1 October, 2020

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Pseudonymous Comments In Colombo Telegraph

By S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Prof S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

The Editor

Colombo Telegraph.

Sir,

Pseudonymous Letters in Colombo Telegraph: Examples of Rahavan and Chanakyan

I know you allow people to comment on articles under pseudonyms. You know who they are by email address but the readers do not. I agree that anonymity makes people feel free to comment and this engenders freer discussion.

However, recent comments by Rahavan (whom I have mistaken for Suren Raghavan and another Raghavan I know) and Chanakyan make me wonder how wise that policy is.

Following your reproducing the interview with Ravi Kumar of the British Tamil Forum by the newspaper Oru Paper from London (Read here ), I had commented under my name that the British Tamil Forum must not give interviews to communalist papers and thereby encourage them. I went on to cite the Oru Paper editorial of  07.04.2006 when I was appointed Vice Chancellor of Jaffna in 2006. The editorial read

“[T]here are a few Christians who are unable to reconcile their minds to the fact that they had deserted the religion of their forefathers. This grievance they carry against the whole community. The Hoole brothers[…],Lakshman Kadirgamar and D.B.S. Jeyaraj of Canada belong to this category. As for Ratnajeevan Hoole as Vice-Chancellor of Jaffna University, this much has to be said. He should not be allowed to roam free in Jaffna’s Tamil Hindu society, particularly in the university campus where there is a Saiva temple ” [Emphasis as in the original].”

The two ideas in the editorial that betray the communalism of the editor are 1) Tamils should never have converted to Christianity and are traitors for that reason and 2) Christians are polluting. These make the editorial a punishable hate crime under British law.

Coming to the point, Rahavan – whoever he may be, but almost certainly pseudonymous because Rahavan with an h is rarely used in formal names which have initials – then put in a comment that “Oru Paper is owned and edited by Christians.” It simply undermined my comment that Oru Paper is communalist.

However, I found it unbelievable that Christians would accept the idea that they are polluting. I therefore made careful enquiries and found that there is no one at Oru Paper who is a Christian except a girl doing office work. I have been able to further establish that the manager is one Partheepan who rarely writes, the editor is one Gopiratnam and a regular columnist is Ravi Arunachalam from the liberal Colombo-based Sarinigar who became pro-LTTE and got a job at IBC Radio, and is accused of printing someone else’s book with a change of title under his authorship.

Just today following the article “Navi Pillay Rides Again” by Malinda Seneviratne, there is a cryptic comment by Chanakya (who also signs as Chanakyan)  as follows “What a pathetic case is MS who hates the US and ‘west’ because he is a Cornell Drop Out!”

The term dropout in the English language is used for dropping out of society or school. When it is out of undergraduate studies, the term is college dropout. Seneviratne earned his bachelor’s degree from Harvard. The comment by Chanakya is therefore designed to create the impression that Seneviratne holds no degree and is uneducated.

I think it is time to force those who comment to take responsibility by signing under their real names. Email addresses which only you see are really not enough because one can get an address easily under any cooked up name.  It may be unfair by those who make thoughtful comments anonymously because they are afraid. But when anonymity is used to spread false information and slander, it is time for change.

It is a sad commentary that it is people of the quality of Rahavan and Chanakyan whom we Tamils have to speak for us abroad as Geneva comes up.

Sincerely,

S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

We received the letter above from prof. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole and  decide to share it with our readers. We request our commentators to follow our Discussion Guidelines voluntarily.  

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Latest comments

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    Tell me good professor, how do you ensure that the name is “correct” ? Does it entail sending a photo identity and registering yourself ?

    If so what happens if / when this regime becomes a full dictatorship and Gota gets hold of you details by simply taking them from this web site ?

    You and your entire family ends up in a grave in Matale ?

    You have simply reacted due to your ego taking a battering, you have not thought this thing through ! My respect for you deminishes.

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

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    @ m c spencer

    Looks like you were wrong. CT has not censored your comment. Try being critical in some government sponsored website and see what happens? I have been following and commenting on CT for sometime now and I have seen that they delete whole or parts of comments only when probably comments are derogatory or points out something personal that is not related. Long live the Colombo Telegraph and I hope your site won’t be bought over like the Sunday Leader.

    • 0
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      I seem to have struck a raw nerve in CT that they have tried to prove me wrong in permitting it to appear for which they may rue it in the future.

      I have self censored and resubmitted it twice but to no avail that I will put it on my face book page.

      You will know how desperate they are if you don’t see this. As yet the price doesn’t seem to be right for them.

      @MC Spencer, kind request, don’t post your personal issues or discoveries re other commentators. We gave you the opportunity to post it, sometime ago, but don’t post it again and again everywhere. – CT

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        Keep it relevant. We know that some conversations can be wide-ranging, but if you post something which is unrelated to the original topic (“off-topic”) then it may be removed, in order to keep the thread on track. This also applies to queries or comments about moderation, which should not be posted as comments. – CT

        For more detail see our Comment policy
        https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

        • 0
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          The CT is being dishonest and misleading the readers that I will post my last few to the CT on my FB page and henceforth give eternal rest to Uvindu and the CT that sounds like VP and LTTE.

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

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    Senguttuvan

    You say that Sampanthan is being accepted as the leader of the TNA is acceptance the earlier Jaffna-EP divide is a thing of the past.

    I disagree. Sampanthan being TNA leader does not establish that there is no more Jaffna-EP divide. In fact, Sampanthan was not democratically elected as the TNA leader. He was foisted by the LTTE as the TNA leader as they did not want Anandasangari to be the TNA leader.

    There is no denying that TNA is now controlled by the Northerners as was TULF and Tamil Arasu Katchi in the past. Sampanthan is just a figure head. It is Sumanthiran, Mavai, Suresh, Selvam, etc who are all Northeners who make decisions on behalf of TNA. Batticaloa MPs have no say. These morons from Batticaloa are just yes men. The other powerless parties in the TNA consisting of TULF,PLOTE and Pathmanaba EPRLF, too are all dominated by Northerners.

    You cannot deny the fact that the Eastern Tamils were drawn into the dispute by the Jaffna Tamil leadership. The Tamil problem started when the Sinhala only policy was introduced by Bandaranaike. He did so to ensure that the dominance of Tamils in the public service and in the professions is eliminated. The Sinhala language policy and the subsequent University admission standardization scheme did not cause much problems to the Eastern Tamils. There were not many public servants from the Eastern Province. Only a few fellows like Kasi Anandan got affected. In fact the University admission standardisation policy came as a boon to Eastern Tamil students as many from the East were able to enter the Medical and Engineering Faculties under the district quota system. Even here, the Eastern Tamils learnt the treachery of the Jaffna Tamils when Jaffna parents brought their children to sit for their AL examinations in Batticaloa and other places in Eastern Provinbce and succeeded in getting places to them in Medical and Engineering faculties on Eastern province quotas. I know a Vet doctor who admitted to me that he would not have gone to study Vet Science had he not sat for his AL Examination from Eastern Province.

    You are suggesting that I am close to the MR and his family. No, I am not. I am a complete stranger to them.

    For the Eastern Tamils, faced with Muslim political dominance ,joining the mainstream politics is one of two options. The other option is establishing a strong Eastern based political, social and economic entity. I strongly feel it is time for the Eastern Tamils to re-establish their separate identity and establish their independence from Northern Tamils who continue to pursue a collison course that will be disastrous. However, Eastern Tamils should join hands with the Northern Tamils in issues which are of mutual benefit. One such matter is the merger of Northern and Eastern provinces.

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      Naga,

      The bane of Tamil politics is the habit to call anyone who advocates something different to that of established formations, be it the FP, TULF, LTTE or now the TNA, a traitor. This also extends to calling anyone who credits the government with anything positive to be a government/Sinhala/ family acolyte. Tamil politics. The LTTE in fact extended this phenomenon to degrade persons opposed to them in every mean way conceivable. This habit is so ingrained in Tamil politics that it will strangle any new leadership that tries to emerge in its infancy, mercilessly.

      Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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        It isn’t just in Tamil politics.You can see it right here in this comments thread.

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    //I think my point is being missed. The old adage in journalism is this: “Opinion is free but facts are sacred.”// SRH Hoole Feb 8, 2013 (5.15 pm)

    True (only upto an extent).

    In reality: Opinions are generated on the basis of facts, and facts are (most of the time) understood as per perspective of the individual/group.

    Therefore, no matter how ‘sacred’ the fact is – it is going to be ‘distorded’ or ‘enhanced’ as per the perspective (which is the signal processor logic) adopted.

    Conclusion: We need to understand, differences of perspectives, and try to find the middle path. Or ELSE, the ‘differences’ could lead to conflicting circumstances – which are counter productive.

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      Correction: “distorted” NOT ‘distorded’. My apologies.

  • 0
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    Dear Naga

    I just visited this page. I admire your passion for the EP case. I agree there are many matters that need looking into. Sampanthan being accepted as leader of the Tamil Nation is one more forward step. The others can be discussed within ourselves but first we must get composite Tamil demands met. The Northern Province, at any rate, has more MPs than the EP. Often, the leadership consideration will be defined by this factor as well. Presently, the Tamil Nation faces challenges from more than one direction and it is in our interest to meet both these united rather than from the position of the North and EP separately is my humble view. Let us also not forget the fate that overtook Pillaiyan.

    Senguttuvan

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