30 October, 2020

Blog

The Story Of Forecasting Snow In Jaffna

By Mahesan Niranjan

Prof. Mahesan Niranjan

Prof. Mahesan Niranjan

Have you been in situations of embarrassment from which you wanted a quick exit? You might do it by suddenly changing the subject of conversation to get out of the difficulty, weather forecast being a popular trick. The South Indian Tamil author Jeyakanthan beautifully captures a variant of this in one of his short stories about a middle class family switching their conversation from Tamil to English: “the foreignness of the language masks the embarrassment of the topic being discussed,” he explains. My story today is about a young boy who found himself in such a situation and had to be rescued by his father’s wits.

The boy lived in Nallur, a fairly affluent suburb Jaffna town. If Jaffna had a system of postcodes, Nallur probably would have been allocated the number seven. It was a historic place, because in the 16th century, the Portugese took several attempts to defeat its king. There is a famous temple and an equally famous ice cream parlour in Nallur. Many political discussions among Tamils end with reference to the temple occupant in despair: “If that is what you say, even Nallur Murugan cannot save the Tamil people!” Recent history of the Tamil people has shown that saving them has never been high on the list of priorities for Murugan, yet he serves as a convenient source of hope. Apart from that, the temple offers a much cherished opportunity for middle class Tamil women to display their collection of gold jewels.

NallurTempleThe period in time the boy lived in Nallur was the late Seventies. Those were days of rapid rise in Tamil nationalism, admittedly as a response to the hegemonic political process played out from Colombo, but it also had a momentum of its own. It was around then we firmly established the existence of a majority community with a minority complex and the mirror image of it, a minority community with wannabe majoritarian tendencies. Both were manufactured belief systems that went unchallenged, and they bootstrapped off each other. “There may be just a few of us in comparison, but we certainly are cleverer,” was the driving philosophy drummed up at election meetings and propagated via media such as the Suthanthiran paper.

A particular topic of grievance upon which much of the political discourse took place had to do with tertiary education. Candidates for university admission sat the public exam in their respective mother tongues – Sinhala and Tamil. A disproportionately large number of Tamil medium students gained admission to universities, particularly on the most sought after professional courses. Variants of “You guys go to university in large numbers because exam papers are easier in your medium, you cheats!” versus “We do better at exams because we are cleverer, haven’t you noticed?” were often heard in media, political platforms and Parliament. The government tried to deal with this imbalance by introducing a system known by the term standardization, initially conceived as quotas for the two streams, and later modified to be in terms of population distribution across the districts. It was a policy that attracted high levels of emotional discussion, particularly when the taken in the context of other attitudes seen then, some of which linger to the present day.

Of the young boy, it could be said that he was not particularly clever and had no useful skills such as fixing a bicycle tyre or catching a cricket ball thrown at him. But he could do calculus very fast. From that alone his future was predictable. Good exam results, entrance to engineering school, job in the government, marriage to a fat dowry, and a ‘happily ever after’ life!

One evening, at a dinnertime conversation with his father, he raised the topic of university admissions and complained about the discriminatory policy of the government. “It is not fair,” he said, “I have to score 70 marks to get in, while some idiot from Hambantota or Mannar who can’t do calculus as fast as I can, only needs 55 marks.”

“How level is that playing field?”

After listening to the young boy’s outburst with considerable patience, the father asked him to review his day.

“I woke up at 05:00 AM, had a Marmite drink; cycled to tuition, taught by a brilliant mathematics teacher; came back and had a bath; had breakfast; cycled to one of the best secondary schools in the country; taught by some of the best teachers in the country…” the young boy described.

MarmiteDrinkThe recipe for the Marmite drink is not complicated. You take some boiling water in a mug, take a teaspoonful (heaped) of Marmite and dissolve it by stirring clockwise for two dozen rotations. Hey presto! You have a nourishing and refreshing drink which also leaves a delicate after taste of considerably long time constant in your palettes. It has been noted that the yeast extract has properties similar to Tamil nationalism and the fruit Durian. You either love it or hate it.

Getting back to the father son conversation over dinner, “now think of a boy your age in Killinochchi,” the father said, “that boy would also have woken up at 05:00 AM; he would have gone into the field and helped his parents with irrigation, after eating some left-over rice from the previous day; he would have helped in milking the cows; would have walked to a school with no good furniture, let alone laboratory provision; he probably would not have had teachers who could teach the full syllabus in calculus and physics…”

“How level is that playing field?”

That conversation firmly established in the young boy’s thinking a position “more to the Left” in the political spectrum.

A week or so later, when the boy cycled back from school, he stopped to talk to a schoolmate. The venue was an election rally of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) at the Amman Kovil (temple) grounds in Nallur, reportedly the site of a major battle between the invading Portugese and the local king. The schoolmate, let us call him Jonathan Crinkle-Bottom, for I do not wish to reveal his real name, also lived in Jaffna Seven, and the family were known to the young boy’s family. Uncle Crinkle-Bottom was not the young boy’s real uncle, but in Sri Lanka we refer to everybody about fifteen years older than ourselves as uncle/aunt to avoid saying their names – a kind of Sri Lankan English, if you please.

There were speeches charged with high emotion at the rally. They promised to separate the country, and teach the oppressors a lesson by drinking their blood and making slippers out of their skins. Jonathan was highly excited by all that. He took out a sharp instrument from his pocket (was it a shaving blade or a Swiss army knife, I do not recall), made a cut on his thumb, ran up the stage and made a blood pottu on the speaker’s forehead.

The young boy was unimpressed. “This is madness,” he opined, “how can we, numbering less than a fifth of the population in the island, fight against the four fifths and defend a border that stretches over two thirds of the island’s circumference?” he asked. Jonathan claimed that would not be difficult because our interfering neighbour India will walk in and sort it all out – just as they had done in Bangladesh. The two had an argument. The young boy predicted that the particular path being advocated by the speakers at the rally was going to lead to a massacre of the Tamil people in Jaffna within about five years. Jonathan was angered by the doom and gloom stance and came close to hitting him. The young boy, having predicted this possibility, got on his bike and made a rapid retreat in the direction of Nallur Temple.

Later events were to prove the young boy wrong on two counts. The massacre he predicted did not happen in Jaffna (it was in Mullaithievu), and it was not in five years (it happened three decades later).

That he had to run away under threat of assault hurt the boy’s ego very much. He wanted his revenge.

The opportunity came the following Saturday, when uncle Crinkle-Bottom visited the family with the latest issue of Suthanthiran. Full of excitement triggered by one of its article on discrimination in university admissions, the uncle made a bold claim about his son.

“All because of discrimination against us,” he stated, “my son Jonathan was a victim of standardization,” and continued, “If the admissions were fair, he would be in university now, reading Engineering.”

The young boy pulled the knife out.

“Uncle, even if all the five thousand six hundred and seventy eight places in the universities were given to Tamil medium students,” said the young boy, “Johnny aiyaa (older brother) wouldn’t get in!”

There was an open wound, and the young boy’s knife was driven straight into it. He knew the capacity of Sri Lankan universities was somewhere in the region of 5000 students per year, but his manufactured precision in the figure 5678 enhanced the credibility of his claim. He could have used the Tamil word “annai,” instead he chose the Sinhala word “aiyaa,” just to make sure the knife went an extra inch deeper.

Uncle Crinkle’s face went blank and a socially most difficult situation arose in that living room. Everyone there could feel the tension in the air.

The boy’s father came to the rescue. “Did anyone hear the weather forecast on radio today,” he asked.

“Did they say it was going to snow this evening?”

[Postscript: A few years later, in 1984 to be precise, Jonathan Crinkle-Bottom was killed during an attack on an army garrison. Johnny annai was fighting for a cause he certainly believed in.]

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 1
    0

    Thank You Prof, Niranjan for this story. Sad was the destiny of young Crinkle-Bottom; but whatever happened to Calculus Minor?

    • 1
      0

      I am sure minor calculus went on to study with his sinhala brothers got exposure to sinhalese and english culture and climbed the social mobility ladder and perhaps living in comfort in a western country.

      He would have also acquired biases against his own community/communities. However I expect minor calculus still yearns for 3Ds (Democracy, development and devolution) to happen in his motherland.

    • 1
      0

      Much of what Niranjan writes is autobiographical.

      • 1
        0

        Agnos: Well spotted, you are very clever!

        • 3
          2

          Once again we hear a story fueled with ethanol (beer).

  • 4
    3

    1 I love a marmite drink in the morning
    2 I also think standardization was one of the best things done by the Sirima govt . considering how different the educational facilities are between the villages and cities and the rich and the poor the older systems made a mockery of the free universal education system . personally in the university in engineering it was pretty obvious that the real gap if there was one was minimal between top students from Colombo Jaffna or Galle compared to one from say Bandarawela or Hambanthota .

    • 0
      0

      Does one need more proof or evidence than of Abhaya, a product of Mediocrity thanks to Standardization.

    • 0
      0

      The standardization of Sirima is one of the most stupid things she did among many others

  • 5
    4

    Hi Abhaya what a stupid remark!!. If some districts have no good education then improve the system. Don’t punish the deserving students by territorial standardization. Not only it punishes good students it drastically reduces the University standards.
    The pre-university students excelled not only because of teachers and schools but also because of culture and parental involvement. In Jaffna parents continuously dream of making their children doctors and engineers.Private tutoring is a big industry in Jaffna. Parents pawn their assets to educate their children.There is nothing to prevent Ratnapura parents from doiung this.

    • 3
      4

      you are a total idiot . 90 % of the top marks getters failed miserably while going though 4 years if engineering school without having the tution classes and a very large number were from jaffna . I am telling this with real experience which was my own . The requirements change a great deal when you go from the bottle fed A Levels to Actual university Education where there is no one to bottle feed you .

      It does not matter if the jaffna parents pawn this or that . The parents in the wanniya dont have this and that to pawn because they are dirt poor . We should not ever punish them for that .

      Standardization is actually a very good thing . and if you want to know I did not get in because of standardization I was already in the top 10% based on merit .

      • 0
        0

        what is wrong in getting private tution? Even the university students would get private tution today. What we need is educated people it doesnt matter whether they get private tution. Private tution fills the gap the education provided by gov cannot fill.

        Any parent would provide best tution for their children if they have the means. There is nothing wrong in that and it doesn t say the children are idiots.

        Due to standardization another problem started apart from fueling an existing ethnic divide.
        1. Many well to do families from rural areas who had settled in Colombo would take their children to their rural villages to sit for exams. The standardized sys was used by people like that.

        2. The quality of education in school didnt change according to distrcits. Even in Colombo, there are poor students who go to very poor schools without quality teachers. If one takes a walk around Colombo one will see many small schools with no facilities. So with this system that school was also treated with the same spoon that Royal or Ananda did. So standardization didnt really solve issues.

    • 4
      1

      At this point I would like to quote a young Tamil Lady doctor, who I met at a Tamil Wedding. Thinking I was also a Tamil invitee, she told me that it was customary for Tamil students to head their Exam papers with the ‘OM’ sign, which would help Tamil Lecturers to identify them. I do not know why she told me this, but I leave it to the readers to make their own conclusions.

    • 5
      0

      Do you see how selfish you are? Just because Jaffna students get high marks does that mean they are anymore capable or intelligent than a student scoring law marks from a less developed districts because they didn’t have as good schools as Jaffna?

      Well, then one needs to be “intelligent” to understand this no eh?

      Standardization based on school zone is exactly the right thing to do.

      if the government had thought oh well it would be better to develop schools than introduce standardization we would still be developing schools! Tell me, have we developed schools now? Do we have a level playing field now? How many years have we been developing schools since the time the law was brought in?

      When Jaffna Tamils do not want any Sinhalese in the North, they say OK don’t have the government create settlements but let the people come by themselves. They know very well that people are not going to migrate to a less developed part of the country when the Tamils there themselves are moving to Colombo. But that’s fine right?

      See how similar this claim about developing schools in other parts is. The Tamils know very well that developing schools will takes year if not decades. Even today, one only has to look at the competition that is taking place at the grade 5 scholarship exam to understand the disparity that is there among schools in different parts of the country. Still these selfish cunning men say, OK NO standardization, lets develop schools so that people in underdeveloped parts could compete with people from more developed parts.

      In the mid 19s, 60% or so university intake came from Colombo. 30% or close to that number came from Jaffna and rest of the country contributed only about 5%. Even then these bastards still want to wait until the government is done developing schools.

      The best response to this is fir the government to immediate abolish standardization for N & E. Put all districts in N & E with more developed parts of the South like Colombo, Mathara and Kandy. This would cover more than 60% of the country. Have standardization only for limited parts in the South. If Tamils want competition please let them have it. When these guys feel the “crunch” they will understand how “intelligent” and “deserving” they really are.

    • 2
      2

      Robert Ryan:

      You are the Stupid AH.

      Think you AH, in a country where students have dissimilar resources or resources not provided equally, in that situation, Standardization is the best.

      When the resources are provided equally as in the developed countries, Standardization is discrimination.

    • 3
      1

      Robert Ryan:
      Would you say that to people in Killi and Mullai also — “pawn your jewels and send your kids to tuition”? (Remember their jewels are already with the pawn shop to pay for seeds and fertilizer.)

  • 1
    1

    Mahesan Anna,

    I read your story but found no moral in it.

    What were you driving at???

    • 3
      0

      He was cleverer than Jonathan.Also he sent a knife into the tamils with the slippers made out of skin story.A pretty revolting statement by i believe mrs.amirthalingam.Shows how crude and vulgar our politicians were just as bad as the sinhala ones.I honestly think when i see the uncivilised behaviour and facial features, sinhalese and tamils are just two branches of the same tree divided at some time due to religion.

      • 0
        0

        Is slippers made out of skin story really true? many southern politicians made use of that.

    • 2
      0

      another point he wanted to make that it does not snow in Jaffna.Surely BBS rep you have the brains to at least get that point.Have i got to point it out to you like as if you are a chokka baba.If a bananna is given to you by niranjan you will also ask him to peel it and feed you.

      BTW niranjan is one of the best short story writers i have come across.Superb writing style.Once you start to read can’t stop.

    • 4
      0

      Morals cannot be found in all stories. What Prf. MR tried to convey is extremism spells disaster. His story is meant for those who look at things with moderate and focused minds. Not for extremists. The young boy’s father, though playing a passive role, is the real hero of the story.

      • 4
        0

        “If some districts have no good education then improve the system. Don’t punish the deserving students by territorial standardization.”

        As regards improving the system, there are three major issues that need to be resolved;
        a) Appointment of “good” teachers
        b) Providing well equipped laboratories
        c) Providing good libraries

        The present system of appointing teachers without proper screening and testing has been found disastrous. Vacancies have been filled with teachers who cannot teach. Tution Masters have come to the rescue of students and all TV channels are full of advertisements of tution masters highlighting achievements of their students. Like the blanket cover given to state sector doctors to engage in private practice (now there are no GPs like good old days and temporary GPs start practicing after 4.00 pm in ramshackle “Dispensaries and Surgeries”)teachers in government schools have started tution classes in tin sheds. Students of their own schools are “forcibly encouraged” to attend.

        Laboratories are opened under decentralized budgets and under various programmes of the “Ministries” of Education but only god knows who decides on the equipment. Whether the equipment would serve the intents of curriculum or whether the teachers know how to conduct experiments are separate questions.

        Similarly libraries are also opened but without qualified librarians. No collection development policies, no internet facilities and no funds to acquire new stocks. Asia Foundation comes to the rescue with books containing “old knowledge” of the west but with some relief to knowledge starved poor students.

        In the midst of all these inadequacies the performance of some of our students at universities, as Prof. MN has pointed out in a comment to another report in CT, are comparable with those in the developed world. Yet a few exceptions cannot be used to generalize that our education system is good. Literacy needs to be strengthened with “ITaracy”.

      • 0
        0

        Professional
        Well spotted. I think you are more intelligent than agnos.
        Ken

    • 1
      0

      BBS Rep Malli
      When you have a thick skull with a vacuum in it,it is not a surprise that you cannot understand the moral in it?

    • 1
      0

      BBS salesman,
      Got a point,

      BBS Only Paving way to Destroy the Lord Buddah’s Universal Truth.
      Just have look On So called saviour GANDASSAARA’s Moral Point.
      Do your Balu sena have any moral with your acts and agenda.
      Bullshit Balu Sena.
      Ask and Let him to visit Eastern province and see how the People are suffering,
      Because of His Other stooges, “Looting Malabari JARAPASSA clan”.
      They are Going to Kill all the Sinhalese, tamils, Pawning Trincomalee to Hindians and Building Coal [Cancer] Power house,
      Destroying Fertile Mahaveli Delta, spreading sulphur rain and poison gases to kill people in the easter province,
      Getting commission from multy national Hidian’s companies.
      Another BHOPAL IN to THE MAKING>.

  • 1
    1

    It is not snow. It is leaked sewage!

    Jaffna so deserves that stuff.

  • 7
    0

    At the 2013 Advanced Level examination, 63 % of those who sat from the Jaffna district have qualified for University admission -the highest percentage in the island! This indicates that after even 30 years of a devastating war, there are yet thousands of aspiring ‘ Marmite Jonathans’ in Jaffna district. The Batticaloa district has come second in the island and has apparently taken to the ‘Marmite Jonathan’ model.

    The medium of instruction is yet Tamil in these districts, they are coming out of a very destructive war and the schools in Jaffna are not in the same class they were once. What has remained constant since the pre-standardisation days?
    Is it the parental pressure? Is it societal aspirations? Is it the institutionalised private tuition industry! Is it a community realisation that educational attainments are a passport to success in life ( the rat race!) and employment opportunities in a much wider world? Could it also be in the present circumstances driven by the overarching desire to migrate legally with skills demanded by the West? Is it combination of all these factors!

    I wish the likes of Cyril Matbew who are yet around would come forward to explain this phenomenon!

    Dr.Mahesan Niranjan, you have described the emotive political sloganeering of the era that led the Tamil community in the north to unforeseen destruction over three or more decades, quite poetically . The same sloganeering yet rules the roost with the same hypothetical and definitely untenable pipe dreams!

    Further, influential elements in the Sinhala- South are now not suffering from a ‘ Majority with minority mindset’ syndrome, but a mental aberration that the world revolves around them and they can teach some lessons to the world!
    On the other hand, influential elements in the Tamil-North, yet are unable get to over their ‘ Minority with majority mindset’ syndrome. This segment thinks they can manipulate and mobilise the world to give form to their mindset!
    Where will these aberration in thoughts, words and actions lead the Sinhalese, Tamils and this island?

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    • 0
      1

      Dr.Narendran
      You have said in detail all what,I had to say but lazy to type out on the key board.Thanks.

    • 2
      0

      “Is it the parental pressure? Is it societal aspirations? Is it the institutionalised private tuition industry! Is it a community realisation that educational attainments are a passport to success in life ( the rat race!) “

      or could it be the ” OM ” sign….?

      • 0
        0

        The ‘Om’ will not make a difference as the question papers and answers are in Tamil. The answers scripts are also marked by Tamils and Muslims. This will be true unless the religion of the examiner has an impact on how the answer script is marked.

        Dr. RN

        • 0
          0

          Dr RN, Sorry, My comment was in reference to the days before SWRD. I am now in my 80s.

  • 1
    0

    >
    1. I met many Jaffna students who entered university by taking their second attempt A/L exams in remote areas.
    >
    2. My neighbour ( a Sinhalese from a leading Sinhala school in Colombo) dropped out of university saying that most of the students at the university are not qualified to be there. Later he completed his ICMA in 2.5 years and became very success in his career.
    >
    :-)

    • 2
      0

      So only Tamils can go to university!

      What bull!

      Then bust the universities (leaving only the Kotalawala Defence University).

  • 0
    1

    Oh India eh? Now why should India bother about some idiots who are not Indians? The Sinhalese are Indians and they are happy to acknowledge their Indian origins but these what do you call ems? These thamileelams are not Indians. Who are they? Where do they come from? Why do they want a seperate country of their own? Are they Tamils? If so where do Tamils come from if not Tamilnadu? Nope. These are some very strange creatures of unknown origin and worse still unknown allegiance.

  • 3
    0

    The standardisation affected lot of Sinhala students too (myself included). I can see both pros and cons of it.

  • 0
    1

    Agree with Mahesan Anna. What is the moral?

  • 1
    0

    [I woke up at 05:00 AM, had a Marmite drink; cycled to tuition, taught by a brilliant mathematics teacher; came back and had a bath; had breakfast; cycled to one of the best secondary schools in the country; taught by some of the best teachers in the country…” the young boy described. ]

    MAHESAN NIRANJAN:

    You are not describing at all a poor low CASTE TAMIL BOY HERE.

    SO, YOU NEED TO BE HONEST.

  • 2
    0

    MR! Here is a stupid question from a Tamil who believe in a cause!!! Did Sri Lanka achieve Level playing field post 1972 following the ingenuity of the ruling class whom mostly are the very products of standardisation and district basis? One nursery rhyme come to my mind. Humpty Dumpty sat on War on Terror wall;
    Humpty Dumpty had a Zero death toll;
    All the kings’ men Gl, DJ, WS and Rohan Gunawardane
    couldn’t put ape ratta together again. Rana Boomi OM

  • 2
    3

    Professor Mahesan Niranjan’s piece is a little plagiaristic (I have seen the phrase “Jaffna 7” in writings elsewhere) and is a suck up to the governing ethnic group in his description of standardization.

    His conversation between the student (in the 1970s) and his father re-lays out the vain and shameless defence of standardization.

    The reality however in the 1970s when the conversation in the article took place is that standardization was based on ethnic quotas effected using the fact that region (except for Colombo and a few other places) translates into Tamil or Sinhalese. The SLFP was trying to expand its vote base into the Sinhalese middle class which was aspiring to have more university seats. The arguments to justify it are being repeated by Professor Niranjan.

    Even with regional quotas, Prof. Niranjan’s argument that regional boys had to work on farms while richer boys could just study is inappropriate because it was not regional boys on farms who got in through standardization. Those who benefited from regional quotas were largely the rich from the regions – like students from Richmond in Galle, Trinity in Kandy, and St. Michael’s and Vincent Girls’ in Batticaloa – and not poor children. In fact many regional rich, privileged children in boarding schools in Colombo and Jaffna also got in through standardization.

    Further in the entirety of the 1970s when the conversation in the article took place, the ethnic aspect was a part of standardization. The government’s and the professor’s argument assume that a Tamil coolie’s son at St. Anthony’s Maha Vithyalayam or Mutwal Hindu College was privileged compared to an SLAS officer’s son at Royal or St. Thomas’, and therefore the latter needed a reduced bar for university entry; for standardization treated both as equal so long as they were from the same province.

    Indeed, there is more – standardization assumed that a Tamil SLAS officer’s son at Royal was privileged compared to a Sinhalese SLAS officer’s son at Royal and therefore deserved a lowered cutoff mark for the latter. In this regard standardization was rank communalism without pretences.

    I am sad that Professor Niranjan, one of the best we Tamils have produced and has come this far in academic life despite standardization, is trying to justify an important instrument that was part of the government’s concerted effort to kill Tamil intellectual life! My humble advice to him: No presidential appointment is worth the sacrifice of your high reputation as an academic at a major British research university.

    • 2
      0

      Suppose Tamils had a separate country. Suppose there were 2000 university places and 1500 of them went to Jaffna middle class. Would you not consider standardization to give a chance to people of Wanni or the people of the East? (given the imbalance in opportunities)

      • 0
        0

        They dont care for the people in the wanni or the East . its all about jaffna .

      • 0
        0

        Standardization should not be on the basis of districts or race, it should be based on level of income. You need to invest on the areas where level of income is low to bring down the gap between poor and rich.

    • 0
      0

      Upset Tamil — Please read;
      The district quota system introduced under the standardization of university admissions is presently under review for the introduction of a novel system in conformity with recommendations by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), officials said.

      The standardization of admission criteria was introduced in 1973/74, and it was roundly opposed by the Tamil polity. Political analysts even cited it as a reason, among others, for the advent of Tamil militancy.

      Currently, 40 percent of students are admitted in island wide merit, 55 percent on district quota and five percent on the least developed district quota. An official of the University Grants Commission (UGC) said that the number of students to be admitted on district quota is still determined according to the 1993 population of the country. The official who wished to remain anonymous said that the quotas allocated to each district did not tally with the subsequent population changes.

      “It was argued at that time that students from the northern districts including Jaffna were at the receiving end after the introduction of the quota system. However, the population of the north has dropped today. Yet, the northern districts still enjoy the same quotas determined according to the 1993 population. At that time, there were more than 700,000 people in Jaffna. It has come down to 400,000 today,” the official said.

      Also, the official said though the Colombo population had increased both due to natural growth and migrations, it enjoyed a proportionately low quota in university admissions.

      The LLRC in its report had recommended the appointment of an experts committee to do with the quota system for a merit based system. Recently, the National Action Plan for the Implementation of the LLRC Recommendations, in a report to the diplomatic community in Colombo, informed that a committee had been established to work in this regard. A period of two years has been stipulated for the UGC to finalize action on the issue.

      Asked for a comment, Higher Education Ministry Secretary Dr. Sunil Jayantha Navaratne said that a new system would be implemented gradually without causing injustice to any community.

      “It cannot be done overnight. A gradual approach is actually needed for it,” he said.

      Professor R. O. Thatil who introduced the Z-score marking system for Advanced Level Examinations, also stressed the need for gradual doing away with the district quota system.

      “Once a fully pledged school network is established throughout the country, there is no need for a district quota. We can abolish the system gradually,” he said. (Kelum Bandara)

      You will be pleased that the dreaded system is at last on its way out.
      Still upset?

    • 0
      0

      This is an idiotic comment from somebody who has never visited anywhere than the big city . and its idiotic to say it is the students from trinity or richmond who get the benefit . The Students from the Jaffna hindu and St Micheals get the same benefit . Because once you take the Merit potion off all the other positions are standardized . and most of the students who make it from the north in this group are pretty terrible .

      You have no idea how the system works then dont write idiotic nonsense. this is the same BS that led to the war . What tamils parrot to the europeans who parrot it back .

  • 1
    0

    Education is one of the key measures of development similar to the income. If the national income is not distributed equally throughout the society then it is not healthy to a nation. Similarly, higher level of eduction should lead to high level development.

    High development means there is peace, harmony, people enjoying freedom, efficient and effective administration, less corruption, rule of law and more stability in the nation (there is no wars, no insurgencies, no discrimination). In other words people are happy irrespective of the differences.

    In reality, what we have so far achieved: no peace, fear, corruption, no rule of law, no justice, wars, insurgencies and massacres), but still looking for excuses.

    Standardization did not provide the necessary input for a healthy nation because the motive of the standardization policy was ethnic divide rather than ethnic unity. The outcome of that policy is not simply the massacre of Tamils in Mullaithevu. The outcome of this policy lead to accumulation of massacres happened in 1970 (Sinhala youths), 1977 (Anuradhapura), 1983 (National), 1989 (Sinhala Youth), 1983 – 2009 (Various Sinhala, Thamil, Muslim) and May 2009 (Tamils).
    In May 2009 Tamils suffered a huge lose but Sri Lanka as a Nation lost everything except Sinhala Buddhist Fundamentalism and Authoritarian. Who won?

  • 0
    0

    Jaymass! Yes1 the idea will be entertained but not along the ethnic line -see upset Tamil’s remarks- but with a statistically based proper formula. No system is perfect but solutions should be based on inherent good will in recognising every citizen as equal. The sinhala majority should have demanded for a fair and just system instead of letting the erosion happen under whatever pretext. Likewise the claim of Zero Civilian Death Toll and it’s endorsement by deafening silence by the learned intellectuals and the professionals (products of standardisation) is an insult to humanity. There lies the truth.

    • 0
      0

      Great, thank you. You are open to the idea of standardization inside the Tamil country. Excellent, and thank you for the honesty on that.
      (Of course it won’t be ethnicity based because you would have chased out the Sinhalese and Muslims from this Tamil country, right?)
      Tell us more, please. What formula you have in mind?

  • 1
    0

    Thank you jaymass asking for my advice although a lot too late. No problem is complex if there is an honest intention to solve. One way of doing it is to have a minimal entry marks to the uni and have an Exam on common papers at the end of first year and then to stream accordingly to medicine and biological science – engineering and physical science etc., Introducing mentoring and extra classes for the needy including english classes by the capable English as a second language teachers at the uni during the first year etc.If I have all the data and statistics it is easy peacy to come out with a just formula as I shall take it only as a challenge to my intellectual ability. Remember the medieval king Ellalan from Mahavamsa? How come in the last NPC election muslims voted for TNA and not for UPFA? Any thoughts?

    • 1
      0

      Dear Daya.Thevi,

      a) You complain it is too late to seek your advice, yet you don’t even have spent time gathering the data needed formulate a complete plan. But I agree there is merit in your line of thinking (take more into uni and stream/fail them after a first year of level playing field; many European universities have been doing just that).

      b) Do you actually take Mahavamsa as a source of information? That will spoil any credibility you have for talking about (a), mind you :-)

      c) Muslims voting for the TNA instead of UPFA in NPC elections — this is a great question, thank you. There are two reasons: UPFA and TNA.

      (1) UPFA: Muslim people have figured out that the racist attacks on their places of worship and business that happened in recent months are not from some fringe group, but is mainstream politics of the SL regime. The BBS is an arm of the government, created to fill the space which Ranawakas and Weerawansas were trying to expand into. See how squeezed they now are and keeping so quiet through Pilla visit, CHOGM conference, Cameron visit to Jaffna, and even the young Canadian MP’s PR campaign there last two days? R & W cannot make noises because noise-making is BBS territory now, with the switch to turn it on and off kept in HQ. So some of the Muslim vote is protest vote.

      (2) TNA: Muslims also have been persuaded that the TNA is not LTTE. The TNA have done a good job of showing this by sacking Gajen gang in 2010 and making clear statements about Muslim eviction from Jaffna in Sumanthiran’s comments. For some people they have not gone far enough (Sritharan in the Wanni and Ariyanthran in Batti continue to make stupid remarks), for others they have gone too far. In fact those who think the TNA has gone too far in abandoning their LTTE roots live more in Toronto and Webland than in NP. But overall, the message that TNA is not LTTE is very clear, certainly so looking from outside the Tamil community.

      Those are my thoughts. Please let us know if Mahavamsa has a better theory, will you?

  • 0
    0

    Niranjan:

    “… They promised to separate the country, and teach the oppressors a lesson by drinking their blood and making slippers out of their skins.”

    Allegations like this have been made by some people against Mrs. Amirthalingam but she has denied it.

    I am several years junior to you but I attended some TULF meetings at that time and didn’t hear anything like that. I did hear about standardization, but it was more like ‘why should a Kandasamy get more marks than a Perera and still lose a Univ seat to the latter?’ or ‘Say you are a Tamil, hold your head high.’

    So if you heard it yourself, you should say who made such a speech. If you are writing it from hearsay, that practice should stop–especially on such an incendiary issue.

    “… made a cut on his thumb, ran up the stage and made a blood pottu on the speaker’s forehead.”

    This practice was not confined to TULF meetings. When Srimavo was still PM and JRJ was the opposition leader, he visited Point Pedro for a UNP meeting. I wasn’t yet 10, but I was there and saw a Tamil man trying to do the same for JRJ; the latter didn’t accept it, but the point is you are trying to conflate that practice with Tamil nationalism, which is not valid.

    • 0
      0

      Regarding the blood pottu, I was at an election meeting in the early 1960s with Chelvanayagam on the stage when the audience was invited to come in line to the stage, cut their hand and sign a pledge in blood to fight for Tamil Freedom.

      However, because of entrenched ideas of purity, I doubt that a typical Tamil would like another person’s blood on his forehead.

  • 0
    0

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran,

    I fully appreciate your following assessment:

    “Further, influential elements in the Sinhala- South are now not suffering from a ‘Majority with minority mindset’ syndrome, but a mental aberration that the world revolves around them and they can teach some lessons to the world!

    On the other hand, influential elements in the Tamil-North, yet are unable get to over their ‘Minority with majority mindset’ syndrome. This segment thinks they can manipulate and mobilise the world to give form to their mindset!”

  • 0
    0

    Jaymass! So you agree that Sinhalese and Muslims will not be chased out of the Tamil country if Tamils are able to decide on the welfare of their affairs by democratic means as happened in the last election in contrary to your earlier comment. Mahavamsa is not my mindset. I speak a language that is one of the oldest spoken languages in the world spoken more or less in its antiquity in N&E of Sri Lanka. Naturally, so much wisdom and culture is interwined within its texts and literature I don’t have to look anywhere else for my guidance. Quoting Mahavamsa is to draw attention for its chief followers to learn lessons from the right role model from the same text and to reconcile with reality. Regarding the formula for a level playing field, I shall come up with it once I can sing the national anthem in my own language without fear and intimidation by the government and its forces. Hope I have explained myself well this time

  • 0
    0

    Hats off to juniors father. Shows even then there were sensible people though in the minority. Unfortunately it looks the same today.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 7 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.