By Daham Rathnayake –
I pose a question – was not Vellupillai – a necessary evil in Sri Lanka?
As a child, we undergo the fate of “into this house we are born, into this house we’re thrown”, without a choice. A child is still untouched by the hatred and corruption this world has to offer.
To witness life in all its glory and beauty is just remarkable. Each rain drop that falls, is astonishing; the sensation of each fruit you eat is overwhelming with the fulfilment of joy seeming endless. This world, in all fairness, is such a wonderful place. To feel each new sensation of love, joy and sadness, to thrive harder and harder at what you do, to keep exploring more and more to feed your hunger for curiosity of knowledge is truly surreal. To experience a mother’s love and a father’s guidance, to feel their undying devotion to a cause that is larger than life itself; this, in my view is what this world is all about.
The name “Vellupillai” comes of course from the fallen leader of the rebel Tamil Tigers. I decided to use it as the heading for my words because in more ways than one I feel I can relate to him. That is through understanding the fact that ” Every action causes an equal and opposite reaction”.
The more you live and get older and more mature, the more you start seeing the real horrors of this world. Indeed sometimes, you start experiencing them at a very young age when you are still very much connected to the awesome energies that keep our planet in orbit and can be life changing.
Events so horrifying which most do not ever recover from will always be there and shape your future in turn. “Rage” just as “Love” can never be engineered. These are emotions that can also never be ‘cured’ fully in my view until the day you meet your torturers and make them feel and pay for what they did to you. That is one view that may be taken.
But if we are blessed enough we find people in our lives, who do not see the meaning in fighting Fire with fire, and will guide you to a better path of letting go of this anger and moving on from it, that would be the greatest gift that life can give you. This means learning from that anger of course, but still to move on from it.
The more you learn from your mistakes you start seeing that what was done to you should never be done to any human, that karma is all what you have brought upon yourself and that it serves no purpose to keep the cycle going. But some people may feel that “Vellupillai” did not have such guidance or (in the Buddhist sense) good enough merit to learn this path in his life time. I thank the universe every day that I was fortunate enough to have such people to guide me and still guide me away from my anger rather than to embrace it and relive it. I must say that if I did not have this kind of persons in my life, the path i would have chosen would most probably have been one, such as his.
To look around you and to keep seeing that you are not treated equally as others, or even humanly at most times on a regular day to day basis , to keep hearing that you do not belong here and that others such as you should be gotten rid of, to cleanse the country which you know is yours as well can be a hard cross to bear To keep being ridiculed, un-appreciated, demeaned and abused on a constant daily basis until the point where the child is dead, the dream is dead and all that remains is the rage manifested in you through the years and years of torment based on nothing but the family you were born to is why I can relate to this man in almost every way.
This abuse over time makes you fearless, makes you brave and courageous, but also makes you numb to the beautiful sensations of this world. I sometimes wonder, if “Vellupillai” had taken a different path, that maybe things may have gone differently for him and his people and everyone of this country. On a personal level, the fact that I had enough spiritual merit to find myself in the path of ” The Dhamma” preached by Gauthama Buddha ,is is by far the only practise which helped me overcome the demons of my past. I believed that it helped me control the rage i had in me which had grown in me from the age of 2 when my father was brutally murdered at our doorstep. He was a lawyer who had decided to contest the elections in the deep South during the eighties when the country was dominated by killings all around.
But karma is karma.The more I live, learn and grow, the more I see that unfortunately or fortunately that all of us were meant to be here an exist in our characters, from the lover to the fighter , the killer to the healer, the Creator the preserver and the destroyer, that we all were meant to be here as we are, play the role we are ‘karmicly’ bound to act, and shall always fullfill the requirement according to our karmas to quote a late great poet “The world is a stage and we all must play our part”
My best friend in the present day and for the better part of my life is from the North of this ‘paradise island.’ And just as my family which is from the south who has always lived in the South, his family has always been living in the North since the beginning of existence.
We both went to the same school, but if not for the great game of Tennis, we would never have been so close to each other At the start, we were just two players. But the more time and knowledge we shared with each other, the closer we got to each other. Of course we had our falling outs as all friendship sometimes suffer, but these did not prevent the true growth of the friendship bond. This was more so because he was the so called pure Tamil and I the so called pure Sinhalese. Others had so many things to say about this unlikely combination, which only made us thrive harder to be better at what we did and indeed we did for many years. In all honesty the path I have chosen for my life and my future, and he for his life, and his future has been due to the restraint that this friendship has exercised on me. Similarly, minorities of the country keep the majority in check as they have never felt this entitlement we keep saying is ours.
But still games are being played by others in this land. “Unity” has become a business just as “Peace” and all that goes with it. “Loyalty” to one another is a farce which does not exist anymore. “Integrity”? Well, this chap left the building a very long time ago. A Dutch friend of mine told me the joke they use to crack in their college back in Netherlands, That if you put three Sri Lankans in a whole.. none of them will ever get out as just as one is almost getting out of the whole, without letting him go get a rope or help, the other two would just keep pulling him down. As much as I did not like the joke, I had to agree as it is the plain and simple truth.
As a Tamil and a Sinhalese who literally spent all their lives or a better part of it together, to experience the growth of our relationship and at the same time to witness the absolute and utter disgraceful demise of the relationship between the majority in the country, from day to day and see it getting worse and worse is not a good experience. The guilt I felt as a Sinhalese and the resentment he had to have felt towards me during the early years when we first got to know each others was the hardest obstacle we had to overcome. But we did not let it alter our perception of each other and we overcame it just as we did almost all our opponents on the Tennis court.
In the little I have achieved, the greatest achievement to me and which will always take precedent over everything I have achieved will be this friendship and the togetherness I have with this so called Alien Tamil, who apparently, according to most, should not be here. I am a Sinhalese who would die for my brother who is a Tamil if needed, for I see more clearly and evidently than ever before, the sins, “prima facie” of some of my so called people who went out of their way to try an ensure the end of a race through torture and abuse, just as Hitler did with the Jews.
Though he lost his way from the original vision he would have had for his people, “Vellupillai” was a necessary occurrence which had to have existed in this place we call Paradise.