24 September, 2018

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In Jaffna Where The God’s Are Deaf

By S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Prof. S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Jaffna has a generally liberal-minded population. At the Local Government Elections even Nallur where the Kandasamy Temple is, elected a Christian woman.

However, not everything is perfect. Danger signs of Hindu intolerance are growing. I have written previously of public meetings where the Indian Prime Minister’s Siva Sena and Batticaloa MP Yogeswaran called on the public to vote only for Hindus, even as NP Chief Minister delivered  hot speeches insulting to Christians (Uthayan, 19.11.2016).

In an electoral system, even liberal-minded parties sometimes act communally. When Ms. Rahini Ramalingam who prevailed in Nallur asked the ITAK for its candidature, even people known to be liberal-minded opposed her saying they cannot risk losing even the few votes that Hindu communalists would send their way. However, good sense prevailed; the ITAK decided on principle over tainting itself communally.

Similarly, there was open pressure to not put forward Emmanuel Arnold for Mayor of Jaffna Municipal Council (JMC). Again, the ITAK backed Arnold. The contest would be between Arnold, V. Manivannan (Tamil Congress) and Remedius (EPDP). It was ITAK strategy to avoid a second ballot between Arnold and Manivannan. So it was arranged to have certain ITAK members voting for Remedius to give him second place. But matters misfired when a TULF member in jail for possessing stolen jewelry arrived late from his Anuradhapura jail. Remedius and Manivannan tied for second place.  Drawing lots was agreed to. Remedius won but wanted Manivannan to contest his brother-in-law Arnold. However, the Commissioner over-ruled that move. 

The episode shows not only how Arnold squeaked through, but also how dirty our politics is where criminals are elected and Manivannan became a mayoral candidate when he is facing criminal charges filed by the police in the Jaffna Magistrate’s Court for violating Penal Code Section 186. Under 186, it is a crime punishable by two years’ imprisonment to intimidate a public official from doing his duty. What if he is convicted? It was taking a huge risk, a colossally irresponsible act exposing the JMC to the real risk and humiliation of having its elected mayor imprisoned.

The Hindutvas lost out this time. But vigilance is needed. Jaffna District has a population of 93866 Christians out of 622709 – 15.07%. The District Secretariats of Delft with 2811 (61.62%) Christians, and Jaffna with 29613 Christians (49.36%), are the only District Secretariats where Christians are in majority. Of the Districts of Mannar, Vavuniya, Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi with 52.6%, 8.9%, 9.8% and 10.6% Christians, the latter three present no problems to the Hindutva Project. Mannar is impossible to tackle because 52.6% Christians together  with the 16.6% Muslims, are daunting. Success in reversing Christian advantage can come only in Jaffna and Delft but Delft is difficult to manipulate. 

Jaffna admittedly is the Tamil cultural capital. Jaffna must be retaken from Christians. The JMC is anomalous. It has the entire Jaffna DS Division and a part of the Nallur DS division. It has been proposed to split the Nallur Pradeshya Saba’s 40 Grama Niladari divisions into two with the 20 around the temple being made into Nallur Municipal Council. The temple would make NMC better that JMC.

That is made easy by the educated Christians fleeing Jaffna. If the Nallur Temple could be broken out of the JMC and annexed to a new Nallur MC, it would be a major Hindutva victory. The obstacle so far is the Local Government Commissioner ruling that the JMC borders cannot be altered. However, a change is a matter of time. As Prof. K. Sivathamby wrote in his book “Who is this Jaffna Man?,” the Christians live today ghettoized and sidelined.

The Christians Missions cultivated the Vellalas of both religions as “emphatically our people” and praised their manners as “such as not to require a material change on their becoming Christian.” The Missionaries wrote “they will long continue to be the most, thriving, energetic, intelligent and best behaved portion of the Tamil population.”

Alas! That education made it the easiest for Vellalas to run away. According to the Dutch census in their time to the present day, Vellalas, say anthropologists Bryan Pfaffenberger and Michael Banks, have risen from 30% to roughly a half. There is systematic upward mobility. It helps everyone escape the disadvantages of being low caste. However, all these fake Vellalas then oppress those who failed to rise. That is partly by taking over the levers of power and creating myths that no one is allowed to contradict. Indeed, the Tamil intelligentsia having fled, few are around to contest mythology.

One myth concerns the Nallur Temple which the Portuguese destroyed in 1624 AD. The original temple was located where St. James’ Church Nallur is today.  The Wikipedia agrees with this but goes on to claim that 

“The original Shivalingam of the Nallur Kandaswamy Temple was located in the Vicarage till 1995 when it was destroyed during the recapture of Jaffna by Sri Lanka armed forces and the platform where the Shivalingam was mounted can still be seen in the hallway of the vicarage.”

I hope it is not a replay of Babri Masjid with St. James’. St. James’ was not a Kandasamy Temple nor was it destroyed in the war! Having lived in the vicarage for several years in the 1960s, I state that there was no Sivalingam there. Even today, anyone may verify the absence of any platform as climed. 

The Jaffna kings were ardent Saivites and built Nallur according to agamic rules with a street for every caste and guardian temples to the North, East, South and West of the Central temple. While the central temple was given by the Queen to build a chapel to Saint Mary (which now is St. James’), the temple to its West is not to be seen while the other three appear to be intact.

The present Nallur temple, is said to have been built in 1734 A.D. but I have some doubt about this claim because the Dutch did not allow idol houses especially in towns and relented a little only in their waning years.  Regardless of the date, where it stands is South West of St. James’ and cannot be where the destroyed western guardian temple stood. It is certainly not the central royal temple.

I live in Muthirai-chanthai, the heart of Changili Thoppu, King Changiliyan’s Place. It was Muthirai Chanthai (Stamp Market) because the king’s tax collectors issued stamp marks to acknowledge taxes paid. Our old deed still refers to Muthirai Chanthai by that name. However, with the influx of new people and the vanishing of the market where I used to shop with my mother, it is now referred to in official documents as Muthirai Chanthi (junction). 

As old caste names are changed to depict a fictitious caste-free history, politically motivated changes are the norm. The Hindutva project is to make Nallur Temple the centre-piece of Jaffna, and the centre of the palace grounds. Step one was to name the Nallur Temple area ward as Raja Thani (the King’s Place). Our ward is named Changili Thoppu (Changiliyan’s Place rather than the broader King’s Place). The temple is well away from the King’s palace. 

So we now have two palace grounds! As the next step Tamil Congress’ defeated Mayoral candidate in his maiden speech at the JMC proposed that Changili Thoppu be renamed Kittu Park after the Tiger highup who played a key role in the murder of St. John’c College Principal CE Anadarajan, and had the reputation of having a mistress in every village, including the widows of those he had murdered.

In the meantime, the broader Hindutva project is asserting the Hinduness of Jaffna. The Tamil Congress’s manifesto openly promised in print to make the Nallur Temple a centre-piece in its development of Jaffna. The Urban Development Authority in its plans promises to emphasize the Hindu character of Jaffna. Public lands are being taken over by first building a small idol and then soon expanding it onto government land. 

As noise pollution with cinema music (passed off as religious music) blares daily from 5 am to late night, even during church services, there is impunity as the authorities merely pretend to enforce the law.

Here is an edited Daily News report (07.04.2018):

Several citizens of the city had filed a petition three weeks back against the noise levels from the Nayanmarkandu Temple. Jaffna High Court Judge M.Ilancheliyan ordered loud speaker sounds  lowered, admonishing the priest, ‘Gods hear better than humans.’ The ‘Grama Sevaka’ report requested stated that the volume hadn’t been lowered as advised by court. Another petition was filed by the citizens. The priest, summoned before the judge, claimed the Gods prefer loud volumes. The judge replied that gods hear better than humans and warned the priest to lower the volumes of the loudspeakers.

Here a priest who was warned by a tough judge, not listening, cheekily told the judge that the gods want loud volumes, and then getting a mere warning again. 

The Hindutva bandwagon is rolling inexorably. 

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Latest comments

  • 0
    10

    Sivalingam: Can one of those ‘experts’ please answer the following:

    1) Why do Tamil women bathe the Sivalingam with milk?
    2) Why have they specifically selected a white colored liquid?
    3) For example, why not something like honey, which is honey colored?
    4) Does the size of the lingam matter in making it more effective?
    5) If you want twins or triplets, (i.e.) more than one baby, how can the modus operandi be modified?
    There are many more questions in my mind. But I will wait for the responses before I pose them.

    • 4
      0

      edwin rodrigo!

      Where did you see Tamil women bathing the Sivalingam with milk?

      It is your imagination !!!

      • 4
        0

        VT
        You should watch the “Hindu Mythology” tele-serials junk that are flogged on the TV channels like Shakthi and various Indian channels.
        *
        I wonder if Edwin treats them as authentic sources.

    • 1
      4

      edvin,
      you must replace the word Lingam to Penis. so its SivanPenis. You dddnt question why woman’s Vagina is worshipped along Sivan Penis. The so called Bramins used sanscrit word for their filthy Purana concept of God in order to distract the real direct meaning of the word . Then people dont get irritated to worship Sivan Penis penetrated into Vagina as its placed to worship in Indu kovil-temples . This is the reason the Linga – lingam not translated in to other languages..
      your all questions will come with full of myths and sarcastic answers from Guru and Poosari , Kavvi Saamiyaar .

  • 5
    0

    The caste system has been integrated into our DNA since the dawn of mankind. Such a pity that the caste system is still raising its ugly head even in the 21st century.

    A society is first destroyed from within. This is evident in the Sinhala and Tamil communities of the country. There is no unity and there shall be no unity. Our muslim brethren must be commended for staying together and it is this behaviour that has enabled them to flourish where others flounder.

    Hindu temples were found throughout the country from Dondra to Point Pedro and from Colombo to Batticaloa. Ancient records state that five major Shiva temples existed in the four corners of the country and one in the centre. It would be foolish to think that the great temple builders of southern india did not leave a mark on a small island, a stone’s throw away from their kingdoms. An island that was claimed to be “Dakshina Kailasa” or Southern Kailas – the Southern abode of Shiva. In a time of advancing science, it would seem a folly to be a theist, but religion is also partly history.

    The Portuguese destroyed many, if not all the temples situated near the coast and built forts. There was even a large temple complex in Galle and Dondra and the area had a large brahmin community that is no existent to this day. The tri lingual stone inscription of Chinese admiral Zheng He from 1409 is a testament that Tamil speaking people were living in the area. [The 3 languages being Tamil, Chinese and Persion]. The stone inscription makes reference to the great temple of the South.

    History is being rewritten in Sri Lanka. History is always written from the perspectives of the vanquisher, erasing those of the vanquished.

  • 2
    0

    is God plural?

    or is the word God plural and not a singular noun.

    Notice the apostrophe is SRH Hoole’s title of the essay.

    In Jaffna Where The …..God’s….. Are Deaf

    Hoole is using the word God in the plural sense?

    I am not trying to hijack Hoole’s article….

    • 1
      0

      He wanted to say ‘God’s children are deaf’ probably.
      All of us are God’s children, but some are partially deaf – hence the loud volume of sound from loudspeakers.

    • 2
      2

      Is God plural?

      For the Hindus yes. Forgot the killings between the Siva people and the Visnu people?

      Read your religious texts

      One God is post Muslim post Christian concept in India.
      To stop fights between Siva and Vishnu people around four hundred years ago the teachers said all god’s are one. They meant the thirty three million god’s of the hindus. They were losing devotees. So they Christianised Hinduism starting with adi sankarachariar who hailed from the areas converted by st. Thomas.
      Now without reading your scriptures and reading the fanatic blogs say I am anti Hindu.
      Even the bagavad Gita chapter four onwards is post Christian.
      Bible and Quran we know the dates of each book. With Hinduism they have no such academic rigorousness.
      Hinduism is still a changing religion
      Absorbing from other religions as you can see.

      • 5
        1

        You know nothing about the religion. Kindly state your sources. The Vedas state that there is only one true god. Hinduism is a monotheistic religion. The pantheon of hindu gods are the different images of the one.

        If one were to read religious texts, hinduism has not been given a date, nor are its scriptures dated. This is purely because, they are as ancient as the languages that helped it thrive, Tamil and Sanskrit. Adishankarar actually grouped the religion according to how people perceive the one god. Vishnu, Shiva, Kali, Ganesh, Murugan and the sun are all images of one supernatural being.

        Kindly read more or consult more before you paint a quaint picture about something you know not. Thank you.

        Dr. Hoole’s article is apt. And, it is applicable to every race and strata of society, even though he references jaffna. Sri Lanka is fast becoming a god forsaken country.

        • 1
          1

          @sri and other Indus ,

          If you follow the Veda – scriptures , then you will Open your mind and watch this to get educated about the Concept of GOD in Hinduism..

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lT0Y2pw39fg

      • 1
        0

        Kamini – to stop fights between Siva and Vishnu people around… four hundred years ago….that says it all…

        @Native Vedda

        you are absolutely right when you say people like Kamini don’t write or articulate or express an opinion ….these guys just type on their computer key board.

  • 2
    1

    Changiliyan was our last Jaffna Tamil king.

    Our Tamil heritage is now in danger of vanishing because of foolish self serving aspiring Tamil politicians who have no clue of our heritage.They are deceitful and full of bluff.

    Changiliththoppu comprises our veryb beaitiful and cultured queen’s bathing areas, areas where they had their family temple, and relations, the roads which were traversed by his chariots and secret tunnels etc. Such an adventure it was as children to run about in this area
    .one could feel the presence of the king and queen. It was sweet of his queen upon their conversation to Roman Catholicism to give a piece of land by her bathing spot to erect a shrine for Virgin Mary.

    The female side of his lineage lived here until the Dutch drove out the Roman Catholics out of Jaffna.

    Changiliththoppu has precious memories of a time when we Jaffna Tamils were yet unconquered and still a proud and cultured race.

    Squatting goes on even by current politicians. People like Prof. Sittampalam know the archeology and history but to support manivannan and kuruparan in their mischief keep quiet.

    To call it the Kittu Park show the stupidity of the proponents.

    We need a committee of Changiliththoppu families to protect our heritage. May be Prof. Hoole should lead it being a humanities professor who have been living for generations in Changiliththoppu. We need a Changiliththoppu museum there not a Park to a loser.

  • 1
    1

    “Muththirai Chanthai where I used to shop with my mother, it is now referred to in official documents as Muthirai Chanthi (junction”

    Old Changiliththoppu is now referred to by new comers even by the GS office as_ Sangiliththoppu _ like the Singhalese pronounce cheenichambal as seenisambol. Paper tigers.

    No sense of hertage left.

    Sivagnanam. Maavai are all too dumb or scheming to not notice these. I never know why we elect such people to office

    . Professor Rajan Hoole’ who is quick to document every violation of rights is silent on matters pertaining to him.

    What Irony. False sense of modesty.

  • 7
    1

    The coolly Hoole will make the Hindutva dream come true. We Hindus have not appreciated the extent of the despoliation of our temples until Hoole, the bearer of a slave name and a relic of colonialism told us the reality that we have been displaced. Time we woke up to these Happy Clappies causing so much of noise. Probably, not having panes, they were born of immaculate conception. We have lived in Jaffna with each other’s superstition till the nit wit Hoole came around to stir the pot. Good thing they did not let this crank anywhere near the Jaffna University. How come this man with such polarising views sits on the Election COmmission. It must be a criminal offence for a person with naked biases so openly demonstrated to hold public office.

    • 0
      2

      Dear Mama Sinhalam,
      .
      Yes, I too, was wondering how to reconcile the incongruity of an Elections Commissioner embroiling himself in the local politics of the North. I, too, feel that he shouldn’t be saying these things in public, let alone deliberately writing articles on subjects such as this.
      .
      I wish he would consider how carefully Big Brother Rajan chooses when to speak, and how to express himself. Ah, but that is how the Good Lord made little Jeevan, I guess.
      .
      However, MS, I still respect Prof. Hoole, a brilliant man, and of great learning who, at the end of the day, contributes much by speaking out boldly on certain more important issues. I think that the entire country must be grateful to the Three Elections Commissioners for fearlessly doing their job.
      .
      I have yet to hear any credible complaint of dishonesty or personal unfairness by this enfant terrible whom you have nurtured in Jaffna. Somehow, he manages to say these quite unnecessary things, while still acting boldly and correctly at National Level.
      .
      I’d just like you, in the North, to know that we recognise your contribution to allowing some things to be correctly done in this strange land of ours. Please control Hoole’s biases: you have my sympathy. But we are grateful for all the other things he’s been doing!

  • 0
    1

    ‘ To The Unknown God’.
    …the One whom you worship without
    Knowing Him I proclaim to you. God
    Who made the world and everything in
    It,does not dwell in temples made with
    Hands,as though He needed anything,
    Since He gives to all,life,breath and all
    Things.
    And He has made from one blood every
    Nation of men….so that they should seek the Lord..that they.might find Him,though He is not far from each one of us. For in Him we live and move and have our being…we are His offspring. Therefore,since we are the offspring of God,we ought not to think,that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising. Truly,these times if ignorance God overlooked,but now commands all men every where to repent because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained.
    He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.
    And when they heard the resurrection of the dead, some mocked,while others said,” We will hear you again on this matter.
    However, some… believed.
    ( From. The Holy Bible.Acts. ch.17)

  • 4
    1

    Many comments here seem to be based on a sense of guilt about anything related to sex.
    Sex is as natural as any other bodily function and should be seen that way.
    *
    The association between the Shivalingam and the phallus does not even enter the mind of the worshipper, as the object of worship is part of the system.
    As long as one does not demand that others should worship any part of his/her anatomy, we should leave things alone unless they truly affect us in some way.
    It is one thing not to believe in a religion, but to insult believers is most uncivilised.

    • 2
      1

      “Shivalingam and the phallus does not even enter the mind of the worshipper, as the object of worship is part of the system.”

      So the poosari could be naked and be copulating openly as the sivalingam on its yoni base is doing.and
      It would not enter your mind?

      I thought you were an engineer.

      Mulup poosanikkayai choththukkullai maraikalama? (Like trying to hide a whole pumpkin. In a plate of rice.)

      How dishonest can one get? Sj Anyone would think that the devil has enslaved your soul.

      Liberate your fellowmen.

  • 4
    2

    Professor Hoole , most of the people whom you count as Christian Tamils in the Northern regions are predominantly Catholic and predominantly belong the Karaiyar ( Karawe) or similar fishing castes like Thimilar, Mukkuvar, Paravan ( Bharatha) . The Protestant( Anglican, Methodist, Church of South India) largely Vellalar upper caste Tamil Christians like you and me will never identify with them or associate with them. If fact we treat them with disdain. As for intermarrying into them it is taboo to most Tamil Christian Protestatn families unless they belong to the few well known upper caste Catholic Jaffna Tamil families. Even these upper caste Catholics do not associate much with these Tamil Karawe Catholics but more with their Christian and Hindu Vellalar cousins, We are far more closer to our Hindu Vellalar cousins and relatives and closely identify with them and even intermarry into their families. It is a fact and even members of your own family will be doing the same. Do not be a hypocrite. What is your agenda. From a fellow Christian Vellalar. XXXX Pandi Kutti

    • 3
      2

      Pandi Kutti,

      For your information, after the fall of the Jaffna Kingdom, the Portuguese converted some of the Tamil Aristocrats of the Jaffna kingdom who were willing to cooperate, into Catholics and gave them the Don title. Some of their names were recorded as Don Philip Villaivarasa Mutaliyar, Don Anthony Narayanan, Don Frnscisco Arulampala Mutaliyar, Don Juan Chantirasekara Mana Muthaliyar, Don Martino Manappuli Mutaliyar, Don Franscisco Vanniyarasa Mutaliyar, Don Juan Chayampunata Mutaliyar, Don Juan Chutukavala Chenathiraya Mutaliyar, Don Louwys Putar, Don Francisco Rasarathina Mutaliyar and so on. Their descendants are Catholics but not Karayar (fisher-folk). Even in the Sinhala community, those who were given the Don title by the Portuguese are not Karavar. For example, the grandson of King Bhuvanekabahu was converted to Roman Catholicism and baptized as Don Juan Periya Bandara while his Queen became Dona Catherina in the year 1557.

      • 1
        0

        Piglet and James,
        You two have written true history and what is practically going now. For long time me one of my friends were placed in a class where all boys were Christians & Catholics rest were Girls. Because most were girls there was no physical training teacher comes to us. We just go out & play. Some of the Christian boys stick with us, and never play with others.

        In the schools Hindu kids do not show much difference. But whenever Christians kids get chance they show it. But it is the opposite in temples. Churches do not segregate a lot.
        In any case, in the Indus Valley time, jathi (castes) were only a labor division and there was no Jathi (caste) for Brahmins. That is why, now they are only recognized through Varna. All jathies are Vellala and below. All Varna are above Vellala. There was no level difference in the Jathies those days. Varna scooped up all jathies as Sudra. They learned the level difference only after Varna concepts were introduced. Architects, Carpenters, Black Smiths and Golds Smiths work on temple projects are still must be reverenced as Asariyar, (non Poja Brahmins, Brahmins are Po-sariiyar). They all wear holy thread like Brahmins. At the chariot festival, stating coconut must be broken by an Asari carpenter. Same with Dhobis. In all temples and houses, one can start ceremonies only after Dhobi Spread White in an auspicious time. It is considered cleans spells and evils to start good things. Potters learned and printed codes on clay plates. That is how Asaries were recruited as Brahmins in Indus Valley. But, after varna introduced, they all sidelined. During Industrial revolution, Carpenters and Black smiths controlled the British Dominance. Indus Valley Customs reflects it. At Valluwar time, Brahmin (Anthanan) meant only refined, masters of Books.

      • 1
        0

        Yes I know but they are a minority , the vast overwhelming majority of the Catholics both in the north and south belong the Karaiyar/Karawe community as the lived along the coasts. Very few Vellalar/Govigamma There are low caste Protestant Christians too amongst Sri Lankan Tamils and Sinhalese but they are a very small minority. The Protestant Christians amongst the Sinhalese and Tamils are largely from the Vellalar/Govigamma castes. Especially the Anglicans, Methodists and members belonging to the Church of South India. This is a fact. I am not being casteist. Vellar Tamil Protestant Christians like me and professor Hoole have far more in common with our Hindu Vellalar compatriots and close relatives , than with these largely Karawa/Karaiyar Catholics. It is the same with Govigamma Sinhalese Protestant families. We do have a lot in common with the Catholic Tamil Vellalar families but they are a minority, just like the Catholic Sinhalese Govigamma. This professor Hoole is just creating problems, where there is no problem. Christian/Catholic Tamils < Vellalar or Karaiyar or other castes do not see themselves different from Hindu Tamils Vellalar Karaiyar or any other caste. He seems to be having his own agenda.

        • 0
          1

          Pandi Kutti aka Real Siva Sankaran Sharma,

          When you post comments using the handle Pandi Kutti you are a Vellar Tamil Protestant Christian but when you use the handle Real Siva Sankaran Sharma you are a Tamil Brahmin. Sometimes you mix up the two handles like I pointed out last time. LOL!

        • 0
          0

          Many Protestant Christians amongst the Jaffna Tamils are from the low caste but assumed today as Vellalar.
          The Dutch and the British were Protestant Christians. However hard they tried, the Dutch could not break the dominance of the Hindu Vellalar land owners. Finally, the Dutch introduced a legislation, no native could have title to land without becoming a Christian (Protestant) and being baptized. As a result, most Vellalar families who were agricultural land owners in Jaffna accepted baptism but behind closed doors they still practiced Hinduism. Dutch religious leaders lost hope and departed from Jaffna. As a result, the local Christians (Protestant) had no religious leadership and many of them converted back to Hinduism. Even though the Dutch could build Forts, they could not establish Dutch Reformed Churches in Jaffna like what they did in Colombo and Galle. The British who succeeded the Dutch were also unsuccessful, unlike in the South; their mission could not establish a Church of England in Jaffna.
          The first Christian (Protestant) missionary; American Mission (Congregationalists), under the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, landed in Ceylon in 1812. When the American missionaries first arrived in Jaffna, they found that the greatest impact they could make on the powerful Tamil Hindu Vellalar community was through education. They put up well equipped Schools, hospitals, etc. and established the Church of South India. Some of the Vellalar Tamil families became Christians and took American names permanently when they were baptized.
          For example,
          Murugesar Ramanathar became Francis Asbury, Ambalavanar Chitampalam became Nathan Strong, Ethirnayagam Murugesar became Cyrus Mills, Muttukumaru Sithamparapillai became William Nevins, Arumugam Nannithamby became Robert Williams, Vairavanathar Sinnathamby became William Cotton Mather and many others followed.
          After the Americans established their mission schools, churches and hospital with the help of the powerful Vellalar, they deviated from the system by taking in “low caste” Tamils, and started baptizing them giving them Christian/Western names so as to erase their “low caste” identities.

        • 0
          0

          Pandi Kutti,

          The last part of the above is modified as follows:

          For example,

          Gurunather Vayiravi became Cyrus Kingsbury, Murugesar Ramanathar became Francis Asbury, Ambalavanar Chitampalam became Nathan Strong, Ethirnayagam Murugesar became Cyrus Mills, Muttukumaru Sithamparapillai became William Nevins, Saravanamuttu Murugesar became Gerard Hallock, Arumugam Nannithamby became Robert Williams, Valauthar Sidemparapillai became David Riggs, Kathiraser Periyatamby became Joshua Danforth, Vairavanathar Sinnathamby became William Cotton Mather, Sinnatamby Saravanamuttu became E. Cornelius and many others followed.

          After the Americans established their mission schools, churches and hospital with the help of these powerful Vellalar, they deviated from the system by taking in “low caste” Tamils, and started baptizing them giving them Christian/Western names so as to erase their “low caste” identities. The Hindu Vellalar Tamil nationalist Arumuga Navalar launched a campaign to deny “low caste” Tamils access to missionary schools but failed. Eventually, little by little, they all became Vellalar. This gave rise to the Tamil saying in the peninsula, “Kallar, Maravar, Ahampadiyar, elaam mella mella vellalar anarkal” meaning Kallar, Maravar, Ahampadiyar and so on also slowly, slowly became Vellalas. Eventually the Vellalar Protestant Christian Tamil population of Jaffna peninsula rose from a mere 8% to over 50%.

          • 0
            0

            Hate speech. The best of Hindus also converted. The missionary records show the caste of converts. Wicked ignorant people say these things to prevent conversion.hindus have no fear of God. They lie about Christians out of jealousy and lies propagated by their fanatics.
            Hindus rise up the caste ladder too.

  • 5
    0

    Christian males must be thinking that their children were born of immaculate conception not knowing that Hindu Lingams did the trick.

  • 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/

  • 4
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    Hinduism is considered a highly democratic religion where power is shared.
    Brammah for Creation, Luxmi as minister of finance, Saraswathi as minister of education., Krihna as Minister of Love and Sex, Lord Shiva in Charge of Death and destruction. Lord Gnesha does not intervene in day to day activities,but could be approached in case of emergency.
    Jesus Christ was born without a fathers intervention , though Joseph is referred to as his father. Unfortunately despite his’ Godly’ powers he could no differentiate between good friends and bad. Thus he was killed.
    Buddha was born to Hindu parents. he did not make any miracle. but more humane than most of the Buddhist of Srilanka.
    Allaha is Surrounded by good, bad and the ugly.
    It appears that all GODS need human help to be prominent.

  • 1
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    Uthungan
    (This is from Wikipedia)
    The history of Bible translations into the Tamil language commences with the arrival of Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg at Tranquebar in 1706. [Tranquebar = Tharangampadi, a Danish possession between 1620 and 1845 in Tamilnadu]
    *
    Johann Philipp Fabricius, a German, revised Ziegenbalg’s and others’ work to produce the standard Tamil version. Seventy years after Fabricius, at the invitation of Peter Percival a Saiva scholar, Arumuka Navalar, produced a “tentative” translation, which came to be known as the “Navalar version,” and was largely rejected by Tamil Protestants.
    (There are of late some disputes about the exact role of AN).

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      From an upcoming book on Navalar clarifying the said disputes:
      “Based in Jaffna, the Dutch Mssionary Phillipus Baldaeus (1632 – 1671) broke new ground when he translated the Gospel of St. Matthew into Tamil by 1660. A full translation of the New Testament was put out by the Dutch Government in 1759” (citing S. Kulandran, Tamil Culture, Vol. 7, pp. 229-250, 1958 — see p. 233)

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      Dear SJ,
      .
      This is just to “thanks” for reminding me that it is always a good thing to check Wikipedia as a starting point. There are about three different articles about translations of the Bible in to Tamil, and a pretty long and fascinating article on “Arumukar Navalar”. Those seem to have been times of great tolerance when people treated each other with great civility.
      .
      Yes what you have said is there as an introductory summary – a sort of abstract. Also much more on the same lines. What you have put in brackets was not there, but then I hardly made a thorough perusal of what is a strange area of knowledge for me.
      .
      However, this struck me: About Navalar it says, “A student of the Christian missionary school system who assisted in the translation of the King James Bible into the Tamil language, he was influential in creating a period of intense religious transformation amongst Tamils in India and Sri Lanka, preventing large-scale conversions to Christianity.”
      .
      That reflects truly remarkable goodwill and tolerance on the part of both the missionaries and the natives. I wish it had been as amicable in the South!
      .
      One thing stuck me, though. These were very early days for “Western Education in Ceylon” – about 1850. The locals must have just about mastering “English for Administration”. They were NOT translating the New Testament from Greek or the Old Testament from Hebrew. Percival and Navalar were translating that wonderfully evocative 1611 Authorised Version. Not recommended for accuracy, though!
      .
      I observe that a Rev. Charles P. has also joined in. I look forward to further elucidation.

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        Sinhala man
        There was a translation committee appointed for sacred translation s into Tamil. Percival bible was translated from Hebrew and Greek which navalar had not passed having not passed senior class.
        Don’t join the navalar fanatics who even claim navalar wrote the Bible leaving Jesus out

        Sinhala man show us proof from Percival s writings or church records that navalar was in the translation committee.
        Don’t parrot anti Christian claims.some Christian do it to be popular with the Hindu fanatics who invite them to make speeches.
        I thought you were a better person than that.

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          I mean it’s almost too good to be true.
          .
          I doubt Navalar having been able to do all that, but I just don’t know.

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    It has been said in some of the above comments that Christian schools are not liberal and never allowed Hindus to be their principals but Hindu schools are liberal. I respectfully do not agree.

    I plead for understanding in the context of the times. Christian schools were founded to spread Christian values which include service. There is nothing wrong in sharing your message if you truly believe in its intrinsic value. In fact if you had something of value and refused to share it, that would be wrong. So the principal and senior teachers had to be able to conduct chapel, SCM and prayers. For that, they had to be Christians.

    Similarly, Marxists with atheistic attitudes were not welcome on the staff of Christian schools. It was a time when Hindus had few educated leaders and relied on Christians to come and lead their new schools. Often those who came were Marxists who could not ever become Principals of their own schools. In Sri Lanka we have many examples of people who had no hope of ever becoming professor at their own institution moving to lesser universities and technical colleges as professors. The dynamics were the same in Christians moving to Hindu schools.

    So such moves were neither a sign of service mindedness on the part of the Christian teacher moving to a Hindu school, nor the liberality of the Hindu institution employing them. It was simply need – mutual need.

    The proof is in the fact that today, when we have enough educated Hindus, there is no Hindu school that has a Christian principal.

    Christian liberalism was in educating Hindus, and directing charity work at all in need.

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      Dear Rev. Charles P,

      It is quite opportune that you would rightly state “I plead for understanding in the context of the times. “

      Hope your wisdom properly educates Ratnajeevan too who relentlessly banters in almost all his postings about what Navalar said 130 or more years ago!

      I wish you had cast these pearls of wisdom following the very many occasions of Jeevan’s repeated revival of Navalar.

      Incidentally, Jeevan, while holding Navalar’s feet to the fire on what he said 130 plus years ago, Jeevan’s defenders want to excuse what Jeevan said just a year ago about the poor, illiterate, Sinhala girls (“not only girls but married women too” as Jeevan would phrase it) of a suburb of Colombo. Their defense is what Jeevan said was “too long ago”! Go figure!!

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      Dear Rev. Charles P,

      I wish to take exception, at least on one count, to the statement ‘Christian liberalism was in educating Hindus, and directing charity work at all in need.”

      The practice as I understand was that while Christian children (rich or poor) would be freely admitted, admission of non-christian children were based almost exclusively on how handsome a donation the parents were willing to pay, outbidding each other! Not just in Jaffna, but island-wide, as I understand.

      That counts as “charity work at all in need”?!

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        Kumar
        There is no such thing as a ‘free lunch’.

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          True SJ – but one should not pretend one is providing such. And, what’s more, one needs to be called out on that when one pretends so – right?

          Anyhow, I am glad you confirm my understanding of the terms on which non-Christians gained admission in the past – pay up or convert.

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        Talk only on things you know.

        For Christian children the missionaries found sponsor s in host countries as the parents refused to support them. Watson, Thamotherampillai and nearly all men and children converting from caste homes were punished severely and chased out of their homes.
        It was a time of Christian revival in the US and UK and rich and poor alike embraced the new conversation for the love of their Lord. The mission schools were seminaries or preparation for them.

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          Minnie,

          You can keep your blinders as tight as you like, if that is what gives you comfort.

          Hoole himself has bragged about his high-cast, wealthy, Hindu ancestry — the time of his great grandpa, I believe. You truly think his children were chased out of home and were sponsored by hosts in foreign countries that the missionaries helped arrange?

          If as the Rev. Charles declares “Christian liberalism was in educating Hindus, and directing charity work at all in need.” why was conversion of Hindus a necessity?

          Further, to go by your logic, “children converting from caste homes were punished severely and chased out of their homes”, don’t you think that entire misadventure could have been then easily avoided if the Christian liberal missionaries stayed with Rev’s charitable intent of educating the Hindus, instead of extending that noble intend to also convert them – Right?

          Blinders still on? Keep them tight, that will help!

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      does this Christian means Caatholics as well, included. What was the reason to not have educated HIndus, educated buddhists etc., instead it was christians in the case of Tamils and Catholiic in the case of sinhala (I do not know the history much). Looks christians and catholics usurped the sinhala and Tamil societies, cultures etc.,

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    There has been speculation about the heading and the word god’s in it.

    Headings are usually put in or modified by the editor.

    I consistently use God for the monotheistic religions’ God and god for gods of a pantheon. I believe this is the standard grammatical practice.

    My original heading read “where the gods are deaf.” (notice the lack of apostrophe) I recognized a problem with capitalizing the first letter of key words in a heading. So if deaf is to be Deaf, what of gods? Making it Gods would change the import of the word gods.

    It is to worry about these that we have editors.

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      Jeevan,

      I guess you found it easier to defend your grammar and use that distraction to shy away from having to defend your shameless bigotry – the bigotry of condemning voting on religious grounds as fanaticism if Hindus do it, but an obvious legitimate advantage that Christians should of course practice!

      It figures!!

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    You forget the part by the good reverend sir about spreading Christian values.

    I am glad because of our Christian values. if not I would be one of my husband’ s many wives. The low castes would be my slave. My husband would have many children through their wife — see Thesavalamai laws for his responsibilities to his children that way. We would not be shy about our caste prejudices. We would say we are all equal. But we will think superior

    Someone mentioned that Hindusium has only one god. No, it pretends like that because we really are Christians. Please read about the brahmosamaj and the aryasamaj. They changed us to one god belief,

    Anbay Chivam.– God is love?

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      Mrs. Siva,
      As you rush to credit the Christian missionaries for saving your thankful exclusive ownership of your spouse, perhaps the following para in Wikipedia may come as a surprise for you. “There are numerous examples of polygamy among close followers, devotees, and the faithful to God in the Old Testament, but it is generally not accepted by contemporary Christians.”
      Here is a listing from the International Bible Teaching Ministries of the many examples of polygamy in the Bible itself.
      The first person to be a polygamist was Lamech (Genesis 4:19-24). He lived six generations after Adam.
      Abraham was also a polygamist (Genesis 16:1-5). His wife, Sarai, was unable to have children. She gave her slave, Hagar, to be Abraham’s wife.
      Another polygamist was Esau. He was the firstborn of Isaac and Rebekah. Esau married two Hittite women (Genesis 26:33,34).
      Gideon was a great and brave leader. He had 70 sons from many wives (Judges 8:30,31).
      King Solomon had 700 wives, princesses, and 300 concubines. His wives turned his heart away from God (1 Kings 11:3).

      Here is some additional eye-opener for you if you care to read before you bury yourself in clouded thoughts that polygamy was an invention or monopoly of Hindu Tamils of the North!
      Polygamy: A Cross-Cultural Analysis by Miriam Koktvedgaard Zeitzen: “Forms of plural marriage, or polygamy, are practiced within most of the world’s cultures and religions. The amazing variation, versatility and adaptability of polygamy underscore that it is not just an exotic non-Western practice, but also exists in modern Western societies.”
      So, your dramatics aside, it will be useful for you to re-read and appreciate the singularly operative statement of Rev. Charles P — “I plead for understanding in the context of the times.!

      Or perhaps, being a frog in the well has its advantages!

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