari” nor clothes white in colour. (In a Middle-East country where I once taught, housemaids were not allowed to wear the abhaya, thus immediately and visually distinguishing them from their female employers.)

Names play a major role in this semiotic symbolism. Converting to Christianity, “Cinni” becomes “Tireci”, that is, “Teresa”.  “The names you heard along our streets would really surprise you. People’s baptismal names… were one thing; the names we used in the street were quite another”: quoted by Professor Young, p. 237.  Lines from Nadine Gordimer’s short story, ‘Good Climate, Friendly Inhabitants’, come to mind: “Here I’m Jack because Mpanza Makiwane is not a name, and there I’m Mpanza Makiwane because Jack is not a name, but I’m the one who knows who I am wherever I am.” On a personal note, none of my relations has ever called me Charles.

Claims to inherent group-superiority, be it on grounds of ‘race’ (Sinhalese-Tamil), caste (vellalar-dalit), colour (white-black) or sex (male-female) are invariably contradictory, hollow and hypocritical. The dalits build wells for the vellalars but, thereafter, dare not draw water from them. The low-caste nalavar tapped toddy and were therefore deemed to be impure but much of that toddy was consumed by vellalars. The dalits were permitted to sponsor one day of a religious festival but were not allowed to enter temple precincts.

It’s not surprising that many dalits turned to Christianity, not necessarily through religious conviction but as an escape from casteism. Being a pre-Vatican 11 novel, prayers are not in the vernacular: they are learned by rote, without comprehension. There’s segregation on caste lines during prayers and church attendance. A little dalit boy is “thrashed” by a catechist for stepping into a pond normally reserved for the upper castes (p. 204). Dalits who have converted to Christianity mercilessly exploit their fellow dalits – with the knowledge of church leaders. There are several mirages in Mirage,  and Christianity (the church is named ‘Our Lady of Refuge’) proving to be a mirage and a disillusionment to Daniel, he turned to Marxism. However, Thomas More in Utopia (1516) comments that there cannot be a perfect system until there are perfect people to administer it. Similarly, it’s finally not the religion nor the ideology but the human interpretation and expression of it. Daniel turned to Marxism but, as Bookchin observes in his The Ecology of Freedom, hierarchy can exist in an (alleged) classless society. To alter words from the novel, whatever the god(s) or ideology, the poor end up in the same place (p. 7). However, the novel is not defeatist; rather, it’s more in the spirit of the revolutionary rallying cry: “A luta continua!”.

Being scrupulously just, and perhaps to save the work from pessimism, Daniel introduces a vellalar who breaks from his group, prompted by principle and compassion: even in that devilish group, there are a few good people (p. 190). Professor Young draws attention (p. 273) to Vituran in the Makaparatam who had the moral courage to change sides and oppose his own. I am reminded of Adrian Wijemanne, branded as a traitor to the ‘race’ by Sinhalese racists incapable of understanding his unswerving and courageous commitment to principle; his placing of justice and humanity above ‘race’. Similarly, rather than examine their own values, thinking and attitudes, whites in America and in apartheid South Africa branded fellow whites who spoke out for equal rights as “Nigger lovers”. I have written elsewhere that had the Sinhalese been oppressed by the Tamils, Adrian Wijemanne, a gentleman in every sense of the word, would have fought with equal courage, clarity and eloquence.

Justice is indivisible and Daniel’s attack on casteism is part of the universal struggle against injustice and exploitation, be it on grounds of caste, skin-colour, ‘race’, sex or religion: as it has been observed, the human species doesn’t stand much inspection. Leaning on Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy Of The Oppressed, to the degree that an individual is deprived of freedom, to that degree she or he is made less than human. 

Marxist Daniel would have rejected “Art for art’s sake”; that the Arts should be autotelic, separate from any didactic or moral function. Art, he maintains, is subordinate to, and must serve, humanity. But some readers may wonder why the novel, published in 1986, makes no mention of the horrific anti-Tamil pogrom of 1983. Why didn’t Daniel even refer to other factors such as the denial of equal (human and civic) rights to Tamils?  The omission attests to Daniel’s artistic judgement and control; to his sensitivity to and mastery of the novel as a literary form. The text now retains its focus and, therefore, its force. This is not the place, nor does space permit me to deal with the novel as a literary text but to cite one example, Chapter 32 describes the staging by the folk of a play, ‘The Golden Rosary’, and Daniel evokes it in vivid detail; capturing and communicating something of the atmosphere; the effort and the excitement.

There’s no doubt that those Sinhalese incurably infected with ugly racism will gleefully grab this novel as a bludgeon with which to beat the Tamils, pretending to a moral outrage and a compassion of which they are completely devoid. To change the metaphor, casteism among Tamils can be used as a red herring to divert attention away from racist acts. Racists can come before their victims clothed in the garment of solicitous saviours. There is also the implication: “If Tamils can do this to fellow Tamils, why can’t we?” Shabby hypocrisy is revealed when one looks at the end of the Eelam War. I quote from a report: “Until the final months of the war, the death toll for more than 25 years of conflict on both sides was estimated to be about 70,000. But during the final phase, when thousands of civilians were hemmed in to a tiny strip of land on the north-eastern coast, thousands of Tamil civilians were killed. Some estimates are as high as 75,000; a government reckoning at about 9,000.” Whatever the number, many among the thousands killed; many among the thousands traumatised, maimed for life in body or mind (or both), must have been dalits: “out of the frying pot and into the fire” is a very cruel expression. I think Sinhalese racists, for all their opportunistic outrage at Tamil casteism, now see the dalits as Tamil – and treat them as such. For their part, having been disappointed with Christianity, will some dalits now turn to (dominant) Buddhism?

Not falsely and meanly to withhold credit where credit is due, it must be acknowledged that the Tamil Tigers eradicated casteism in areas under their control – as they also did the discrimination and maltreatment of women. I don’t know whether eradication also meant a mental extirpation: in other words, I don’t know whether casteism has returned and, if so, to what degree. 

Finally, I thank Suseenthiran Nadarajah of Belin for lending me a copy of this book. His kindness, and that of his wife, to me over several years has not been a mirage.

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Latest comments

  • 11
    9

    Wonderful humanistic writing.

    Here’s a cultured old man, reading eclectically and passing his wisdom to us. What should we do with it? I just don’t know, except to recognise the civilised values that now seem no more.

    Thank you, Professor Sarvan. From you, I learnt for the first time of the life of Adrian Wijemanne. I Googled his name, and read about him. Whether I will ever get down to doing anything myself, I don’t know. Thanks for sharing your wisdom; if it is not accepted by us, Sinhalese, that will not be your fault.

    I do hope that Tamil readers will refocus attention on ridding their area of casteism.

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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/

    • 4
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      writer is desperate and wants a nanny state while he would be eating jam and honey.
      Stalinist Putin was born and bred in a 2 roomed tenement 300 sq feet also known as Ghetto living. His people are starving while he owns the nation which is richer than USA by resources.

      Even the dielectric Karl Mark never considered the American and Englishman’s way of doing things so he had no` je ne sais quoi factor`
      When Putin’s men were dying in the marooned submarine he refused to budge because he had no tools until Bl air shot at him when 180 died and offered the robot cutter to rescue the few left.- That is your Stalin Karl Marx that kills the people wholesale.

      Brexit was all about Ghettos that destroy our living standards by unmanaged immigration.

      I started off believing all men were equal. I now know that’s the most unlikely thing ever to have been, because millions of years have passed over evolution, people have scattered across the face of this earth, been isolated from each other, developed independently, had different intermixtures between races, peoples, climates, soils… I didn’t start off with that knowledge. But by observation, reading, watching, arguing, asking, that is the conclusion I’ve come to.
      Lee Kuan Yew, The Man & His Ideas, 1997

  • 3
    9

    Strange that whenever Tamils tell the truth about Racism within the Tamils themselves there are no adverse comments.

    • 5
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      “Strange that whenever Tamils tell the truth about Racism within the Tamils themselves there are no adverse comments.|”
      Too cryptic a comment.Will you please expand?

    • 7
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      PC
      That is why Charles Ponnuthurai says ” …those Sinhalese infected with ugly racism will gleefully grab this as a bludgeon with which to beat the Tamils by pretending to a moral outrage of which they themselves are completely devoid of”.
      The best example of that is H.L..D.Mahindapala’s crocodile tears about Tamil Dalits.

      • 0
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        And trying to avoid Mahindapala talking about the issue? I hope he writes an answer to this ‘review’.

    • 2
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      Use your actual Sinhalese name instead of using a Tamil Colombo Chetty name. Colombo Chetties are Tamil not a different people. Racist JR to further divide and rule the Tamils, passed a law and recognising them and the Tamil Paravans(Bharatha) living along the western coast, as not Tamils but a different ethnic community. Only in Sri Lanka Tamil Muslims are not Tamil but Moor. Tamil castes like Chetties and Paravan( Bharatha) are not Tamils. Strange Chetties and Paravans from north are Tamils but if not the ones living in Colombo or the Indian origin Paravans from Tamil Nadu , now calling themselves Bharatha living along the western coast and Colombo are not. If you are one of them shame on you

      • 0
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        Can a ‘Sharma’ then be any more Tamil than a Paravar or Chettiyaar?
        *
        I think that CT should be VERY STRICT about bigoted personal reference to caste and insulting people based on identity.

      • 0
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        I asked you several questions about Sri Lanka’s history go and answer them. I expect your answers.

      • 3
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        Ha..ha…funny caste-maniac virtual guardian of Jaffna, the caste junk: Once your leader, a low caste, only upto 5th standard educated, Karaiyar (fisherman caste) rooted V. Prabkaran had long known that Tamil’s worst enemy is not the Sinhalese, but your caste stratified Jaffna culture, though he wasn’t open about it to the world for obvious reasons, had to fight 2 enemies.

        Even if he had won the Sinhalese, he would have been struggling with the other enemy and the counterfeit Brahmins like you, till himself got killed

      • 0
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        RSSS – the whole humanity is descendants of Tamils. The whole universe originated from Tamil culture.

        More and more evidence of Tamil culture is being discovered form all over the universe.

        so don’t waste your time justifying to these ignorant Sinhala racist

    • 4
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      peter casie chetty,
      It’s a one off knee jerk story that he is trying to sell.
      It’s growing rather late to dig a well.
      It’s all about poverty- the haves and have nots in the northern villages that were neglected.
      you colombo chetty the kallathon s off kochikade were housed in tenements visited by the church then you sold your soul to the church for an education and clothes to wear apart from the alms. While Colombos tamils owned most of the land there- at colombo 13,14,15. the dutch housed some along wolfendhal on the hill.

  • 1
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    Can’t believe a whole race of over 2 million people endured this for millennia, and are now blaming the Sinhalese for their ills.

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      How are all your Karaiyar Mukkuva and Paravan Tamil cousins from Southern Tamil Nadu Ramona? Do they must have a lot of patience to endure a turncoat like you.

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        No me. Large part Burgher and Sinhalese….and Goan Brahmin :).

        • 3
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          ramona therese fernando is part fool, part stupid, part donkey and the last part she herself does not know.

          • 0
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            Tamil from the North,

            Not at all.

            • 0
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              She an obvious lesbian, always talking about how homosexual women in sri lanka are different and embracing lesbianism. so she is a half man

              • 0
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                Jim Softy,

                Tamil from the North , I believe, is most probably a young man.

                • 0
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                  Jim Softy usually has a green logo. This new Jim Softy’s logo is purple. Hop CT protects the legitimacy of its commentators.

                  • 1
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                    illegitimate crying wolf- karakoste!

    • 6
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      Sinhalese do not discriminate on the basis of caste. They made the Rodiya and Berewa women walk around topless so the upper castes can ogle on their topless forms. The Sinhalese upper castes, also derogatively called low caste Karawa, Salagama , Durawe, Hunu Sinhalese who are descended from low caste indentured South Indian slave labour that was imported into the island by the Portuguese/Dutch colonials as Demala Jarawe meaning Tamil dirt or the dirt of the Tamils. They forbade you to enter their Buddhist temples or even be ordained as Buddhist monks/Nuns. These castes had to build their own temples and create their own orders . Even now certain Buddhist orders in the island will not ordain low caste Sinhalese. until the late 19Tn century low caste Sinhalese were not allowed to live in brick homes , only live in cadjan huts. It was the British who repealed this law. Even now Sinhalese will never elect or accept a low caste or non Buddhist as their leader . Tamils on the other hand will accept anyone irrespective of religion or caste. You should know all this. You are a very good example of what Charles Ponnuthurai wrote a typical racist Sinhalese hypocrite. Practising caste discrimination within her own ethnicity and then pretending to be morally outraged and using it as an excuse to beat the Tamils and justify their discrimination and genocide. There is caste class and other forms of discrimination amongst all people in the world, however most civilised people do not use this as an excuse to kill discriminate and commit genocide on another people, like the Sinhalese do.

      • 1
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        RSS
        What is your audience? Whom do you want to make happy?
        —-
        Soma

        • 0
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          Soma
          This person, posing off as the member of a high caste, writes abusive text attacking all and sundry only to whip up ethnic and caste hatred and disharmony.
          It is strange that the CT tolerates such ‘hate mail’.

          • 5
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            If they can tolerate you they can tolerate Siva. They know he states the truth unlike you who constantly fawn to Sinhalese racists like Soma and fake Casie Chetty. What is your problem? This Ramona person is being nasty and odious and Siva has told her some home truths about her origin and caste hatred and prejudice amongst the Sinhalese and their hypocrisy towards the Tamils. The author also states the same, however you instead of chastising these hypocritical Sinhalese racists are fawning to them and attacking Siva , as he has told you off a few times , therefore attacking him as he is Brahmin using his surname sarcastically ” can a Sharma be Tamil” basically stating Tamil Brahmins with their north Indian origin are not Tamil” Pray who is a Tamil you? The father of Tamil Agathiar was Brahmin. The national poet of Tamil Nadu Subramania Barathiar is Brahmin.. It is you who is casteist and bigoted and constantly fawning to Sinhalese racists.

            • 1
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              Rohan,
              Oh No! RSSS got my origins wrong. See my comment above. But these Karaiyar Mukkuva and Paravan Tamil castes sound like intelligent and hardworking castes. Sinhalese too have their fishing castes of which my husband belongs to- Kshatriya actually. However, after Indian castes, from the Brahmins to the untouchables became Christian, they put aside castes, and evolved, taking a superior and lofty stance on what it means to be human. Anyone becoming Buddhist took it to an even higher level.******* Being nasty and odious seems to be RSSS’s domain.

              • 5
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                Aunty Ramona stop lying about yours and your husband’s origins to make you look good. Be proud of who you are, instead of pretending to be something else and being nasty. I recollect you once stated that your husband belongs to the Warnakulasooriya clan. They are not Kshatriyas but Karaiyar or Karawa. They love to called them selves Kshatriya but they are not. They are called Kutukular Karaiyar in Tamil. They are Karaiyar chiefs and higher than the average Karaiyar due to their fighting abilities and many Sinhalese and Tamil kings hired and imported them from the Tamil country in India for this purpose. Pirapakaran belongs to this clan too. They were settled in an area called the Demala Pattuwa in what is now Puttlam and Chilaw. You still get ancient Tamil Hindu villages like Munneswram, Mundel, Mampuri, Udappu. These people have remained Tamil as they are still largely Hindu.

                • 1
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                  Rohan,

                  Kshatriya were fighting people from the North who were sent all over India, including Tamil Nadu. In Sri Lanka, they were imported by the king during Vijayas time.The Sinhalese mixed with them and created the Suriya clans. They were the defenders of the realm.

                • 0
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                  So who hired Pirapakaran to fight SL then? Counterfeit bra-men like RSSS, or his instant adherents like you?

                  • 4
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                    “”So who hired Pirapakaran to fight SL then?””

                    Demala hired himself and was supported by the thoppi peratu demala speaking marakales.
                    The Afghans never returned this side of Khyber Pass after the Lathi charge by the RSS.- 1758-the defeat was so decisive that Najib Khan surrendered to the Marathas and became their prisoner.
                    The very English General Hastings feared the airborne dual butterfly swords of the RSS (english archives)
                    Gotabaya lost all his ba**s to the Lathi Charge of IIT bombay /RSS Minister of Defence to never return. (Gota learnt the art of warfare at Nadu which was ruled by RSS)

                    Fatso! Stay in your mulla well knicker less goni billa!!
                    the is vidarbha regions son of RSS- proud winner of award bestowed by the brahmin ruler and record hold at the US from 1955 still unbroken.
                    We are technology that you access in every sphere of life.

              • 4
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                Indian Christians practise caste so do Indian Muslims. You hardly know anything about India and stop lying. Goan Brahmin Christians will only marry other Goan Brahmin Christians or Goan or other Christians of similar status. This proves that your new claim to a part Goan Christian Brahmin heritage is a lie, as you know very little about Indian Christians and sweet nothings about Goan Christians. You just claimed this, as Siva is a Brahmin and you wanted to prove that you are equal to him in status, so that he will not embarrass you with your actual origins, when you post nasty foolish things about Tamils. What a nasty thing you are. In Kerala the upper caste origin powerful ancient Syrian Christians look down upon the Latin Christians, who are converts from the lower castes and will hardly intermarry into them. In Tamil Nadu it is the same. As for Buddhist in Sri Lanka putting aside caste ! Whom are you trying to fool? Go and look at the Sri Lankan Marriage columns and see how caste is important to the Sinhalese, especially to the upper castes. As for SJ, I strongly suspect he is a Muslim , this is why like most of them he sucks up to the Sinhalese and puts Tamils down. Yes he hates Siva as Siva has put him back in his place a few times and like all Muslims he hates him, because it is Siva constantly reminds them of their actual Tamil origin , which they do not want to hear. They all hate him. Not surprising. Both you and he are nasty and now to nasties have got together to attack and hound him out.

                • 1
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                  Rohan,

                  When Goan Brahmins came down to Sri Lanka up to 500 years ago, they followed the Buddhist culture and laid aside all caste tendencies. Indeed Trincomalee was full of Sinhalese, till some Indians came down and changed the culture somewhat.*************We are not like you Tamils. We do not have this concept of shame of heritage.****************** In Sri Lanka, it is clan, not caste. People prefer to marry within the clan. ***********And we do not have the paranoia of shame either. One small comment from us, and there is a huge backlash of hurt feeling and racist comments from you.

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                    All of you Tamil lot: Charles Ponnuthurai Sarvan wrote this article to cure your hearts, aching with shame, with over 5,000 years of caste system. But some of you never learn, and only get worse************* So I will also help : Relax. Be at peace. After laying down caste in Buddhistic Sri Lanka, many of the Indian high castes probably mixed with you low caste Tamils. In true Buddhistic Egalitarian manner, we evolved as humans, standing proud of our S. Asian origins. Our Sri Lankaness make us indeed a superior S. Asian race and nationality.

                  • 2
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                    “”When Goan Brahmins came down to Sri Lanka up to 500 years ago,””
                    RSS: Manohar Parrikar- IIT Bombay Loyala Margao Goa.(former defence Minister to kill Gotabaya and China entry)
                    According to Indian archives GB never came to the island they had their own beaches and plucked peaches on the beach.

              • 3
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                Oh now you are part Goan Brahmin and your husband is a Kshatriya with a family name Fernando. A typical Karawa name. Whom are you trying to fool. You once stated here that you are half Tamil Vellalah. Now that has vanished and become Goan Brahmin . What next Kashmiri Brahmin or a Tibetan Yeti? What are you a chameleon? A chameleon changes its colour to suits its environment and you change your heritage to suit the situation. Siva is a Brahmin , therefore to be equal to him you are now a Brahmin and your husband a Ksahtriya. Fenando Kshatriya and Romona Theresa Goan Brahmin that is a good one. Who is trying to be casteist. You are indeed a joke

                • 0
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                  Pandi Kutti,

                  No, never said anything about being Vellalah Tamil. Now sure even how to distinguish one Tamil from the other.

                • 2
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                  Pandi Kutti ——“You once stated here that you are half Tamil Vellalah. Now that has vanished and become Goan Brahmin .” ——————ramona Grandma therese fernando types loads of things she does not mean nor remember. She makes things up as she goes along. She once claimed to be part Tamil unless of course she now believes it was her ghost writer. She also once typed she belongs partly to a Himalayan Aryan tribe. Like Dayan she is all at the same time couldn’t remember when and where she said what and what not. .

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                  Pandi Kutti, —————————The scatter brain ramona grandma therese fernando types below: “No, never said anything about being Vellalah Tamil.”.

                  However the same ramona grandma therese fernando typed on December 21, 2015 21:52: Otherwise, proud to be Tamil as per my paternal grandfather (though it is written that I am Burgher on my BC….depends on the area of Sri Lanka one was born in maybe). —Tamil Refugees In Tamil Nadu; Return To Their Native Land by S. Sivathasan ——–https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/tamil-refugees-in-tamil-nadu-return-to-their-native-land/

                  Pandi ——– Please don’t take her too seriously. Have fun with The scatter brain ramona grandma therese fernando.

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                    Hey NV,

                    When these Indians came to Sri Lanka, all in the North and East were forced to take on a Tamil identity.*************You’re a very silly fellow, aren’t you…..speaking of sex and things too. Boo!

                  • 1
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                    Also NV,

                    Where the heck did I say I belonged to a Himalayan Aryan tribe. Give us the article, will you?

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                      ramona Grandma therese fernando ———-“Where the heck did I say I belonged to a Himalayan Aryan tribe. Give us the article, will you?” —————————-

                      Your age is catching up with you. Either you can’t remember or its in your nature to BS.

                      The Long Term Solution To Sri Lanka’s Ethnic Problem
                      MAY 6, 2015
                      By Aravinth Kumar -https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-long-term-solution-to-sri-lankas-ethnic-problem/ ———————–

                    • 0
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                      Fabulous isn’t it, that discussion. I had forgotten all about it. You are keeping tabs on our discussions NV! I never bother to keep tabs the way you do. It’s all about being all open and sincere and impromptu. The truth comes out better that way. Then we can help others, ne? But thank you for bringing up the discussion up.****************Merely said that all South Asians have a percentage of Himalayan Tribe because it flowed all over South Asia.***********Oh, I see. You’re bluffing that I am bad right (in a good way). then you can show how good I am actually! :) beam!

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                      ramona Grandma therese fernando ——-

                      Hope you stop bull shitting in this forum. If you haven’t got a clue please say so rather than bull shitting.

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                “”Being nasty and odious seems to be RSSS’s domain.””

                RSS minister of defence product of IIT Bombay learnt Lathi Charge and Gotabaya lost all his B***s in one go he can never recover…..
                and beware you would lose that 1/2 bottom burger where you are hiding in the state of skunk of america if you glow hot and cold.
                God forgives we don’t.
                hindu republican is also under its hammer. the intelligentsia after Askernazi, in the American Dream. See what happened to Obumers Preet Bharara cleaned bowled overnight.
                Bannon and China clean bowled with the Modi Trump hug.
                Please tell us where you live as KKK may be now interested in paying a visit or might as well send Niki’s kirpan or the marathas butterfly sword.
                Oi, flotsam and jetsam, dross!What do you have brazalian kos atta?

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            Age of mediocrity dawned in Severely Jaundiced by 1970.-
            rSSS is a scholar of culture and you are a down right malabari poof commie not a prof.

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          My audience are Sinhalese bigots like you. I cannot make anyone happy or sad. Happiness and sadness comes from within a person. I can only state facts and home truths. If it makes you happy or sad it is up to you. I have no influence in it

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            why do you use the word ‘Sinhalese bigots’? Your usual racist slam, ‘LOW CASTE south indians’ :D …why not using it?

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          somass ji-

          What is your audience?

          No one.

          Whom do you want to make happy?

          Like you none.

          By the way why do the Sinhala/Buddhists still place matrimonial adverts demanding partners from Sinhala/Buddhists and particular caste? When do you think the state should ban such caste race conscious ads?

          A typical advert reads like the following: Sinhala Buddhist Govi parents of Colombo suburbs looking for a S/B/G educated, slim, fair, pretty bride Please reply with horoscope and details of family and dowry in Sinhala.

          Are they still living in the dark ages like your fellow noisy Sinhala/Buddhist ghetto dwellers?

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        While no one reject that Sinhala people had caste discrimination but it never was as evil and ridiculous as the Tamil caste system. In fact it is a tradition we got by associating ‘bad’ people ( take the hint).

        No one is banned from entering Buddhist temples in SL. While nikayas practice caste system that is again thanks to Hindu kings in Kandyan period. As the Hindu kings did not want to bow down to a low caste monk, he created a new nikaya so that he can do the customary bowing without worrying about monk’s caste.

        It was the disabilities act in 1957 which was passed to help the Dalits in jaffna which worsened the Sinhala -tamil politicians relationship. C.Sundaralingam went and stood in front of the temple blocking the low caste people. It was the same Sundaralingam who called for an Eelam after Arunachalam.

        Why should we go further.? You yourself comment in CT saying Sinhalese are low caste South Indians. If you have any problem with caste system would you do that? NO! Because you are caste conscious racist….I wonder what you do here talking against caste! LOL

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          Another thing. In deep south in a particular electorate, caste politics play a huge role. And guess the politician who use caste politics to get into parliament in SL?

          The ‘liberal west loving, non racist anglophile cabal’s favorite politician, Mangala Samaraweera

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        That’s why Northen Tamil students didn’t even share board rooms with Eastern Tamil students in universities.

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      Ramona therese Fernando where are you from? another planet? Why are you racists so dumb and extremely backward and stupid? When are you ever going to grow up. Even at 60 you have not grown up, then there is no hope for you.

      • 0
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        55

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        Tamil from the north, ——–

        If the circumstances demand you marry a “woman” which one would you chose from the following:

        Nuisance, sach, Shenali Waduge, ramona Grandma therese fernandio, …….

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          NV, I would rather marry a tree. Marrying these numb sculls would send me to a mental asylum.

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            Tamil from the north————-

            Perhaps they need good sex, a cuddle after good sex, pampered by a man about the house, need some one to admire them in all forms with imperfection and evilness, stupidity, bigotry …………………… They may one day change their attitude by sharing a bed with a man.
            Jim Softy is too old to make a good cup of tea after a passionate love making session, if you can call it passionate as Jimmy is suffering from creaking knees and debilitating hip pain after being a beach boy for over 60 years at Southern seafronts. Therefore the old man is not an asset but is a liability hence unsuitable. …………Do you have anyone else in mind? Please forward the details of the real man to Nuisance, sach, Shenali Waduge, ramona Grandma therese fernandio.

            I am disappointed with your selfish uncaring attitude towards these pathetic women who desperately need good sex and a man.

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              NV, good one man. I am still laughing.
              Fact 1: This country belongs to your people.
              Fact 2: Tamils and Sinhalese invaded and robbed this nation from your people.
              Fact 3: now idiots are busy trying to figure out who came first.
              Fact 4: If I had lived in Colombo, I would have had no issues marrying a good Sinhala woman. They are no different from anybody else. By the way, many of them absolutely beautiful.
              Fact 5: I would never marry someone like rtf as she is stupid and hateful. I might as well hang myself.

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    Dr. SArvan

    You seem to have much sympathy for the Tigers. What do you think about their use of primarily women as suicide bombers? Even pregnant ones?

    Did the Tigers see women as less indispensable than men?

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      Dear sinhalese buddhist,

      I have never met Charles Saravan, but he was educated in the same Southern Hill Country school as me; considerably older. We’ve exchanged e-mails. He’s a very decent old man, who is doing his best to pass on his vision of peace and harmony for us. One of my own Professors has known Sarvan for a long time.

      About the ills in Tamil society, they are indeed there, I’m sure (in fact Jaffna Tamil friends have confirmed that caste is still very much there). Let us try to help those, like Prof. Sarvan, who are doing what they can to change all that.

      There can be no doubt that the Tigers used women as suicide bombers, but that was possible only because they managed to instill a sense of pride in them. There are virtually no accounts of the sexual exploitation of women by the LTTE.

      The main problem now in the country is that we, ordinary layman citizens, have lost control of our country. We seem to have ceded power to a few monks, who are either racist or ill-informed, while the Sinhalese who have knowledge of English appear contemptuous of their rural brethren. The timid efforts of Muslim women to win their rights, especially over age of marriage (that means over limiting reproduction as well) appears to have died out. Let us help the disadvantaged. Let us start by putting our own community right. I’ve been as outspoken as can be about what’s happening in Christianity as well:

      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-whited-thomian-sepulchres-the-pharisees-who-cheat/

      That is the second of three articles. Get my name, search for the others, and see photographs of where Sarvan studied.

      Limiting corruption: My3 seems to be trying – weakly. Let’s stop criticizing unless it is constructively.

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    The most effective campaign against caste oppression was initiated in October 1967 and went on until mid-1972. Many people from the ‘upper’ caste took part, and literary figures like Kailasapasthy and Murugaiyan played an important role.
    That campaign led by the then ‘Peking Wing’ Communist Party led by Comrade Shan achieved much in defeating discrimination by caste in public places.
    *
    Much remains to be done, but many issues have been swept under the carpet in the name of Tamil unity ever since the national question took centre stage in the 1970’s.
    *
    Daniel was sensitive to caste oppression.
    Around the time of the torching of the Jaffna Public Library, an upper caste thug snatched and set alight the school books of a child from a depressed caste. When one upper caste person touched on the burning of the Public Library, Daniel responded: “You never cared when the library of a child was destroyed”.
    A Tamil national campaign that refused to address caste oppression was to him insincere and undeserving of his support. So he avoided talking on the national question.
    Anyone accusing him of indifference should ask himself/herself of the stand that he/she took on the question of caste, especially at critical moments.
    One need not agree with Daniel, but one needs to appreciate his message.

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      SJ—————— I am not sure whether you are deliberately not telling the truth or you didn’t really know much of the caste history of Jaffna.
      I am told the much respected late Mr Karthigesu master and his young fellow comrades led many a struggle against caste and other oppression in the northern part of this island and as a consequence many Devales opened their doors to every one, including the famous Nallur temple. This took place between late 1940s and 1950s, when you were thumb sucking toddler. ————-Are you trying to hide their contribution to humanity or belittle them?

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    “Not falsely and meanly to withhold credit where credit is due, it must be acknowledged that the Tamil Tigers eradicated casteism in areas under their control – as they also did the discrimination and maltreatment of women.”
    The above is pure myth.
    *
    The LTTE was forced to act in certain contexts when their cannon fodder came mostly from the depressed castes. But the caste system remained very much intact under the LTTE.
    A very informative book (From Vattukkoattai to Mullivaikkaal) in Tamil by SK Senthivel is due to be released soon. It tells us much about the LTTE double standards in matters of caste, class and gender.

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      SJ ————–I am told that you never criticised LTTE while they were still alive and able to enforce their will. Instead you did defend them for their position on various circumstances while criticising UTHR(J) for not disclosing their whereabouts.

      I am not sure you really believe in human rights or you believe in it only at a time LTTE is not around to enforce its will.

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    A quite expected review from the writer and of course with the usual Sinhala Racist bogeyman.
    ////Claims to inherent group-superiority, be it on grounds of ‘race’ (Sinhalese-Tamil), caste (vellalar-dalit), colour (white-black) or sex (male-female) are invariably contradictory////

    Sinhala- Tamil issue has not arisen due to any Superiority complex of Sinhalese. In fact the inferiority complex of Sinhala anglicized leaders has helped to make the issue more complex. The Tamils suffer from superiority complex regarding Sinhalese. It is a dominant narrative in Sinhala-Tamil issue. Tamils are more intelligent, have more IQ, speak the most ancient language, the mongrel Sinhala language is made with words stolen from Tamil ( ha ha ha), Tamils used to do the best of the jobs, Tamils were better educated, tamils ruled the stupid numerical majority due to their high IQ. Now this is the narrative in Sinhala-Tamil issues. In fact if anyone READ the comments in CT itself, this dominant narrative is pretty much evident.

    Therefore the roots of conflict do not exist in any Sinhala superiority complex over Tamils but due to tamil superiority complex over Sinhalese. Though Tamils ( which is Vellalas) could oppress and subdue the Dalits in Jaffna with no problem they did not stop there. Due to their superiority complex picked the battle with the wrong man, the Sinhalese and ended up in Nandikadal.

    • 0
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      Spot on Mate… Cheers….!

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    Why didn’t Daniel even refer to other factors such as the denial of equal (human and civic) rights to Tamils? /////////
    Because the low caste Dalits did not face any problem from Sinhala people. I once read a translation of Tamil short stories written during 60s and 70s. The main theme of all books coming out of Jaffna were centered around CASTE. Until 70s, there was no mention about Sinhala discrimination. The caste issue was the main issue in North. So how do you expect a dalit to write about a non-existent issue in that time?

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      Sach’i’mutt, caste is a pandemic disease which has pervaded Lankans for thousands of years. It is a disease found in the Tamil as well as Sinhala communities. Look at the Sinhala matrimonial posting on newspapers…………they talk about Durawe, Govigama, Radala, Karawa, etc. Idiots like you will never learn, your mind is so clouded by hatred of all minorities, you cannot see. Pricks like you on the Tamil side also exist. Dirty scoundrels like you will never let this beautiful country move forward. Bleed the country until it completely disintegrates. Then you will be sitting in a tree. Do you ever hear yourself talk? Why are you so dumb? In Canada I live with Sinhalese, to date I have not met one Sinhalese who thinks like you. They are simply beautiful people, love talking to them and trying out their culinary products and enjoy talking about cricket and decent politics. Maybe you should have married an idiot by the name Usha Sriskandarajah and produced some hybrid racist mutts.

      • 1
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        Your CV was immaculate up to a point; then, from nowhere, you ruined it with your last line. You may not like Usha Sriskandarajah or her views, but dragging her in for no good reason is degrading yourself. Check with your good friends in Canada.

        • 2
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          Unreal, I gave you thumbs up since I agree with your comment. I felt at that to drag her into it as she is one of those people who crow for Tamil Ealam while her whole family enjoy the peace this wonderful country has to offer. Who on earth will fight for Ealam, it will be some poor man’s kids in SL. Who will die for her cause………..same answer. I hate racists idiots on both sides. I just want people to leave others alone. But racists like, Sach, ramona therese fernando, Jim Softy, KA Sumanaya and ilk should be dealt with. We Tamils should never run again in fear. Every racist should be destroyed.

      • 1
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        So you were eating the foods of Sinhalese in Canada while sending money to bomb sinhalese here?

        Where did I speak against minority here? I attack tamil racists which i am very happy to do. Before meeting tamil racist scum I was a federalist and thanks to Tamils I am a strong supporter of unitary state with protection for sinhala homeland.

        Caste is not the same in Sinhala society and your medieval tamil society. No one is killed, denied water because of caste among Sinhalese. In fact caste is a non issue among sinhalese today and will be completely disappeared in a generation.

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          Sach’i’mutt, So you were eating the foods of Sinhalese in Canada while sending money to bomb sinhalese here?

          I don’t have a problem eating the wonderful food made by friends who happen to be Sinhalese. These are decent people unlike you who happens to be a vile hog.

          Sending money to bomb? After what I wrote about myself being against Ealam, you still wrote this…………that tells me a lot about your intellect. You are dumb!!!!!

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    Caste system is despicable but the practice is thankfully on the way out. At school some fifty years ago I do not remember caste cropping up. At University none at all. In social gatherings never never never.
    What is described in Daniel’s book “Mirage” will not happen today. For example “…..dalits were permitted to sponsor one day of a religious festival but were not allowed to enter temple precincts…………….”.
    Incorrect for at last fifty years.
    “………Resistance can lead to an entire village being burnt down…………”
    A single case like this in last fifty years?
    Professor Young’s explanatory notes (pp. 269-70): “……….Dalits were forbidden to enter or live near temples, to draw water from wells owned by the higher castes, to enter cafes, keep their women in seclusion, wear shoes, sit on bus seats, attend school. The list of prohibitions is very long indeed…………….”
    Prof Young is frozen in colonial days.
    Disappointed that Prof Charles Ponnuthurai Sarvan has not pointed out the extent to which the novel is applicable today.
    By the way I am NOT defending the caste system.

    PS: The article is a goldmine for HLD Mahindapala! Please Charles do not reply o his distortions.
    .

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    I have unfortunately neither read the Tamil or English version of this novel. If the novel was published in 1986, it would have been written much earlier—may be during the height of temple entry struggles of 1968-1972.During this particular period, the literary criticism was dominated by progressives and socialist realism was the norm and any creative literature not written by progressives were denounced as reactionary literature .
    This particular novel may be classified as a socialist realist novel, but awaits proper literary evaluation from experts.

    Daniel was in fact was in the Chinese wing led by Shanmugathasan

    But one matter, what is the present situation in Jaffna. Does caste play a significant role in the normal life of the people. My impression is that Caste has become irrelevant in Jaffna as in the south?

  • 0
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    As if casteism is not prevalent in Sinhala community! There is this difference in humanity in many parts of the world and little by little it is disappearing. It cannot be eradicated completely as it was the creation of the Gods.

    • 0
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      Sellam, Sellam, oh dear Sellam, You soiled your nice comment by your stupid third sentence!

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        superiority, inferiority , the brave and the weakest, the rich and the poor, the higher and the lower the cleaner and the filthy attitude existed among the mankind even from the time mankind was evolved. . How did it start? no one can explain. That system exists in animals as well. Why?

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          I’ll respond as best as I could. The universe is in dynamic equilibrium. Call it the work of God, if you wish. You have no proof; I have no disproof. So, I am with you on that. However, the various distinctions you itemise is partly nature. Nature is kinetic. The survival of the fittest kicks in once nature leaves the rest to living things & beings, including you and me.

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            Nature is the creation and the creation is from some power. I call it God as it is a word of international use. We could call it by some other name

        • 1
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          Sellam —

          How about traitor and patriot, the main theme of the LTTE or its main ideology?

          • 0
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            The ideology and consequent war comes under the category of the suppressed and the suppressor . The LTTE was suppressed and the Sinhala government is suppressor

  • 0
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    Caste system exists among Tamils and Sinhalese alike. This is because caste system is a product of Hinduism. Sinhalese or better their ancestors like the Nagas were Hindus before being converted to Buddhism. The rigidity of the caste system among Tamils has broken down vastly during the last 75 years. There are many reasons foremost being the introduction of free education. It opened the door to the so-called minority Tamils. The Federal Party was instrumental in throwing temple doors open to all. Prof.Sundaralingam did not oppose temple entry. He opposed the Communists who spearheaded the temple entry campaign entering temples. According to him Communists being atheists have no right to enter temples. Thanks to Federal Party’s campaign minority Tamils have got appointed to Senate and elected to Parliament, though the number is few. The LTTE helped to break the caste system by recruiting fighters from all castes. Additionally, they encouraged inter-caste marriages as a policy. In countries like Canada love marriages are becoming common among different castes. The younger generation consider caste system as archaic and outdated. Good education that will elevate one’s status in society combined with acquisition of wealth will eventually mitigate discrimination based on caste. It is interesting to know that Tamils never had caste system during the Sangam period. Caste system was introduced when they embraced Hinduism.

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      Thanga—-

      I do have Tamil friends. You do not need to paint a rosy picture of prevailing caste system among Sri Lankan born dimwits. It has improved a bit with education and employment but the social taboos are still there among the stupid Sinhalese as well as Tamils.

      LTTE didn’t change anything. Caste consciousness and other social issues went underground until the end of the war. It has come back with a vengeance. Even during “glorious” LTTE rule many suffered in the hands of the upper caste.

      LTTE’s recruitment policy changed through necessity not by any conscious principle position/decision. There were shortages of recruitment hence they saw an opportunity among female Tamil population to fill in their ranks.

      During the invasion and occupation of the IPKF, the Tamil militant group EPRLF supported the invaders. LTTE’s propaganda machine worked overtime to portray members of EPRLF being recruited from lower caste. It worked for the LTTE.

      ” Thanks to Federal Party’s campaign minority Tamils have got appointed to Senate and elected to Parliament, though the number is few. “

      Oh please, tokenism does not mean equality of the section of the people among Tamils. Kathigamar, Douglas, ….. other sundries were being appointed to cabinet does it mean the Sinhala/Buddhists fascists consider the Tamils or Muslims as equal partners of this island nation.

      I suggest you go to Jaffna and live rest of your life there to study the caste issue. On the other hand my Elders tell me the caste hierarchy has soften a bit compared to the situation 50 years ago among both Sinhalese and Tamils.

    • 2
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      Thanga———Continued

      A few years ago I was the witness to two of my Sinhala friends’ wedding who married girls from different caste. One party or the other refused to attend the wedding hence I was the witness to their wedding at the registrar of marriage.

      I have also witnessed a marriage of a mixed couple Tamil/Sinhala for the same reason. Tamil parents refused to agree to their marriage. Its a mixed bag. I was severely chastised by the father of the bride at my work place. But then when the daughter gave birth to his first grandson, that hypocrite was the first one to visit the daughter at hospital. He never apologised to me for his bad behaviour. But then Sinhalese and Tamils don’t make mistakes hence no owning up of mistakes nor appologies were needed.

      If you need a witness please let me know I will be there to evidence your marriage only if you are in love and marrying a dalit or Muslim or a Sinhalese. I say Sinhalese, for if bridegroom is Sinhala/Buddhist please contact KASmaalam K A Sumanasekere. He will witness your marriage for a small fee and a bottle of Negambo Kassipu. He might demand Scotch, don’t agree. He will settle for the local one.

  • 0
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    Charley,

    Tamil secret barbaric way of living is splashed all over the internet, which have made Charley embarrassed. The true reason of Tamil problem in Sri Lanka is barbaric Tamil caste wars which also victimized the innocent Sinhalese.
    *The article is a load of rubbish.
    *Tamil program of 1983 was stared by Tamils.
    *Tamil’s enemy is always another Tamil.
    *Tamils are disorganized ethnic group, they always rely on non-Tamil leadership.
    *Tamil casteism is absolutely barbaric. There are news that at some Tamil school, Tamil low-caste children are made to sit at the back of the classroom.
    *Sinhalese are caught up in Tamil caste wars in Jaffna. Soldiers and monks donates blood in order to keep these troublemakers going.

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