23 February, 2024


Nallur Kandasamy Of “The-Other-Side” Nallur Versus St. James’ Of “Town-Side” Nellore

By S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Prof. Ratnajeevan Hoole

The Perahera in Kandy was permitted even with artistes catching Covid. The Nallur Thiruvilla was banned. Our terrorising police had parades at the temple for TV but shut down streets and diverted traffic although no one was worshipping. When robbers came 2 doors away (21.08.2021)  during curfew, the police emergency number did not answer, and the normal number was hung up when I called. The police do not protect us. My Nellore is being robbed of its name and history.

Rick Grannis of UC Irvine found American racial populations being organized according to “who is down the street.” I address here the subtle fight over place names to suggest the dwellers’ caste. Nellore is the name of Nallur in early church records. Streets correlate to caste and land price.

We see street segregation in the Fifth Century Tamil Hindu Epic Chilappathikaram Canto 5. Streets are reserved by caste having their “respective localities.” Jewellers, copper/iron mongers, cobblers, grain-sellers, et al., had their reservations – even mutton vendors, fishmongers, and prostitutes. These places in the city went by the name of Maruvurppakkam (The Other Village Side). In Pattinappakkam (Town Side) dwelt highly renowned great men.

Nellore was the seat of the Jaffna Kingdom of the Aryachakaravarthies. Chekarajacekaramalai says their lineage was Brahmin (I doubt it). Our royals naturally upheld agamic Hindu culture; particularly caste.

Madurai’s practice was upheld in Nellore – see the street map from the Jaffna Public Library. The CMS St. James’ stands where the principal Hindu Temple stood at Nellore Centre. Guardian-temples stood in agamic fashion, namely Chattanaathar Kovil (North), a destroyed untraceable temple (West), Moothavinayagar Kovil (South) and Veyyilviluntha Pillaiyar Kovil (East). The map says what caste lived where. People who want a high-status buy into Vellala areas.

There is pushback. For example, North of Chattanaathar Kovil is where the Kaikular of middling caste live (palace guards). It was called Kaikulanj Chanthai, now renamed Kalviankadu. This area North of the Palace was occupied by  the Portuguese garrison.  Many Kaikular show admixture: physical stature (like TELO’s Srisabaratnam), pink skin, and grey eyes which are now ascribed to Brahmin admixture and used by Kaikulas to make claims to Brahmin-ritual, like shorter periods of mourning.

The upper castes lived on the main roads within the circle of the guardian temples centred on CMS St. James’, called Changili Thoppu (King Changili’s Garden). People in the bylanes were of lower castes – typically workers from the trades and musicians, whom the royals needed, and untouchables.

An Official Map of Jaffna showing caste-based streets around St. James’
Note: Paraiya Lane, Sayakkaratheru, Thaddatheru Olungai, Coppersmith’s Lane, and Dyer’s Lane. Further South are Vannartheru Olungai, Thatchatheru Lane, Vaidivaruiddu Olungai, etc. North of St. James’ is Kaikulanj Chanthai. The caste system accommodated new castes as in Noththarisvettu Olungai, for notaries as the legal profession grew under the colonial powers.

Old families from Changili Thoppu, the Hensmans and the Phillipses, may assert royalty through their lands there. Where the palace stood used to be Chettiar Thottam (the Vaisya Chetties are higher than the Sudra Vellalas). Chettiyar Thottam has been encroached on by powerful Kaikulas from the area who have built there and are able to prevent their eviction.

Of Royal Lineage: Victor Hensman, a.k.a. E.M.V. Naganathan, MP.

In India many Christians were untouchable. To avoid this reputation holding back conversions, the Church sought upper-stratum Tamils for the clergy. The Rev. John Hensman was a prize catch from royalty as the first Anglican priest from Jaffna. It is a shame that Dr. Victor Hensman of that family whose life we celebrated only on 15 Aug. 2021 through an international Zoom conference, abandoned that proud heritage and took on the name E.M.V. Naganathan, MP, SJV Chelvanayakam’s righthand. 

The high-caste Circle stopped East of Veyyil Viluntha Pilllaiyar Kovil where Chemmany Road (leading to Chemmany) ends on the map. East of that is Nayanmaarkattu where field workers lived. The unnamed road at the top-right of the map was Nayanmaarkattu Veethi (becoming Aadiyapaatham Road) going to Thirunelveli Market. The short stretch of road from Kachcheri-Nallur Road towards the temple as Point Perdro Road curves toward Muththirai Chanthai was exclusively for Musicians, who could be heard practising their sweet music up to the mid-1960s. They have sold their lands to those seeking caste-upgrade by coming closer to the Nallur Temple.

Many new families have moved in buying land especially as the Christians left Nellore. Changili Thoppu where CMS St. James’ stands and the Palace stood, contains Muthirai Chanthai (Stamp Market, where stood a market to my times, and named so because the King’s tax collectors stamped in indication that taxes had been paid). That market is gone now so new-comers give away their late-coming status by calling it Muththirai Chanthi (Stamp Junction), although Church deeds refer to “Muththirai Chanthai.”

Chemmany Road

Chemmany Road, running by the old palace and central temple with the stretch of Point Pedro Road in front of the Palace entrance, was one of the most important roads. Fr. V. Perniola (The Catholic Church in Sri Lanka) makes occasional reference to the early church in Jaffna in Portuguese times. The early missionaries were Franciscans. King Changili martyred the first Franciscans and many Tamil saints, including his own son. The name Chemmany Road is commonly thought to have its etymology in chem (red) mani (stone, jewel). That, however, is far-fetched because there are no red stones or gems in the area. The likely etymology is chem (holy-red) munn (sand)-ee (the place that has red sand). Chemmany is the place where martyrs’ blood was spilt. As such, the church precincts and the Teachers’ Training College, with its associated CMS Practising School, are hallowed grounds for Christians, RC and non-RC.

The Rev. Elijah Hoole, ordained a year after Hensman, married a girl from Nallur and the Hooles have lived on Chemmany Road for generations. Because women gave up their surname at marriage, little is known of her family except that her dowry was big. Church deeds testify that our land belonged to my great-great grandmother “Mrs. E. Hoole.”

The significance of Nellore is that, following our kings, the Dutch Governor lived in his mansion by the Church which now is the Mission House. His path to work to the Kachcheri he had lined with Mahoganies. The Bishop on his visitations celebrated at St. James’. After St. John’s College founded in 1852 grew, Chundikuli became more important.

Nellore Temple History

St. James’s Church is built on the original Central Temple razed to the ground presumably in June 1619 when the Portuguese launched an expedition against Changili II. Changili took baptism in Goa before his beheading for his crimes, testifying “I would rather die a Christian Coolie than a Heathen King” and “uttering the sweet name of Jesus” (Queyroz, 690-1). His two Queens were preached to by Friar Antonio de Santa Maria (Queyroz 686ff); involving long debates about religious choices with the Queens showing appreciation for Christianity but not sufficiently to convert – until one Queen one day is moved to ecstatic tears and gets baptised and preaches to the other who too converts. She donated the land where the central temple stood to the Church. On that spot was built a Roman Catholic chapel occupying the St. James’ altar and vestry, and a schoolhouse. Thus St. James’ turned 557 years old in June 2019 when it had Mary as part of its name (citing Roman Catholic  historian Rev. Dr. Fr. J. E. Jeyaceelan), although the 200th anniversary recently celebrated was only of the Anglican Church.

Following replacement of the Central Temple by a Roman Chapel, historic documents refer to the Nellore Temple having been built by Chembaha Perumal. There is deliberate spinning between the razed temple and the new to make the present temple seem old. The Wikipedia says, “According to the Yalpana Vaipava Malai, the temple was developed at the site (NB) in the 13th century by Buwaneka Bahu, a minister to the King of Kotte. Chembaha Perumal is credited with building the third Nallur Kandaswamy temple”. Where were the first and second? Other so-called encyclopedic sources say, “the Temple’s foundation was laid in 948 AD. … Due to invasion of foreigners, the temple had to be relocated several times in different places within [the] Nallur area.” Nonsense.

After 948 AD it was the time of the ardently Saivite Cholas, who never would have destroyed a Kandasamy Temple, and then of the Aryachakaravarthies who too promoted Saivism. So why did the temple have to be relocated several times within Nallur whereas those escaping invaders would have fled Nellore?

However, many writers blame Phillippe de Olivero – a Portuguese army commander –  for destroying all Hindu temples in Jaffna in 1620. His expedition against Changili II was in 1618. So where was the Nallur temple he destroyed? Which? When? That account is doubtful. The actual destruction would have been in 1619 under de Olivero by when a Christian Chapel was already standing. That would have been where the original temple was. Stories of its relocation need clear proof of when and to where it was relocated.

The present-day Nellore Temple was really built (as a new temple, not rebuilt) when the Dutch allowed it. According to what I was taught in primary school and to India’s Jaffna Consul General’s web site, “It is believed that there was a shrine dedicated to an Islamic Sufi saint in the temple complex from 1734 to 1749 which was relocated in 1749 when the temple structure was built.” This relocation was presumably to the Burgher [Firangi in Hindi as in Parangi Theru] Quarter, Chinnakadai, where the Sufis had a centre on Bankshall Street. Many American disciples would come and stay therre. (When my wife gave birth to our eldest in 1985 in Philadelphia, the nurse wrote my daughter’s name in Tamil to show my wife. Strangely the Sufi Chief had been taken to Philadelphia where he had an Ashram and this nurse had been among the Parangis who fled to Australia and South Africa).

Clearly the present temple stands on “The Other Village Side” in the Muslim quarter with bad connotations for caste. The original Nellore (Paddy Village, Chemmany to this day having paddy fields cultivated by Palla field workers) had to be rescued and made Nallur, the place of good people. The Muslims were pushed further West into Chonaka Theru.

What was done to the Sufis was exactly what the Portuguese did to the Hindus, and the LTTE did to the Muslims in Oct. 1990.

So the Nallur temple cannot be older than late Dutch rule –  late in the Eighteenth Cent. when the Dutch began giving permission to build temples. (The Portuguese never attacked Mosques because they contained no idols).

We see a lot of self-enhancing expansionist heritage history concerning Nallur. Wikipedia even claims, “Part of the original Shivalingam of the Nallur Kandaswamy Temple was located in the Vicarage [of St. James’] till 1995 when it was destroyed during the recapture of Jaffna by Sri Lanka armed forces. Nonsense. I lived in the vicarage from 1956 to 1967. There was no Sivalingam.

Battle for Nellore

St. James’ is the centre of Nellore made into Nallur to claim high caste status which the temple lacked in “The Other-Village-Side”, although according to the map, several lower castes also live in Nellore outside the circle round St. James’. The temple too was outside this circle.

The new temple stands where Muslims and traders ejected from there lived; technically on low-caste soil. It was Maruvurppakkam rather than central Nellore in Pattinappkkam. Reclaiming “the Town-side” is a long-term project in progress. For that, the temple area must expand East and Nayanmaarkattu expand West, thereby eliminating the real Nellore.

I have begun receiving letters addressed to Nayanmaarkattu Road rather than Chemmany Road (our address for generations). St. James’ up to 1975 or so was dominated by Vellalas, but now only about 3 families remain. The other castes to the east (Nayanmaarkattu) and south (Ariyalai) outside the circle around St. James’ dominate the church, even though the Hindus among them have stone-throwing and fisticuffs when there is Paraya-Palla love. With all Wardens today non-Vellalas, they have lumped our family with Nayamaarkattu for administrative purposes arguing that Changilithoppu is now part of Nayanmaarkattu. Likewise, Paraya Street now has disappeared into St. Benerdict’s Street. The North-South Nayanmaarkattu Olungai leading to Nayanmaarkattu is removed and now runs East-West to Kanaharatnam Road leading to Ariyalai. However, the Provincial Department of Education has illegally encroached on the CMS Teachers’ Training College. The Vellalas (or aspiring Vellalas) there will not use the Nayanmaarkattu Road as address in preference to Chemmany Road. Therefore obliterating that Chemmany Road address is uphill.

New Chammany Road

The attempt to replace “Chemmany Road” with the name “New Chemmany Road” elsewhere is ongoing. A road by this name is seen as having been started from Kaikulanj Chanthai. It does not even reach Chemmany. The Nallur sub-Post Office was within the circle by Chattanaathar Kovil. That has been moved to Kaikulanj Chanthai diminishing the claims of the original Nallur.

When I returned to Sri Lanka and was looking for land close to St. James’, my Hindu relations told me my Hindu cousin in new Nallur was selling his land. When I inquired, he denied it. My relations said he was untruthful. Three months later he had sold it to a Hindu. There is an ongoing attempt to call the temple area Siva Boomi. So meat-eating Christians are not welcome (although I am vegetarian when most Hindus re not). Even the strict king of Kannaki’s, Pandiyan Nedunj Chelian, permitted mutton-vendors and fishmongers; but not the Velllalas of Nallur Temple. Eating-houses are vegetarian. A meat-eating German Shepherd on Siva Boomi has been switched to vegetarian.

The real Nellore is vanishing. The usurper Nallur stands on sufi soil and is in bad hands; the hands of people who use caste to attack others and try to enhance their caste, but will say to talk about the evils of caste is to practise caste.

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  • 2

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    • 1

      Dear Prof. Hoole,

      Perahara in Kandy was to please stupid people, no matter another clusters of COVID patients would be the outcome, they the leadership okeyed it as if a ” a king would not without his numerous indulgencies “. Europeans questioned why a country risked by holding such peraharas. …. srilanken media never crossquestioned, because they are being handled by under ground fund suppliers to them by Rajapakshes. This was the reality also during previous govt.
      And, the nation filled with ANIMAL-LIKE-SINHALAYAS dreamt of a national safety, which a former refugee man could never bring into reality, the leader elected has failed hitherto in many ways. His pledges on ” one country one law has turned out to be two laws one for Rajapakshes and the other for any others”.

      ONLY SUCCESS THEY CLAIM IS ” getting exonerated all on going high crime investigations of Rajapkshes and their backpleasers”:
      Not a single tiny pleldge made to those stupid masses, are fulfilled by incumbent leadership though almost 2 years since they grabed the power.

      I think people being mad at COVID will work on destroying RAJAPKSHES for the mess sooner than later. This country was in good shape until SORYSENA was hugely raped by MAHINDA Rajapakshe by October 2018. The damage made by both Kalakanniyas is beyond estimate.

  • 3

    Nallur temple was built by a Sinhala king to reward his Tamil Nadu allies after winning a war with Karnataka invaders after the Chinese sailor Zho brokered a peace deal between SL and TN.

  • 7

    Mr. S. RATNAJEEVAN H. HOOLE , I believe this should be a home and home affair.

    I am however, an outsider. aA74 + Sinhala Christian, a retiree, not very educated and one who
    rushes into subjects, which wise men avoid.
    I read articles in CT and now convinced that Ceylon is the place where Tamils from Tamil Nadu came and they would have been Hindus. I understand that at a certain time in history, many were converted to Buddhism. My ancestors would have been either Hindus or Buddhists
    We Christians do not believe in Caste, because God created this universe and we are all descendants
    of Adam and Eve.
    ( Continued below) V.Lekamge

    • 4

      Dear Mr Vijaya Lekamge,
      I have much in common with you (age almost as old!) and I wish we could put an end to racism. But we should be able to discuss the genuine issues that confront the Tamil community without being dragged into these home and home battles.
      We’ve got to stop talking about caste if we want to end it. We, Sinhalese, have as much of it as the Tamils. Christianity? Well, that’s what my ancestors have claimed to believe in for as long as I know, but I’m afraid that I cannot agree with you that caste doesn’t enter into our thinking. I agree that it shouldn’t.
      We say one thing, do another: the Anglican Church has offered any/all of its buildings for use as hospitals. Wonderful – let’s see how it works out. Please google for that; I don’t think that I’ll be allowed to provide a link for that.
      All of this confirms my view that the fewer creeds and beliefs we have the better.
      Panini Edirisinhe (NIC 483111444V)

      • 5

        Dear Sinhala_Man,
        We shouldn’t let Jeevan Hoole drag us into the mud he is immersed in.
        Shun this discussion.

  • 3

    ( Continued from above) V.Lekamge
    I am wondering why Christians should speak about high caste or low caste people buying land in any part of this country. This country and all the people living were created by God. Language is only a means to communicate.
    Acts 17
    24 God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands.

    The Lord Jesus Christ , God , who came as a human being to give His life as the only sacrifice
    for the sins of the world, said in
    John 4
    21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

    Mr. Hoole, please return to the Bible. Read the New Testament over and over again. Do not let
    caste and temples worry your life.
    (Continued below)

    • 7

      “Streets are reserved by caste having their “respective localities.” Jewellers, copper/iron mongers, cobblers, grain-sellers, et al., had their reservations – even mutton vendors, fishmongers, and prostitutes.”
      Even old Colombo had areas reserved for particular professions. The most famous is Sea Street for jewellers. Then there was Silversmith Street and Messenger Street. First cross St. was mostly leather (now electronics), 2nd cross St is still mostly textiles. Prostitutes? Perhaps a reader well versed in the subject could help?

      • 3

        Sri Lanka is a “Buddhist” country so no locality assigned to them.

        • 6

srilanka is buddhist country each time they go on election campaigning.
Just take 100 representing a cross section of the society, and work on the results, you would see, not even a 1% would know the basics of true buddhism.
          Roles of monks of the day (Cheevaradhariyas) are no different to that of a decorative elephant being man-handled in Kandy perahara. Hope you guys observed it last week, how harmful our sinhala buddhists were, … towards those innocient animals.
Last time, I was asked to offer them with SMART PHONES …. not any kind of usual atapirikara… I cross questioned, why ? was answered that they young monks should also have better life….. then I added why not derobe themselves……. then those young monks started biting their nails and scracting their ears (became nervous).
After getting elected in each elections, they just become atheists or BUDDHAMA followers. Buddhagama followers would not care at least about holding on to ” five precepts”. However, their niwatakama is well trained to let their younger ones being trained to fall down before the adults as a ritual of showing respect. I always rejected if any youth fell down on the floor respecting me……. that is a ritual of making spineless/personalities for the future of political goons. Politics in our hell is maintained by the stupidity of the masses.

      • 4

        Old Codger,

        It was not caste based, but craft and trade based. However, in those days crafts were associated with castes.

        It facilitates easy identification and towns are planned accordingly not in an ad hoc manner.

        For instance, If prostitutes are allocated different areas, it facilities clients.

        This practice has evolved into Zoning in modern urban planning.

        In Sri Lanka, Urban Development Authority UDA allocates zones for different

        purposes such as open space, residential, industrial and trade purposes.

        • 1

          Thanks, that’s interesting, the link between town planning and the caste system.

      • 0

        It is least of all reservation.
        Castes are not static entities and it is rather naïve to wilfully impose caste on everything.
        There is a natural tendency for communities and trades to cluster.
        Besides, in small businesses, on the one hand, customers do not like to wander all over to choose shoes or textiles or jewellery. On the other hand, people in certain trades have affiliation by caste/community and feel secure (not just financially) as a cluster.
        Segregation by caste can evolve where different trades coexist in space like a market.

        • 0

          A typical defence of caste by a Peking Communist.

  • 0

    (Continued from above) V. Lekamge
We have a very good example from God’s Word:
John 13
1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.
    2 And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, 4 rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. 5 After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.
    7 Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.”
12 So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you?
13 You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am.

    (Continued Below) V. Lekamge

  • 0

    (Continued from above) V. Lekamge

    14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. 16 Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
    Who is Jesus?
Philippians 2
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
(Continued from above) V. Lekamge
    John 16
33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.
In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

    • 11

      I just wish to point out that Christianity did nothing to do away with the caste system.
      It did uplift a small section of the oppressed castes by offering them education.
      Remarkably a good proportion of the progressive Jaffna Youth League were Christians.
      Islam fared better.
      It may interest you to know that the highly venerated Vaishnavaite Ramanuja did something very revolutionary:
      The great man he was, he declared that Dalit converts to Vaishnava faith were from then on Brahmins, thus boosting the number of Brahmins and Vaishnavites in one go.
      (That was a millennium ago.)

  • 10

    I love it when engineers write on social science or are jurors.

    The remains of Changiliyan’s Palace is just left for grabs. His queen’s bathing pond, Yamuneri with its delicate nuances is reshaped into an ugly huge dirty pond. Today’s squatters are tomorrow’s municipal councilors. They have no sense of the pride of having had our own king until recently in history. They don’t know about the palaces layout or the underground tunnels or what lies buried here. The roadside They are strangers to our history and destroy what remains of our past.

    Compare the spiritually evoked you the present Tamil teledrama style deco of the Nallur temple with the old chellappah same day style. Siththar and sufis sung there. It was so calming to sit in the shade there. Now the temple is a commercial hub. Loud speakers blaretapedmusic. You cannot sit around in the dust and discuss meignanam or meet holy men. The new folks have destroyed Nallur as a place of worship. Now even veiyil viluntha Pillar kovil is colored like Baskin Robins.

    Hoole must feel oppressed.

  • 14

    You want to be a Christian Arumuga Navalar for the sake of your address being Chemmany Road?
    For that you want to go 500 years back in time and live by the caste assigned roads, roles and residences.
    Then it is absolutely right that your Hindu relative evaded you in selling their land to you, knowing how a nasty piece that you are.
    All of you so called Vellalar converted to Christianity and and now mocking up who stayed true to the King, Kingdom, religion and soil, even at the cost of death, deportation, canning etc.
    Why then you are worried about changing from Nellore proper to Nallur and all subsequent changes.
    You also got the history wrong.
    Whilst you assert stories of Nallur temple locations as nonsense, yet, you buy the story of baptising of the King Sankili, sheer nonsense of the so called professor.
    King Sankili never baptised by will and that is why he was beheaded.
    If Sankili really baptised by will and uttering those words, he would have been either converted to priesthood or left to rot in prison or even show cased for subduing and converting rest of the population. The Portuguese faced three rebellions in Jaffna Kingdom.

    • 10

      His wife’s baptising and gifting the old Temple land was obtained first by the deceit of Portuguese that Sangili would be pardoned and spared for life if they did baptise and gift the land for Church. After tricking the wife for baptising and gifting of the old temple land to the Church, then King Sangili was beheaded. That is what really happened.
      The King’s palace was not in the land adjacent to old temple (i.e. where the Church is now) and was likely to be Queen’s palace or residence (as it is much close to the Yamunari), and that is the reason for Portuguese got the old temple land off from the Queen.
      The Sangiliyan Toppu is the area where the King’ s palace (or administrative palace) was.
      All temples had specific purpose and their name directly implies the purpose.
      Why do you think the ministerial (or minister’s) palace is next (at maximum 2 minute walk) to Sattanathar Koyil?
      It is not Chattanaathar (there is no Cha in Tamil anyway) and it is Sattanathar Koyil ( and not Kovil), which I wrote about few days ago.

      • 2

        Hello KA, wondering about your statement;
        “It is not Chattanaathar (there is no Cha in Tamil anyway) and it is Sattanathar Koyil ( and not Kovil),”
        The compound formation (vowel + consonant) of body letters indicates otherwise!
        ச் + அ = ச (“cha”)
        While in practice both “sa” and “cha” are used interchangeably, it seems “cha” is the correct sound/pronunciation.

        • 7

          ச is correctly pronounced as Cha and people interchange it for the sound sa ஸ , that comes from Sanskrit derived words. Sri Lankan Tamils and Malyalis generally correctly pronoumce the Cha RG. Choru Chaavu, Chingkallam, Chettai whereas the Indian Tamils incorrectly pronounce these words Soru, Saavu Singkallam Settai etc. It is generally words that have a Sanskrit origin that are pronounced as Sa but still the letter ச is used instead of ஸ eg. Saranam or Suriyan

        • 5

          KA & S
          Common practice is that ச is “ch” as pure consonant and following a pure consonant.
          Initially and intervocalically it is pronounced as “s”
          சாவகச்சேரி (sAvakachchEri)
          விசுவாசம் (visuvAsam)
          Following any nasal but its related nasal it is”s”. After an ஞ் it has a ‘j” sound.
          (Among some communities the initial ச is articulated as ch, though).
          இன்சொல் insol
          வெண்சிறகு veNsiRahu
          பிஞ்சு pinju
          SS makes a valid point though, although not followed in common practice.
          The claim that the initial ச should be a “ch” has been put forward in studies claiming that that was its original form but later got corrupted to “s” has justification in Tamil phonetics as in TholkAppiyam and followed up in subsequent works of grammar.
          But no early grammatical work explains how the first five ‘hard’ consonants vary in articulation depending on placement in a word. (initial, intervocalic, succession of the consonant, post nasal).
          As S suggests, people do pronounce சாவகச்சேரி as chAvakachchEri.
          In the end it is practice that decides right and wrong.
          This seems a case of both are right.

      • 9

        It is actually Chattanaathar Kovil and not Sattanathan Koyil. Correct Tamil pronounciation is Cha and not SA, that is usually for Sanskrit derived words, that have come into the Tamil usage. Kovil or Koyil is interchangeable , However the word Kovil is the correct usage as per Tamil grammer.

    • 16

      You are correct. A Christian fanatic constantly running down Hindu Tamils . No wonder. His Hindu cousin did the correct thing and did not sell the land to him. It is the Hindu Tamil majority who refused to convert, suffered so much hatered and persecution during the Portuguese, Dutch and even during the British era but by that time it had become not so open. It is they who maintained the ancient Tamil culture and the Saivite religion, through all odds and made it survive. Like you stated King Sangili did not convert to Catholisim voluntariy but was converted against his will and then beheaded. These so called rice Christians with stupid silly western names proving how they betrayed their Tamil Hindu culture. Taking pride in the western names of their masters who converted them. Just like the way African slaves took on their master’s family name. What is so Christian and great about taking the family name of the white man who converted you and stating someone who reverted back to their original Tamil name a traitor. There are thousands of upper caste Vellalar and Chettiar origin Jaffna Tamils who still proudly keep their original Tamil Hindu names and refused to take a western name, despite converting to Christianity, which was usually done by the lower caste converts.

      • 2

        I know several “proud” Vellala and Chetty people who kept their foreign name even after ‘reconverting’ to “Hinduism”.
        There are a few who were sponsored by Christan philanthropists and out of gratitude retained the benefactor’s name as whole or part of the name.
        Why did Karunanithi name his son Stalin?
        I know Nixons, Kennedys and Trotskys among Tamils.
        How does one distinguish between a Vellala of ‘Vellala origin’ and a Vellala by (economic) merit promotion?
        How is anyone sure of one’s caste?
        Even locking up women in the house guarantees nothing.
        Cupid can work miracles. He overcame not only Shiva but also Visvaamithra.
        Is it how we have a spectrum of complexions within each caste?

        • 7

          LOL . Point taken SJ I also know of many Vellalar Hindu families, whose ancestors converted to Christianity and were given western names but somewhere down the line reconverted back to Saivaism but have still retained their western family names , Rg Shakespeare( bit hilarious) , Strong, Hallock, Jeremiah, Page. some of course like Page are anclicised version of the original Tamil Hindu name. Like Murugan Govindan became Morgan Govington.

  • 10

    If you want to resort to Nellore proper, then the first place that has to go is the Church (where the old Koyil was)

    Do you agree?

  • 4

    Dear Vijaya,
    Thank you for your thoughts. You are right. A Christian is not supposed to put any faith in caste. I do not. It is evil.

    Formal Hindu theology teaches that
    1) God created us according to our qualities. Bagavad Gita 4.13: “The four categories of occupations were created by me according to people’s qualities and activities.” So if we are bad people, we are born low caste, etc. Those who deny this should reject the Gita as an evil book.
    2) Our duty goes by our caste. So a thief must steal. A soldier must kill. A prostitute like Bindumathi must please her customers equally. This gives us power. Bindumati thereby acquired power to divert a river threatening Asoka’s Pataliputra.

    Caste is to control people. Rejecting both, we Christians believe there is “neither Greek nor Jew.”

    Yet we face the practice of caste. People are tainted by their culture. Neighbours strengthen/weaken us. I care to have a Christian neighbourhood. I will not arrange marriage for my children to non-Christians whose ways will weaken our faith. God willing my children will marry endogamously to avoid being tagged low-caste. Marrying low is costly for their children. Caste is powerful.

    • 10

      What one is supposed is not always the same as what one does.
      The fact is that the Jaffna Tamil Christian community is as caste conscious as its Saivaite counterpart.
      There is much work to do.
      Check on Christians and Caste in the land of the Varna system.

    • 7

      “God willing my children will marry endogamously to avoid being tagged low-caste.”
      That, Jaffna Man, is rather disappointing. Would you care to share with us what your children think about this?

      • 3

        I remember Hoole suggesting Dalit origins for himself in his articles on CW Thamotharampillat in the Tamil Times in the mid-1990s.
        I was impressed by the bold claim because even a hint of ‘low birth’ will stand in the way of respectful treatment in a community obsessed with caste.
        Sadly, he has stopped making such suggestions since arrival in Sri Lanka..
        You seem a little too hard on JM.
        I will narrate a little incident when I mentioned to a Tamil liberal Christian colleague that I had met an elderly Tamil Christian female remarried to an Irishman, who claimed close relationship to him. He was annoyed that she claimed relationship, because her remarrying (an Irishman? a Catholic? or just remarrying? I was not sure) had adverse implications for young females of his small community of Tamil Christians. So I changed the subject.
        I think that when we criticize people for parochial attitudes, we should also take sympathetic account of the baggage of community pressure they carry. (This no defence of the stand taken by any individual but an observation of the hard reality that cannot be ignored.)

    • 4

      Jaffna Man,

      “I will not arrange marriage for my children…………………”

      Who are you to arrange marriage to your children?

      -to both males and females!

      decision making is their responsibility..

  • 15

    This country and people are suffering from Corona-Virus, we still fighting for caste, religion, race, gender and unfortunately it is educated professionals are in the front of dividing people, encouraging hatred against each other and come up with unknown field of history. Of course caste system is bad and not acceptable. Similary, religions are there to unite people but religions are used to create hatred with each other. Why cannot our government bring changes to the constitution to ban using caste or discriminating by caste or religion is a crime at least now.
    I don’t know what professor Hoole is trying to achieve by this article. There are number of changes happened in this island after the invasion of Portuguese, Dutch and British. Most of the Tamil and Sinhala high caste/high class group had converted their religion and became the political leaders and had higher education using the benefit of conversion. DS Senanayaka to Rajapaksas were converted and SJV Chelva were converted from Hindu to Christianity. Within the Tamil Christians there are still caste system. It is true that there is caste influence within the Tamil political system. Think about how to get rid of the bad social systems.

    • 4

      “…educated professionals are in the front of dividing people, encouraging hatred against each other and come up with unknown field of history.”
      A, do not get worked up.
      Things are talked about because they are there.
      It is fair to complain if people talk of imaginary problems.
      There are those who like to cover up deep-seated problems and pretend that all is well; and there are ones who talk aiming to resolve the issues.
      Who are better?
      Why do you not object to people talking of the national question?
      I do not demand an answer.
      Just think about.

      • 6

        Can you please explain little more about what do you mean by national question which you do not want to talk about?

        • 1

          I have talked about the national question extensively elsewhere; and still do.
          But it is not something that I will not do as a diversion.
          The link for one has been provided by Old Codger in:

          • 4

            There is nothing on the link. The link is a diversion to my question. If you do not want to be transparent enough it is fine.

            • 0

              It is all there.
              Check under this:
              old codger / August 28, 2021
              1 0
              Dear SM,
              Here is not just an article, but a whole book:
              If you cannot still find it…
              Google search under the author’s name.
              Good Luck.

  • 4

    Iyoh, the Jaffna people are blind to their own folly.

    Keelady shows that caste is a slavery imposed by the conquerors of Post Sangam people. Therefore one

    can’t be both a pure Tamil and a Hindu at the same time. God Krishna in Bhagavad-Gita makes caste a mandatory religious law with strict codes. No one challenges Krishna on caste. Tamil people had a higher philosophy before they were made Hindus by their deceived Kings.

    God Krishna cannot be Tamil. Even his name is not Tamil. Nor is Hoole a Tamil name. Neither Krishna nor Hoole has the pink colour and blue or green eyes the Brahmins claim.

    In the era of science and knowledge Jaffna man should reevaluate his wisdom orcontinue to be the slaves of Aryans. This is why Periar exposed the folly ofthe invaders the Brahmins. Hoole is doing likewise.

    Like Jerusalem, let Nallur be sacred to the Hindu, Buddhist and Christians. To exclude anyone is to violate the high Tamil ideals.

    Yaadhum oore, yaavarum kelir.

    • 6

      Class has been there ever since man exploited man in an organized social system.
      Society has been hierarchically stratified based on social status with systems similar to Varna in India existing in other parts of the world.
      The Aryan Varna concept (Gita spoke of a 4-tier hierarchy and no untouchables) was blended with already existing ‘castes’ based on division of labour to justify caste based structures.
      Tamils cannot excuse themselves by blaming Aryans for their caste system.
      What they have has little to do with the 4 Varnas. Brahminisation gave sanctity to what was already there.
      Caste is our own illness and that was why Christians could not abandon it.
      Buddhists rejected caste for a long time but with clergy sharing state power the Buddhists were entrapped.
      “yAthum UrE” was not a concept by which Tamil society was ever guided.
      The author of the verse, Kaniyan PUngkunRanAr ( probably a Jain), was a lone voice among hundreds of Sangam poets.

    • 8

      A form of caste system, not as rigid as the Aryan Varna system was still being practiced by the ancient Dravidians as per the ancient Indus valley and other older civi;izaations. Secondly Hinduism is not Aryan but a blend of Aryan and Dravidian beliefs,cutures and customs. All the major gods worshipped are Dravidian. Siva. Vishnu or Krishna, Pillayar, Kali/Shakthi/Mariamma/Parvathi. Murugan/Karthik or Hirthik, or an ancient Dravidian god Eg; Murugan and an ancient Aryan god Karthik or Hirthik now blended and has become one god and identity. The gods of the Dravidian masses finally took over and became the major gods, whilst the Aryan gods like Brahma, Indra, Saraswathi, Lakshmi all become minor gods . Other than the high rig vedic Brahminical rituals, the rituals and practics and beliefs of the ordinary Hindus is largely the rituals and practices of the folk or masses, who are largely Dravidian.

      • 8

        75% of modern Indian( South Asian) culture is Dravidian derived and 25% is Aryan derived. As for caste it is not only Tamils and other Indians but everyone in South Asia including the Muslims, living in Pakistan, Bangladesh and India practice it. Marriages are still largely arranged according to caste. Even Tamil Muslim names like Marrikar, Rawther, Lebbai, Kutti, Thambi, Kayalar are all caste based names. In Tamil Nadu, Tamil Muslims still tend to be endogamous and marry within their caste. I have personally known many Pakistani Punjabi Muslim families who will not marry into Muslim families, who have a low caste origin. Many Muslim families in Pakistan have still retained their original upper Hindu caste name as their family name as proud mark of their upper caste origin. The same reason many upper caste Sinhalese and Tamil Christians have retained their original family names. In many societies in western and central Asia caste is the tribe. Tribes like the caste amongst Arabs and Pashtuns and many others have a pecking order, with some considered to be higher and the other lower and people from higher status tribes, illtreat , look down and do not marry into lower status tribes. Most of the Arab family names denote their tribe, which again is a form of caste identity.

        • 8

          Even the ancient Jews had a tribal system with each tribe allocated a certain from of work and status and people married within their tribes. As for Caste system the Sinhalese practice caste as much as the Tamils, despite calling themselves Buddhist. They generally marry according to caste status and elect leaders according to caste, at least the Tamils may marry according to caste but unlike the Sinhalese never elect leaders on the basis of caste of religion, proving they are more liberal and secular.
          Most of the Arab family names denote their tribe, which again is a form of caste identity. Even the ancient Jews had a tribal system with each tribe allocated a certain from of work and status and people married within their tribes. As for Caste system the Sinhalese practice caste as much as the Tamils, despite calling themselves Buddhist. They generally marry according to caste status and elect leaders according to caste, at least the Tamils may marry according to caste but unlike the Sinhalese never elect leaders on the basis of caste of religion, proving they are more liberal and secular.

          • 8

            The caste system followed in North India and South India this includes Sri Lanka is different. In the north the caste system follows the four Varna system. The Brahmin, the Khasthriya or the warrior caste, the Vaishya( traders ) and at the bottom the Shudras ( artisans and other unskilled labour ) below all of them are the untouchables or the Dalits. The first three are called Dvija or pure as they are supposed to be of Indo Aryan heritage and the last mixed or Dravidian and below them the untouchable are the lower Dravidians or tribal origin/Munda etc. The sared thread can only be worn by the first three Indo Aryan group. The Brahmin, Kshathriya and the Vaisiya. In Southern India/Sri Lanka,other than a small amount of Brahmins who originally arrived from North India, the rest were all Dravidians or Shudrah. The other two levels of Indo Aryans groups were missing. Therefore powerful Dravidian, land owning, ruling royal families and castes like the Vellalars( Govigamma in the case of the Sinhalese) , Nairs, Raos, Kappus, Reddys , were elevated to Kshatriya level and were called Sat Shudra meaning clean Shudras and became the second level and were politically and socially more powerful, even more than the Brahmin , despite most eatign meat, drinking liquor and doing lots of unAgamic Sanskritic rituals.

            • 7

              However even the northern Kshatriyas like the Rajputs also did the same, hunting, drinking and eating meat. The soouthern Dravidian trader caste like the Chetties were relegated to the third level the Vaisiyas. Professor Hoole actually the Vellalar are second status after the Brahmin and not below the Chetty but were politically and socially the most powerful. It is the Vellalar castes that always ruled and held power in Tamil society. Most Tamil royalty came from them. All the other population were either relgated to Shudra or untouchable, depending on their work, trade and racial composition. The Adi Dravidian and the lower castes tend to be more Australoid, whereas the upper and middle castes amongst Dravidians are more Caucasoid. However unlike in North India only the Indo Aryan origin Brahman is allowed to wear the sacred thread. Not the Sat Shudra now Kshatriya status Vellalar or the Vaisiya status Chetty. Other than a few Vellalar or Chetty sub castes in Tamil Nadu that have a north Indian origin.
              The soouthern Dravidian trader caste like the Chetties were relegated to the third level the Vaisiyas. Professor Hoole actually the Vellalar are second status after the Brahmin and not below the Chetty but were politically and socially the most powerful. It is the Vellalar castes that always ruled and held power in Tamil society.

  • 4

    Dear S.J,
    Thank you for your comments. It is sad that Christianity did not do much to eliminate Caste.
    Even in Colombo ,among Sinhala Christians, we who came from a Buddhist background continued with caste. I remember and have heard of people being referred to as low cast people.

    I think the free education system was the main reason for eliminating caste, in Colombo.

    I too got a free education but did not make use of it. However, in the school I attended, Tamils, Muslims and Burghers were there together. The authorities mixed us and remixed us so that 140 children in four classes got to know each other very well. So well, now they avoid me like
    the Covid 19 plague.

    I hope we all can live side by side as human beings , rather than divided by caste or language..
    I hope people will stop insulting each other on CT when replying to articles.
    We can learn so much from sharing ideas. Thank you.

    • 6

      Christianity is 2021 year old.
      Those so called religions that consistently promote caste and creed are few centuries older compared to christianity.
      Buddhgama being practised by 70% sinhalese is not based on NON-VIOLENCE as lord buddha taught it. Most of themonks in SL are hypocrites. Best example is proved by the chief monk of most sacred temple in Kelaniya.
      It has become a life style for lazy individuals becuase many of lazy individuals can abuse the place given in the society as a monk. People are made to believe ” even sanga costume” should be respected no matter who wears it..
      Our people focus more on “jathaka stories but not on true teachings of buddha”. Srilanken monks are busy with “jathaka stories” while preaching ” BANA”. Even high chapter monks may know nothing much about the difference. Politicians and today’s SIVURU wearers have been misleading the stupid masses, for their political surivivals.
      Recalling how our friend, late MANGALA Samaraweera articulated it as louder as he could, it is true that we learn real buddhist not in SRILANKA but in Europe and other places in the world.
      Real buddhists focus on “Dharma” after study it while all others go after ” AMISA PUJAS and rituals that hindus introduced to buddhism”.

      • 3

        For some time now, I dont want to fall before a SIVURU wearer, knowing that they are just hypocrites. Instead, I have beens earching for good monks, for whom I would respect a lot today than any times in the past. I came to know a handful of them in Europe (Lonond and Zurich) They are not necessarily from SRILANKA.

    • 3

      I do not blame Christianity. It is a matter of the social milieu in which it entered and the circumstances that enabled its entry.
      The reasons for which most people embraced a faith determined the way it adapted to its environment.
      Race is less of an issue in modern Cuba than elsewhere in the Americas.
      Tamils and Muslims in many parts of Tamilnadu coexist happily and even share festivals.
      The Hindutva brigade has had less impact in Southern India than in the North.
      Creating conditions that help each of us see us in the other and the other in us will eliminate caste hostility.

      • 3

        SJ unlike in Sri Lanka, other than a small percentage of Urdu speaking, largely North Indian origin Muslims , the native Tamil speaking Muslims of Tamil Nadu, irrespective of their origin, consider themselves Tamils and calle themselves Tamil Muslims and even the rest of the Tamil population, consider them as fellow Tamils. Sri Lanakan Tamils are descended from these Tamil Muslims from Tamil Nadu but now for political and economic gains have deliberately distanced themselves from their actual Dravidian Tamil origin and heritage and made their religion their primary identity and to justify this, claim an Arab heritage, that only few of them partially have. Coming back to Tamil Nadu you should say Muslim and Hindu Tamils co exist happily and even share festivals. Not Muslims and Tamils as they are all Tamils, including the Muslims. Here is an example



        But don’t forget this also happens and is more common


        • 4

          SRi Lankan Muslims are descended from the Tamil Muslims of Tamil Nadu and not Sri Lankan Tamils

          • 2

            Thank you. Please add the link, if you have got it.
            Why do srilanken MUSLIMS speak TAMIL not sinhala or any other language as their native langauge. Is it a dialect of Tamil or pure tamil ?

            • 2

              The Muslims of Sri Lanka , other than the Malays, the Gujarathi Bohra and other small communities of Pakistani origin people , speak Tamil as their mother tongue, because they are ethnically Tamil and originated and migrated to the island from the two Southern Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala( when Kerala was Tamil) . Also the ones who migrated from Kerala were the ethnic Tamil Muslims, who originally migrated to Kerala, from Tamil Nadu. They largely migrated from the southern and central parts of Kerala, where they had settled. The ethnic Malayali Mappila Muslims largely come northern and north central Kerala. Now of course in modern Kerala not only the remaining Tamil Muslims but even most of the Tamil Hindu Pillais and Nadars are fast taking on a Malayalam identity. Just like many non Tamil immigrants in Tamil Nadu, take on a Tamil Identity after a few generations.The Muslims speak a dialect of Tamil , which is called Muslim Tamil, this again is basically an Indian Tamil dialect. The Southern Muslims still speak this dialect, now mixed with Sinhalese words, just like the estate Tamils, proving their origin from South India. The Muslims living in the north east and even some parts of Puttalam speak either the northern Jaffna Tamil dialect or the eastern Batticaloa Tamil dialect, just like the Tamils living in these regions.

        • 0

          What Muslims do elsewhere is their choice.
          Perhaps they are treated with more respect, unlike here (like what Sir P Ramanathan did for instance).
          Treat them respectfully and cease insulting, before making demands.

      • 1

        That is empathy !

  • 3

    Dear Mr. Jaffna Man, thank you for your response.
    Do not let even religion divide us. In your neighbourhood, attempt to be kind and helpful.
    I am happy that in my neighbourhood we have people of different religions but we still associate with each other.
    You wrote ,” God willing my children will marry endogamasly to avoid being tagged low-caste. Marrying low is costly for their children. Caste is powerful.”
    When I Googled the word ‘endogamous ‘only I understood the word,
    “Marriage within a specific group as required by custom or law is known as endogamy. In endogamous groups, marriage outside one’s group may be forbidden, or there may merely be a tendency to marry within the group.”
    Thank you Because I did not study in School, now I am learning.

    Do not fear the tags. God will look after your children. There is no one who is ‘low caste’. All are equal before God.
    Please read the New Testament systematically and regularly with your family.

  • 4

    Dear Mr. Panini Edirisinhe, Thank you for your response.
    I am aware of your stand ,why you refer to yourself as ‘Sinhala Man ‘.
    It being , you do not know Tamil. I wanted to but , did not make much effort.
    I have lots of Tamil friends and they are as good as the Sinhala , Muslim and Burgher friends.
    I have read a lot of your responses on other articles on CT and I sometimes feel ‘frightened ‘ for you.
    You have “GUTS “, which I do not. I am a coward. You being alive is far better for Sri Lanka .Please take care.
    I am also afraid to reply because my English is poor and you are teacher of English. My Sinhala is worse.
    Yes we are of the same period. Your parents paid for your education.
    I wasted taxpayers money.
    You wrote: ” All of this confirms my view that the fewer creeds and beliefs we have the better.”
    I am happy I attended YFC when I was young and met so many , who were better practicing Christians , than I.
    I am repeating what I have written above:
    Please read the New Testament systematically and regularly with your family.
    Warm regards

  • 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

      Why his?
      The man makes civilized comments.

      • 3

        CT is not going to give any answer to this question because there are number of different terms and conditions are there and it may be one of them. How do you know that this man always make civilised comment and who decide civilised or not?

        • 0

          May be size exceeded the limit.☹☹☹

  • 10

    Dear Prof,

    What was your name before becoming a Hoole?
    “It is a shame that Dr. Victor Hensman of that family whose life we celebrated only on 15 Aug. 2021 through an international Zoom conference, abandoned that proud heritage and took on the name E.M.V. Naganathan,”

    What did you family abandoned to become a Hoole?

    • 4

      Most probably F–l. or Kool.
      Are you aware that one of the world’s olderst Christian churches still exist in Tamil Nadu. Built during the time of apostle St. Thomas, who arrived in the then Tamil Chera country now modern Kerala, preached converted many Brahmins and other upper castes to Christianity, whose descendants are the modern Syrian Christians of Kerala. St. Thomas was supposed to have been martyred in Chennai at the San Thome mount and was interned there. He was killed at the insistence of the local Brahmins, who did not like him preaching and converting upper caste Tamils to Christianity. The San Thom church in Chennai or Madras is a pilgrimage for many Indian and overseas Christians.
      Kanyakumari during ancient and medival times was part of the Cheral Tamil kingdom, then part of the royal state of Travancore Cochin and later Kerala. However the population there did not convert to the Malayalam identity but remained Tamil, therefore was later transferred to Tamil Nadu.

      Here you are Professor Hoole. A HIndu giving you more information about ancient Tamil Christianity and high caste Tamil Hindu converts to Christianit, that happened 2000 years ago. Their descendants are now the Syrian Christians of Kerala.

    • 3

      He was born a Hoole.

  • 8

    “Things are talked about because they are there.”
    Are we talking everything because they are there?
    How much of the talk going on this forum about “dowry” which affects women in all castes? There are number of castes in practice.
    Do we talk about all the castes? We only talk about the top in the hierarchy “Hindu Vellalar” but there are different levels of oppression at each level and the caste that in the bottom level are oppressed by all castes.
    Do you know in the North East, during the British and even after independence in most of the Christian colleges admissions are not given to Hindu students or even to poor or low caste Catholic students.
    Discussions are necessary in every subject but actions are important and the role of government is essential.

    • 0

      “Things are talked about because they are there.”
      Are we talking everything because they are there?
      Who said so?
      Your question will make sense if there was an ‘only’ before the ‘because’.
      I am responsible for what I say, nothinge else.

  • 4


    Quote from SJ
    “I just wish to point out that Christianity did nothing to do away with the caste system.”

    This is very correct
    I came to know some christians (tamils/sinhala) but in europe. I also met with Christianity adherents from Indonesia and varioius other coutnries in african/north american continents. I am also known to latin ameicans. Many of them behaved no different to those high caste sinhala/tamils towards their lower castes fellow citizens.
    Many come from fisher community in any country are treated as lower caste people. At the time, Tsunami hit Banda Aceh/indonesia, srilanka, and several other coutnries, in 2004, world press spoke loudly about the far poor fisher community.

    And, not necessarily the religions but the awareness of the people always guide anyone to be away from castes and creeds. Also having had close associations with indians in high castes while they treated their low caste lecturerers as if from that sub continent would treat their domestic animals, I feel, it is the south asian mentality that does not seem to be away from caste based barriers.

  • 5

    I have actually read through an article that you had written in 2017.

    In that article (https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/being-rooted-in-our-land-historical-heritage/), in your own words

    “The palace lands in my time were called Chettiar Thottam. We used to jump over the church fence for games of hide-and-seek until Chettiar would give us chase.”

    Who is that Chettiar?

    Now you say old families can assert royalty through their lands there.

    How come within few years, the Chettiar had vanished and old families’ claim through royalty appears out of the blue?

    In all these, I think your ultimate and ulterior motivation is to get a relatively large piece of land in that area, to which you have unnecessarily brought caste into this in disgusting manner.

    I will post the vernacular version of history and it might shock you.

    I do not think a claim can exist even if old family (conversion to Christianity would permanently close that option).

    • 1

      Ceylon or Sri Lankan Tamils

      Caste Hereditary Occupation
      A. The Clean Castes
      1. Brahman Priest
      2. Vellala Cultivator
      Chetty Vellala Cultivator & Trader
      3. Karaiyar Fishers
      Muchavar Fishers
      4. Koviyar Cooks (domestic servants) to Vellalas
      5.The Panchalas Craftsmen
      a. Thattar Goldsmiths
      b. Collar Ironsmiths
      c. Thachchar Carpenters
      d. Sitpar Masons
      e.Kammalar Brass workers
      Kannar Brass workers
      6. Nadduvar Musicians
      7a.Vannar Dhoby (people who wash clothes)
      B.-The Unclean Castes
      7b. Ambattar Barber
      8. Palla Cooly Labourers
      Nalava Tree-tappers and labourers
      9. Kusavar Potters
      Seneer Weavers
      10. Kadaiyar Lime-burners
      Chalckiliyar Leather-workers
      11. Paraiyar Scavengers, funeral tom-tom beaters
      12. Thurumba Dhobics to Palla, Nalava and Paraiyar

      • 1

        Among the Vellalas themselves there are many sub-divisions, some of which are regarded as higher than others. The Vellalas of Paloli (Point Pedro), Karativu. and Arali ( my father’s village he he ) for instance, are regarded as pure ‘Blue’ Vellalas, and they lay claim to a respect which no one will dispute ; they are’ citizens of no mean city.’ Some of the Vellalas claim to be called Chetty Vellala and to belong to a slightly higher caste than the other Vellalas, many of the Portestant Christian families from Araly belonged to the Chetty Vellala caste, but although many of the villagers recognize their claim, there is little support for it, and in fact they actually inter-marry with the other Vellalas. These Chetty Vellalas should be distinguished from the Chettiar community which has immigrated to Ceylon from South India. These South Indian Chettiars originate from an area known as Nattu Chetty. This means there were no actualy Chettiars amongst Sri Lankan Tamils, they were actually Chetty Vellalar who were considered to be slightly higher than the other Vellalar but like the Madapalli, have lost their identity and got assimilated into the other Vellalar.

      • 2

        You listed 12 groups under “A. The Clean Castes”
        What are the unclean castes?
        All what is not listed by you?
        Which holy book offers the ranking given above?

  • 2

    Dear Mr. Leelagemalli, thank you for you two comments.

    1) “Christianity is 2021 year old.
    :Those so called religions that consistently promote caste and creed are few centuries older compared to Christianity. “

    You are right, in that the Lord Jesus Christ was born to this world as a human being 2021 years ago.
    However, there is no Christianity, without the Hebrew Scriptures. They date back another 4000 years.
    God created Adam and Eve, about 6000 years ago. God gave man a free will. They chose to eat of the
    Tree of Knowledge of good and evil. They wanted to be wise as God or become gods themselves.
    When man sinned , he hid himself. It was God who came searching for Adam. It was God who shed
    the blood of an innocent animal to clothe Adam and Eve. Without the shedding of blood there is no
    remission of sin. (continued below- V.Lekamge)

    • 4

      Dear Mr Lekamge,
Thank you. You are an interesting commenter. I wish if you could join us earlier. I have not come acrros your comments on CT before.
At the time american missionaries forcefully made effort to influence my heart by saying
” you want god to allow you a better life etc “
      I thought how blind believers they should be. Later only, I got to know it is sometimes better to have a strong belief than not doing so. Anyway, I cant be like blind believing in anything. I am skeptical about even laboratory-design vaccines.
It is good to believe in a god/super natural power behind us human being, but to me, as one born to a buddhist family, later became doubtful also about – sinhala buddhism- I thought, all religions are man-made for their survivivals. Today, it is made to allow political vicious circles in srilanka than anywhere else. Most of the monks have not the basic knowledge about anything but the place given to them in the society make them LEADERs …… … führers… Not a week ago, I heard another sivuru wearer making public statements about factual information where he should not have take part” nobody knows yet, that vaccines would help people to protect themselves”:

      • 0

        Dear Mr. Leelagemalli / August 31, 2021 .Thank you for the compliment.

        I do not join in the other discussions, as my knowledge is limited.
        However , I do read CT quite regularly and have learned many things.

        I am also a coward.

        I hope all who make comments on CT will say nothing derogatory about others,
        even if they disagree.

        We need peace among the people who are living in Sri Lanka , whatever the race ,
        language or religion.
        Warm regards
        V. lekamge.

  • 0

    (Continued from., without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin).

    It was then God promised a saviour -the seed of the woman-the virgin birth of the Christ.

    God did not divide the people into low and high caste.
    Man created gods and the leaders divided the people to get the jobs done, and we foolish humans have made each job division ,into high and low.

    Thank you CT.

  • 2

    Dear Mr. Leelagemalli,
    In your second comment , you wrote:
    “Quote from SJ
    “I just wish to point out that Christianity did nothing to do away with the caste system.”

    This is very correct”
    and in one para,
    “Many come from fisher community in any country are treated as lower caste people.”

    It however cannot be among Christians.
    The Lord Jesus Christ , who was the creator, who became a human being, started His ministry at
    the age of 30 and died for your sins and mine at the age of 33, was buried, rose again and is coming again very soon to take His Bride, the church (not the Nallur building-but believers in Christ),

    chose a minimum of 4 fishermen. They were in fact the fist 4. One was a awful tax collector,
    which gives hope for an awful man like me. So , then we Christians should give first place to fishermen.
    I read a comment that Jews too had caste. No, that’s not correct according to the Hebrew Scripture.
    The 12 tribes were the children of Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel.
    That is why they are known as Israelites.
    (m continued below, V. Lekamge)

  • 0

    ( continued from That is why they are known as Israelites, V. Lekamge).

    I am sorry but I made a statement which could be misunderstood.
    I wrote:
    “One was a awful tax collector,”

    It was 2000 years ago ,and tax collectors were Jews who collected taxes from the Jews for the Roman Empire. They were an awful lot.
    What was awful was that e.g. when Rs.1,000/ should have been taken , they took more from the ignorant Jews and pocketed the excess.

    The Lord Jesus did not condemn the collection of taxes.
    He said on another occasion “Give unto Caesar , what is due to Caesar and to God , what is due to God.

    Tax collection is a very noble profession and only educated people are taken in.
    If not for them , I may have not had the opportunity of going to school, to play.

    ( Continued below V. Lekamge)

  • 0

    Professor S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole ,

    God’s Word the Bible, says
    What shall it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and lose his own soul.
    You have ,through your efforts achieved a lot for yourself , you family and for the country.

    It is appointed unto man once to die but after that the judgement.
    If you judge your self , you will not be judged.
    Have you recognized yourself before God ,as a sinner, who needs to be saved?
    Have you repented of your sins and trusted in and accepted the Lord Jesus Christ into your life?
    If not , you are in danger of the lake of fire described in the book of Revelation 20:11-15

    God does not have grandchildren.

    As many as received Him, he gave them the authority to become the children of God.
    Children born , not of the will of man nor of the will of the flesh but of God.

    Please lay aside all your education , family background and humble yourself before the Lord,
    an d he will exalt you.

    This applies to every person who has read this.

    The Lord Jesus said,
    I am the way, the truth and the life.
    I am the resurrection and the life.

    There is only one truth.

    • 3

      I have met indian post doctoral candidates, as visiting lectuers intentionally sat on floor level, while their high caste students sat on higher objects or high-chairs. To me this was somewhat similar as we buddhists cover a chair with a white cloth before asking a monk to take a seat. This was very strange though and dichotomized to me and my colleagues from Germany, France and South Africa. Questioned as to why should it be like that – was explained to me, because the teacher sat on the floor was coming from a lower caste than the others.
      Hinduistic beliefs have crushed the spines of their adherents from the begining . Also some still believe if a girl child is conceived/born, she should become a human offer for the sake of the rest of family.
      Also in SL, going back to my childhood (70ties), when the laundry men turned up collecting the dirty cloths for next cleaning sessions, alone I could not make my eyes believe, my god, why cant we wash them by ourselves and why to pass them to those men. Explanations rained on me were that those lower caste families should have their inherited occupations for the living. And not to forget, those men visiting our places were offered lower chairs to sit.

  • 10

    I spent most of my evenings at Nallur Theradi in early 2000s and have fond memories of that place. Friends used to gather at theradi everyday. We lived at all sides of Nallur. We never had a caste barrier. We never talked about it. The current generation is over the caste segregation. What are you trying to say/proof? The article is a dog’s breakfast.
    Prof, I hugely respect your engineering knowledge. It is sad to see you doing a caste census in Chemmany Road. Actually how did you count the numbers? Knocked the door of each household and asked their caste?

  • 1

    Dear believers in Hinduism,
    I did a Google search for ‘what is the Hindu teaching of karma and reincarnation.’

    Below is the explanation I received:
    “Reincarnation is a key belief within Hinduism.
    For example, if a person has good karma in a previous life,
    then their atman will be reborn or reincarnated into something better
    than they were previously.
    A person gains good karma for doing good things in life, such as helping others through following their dharma .”

    I read an article that explained that this is a myth.
    That people are not born due to karma and the doctrine of rebirth is a myth.

    It said that , if a person e.g. has had 10 births (this is a myth)
    each successive birth is due to good and bad deeds of the previous 9 births ( a myth).
    Assuming it to be true, if you go back to your first birth,
    then you cannot be born,
    because there was no previous birth ( before the first birth )to either do good or bad !

    To me it makes sense. But as acknowledged earlier , I am not an educated person.

    (Continued below V. Lekamge)
    to either do good or bad

  • 2

    ( Continued from “then you cannot be born, because there was no previous birth V. Lekamge)

    Assuming that there is no rebirth, then no one is born high caste or low caste.
    God , who created Adam and Eve , did not create caste. We all are children of Adam and Eve.
    I am of Dravidian origin. My DNA will confirm it. I am glad. I am sorry , for offending you by referring to myself as a Dravidian. You prefer educated people. I am not.

    However, I am very sad that still among educated people, people refer to each other as high and low caste people.
    Being a stupid person, I Googled the question,
    How many low caste people in India?
    Below is the answer:

    India is home to over 200 million Dalits. According to Paul Diwakar, a Dalit activist from the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, “India has 600,000 villages and almost every village a small pocket on the outskirts is meant for Dalits.”

    How many ” so called low caste ” people in the North and the East of Sri lanka?

    All because of a myth?

  • 3

    This part of the History is only known to locals by mouth and is to give perspective from History and not for any personal purpose.

    I have come across this history in my teens with several of my elders. I have actually spoken to one of my elders to check whether my understanding was correct before publishing it as comment in CT.

    I request CT to publish it as contiguous pieces.

    The tract of land that is referred to by the author as Chettiar Thottam is locally called Chettiyaa Thotam (செட்டியா தோட்டம், I go with Che than Se because it is Tamil pronunciation that matters).

    Omission of r pronunciation (in Chettiyaa) is deliberate and not for Tamil grammar rules for mating words.

    It is because Koyil’s land gifted by Vannai Vaitheeswarar Koyil (see 2nd part) to the Kingdom for permanent use (I say permanent use because technically still belongs Vannai Vaitheeswarar Koyil).

    It appears the Rajadhani (Royal Court) produced its own vegetables in this land by leasing plots.

    Again the cultivation usage is in the part of ‘Thottam’ of its name, is the back part of Palace land tract and side part of old Koyil’s land plot.

  • 2

    How and when this Vannai Vaitheeswarar connection came about is not known.

    It is likely this connection was formed between the Kingdom and those families who constructed Vannai Vaitheeswarar well before the construction of Vannai Vaitheeswarar.

    My elder also says that, recently, Vannai Vaitheeswarar Koyil has recovered a plot of land (for which there was a recent record) from a long term lessee in the current Chettiyaa Thottam.

    I know for a fact Sattanathar, Vannai Vaitheeswaran and even Sithamparam (in Tamil Nadu) Sivan Koyils have (symbolic) claim on significant tracts of Chemmany paddy fields (and may well be other Sivan Koyils as well to part of the rest, which is now lost in time). Although now in private hands, the owners used to send small portion of their harvest (as a respect and symbolic Saivite ritual gesture) to Sattanathar, Vannai Vaitheeswaran, and money to Sithamparam.

    For Sithaparam Koyil , my (and my elder’s from their elders) guess is earlier generations had sent harvest. Over the recent (starting in 60s or 70s) times, the practice may well be given up.

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