18 June, 2019

Blog

Tamil University Part I: Fr. XS Thani Nayagam And The Mannar University

By S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Prof S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Killers Come to Toronto

On14.06.2013, Jey and Chrishanthi (Anna) Anandarajan lost two-day old Elyssa. They held through with fortitude borne of faith. As if in tribute to his father – my loving chemistry teacher and later Principal, St. John’s College, CE Anandarajan, who was felled by LTTE killers – Toronto’s gathering matched that at Jaffna school functions.

We still live among murderers. On 30.05.2013, a short distance away, a 37 year old Tamil was murdered in his backyard in daylight. Police termed it “targeted shooting.” A “Brown” man brought in his car two “Black” men making the hit. From the community grapevine, the victim was an LTTE Collector. He had recently bought this house in an expensive Scarborough neighbourhood, paying full cash.

Attacks on Christians

Toronto’s Suthanthiran Weekly  (June 21-27) carried a full-page assault on Christians by “Divine Servant Pulolyoor Dr. Vipulanantha, Tamil Saivite,” claiming 1) Saivism gave life to Tamils but we became slaves upon turning our backs on Siva; and 2) Gandhi succeeded because he worshipped “Eeswaran” but the Eelam struggle failed because it was led by SJV Chelvanayagam who glorified Christ.

The Christian contribution to Tamil culture, politics, and education was widely acknowledged at the World Classical Tamil Conference (WTC) organized by the Tamil Nadu Government in July 2010. Objecting to this, Chennai journalist Thamizhchelvan wrote that Christian missionaries are hijacking the Tamil language, erasing its Hindu identity, and forming a Tamil Christian Nation. Few Tamils have objected.

Ekanayake of the Tamil Struggle

Ignoring harangues, Anton Philip (President, Tamil Catholic Community Toronto) will celebrate Rev. Dr. Xavier Stanislaus Thani Nayagam’s centenary in August. A seminal scholar, he internationalized Tamil Studies. From Delft and Kayts, he went to St. Anthony’s Kayts and St. Patrick’s Jaffna, St. Bernard’s Seminary Borella and the Urbana in Rome where he earned his doctorate in divinity. After an MA and MLitt in Tamil he joined University of Ceylon as Lecturer, Education and earned his PhD London (1957) studying ancient Tamil educational systems.  As Ceylon went anti-Tamil, he joined University of Malaya (1961-1970) as Professor and became Dean, Arts. He died in 1980 in retirement in Jaffna.

Fr. X.S. Thani Nayagam

A suave, polyglot Roman Priest, sans Kayts mustache, he enjoyed cognac, golf, and restaurants, and did not play to the gallery worshipping cross-legged and barefooted in verti-chemise  – as fictitiously portrayed in a Vavuniya statue. I was privileged to meet him in the 1970s on his regular visits to my uncle K. Nesiah.

Rooted in the biblical principles of truth and justice, Thani Nayagam, witnesses attest, was with Chelvanayagam at Galle Face on 05.06.1956. KMP Rajaratna, fearing fallout from assaulting a Priest, wanted the Archbishop to send a jeep to remove him before the attack. Our maternal ancestral home down Somasundaram Lane occupied by the then Federal Party Councillor Peter Somasundaram (married to Chelvanayagam’s niece) was Eelam Post Office; the Police never found the stamps under a haystack. My uncle who worked with Thani Nayagam was locked up for some 42 days over the Sri Campaign.

I have memories of Mrs. Bandaranaike’s arrest orders against the satyagraha leadership, many hiding at Tholagatti Ashram. Dr. NMV Naganathan (aka Hensman) fled wearing my father’s cassock. Thani Nayagam’s escape was planned using telegrams he signed as Ekanayake (Thani  Nayagam in Sinhalese).

Thani Nayagam: Contributions to Tamil

Thani Nayagam’s success was owed to his organizational intelligence. His courses, monograph series, conferences and journals spurred Tamil studies.  He started his Beschi Society in Rome. His Tamil Literature Society, modelled after the Christian Literature Society by Dr. John Murdoch (earlier an Anglican Missionary in Ceylon and a founder of the Tamil Coolie Mission), would publish “Tamil Catholic literary works.” His own journals and conferences brought his works to the people – Prof. S. Arasaratnam expresses Thani Nayagam’s belief that learning must seep down to the people and findings disseminated to the ordinary man – many of us went to Jaffna from all over to attend the 1974 International Association of Tamil Research Conference (disrupted by police gunfire).

The First University: Mannar?

Thani Nayagam searched through various European libraries and discovered the first Indian books ever printed. In Tamil, these were Cartilha (Lisbon, 1554), Thambiran Vanakkam (Quilon 1577), Kreesithiaani Vanakkam (Cochin 1579) and Flos Sactorum (Lives of Saints) by Henrique Henriquez, SJ (Punnaikayal, 1586).

Henriquez (1520-1600) came to Punnaikayal on the Fishery Coast in 1846, learnt Tamil in 5 months and completed his Tamil Grammar by 1549. Paravar helped him set up a Tamil press. As the Vadagar attacked his Paravar flock (1560), Henriquez, in the last boat ferrying them to a Portuguese ship to Mannar –  the Isle of Martyrs – jumped into the sea and swam to the ship.

Tamil Remake of Thani Nayagam in Vavuniya

Henriquez immediately proposed a Tamil university at Mannar or Punnaikkayal, which was realized in the next decade (Otto Zwartjes, 2011). S.G. Pereira (1939) says Father Henriquez in 1566 became the head of the Tamil University set up at Punnaikayal; Brother Pero Louis (the first Indian Jesuit) was Assistant: “It was originally intended to found the Tamil College at Mannar and the Bishop encouraged the scheme, chose a site and even donated some money. But eventually Punnaikayal was found to be more suitable.” But I believe that it was in Mannar because Henriquez’s letters from 19.12.1561 to 29.01.1574 are from Mannar and Louis was also in Mannar.  Besides, why plan for Punnaikayal which he had just fled? In any event, Mannar and Punnaikayal came under one Portuguese administration, political and ecclesial, of the Pearl Fishery as in ancient Pandiyan times (In Portuguese annals “Ceylon” meant Kotte). Thus the university was by the people of Mannar.

Suppressing Minority Heritage

Mannar Paravar, Pandiyans really, having financially contributed to our first press and university, have much to be proud of. Why have we Tamils not discovered our heritage amply described in academic writings?

Sri Lanka has been reluctant to acknowledge Batticotta as a modern university. When a UGC university history ignored Batticotta, I objected and was asked to speak to Senaka Bandaranayake who had taken charge. Having suggested at a conference that Pali originated among Sinhalese and went to India, he dismissed me saying that if Batticotta is listed he would have to list the several Buddhist pirivenas too. But a historian who accepted the responsibility had a duty to read up and know Batticotta was no pirivena from Colonial Secretary Tennent’s testimony that “The Collegiate Institution of Batticotta is entitled to rank with many an European University.”

Provincial Council

Between the state, the Sinhalese establishment and their Tamil stooges, and Christian heritage/influence being written out of history, Tamil achievements will be suppressed. Eviscerated, we need political power. The Tamil National People’s Front and expatriate organizations want the TNA to boycott the PC Elections because they themselves have no chance.

Worse, some want the people to boycott, forgetting that during the 1994 boycott, the EPDP won 9 of 10 seats with under 1.8% of the vote; letting them claim ad nauseam “election by the people.” (Douglas Devananda is playing devious games – after saying PC powers should be amended, presumably for handouts from his masters, he suddenly wants no change. The drama is because his defeat at the PC elections will be more ignominious if he advocates constitutional change.)

Tamils need the PC even if powers are curtailed. Large hotels are being built contaminating ground water and serving liquor near schools. When a Tamil industrialist (RAMCO) refused to restart KKS Cement saying the ecology cannot bear it, a Nepalese was brought in to tear our landscape apart. The police beat signs of Tamil aspirations into silence and do price controls to take bribes. Our institutions are mismanaged by political stooges.

The discovery of a 3500 year grindstone in Kantharodai is similar to finds in Tamilnadu, indicating a strong cultural history, religious diversity, and exchange. But this history is in danger of being rewritten by reactionary and retrogressive charlatans perhaps writing new editions of the Mahavamsa, or worse, destroying precious archaeological sites.

We need a voice authenticated by elected representatives. We need resources to investigate, and record and assert our heritage. We need police and land powers to be safe.

Next Week: Tamil University Part II: The Tamil University Movement

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Latest comments

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    Dear author
    Please elaborate: ”The police beat signs of Tamil aspirations into silence and do price controls to take bribes”

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    After 2009 every time I travel to Canada, France or UK they say “the murdered was a LTTE member” but it is well known in Sinhala and Tamil circles that these shop owners were honest, simple and had a vast variety of goods from Sri Lanka.
    Not that I care about the northerner or southerner who terrorised us but surely there is something wrong here.

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    Thaninayagam published ‘Tamil Culture’ magazine quarterly, almost entirely written in english – I read it in the forties and fifties.It was a research journal on tamil language and heritage.
    Ancient tamil books – ola leaf written and printed – are in Tamil Libraries in Tamil Nadu and private collections.
    Some perished in the Jaffna Library arson,by police.
    Henriquez learning Tamil in 5 months and writing Tamil Grammar soon after seems far fetched – including the founding of a Tamil University!
    How many graduated?
    Had he learned Nannool by Pavananthy Munivar (grammar of thamil prose) and Yapparungalakkaarikai by Amirthasagarar (grammar of thamil verse)
    both written during the Third Sangam period?
    This is like Percival translating the bible – all Five Gospels -‘assisted’ by Arumuga Navalar!
    Batticota was a seminary producing christian priests – how could it have been a ‘university’?
    Ancient ‘tamil heritage’ articles and books – prose and verse have been published on the Web,by tamil scholars and web engineers of the Madurai Project which is still ongoing.
    Anyone can read.

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      1. Justice must be a time traveler. Thani Nayagam’s Tamil Culture was published first in 1952. How did Justice read it in the 1940s? Time traveling?

      2. Justice speaks glibly of the Third Sangam. Here is what The Hindu (Aug. 16, 2005) says about the first two Sangams in an article on Lemuria. The notion of Lemuria associated with the so called first and second Sangams in the minds of some people has been remarkable in the world of occultism, like Madame Blavatsky, who claimed to have learnt the truth about Lemuria through clairvoyant revelations … the other group, which appropriated Lemuria, the Tamil ideologues in Tamil Nadu to whom Lemuria was the fabled lost land of Tamil culture mentioned in the Sangam literary works and commentaries, talk of two earlier Sangams. Although professional historians who set more rigorous standards of scholarship and proof dismissed the idea as frivolous, the devotees of Tamil have been able to ratify their version of history and geography in official consciousness and have this incorporated into textbooks, which are used even now in Tamil medium schools.

      3. Justice must be truly clairvoyant like Madame Blavatsky or reading Tamil medium books by Tamil idealogues. In his time travel he seems to have overshot his target to find Pavananthy Munivar who wrote the Nannool in the Sangam period as he claims. But here is what the book by Paulraj, “Keywords of a kinship,” Victoria, BC, 2006, has to say about the date “AD 13th Century: The important grammar Nannool is written by sage Pavananthi.” In case fanatics may not accept a Christian scholar like Paulraj, let me quote Cuntara Canmukanar’s “History of Tamil Lexicography” (Puthuvai Painthamizh Pathippakam, 1967) which also give the 13th century for the Nannool.

      It seems evident what histories Justice has been reading or clairvoyantly learning from.

      4. Justice writes as if the Bible consists of 5 Gospels. As far as I know there are only 4 Gospels and many other books.

      5. As for Father Annriques (Henriquez) learning a language in 5 months, I have many friends who went to Japan, Russia and France and wrote their theses in a short time. It all depends on the immersion and the method of teaching.

      5. Justice says “Batticotta was a seminary producing Christian priests – how could it have been a ‘university’?” Justice obviously does not know that 2 graduates of Batticotta sat Madras University BA final exams as soon as degree classes started and passed the final exam without attending classes. Batticotta graduate V. Kanakasabhai who gave us the widely read book “The Tamils 1800 Years Ago” was a graduate (1838). Great scholars like Arnold and Carroll were not priests. Batticotta is referred to as Batticotta College in some documents but the British would not let the American use that name because of reserving the word College for one of their institutions.

      I think those who read these comments in Colombo Telegraph are in danger of unlearning all they know by reading self-appointed history experts like Justice who write by clairvoyant imagination.

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      Henrique Henriques was a Professor from Salamanca in Philosophy and Divinity. He knew the Latin grammar as well as those of Spanish, Portuguese, French etc. Percival already came with a knowledge of Tamil to Sri Lanks, learnt from Re. Elijah Hoole who had mastered Tamil in India. Prof. Percivalthen learnt even more literary Tamil while working in Trinco and from a Pundit in India. The missionaries came with prestigious degrees and were often from the nobility or named families.
      Please compare writings of Percival and his student Navalar in Tamil and English.

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    I would like to know what happened to all the money collected by the Rev. Dr Thaninayagam,(ostensibly for a Tamil University in the Eastern Province). Many Tamil public servants gave 10% of their salaries to this cause, after the Sinhala Only Act was passed. The organiser and the money vanished-‘blowing in the wind’!

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      Dont ask money back or accounts if the money collected in the name of TAMIL!

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    What I like about Prof. Hoole’s writings is that they are impassioned and sincere. But he has no judgment. He takes a little fact and uses it to prove his pet peeves based on pure prejudice. After all, electricity flows only with a good bias.

    Hoole assumes, like extreme Tamil nationalists, that there was a Tamil Nadu of some sort way back into 30 or 40 centuries ago.
    For instance he writes:
    The discovery of a 3500 year grindstone in Kantharodai is similar to finds in Tamilnadu, indicating a strong cultural history, religious diversity, and exchange.
    I have seen it being claimed that according to Iruvathu Mahadevan, the ethnic sense of being Tamil arose only during the sangam period, i.e., 1st centurey BCE to even as late as 3rd century CE. TYhat is another somewhat extreme position. I am not expert enough to judge what is correct.
    It seems that before the rise of Tamil proper we had Tamil Prakrit, which is very close to Asokan Prakrit. Karthigesu Indrapala makes a major effort and looks at megalithic potshreds etc,
    So the 35 year-old grindstone, or similar finds elswhere, may have belonged to ancestors of almost any people who lived in South Asia, including even North Indians or sea faring peoples from the middle east or australasians. It could have belong to the ancesters of todays Draviudian people as well.

    So rational people can’t get impassioned into believing that the grindstone (in Tamilnadu) is a Tamil archeological artifact although Prof. Hoole gets fully hooked.

    He is no different from the other Chauvinists, be they Sinhalese or Germans or Malay Bhumiputras, BJP Hindus, or our own LTTE types.

    Racism is now a permeated characteristic of our people’s thinking, be it the TNA or the Leftists like Kumar David, or the Weerawamsas. Sad to say, this may have been a reaction to the ethnic battles that started on the Galle-Face Green in the 1956 era? Or it went back to an earlier era? Whatever the causes, this type of thinking is racism. Add to it Christian zealotry and we have Prof. Hoole who has deviated far from his electrical transformers, coils, computers and such matters where too much passion can lead to getting short-circuited (or even electrocuted)!

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      Racism is now a permeated characteristic of our people’s thinking, be it the TNA or the Leftists like Kumar David, or the Weerawamsas.

      TNA and Kumar David hides their racism through technocratic sophisticated delivery which WW lacks badly.

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      His PhD should be very obsolete now. So, he is writing this crap.

      • 0
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        yes now he earned “Psychology disorder degree”

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      Mr. Manoharan certainly writes with a lot of bias and seems to have electrocuted himself:

      “Hoole assumes, like extreme Tamil nationalists, that there was a Tamil Nadu of some sort way back into 30 or 40 centuries ago.
      “For instance he writes: ‘The discovery of a 3500 year grindstone in Kantharodai is similar to finds in Tamilnadu, indicating a strong cultural history, religious diversity, and exchange.’.”

      Mr. Manoharan needs to understand that the discoveries are happening today in Tamilnadu which exists today. The artifacts being discovered are from a time when there was no Tamilnadu. There is nothing wrong with Professor Hoole’s statement.

      Mr. Manoharan adds “So rational people can’t get impassioned into believing that the grindstone (in Tamilnadu) is a Tamil archeological artifact although Prof. Hoole gets fully hooked.”

      Professor Hoole never said that the grindstone is Tamil and on the contrary alluded to religious diversity and exchange from that period. I have been following his writings and he is very careful with his words.

      I think Mr. Manoharan’s bias is so strong against Professor Hoole that he has seen whatever he wants to see in Professor Hoole’s writings.

      As Mr. Manoharan himself confesses he is “not expert enough to judge what is correct.”

      He hit the nail on the head! Why write on things he cannot judge?

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    Hope this new Tamil University may not appoint fake joker professors. Basic qualifications to be a professor: Your PhD from top ranking University and minimum 15 publication in Scopus level indexed journals. I do not think 1% of such professors in Sri Lanka.

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      Only a nutcase would promote a university for “Tamils”.

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    Hoole,

    stop blaming the past and now you are looking for a new fan wagon but you have no idea your wagon has no wheels
    just stay in a corner and watch the World with your narrow mind

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    As I said, Generic Church, Tamil Church behind Tamil Nation. Eeelam will be the separatist Christian state of Tamil Eelam like East Timor and Papua New Guinea. This happened because the political leadership from within the Sinhala and Tamil people in Sri Lanka in the colonial era and immediately after rose from among the English educated. The Sinhala leadership has always been Christian because the Buddhist clergy made common cause with Sinhala Christians instead of forging civilizational bonds with Tamil Hindus. Tamils win or Sinhalese win, the Church always wins. Idiots are Hindus and Buddhists who like the two cats in the Panchatantra are so consumed by their mistrust of each other that they do not see the Church monkey waiting to take away the appalam (Dharma/Dhamma Bhumi). RR

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    Hoole,
    Mr.Anantharaja,former principal of St.Johns was a man of principle. He was not power greedy like you. He was killed by the Tigers.But you were hell bent on getting the VC post and begged the Tigers for their approval. You asked for an appointment with Thamilchelvan and he refused to see you.
    Then publicly pleaded for the LTTE’s approval of your appointment as VC. In the Tamil Newspaper Uthayan (15 March 2006) you said: “I would like to serve the Tamil people with the co-operation of the leadership of the Tamils, the Tigers… In my political journey, if I were to do any good to the Tamil people, it has to be under the authority and co-operation of Liberation Tigers…” . Many readers don’t know the other side of yours.

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      K. Vathavooran is not truthful. An exact translation of what Prof. Hoole said in the Uthayan is this: “In my political journey I have come to believe that if I wish to serve and do some good to the Tamil people, it can be done only with the cooperation of the LTTE administration.”

      The words “of the leadership of the Tamils, the Tigers” have been added by Vatharoovan to slander Prof. Hoole and show him as an opportunist.

      I do not know about the rest of what he says, but I cannot believe Vathavooran after he tried to deceive us like this.

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    With all due respects to Prof. Ratnajeeven Hoole I hope he will forgive me if I say there is a time and place for all matters. For the moment, the concentration of the Tamil Nation is to get our long due rights – now exacerbated by our land that is being plundered by State actors. Hopefully, we are not far away from the objective. Parochial matters such as the one under discussion should be discussed after Tamil rights are secured. This is no time and place to wash dirty linen – assuming there is such existing.

    Senguttuvan

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      We were told this again and again, Senguttuvan, by those who wanted to suppress discussion and debate among Tamils. I have memory of being beaten up in 1977, and shouted at in 1984 and 1991 using precisely the same argument you are using: “first Tamil rights under one united leadership, then open liberal democracy with social awakening within Tamils” were words used by Tiger thugs and their Toronto supporters. Look where that took the Tamils. Don’t hide behind “there is a time and place for everything” nonsense.

      And what objective are you not far away from, by the way? And how?

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        Jeevan will not deny the environment for free speech and pluralism today in the North is different to what it was then.
        It is up to the Tamil Nation to speak in one voice in this probably the last chance – if the NPC elections see the light of day.

        While I agree with some comments of Brother Mohamed Ibrahim and have different views on others, I am afraid the passing decades have complicated the issue of the Muslims in their respective relationship with the Sinhala and Tamils. Time, patience and the cooperation of all stake-holders to the issue, I believe, may be
        the panacea for the now complex Lankan Muslim Question.

        Senguttuvan

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      Mr. Senguttuvan, I usually respect what you write but not this time.

      Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan called Muslims low-caste Tamils. We still supported independence from the British without saying we want a Muslim province. Tamils also supported independence without speaking of Tamil rights. These could be sorted out after independence we all thought. We waited for independence. We thought other things could be sorted out later.

      We then had Tamil dethroned. Step by step we lost everything. Today they are beating up Muslims and Tamils everywhere.

      Similarly Muslims joined the Federal Party ignoring differences. We did not say let us win federalism first and then we will talk about the rest. Some of us fought with the Tigers, the EPRLF etc.

      Then we were ejected from the North. We were called traitors. I’ve never heard Tamils say this was wrong. They are waiting to sort important things out, to win Tamil rights first.

      Like the Muslims, if Christians wait to win Tamil rights first, they will end up like we did. Like Tamils in Sri Lanka. Like Muslims in the North and East.

      If we had raised these important things before independence, Sri Lanka will not have these problems. If we do not talk about these among Hindus, Christians and Muslims now, minorities in the North and East will soon be attacked at every corner.

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    Punnai Kayal is a place in Kerala and not in Tamil Nadu. Further the books mentioned are not in Tamil but in Malayalam Language.

    Soon Ratnajeevan will tell the Tamil people have the chance to learn Tamil because of the Christians while Christian/catholic churches destroyed all the ancient Tamil books!

    All the inscriptions and OLA leaf books were destroyed by the Catholix criminals. Later the catholic church always collected the Tamil writtings in OLA and destroyed them in Jaffna.

    Anton Philip who changed his name from Anton Sinnarasa because he was a bank robber in cassok in Jaffna. He escaped from the jail and ran away to Canada. Recently a container of LTTE propaganda was intercepted by Lanka customs and it was addressed to the same Anton Philip!

    Now this Anton Philip is going to celebrate Fr.Thani Nayakam of Neduntheevu. Nice combination.

    Hoole’s ancestors and other protestant converts came from Vedaranyam, Tamil nadu after Dutch moved from GOA to CHENNAI. These converts still maintain their “group” as a separate under the CSI(Church of South India)

    The Christian rulers in Sri lanka and india never allowed any HINDU to study his/her language or literature. Only converts had the rights to study and establish schools.

    Now people like Hoole try to fool the Hindus by writting foolish stories to establish the Tamil language and culture survive because of the Christians!

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      We have one more person writing as he wishes in M. Sivananthan. He says Paunnaikayal is in Kerala and the books discovered by Father Thani Nayagam are in Malayalam. Untrue and deliberately so from a fanatic.

      Here is what Wikipedia says with a map of the EAST coast of South India: “Punnaikayal, City: Punnaikayal, is a harbour city in Tamil Nadu, India. Punnaikayal seems to have been the main Portuguese possession on the southern Coast of India for a period of 50 years after their arrival from 1551, … ” There are other maps too — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punnaikayal

      As for the books discovered by Father Thani Nayagam being in Malayalam, his paper (Thani Nayagam, Xavier S: The first books printed in Tamil. Tamil Culture, vol.7, no.3,. 1958. Pp. 43-66) has plates of pages from these Tamil books.

      If Sivananthan who knows not the difference between the East and West coasts of India, knows at least the difference between the Tamil and Malayalam alphabets, he can read and satisfy himself. But he already knows. For he just writes without any reference to facts. He wants to say anything against Christians and Christian contributions. He could not have seen these books in Malayalam to write as he did. For they do not exist and facts do not seem to matter to him.

      After reading these comments on Colombo Telegraph, I am convinced that Tamil Nationalism is utterly bankrupt because many Tamil Nationalists are really Hindu Nationalists. That is why they go to any length to deny Tamil achievements when they are by Christians. Is there anyone here who does not know that Sivananthan is a deliberate liar? After all who is there who cannot just Google where Punnaikayal is? He is simply set on prevarication to put down Christians.

      Sivananthan also lashes out at Anton Philip on the basis of allegations from Sri Lanka Customs – which banned Prof. S. J. Tambiah’s “Buddhism Betrayed” and an issue of Time just this week. That does not make Tambiah or Time any less; just as this untruthful chap Sivananthan’s claims do not diminish Anton Philip in any way.

      Like Sivananthan one fellow called Vathavooran K quotes me on this site adding to my words. Another fellow writing here imputes that Thani Nayagam walked off with the Tamil University Movement’s money, whereas TUM funds were carefully audited by Sambamoorthy and Co. They had severe expenses in running Navalar Hall, a College of London, which depleted funds. Left over funds went into a trust fund. The TUM minutes show all this clearly. (Fanatics can bash me on this after next Sunday’s article).

      Without any evidence these charlatans say that Batticotta Seminary trained priests. Now Sivananthan says Christians came from Vedaranyam, Tamil Nadu. Sivananthan is truly learning from his Sinhalese communalist teachers who say they always lived in Sri Lanka while Tamils came from India. Now Sivananthan wants to say the Christians came from India while his ancestors presumably always lived in Sri Lanka. When will this communalist chain ever end?

      I generally thought that some of these comments in the Colombo Telegraph are not worth their server bytes. But they have been useful in exposing the venomous Christian-phobia we see in some Tamil writers. It is clear that there is a serious problem within the Tamil people that calls for discussion and urgent addressing.

      PS: There is a comment above by one Jeevan. I fully agree with him but that Jeevan is not me.

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        Dr. Hoole,

        This Sivanathan character looks like someone who went by Siva and other names that I have seen in various internet forums going back almost two decades. I would say with a high level of confidence he is a paid stooge of Douglas Devananda, and he is based in Canada.

        An inarticulate man given to utter vulgarity ( he particularly liked to use the vulgar Tamil word for ‘bum-sucker’ to demonize anyone who he thought was against DD–or his masters), he was a dim-witted casteist as well. It is better to completely ignore such characters and not waste any of your time.

        On the subject at hand, while setting the historical record straight is good and welcome, as an agnostic/atheist, I don’t understand why a person of your education should be so concerned about religion.

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          Agnes – you didn’t get it. Prof Hoole’s piece is not about religion. It is about discrimination on religious grounds, of the minority community/communities within Tamils. Do you think the numerically superior Saiva/Hindu/Upper Caste Tamils treated minorities within the Tamil community well? Hoole’s educational background in electromagnetism is irrelevant — what he has written here IS, and you (and other followers of “bankrupt Tamil nationalism” may want to reflect on the content of his writing).

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            I have seen only Padraig Colman calling me ‘Agnes’, and it makes me wonder if Colman and Jeevan are one and the same. Or you are resorting to the same mischief as him; having intervened in another thread to tell me that it wasn’t ‘nice’ to call Mr. Colman something, you now think it is nice to call me something.

            Regardless, it is you who doesn’t get it–education and degrees are nothing without fidelity to rationality. Anyone who wants to be taken seriously as a scientist needs to let go of his/her fixation with religions. And wouldn’t atheists and agnostics be an even smaller minority within Tamil society than Christians?
            So give me a lecture on how Tamil society, including Christians, is treating them.

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              Agnos,

              As a scientist Hoole is take seriously by those who matter — his peers in electrical engineering. After two spells in SL, which would have caused big dents in his research, he has been able to get back into faculty positions in good US universities, proof enough that the community think good of him as a scientist. His religious belief system did not matter to those qualified to assess him for the faculty positions. What makes you suggest what he has achieved as a scientist (and his education and qualifications) is “nothing”? How qualified are you to make that comment, given his standing in the community? How qualified are you to define for him high standards?

              In this article and elsewhere, he is talking about discrimination against minorities among Tamils. Don’t you think that is real? Don’t you think that is an issue that the Tamil community should address?

              Your suggestion that atheists might also be discriminated is a distraction — but please tell us if you yourself have actually faced any discrimination for being an atheist.

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          Agnos (afraid to come with real name)
          Supporting Douglas Devananda cannot be a “sin” in any dictionary. Your LTTE criminals tried to kill him 11 times. For what? To save the Tamils? But 13 LTTE criminals dead when they tried to kill him! DD is a survivor of LTTE terror.

          Hoole also met DD to become the VC of U of Jaffna. Hoole, his family, his church(CSI), and his political party(FP under S.J.V Chelvanayagam) opposed the formation of the Jaffna university. FP under SJV Selvanayagam showed black flags when Rt.Hon.Srimavo came to open the university!

          Then why does Hoole want to become the VC of the same University? Salary? Very cheap..Isnt it?

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      Very good. RR

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    Always looking forward to reading crisp writing by Prof Hoole.

    Pl compile all the environmental damages in the peninsula:

    ”Large hotels are being built contaminating ground water and serving liquor near schools. When a Tamil industrialist (RAMCO) refused to restart KKS Cement saying the ecology cannot bear it, a Nepalese was brought in to tear our landscape apart.”

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    “Wikipedia” is always an untrustworthy web. Anyone can publish anything. If Hoole take it seriously, I have to laugh! We also can create any amount of stories in wekipedia.

    Punnai Kayal is now in Tamil nadu but it was under the Kerala Kings when Portugeuse arrived.

    “RAJASEKARAN” is the throne name of Jaffna kings. Who was this Rajasekaran? He was Rajasekara Varma and the founder of a Kerala dynasty of rulers.

    Further Mannar and Puttalam too under the kerala Kings when Portuguse arrived. Mannar itself a word from Malayalam.

    Hoole is defending a bank robber Anton Sinnarasaa who was a Catholic FATHER and now a real father of few children. Hoole is trying to fool others because he thinks he knows everything but he did not know why Anton Sinnarasa alias Anton Philip was arrested and in the jail!

    Hoole is unable to tell why he belongs to the Church of South India or the history of CSI! If hoole knows the history of CSI, then he knows his ancestors came from vedarnyam and belong to a fishing caste of Sempadava!

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    When Prof. Hoole applied for VC Jaffna many people here in the university, tried to stop him saying Christians are low caste. Many people who wanted him to start engineering, begged him to reply but he strongly refused to get involved in caste politics. Maviddapuram priest and Nallur Kandasamy Priest supported and sent letters to President. I asked his relations in Karugampanai how their priest got involved in Prof’s elections. Prof’s grandfather was Kodimarasangarar Somasundaram of Maviddapuram Temple and his brother was Mudaliyar Pillai, whose family had the keys to the temple till they became Christian. His paternal grandfather Rev Elijah Hoole (Nallur, nee’ Srinivasam)and his brothe Rev. Watson were both Trustees of a Temple in Point Pedro before they became Methodist Priests and their family owned the temple. Christians cannot worship idols so they abandoned their temple positions. The temples are now run by others. So called Vellahlas are funny, people who eat fish and beef looking down on sembadavar who gave them the man they call their leader. The saying goes Vellalah’s are like brinjal curry. It goes with everything, veg, non veg food, now sadly white, black, yellow food also.

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      Why is all this relevant to the VC appointment? Why is it the business of those priests to write to the President? Who sought their support? What do the priests know about universities?

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        Jeevan, Your question is a good one because usually priests ought not to interfere in a VC appointing process. But in this instance their intervention was proper.

        I was reliably told that the President had been informed (you can guess by whom) that the Hindu community was against my appointment as VC. That was untrue because the Council that voted for me was almost entirely Hindu (I think there was only 1 Christian out of 25). I was told that unless some Hindu heavy weights contradicted these claims the President would swallow these yarns. I was not ready to go down as an anti-Hindu as claimed.

        I informed Sanmuganatha Kurukkal (Maviddapuram) and Naguleswarak Kurukkal (Keerimalai) and a few others who knew and respected us about these claims.

        They were naturally shocked by the claims of Hindu nonsupport and immediately did the needful. In fact Sanmuganatha Kurukkal was on his deathbed but still wanted to do this. He died a few days later. God Bless his soul.

        Writing to the President became their business because the position of the Hindu community had been misrepresented. As responsible Hindu leaders they could not remain silent.

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          I know the priests well. So, dont make fool of others by fake stories. You Christians have no hesitations to tell lies!

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      Your name is so funny. No hindu has this kind of funny name. Further your story proves HOOLEs are traitors of their own society. How much they got from CSI to become HOOLE?

      Further MUDALIYAR and PILLAI are different caste names. So, you try to make a sambar here.

      CSI planted many converts in areas of Hindus. These Sempadava fishermen never had any business in temples of Hindus but this claim tells how the Christians involved in the affairs of Hindus.

      We know how a Malayalee Jayawardene has the keys of historic Buddhist temple of Kelaniya raja Maha vihara. Buddha Rakita and Somarama planned the killing of Bandaranaike in the same temple!

      I know well this HOOLE story is a fake one with Hindu Temples. So, dont try to fool around here!

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    Jeevan,

    When it comes to religion in the true sense, no one can discriminate someone. If it is just belief in your heart and mind, how can others prevent you from truly having faith?

    Is somebody arresting and incarcerating you for following religion x and not y in your heart?

    Your concern about Tamil society’s discrimination toward some Christians and Muslims has more to do with the society’s ingrained prejudices and beliefs in castes, which in turn is partly caused by religious beliefs. Some people seem to associate certain religions and geographical areas with certain castes. You can fight caste discrimination by all means, but agnostics are naturally less sympathetic to claims of religious discrimination.

    Even from a political standpoint, when leaders from SJV and EMV to Joseph Pararajasingham and Sumanthiran are supported widely by Tamils, despite their minority faith, claims of religious discrimination against Christians sound far-fetched.

    I have seen some people displaying the ignorant belief that agnostics and atheists are sinful because they don’t believe in a God; social ostracism can also occur due to that. But it is not discrimination.

    What the BBS is doing to Muslims is discrimination and a crime; the LTTE’s expulsion of Muslims was the same.

    Dr. Hoole’s issues with the Jaffna VC post are tied to politics and personality, and probably has nothing really to do with religion itself, despite all the publicity about it. For the record, at that time I strongly urged my social acquaintances who were involved with Tamilnet, GTF, TAG, etc., that Dr. Hoole was the best among the available VC candidates and they should support him. But those people didn’t like him for political reasons, including the fact that his brother Rajan Hoole had been highly critical of the LTTE. Pro-LTTE people naturally hated not only Rajan but the Hoole family as a whole.

    Dr. Hoole’s ability to get a faculty position in the US says nothing about his ability to look at life’s problems objectively, about his capacity to talk about the origins of life and the absence of God. More than 95% of scientists admitted to the National Academy of Sciences are often said to be atheists and agnostics. Even if that 95% figure may be an exaggeration, 80% is a certainty. So basing one’s arguments by social acceptance in whatever community–scientific or otherwise–is pointless.

    My qualifications are not an issue here—you know nothing about me and my accomplishments; let it stay that way.

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      Agnes,

      Two small points:

      1) That you cannot see discrimination within the Tamil community on religious grounds is amazing. You claim that the existence of SJV, JP and MAS in political positions is evidence of it. How funny? You fail to see that these guys were riding a strong wave of nationalism (against an even stronger Sinhala chauvinism). Is Prabhakaran proof that there was no discrimination against lower caste people? Are Kadirkamar, Thondaman, Douglas and Karuna proof that there was/is no discrimination against Tamils in Sri Lanka? Why is your logic any different?

      2) You claim to have thought Hoole was the best candidate for Jaffna VC. How? What do you know about the others who competed with him? Before his first attempt, Hoole had been in SL for several years. He was also member of the UGC. When he was here, he was always confrontational, and took the university system to courts over several ridiculous issues. So, not having any diplomatic skills, how could he have done a good job as Jaffna VC? On what criteria did you compare him with the other candidates?

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        Your reversion to calling me Agnes again shows you are up to some mischief. Sorry–I have better things to do with my time. But I will just address some points.

        1. Well, I have not really seen or heard of any religious discrimination within Tamil community. If anything, a couple of times I heard of the reverse–where some Hindu vice principals of schools started by missionaries–such as Hartley and the Nuffield school for the deaf and the blind– told me they couldn’t become principals, or they would have to wait for a long time. But I think that changed and those schools had Hindu principals later on.

        If there is real discrimination on religious grounds, it is for you to bring it up and seek redress; failure to find support for religious zealotry is not evidence of discrimination.

        “You fail to see that these guys were riding a strong wave of nationalism (against an even stronger Sinhala chauvinism.”

        In other words, you wanted them to ignore the fact that Tamil grievances were based primarily on the fact they were/are a linguistic minority. Instead you wanted them to wear their religion on their sleeves, and still get the support of people from other religions?

        Your analogy invoking Kadirgamar, et al., is deeply flawed. SJV, EMV and JP were not some token leaders foisted on the Tamil polity to keep some religious minorities happy. They were selected by majority Hindu Tamils to lead them. Though MAS is only a national list MP, he also enjoys widespread support.

        2. I don’t want to rehash old debates here about the Jaffna VC issue. You can find my comments under old articles to see my views.

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          Agnos:

          Here and elsewhere Hoole makes a good case about discrimination on religious grounds within the Tamil community. You refuse to see that. Fine, have your head buried in the sand.

          You claimed you have spoken to Tamilnet/GTF folks and sought their support in favor of Hoole’s VC appointment. I asked what criteria you used? I put an argument that Hoole probably was not suitable. You simply run away without an answer, saying it is all there in previous comments. Come on, Agnos, let us have a straight answer. I ask again. Do you actually know who the others competing against Hoole were? On what criteria were they not as good as Hoole? What gives you the right and qualification to make that judgement? And what business do TamilNet/GTF nutters have in the VC appointment at my university? Come on, Agnos, let us hear it. After all, you don’t want to run and hide like Usha, and become one of them trans joker senators, do you?

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    Hoole must tell why he belongs to CSI?( Church of South India) He orhis supporters are not talking about the CSI which is an anglican ahand again HINDUS in S/India.

    In Jaffna they lost power due to the nationalisation of schools by Bandaranaike. That is why Selvanayakam barked so much. The same church is now barking at Koodang kulam also!

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      Thank you Mr. Sivananthan, you’re making good points for us! But please be careful, your comments on Nedunthivu Christians, CSI people, the Mavittapuram priests and fisher caste people will hurt comrade Douglas badly.

      Remember Mr. Arunthavaseelan, Ariyanayagam Master and Mr. Balakrishnan are staunch Christian Neduntheevu supporters of Tholan Douglas. I hope you cleared everything with Tholan before you wrote.

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        I dont need any recomendations from Devananda to write about politics anywhere. Hurting others is the policy of the Christian Churches. LTTE killed few Hindu priests for getting aid from DD when he was the minister of Hindu Affairs. No Christian ever opened their mouth against LTTE which is controlled by the Catholic Church.

        DD and his party get votes from majority Hindus and not from any Christian factions!

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    you’d excuse me if i point out that kids dont go to tourist hotels to get liquor, unless you’re in that 1% of the population that can both afford and get away with it. the rest of us, when underage, go to seedy little shops on dingy side roads to get high.

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