26 September, 2020

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The Story Of A Timely Political Philosophy

By Mahesan Niranjan

Prof. Mahesan Niranjan

Prof. Mahesan Niranjan

Yesterday, at our regular drinking joint in Bridgetown, UK, my friend, the Sri Lankan Tamil fellow Sivapuranam Thevaram informed me that he had become a follower of Baghavan Sri Ramana Maharishi, a Hindu holy man from South India. That was shocking indeed. We are in the pub from which a fundamental discovery relating to life on earth and the basis of evolution of species was made, and my friend — whose day job is analysing molecular biological data — was showing superstitious tendencies. What might be wrong?

“What’s wrong, machan (buddy)?” I asked. “We aren’t even on the second round!”

“I went to his Ashram (holy man’s place) yesterday and the leaders of the Tamil National Alliance were also there to see him. I overheard the most appropriate political philosophy from the Baghavan and have decided to become his disciple,” Thevaram said.

Now those of you who follow Sri Lankan politics will realize what might have been the Baghavan’s advice to the TNA leadership. For the others, let me explain my friend’s transition by taking you through a potted history of Sri Lanka’s political timeline.

Baghavan Sri Ramana Maharishi (1879 – 1950) [Photograph from Wikipedia]

Baghavan Sri Ramana Maharishi (1879 – 1950) [Photograph from Wikipedia]

Way back in the Fifties, Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike had returned to the country after his education at the University of Oxford. The serene environments of riverside lawns and intellectually stretching debating chambers of Oxford did a good job on this young fellow, turning him into a nationalist — a Ceylonese nationalist — which you will agree is a good thing. He had given much thought to how we as a nation –- the Ceylonese nation — will grow and mature as the Sri Lankan nation, rank among equals on the international arena, might get rid of suddha (white man) residuals of language, religion and bureaucracy, build a couple of yards of railway lines ourselves, get milk and honey flowing down our streets and be blessed by the Tripple Gem and all that.

A good dream he dreamt.

But in the run-up to the elections in 1956, Bandaranaike did some precise calculations, yielded to temptation and declared him a Sinhala nationalist. He kept his promise to the electorate, enacted the Official Languages Act in Parliament and laid the foundation that made some of our countrymen feel they were aliens.

History might be kind to Bandaranaike and say he later tried to fix the problem he created by signing a pact with Mr Chelvanayagam. The idea was to give the Tamil language equal recognition, and those who spoke that language some sort of local decision making power in parts where they lived in high concentrations. Not a new idea. Others have done this, successfully trading local decision making to the parts to gain effective loyalty to the whole.

Alas, the idea to mitigate the damage of 1956 came a little late. An exceptionally innovative fellow was there to spot a fundamental arbitrage opportunity in Sri Lankan politics. Junius Richard Jayewardene responded with a padha yaathra (march) to Kandy and laid the foundation for the most effective post-suddha election slogan in Sri Lanka:

“Vote for me, I will beat up the Tamils.”

(Note the order in which the phrases appear in the slogan, which is important later in this story.)

Successive elections between Greens and Blues were largely fought on the basis of the above slogan. In capturing voter imagination, occasional innovations like “haal seru dheka thenava (get two measures of rice)” were no match to the idea of the cunning fox.

Let us fast forward a little. When viewing the politics of our country, the fast forward button does help a lot, no? We can skip past quite a lot of horror and just view the juicy bits of grains, flowers and fruits. It helps us feel patriotic.

There was a presidential election in 2005 with two candidates of significance. One said “war” the other said “peace”. Half the population in the South preferred war. It was, after all, going to be just a war against a fascist warlord in the North. Fair enough. “Just a war” is what the politician proposed and populace was persuaded of. But beware! In the phrase “just a war,” if you are not careful, you might miss the vowel in the middle and refer to it as “just war.”

The other half seemed to prefer peace. It was going to be a tight call.

The warlord of the North also did the same calculations and discovered that he was far more powerful in this instance than he had ever dreamt to be. He could be the king-maker. “Wow!” he said to himself, “war or peace?” The answer was obvious. He had built an effective war machine which in operational brutality was a good match to that of his enemy.

I must pause to help you understand the extent of brutality in our country. It is never one-sided. If as a child in 1971, I saw and learnt about brutality along the highway between Badulla and Wellawaya – of rape, torture and murder – tools with which our heroic armed forces suppressed the first youth rebellion of our country, in 1986 my elderly parents saw and described to me the brutality played out in Thirunelvely junction where young kids from the TELO organization were massacred – killed and burnt or burnt and killed – that order not being important to the heroic liberators whose memories are celebrated every November in the building nearby with clandestine candles. Those are two points to calibrate. I leave you to interpolate the rest.

So in 2005, the guy who built the war machine was not going to let his hard work go to waste. He ordered the Tamil population to avoid going to the polling booths. “Hands that mark crosses in ballot papers shall be chopped off,” he decreed. The war candidate won the election by a wafer-thin margin and went on to deliver what he promised, i.e. fought a war to finish the warlord.

That was the only promise he is known to have kept, historians will record.

We fast forward to 2010. There was another election, but this time with a difference. The phrases in Sri Lanka’s most effective electoral slogan were reversed. The job now being done, the slogan changed as follows:

“I beat up the Tamils, vote for me!”

Two candidates of significance in 2010 thought they had good grounds to make the claim. One was the Commander who saw front-line action of unlimited callous brutality and the other was Commander-in-Chief who created the necessary political atmosphere of getting our countrymen to collectively bury our heads in the sand.

In the run-up to the 2010 election, everyone was making calculations. Who will win? The leaders of the Tamil National Alliance were no exception. They were competent in arithmetic, I grant. But being so well trained in the art of singing old Hymns, they were not particularly good either at adapting to, or even recognizing, a changing world. They thought the parameters of the equation in 2005 were the same as in 2010. They failed to see the reversal of the phrases in our country’s political slogan.

Thinking of themselves as king-makers, they attempted negotiations with the Commander and the Commander-in-Chief. The latter, being the more experienced of the two, judged that the slogan-reversal was going to give him such a big margin that the TNA was irrelevant. So he told the TNA to get lost. The Commander however, being politically naïve, apparently made a deal to gain TNA’s support. They campaigned on his side and made him lose.

Now as we enter the elections in 2015, we have some hope – the kind of hope with which a sinking man clutches onto any floating object. We want our country to be better. We don’t want our officials tying themselves to trees, nor our foreign representatives falling off chairs, injuring themselves. So, we are encouraged by the cross-over. We are delighted by the ease with which the challenger’s name can be tweeted. We are happy to observe the Uva elections at which the former commander dragged his bullet ridden car and a card-board cut out of a Tamil suicide bomber along the highway between Badulla and Wellawaya, yet managed to attract just a few hundred additional votes for that effort.

Can we take comfort by observing that the most powerful political slogan of our country may have passed its sell-by date? Should we worry that this only happens to be so because the job is done?

What now is the role of Tamil politics and the TNA?

If we are confused, we should note that the best assessment of the situation came from His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapakse. During a recent visit to Jaffna to declare the railway station open, he said with exceptional honesty – a trait you would, in general, find difficult to attribute to a master politician of his calibre, and to him in particular – that “even if I build roads and railways for you, I know you won’t vote for me.”

He is absolutely right.

Tamil voters come in two types. Those who revere their warlord will not vote for the President because he defeated and killed their hero. The rest will also vote against him because he sees no difference between the Tamils and the Tigers.

Roads and railways are great. They reduce journey time. If you were competent in mathematical optimization, you will observe the following: If a transport system is designed to minimize the time it takes to rush troops from Walikamam to Weliweriya, a necessary consequence is a reduction in the travel time between Punnalaikkadduvan and Polgahawela.

Average Tamil voters may not be educated in sophisticated mathematics, but if you just give them a pencil, paper (a ballot paper, to be precise) and put them in a booth – I bet they will work out this corollary in just a few seconds. There is no need to tell them who to vote for. There is no need for their representatives to shout about it. They just need to be in the polling booth.

Having no clarity in thought of what their next steps should be, the leadership of the Tamil National Alliance visited the Baghavan Sri Ramana Maharishi in his Ashram the day my friend happened to be there.

With characteristic Sri Lankan English intonation, they asked: “Swami, now what to do?”

The Baghavan spoke: “Summaa Iru (just be)!”

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Latest comments

  • 7
    8

    Niranjan,

    I enjoyed your style of writing and the content too.

    Very few among Lankan minorities either living in the island or else- where in the world, will appreciate your candidness.

    By the way did your friend Thevaram visit Ramana Ashram or did he visit Sivathondan Nilaaym(Sivayoga swamy’s Ashram)

    Because the quotation “Summaa Iru (just be)!” was from Sivayogaswamy as well.

    Thanks.

  • 4
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    ‘. Summa Iru’ . The most difficult thing to do. Is it action or inaction? Is it to let things take their course. Is it ‘ Eppavoe Mudintha Kaariyam ‘ ( something that had been pre-ordained? ) Are we the instruments or the planners?

    Incidentally, Yoga Swami of Columuthurai asked his new German disciple, Ramsbotham ( later Swami Gauribala or German Swai) to meditate on these two words. German Swami later wrote book on the subject named ‘ Summa Irrukka Soothiram’ ( how to Summa iru).

    Well woven imagery, bringing out a profound truth.

    Thanks.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    • 3
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      Doc,

      Ramsbotham was later 1st viscount Soulbury.(Lord Soulbury,Soulbury commison etc)His son Santha samy was Yogaswamy’s disiciple. He lived in Kaithady,Jaffna,(with Markandu Swamy) later died in spain I was informed.

      German swamy was Gowri bala who lived in Thondamanaru/selvasanithi who wrote summa irruka soothiram.

      Two different disiciple of Yogaswamy.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herwald_Ramsbotham,_1st_Viscount_Soulbury

      • 1
        1

        Annaikutty/ Yanaikuuty Swamy was Lord Soulbury’s son and also a disciple of. Yoga Swamy. German Swami also had high class family connections in Germany. Annaikutty a Swami based himself in the vicinity of Batticaloa, while German Swami had his base in Sella Sanathy. Thanks for pointing out the error re: the name Ramsbotham.

        Dr. RN

        • 2
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          Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

          Did bare chested German Swamy has “Summa Irru” tattooed on his forearm? Whenever people who met him asked stupid questions he used to point them to his tattoo.

          My Elders have seen his tattoo when they met him many moons ago.

          Are there any good articles/books on Tamil Siddha tradition that you could refer us to?

          • 3
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            Thurumoolar’s works, especially the Thirumanthiram, would be the best source material on Saiva Siththantham.

            We as a family had a lot of contact with German Swamy and his disciples like Nari Kutty Swami. I have also stayed at his Ashram. However, I forget whether he had the tattoo on his forearm. Very likely. When I first left for Peradeniya as an undergraduate, he was staying with us and I fell at his feet and had his blessings. Those blessings have been with me since, amidst many an event in my life. In fact I bought my first wrist watch with the Rs 100= he gave me.Tears well in my eyes when I think of him. A great soul, with impish humour, who was in search of truth!

            Dr.RN

            Dr.RN

            • 0
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              “The last time I saw German Swamy was in 1972 at Kathirgamam. A young man of European appearance too was with him and some in our company mentioned that it was his son but later on I came to know that it was not so and that it was Patrick Harrigan an American who was responsible for setting up the Katragama web site katragama.org. They were both begging.I still have that scene in my mind’s eye.
              Patrick Harrigan had stayed on in the island and had participated in many Pada Yatras over the years to Kathirgamam from Selva Sanithy in Jaffna accompanied by devotees and had contributed articles in various news papers in Lanka.
              It is a shame that he was deported arbitrarily by the government a few years ago on suspicion that he was a Western spy.

              I also remember reading an interesting article about the German Swamy aka Gauribala by the late ManickSandrasegara a few years back where he attributed certain mystic powers the Swamy had unwittingly displayed;

            • 1
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              Peace

              Thanks

              Peace be upon you.

        • 1
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          “Annaikutty a Swami based himself in the vicinity of Batticaloa”

          That was Sivathondan Nilayam in Chenkaladi Batticaloa.He does go and spend time with Sellathurai Swamy as well.Mostly he was at Kaithady,Jaffna.

          • 1
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            Peace,

            Thanks for the link on German Swami’s history.

            He would also shock the ‘ Pious’ by visiting the palmyra toddy taverns in Sella Sanathy. Kadai Swami, who was a senior in the Paramparai- ahead of Yoga Swami, used to visit the toddy tavern in Jaffna town,to apparently shock the ‘ Pious’. I have never seen anyone swimming like GermanSwami did- seated cross legged! I yet cannot comprehend how he did this .

            Dr.RN

    • 10
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      Dr. Rajasingham Narendran

      Recently K A Sumanasekere got himself baptised .

      He is now known as K A Summa Irru Sekeram.

      • 1
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        ” Ellaam Avan Seyal ( Everything is ‘HIS’ action)”. Even if he has not become a Summa Iru Sekeran in this birth, he may become one in the next.,
        His favourite, ‘MR’ is visiting LORD VENKETESWARA in Thirupathi to seek his blessings and absolution. Unfortunately, there is no absolution in the Hindu belief system. Karma will work its way. There is absolution in Catholicism and Islam. MR has to confess in a Catholic Church or do the Haj. Unfortunately, this will not be possible unless he does the circumcision and becomes a Muslim.

        I am told that Lord Venketeswara has been made a party to many a crime. Those who intend to burgle, pledge a share to Venketeswara’s undiyal and keep their commitment! What a distortion of a belief system and pervertion of piety.

        No wonder, the likes of German Swamy shunned away the ‘Pious’ of this sort. Even Yoga Swamy is said to have yelled at individuals and chased them away from his ashram.

        Dr.RN

    • 1
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      Here is the link to German Swamy’s history.

      http://aryasangha.org/german_swami_life-and-times.htm

  • 4
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    Mahesan Niranjan

    The narrative is particularly fascinating. Very clever eavesdropping indeed at the ashram. TNA will ‘sit pretty’ for two more weeks. Only after sighting the flood waters will they take basket and mammotty in hand. About the prudence of it the writer and the commenter are at variance.

  • 2
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    Dear Prof. Mahesan Niranjan,

    RE: The Story Of A Timely Political Philosophy

    Prof. good succinct summary. However, the “Summaa Iru (just be)!” is not the correct decision. They did that in 2005, with their VP Maveeran, or rather Madu-Veeran ( Stupid Leader) and many Tamils and Madu-Vereran are gone too.

    Remember, Rome was not built in a day.UK, America all went through civil wars.

    So, the Tamils should vote for the Common Sense Candidate Mr. Mairiplal Sirisena, as a First step and Retire Medamulana Mara.

    I suggest you read the Common Sense pamphlet by Thames Paine, written in 1776, for the American Revolution

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Sense_%28pamphlet%29

    Common Sense (pamphlet)

    Take Away Points.

    1. “Bandaranaike did some precise calculations, yielded to temptation and declared him a Sinhala nationalist. He kept his promise to the electorate, enacted the Official Languages Act in Parliament and laid the foundation that made some of our countrymen feel they were aliens.”

    2. “Vote for me, I will beat up the Tamils.” J R Jayawardana.

    3.”Now as we enter the elections in 2015, we have some hope – the kind of hope with which a sinking man clutches onto any floating object. We want our country to be better.”

    4. Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa at Jaffna, “that “even if I build roads and railways for you, I know you won’t vote for me.”

    He is absolutely right.

    5. “Tamil voters come in two types. Those who revere their warlord will not vote for the President because he defeated and killed their hero. The rest will also vote against him because he sees no difference between the Tamils and the Tigers.”

    6. “With characteristic Sri Lankan English intonation, they asked: “Swami, now what to do?”

    The Baghavan spoke: “Summaa Iru (just be)!”

    However, the “Summaa Iru (just be)!” is not the correct decision. They did that in 2005, with their VP Maveeran, or rather Madu-Veeran ( Stupid Leader) and many Tamils and Madu-Vereran are gone too.

    What is the Correct decision? So, the Tamils should vote for the Common Sense Candidate Mr. Mairiplal Sirisena, as a First step and Retire Medamulana Mara.

    Remember, Rome, great Britain and USA were not built in a Day.

  • 4
    20

    Hello there Nirmalan,

    Solomon Ridgeway made Sinhala the National language of Ceylon for a good reason.

    I’d imagine if Solomon was born in England he’d make English the National language of England. If English is the language of England, why cannot Sinhala be for Ceylon or Sinhale?

    Now, all this crap have been said before ad nauseam. The most pertinent I suppose is you need to know Tamil is a feral language to Ceylon. Its has the same place as Urdu in England. Would England give recognition to Urdu?

    When a Pakistani migrates to England he does not demand to impose Urdu on the English does he? So why does a Tamil think he can in Ceylon?

    I think the problem in a nutshell was this. Tamils found themselves in a similar situation to the European settlers in South Africa. As you know the Europeans had the upper hand with education, wealth etc. It came to a point they did not want to hand back power to the majority blacks. An apartheid system was born.

    Now, you folks were Malabar slaves of the English. You were primarily imported to Jaffna to build rail roads. They eventually decided to keep you here permanently in Jaffna to work in their civil service. They even made sure you were given a far more resources to learn etc than the natives. The Tamil problem in Ceylon was born.

    Do you see? The moment you have a minority that thinks its superior than the majority these kinds of demands emerge. The Paki does not do that because he does not feel superior to the English. Do you know what I mean?

    • 7
      4

      Sometimes this argument is used – Pakistanis have lived in England since the Sixties but Tamils have lived in Sri Lanka for centuries, so they have a right to use the Tamil language whenever they want.

      Of course Jews have lived in England for centuries too but they don’t insist on using Hebrew or Yiddish do they? Nor are there any special holidays for Jews, Muslims, Hindus or Sikhs. Nor does every government for the last 60 years have representatives of the minorities in the cabinet or as diplomats or as corporation chairmen or…..

      • 1
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        Its the concept of homeland isn’t it? The Ceylon is the home where Sinhala evolved and grew.

        Tamil did make incursions and since 10 CE made settlements. Although it has still the same. They come, they integrate become Sinhala. Just like Sinhala who traverse to Tamil Nadu from Ceylon.

        • 2
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          Don’t spread lies Vibushana.

          The earliest information about Ceylon (or Lanka as known earlier) are from the Indian epics, Ramayanam and Mahabharatam. These epics refer to the great Tamil Dravidian King Ravanan, a devout Hindu who ruled Lanka, more than five thousand years ago. The Budhist chronicles, Mahavamsa written in 6th Century A.D., and the later Suluvamsa, give information about Ceylon history from 6th century B.C. All these contain some impossible stories, but contain some useful information about the early inhabitants of Ceylon and their culture and civilisation.

          Commonsense dictates that Tamils were the original inhabitants of Sri Lanka . There are at present, three ethnic groups in Sri Lanka – Sinhalese , Tamils, and Muslims. Of these, Islam was founded in Arabia in the 7th Century A.D., and the arrival of Muslims in Sri Lanka commenced later in the 8th century A.D. According to Mahavamsa, the Sinhala chronicle, the Sinhalese race originated in Lanka after the arrival by sea of Prince Vijaya and 600 men companions from North East India in the 6th Century B.C. As they misbehaved, they were banished from the kingdom by Vijaya’s father, who was the king, and drifted to Ceylon. There were no women among them, and so they married the local Tamil women including the Yaksha queen Kuveni, to form the Sinhala race. It is obvious, that at the time of the arrival of Vijaya, Sri Lanka could have only been inhabited by Tamils.

          From the ancient Indian epics, and other sources, there is information that Tamils were in Sri Lanka, then called Lanka, from pre-historic times. Some of them were known as Yakkas and Nagas, a cultured and civilised people. The Tamils followed the Hindu religion and were in Lanka long before Sinhalese arrived, when India and Lanka was one mass of connected land. Many thousands of years ago, obviously Ceylon was geographically part of the Indian mainland and the sea separated it by gradual erosion. While the main portion of the Tamil population remained in South India, the Tamils then living on the land cut off by the eroding sea, were left behind in Lanka.

          This is not to say that Tamils did not come from South India and settle down or go there subsequently. There would no doubt have been constant interaction between India and Ceylon and flow of people between the two countries from time immemorial, before and after the arrival of Vijaya. India and Ceylon are only a few miles apart, and fishermen from either side would have seen the other lands and people and settled on either side and intermarried.

          Not much information is available about the ancient Tamils of Lanka, who lived before the period of the Tamil Hindu King Ravanan, five thousand years ago, though Tamil existence in Lanka goes far back beyond King Ravanan. The arrival of Prince Vijaya and his men later in the 6th century B.C., was but one episode, and they found Tamils, with whom they intermarried.

          King Ravanan, the first known Tamil king was a powerful ruler, and was also known as Lankeswaran or Lord of Lanka. His son, Crown Prince Indrajithan was a renowned warrior, and his wife was the virtuous Mandothari. Later on there were famous Tamil Kings like Ellalan the Just and Parakramabahu the Great under whom the country prospered. The mighty Tamil Chola kings of South India ruled over the whole of Ceylon during different periods. By a twist of fate, the Tamils who were occupying all of Ceylon were overwhelmed and assimilated by the more aggressive Sinhalese. Gradually the Tamils were pushed into the Northeast, which now remains their embattled homeland. They are now fighting for their survival.

          Immigrants to Ceylon

          It can be assumed that Vijaya and his men who arrived from India in the 6th century B.C., and originated the Sinhala race were Hindus. However, Mahinda and Sanghamitta, the son and daughter of King Asoka of India brought Budhism later, and profoundly influenced the country. The Sinhalese were converted to Budhism during the reign of King
          Devanampiyatissa. The Sinhalese are not Aryans as claimed without any basis. They are a mixed ethnic group, largely Dravidians, speaking the Sinhala language, which developed later. Many South Indians who immigrated to Ceylon up to recent times were assimilated by the Sinhalese.

          During the mid-nineteenth century, Tamils from South India were brought by the British to work on their estates in the hill country as they were hard working. They constituted a substantial community at the time of independence and were contributing greatly to the economy of the country. They were concentrated mostly in the Central, Uva and Sabaragamuwa provinces and lived under difficult conditions. They are wrongly referred to as Indian Tamils, as the Sinhalese who came from India are not called Indian Sinhalese. These Tamils who immigrated in the nineteenth century should be correctly called Upcountry Tamils.

          The other large community, the Muslims were originally Arab traders who came to Ceylon and intermarried with local women. They were mainly traders and are spread all over the island. Among the Muslims were some Javanese brought by the Britishers as soldiers. All of the Muslims speak the Tamil language at home and those living in Sinhala areas could speak both Tamil and Sinhala well. Presumably, many Muslims immigrated to Ceylon from South India.

          The burghers were Eurasians of Portuguese and Dutch origin. They were westernised, well educated and living mostly in the towns. They did well in the professions and many of them served in the police force during British times. One of them, Duncan White, became a national hero when he won the silver medal for hurdles at the Olympics. After independence, most of the burghers in Ceylon, preferred to emigrate to Australia and other Western countries.

          • 1
            1

            Anpu: you quickly go to history and tell us (or cut and paste from Sangam web site) how great Tamils were and how great their achievements were thousands of years ago. What have we achieved in the recent past? What are we achieving in the present time? Is there anything you can point to in much closer temporal proximity we Tamils can be proud of? How about the way VP had TELO kids killed in cold blood. Are you proud of it? How about the way VP chased away thousands of Muslims from Jaffna? Are you proud of it? You see, when the CNN reporter asked Sri Lanka’s Ambassador Nonis about human rights violations, he sprinted back 2500 years to say we were wonderful then. What is the difference between that and your running back even further to talk about our glory days? PLEASE. Let us talk about the present times.The problems faced by our people and how we can address them effectively. Running back in time does not help.

            • 2
              1

              Arohara,

              I agree with you 100 % we do not need to go back to thousands of years.
              I was responding to a comment – “Tamil did make incursions and since 10 CE made settlements”.
              I am against any kinds of violence. I do not belong to any group. But I support Mr Sampanthan, Mr Sumanthiran kind of people – could be Sinhalese, Tamil,…..
              History is important and sometimes we need to go back and learn the true history.

      • 1
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        Taraki notes “Of course Jews have lived in England for centuries too but they don’t insist on using Hebrew or Yiddish do they?”
        But the Jews have no basis to claim on British soil as home as Tamils do to those parts in the North-East, where they have been in habitation as the dominant majority for many a millennia. It is only after the cash crop introduced by the British – where they needed English-speaking cadre – some Tamils migrated to the South from the North-East contributing to the common good by their welcome services. If the language equation was not so rudely disturbed in 1956, purely to serve political interests of the Sinhalese, the country could have remained united and in peace. Arrangements could have been made to provide a greater role to Sinhala other than destroying the role of the common bond of English. Today – everybody suffers by the poor quality of English and that includes the few Burghers around too. I know many Burghers who cannot speak properly in English leave aside read and write.

        R. Varathan

    • 15
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      I don’t get it Vibushana!

      Do you mean to say the Jaffna Tamils only arrived after the Britishers came to the island in late 18th century.

      I am confused. I was taught at school that king Dutugamunu conquered King Elara in Single combat more than 1000 years ago. I have to go back and find Ms Ratnayake for clarification if she is still alive.

      • 10
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        Ellakollage Appachchi

        ” I have to go back and find Ms Ratnayake for clarification if she is still alive.”

        If you are confused ask sach, nuisance, Taraki, Banda, mechanic, bla bla blAbhya, Irathinavalli, ……. Jim Softy, … wathie, …. ela kolla, mike, … Nishantha, …. Champika, …. new born Vanda, …

        They are happy to help you

      • 3
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        Ellakollage,

        Jaffna Tamils only arrived after the Britishers came to the island in late 18th century

        Jaffna was entirely Sinahala before British arrival.

        http://jaffnahistory.com/Northern_Province/Sinhala_Villages_of_Jaffna_1695.html

        So was the East.

        http://jaffnahistory.com/Eastern_Province/Sinhala_Villages_of_Eastern_Lanka_1695.html

        • 1
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          thanks vibushana – looks like whenever a version of history not in sync with their’s crops up our fellow CT forumers get very excited – I wonder why. it always have to be “me me my my” for some of this fellow. never think as a Sri Lankans.

      • 2
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        thanks aswer.

        I think Elara talked about in it is probably a south indian intruder as we faced a lot like him.

    • 14
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      Vibu
      I suggest that your knowledge of history is less than abysmal…. you should consider taking a crash course in Sri Lanka history before you speak out publicly again in this manner and have your ignorance displayed so pathetically.

      • 1
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        but what version of history ?- tamil version, british version, or Sinhala Buddhist version ? I can only say tamils please stop whining. if hindu can be the language of india there is nothing wrong with Sinhala being the language of sri lanka!! as if this made any difference to a Sinhala. infact 1971 JVP uprising was a direct result of it. educated Sinhala masses realised they were not recognized and could not get jobs with Sinhala only oh no they needed colonial English! what is wrong is the pathetic living standard of a poor sri Lankan which has not improved since the independence. be it a poor Sinhala or tamil. by the way Central bank statistics show it is unfortunately the Sinhala who are more backwards still with monaragala being far behind war torn north and east.

        • 6
          2

          The jester of CT and the doyen of Historic Comedy is back to make CT live and entertaining.

          This is the BEST joke of this millennium. I almost fell off the chair laughing. I did not know that Vibhushana is so creative in creating new historical jokes. None of the Sri Lankan history books (including Mahavamsa) has such wonderful jokes as the Vibhushana version of history.

          Every forum/blog used to have a jester, and here we have Vibhushana who is living in his own world of fantasy and coming up with very creative comedy, this guy is absolutely hilarious.

          Folks, let us enjoy Vibhushana’s creative historical jokes for a change. I had a very good belly laugh. Thanks Vibhushana for making my day so enjoyable.

        • 5
          1

          Double standards

          “educated Sinhala masses”

          What do you mean by educated Sinhala masses?

          “but what version of history ?”

          Void of any Mahawamsa myth, written by intellectually honest historian without fear or favour, who can stand up to the parochial nationalist’s and question their intention. It is simple as that.

          ” I can only say tamils please stop whining. if hindu can be the language of india there is nothing wrong with Sinhala being the language of sri lanka”

          You say whatever you say as if Hindi is the only language officially recognized by the Indian state.

          There are at least 18 official languages recognised by the Indian state. You should be ashamed of your pathetic lack of knowledge of other countries.

          Since you admire Hindi being the only official language of nearly 1.3 billion people why don’t the Sinhalese too accept it as the official language of this island given that there are only 20 million useless little islanders living here.

          Hindians believe Sri Lanka is the Sinhala state of Hindia, so you might as well learn Hindi and ban Sinhala in this part of Hinian territory.

          What is your problem?

          If you really are interested in imposing languages on people start with Elu, Prakrit, Pali, Sanskrit, Tamil, Portuguese, Dutch, English, Arabic, …. and ban Sinhala as it is a mixture of all these languages.

          • 1
            3

            well silly native – you talk as if tamil is not a national language of Sri Lanka. like I said before stop whinning! get a life – sick of oh we have suffered cos of Sinhala only is the stupidest argument ever – if at all its Sinhala people who shld sy that- as they could not get jobs after being educated in Sinhala which resulted in JVP uprising

      • 8
        1

        Bend Over

        You don’t understand.

        Vithushaha hears voices in his head. The voices make him type words over which he has no control

        Sometimes he hears several difference voices all at the same time hence his comments are jumbled and unclear.

        Otherwise he is a fine man with good heart. The problem with him is that he hears voices 24/07/52 in different languages including Tamil Sanga literature.

        Please bear with him.

      • 3
        1

        Ben
        Vibu cannot help himself, he has got a brain mesmerised by Mahanam’s Mahavamsa mantra.

    • 12
      1

      VIBHUSHANA,

      Go for a DNA test

    • 7
      1

      Vibhushana’s treasury of JOKES, wondering when he is going to publish his book of jokes, will be really entertaining, believe me, you can laugh to death.

      England English, therefore Ceylon Sinhala, LOL
      Tamil in Ceylon same as Urdu in England, LOL
      Tamils are Malabar slaves of the English (Malabars gave up their mother tongue and got converted to Tamils), LOL
      Sena & Guttika, Elara, Changili, el al were all brought by the British, LOL
      Tamils came by boat, Sinhalese came on a flight with Buddha, LOL

      My God, this guy Vibhushana has a lot of talent, he may become famous if he publish his book of JOKES.

    • 2
      1

      Hi Vibhushana,

      Why start a debate on a thing of the past when we are facing much difficult and important things to do? Do you want us and our country to engage in this debate all the time and make our children’s future darken?

      1. About official language,

      Yes SWRD was correct to make sinhala official language. But he was HALF correct, Tamil too should have been made an official language. Had he did it a lot of bloodbath in this country could have been avoided. What did we get in making sinhala the only official language?

      2. History argument

      I know there is a twist of the history of SL by Eelamist. But Tamil history and Eelamist history are two things. Lets protect tamil history while fighting eelam history.

      I know i myself engage in many history debates and i dont have any scholarly type learning just read books. And i know all who comment here are the same. The reason i engage is the freely spread eelamist propaganda has to be countered by someone.

      About ‘Summa Iru’….yes TNA should not publicly declare support but should give a feeling to MR that he will support MR.

      • 1
        1

        Sach,

        “Lets protect tamil history “

        We should protect all history.
        http://www.sangam.org/2011/08/Aryan_Theory.php?uid=4446

        An attempt has been made in some quarters to bolster up the theory that the science of irrigation was unknown to the inhabitants of Ceylon in pre-Vijayan times and that the science itself was an ‘Aryan’ product and brought to Ceylon by the Aryans. But if you examine the meaning and derivations of most of the terms associated with the irrigation works of the island, I doubt whether this theory could be maintained.

        First of all look at the following list of words: Anai, Kaddu, Anaikaddu, Marichukaddu,

        Kadavai, Karai, Munai, Thekkam, Kulama. These are all clearly Tamil words.

        •Anai, is support.
        •Kaddu, is a construction.
        •Anaikaddu, is a supporting embankment (The English word ‘anicut’ is this simple Tamil word.)
        •Marichukaddu, is a dam thrown across a river and is slightly different from anaikaddu, which is presumably on a side of a river or constructed to strengthen an existing dam. The Tamil verb ‘mari’ means to prevent or hinder, its past participle is ‘mariththu’, colloquially ‘marichu’. Anai is also found as a suffix at the end of several words. E.g: Habarana.
        •Kadavai, is a word or a place where you cross over from one side to the other, as in Thammankadavai or Iluppaikkadavai. This word is derived from the Tamil verb ‘kada’ – to cross.
        •Karai, is the edge of a tank or river or canal and is found in Elahera (Eelakarai) or Kaddukara (Kaddukarai).
        •Munai or Mune, as the Sinhalese call it is a point, the end or beginning of anything as in Hattamune.
        •Thekkam, is a place where a large quantity of water is allowed to accumulate, something in the nature of a reservoir; literally it means being full or rising to the brim.
        •Kulam, or Kulama as the Sinhalese call it, means a tank or pond or lake.

        Now look at a further list of words that may superficially appear to be non-Tamil words;

        Ela, yodiela, kalingula, potawa, potawana, wakkada, bema, amuna, biskotuwa, sorowa.

        •Ela is the Tamil, Ali, which means a ridge or mound of earth dividing fields, or an aritificial embankment for confining water. The word Ela also means a ridge along which water flows.
        •Yodi-Ela, is a canal of higher elevation which serves as a feeder to a reservoir. It corresponds to the Tamil ‘Uyantha Ali’ (high).
        •Kalingula, is a contrivance built into the spill for raising the spill level of a tank. In Tamil, Kalingul, is the name for a sluice.
        •Potawa, is collection of water from a bank of an ela, retained by a bund for use after it has passed over the upper fields. The Tamil paravai, refers to a flat expanse of water.
        •Pitawana, is a channel by which surplus water is discharged from a tank. The meaning can be rendered by the Tamil words ‘piravali’, i becoming n, pira meaning outside and vali (verb), meaning overflow and vazhi (noun), a way.
        •Wakkada, is gap or cut made in the bund for letting water into the fields. This closely resembles the Tamil word vaikkal, a water-course.
        •Bemma, is a bund or earthen dam closing the outlet of the valley in which the water of a tank is retained. This is similar to the Tamil word, varambu, with the elision of the consonant r.
        •Amuna, is a temporary dam for stopping or diverting the water streams for purposes of irrigation. This may mean simply man, or colloquially mannu, earth heaped across a stream.
        •Biskotuwa, is a square shaft or well sunk through the bund of a tank to reach the bottom of a sluice. Though the sluice could be reached from the outside the construction of a Biskotuwa is intended to admit light to the sluice and also as an aid to put a supplementary gate to the sluice whenever the sluice gate needs repair. A Biskotuwa in Tamil would mean Pulai Kudaivu. Pulai, means a hollow tube or a sally port or a secret way and Kudaivu, is scooping out, as a well. (The consonant l, in Tamil sounds zh.
        •Sorowa, or Horowwa as it is sometimes spelt, is the sluice of a tank under an embankment to conduct the water to the channels. This is the Tamil ‘Sorivai’, an opening through which water is made to flow out; sorithal, is pouring forth or streaming forth or flowing out, and vay, is a mouth or an opening.

        Mind you, I have culled out all the above words, together with their definitions, from the Ancient Irrigation Works, by R.L.Brohier. At least they reveal one fact, viz, that they are ultimately Tamil derivatives. My presumption, therefore, is that those, who built tanks and constructed large irrigation works in the past, possessed all the knowledge necessary for the purpose and were Tamil-speaking people and not the so-called Aryans from North India.

        • 0
          2

          i too have Brohier’s book. As you are always doing, you are pointing at the dravidian origin of sinhala people. The present so called tamil homeland that eelamists talk is a totally different thing. I am a person who believe Sinhala are primarily a dravidian people.

          • 2
            1

            sach

            “i too have Brohier’s book.”

            Are you using it as paper weight.

            • 0
              1

              what is your point? or do you have a point at all? I always tell you to read the content before barging into other’s conversation cos u become an utter joke like Aswer in parliament.

          • 1
            0

            Sach,
            “tamil homeland “
            When did we started talking about TAMIL HOMELAND? and WHY?
            Please give me an HONEST answer.

    • 2
      0

      Once again SOLOMON WEST RIDGEWAY DIAS-BANDA takes centre stage. It was ironic that this scion of the BANDARANAIKE family, who had Governor West Ridgeway as Godfather, was the one who turned against the family colonial sponsors. Seeing that the future of Sri Lanka was with the Sinhala-Buddhist voter, he wisely turned away from the Anglican Church, and the three-piece suit (he wore it under his arya-sinhala costume)(costume? well yes! He was sort of acting; socialist outside and Orient Club old-boy indoors).

      Perhaps, he is enjoying a chuckle and a game of billiards (just like he did in May ’58)in that heavenly Orient club in the sky, as he looks down on the confusion he left behind….’just a little trouble men, it will blow over in a few days’.)

  • 2
    7

    This is a story-teller par excellence, who manages well to reduce a simple concept about playing ethnocentric politics to a complex weave of real life intrigue and guesswork.

    In a way I agree with the swami’s exhortation to the TNA to “summa iru” as the tamil voters would know well what to do come election day, if allowed a free hand. It is wise I think to take a quiet, pragmatic and resolute stance and vote with their conscience for the best (and perhaps last) chance the country has to redeem itself and put right the wrongs perpetrated from the time of independence by seemingly well educated men and (later), women.

    This is particularly important in the context of an alleged white van orchestrator from the army being recently appointed as commander of the northern province, he who was also (perhaps exactly for this purpose and not just coincidentally) serving in Israel, learning no doubt at the feet of the masters of war mongering and deception.

    It is essential that the TNA play their hand correctly here, in order not to allow any open anti-government activity to cause any situation to result which can be ruthlessly exploited by the powers that be.

  • 10
    2

    Why involve the name of a holy man whose memory and teachings are revered by most hindus in your usual b.s like before?

    • 0
      0

      Justice: Our many dozen Hindu Gods will punish the author. You and I just have to summaa iru :-)

  • 1
    5

    Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, whose government was reeling from extensive press exposure, particularly by the Indian Express, of corruption in high places and payment of kickbacks in arms deals (estimated at 20,000,000 from Bofors of Sweden and 15,000,000 from the West German submarine deal), now became the instant hero of the Tamils of Ceylon when he intervened. (read UTHR)
    This gave rajeev a respite from the headaches in his own country. UK premier Cameron, when he came to the CHOMGM meeting in 2013 Nov, also acted the hero of the Tamil people although a lot of scandles and the chilcott report revealings the crimes against humanity by British soldiers were hanging over him.

    TNA is the little poddiyan who runs to India, saying, look, he bullied me.

    Today, Modi has no immediate reason to intervene. Jayalalitha is checkmated.

    Even if we disregard state terror, and if
    Mahinda and Fonseka had just allowed matters to roll on for a few more years,
    the internecine killings well as rivalries that would have appeared among Prabhakaran’s aspirants would have killed far more Tamil in the end.
    The younger generation was all but eliminated.

    • 7
      1

      Manoharan

      “TNA is the little poddiyan who runs to India, saying, look, he bullied me.”

      Of course when a little poddiyan is bullied he would run to a big poddiyan for help.

      Little poddiyan Premadasa and his very little army poddiyans ran to the big Poddiyan Praba for help, gave him kappang in cash and guns to teach the very big poddiyan Hindia. Little and very little poddiyans were hiding behind big Poddiyan VP’s big bum while he fought the very big poddiyan.

      Tiny Poddiyan Mahinda sent kappang to big poddiyan Prabha to fix the elections which he desperately wanted to win. Big poddiyan obliged and tiny poddiyan won. Rest is history.

      Tiny poddiyan thanked his very big sister Hindia for destroying big Poddiyan and his LTTE.

  • 2
    8

    You got to give it to Banda for going to Britain and liberate Buddhists and Buddhism.

    Band’s move facilitated the Buddhist inhabitants claiming their rightful place in the land which they have occupied since Buddha’s time and even long before that as Aboriginals..

    If not for Banda, our inhabitants would have faced the same fate as the Aboriginal people in Australia..

    The languages which allowed these people to live and grow for 40,000 years, are now virtually extinct.

    And most of the Aboriginal population I believe, live well below the poverty line and occupy most beds in Her Majesty’s prisons.

    May be our Professors who have become exciles and barrack for the new Opposition in SL can enlighten this Professor on the plight of these longest living human race in the World.

    And the reasons for it…

    • 0
      1

      KASumanasekera,
      It was Ponnambalam Ramanathan who went to England and argued the case of singhala Buddhists and others who had been imprisoned by the british governor :-

      http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=115490

      The singhala Buddhists were so grateful that they stood him in a chariot which they pulled through the streets.

      D.S.Senanayake obtained independence for Ceylon.

      Banda changed his dress, religion and language to obtain the votes of all Sinhalese and imposed ‘Sinhala only’ which divided the nation and made all non-Sinhalese into second class citizens.

  • 3
    2

    C.T Please remove great Ramana Maharishi’s photograph from this article.

    Mahesan Niranjan has dragged Maharishi’s name unnecessarily and insulting Hindus. Maharishi does not advice those who visit him. How did his friend visit him ” yesterday”when Maharishi passed away in 1950. Niranjan has no knowledge about Maharishi or Yogar Swamikal.

    Learn the basics of Hinduism before you write next time or write about your religion Christianity.

    • 5
      2

      Thevan

      Hindus are supposed to be free of all fanaticism and attachment.

      Why the hell are you attaching yourself to the photo and thinking what Mahesan wrote was insulting.

      Would you like blasphemy laws to punish those who don’t adhere to your brand of Hinduism?

      Did his article hurt tight ar**d Hindus? If it did we need more of it.

      Would Ramana Maharishi mind if he is still alive in his physical form?

      Here is some thing you would have missed while attaching yourself to the black and white perishable photograph and your zealous defense of impermanent:

      SIVA VAKKIYAR one of the 18 Siddhars

      Verse/83

      Where are the temples? Where are the holy ponds?

      You loathsome people who worship the temples and ponds! Temples and ponds are in one’s mind.

      There is neither creation nor destrution.

      Never, never, never.

      Translated by A.Rajaram Brammarajan

      brammarajan.wordpress.com

      Siva Vaakiyar,one of 18 Sidhars of India, has written poem,which goes like this?

      “NATTA KALLAI DEIVAMENDRU, NAALU PUTPAM SAATHIYE;
      SUTRI VANDHU MONEMONAVENDRU SOLLUM MANDHIRAM EADHADAA.
      NATTA KALLUM PESUMO?NATHAN ULLIRRUKAYIL;
      SUTTA SATTI SATTUVAM KARICHUVAYA ARIYUMO?

      Means : A planted stones, even you offer flowers to it alongwith Manta utchaadnaas, cannot speak ; but your innerself,where the Almighty resides can speak of Him volumes. The Stone is like a vessel and spoon, which at any time, does not know the taste of food cooked in/with them? But you, yourself with your inner heart know about Him more,which you do not realize.

      http://sivavakiyar.blogspot.co.uk/

      • 0
        0

        Ramana Maharshi had said not to attach importance to his form or body when devotees gathered around his bed side during his last days,.
        He said he was not going anywhere, meaning that he woul be always in the hearts and minds of all those who thought of him.
        So the presence of Ramanar’s photograph in the article is immaterial, and should be seen in the right context is my view.
        His message to seekers of “TRUTH” was to Know one’s self and to turn inwards to the source of the origin of all thoughts.
        That is what Jiddu Krishnamoorthy too meant whe he said “be a light onto one’s own self.
        The Buddha had said the same many years earlier before them.

    • 1
      0

      Please read CM CVW’S speech recently at VHP Congregation.This very subject is addressed.I cann’t put a link here but its on LankaWeb.

      Too much emphasis on rituals less emphasis on humanity and service to man kind.

      Wake up do some sole searching.

      We all should from time to time including me.

      P.S :I am not a fan of any organized religion including Hinduism.Doesn’t mean I am not spiritual.FYI.

  • 3
    0

    .
    Why waste our time and Chinese money on elections?

    We must go back to our tradition (Dutugemunu vs Ellallan) of deciding winners.

    Let MaRa and My3 go one on one at Galle Face on Jan 8th.

    :-)

  • 4
    1

    What a wonderful article. The way yoy have penned the past and the present political situation in the country with a sarcastic touch is splendid.I think at present the most important issue in the comming election is not the Tamil problem but dethronning the long lasting King. To do that the Tamils should vote
    as you mentioned in your article they know where to put their cross.

  • 1
    2

    Native Vedda

    I am glad that you are reading siththar’s poems but your foul language shows that you have not learnt the message conveyed by them. Practice follows from learning and I politely ask you to carry out both.

    Please respect others.

    Kani irukka Kai kavarnthenna……….Can you remember ?

  • 0
    0

    Due to my various preoccupations, Prof. Mahesan Niranjan’s satirical critique of TNA’s position caught my attention only this morning (8 December 2014). There is of course a (valid) background for this ‘timely political philosophy’ as the story outlines. Then after so many blunders in recent times (2005-2010), it is natural for the TNA to seek advice from a Holy Man. The advice was to “Summaa Iru.”

    Although the simple meaning is “Just Be,” the spiritual meaning is “Close Your Eyes and Cease Thinking.” That is the timely political philosophy!

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