23 June, 2024

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What After BBS? CBS – Chaiva Bala Senai?

By S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Prof.  S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Prof. S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Representation for the Low-Castes

Former CM, Annamalai Varadaraja Perumal, asserted at a recent seminar that Non-Vellalas have risen from 40% to 60% (with 35% Low-Castes, LCs) while their representation remains weak.

This Vellala predominance is maintained through the 25% non-Vellala, non-LCs – Kovias (Household Servants), Chivias (Palanquin Bearers), Portuguese-mixed pinkish Kaikulas (Weavers) et al., and closet LCs, besides marginal Vellalas – from the Islands (where the Portuguese lived) and Jungles (where Palla agricultural labourers rebrand themselves), and Hindu reconverts from Christianity.

Considered “clean” but low, instead of defending fellow-sufferers, these marginals ingratiate themselves to consolidate their status. They all have origin myths claiming high status but the test is in whether Vellalas would marry them. Marginals aspiring for upward mobility adopt Vellala lifestyles like vegetarianism. A Dhoby-caste defeated MP made enough for a large SUV and driver who drives up to his building, comes around and, bowing, opens the door for him. Reconverts campaign against Christians to prove their Hinduness.

The Low-Caste in Jaffna

N. Tamilalahan (All Ceylon People’s Maha Sabai), says Chaiva virulence is unshakeable. The 38-member Northern Provincial Council has only 2 LCs, both Pallas, and perhaps a third closet LC. All MPs are high-caste. Additional GA Mullaitivu (Ilavalai Pallan) has been denied a GA post while 5 of his seniority are GAs. Of the 15 AGA divisions, only Changanai got an LC AGA (that too only recently). Two new female Paraiya teachers posted to Chunnakam Nageswary Vidyalayam were rejected by the principal and reposted. An Ambatti (Barber girl) in Nelliady was elected head prefect but the teachers objected. She received justice going to the HRC. When the President visited IDPs for Pongal, he was not briefed that those in camps for 25 years are all LCs – the key to any solution.

Somasundaram

With declining population, schools serving LCs are shut down and the children shifted to places where they cannot dominate. Officials who shut Nallur Ananda Vidyalayam citing lack of money, constructed air-conditioned offices there for themselves, says M. Vidyananthanesan, Kachcheri Statistician.

Caste Abolitionists Earning Wrath

My grandfather, the Rev. Canon Samuel Sangarapillai Somasundaram, BA, was in line to be the Chief Trustee of the Maviddapuram Kandasamy Temple after his brother Viswanatha Mudaliyarpillai until he converted and became an Anglican priest and Dean of St. John’s. Anglican priest V.P. Thanedra (Those who Seeded Social Change, Jaffna, 2012, in Tamil) records Somasundaram’s efforts in abolishing caste and holding adult night-schools in English for the LCs. His assistants were Miss. Muriel Hutchins, BA Oxford (First Class), CMS, and Dr. Miss. Evangeline Muththammah

Thillayambalam, PhD Columbia. They brought literacy to Thanendra’s community in Ariyalai. They cooked and ate with them. Soon commensality extended to those outside the school. Nallur St. James’ Church where Somasundaram was Vicar paid. The horrified elite objected and shut down the night-school. However, the dam had burst. St. John’s and Chundikuli helped Paraiyas produce diplomats, SLAS officers, bank managers and whatnot. Ariyalai’s Chivias too advanced with them. Younger members asked me to help advertise Paraiya achievements through a website but have faced objections: “Do you want to tell the world who we are?” When Devanesan Nesiah, another Somasundaram grandson, nominated a Paraiya to a big post, he declined: “I am functioning well where I am. If promoted, I will have to leave Jaffna.”

E.M. Thillayambalam

E.M. Thillayambalam

Many Tamils have upheld inclusivity, but the people who matter are making Jaffna a Hindu-Saivite preserve, the Chaiva Bala Senai, Bodu Bala Sena’s counterpart:

  • The Chief Minister begins meetings praying in Sanskrit, wasting non-believers’ time. He, says Muttukrishna Sarvananthan, follows the late “Swami” Premananda, convicted of raping and murdering his disciples and, in 2015, wrote to Narendra Modi pleading for Premananda’s co-convicts.
  • VC P. Balasundarampillai (pinkish Theevu Vellalan), TNA nominee to the Delimitation Committee, argues that Nallur must be annexed to the Jaffna electorate which is a Karaiyar (independent fisher-folk) preserve. Unless Nallur is annexed, Jaffna with the Muslims banished, is likely to return a Karaiyan, a Vellala nightmare. Balasundarampillai’s ostensible object: Nallur Temple at the heart of Jaffna.
  • S. Anpuraasa, a Paraiya nephew of Late S.T.N. Nagaratnam who agitated for Maviddapuram Temple Entry, says Ward 3 in Chunnakam will normally return a Paraiya, but Balasundarampillai &Co have delimited that into 2 others to deny Paraiyas representation.
  • Arular (EROS, M.I.A.’s father) on 09.01.2016 promoted his Global Sustainability Institute at Nallur Baghavan Restaurant by the Temple. VC S. Mohanadas (Chiviya), chairing, claimed that the seminar being by Nallur Temple augured well! Arular wants no western medicine, women at home looking after the children, and LCs bound to the land to sustain traditional production.  The next speaker, Prof. K. Kandasamy (Poonari Jungle Vellalan), promised that the university would do all it can to support – no wonder that at a Jaffna University interview, Kandasamy joining forces with caste-fanatic Dean R. Kumaravadivel grilled my wife on why she took leave to have her 5 babies. At seminar opening, Mohanadas announced “as our custom” we will light the traditional lamp. Muruhan’s cockerel lamp had to be lit, daubing Holy Ash on ourselves.
  • Hutchins 1Around 2002, Balasundarampillai advertised the posts of Professor Electrical/Electronic/IT and Civil. I was the only applicant. He promptly cancelled the advertisement, saying they need a civil engineer to build buildings and advertised Civil! Nobody applied. The UGC ruled it unlawful to advertise and then suppress that advertisement after an application is received.
  • A subsequent advertisement for Senior Lecturer in civil elicited only one applicant, Dr. Sahayan, a Christian. He was rejected. Presumably fearing that Sahayan would apply for civil and I for electrical, both posts were illegally filled recently without advertisement.
  • Dr. Charles Sarvan (English Special) volunteered his services. The university where Balasundarampillai’s letter to the Japanese embassy was checked by the embassy for authenticity because of its horrible English, did not respond. Vasuki Rajasingam (Peradeniya English first class, Rajani Tiranagama’s sister) was denied an appointment.
  • D. Ambalavanar, FRCS, a Christian, is deemed unqualified. Previously a Dr. Gunanandan with the same qualifications was appointed.
  • Complaints on recruitment-malpractices documented by the Science Teachers’ Association have been dismissed as a Christian Conspiracy by the tenuously orthodox VC with Christian relations and a father whose mistress held his funeral. The UGC Chairman has been repeating her anti-Christian tirades. Valampuri newspaper’s columns too. Editor N. Vijeyasundaram (Theevu Vellalan) at a university function publicly declared Christians out of place and must reconvert.
  • A university exhibition for schoolchildren under VC Shanmugalingam (Palaly Vellalan with Kaikula admixture) praised Navalar for blunting Christian influence. School texts falsely claim that Navalar translated the Bible and that C.W. Thamotharampillai who received infant baptism, was a Hindu pretending to be a Christian for benefits.
  • When Dushyanthi Hoole applied for an advertised Senior Lecturer post in her area, Mohanadas rejected it saying the vacancy was in another area. Recently she passed the tough external professorial reviewers for research and national development, but was failed on the easy teaching experience by the internal panel under Kandasamy marking her US professorial experience at zero.
  • When I was being considered for VC in 2011, the Clough family’s Dr. Mrs. Kumar Ponnambalam campaigned at the UGC untruthfully claiming the Ramanathan Trust required the VC to be Hindu. A physician says that the CM and M. Kathirkamanathan (Theevu Vellalan, President, Tamil Sangam and Secretary Ceylon Hindu Congress under pinkish Neelakandan whose child married into Kaikulas, making Neelakandan an unlikely Vellala) refused to sign a letter asking for my appointment as VC. They cannot as Hindus support a Christian, they said.
  • I fled terror on leave while VC in 2006. Oru Paper (UK-Canada) editorialized that a Christian cannot be allowed to walk on campus because there is a Hindu temple. A Canadian newspaper claimed I had murdered our son whom we lost in 1991.
  • Kumaravadivel by UGC letter dated 02.06.2006 was “appointed to carry on the duties of the office of the Vice-Chancellor.” He had a seal ready, pretending he was “Acting Vice Chancellor.” The university lists him among the past VCs but not me. On 02.02.2016, the University Services Appeals Board ordered that I be listed as VC and paid.
  • Dean-Science Srisatkunarajah (Non-Vellalan) forces his staff to watch weekly his Guru Maharaj’s videos during work-hours. He is in charge of moving the university entrance to face the Temple, and give the university a Hindu look.

So on it goes: Kovias, Theevaar, Kaattu Vellalas, Kaikulas and reconverts proving their caste, serving as Vellala tools of oppression. If Tamils are serious about devolution, all of us must have a place – not just CBS types.

Good Saivites must take a stand – does this behavior reflect your values?

*S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole, Christian Outcaste

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Latest comments

  • 61
    6

    This man sounds completely bitter! He convolutes castes with Christianity vs Hinduism! Is there a need for co-operation between hindu and Buddhist organisations?

    Dr RN please respond to this over hyped nonsense. We need to do everything possible to eradicate caste system for good but need to be careful about not falling pray for personal agendas!

    • 46
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      BI,

      I agree with you completely.

      • 6
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        Anpu

        HLD Mahindapalan is going to have a field day.

        The question is what are you going to do about caste structure and discrimination?

        • 10
          3

          The question is, just because there is caste discrimination among the Tamils, that does not justify racial discrimination among Sri Lankans. What is your point, if you have one?

          • 6
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            taraki

            “ust because there is caste discrimination among the Tamils, that does not justify racial discrimination among Sri Lankans”

            Well when you place an advertisement in the national matrimonial columns, would you request a Govi groom/bride for your grandchild or for a human being?

            “What is your point, if you have one?”

            Well I am happy you too have the ability to learn one or two things from this forum.

            Stay tuned you will learn more.

        • 9
          0

          Thanks NV.

          “HLD Mahindapalan is going to have a field day.”

          Mahindapalas kind of people are the problems.

          “The question is what are you going to do about caste structure and discrimination? “

          It is getting better. In primary school days LC students sat at the last raw. When I sat for my HSC, we all played together, I used to go and have tea and eat food at their houses. In UK they come and eat in my house and go and eat in their house.

          What are we going to do about this –

          A World Bank Report entitled ‘Sri Lanka: Ending Poverty and Promoting Shared Prosperity’ found that the Tamil North-East stood out as regions with high concentrations of poverty.

          The report found that Sri Lanka’s Tamils “had the highest rates of poverty among ethnic groups,” with double the poverty rate of the ethnic Sinhala community on the island.

          “Poverty rates are highest in portions of the Northern and Eastern provinces, which were at the center of the conflict,” said the World Bank comparing the regions to national and international poverty levels.

          The report further highlighted that, key steps had to be taken to promote inclusion and reconciliation, including “addressing land claims in the former conflict areas, providing assistance to new and former internally displaced persons (IDPs), and integrated efforts to assist widows an ex-combatants.”

        • 1
          11

          The oppressed by caste struggled ceaselessly and won small victories which dented caste oppression gradualy in the 20th Ceentury. The left was most supportive of the struggles. The stae take over of schools in 1960 helped too. The campaign against untouchability 1967-1972, led by revolutionary Marxists, scored major victories including end to caste discrimination in public wells, tea stall all the way to the Maviddapuram temple. That ended caste discrimination in public, but what happens in private is another matter. There are sectors where overt discrimination is hard to practice. But there are others where it goes on covertly.
          Those depressed by caste but otherwise socially elevated try hard to conceal their caste identity rather than declare it and fight for those who are still oppressed. That too helps covert discrimination.

          Prtiyaar (EVR) rightly said: Caste will go away only when a Parayan will proudly say in public “Yes, I am a Parayan!”

          • 13
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            Periyar, Karunanidhi and the DMK did nothing for the scheduled castes. They replaced the Brahmin landlord with the “backward” caste landlord. The scheduled castes remained landless.

            The 80 year old Periyar had a child bride. Now, is that progressive? Come on SJ!

            The LTTE was the only organization that did away with caste segregation. SJ’s talk of “progressive” movements is senility.

          • 0
            11

            Veerakatti

            Please do not mix up Periyar with the DMK, especially after CNA.

            Maniyammai was a not a child bride and had been with the DK for years. She had no plans to marry anyone nor had Periyar.
            Periyar did not marry her for sex but out of concern that his followers had other not-very-good ideas and would lay hands on the funds that he frugally accumulated for the DK and take the DK in the wrong direction.

            His fears materialized when the DMK was formed.
            The DMK did not give its political reason for the split but made an excuse of the marriage to split.
            CNA was, at least, not a thief. But MK!

            You could do well with reading one of several biographies of Periyar to appreciate what kind of life of sacrifice he led.

            The LTTE did nothing of the sort. They turned a blind eye to denial of entry to depressed castes in certain temples. They made some concessions since mid-1990’s because all the higher caste kids had fled and they had only the depressed community children for cannon fodder.
            LTTE’s casteism and regionalism was a factor in the splits that followed.

            If LTTE eliminated caste why are people still complaining about discrimination? Why do matrimonial columns unfailingly refer to caste?

            • 9
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              Not true, not true. The Tigers banned caste as they were the only radical revolutionaries. Periyar married a girl 63 years younger than him.

              • 2
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                Nedunchezhiyan

                “The Tigers banned caste as they were the only radical revolutionaries.”

                My foot.

            • 0
              9

              “Periyar married a girl 63 years younger than him.”–Nedunchezhiyan

              Maniyammai was born on March 10, 1920 and Periyar on September 17, 1879.
              Maniyammai served with the DK from 1943 and married Periyar in 1949.
              Check on Wikipedia and use a good pocket calculator with battery on.

              As for banning caste, it is easier to ban prostitution ans alcohol.
              The LTTE was playing games to please the depressed caste lower rung cannon fodder. It did not act on denial of temple entry in Vata Maratchi.

              The depressed community had to fight every inch of the way to enter tea stalls and temples in 1967-72. Nothing comes without struggle.

              The less said the better about the LTTE.

              • 8
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                SJ

                You must avoid talking of things you are ignorant about. I have read every comment on this trail. You are patronizing, opinionated and arrogant.

                I rarely rely on Wikipedia for information. I was intrigued however by what you said and checked. Maniammal’s birth date is not given there as you intentionally mislead. I realize that Wikipedia can be edited by anyone. I checked earlier versions. The date of birth did not exist. You lied.

                I repeat the information I had read in one of C.N. Annadurai’s speeches – Periyar married a girl 63 years younger than him. That’s child marriage however you may spin it. The man was a hypocrite and liar, probably a British agent.

                Now to the LTTE. Unlike you arm chair revolutionaries, they did things on the ground. Caste receded. Everyone in the lands they occupied was conscripted. Whether that was right or wrong is another matter. But the entire society was mobilized on relatively egalitarian lines. Even the Professor Thurairajah you hail had an excellent relationship with the LTTE and was recognized by them with the title of Mamanithan.

                Hoole and you talk about caste in Tamil society. Is Sinhala society egalitarian? Have you read the marriage columns in the English, leave aside Sinhala newpapers. I have heard that in the Matara district when families go to register the birth of a child, the name that is given to a child is often vetoed by the registrar on caste grounds.

                And stop dismissing what you call internet Tamils. Everyone who reads Colombo Telegraph is an internet surfer. Even you are. Do not dismiss everyone who disagrees with you, which in this case appears to be almost everyone.

                • 6
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                  A correction.

                  I had initially checked the Maniammal entry in Wikipedia which did not have her date of birth. I scrolled down the lengthy propagandist Periyar entry in Wikipedia and her date of birth is given there at the bottom as referenced by SJ. I stand corrected. Whether that entry is factual or not is another story. As I said, I read C.N. Annadurai’s speech explaining why he left Periyar.

                  But Wikipedia mentions that Maniammal was Periyar’s foster daughter. This makes it even more murky. Marrying ones adopted girl child is hardly edifying..

                • 0
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                  Nedunchezhiyan, you say

                  “Caste receded. Everyone in the lands they occupied was conscripted. Whether that was right or wrong is another matter. But the entire society was mobilized on relatively egalitarian lines. Even the Professor Thurairajah you hail had an excellent relationship with the LTTE and was recognized by them with the title of Mamanithan.”

                  Indeed? Is that why Thurairajah’s children got passes to leave the war-zone after making his speech “Eelam malarattum. Puratchi vedikkattum” (let Eelam flower and the revolution explode)as reported by Thilaga here?

                  Others who gave Pongu Thamil speeches also got passes for their children. VC Vasanthi Arasaratnam got an LTTE speed boat ride out of Jaffna during the Exodus while ordinary people trudged through mud and floods with infants dying on the way. Those forcibly recruited were nearly all from the Eastern Province and the Vanni.

                  It is amazing how people like Nedunchezhiyan can make astounding claims here that no one believes but listens to in silence. That is how Tamil history is made.

              • 0
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                Nedunchezhiyan
                Why Periyar married was his decision. He did not trust many of his lieutenants, and rightly so, as time has proven.
                CNA never gave a political reason for leaving the DK and formimh the DMK. The political reasons were clear very soon. Periyar averted electoral politica as it stood in the way of his social reform agenda. He knew the kind of compromises that involves.
                The DMK plunged into electoral politics in 1952 unsuccessfully. Then by the late 1950’s started its shady deals with the Brahmin establishment it denounced earlier.
                I am no Periyar worshipper like some in Tamilnadu. But I consider him among the most honourable Tamil political personalities that Tamilnadu produced and was essentially consistent in his views all along.
                The man was slandered by the DMK but they finally went for his blessings in 1967. He was magnanimous.
                His admiration for K Kamaraj was because he believed that KK was a genuine anti-Brahminist, unlike the scheming DMK lot.

                As for the LTTE, the Tamils have suffered enough from them and I will not further stir the wounds.

                Being the ‘patronizing, opinionated and arrogant’ person that I seem to be, may I take the liberty to recommend that if you also search Wikipedia in Tamil you would not have had many of your troubles.

                In the interest of keeping this site less polluted by personal attacks of the kind that you descend to, I will from now ignore your comments, nasty or not.

                • 4
                  0

                  As a woman, I am not impressed with your reasoning. Periyar’s morals of marrying his foster child is unacceptable.

          • 0
            6

            Dr. Hoole,

            Many of your critics are Neanderthals given the intellectual contributions of your family – to schools, the Sangam literature rediscovery, the first department of Tamil, the first headships at the university of the departments of education and mechanical engineering, first Tamil priest at St. John’s, the Tamil university movement, mission schools, etc. Your family’s roots along several parallel lines go to the early nineteenth century and include many achievements. People like SJ cannot even imagine a person having two illustrious lines of descent.

            While people giving CT commentaries say the Christians converted for benefits, I am aware that Canon Somasundaram was educated for his BA at Calcutta by his family before his conversion, and left behind extensive properties in the Maviddapuram area (Kollangalatty and Karuhampaanai).

            Quoting from your own writings, when Elijah Hoole became a Christian he gave a testimonial now in the CMS Archives at University of Birmingham saying
            “I declined to take upon me the management of the Hindu temple, which my father had been managing and gave over the silver and gold jewellery and ornaments, drapery and brazen walls belonging to the temple with the title deeds and other documents to the wardens of the temple who were subordinates of my father. And also relinquishing the charge of the estates of the temple – on the 15th of April 1845” I was baptized by The Rev. Peter Percival.

            I am sad that you are being prevented from doing what your family has always been doing in contributing to Jaffna. Those who do not understand that calling and proud hertiage, are all out to destroy you. Do not give up. Please write and tell these fellows about Tamil revivalist C.W. Thamotharampillai, Prof. of Mathematics Edward Kingsbury, first lecturer in Tamil at the University of Ceylon Francis Kingsbury, and the many others from your family who have done so much for Tamil and the Tamil people.

            • 5
              0

              Proud Christian

              Why are you proud being a “Proud Christian”?

              • 0
                0

                “Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.” Mr. Darcy to Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice

                “I could easily forgive his [Rohan’s] pride, if he had not mortified mine.” Elizabeth Bennet.

            • 0
              0

              “Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls

              That is the very jist of former Vice Chancellor, Jaffna university, Prof. Hoole’s piece.
              Cast in Hinduism keeping other groups and religionists down when the Brhamins bathe after visiting these so called HINDUS, desecrating muslim worship place, keeping world class Christians out of Jaffna university when they apply for faculty positions, Eastern Uni marking down the best candidate, prasing MR for his treachery … it all goes to prove the point of the article. Jaffna benefited the most from Christian missionaries of any country.

              Narrow walls indeed!

              This is called self-projection.

    • 46
      4

      Incorrigible SRH will die a bitter man since all Tamils have discovered him properly. His disease has no cure. So he treats the community as diseased.

      Will VC position ever touch him with a barge pole. A leper will loathe to go near this social leper.

    • 55
      1

      Mr. Hoole states

      “If Tamils are serious about devolution, all of us must have a place – not just CBS types. Good Saivites must take a stand – does this behavior reflect your values?”.

      The ideal world of course is how Jinnah once described it

      “in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State”.

      This presumably should apply to Tamil Hindus and Tamil Christians in post war Jaffna.

      But let’s look at the reality of Tamil politics since 1956. SWRD Bandaranaike was an Anglican Christian by birth who raised the rabid and racist “Sinhala Only” cry. S.J.V Chelvanayakam and E.M.V. Naganathan supported by K. Nesiah, all three Christians, formed the Federal Party to respond with an equally belligerent Tamil racism.

      Today, we have the (Devanesan and Anita) Nesiahs supporting the (Ratnajeevan, Rajan, Dushyanti) Hooles (particularly in the University Council), the Hooles supporting the (Seelan/Ahilan) Kadirgamars, the Kadirgamars supporting the (Kumar) Davids and the (Rajan) Philips supporting M.A. Sumanthiran. Its an incestuous Protestant Tamil Vellala pool.

      Note that there are no non-Vellalas nor even Roman Catholics in this circle. They claim to profess a Marxism, a liberalism, a cosmopolitanism but deep down they epitomize a narrow minded tribal Tamil Protestantism.

      I hate to write like this but the Hooles and their circle need to be exposed.

      Hoole has time and again used his petty virulence to attack competitors and Hinduism. There is a long history here. He repeatedly invokes Christianity in his attacks. This may explain why he, his wife and possibly his children in the future have been/will be singled out for a counter attack.

      Hoole desperately tried to be Vice Chancellor of Jaffna University. He desperately tried for the leadership of the Eastern University. He desperately tried to be competent authority of the Jaffna University. He failed each time because everyone, the Tigers included, ganged up against him.

      Its time for his Tamil Protestant sidekicks to think broad minded. I can only invoke Rabindranath Tagore here who said

      “Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls…
      In to that heaven of freedom, my father,
      let my country awake”

      • 5
        27

        If RJ, whoever he is, wants to respond to someone’s diatribe with his own drivel, that is his business, but he should not drag other people’s names in vain into his verbal manure. I have been called worse names by better people, but no one has called me a Protestant Christian because I am not one!

        Rajan Philips

        • 23
          1

          Oh my Rajan Philips. You use words such as diatribe, drivel, verbal manure, worse names etc. Welcome to the world of Tamil Christianity. RJ’s point – who ever he or she is – remains valid. You were part of the Movement for Inter-racial Justice and Equality. You were with Kumar David, Seelan Kadirgamar, Father Paul Capserz and Rev Yohan Devananda. Now what did you guys do when the LTTE ‘cleansed’ us out of Mannar and when the Catholic church encroached on our property making Mannar the first ever Christian majority district in Sri Lanka?? When Rishad Badiuddin tried reclaiming our ancestral lands in 2011, the Bishop of Mannar stood in the way. Did you guys do anything? Your progressive sheen is fake.

        • 11
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          Rajan,

          The truth hurts, eh?

          • 2
            7

            No, truth should not hurt if one is not lying, and in my case it certainly doesn’t. What is annoying, rather than hurting, is ignorance. And it would be basic courtesy for people to identify themselves while mentioning names of others who have nothing to with the article that is being commented on. There is no truth in calling me a Protestant Christian, and there was no need to drag my name into this debate.

            Abu Lahab’s comment is also factually incorrect. We started MIRJE in 1979 and we were the first and the only people to visit Jaffna (at considerable risk) and write about the Emergency Rule. About that time, I was also part of another group, with the late K.Kanthasamy, that published the Saturday Review (at even greater risk) from Jaffna. My activities came to an end after the disruption of 1983 and like many others I left Sri Lanka. A new group of people took over MIRJE, and the Saturday Review ceased publication when Kanthasamy was murdered in Jaffna after returning from London to direct TRRO work. I have never condoned but always criticised the LTTE and its methods including its cleansing activities. So there is no basis to Lahab’s accusation.

            I have also written frequently criticising the attacks on Muslims during the previous Sri Lankan regime, and the scurrilous falsehoods about Muslim population expansion globally and in Sri Lanka. Mr. Izeth Hussain has complimented me in CT for my stand in defending the rights of Muslims.

            So to me, truth in politics is always gratifying.

    • 11
      1

      The Vellala Christians were no better than Vellala Saivaites in upholding caste. They share with the Saivaites belief in astrology and several Hindu customs, because like the South Indian converts to Buddhism in the South of the island some centuries ago, could not let go much of their cultural legacy, although Christianity offered them a place in society.
      However, there have beenremarkable reformists among Christians, who played a great role in the Jaffna Youth League, the most secular organization that Jaffna knew until the left emerged as a political force in the 1940s.

    • 35
      1

      This particular Hoole is a strongly prejudiced man. He is an anti-Hindu. He boasts of his grand father belonging to the highest Vellala caste. This apparently reflects his subconscious support for the caste hierarchy or his sense of guilt over conversion. He is worried about re-conversion little realising that none of the re-conversions were/ are caused through material inducements unlike the case of conversions most of which admittedly took place through material inducements!
      Does he want to have separate caste sangams such as ‘parayar’ sangam, ‘pallar’ sangam etc. as in Tamilnadu to have allocated representations?
      What we need is to do away with caste distinctions and not perpetuate them! It will be ideal if all could be raised to be vellalas! What is wrong in that?
      Sengodanm. M

    • 16
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      I am a Sinhalese, For me what load of bullshit.

    • 4
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      Christianity, the carpenter-fisher combo of Jesus & Co helped the farmers and herders to oust the Brahmins. As observed by Philip Baldaeus; “The generation of the Vellales is the chiefest here since Christianity has been introduced, the Brahmans challenging the first among the Pagan Hindus.”
      https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=sjJPZ-TUQzQC&q=Bellales+#v=snippet&q=chiefest%20Christianity%20Pagans&f=false
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/philip-baldaeus-didnt-see-a-big-ethnic-difference-in-ceylon/

      ‘Tamil castes’ are first mentioned in the Tolkāppiyam Porulatikaram, written three hundred years before the Mahavamsa in the 2nd century AD. With no disrespect intended, the Vellalar are the lowest at the time.
      https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=0tX4wzIUY3QC&q=Tolk%C4%81ppiyam+Porulatikaram#v=snippet&q=Tolk%C4%81ppiyam%20Porulatikaram&f=false

      The other famous Tamil source comprises the collection of poems between 2nd Century BC to the 7th C AD. These famous Sangam literature mentions only five kudis (occupations) associated with the five tinais (landscapes).
      http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/early-tamil-society-was-free-of-caste/article7262547.ece

      • 24
        4

        First attempt to take over the Vellalars, when it fails smear them. Check out the history of Pudukkotai and Karkathar vellalar caste. When copper plates saw a congruity of Karkathar surnames with ancient velirs (Irukkuvels) Burton Stein downplayed the whole evidence. To this day the Church inspired American academia are attempting to downplay the Vellalar surnames from ancient times. The ancient inscriptions of Sekkizhar, Irukkuvels are black and white. The Church should try its luck with other communities if they wish to undermine or control the wider Tamil community. Thanks to Arumuga Navalar it won’t be the Jaffna Vellalar.

        • 1
          16

          You are higher than the Brahmin?

          Hoole’s attempts to empower the ‘low castes’ are shot down by you, calling him anti-hindu, but in orthodox Hinduism you are at the bottom, a bit higher than some.

          Advanced people empower the masses, but the insecure obstruct.

          The 60% of the low castes need to be devolved power within the Tamil society for the Sinhalese to take Tamil empowerment seriously.

          • 12
            0

            Rubbish spoken like Hoole. Hoole, like the Hindu concept of God, has many manifestations. Be more creative next time!

          • 14
            0

            If you are referring to the Orthodox Saiva Siddhanta, almost all mutts are headed by Saiva vellalars. MAdhurai Aadhenam, Dharmapuram Aadheenam, Thiruvadurai to name a few. These are many centuries old.

            The author of Periya Puranam is Sekkizhar; Meykandaar is regarded as the spiritual progenitor of a brand of Saiva Siddhantha/ Sivagna Potham.

            If I respond in detail I have to stoop to Hooles Level; all I can say is the American Church inspired historians are not ideal to write on Tamil Religion or history.

            I wont respond any more on this topic as I think the motive of Hoole and his kinsmen are to provoke confusion and hatred within the community; definitely not to empower the downtrodden.

    • 13
      13

      Burning Issue

      Sad Demelas, you do not need enemies, you are your worst enemy.

      The world outside your little island moving, moving very fast. Where have you lost your rationality for which Thamil Siddars were famous.

      Here is a poem by Sivakkami Siddhar:

      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.

      I don’t think I have to remind you stupid people again and again about humanist sangam poet Kaniyan Pungundranar who wrote:

      யாதும் ஊரே யாவரும் கேளிர்
      தீதும் நன்றும் பிறர்தர வாரா
      நோதலும் தணிதலும் அவற்றோ ரன்ன
      சாதலும் புதுவது அன்றே, வாழ்தல்
      இனிதென மகிழ்ந்தன்றும் இலமே முனிவின்
      இன்னா தென்றலும் இலமே, மின்னொடு
      வானம் தண்துளி தலைஇ யானாது
      கல் பொருது மிரங்கு மல்லல் பேரியாற்று
      நீர்வழிப் படூஉம் புணைபோல் ஆருயிர்
      முறை வழிப் படூஉம் என்பது திறவோர்
      காட்சியில் தெளிந்தனம் ஆகலின், மாட்சியின்
      பெரியோரை வியத்தலும் இலமே,
      சிறியோரை இகழ்தல் அதனினும் இலமே. (புறம்: 192)

      To us all towns are one, all men our kin,
      Life’s good comes not from others’ gifts, nor ill,
      Man’s pains and pain’s relief are from within,
      Death’s no new thing, nor do our bosoms thrill
      When joyous life seems like a luscious draught.
      When grieved, we patient suffer; for, we deem
      This much-praised life of ours a fragile raft
      Borne down the waters of some mountain stream
      That o’er huge boulders roaring seeks the plain
      Tho’ storms with lightning’s flash from darkened skies.
      Descend, the raft goes on as fates ordain.
      Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !
      We marvel not at the greatness of the great;
      Still less despise we men of low estate.

      Kaniyan Poongundran, Purananuru – 192
      (Translated by G.U.Pope, 1906)

      A friend of mine once said:

      Oh god save me from myself I can take care of my enemies.

      • 3
        18

        All too true and too bad.
        You make me hang my head in shame.

        • 26
          0

          What Native mentioned applies to all Ceylonese. Hoole of course stands out.

        • 2
          17

          SJ

          “You make me hang my head in shame”

          I do all the time after reading comments in this forum.

          I not only hang my head in shame but bang my head on the wall three times a day before and after my meals as instructed by my Elders.

          • 23
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            Dear NV

            You disappoint me. You normally call a spade a spade. I have respected that quality of yours. Hoole initiated this sordid discussion as he had done many times before. You did not counter him. He does not care for the depressed classes. He writes all this only because he had a personal and ideological axe to grind. You have been strangely quiet on him.

            The two quotes you make namely the Siddhar and the Sangam poet, needless to say were influenced by what we call Hinduism today. The Yaathum Oore poem was that of a renunciate to whom there was no personal land and no people. The universe was his world and his family. I betcha Hoole would disapprove of both.

        • 0
          14

          The verse “யாதும் ஊரே யாவரும் கேளிர்” presents the Jain world outlook which holds the individual solely responsible for whatever he/she does and receives.
          The Saivaite and Vaisnavite outlooks which invoke the Almighty emerged in Tamil literature centuries after Buddhism and, more importantly, Jaininsm made their imprint.
          Jainism,later on corrupted by state sponsorship, was not defeated by Brahminic methods but by the populist methods of the Bakti movement in the 6th to 7th Centuries.

          • 18
            0

            I think you should embarrassing yourself. Vaudhaiva Kutumbakam .. The world is my family is from the Upanashiads and all ancient Vedic texts quote this.

            The world is a family

            One is a relative, the other stranger,
            say the small minded.
            The entire world is a family,
            live the magnanimous.

            Be detached,
            be magnanimous,
            lift up your mind, enjoy
            the fruit of Brahmanic freedom.

            —Maha Upanishad 6.71–75[7][3]

            • 0
              7

              Sorry, VK. Got to disagree. The theme and emphasis are vastly different

              • 4
                0

                Thank you VK and Veerakatti.

                As you can see, even when the evidence is provided by VK (Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam et al), SJ just refuses to budge. You can wake up a sleeping man, but you can not wake up a man pretending to be asleep.

                VK, continue your excellent interjections. Do not back down from bullies like Hoole and SJ.

          • 15
            0

            You are blind and dislike Hinduism, SJ.The Brahmanic and Vaishnava subtext was in ancient Tamil literature (Etutogai and Pattupaatu). Paripaadal is one of many examples. The author of the poem you mention was not Jain. Buddhism never flourished in Tamil Nadu unlike in the Deccan. Wake up bigot.

      • 9
        0

        NV,

        The second line of Pookundranar’s poem is the most significant for the Tamils today. ” Theerhum namaiyum pirar thara varra” ( ‘ The problems and benefits of life are not given by others’ – my interpretation).

        We, are responsible for happens in our lives! Let us look at ourselves as individuals and community, without pointing fingers at others.

        Dr.RN

    • 3
      0

      CBS? Perhaps the author had Christian Bala Senai in his mind or even Catholic Bala Senai and definitely not
      Saiva Bala Senai as it would be SBS….
      Is he up to something …a slip of tongue…unlikely

  • 52
    3

    Oh my God (Hindu or Christian, or even other denominations!)…

    So, Jeevan Hoole is a high caste Vellala Chrsitian. That is a good news.

    He carefully avoided labelling the Christians with their old castes.

    The term ‘low caste’ itself is demeaning. I am glad nobody wants to touch Jeevan Hoole.

    I think, we should make him ‘untouchable’, despite his self proclaimed high caste Vellala Chrsitian background.

    Please go away Hoole!

  • 44
    2

    From the surname I guess this writer’s ancestors are Europeans. So it is obvious that he finds fault on natives of Ceylon i.e. the Sinhala Buddhists and Hindu Tamils. However, I need to ask few questions from Prof. Hole:

    1) In the population of Jaffna (now and then) what is the size protestants people (referred by you as Christian Outcast)?

    2) I hear they don’t even come to 1%. And the leader of ITAK Mr. Selvanayagam is form this 1%. Is it shows the religious tolerance of the population.

    3) They had been two elected MPs (Mr. Samuel James Selvanayagm and Dr. E.M.V. Naganathan) from these 1%. Dr. Naganathan elected from the Hindu’s holy land Nallur

    4) Although the number MPs elected in the Jaffna electoral district is reduced to 7. One protestant MP is elected. This MP Abraham Sumanthiran is also the secretary of Methodist church in Sri Lanka.

    5) It is also noted that no protestant person ever involved any Tamil liberation movements and many of the civil personnel killed as traitors are from the protestant community.

    6) In contrast, the Tamil Catholics were actively involved in Tamil liberation movements and they were holding high ranking positions. (Sornam, Victor, Charles Antoy. Anton Balasingam and so on). However except C.X. Martin (in 1970) no Catholic MP was elected in the Jaffna district.

    • 5
      31

      A small number of people from the oppressed groups have done well is not a valid argument. It is like saying “Aney, you Tamils are doing so well, no? Your people are in top jobs like Attorney General, Inspector General of Police and Chief Justice — all Tamils, no? So what are you complaining about discrimination and rioting against you in 1983?” Don’t fall into that trap. Acknowledge the reality of how within the Tamil community we discriminated against subsets of our own people. Shame. Face up to the shame.

    • 39
      2

      Mr.Alfred Duraiappa a Christian married the Hindu niece of the late Mr. G.G. Ponnambalam. The former defeated the latter more than once and was also re-elected as Mayor of Jaffna by a predominantly Hindu majority vote. Even Mr. SJV Chelvanayagam a Christian was elected as an MP for the KKS seat by a predominately Hindu majority. Hindus have no hang up about electing capable people, which is ample proof that they do not discriminate on religious grounds. I too have Christian relatives and friends and I have never been ostracised or made to feel left out because my religion is my own prerogative and I do not flaunt it like this writer has done; He has signed off calling himself himself a Christian Outcaste. Would he please entertain us now about that Caste?

      • 29
        0

        “Good Saivites must take a stand”. Who is this buffoon to issue an edict to Saivites segregating them into good and bad? Has this SRH grown so big as to command other religionists?

        With VCship irrevocably closed against him for want of level headedness and character he concocts his theory that Hindus (not Saivites)have thrown aside a Christian of great price.

    • 35
      2

      //From the surname I guess this writer’s ancestors are Europeans. So it is obvious that he finds fault on natives of Ceylon //

      No. They are not so called lower caste, who had a genuine reason to be converted. Certain fraction of those people thought they would be treated equal, hence became Christians.

      Hooles’s forefathers were so called high caste. They converted themselves for the benefits.

      • 0
        3

        So all people who converted to Christianity did it for benefits? Seriously? Even if they did there is nothing wrong with wanting better for yourself or your family.

        Also no such thing as a high caste Christian. Once you give up Hinduism you automatically lose caste – you become an outcaste. Even if Prof. Hoole has high caste ancestors (which is history it’s not him trying to win your respect or anything), he has never claimed to be high caste himself. In fact, he has spoken about his being an out-caste due to his religion many times. Get your facts straight.

    • 0
      33

      Sad that Joseph Mariadas, bearing non Tamil names like Joseph and Maria and obviously a Roman Catholic and being Baptised a Christian does not know that his name and surname too are not Tamil. For the record, Tamil Protestant Christians, as you can see in the Missionary Records of the American Mission, Batticotta, and St. John’s, Central etc show that Tamil Christians’ ancestors too bore Hindu names like Siva Lingam, Nandi etc. which are the names of Hindu Gods. JAffna Christians took the names of missionaries who supported them, or who died in service in Jaffna or Tamil Naadu in gratitude, for like Canon Somasunderam they were beaten up with chillie powder in the eyes and tied to a tree for hours, starving and like CW Thamotharampillai’s son Rev. Francis Kingsbury, First Prof. Tamil, Colombo U., were chased out of the house by their fathers and not supported.

      Sir, sad you would criticize other Christians. Et tu?

      Prefer caste to Christ?

      • 19
        0

        Concerned,

        You sound like Hoole to me! Remember Ahityan Ratnam?

  • 35
    2

    Colombo Telegraph should not publish these type of non sense in its column. CT is meant for serious discussions and policy review and reform of the governments.

    Ratnajeevan Hoole rightly describe him as a Christian low caste. He forgot the proverb when you are in Rome you must do what the Romans do. He claims that they are entitled to the trusteeship of Maviddapuram temple and still complains of discrimination.

    The real position in Jaffna is this. When you join a foreign religion you are allowed to manage your own religious affairs. So Tamils (I do not want to divide caste as pointed out by Mr Hoole)mix with this crowd. Because of this Mr Hoole cannot ridicule the Hindu caste or the system.

    I will tell one incident, one of my great grandfathers brother Viswalingam joined Christianity and became a priest. All of our Tamil people stopped respecting him or paying courtesy calls as Tamils usually do. So he and his children joined other Christians and stayed as a separate clique.. It is nobody’s fault. You cant have the cake and eat the cake at the same time. Be confined to your religious clan and stop spitting poison on the Tamils who are under oppression from the majority community.

  • 3
    27

    @Burning_Issue,
    Hoole is giving many very specific examples/incidents in this piece. Even if a fraction of what he says is true, his right to feel bitter cannot be denied. With education and broad experience, he is able to share his bitterness here.

    Think of a Karainagar fellow in 1950’s/60’s who went to the GS to register his child’s name as Kandappillai, only to be told off that “you from that group cannot use the “pillai” suffix, write your name as Kanthan!”? And so it was written.

    Kanthan Sr had no forum to vent his bitterness as Hoole has. He accepted the world as it was and humbly drank water given from the back entrance of the Vithanai’s house in a coconut shell.

    We had ways we should be ashamed of. We still do. And exported to Toronto, too.

    • 24
      2

      Astra,

      Casteism is totally abhorrent and completely inhumane. If such a demeaning practice is afoot, I am with anyone who is out to destroy it. However, the way Hoole has presented his case itself should be subject to scrutiny owing to the caste and religious undertones! This is what I highlighted. He convoluted many of his inner confusion and bitterness with not so prevalent caste practices these days.

      The state must introduce anti-discrimination statute with stipulation about race, colour, and caste as the basis of discrimination. On top of this, there should be gender equality. Such a law should be vigorously applied with no favours.

  • 25
    2

    To: Ratnajeevan Hoole

    Do you know that 95% of the teachers at St Johns College and Chundikuli Girls college were low caste Christians, including some of the Principals/vice Principals. This practice continues even now.

    But both schools have hindu students as majority. None of the students nor the parents have never never never objected to this.

    I am a high caste Navarly/Manipay/ Hindu. Proud Johnian

    • 6
      0

      Bgenendra,

      I agree with you. Recently, our old teacher Gevanatha Master passed away; I am not going dwell in his caste etc but the social media was filled with spontaneous outpouring of condolences and gratetude paid to him. It was really nice to see.

  • 45
    4

    Burning Issue,

    I had finished reading Dr.Ratnajeevan Hoole’s diatribe and was wondering how I should respond, when I noticed your comment. His diatribe is unbecoming of an academic trained in the sciences and a person who aspired to be the VC of the Jaffna University. It is scatter brained, full of assumptions, too generalized, full of exaggerations and not objective. One can sense venom in what he has written.

    He also forgets he is a member of the National Delimitation Commision and should be objective and unemotional in his approach. I wonder what his contribution would be with his scatter brained thinking. He is playing to the gallery, based on the unwise recommendations of a foolish and unwise former Chief Minister, who squandered the golden opportunity to resolve issues under the 13th amendment and paved the way for subsequent tragic events. Why beat a dying snake with a log?

    The caste consciousness in Jaffna is diminishing by the day, as it is very difficult to know who is who and from where,due to the migrations and dislocations caused by the turmoil and wars of the last three decades or more.
    There is rapid upward mobility among the so-called lower castes and many who have successfully climbed the economic ladder have discarded their caste identities. They call themselves Vellalahs and have now filled the space vacated by the Vellahlas of old. The Vellahlah bucket will always be full, because to become a Vellalah is a social aspiration. The caste identity is more economic class related than birth label related. Further, many identified yet as low caste, vote preferentially for a Vellahlah, not because he is of that caste, but because he is yet the better educated. I was surprised at the manifestation of this phenomenon. The EPDP tried to cultivate a vote bank among them,but shown by the election results, failed.

    I wonder how and why Dr. Ratnajeevan Hoole, found out the caste and place affiliations of those he has named. Was this parochial exercise necessary? Is it becoming of his background? I also wonder why he always highlights his Vellalah and Saivaite links. Is it a manifestation of some sort of inferiority complex?

    The Vellahlah Tanil Hindus never discriminated against Vellahlah Christians. Reading on the history of Portuguese conquest of Jaffna, I learned most Hindus of all castes converted to Catholicism under pressure and threats. Most returned to the Hindu fold when the Dutch replaced them. Those who remained Catholic were those identified as lower castes. The subsequent converts to Protestant Christianity were also caste concious and front pews were reserved in churches for the so-called higher caste.

    Why should the Vellahlah Hindus who accepted Vellahlah Protestant Christians like Nesiah and Chelvanayakam as their leaders now discriminate against a Protestant Vellahlah Christian? It can be related to the personality of Dr.Hoole , the stature of the men/ women who man the Jaffna University or a combination of all three. I have not been personally impressed by almost all who became VCs of the Jaffna University. Most were mediocre and the others with the required intellect and ability were visionless. Mediocrity always resists excellence and breeds more mediocrity. The Jaffna University carries quite a burden of mediocrity and the usually accompanying meanness. Academic qualifications alone do not make a good VC. He/she must have character, intellect, wisdom and vision. When they do not have these, pettiness and meanness gain ascendence and gut a university of its stature. This is the tragedy of the Jaffna University.

    One swallow does not make a spring. Isolated incidents are not samples of a larger phenomenon. The incidents he cites may in some instances be true and in others circumstantial. When someone fails to achieve his/her objectives, it is an escape root to find excuses to satisfy him/ herself.

    Although it is very painful to say this, Dr.Ratnajeevan Hoole has much to learn and practice. He should become a healer rather than a rabble rouser and a divisive figure. I always considered him an asset of present day Jaffna. Hope he does not become a liability.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    • 8
      15

      // I have not been personally impressed by almost all who became VCs of the Jaffna University. Most were mediocre and the others with the required intellect and ability were visionless. //

      Strong disagreement here. Prof Thurairajah was a gem, as a person and as a professional.

      • 11
        6

        Vision ?

        Dr.RN

        • 7
          7

          What lack of vision did you find in Prof. Thurairajah?
          He steered the University of Jaffna smoothly through turbulent times with much personal sacrifice amid pressure from many sides, when universities outside the Peninsula were struggling to remain open.

          • 3
            2

            //He steered the University of Jaffna smoothly through turbulent times with much personal sacrifice amid pressure from many sides, when universities outside the Peninsula were struggling to remain open. //

            agreed cent percent.

            he was under tremendous pressure from the ‘groups’, but as an external person (no engineering at u of jaffna) he did a tremendous job.

            vision? personally he wanted to bring engineering faculty to jaffna university. he wanted jaffna university to be a shining example for a non-traditional sri lankan universites.

            he already invited all his students to come back and bring their non-engineering friends on a regular basis to mentor and teach students in jaffna.

            he wanted professionalism among the academic community and collaborative work arrangements. he was taking initiatives to sign memoranda of understanding with various overseas universities for student exchange.

            now i am looking forward to hearing from visionary academics from sri lankan university system from DOCTOR narendran.

        • 4
          3

          /Vision ?/

          The point is??

          • 10
            5

            Rohan and SJ,

            Let me start by stating that for me Vision in this context is, ” The ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom and dream of an image of what the future will or could be -a utopian vision of society”.

            I grant Prof.Thurairajah held office in difficult times and had to deal with the morals and mores of the LTTE. However, how much did he compromise and for what purpose? Did he have to? Did he try to convince the LTTE of what the university stood for in Jaffna and what it could be made into? He permitted the LTTE to rubish the University. He stood by and let it happened. He did not even, to the best of my knowledge, express his unhappiness with the situation. I grant the need to survive may have been an over riding factor.

            I was at Perdeniya as a student and later as a member of the faculty between the mid 1960- late 1970 period and am aware of the agitation for the Jaffna University and the dream for what it should be. I was also aware of Prof. Thurairaja’s excellence as a academician in engineering and his qualities as a human. However, outside that sphere he was not involved in other activities. He had little interest beyond the engineering field and had no vision for a university as an entity at the heart of society as both its driver, pace setter, value setter and catalyst for change.

            The circumstances in Jaffna may not have permitted him to give form to any vision he may have had. However, this will be speculation at its best to what he could have been in different circumstances. Proof however is in the pudding.

            I think among the universities in Sri Lanka, only the Moratuwa University has had good leadership and has blossomed in the past decades. Colombo and Peradeniya have declined and other universities have not taken off. Prof. Thurairajah, is of course one among many and was not the exception.

            Dr.RN

            • 6
              14

              Dr R.N., If you have a grudge with Thurairajah that is your problem.

              What people should know is that Prof T spent 12 hours a day in the E’ Faculty Peradeniya between 1970 and 1984.
              He developed and pioneered research in Soil Mechanics in Sri Lanka and led a team of young researchers who, sadly, are now scattered across the globe.
              At the time the only active researchers were Prof Mahalingam (working solo on vibrations) and Prof Chinnappa working on Solar Energy (but left in 1972). Research in wind power followed and there were other small beginnings. Now there is outstanding research in fluid mechanics as well as in electrical engineering. Credit goes to Thurairajah for his example and initiative.
              Thurairajah also initiated industrial consultancy, which at the time was very limited nationally.
              He was politically on the left and encouraged workers’ education at the UoP in the early 1970’s. Although mild mannered, he never minced words. Prof. Kumar David can say more.
              Does one need to be an active politician to have ‘Vision’?

              Moratuwa was favoured between 1974 and 1978 by Vice Chancellor Sumanadasa (then there was only a UoSL and campuses). Students from Colombo and the South were prevented from joining Peadeniya for at least 3 years.
              Funding for Peadeniya was curtailed while Moratuwa thrived. There were (thwarted) attempts in 1975 to transfer Peradeniya staff in Chemical Engineering to Moratuwa. The Agricultral Engineering programme was hijacked by the Faculty of Agriculture in 1974 to produce no competent agricultural engineers.
              The quality of academic staff then was on average poor in Moratuwa –which was not planned as a university but converted into a university campus for political reasons.
              Peradeniya lost many excellent academics, mainly Tamils and a few Sinhalese, after 1977 and 1983,. It lost many more between 1988 and 1990. That was its tragedy. The recovery has been impeded by political pressure through the UGC. The UGC thrust the Course Unit System on all universities; and that has been a general disaster.
              The UGC did much to hurt Peradeniya for its reluctance to arbitrarily increase intake of students, while Moratuwa was forever obliging and therefore rewarded.
              Neither faculty is adequately equipped to deal with the present numbers. I estimate an overload factor of 1.5-2 for Peradeniya and 2.5 to 3 for Moratuwa.
              The UGC has acted irresponsibly on many occasions including the starting of the engineering faculty in the SEU plus the (aborted) start of one in Jaffna in 2004.
              To compare universities and programmes one needs personal experience with the products as well as an idea of how things are done (especially the way courses are taught) in each university.

              • 8
                5

                SJ,

                I have no personal bias or animus against Prof. Thurairajah. I always admired his academic competence and modesty. However, these have nothing to do with what I expect of a VC of a university. Please educate me, if you think otherwise. I am ready to learn and change my opinion.

                Dr.RN

              • 6
                0

                I am not sure of what you say. I did a search of the literature under Thurairajah. Hardly anything. What were Thurairajah’s accomplishments in scholarship?

                Your charge that there was a thwarted attempt to transfer chemical eng staff to Moratuwa is not fully correct. The Peradeniya chemical engineering prof [Edited out] made an electrical student pregnant. His wife was very nice to all of us and therefore popular. So the Pera faculty tried to push out that chem eng professor and he moved to Moratuwa with his pregnant student who got a first class. So the attempt was not thwarted but succeeded on Peradeniya initiative,

                • 5
                  0

                  Thank you for kindling old memories from about 40+ years ago. A slight diversion that is still relevant to this article on why our personal morality, caste identity and religion should not be used to deprive those not like us of their rights.

                  Those were days when Peradeniya academics and Moratuwa academics had been trained together and were good friends. So efforts were made to deny a position at Moratuwa to that young lady who had been made pregnant by the chemical engineer. But she had a first class and could not be denied a job. The recruitment rules worked then. She accepted the appointment and came soon to full term.

                  At that stage she had to apply for maternity leave. Prof. Sam Karunaratne, as Dean, ruled that there was no provision for maternity leave for those who were unmarried. (This is what we heard in Peradeniya and I assume it was true)

                  That young lady resigned her job, had her baby and subsequently the couple went abroad. Rumour had it that they eventually fell apart.

                  Anyway, her behavior might be against our morality. But she was entitled as a Sri Lankan to that job and to maternity leave. Caste, moral codes and religion should not bear on our right to our rights.

                • 0
                  3

                  Kindly avoid talking of things that you are ignorant of.

                  I know what your misinformed gossip is about. I will not name names. But nobody was pushed out. The man applied for the Chair at Moratuwa and got it.
                  Another pleaded for transfer because his new wife will not come to Peradeniya. The plea was allowed.

                  In 1975 on pretext of facilitating Chem. Eng. in Moratuwa, the then VC Sumanadasa (a Moratuwa don) ordered the transfer of Drs Noel Fernando, Kosala Gunatthilleke and Gamini Bandara to Moratuwa. the staff of Engineering Faculty, Peradeniya were infuriated threatened to strike. It took a meeting with Minister of Education Badiuddin Mahmud and smart diplomacy by one Peradeniya academic to turn things round. The mischief makers were soon brought to their knees.

                  For literature by Thurairajah:
                  https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=Y3dn6e8AAAAJ&hl=en

                  If you search for S Mahaingam you have to cut through the entire not to pick one or two. Makes you wonder how he got his DSc, heh!

                  • 5
                    0

                    “If you search for S Mahaingam you have to cut through the entire not to pick one or two. Makes you wonder how he got his DSc, heh!”

                    Is this “SJ” the same as Prof Sivasegaram, the only one at Peradeniya who did not like the lovable Prof. S. Mahalingam, D.Sc.? If not, I apologize.

                    Whoever you are, please leave Prof. Mahalingam alone. His D.Sc. was awarded by a board of examiners at London. To attack him after his death is %&*#%.

            • 5
              9

              Dr RN doesn’t appear to have any idea of what Prof Thurai up to and has just carried away by buzz words like vision, mission etc. that we hear day in day out from too many short-sighted shonky leaders too, but have seen nothing tangible in the end. The fact Prof didn’t publish his vision on the Web, doesn’t mean he didn’t have one. He is a silent achiever.

              To say “I grant the need to survive may have been an over riding factor.” only implies that DR RN is in a firing mood and is an insult to such a great person. And then to conclude Prof. Thurairajah, is of course one among many and was not the exception is really in very bad taste in this context, and he is no more with us to defend himself. To say survive- does DR RN know how Prof had rescued a science faculty Dean (not sure his name, maybe a Dias?)who had been dragged from his faculty in
              building in Pera and held captive in front of the main library by striking students, majority of them were Sinhalese?. The students, who were emotionally charged, could have done nasty things, never know how the mob’s mentality would change, yet Prof came to the scene and sensed the atmosphere was very tensed despite sat next to his fellow academician like a saint. Didn’t he put his live in danger, such was his character, students regardless of race or what faculty they belong to, admired him for what he was ( for those who knew him) and what he did at that point in time (for those who didn’t know him before.

              I knew LTTE bestowed on him Mamanithar, that doesn’t mean Prof did aiding and abetting them, instead they must have seen a exceptional person o him and tried to elevate them by what they did. Note, I am not a fan of LTTE either. Better to stay out of Prof Thurai.

              Regarding Prof Jeevan article, was amazed to see he went to the extent to pin every one cited in his article down with their caste. That effort would have been better spent on other progressive stuffs, specially a person of his caliber. Also, we should ensure the delimitation should not segregate people along their caste basis even for the want of gaining representation, it will only help stigmatize further, there should be some better alternatives. Not sure if this is the right forum to venture his grievances, people would think we have grown up having gone through the turmoil in the past decades. It is really shame if we cannot control things that are under our control, and trying to control things that are beyond our control.

            • 4
              9

              Firstly, you talked of Vision. That has been answered.

              Please tell us what you expect of a VC.
              One’s performance has to be judged in context, and let us see how Thurairajah fits the bill.

              The man went to Jaffna mainly to set up an Engineering Faculty. The war blocked it. But he continued in the job knowing the plight of the UoJ and Jaffna at the time. He had a much happier situation awaiting his return in the OUSL, Nawala. He rescued UoJ from the mess it was in, thanks to rival political groups, goons and crafty politicos.

              Even today, people I know at the UoJ long for the days of Thurairajah.
              He is greatly admired in the OUSL, Nawala, where he headed Engineering.
              Ask any of his former colleagues from Peadeniya about his leadership qualities.

              • 7
                2

                The Victoria University, Australia laid down the following criteria this year for the Vice-Chancellor it wants to recruit:

                “selection criteria
                1. A clear and compelling vision for the future of Victoria University which is aligned to its core values, mission and broad strategic direction.
                2. Demonstrable high level nancial, commercial and business acumen and success in an organisation similar in size to Victoria University.
                3. An inclusive, accessible and open leadership style, with high quality interpersonal and communication skills.
                4. Strong conceptual and strategic planning skills.
                5. A strong record of excellence in educational leadership.
                6. Strong stakeholder relationship-building skills.

                Professional and Personal attributes
                The successful candidate should be able to demonstrate most or all of the following attributes:
                a) a detailed current knowledge of the Australian and international tertiary education environments;
                b) innovation and exibility in response to a changing education scene;
                c) a strong record of strategic leadership in the management of human and nancial resources in a large and complex organisation;
                d) academic credibility and excellence, including a distinguished record of scholarship;
                e) successful leadership and change management in teaching, learning and research;
                f) a knowledge of, and commitment to, the vocational, further education and higher education sectors;
                g) the ability to build strong long-term external relationships with all levels of government, industry and community, and to play a lead role in fundraising and developing strategic partnerships;
                h) experience in representing a large organisation
                i) as its public face, together with an understanding of marketing, media and branding in education, and extensive networks in industry, the professions, government and education;
                j) a sound understanding of governance, management and the ethics of leadership;
                k) the ability to develop the University for the benefit of its local and international students, staff, local and global enterprises, communities with which the University interacts, and the governments and public to which it is accountable;
                l) be a strong and articulate advocate for VU’s agenda for social inclusion, serving diverse communities in the west of Melbourne and beyond to broaden their lives and employment opportunities;
                m) have the ability to inspire colleagues, to harness the commitment of VU’s staff, and to work collaboratively to develop the ability of individuals, enterprises and communities to build sustainable futures;
                n) achieve results by realising the potential of support staff, students, enterprises and communities to develop and grow, and take the initiatives and risks necessary to move the University forward in its mission to transform lives;
                o) the ability to win respect and credibility by embodying University values and acting with integrity, respect and openness in personal, collaborative and institutional action;
                p) have a commitment to the values and mission of VU as outlined in Making VU 2016: A Statement of Purpose; and
                q)have the capacity to engender respect, provide leadership to the executive and the University generally, and to inspire teamwork and foster co-operation across the institution.”

                A ‘ vision’ criteria was also laid down by the Radhakrishnan ( later the President of India) Commision in India in 1948.

                The ‘ Vision’ envisaged is not duties such as expanding the number of faculties, when the need arises, but extends far beyond and encompasses the students, society, location, country and the word. The ‘ Quality and Distinctiveness’ of its graduates in terms of values, character, culture and sensitiveness to the problems and needs of the larger world around them would come within the purview of this vision.

                The north during the tenure of Prof. Thurairajah was of course was not normal. It was not an easy environment to work in. However, the ‘Vision’ in those circumstances, in my opinion should have embraced sensitivity to the travails and needs of the war-afflicted people.

                Dr.RN

                • 1
                  0

                  Dr.RN,

                  Fundraising and speechifying are a major part of the work of university administrators in the West, but many university presidents, even famous ones, don’t necessarily have the vision thing you talk about. Many university presidents here are just fairly accomplished academics who speak in platitudes in order to maintain cordial relations with everyone, including their appointing boards, and engage rich alumni in fundraising.

                  (To put it crudely, there is a lot of ass-kissing in the West as well, which is something I detest.)

                  The Sri Lankan context is very different and one cannot use the same
                  yardstick; I think Prof. A. Thurairajah (AT) and Prof. C.L.V. Jayatilleka were among the best university administrators in SL; had they stayed in the West, they would have been comparable to many successful administrators of western universities; less accomplished SL-origin academics who stayed on in the West went on to become administrators, and some of them were paid nearly a million dollars in annual salary.

                  • 3
                    0

                    //less accomplished SL-origin academics who stayed on in the West went on to become administrators, and some of them were paid nearly a million dollars in annual salary.//

                    This should be a very small number, right? Give us a couple of examples.

                    • 3
                      0

                      Well, Indira Samarasekara became President and VC of the Univ. of Alberta and by the time her tenure ended last year, her compensation was close to a million dollars.

                      Earlier, she was an academic at the Univ. of British Columbia where she got her PhD as well. AT got his PhD at Cambridge and was also a professor at the UBC before he moved back to SL. People close to him told me that he had some sort of a spiritual call to go back to SL ( some “guru” told him to go back?).

                      There is a business school dean at Imperial College whom I know well personally. He may not earn a million dollars yet, but I won’t be surprised if he grows to become a president/VC somewhere and earn as much. There are other younger people in similar administrative paths at US and UK universities, and they didn’t have the same kind of accomplishments as AT in their earlier years.

                    • 2
                      0

                      Why is Agnos picking on Indira (Arudpragaam) Samarasekera?

                      She was the first woman Mech Eng graduate from the country graduatng with first class honours.
                      Her MSc was in Mechanical Sciences. Her PhD research in metallurgy is highly regarded. She changed career direction, and that is no crime.
                      She was not a research paper factory but much recognized for her academic leadership.
                      She brought credit to Sri Lanka by what she achieved through hard work, for which she was well known from school days.
                      When we talk of “more and less accomplished” here, we are talking apples and bananas.

                    • 3
                      0

                      SJ,

                      I didn’t pick on Ms. Samarasekara. Rather, I was responding to RN’s posting about vision and U. of Victoria’s requirements, arguing that what people call vision is largely about hitting certain targets– x amount of $$ raised, including research grants; y # of enrollment; z steps rise in some university rankings, etc.

                      It doesn’t call for any hard skills; mostly good speechifying, interpersonal, organizational and communication skills and putting in the hours, and I cited some Tamil academics who became successful administrators in the West.

                      I don’t have more time for chit chat, but I will leave with this: If my information about AT’s background is correct, he —
                      1. stood first in all of Sri Lanka in the Math stream at the A/L? Check.
                      2. topped his batch in all 4 years in engineering as an undergrad? Check.
                      3. went to a top university for postgraduate studies? Check.
                      4. became an academic at an excellent Western Univ.? Check.
                      5. conducted high quality research? Check.
                      6. became an academic administrator/dean/VC eventually? Check.

                      Though there are a number of SL Tamils who can check some of the above, and many others can claim to have earned high $$, I am not sure who else can check all of it.

                • 6
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                  Timeline -University of Jaffna.

                  University located in Jaffna was demanded from times of Sir P Ramanathan and Sir P. Arunachalam.

                  Tamil university movement was initiated in 1958, consequent to suwabasha education.

                  The demand for university echoed in G.G. Ponnambalam’s A.C. T.C platforms.

                  Govt of Ceylon appointed a commission on higher education with G. P. Malalasekera as Chairman in 1969, for which only a few submitted memorandum demanding the establishment of a university in Jaffna, for which Federal party was opposed.

                  1970 Election saw Srimavo Bandaranayaka’s ascendency as prime minister of Ceylon, Baudeen Mohamed as minister of education, Mr Thiyagarajah, Mr. Arulampalam and Aananthasangary as Members of parliament , who catalyzed the birth of University of Jaffna.

                  Mr C. Kumarasooriyar was the link to the north, who liased the project on the establishment of the which became a reality in 1974.

                  Dr. K. Kailasapathy became president of Jaffna campus of university of Ceylon and was inaugurated in 1974 by Hon. Srimavo. Bandaranayaka, prime minister of Ceylon.

                  It was a rejoysable event and site in Jaffna for everyone in Jaffna and the whole Ceylon. The people of Jaffna welcomed the inauguration and the prime minister Srimavo, inaugurating the function, adorned the stage after attending the pooja at Parameswaran temple, built in the premises by the Hon Sir .P. Ramanathan. The pooja was conducted by Prof .K Kailasanatha kurukal. The prime minister was on the Dias with the mangala sandalwood (saffron) Thilakam on her forehead, with a great happiness, beaming and smiling.

                  The only notable absentees were the members of the Federal party and not the people of Jaffna.

                  Activities started, students were admitted, in 1974.

                  To mark the great event, sumptuous vegetarian lunch was arranged at the request of
                  Prof. P. Kanagasabapathy, who was the silent leader who was instrumental in the creation of Kurinchi Kumaran temple in the campus of ever beautiful Peradeniya, at the Sri Siva Gurunatha Guru Peedam , Mahadeva Swamy Ashram to all students, staff, and parents.

                  Medical Faculty was started in 1978, with Prof. Hoover as the deen.

                  Jaffna university senate passed a resolution for the creation of Faculty of Agriculture, Faculty of Engineering and Faculty of Fisheries.

                  The faculty. of Agriculture did not become a reality due to opposition by prof. R. Appadurai dean of the faculty of Agriculture at Peradeniya.

                  The university of Jaffna became a full fledge autonomous university in 1979 and prof. Vidiyananthan became the vice chancellor

                  The university of Jaffna, decided to establish the faculty of agriculture, engineering and fisheries.

                  Prof .T. Jogaratnam, prof. Kumaran. David, prof. Thurairajah were appointed to prepare the feasibility report.

                  The report recommended the establishment of Faculty of Agriculture and Engineering at Kilinochchi, and the faculty of Fisheries at Mullaitivu.

                  The siting of faculty of agriculture was not welcomed by some members of the faculty of science, who were appointed to take initiatives, for their personal vested interest and reasons they wanted it to at Thirunelvely, lobbied and got the support of the V. C and canvassed politically, which brought aggressive debate within the community and political party, which finally decided to site the faculty at Kilinochchi, as per recommendation of the report.

                  Lot of background work was done at Peradeniya, by V. Pavanasasivam and Dr. Gunaratnam of Faculty of engineering et.al in this regard.

                  Finally, it had become a tangible reality in Kilinochchi, in 2014.

                  Prof. Thurairajah left Peradeniya due to bitter experience in 1983, to Colombo, as vice Chancellor of the Open University and the family shifted to Point Pedro.

                  He applied for the post of Vice Chancellor, Jaffna University. In 1987, the sad reality was there was no one was to propose his name due to fear psychosis to L.T.T.E. Having got clearance, finally, Mr .S. Sivapathasundaram, former principal Parameshwara College proposed and he became the Vice chancellor of university of Jaffna in 1987.

                  As a concientous worker, he shouldered, and carried out his duties like any other in Jaffna under trying conditions and uncertainties of the times in the north. Everyone appreciates and are thankful to him for having stood with the people, while others deserted.

                  Personal likes, loyalty,admiration should not cloud judgements based on ideals, expectations and needs.

                  It is unwise and not in unison with elated culture to ooze venom and waste on analyzing and dissecting the past. Let us live in the present and move towards the creative future.

                  Old yarlppanathan
                  21-02- 2016

                  • 2
                    0

                    Old Yarlpanathan,

                    Thanks for your time line, which also clarifies events relating to the faculties of agriculture and engineering at Peradeniya. Prof. Appadurai, despite his opposition to the Jaffna university agriculture faculty, was a great academic and a great lecturer who could even tempt students to eat the forages he taught about, but also a very pushy personality.

                    Dr.RN

                  • 2
                    0

                    Old Yarlpanathan,

                    Thanks for your elucidating comment on the timeline of historically significant steps in the creation of the University of Jaffna and important decisions and events thereafter. This will help place the various events/initiatives discussed relating to the University of Jaffna and the establishment of the faculties of agriculture and engineering within the right time frame.

                    Dr.RN

                  • 1
                    1

                    Agnos
                    Responding to RN is one thing but making an example of someone who did well academically and chose her career wisely is something else.
                    Indira is not running a race against anyone for greatness. She was quite modest about her achievements when she addressed the IESL three years ago.
                    I am well aware of AT’s achievements.
                    My concern is why you could not think a more appropriate example to counter RN’s remarks which, like you, I totally reject.

                    I do not want to prolong this discussion as it will only lead to more mischief, I do not mean by you.

          • 0
            5

            So it is this year’s criteria of the Australian University of Victoria!
            Great!
            Even Ivor Jennings would have slipped on several.
            However, which of them would truly apply to UoJ in 1983-2002?

            What any VC could achieve in UoJ during war were limited by the state and the local power.
            With the war on, faculties struggled for resources and the state was just about willing to sustain the university. Prof. T.cycled from and to Pt Pedro daily (since, unlike 21st Century Victoria, Jaffna faced a drought of fuel). He still had the energy to keep things running well, and was much admired by the public at large for that.
            He took the initiative to get several things done with internal and external support where possible. That is a reason why he is still fondly remembered.

            With the LTTE dominating public sphere, what were the prospects for the UoJ to expand activities into society without facing the wrath of the paranoid LTTE leaders at every level?
            Tell us where exacly Prof. T. failed for lack of vision, competence or initiative.

            Look at his performance at the OUSL and Peadeniya. How did he buid up Engineering at OUSL? Without vision? How did he achieve in Peradeniya more than any academic of his time had, to initiate and promote group research and postgraduate programs (which certain prominent academics cynically discouraged), during years of economic hardship? Without vision?
            Ask people who worked with him anywhere– other than certain interested parties.

            • 7
              2

              A Vice-Chancellor of the University of Guelph in Canada also cycled to work in spring, summer and fall!
              The vision I speak of will vary according to circumstances and environments. It is dreaming and reaching out for something bigger than one is called upon to do by way of duties. Further, the Victoria university document was reproduced to emphasize the primacy of Vision in the attributes of a Vice-Chancellor.

              Many of what you have listed as the achievements of the Late And much respected Prof. Thursirajsh, like the engineering and agriculture faculties, if I remember right, were conceived during the early years of the Jaffna Univrersity. There was nothing visionary about them.

              I admire your respect and adoration for Prof. thurairajah as very likely he taught you, but the attempt to make him what he was not, is objectionable. I agree that he was a great academic, engineer and human, but I would not describe him as a visionary, He obviously commanded much respect within the university community that his bold initiative, likely saved a srudent’ s life. He no doubt showed courage. This does not however make him a visionary.

              I have followed up on the issue of vision, because I have felt the universities in Sri Lanka lacked an over-riding vision. There was political vision behind the founding of the university in Peradeniya and academic wisdom in its initial stages. However, it dissipated quite fast.

              Dr.RN

              • 0
                7

                Do not patronize me with things like “I admire your respect and adoration for Prof. thurairajah as very likely he taught you….”

                Thurairajah never taught me and I owe him nothing.
                On occasion, I had clashed with him.

                Do not mix things that are immiscible to justify your slur on someone perhaps unwittingly. And you now proceed to insult institutions without knowing what really went on.

                If you wish to persevere with this have it your way.
                It is your நாயர் புடிச்ச புலிவாலு or முதலியாரு புடிச்ச மூணுகாலு முசல்.

                You could in the meantime enlighten us on how the Australian University PLCs are making “thosai boutiques” of higher education with their educational “entrepreneurship”.

    • 37
      2

      Dr.Narendran
      You are spot on in your diagnosis about Prof. Hoole’s personality.
      What you have said about the human qualities that an aspiring VC should have apart from his academic qualifications is absolutely true. Those qualities were there in gentlemen like the late Mr. Handi Perinpanayagam a person with a Christian upbringing who was the Principal of the Kokuvil Hindu College. Mention must be made about Mr. Nevins Selladurari a Christian who was the Principal of the Jaffna Hindu College.it is due to them why these colleges are regarded as premier institutions of learning in the North. Hindus had no qualms about them guiding their children’s education.
      I think the problem with Prof. Hoole is his selfishness which is motivated by his past experiences. His frustated diatribe is is a result of that, otherwise why should he quote former CM’s bleating at the Jaffna Managers Forum seminar about an unfounded 40%to 60% rise of LC’s?

    • 18
      1

      SRH is [Edited out]

    • 35
      2

      SRH is not an academic but a bigot. Despised by all and spat upon by all who know him. Such a person is never considered for any high post or position by civilised society.

    • 6
      3

      Further, to my above comment, I wish to bring to the attention of of Dr.Ratnajeevan Hoole, some titbits of history, with reference to the role of Christian missionaries Renaissance of Saiva Sidhantha, the religion of the Tamils and Tamil as a language. The emergence of literature from among the so-called lower castes is also highlighted:

      “In Jaffna, a Tamil Academy was established in 1898 and conferences on Tamil Language and Literature were held in many places. At one such conference held in 1922, many Tamil scholars from India were invited to take part. In the same year, the Arya Dravida Basha Development Society was inaugurated.

      In the field of Fine Arts, Cantatic Music and Bharata Naryam proclaimed divine arts and measures were taken to foster them.

      In this process of self-assertion, three significant features may be observed:

      Firstly, although an aspect of the Tamil Renaissance was the acceptansyof Saivism in the form of Saiva Siddhanta as the ancient and the indigenous religion of the Tamils, there were quite a number of Christian scholars who were involved in this movement. Indeed, one may maintain that the process of Tamil Renaissance was originated by, among others, De Nobili.  Constantine: Beschi and Robert Caldwell – all foreign Christian missionaries and scholars. In course of time, eminent Christians took leading roles: Savariroya Pillai, L. D. Swami Kannupillai, T. Isaac Tambyah, Swami S. Gnana Prakasar and in our days X.S. Taninayagam Adikal. Hence the “Tamil ethnic identity remains linguistic and cultural”, in sharp contrast to the “all inclusive ethno religious identity of the Sinhalese Buddhists”.

      The second striking feature is the fact that those who were involved in this process belonged initially to the higher echelons of Tamil society. The traditionally oppressed classes were left out. In course of time, however, the lower castes “ushered in new experiences and visions into fiction, poetry and drama using hitherto unheard of dialects, idioms and expressions”.

      The final feature is the importance the past and present history of the Tamils in Sri Lanka assumed in the middle of the present century. Works such as Sankili (1956) a historical play by K. Kanapathipillai, Tamils and Ceylon (l958) by C. S. Navaratnam, Tamiil Culture in Ceylon (1962) by M.D. Raghavan, The Tamils in Early Ceylon (1964) by C. Sivaratnam, were pointers to the growing self- consciousness of the Tamils of Sri Lanka. Tamil Culture, a journal edited by X. S. Thaninayagam Adikal, also played a momentous role in this process.

      In conclusion, it may not be out of place to document the depth of the awareness of Tamil identity in the North (and East) in the first half of the nineties: the quantity and quality of output in the fields of literature, performing and fine arts were experiential, impressive and perhaps superior in certain resects to those that came from South India during this period.”

      http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~lkawgw/jaffna.html

      Dr.RN

  • 9
    28

    Prof Hoole,
    Thank you for your open statement on a sensitive subject that is a despicable subject.
    I am a consultant to the Ministry of Education who facilitated the Northern Education System Review in 2013. Based on the Review Reports a Recommendations Implementation and Monitoring Panel was instituted with approval from the Board of Ministers and the Governor. see NESR Report in http://www.deptedu.np.gov.lk.

    The Board of RIMP, Chaired by the Minister and with the membership that includes the Secretary and the Provincial Director, met on Thursday 18 Feb. It instituted a Committee, with four support staff, to identify issues related to Caste that denies equal opportunity to children to maximise their potential. I am a member of that committee. It is to present its findings and recommendations to the RIMP BOARD for Implementation before the end of April.

    The Committee will advertise in all news papers and other media to submit their observations naming Pre-Schools, Secondary schools and Education Zones where discrimination exists overtly and covertly. The committee will gather information and hard data by visiting such schools.

    Most of the information you published is already with some members of the committee. We will study them to substantiate them.
    We will advertise the contact details next week. One of the Contact detail is my email for collecting information is: ethirveerasingam@gmail.com
    I extend this invitation on behalf of the Committee to colombotelegraph readers. You are welcome to use your pseudonym if you prefer. We will appreciate it if you can be as objective as practicably possible in such a sensitive issue. That is more reason and less emotion.

    The Committee’s mandate is to improve the performance and integrity of the education of our children in the North and not to change our society in the North or Sri Lanaka. We will leave that to the citizens of Sri Lanka. But hopefully it is a start that can be sustained through the population and through time.
    Thank you.

    • 2
      0

      Thanks.

      Is it the correct one http://www.edudept.np.gov.lk/ not http://www.deptedu.np.gov.lk.

    • 0
      0

      Dr Ethirveerasingham,

      Thank you for the information.

      “It is to present its findings and recommendations to the RIMP BOARD for Implementation before the end of April.”

      Too little time has been given. Why? How would you have time to visit many institutions?

      “The Committee will advertise in all news papers and other media to submit their observations naming Pre-Schools, Secondary schools and Education Zones where discrimination exists overtly and covertly.”

      You can visit a school but how would you identify the caste of the children and the staff? Do you expect that children in a pre-school or primary school know their caste?

    • 0
      0

      “One of the Contact detail is my email for collecting information is: ethirveerasingam@gmail.com

      I tried to mail you. Doesn’t work.

  • 9
    47

    The commentators, as is usual with many who write to CT, are resorting to ad hominem attacks on Hoole. The point is the “facts”! If what Hoole says is all true, or even partly true, the University of Jaffna is a den of vipers.

    Can people please respond to the veracity or otherwise of the stated “facts”. That’s all that matters; I can make up my mind and for that I do not need the assistance of feeble minded commentators.

    • 21
      3

      Kumar, [Edited out]

      • 2
        8

        18 people like what is edited out without even reading it.

        They must really like Thiruvathavoorar Lakshminarayan to give a thumbs up for something they cannot read.

        Was it Kumar David who referred to ad hominem comments? That is, the attacks and praises are for the messenger and have nothing to do with the message.

        • 7
          0

          The messenger colors the message. Hoole is discredited.

        • 0
          5

          Jeni
          That is how rational the Tamil internet community is.
          See the remark above mine

    • 40
      0

      Kumar David pretends to be a Marxist but is an intolerant Christian. Regardless of the veracity or part veracity of what Hoole says, Hoole is giving an anti Hindu twist to a course of events to which he himself is partly responsible given his earlier vituperative anti Hindu publications and statements. Hoole’s testimony does not of itself prove that the University of Jaffna is a den of vipers. Remember the man had also attacked Savitri Goonesekere in the most foul of words. Hoole is the Christian equivalent of Mahindapala. Stop defending the indefensible, Mr. David!

    • 31
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      Prof. David,

      With all due respect to you, I am not at all claiming that everything what Dr Hoole said was untrue. Simply I do not know but I am at a loss to comprehend his presentation. What transpires from his piece is complete rancor. He went into detail about certain castes and implied characteristics with a casual notations. As Dr RN noted that, the present caste situation in Jaffna is anything but what is outlined in his article. The Jaffna uni appointments are completely politicised and caste connotations at work I doubt it!

      • 14
        0

        i second that!

        i really like to find out how he found the castes of all those people, unless he is a very nosy gossiper.

        he is carefully describing himself as a high caste in the process.

        wow…

        • 0
          5

          Rohan,

          I think you have been living away from Jaffna for too long to ask how one finds out the caste of another.

          Everyone knows and they tell you discreetly if you do not — to make sure you do not invite a low person into your home and offer a seat which needs to be followed by an offer of a drink.

          When you make the mistake of inviting a low person into the house or ask whether you may offer a cup of tea, such low person insistently declines and you get the message. Exactly this happened to me last week when a well-dressed carpenter from a company came to repair my furniture. It happened, again in Colombo, yesterday when a friend accompanying me declined a meal when I was offered one. He said he had just eaten which I knew was untrue.

          These fellows on this website who give thumbs up to deleted comments they cannot read give themselves away. Their comments are based on whom they are from. What the comment was, is irrelevant. Just a take a look.

          Jaffna is as it has always been. Only Hoole is stupid enough to say what we all know to be true but will say only under nicknames to avoid the ad hominem shelling barrage (to borrow from Prof. David) that poor, naive Hoole is under.

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      Kumar, much of SRH’s writings are sensational and designed to provoke and even offend. I dislike personal remarks of the kind I see in the article as well as the responses
      The trouble with responding to his wild allegations against Universities is that people in responsible positions cannot descend to his level of writing or reveal confidential transactions.

      • 0
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        I fully agree with you, SJ on my disliking personal remarks of the kind I see in the article as well as the responses.

        However, you have led the pack of hyenas by implying that Prof. Mahalingam did not deserve his D.Sc. — as wild an allegation as any here, and against a highly regarded intellectual who is dead and cannot defend himself

        Have you heard of the pot and the kettle story? I think you are the blackest pot calling a kettle black.

        I am sorry I sound angry. But your slander on my teacher is totally unacceptable and brings out the worst in me.

    • 28
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      Dr. David,

      That is true; the university administration seems rotten to the core.
      But there was no need to bring up people’s castes or exaggerated
      complaints about discrimination against Christians by Hindus. Although some people might have played the religious card to deny him the VC post, the underlying hostility was probably to the bad reputation Hoole had garnered as a muckraker and Christian zealot, not to Christians as such.

      Hoole brings up the issue of Prof. Sarvan not being given the opportunity to teach. But Sarvan himself has written in the comment pages of CT, saying the university did not make any effort to accept his offer, made with a request for modest housing arrangement, but he never mentioned religion as an issue. There could have been several reasons, such as the fear of being upstaged by better qualified people. So in invoking Sarvan’s name to buttress his arguments of anti-Christian efforts at the Univ, Hoole is being disingenuous.

    • 25
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      Kumar,
      Not even half of the ‘facts’ given by Hoole are true! Caste is dying though the process of its death is sometimes slow. Casteism had over time become a part of the social fabric that couldn’t be changed by any change of religion. Even when the Moghuls conquered northern India,and converted a large number of people to Islam, casteism continued even among the converted. It is a FACT that separate pews were allocated to the LCs at the rear even in churches in Jaffna!
      None of the Christian schools in Jaffna tolerated any of the teachers with strong leftist views. Just think of A. Vaiadialingam,, M. Karthigesan, S. Sivapathasundaram, V. Ponnambalam, Orator Subramaniam and several others. They all taught in Hindu schools. Banudevanan was dismissed from St. John’s college because of his leftist views! Mr. A. S. Kanagaratnam, a Christian teacher was not tolerated in any Christian school and he had to find refuge at Jaffna Hindu College! I can quote more such instances.
      Sengodanm. M

    • 17
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      What a stupid question, Kumar David. To investigate the accuracy of what Hoole says requires someone to review each case and determine whether it is true or false. That will take weeks. I suspect that Hoole is making wild allegations (as he did in the past) only because it would require effort on the part of others to examine its veracity. I hope that someone raises to the challenge – but surely you can do so yourself for a start rather than obliquely defend the man. How do you expect readers of the Colombo Telegraph to turn forensic investigators over night. What type of comment is yours?

  • 1
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    Casteism is the curse of the Jaffna man – otherwise blessed with a multitude of talents through which he has reached great heights in his own land and out in the world. He takes this unfortunate baggage whenever circumstances force him to leave his homeland. We remain a minority under siege divided by our own prejudicial man-made barriers.
    It will take a long time for local Tamils to overcome this aberration. Those enjoying the benefit of being born Vellala and out of the lower-caste syndrome seem incurable. There was the instance of a well known scholar – a Brahmin in S.India – a serious and highly respected student of the Sri Lankan ethnic crisis who has visited several SL Tamil IDP camps for years. He told me some of those in the camps even consider themselves to be higher than even Brahmins like himself. They preferred to remain in their own world refusing to mingle with the society around them.

    Whereas in the Sinhala caste case class, by which I mean success in commerce and the professions, generally replaces caste in the Tamil case it is far more rigid where the accident of birth holds supreme.

    Like in India during the time of the Mahathma, it is time leaders of SL Tamils from the higher castes set a more desirable example in today’s
    iconoclastic world so that this divisive scourge may gradually exit our society. Frankly, it is so deep and invasive in the bloodstream I had second thoughts when my daughter chose to wed someone outside ours – although the well-endowed young man was not from what one would call a low caste.

    Kettikaran

  • 1
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    This article is refreshing to read. It’s nice to know that there are some people who are actively trying to bring Jaffna into the 21st century.

    To the commenters: If this article was written by anyone else you would have complimented it. You are so busy reading the authors name you don’t pay attention to the actual article. Do yourselves a favour and re read it without prejudging the material.

    Tamil society IS diseased and the cause is the caste system. Anyone with an understand of the caste system should realise that the caste system now is a set of rules that change every day depending on who has the power and manipulated to fit their wants. (Ie. converting religions means you will lose your caste, travelling abroad will mean you lose your caste, etc.) The caste system we have is one that is manipulated to make qualification-less people feel important and be able to make a name for themselves while keeping others down. Now every dumb move our universities take, is excused because it’s for the better of the “caste system” . I bet you all these commenters are people who have had it good manipulating the caste system to succeed in life. It’s even spread to Toronto and Berlin.

    By falling for the caste system you are only hurting yourself. We have lived in a rut for too many decades, it is time to start accepting change and trying to move forward in the world.

  • 35
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    An extract from an editorial written by reputed journalist/ writer late Mr S Sivanayakam on R Hoole is given below for readers benefit: ( copied from Sangam webpage )

    On the academic qualities of Prof. Ratnajeevan Hoole as a Hinduism scholar-impostor, late S. Sivanayagam wrote a pungent, hard-hitting editorial in April 07, 2006, which deserves a re-reading now. It was captioned: “Who is this man called Ratnajeevan H. Hoole? Here is an introduction to the man inside out!” Here it is:

    “As everyone knows this man’s name figured recently when President Rajapakse in his infinite wisdom thought he would make a good Vice-Chancellor for the Jaffna University. Thank the Lord Jesus (Ratnajeevan is a Christian fundamentalist) he never showed his face anywhere near Jaffna. He is also a sexually obsessed individual. But what is much worse, he is a determined rubbisher of the Hindu faith. These are not idle statements made without any proof. A book he himself wrote gives all these away.

    He published a book titled – The Exile Returned: A self-portrait of the Tamil Vellahlahs of Jaffna, Sri Lanka. The address given was Institute of Fundamental Studies, Kandy, Sri Lanka and Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, CA 91711, USA. The publication date was Colombo, 1997. It was printed at Bodhimoha Print House, Ethul Kotte and published by Aruvi Publishers of 88F 1/1, Galle Road, Dehiwala. Inquiries about the book could be had he says from there or from S.R.H. Hoole, 36, Sagara Road, Colombo 4. Tel: 94-1-596 684. The book is dedicated to ‘The Little Children of Jaffna’. These details are given not because we expect our readers to jump up and make inquiries about the book. Please don’t. Anyway the book is in faded print and the publishers themselves appear to have left this earth. Preserve your sanity. The purpose is only to give authenticity to whatever is said here.

    But grant it to the man, he had done a lot of painstaking research during his life in America into Aryan Brahminical agamas and Vedas. Why did he do it? Because he thought that is the only way he could scrape enough evidence to discredit the Hindu faith.

    This man has a streak of eccentricity, but that is his problem. He is a Christian fundamentalist, but that too is his privilege. He has a lot of sex thoughts in his head, but even that is his problem. The mistake he makes is in making various sex allusions in a book he says is ‘dedicated to the little children of Jaffna’. Katubedde in Moratuwa where Tamil students went to study engineering was a terrible place he says. ‘There were senior Tamil boys masturbating and walking about ‘ (page 84). ‘There was a boy washing his genitals with the disinfectant Dettol because he had just visited one of the houses of ill repute’ (same page). He talks of men recently out of Jaffna ‘behaving like cows let loose. The women too now seemed not to be different’ (page 96). He says somewhere that Tamil youths (meaning Hindus of course) go about molesting women’s breasts during the annual Vel festival in Colombo. Sex, sex habits, sex behavior, are all universal traits not discovered by Professor Hoole through his research, nor are they peculiar to Tamil Hindus only, but what is nauseating is the pleasure the man derives from talking about them with the Hindus always in mind.

    His real viciousness shows when he ridicules the Hindu faith. He writes, ‘The temple was more than a place of worship. Once had been the time when the temple with the dancer-prostitutes, was a place teeming with sexuality and drug use. There exists extensive quotations from the secular newspaper Jaffna Freeman on the robbery and violence including rape, accompanied by opium use in the 1860s around the Nallur and Maviddapuram Temples, especially at festival time.’ He talks of the Chief Priest of the historic Koneswaram temple Vijageswara Sarma who had ‘allegedly’ strangled his wife Ambiga. ‘According to the evidence led Sarma had immediately gone to the temple to do the poojas as usual. His assistant, the witness Venkadaraman Balamurali then ‘had asked the suspect whether the poojas could be performed after murdering a person. The reply was that it could be done after a bath” What happened to the case, whether the priest was found guilty and convicted or whether it was someone else who did the murder were all not mentioned by Hoole.

    If this Hoole has a diseased mind, the other Hoole, Rajan Hoole is a political fraud. He began issuing reports under the name of ‘University Teachers of Jaffna’, while being holed up (sorry, holed up) in some secret location in Colombo. In the name of talking of human rights he began to malign the LTTE. The late Vice Chancellor of the Jaffna University, the much-respected Professor Thurairajah once issued a public statement denying the existence of such an organization and that Rajan Hoole was not a member of the University staff in Jaffna. But the Colombo press continued to give wide publicity to Hoole’s reports because it suited them. Why should they be interested in knowing the truth? After all any Tamil who undermines his own community’s interests automatically becomes a Sinhala hero.

    While the Tamil Christian community has contributed in proportion to their numbers more than their share towards the Tamil cause, there are a few Christians who, unable to reconcile their minds to the fact that they had deserted the religion of their forefathers. This grievance they carry against the whole community. The Hoole brothers, Lakshman Kadirgamar and D.B.S. Jeyaraj of Canada belong to this category. As for Ratnajeevan Hoole as Vice Chancellor of Jaffna University, this much has to be said. This man is dangerous. He should not be allowed to roam free in Jaffna’s Tamil Hindu society, particularly in the university campus where there is even a Saiva temple.” [Oru Paper, London, April 7, 2006, p. 6].

    The book ‘Exile Returned’ authored by Prof. Hoole in 1997, is a nasty piece of anti-Hindu drivel and had a deceptive subtitle. The word ‘Christian’ have been consciously omitted here. Instead of ‘A self-portrait of the Tamil Vellahlahs of Jaffna, Sri Lanka’ it would have been more appropriate if it was titled, A self-portrait of the Tamil Christian of Jaffna, Sri Lanka’. Though I don’t care to provide a review of this nasty work, I wish to mention something more for the record………

    • 7
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      MR
      I do not think it is correct to lump DBS.J, Kumar David, and Lakshman Kadirgamar and suggest a nebulous reason that all them have a grievance against the Tamil Hindus due to their forefathers opting to become Christians.

      I have not met Rajan Hoole who is associated with the UTHR,but I have a lot of admiration for the work he has done n the human rights issue and still doing;
      I also had known the late Mr. Sivanayagam very well, he was a relative.. He was a good man but he had his own views and approach with which I was completely at the opposite end.
      There is nothing wrong with people changing their relies believe, it goes on on a daily basis and that is their business, who are we to question that?
      I have also known and associated with people like the late Messrs I. R. Ariyaratnam , Wesley Muthiah, and Bala Thampoe who were of the Christian faith. All of whom were dedicated to the socialist cause and had not an iota of bias in their minds about race, religion or caste. and never wore a religious badge on their shirts.

      • 1
        3

        Correction
        Read ‘religious’ instead of relies.

    • 1
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      MR, please do not give your spin on things to mislead us.

      You write “The late Vice Chancellor of the Jaffna University, the much-respected Professor Thurairajah once issued a public statement denying the existence of such an organization and that Rajan Hoole was not a member of the University staff in Jaffna.”

      Untrue. Here is the actual statement:

      “16 Nov. 1992

      “The following resolution was passed at the 142nd meeting of the Council of University of Jaffna held on January 18, 1992:-

      “It has been brought to the notice of the Council of University of Jaffna that a publication titled ‘Human rights in Jaffna’ has been put out in the name of the University Teachers for Human Rights -Jaffna Branch.

      “The council wishes to inform the public that this publication is neither a publication of the University of Jaffna nor any of its teachers are associated with this publication.”

      Those were days when statements were given for signature. Thurairajah himself was the national cochairman of UTHR. There is no UTHR publication called “Human rights in Jaffna.” There never was. There is no mention of Rajan Hoole.

      Thurairajah therefore comfortably signed a statement that was 100% accurate.

      However,that statement meant nothing as it was about a non-existent publication

  • 0
    1

    The Minister of Education for NPC is a Christian?
    Having said that the allegations made by the author need to be investigated?

    on a different note:
    is there caste system in the diaspora?
    In London Borough Schools there are Tamils of all caste studying together and at parents evening the parents mingle together….
    Students of all caste progress to Uni..as is children of all British class
    it is possible children of Nallavan or Pallan or paryan mingling and even marrying in to British Aristocracy.

    • 2
      3

      [Edited out] Rajash

      ‘children of Nallavan or Pallan or paryan’ — Once again you appear to have difficulties in spelling Tamil words in English or is that how you pronounce?

      Is it the sign of Dyslexia i.e., a learning disorder marked by a severe difficulty in recognizing and understanding written language, leading to spelling and writing problems. It is not caused by low intelligence or brain damage.

      Meaning of Nallavan is good man. The correct spelling for the caste is NALAVAN.

      PARAYAN is spelt wrong. It is not meaningless paryan.

      Is it big deal get married to British Aristocracy? I understand the former Prime Minister Ted Heath’s daughter had a crookish Tamil boy friend.

      Please do not make foolish mistakes like these in the future.

      You are progressive loosing my confidence in you. Your pride is not allowing you to reach me for help.

      I am always there for you my darling.

  • 3
    35

    “Good Saivites must take a stand – does this behavior reflect your values?”

    Prof Hoole is absolutely right.

    Think where we would have been without the initial spark provided by Christian missionaries in the field of education in Jaffna.

    The plight of the so called low castes would have been much worse.

    Saivites need to move with the time and start questioning our absolute faith in the Hindu texts and many irrational believes. We need to develop an appreciation of the evolution of Hindu and Saivite thoughts and how these were influenced by Buddhist and Jain philosophies.

    See: Religion, Tradition , and Theology -Pre colonial South India
    Prof R. Champakalakshmi. Oxford University Press, 2011

    Vinayakalingam

    • 26
      2

      You too sound a Christian pretending to be a Hindu! Champakalaksmi did not say what you attribute to her. Are you a Hoole as well?

    • 3
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      As far as I know Dr Vinayakalingam is a Hindu. He is only endorsing the points about cruelty of the caste system and archaic Hindu values.Not the rest of the nonsense, and he is unaware of the mischievous motives behind Hoole’s concerns.

      Periyar (EVR) has said harsher things about Hinduism. He was no Christian.

      Jaffna Tamils have to free themselves of the Saiva-Tamil myth. Tamil developed through secular and pagan values followed by Buddhism and Jainism, which gave it the best of literature and grammar, then only through what we know as Saivaisam during the Bakti Period in which had the excellent Vaishnavaite Divyaprabandam followed by Mahabharatam and Ramayanam in Tamil. Islam and Christianity along with radical thinking enriched Tamil.

      • 21
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        Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism are related. Read the Silapadikaram! There was Hinduism in the Sangam era. You call it paganism betraying your rabid Christianity. Christianity is a colonial and white man’s construct. It legitimized the slavery of the Black man. No wonder Islam is fast growing amongst Blacks. Michael Jackson three siblings converted to Islam recently, not to mention so many ohers. Btw, Thurai Vinayakalingam does not exist!

        • 23
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          Thank you, Navida. The scorpion stings, the rattle snake bites while Hoole and his sidekicks insult. They hardly cares about the oppressed classes. They only use that oppression as a stick to beat Hinduism.

          I agree with you that Christianity is the white man’s religion that colonized the global south, that resulted in the genocide in the Americas and Australia, the sanctioned the African slave trade and resulted in the Inquisition and Holocaust. You should read Malcolm X and Franz Fannon. Let me cite a few verses of the New Testament in this regard.

          “Slaves, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ.” [Ephesians 6:5-9]

          “Let as many slaves as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor.” [1 Timothy 6:1-3]

          Jesus recommends that disobedient slaves be beaten. [Parable of Luke 12:47]

          Jesus recommends that disobedient slaves may be killed [Parable of Mathew 24:51]

          When Onesimus the slave ran away, Paul the Apostle returned him to the owner [Epistle of Paul to Philemon].

          Jesus meanwhile called Jews ‘snakes, vipers and sons of the devil’. We know how Europe treated its Jews.

          Modern American translations dishonestly replace the word slavery with word servant.

        • 22
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          Navida and SJ

          I would recommend two books – ‘The Conquest of the New World: American Holocaust’ and ‘A Little Matter of Genocide: Holocaust and Denial in the Americas, 1492 to the Present’.

          To illustrate the impact of a horribly racist Christianity, lets revisit the third stanza of the American national anthem. On the first stanza is usually sung at official events, making the third stanza less known. The American national anthem sings hallelujahs to black blood washing clean American soil polluted by black footsteps.

          ‘Their blood has washed out their foul footstep’s pollution
          No refuge could save the hireling and the slave
          From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave
          And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave.
          Over the land of the free and the home of the brave’.

          Note the words – ‘land of the free’ – as opposed to ‘the hireling and slave’..

          • 0
            5

            So it is this year’s criteria of the Australian University of Victoria!
            Great!
            Even Ivor Jennings would have slipped on several.
            However, which of them would truly apply to UoJ in 1983-2002?

            What any VC could achieve in UoJ during war were limited by the state and the local power.
            With the war on, faculties struggled for resources and the state was just about willing to sustain the university. Prof. T.cycled from and to Pt Pedro daily (since, unlike 21st Century Victoria, Jaffna faced a drought of fuel). He still had the energy to keep things running well, and was much admired by the public at large for that.
            He took the initiative to get several things done with internal and external support where possible. That is a reason why he is still fondly remembered.

            With the LTTE dominating public sphere, what were the prospects for the UoJ to expand activities into society without facing the wrath of the paranoid LTTE leaders at every level?
            Tell us where exacly Prof. T. failed for lack of vision, competence or initiative.

            Look at his performance at the OUSL and Peadeniya. How did he buid up Engineering at OUSL? Without vision? How did he achieve in Peradeniya more than any academic of his time had, to initiate and promote group research and postgraduate programs (which certain prominent academics cynically discouraged), during years of economic hardship? Without vision?
            Ask people who worked with him anywhere– other than certain interested parties.

      • 3
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        Hinduism with Siva or Vishnu (not both) as god was a post-Sangam phenomenon.
        The five gods of the Tamils of different regions were Sanskritized. Only the Muruhan cult survives somewhat close to its origin, but with 5 extra heads and 10 extra hands, two wives and a defender of suras against asuras. Today’s method of worship is far from what is described in Sangam literature.
        Sanskritization is evident in late and post Sangam literature but feebly in ettuththohai and paththuppaattu. Pathinenkiizkkanakku is later in time.
        The Hinduism we practice now is a post-Sankara phenomenon. The Saivasm and Vaishnavaism of the Pallava period were rival religions, but had enemies in the ‘modernizing’ faiths of Buddhism and Jainism.

        Buddhism, without creator god or an eternal soul– like oriental religions –was born as a challenge to the Brahminic religion of North East India. Jainism rejected god but accepted an eternal a soul.
        Buddhism was later influenced by Hinduism to different degrees, but is no branch of Hinduism. Both religions are based on fundamentals that conflict with Brahminic Hindu religions.

        Saivaism destroyed both Buddhism & Jainism in much of South India. (Adi Sankara completed the job.) Vaishnavaites were later driven to Andhra.

        Judism, Chrisianity and Islam have far more in common and the followers kill each other. The reason why Hindus do not kill Buddhists ans Jains is that there are not many left to kill in Hindustan, except Ambedkar’s converts, who have a strong caste identity.

        • 25
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          Come come SJ. You are spewing rubbish now. Your Christian slip is showing, SJ.

          Hinduism has been linked with Tamil identity since the start. You obviously do not know what Sanskritization is. That process when both ways.

          If one were to explore the Sangam-era, one finds a bardic tradition interspersed with references to the veneration of the Hindu gods Seyon or Murukan, Maayon or Vishnu, Venthan or Indra, Korravai or Durga and Varuna. These were the patron deities of the Tamil land. Seyon or Murukan was the benefactor of the hill tribes while Venthan or Indra was the God of Rain and the protector of the fertile agricultural tracts. Varuna, the God of the Sea, was the guardian of the maritime tracts and all those whose livelihood depended on the sea. Korravai or Durga was the patron of the fierce tribes of the arid tracts. Maayon or Vishnu, also known as the lotus-eyed or Taamarai Kannanaar, protected the herdsmen. The Sangam literature refers to the mighty womb of Korravai that gave birth to Seyyon. There are allusions to the three-eyed God, Siva.

          There are references to the Brahmins who tended the sacred fire and studied the four Vedas or Naan Marai. Several Brahmins contributed to the corpus of early Sangam literature. This included Kapilar, Uruttira-kannanaar, Nakeerar, Paalai Kauthamanaar and Perum Kausikanaar to mention just a few. There were several others. Several of the Chera, Chola and Pandya monarchs performed the Vedic sacrifice as documented in the Sangam corpus. The practice of suttee existed. This inheritance is what we today call Tamil Hinduism. The literary allusions to the Jains and Buddhists were far fewer in the Sangam-era.

          You say that Adi Shankara destroyed Buddhism in South India. But Shankaracharya lived in the 7th century. Buddhism however continued in urban Tamil Nadu until the 14th century. The Culavamsa describes Sinhalese kings inviting Tamil monks from South India to visit Sri Lanka between the 12th and 14th centuries CE. The Tamil grammar, the Vira-choliyam, was authored by a Buddhist in the heyday of Chola rule in the 10th century CE. The Saivite Hindu Cholas sponsored this Buddhist author. Meanwhile, the Jain center of Sittanavaasal continued to flourish between the 7th and 9th centuries. Saivite Hinduism did not annihilate Buddhism or of Jainism in 7th century Tamil Nadu. The Buddhist presence in Tamil Nadu ended with the establishment of the Madurai Sultanate in the early 14th century. Tamil Jainism continues to exist to this day.

          Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism have a shared foundation of Karma, Samsara, Dharma and Moksha. They are sister religions. You would obviously not understand all that given your Christian roots. Hoole, Kumar David and you belong to the same clan.

          The most violent religion in history has been Christianity and none else.

          • 0
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            “A Tamil” you started with your ‘educated guess” that Dr Vinayakalingam and I were Christians of sorts.
            That speaks for your “objectivity”.

            Not one Puram verse has reference to the worship of Siva or Naarayanan.
            Kindly cite one Indian historian of repute who believes in the myth of the Saiva-Tamil link in the main Sangam period.
            Neelakanta Sastri, a great admirer of Rajaraja Colan, would not have it. Vaiyapuripillai would not have it. Nor would Champakalakshmi.

            8000 Jains were executed under Saivaite pursuation in Pallava country.
            Hundreds of buddhists were “rendered dumb” (certainly not by shock or black magic) in Pandiya country.
            Buddhism was brutally suppressed in South India in the Manikkavasagar period and by Adi Sankara across India.

            Thirugnanasampanthar isults Buddhists as well as Jains in his Konaslap Pathikam: ”நின்றுணுஞ் சமணும் இருந்துணுந் தேரும் நெறியலாதன புறங்கூற”
            Not very kind words, are they?
            I have more cruel quotes in stock.

            • 12
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              I read the comments. “Tamil” no where writes that “Thurai Vinayakalingam” was Christian. Another commentator did that. Have an “Anna” coffee my old man and focus.

              You obviously hate Hinduism. Paripadal had verses in praise of Vishnu/Krishna/Kannan. Puram has side references to Vishnu. So does Paddirupattu, Maduraikanji, Tolkapiyam etc. Neelakantha Shastri provides the evidence, as does Zvelebil and Hart. Vaiyapuripillai revises the Sangam chronology, deconstructs it and links some, not all, of the content to Sanskrit literature. Read him in Tamil. The references to Hindu deities is acknowledged. Champakalaksmi does not cover the Sangam era. She covers the late classical and early medieval period.

              As to your quotes on the Jains being impaled and the Buddhists made dumb, no contemporary Jain source corroborates that. It was sheer bombast by Saivite revivers unsupported by inscriptions or other evidence. Read Sandhya Jain and other Jain scholars.

              Detoxify yourself of anti Hinduism, SJ. You are currently a poor advocate for the good old Professor Thurairaja. You remind me instead of Hoole’s father.

              • 0
                4

                “As to your quotes on the Jains being impaled and the Buddhists made dumb, no contemporary Jain source corroborates that.” — Verrakatti

                Interesting.

                A century or two from now, something likewise could be said about Mullivailkkaal by civilized SB racists.

                What abut Sampanthar wanting to rape Jains in his verses? A juvenile delinquent’s mad uttererence I guess!

                Sorry if this makes any Saivaite conscience hurt.

                • 5
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                  Thank you, Veerakatti. SJ is like the Maoists, unamenable to reason and different points of view. His history is like the ones they taught in Stalinist Russia.

                  The Jain chronicles and inscriptions do not mention the Madurai massacre. The incident is mentioned in the Saivite sources. The earliest account is found in Sekkizhar’s Periya Puranam, 500 years after the alleged event.

                  Ashim Kumar Roy, in his book A History of the Jainas, surmizes that the story was made up by the Saivites. According to him, such stories of destruction of one sect by another sect were a common feature of the contemporary Jain and Saivite Tamil literature, and were used as a way to prove the superiority of one sect over the other. There are stories about a Jain saint in Kanchi persecuting the Buddhists in a similar fashion in order to prove the superiority of Jainism. K. A. Nilakanta Sastri argues that the story is ‘little more than a legend and cannot be treated as history’. Paul Dundas writes that the alleged massacre is ‘essentially mythical’. John E. Cort supports that view.

                  The Jains remained in Madurai during the 8th and the 9th centuries. The Jain authors in Madurai composed several classics during this period, including Sendan Divakaram (a Tamil dictionary, Neminatham, Vachchamalai and two Tamil grammars by Gunavira Pandita. None of them refer to this alleged event.

                  As to Sampanthan’s specific prayer that Jains be ‘disgraced'(note the word is disgraced, not rape), that is to be condemned and rejected. It appeared in a time of fierce religious contest and mutual polemic where the lines of decency had been crossed. There can be no relevance to today’s more enlightened times. That particular verse needs to be rejected.

                  SJ engages in banter. The evidence for Mullivaikal exists in numerous fora. That’s not legend. I will remind him of the Tamil saying he quotes

                  ”மேலுங் கீழும் கோடுகள் போடு அதுதான் ஓவியம் — நீ சொன்னால் காவியம்”

        • 2
          17

          Does “A Tamil” think that anything challenging the Saivam+Tamil myth, has to come from a Christian? That will be a rather paranoid view of the world.
          What I said about the religion of the Tamils is based on serious historical studies and research into Sangam literature by true scholars and not on blind faith.
          For the language and community to fit into the modern world we need to come to terms with reality.

          We can endlessly increase the age of the Tamil language and civilization and contrive dubious links with Harappa and Mohenjo Daro and breach the laws of geo-sciences with our claims about Lemuria — but that cannot change reality.
          Let us learn to read history in a secular and objective fashion and acknowledge every good thing that entered Tamil language and Tamil society by contact with the outside world starting with the religious influences from the north, trade and aesthetic links with the Greeks, then the pre-Christian Romans, then the Syrian Christians, European missionaries like Veera Maamunivar, the Arabs, the Sinhalese, Malayalis and many others.

          Tamil has gained from the world and the world gained from the amils. Let us keep it tha way.

          Bigotry can only breed more bigotry.

          • 21
            1

            You have not countered the evidence I provide. You claim that you are influenced by academic research. I can also cite serious academic research.

            What we call Hinduism today has been linked with Tamil culture from the beginning. Buddhism and Hinduism are not antithetical as you allege. Christianity in Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu is a colonial introduction. Tamil identity is influenced by Hinduism.

            The so-called evidence you provide is colonial historiography that underpinned the Justice Party which countered the Indian Freedom Struggle led by the Indian National Congress. That is just ideological hogwash, not history.

            I made no allusion to Mohenjo Daro, Harappa and Lemuria. Do not put words into my mouth. You refer to the contributions of the Greeks, the Romans, the so-called Syrian Christians and Veera Ma Munivar. I note a Western angle already.

            Yes, the Tamil land traded with the Mediterranean. However, it also traded with the Far East. Further, the Kaveri basin and the Indo Gangetic basin were interlinked being the two poles of Indic civilization. Lets give the complete picture, shall we?

            It appears that you are the ideological bigot caught up in a mind set that refuses to acknowledge the civilizational role of Hinduism in Tamil identity. In that respect, you are indeed Hoole’s kin.

            • 1
              9

              Please see my response just above my comment to which you responded.
              In any event, I am not interested in prolonging this banter. I will conclude with
              ”மேலுங் கீழும் கோடுகள் போடு
              அதுதான் ஓவியம் — நீ சொன்னால் காவியம்”
              (Draw lines along and across: that will be art — a classic, should only you say.)

            • 0
              0

              A Tamil,

              An interesting article has been published today about Buddhism in the Tamilaham of old. There is reference to an opinion that Buddism spread to Lanka from Tamilsham across the seas and not by Asoka’s son, Arahat Mahinda.

              http://www.dailymirror.lk/105753/Buddhism-disappeared-from-Tamil-Nadu-

              Dr.RN

              • 5
                0

                Dear Dr. RN

                Its finally worth interfacing with a decent human being. Buddhism may have arrived here from Tamil Nadu. It may have also been transmitted to Tamil Nadu from Sri Lanka. The earliest cave inscriptions in Tamil Nadu appear to be sponsored by merchants who traded in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka’s hydraulic civilization generated an agricultural surplus and much wealth which led to a transmission of some elements of culture from Sri Lanka to Tamil Nadu as well. It was not a one way street.

                Buddhism only emerged in a significant manner in the Tamil land with the later Kalabhras. The Kalabhra dynasty had invaded and ruled Tamil Nadu between the 4th and the 6th centuries CE. The Kalabhras patronized Buddhism and used Prakrit. Buddhism remained an urban phenomenon. Most Tamil Buddhist monks of this period chose to write in Pali, not Tamil. This included Buddhadatta Thera from Uragapura (Uraiyur) and Dhammapala Thera from Tambarattha (Tirunelveli) who traveled to Sri Lanka to translate the proto-Sinhalese language commentaries into Pali. The celebrated Buddhist commentator Buddhaghosha lived for a while in Madhura-sutta-pattana (Madurai) en route to Sri Lanka to study the proto-Sinhalese texts.

                It is more likely that Sri Lanka and Andhra inspired Buddhism in Tamil Nadu, rather than the other way. But I grant what you say. Trust is multi-faceted – Anekantavada as they say.

                Yours respectfully

  • 42
    1

    Why should CT give space to this Christian fanatic to raise his personal issues with the Jaffna University here and to cast aspersions on Hindus?

    I believe that this guy was rightly denied the VC position by the MR Administration. I do not think he will get it now either. With his mentality and attitude, he does not deserve such high academic positions whatever academic achievements he might have had.

    What a pathetic fellow this Hoole is!

    Fellows like this Hoole are the curse of the Sri Lankan Tamil society.

  • 0
    25

    “There are some men in this world who were born to do our unpleasant jobs… And (Hoole) is one of them.”

    from the best seller “To kill a Mocking Bird”.

  • 29
    1

    HOOLE IS [Edited out]. HE HAS CRITICIZED EVERY POSSIBLE SECTOR STARTING WITH TAMIL REBELS. TAMIL POLITICIANS, SINHALA LEADERS, AND FINALLY TAMIL HINDUS. HE CALLS THEM “CHAIVA BALAYA”. HE DOES NOT UNDERSTAND HOW TOLERANT AND WELCOMING THE JAFFNA HINDUS OF CHRISTIAN MISSIONARIES. THE VERY MISSIONARIES FOR WHOSE FAVORS THAT HOOLE FAMILY SOLD THEIR RELIGION AND TRADITIONS, STILL ENJOY THE COMFORT OF JAFFNA. HOW COULD HE CALL THE HINDUS “CHAIVA BALAYA”?

  • 14
    0

    SRH,

    I am a Johnian lived and went to school close to your time period ,Some assertions of yours may have credibility,Many may not.

    Before we criticize others, Christians and Hindus should look and do some soul searching and be introspective.

    Couples of thoughts to ponder.

    Why did St John’s college celebrate Sarasvathy pooja at Veerasingham hall when StJohn’s had a brand new Jubilee Hall(Henry Peto Auditorium)?

    Why was Mr.Panchalingam (Physics Teacher from PPD or VVT )Denied Principal post at St Johns after the death of Mr.Anandarajan?

    I my self was a witness to a similiar Diatribe by Mr.Anandarajan(Protestant Christian),ranting and raving about his ancestry and his Hindu Vellala background,My colleague/student from hillcountry, only talked during Mr.Anandarajan’s lecture, this was his angry response/rant _”Your ancestors roamed around in loin clothed when my ancestor were scholars at Jaffna college Vaddukottai”_ this was the response to a student from a principal, for talking during his class.The student never returned, come next term.

    I know these are anecdotes,So was yours,

    It is shameful to discriminate any body based on caste,creed, race, religion,gender or lack of material wealth .This is equally applicable to all majority, minority,men and women.

    Let us all grow up and educate ourselves, take a vow not to discriminate against fellow human beings. I am starting with me.

    “lord by what ever name we invoke you give me wisdom/courage to be tolerant the others by faith or nofaith,wealth,race,cast,creed or Colour “

    Ratna Jeevan,Thank you for writing this article.

    • 2
      5

      Peace,

      I too am a Johnian may be at the same age group. I was not conspicuous in any manner while at St’ Johns. Moreover I am a Hindu and from a long connection of family members who attended the college. There is no doubt that the Jaffna Tamils regardless of their faiths enormously benefited from the Christian missionary educational establishments. My community greatly benefited and advanced. The Hindu revivalism project that saw schools like Jaffna Hindu college and other Hindu centred schools came into being because of the Christian schools. On the whole, the whole of Jaffna benefited resulting in advancement of intellectual prowasses. Nevertheless the caste remained a thorn in terms of stoical advancement comparable to what took place in the western countries.

      On the point about a none Christian becoming principal of St Johns, a Christian may ask the same question, can a Christian become the head of Jaffna Hindu college? This is the problem with faith based educational establishments.

      I think we need to move with time and eschew faith based schooling. We should follow the French model rather than the British model. Such a model may bridge the caste issues as well but I doubt it will ever happen in Sri Lanka.

      • 15
        0

        BI

        Nevins Selladurai,Handy Perinpanayagam and other baptized Christians became principals of Hindu schools.

        • 8
          0

          Navida,

          Thanks, I stand corrected. It goes to show that the Tamil Hindus are not rigid in their religious confinement but accommodative.

      • 3
        0

        BI,
        If you happend to have connections talk to former cricket coach at SJH,Mr.Mahalingam(is he still alive?) ,about appointment of 1st eleven cricket team captains and how they were chosen,Devabalan ahead of Navinan, Ratnarajan ahead of Vasanthan etc, exception was Gowribalan was chosen ahead of Muralitharan.”Games people play”I hope you get the drift.One has to be honest while introspecting.

        Having said that,
        I would not dispute he enormous contribution of the christian missionaries to the educational system of Jaffna,however I wouldn’t be blind of the motives behind it, in some aspects.

        I am a hindu by Birth,my brothers and a sister all attended St John’s and Chundikuli.Dispite these minor irritants, on the whole the experience was pleasant,this was a turbulent time even then there was no shortage of games.

        • 2
          0

          Peace,

          For your information, Mahalingham master is still very alive and kicking. I saw him in 2010 when we visited Jaffna.

          I am a year younger than Gowripalan group. I played cricket with and against KanagathurI, Dr Theivendra, and Navinan in London. What you said about choices of captains is disturbing but all I can say in mitigation is that, KanagathurI, Theivendra, and Surendra captained the team in consecutive years and all are Hindus. I am related to brothers Theivendra and Surendra. I believe that Suriakumar also captained who is also a Hindu. I also remember. Both Sugukumar and Jeyaretnam left St Johns due to selection issues.

          I think the paradox is that, during the 30 long years of conflict, the old boys do St. John’s predominantly Hindus propped up the college both financially and through other means. Even though I was not a success at the college, but gained a solid foundation to excel in my later years. Whatever the dynamics of the running of the college, it is a fact that draws and draws of Hindus benefited from such quality education.

      • 0
        0

        Burning Issue,

        “On the point about a none Christian becoming principal of St Johns,”

        I believe that the protestant private schools in Jaffna require their principals to be protestant Christians. This is a written requirement and there are no exceptions.

        Converts and principals from the low caste have been selected.

  • 2
    10

    I find it amusing when small fry claim that Prof:Thurairajah had no VISION.

    With respect to the caste group KOVIYA by Ratnajeevan Hoole:
    Dr.H.W.Tambiah Q.C.in his book Laws and customs of the Jaffna Tamils had taken the view that the word KOVIA is not of Tamil origin. It refers to the Sinhala Govigama community in Jaffna,who were imprisoned during the rule of the Arya Chackravathys in the 13th century and later employed in Vellala homes as cooks!

    In a sense,both Hoole brothers[ Rajan and Ratnajeevan] have one thing in common.
    Rajan,over a long period of time has chronicled political issues,and has/had taken a virulent anti LTTE stand.As a result he had to go underground for a number of years.
    Ratnajeevan too has been exposing the academic community in Jaffna and their double standards.

    I was told by very reliable sources that when Ratnajeevan had applied for the post of V.C.Eastern University quite recently,his sponsor-A Surgeon was a Tree climber.

    Jaffna is emerging from a 30 year cruel war,and it would be more fruitful for its intelligentsia to rebuild what they had lost.

    Prof:Thurairajah,had he been around,would have been the man of the hour!

    His Life was gentle;and the elements so mixd in him that Nature might stand up
    And say to all the World,This was a man!- Julius Caesar.

    • 0
      4

      Dear Plato
      Research by VIS Jeyaplan in the 1990’s fairly well established that the word came from “corvée” as they were brought in by the Dutch to provide domestic service. As the Dutch left the rich Vellalas took over. (It was much like the Salagama who were brought in for a variety of tasks.)

      There is scant historical evidence of the Goviya becoming Koviya. The fighters of Sinhala armies belonged to other caste groups, like the Bathgama and Karave.

      Such semantic speculation is a curse of Tamil historiography.

    • 2
      0

      Plato would be shocked by what is written in his name:

      “I was told by very reliable sources that when Ratnajeevan had applied for the post of V.C.Eastern University quite recently,his sponsor-A Surgeon was a Tree climber. Jaffna is emerging from a 30 year cruel war,and it would be more fruitful for its intelligentsia to rebuild what they had lost.”

      Plato is truly rebuilding Jaffna. These are the self-described intelligentsia rebuilding our old caste structures and do not want a tree climber as surgeon.

  • 6
    6

    For those who think Prof Thurairajah did not have any vision, he conceived the need for an Engineering Faculty and wanted it out of crowded and over populated Jaffna – where the water has unacceptable level of nitrate and salinity is creeping into well waters due to over use of fertilizers and pumping out water to farms at a faster rate than it replenishes; high level of ecoli due to toilets close to wells. He established the Faculty of Agriculture in Kilinochchi and got staff and students to go there. Now both are in one campus in Kilinochchi thriving well with funding from India.
    He got the Vavuniya campus of the U of J initiated in Jaffna and it has expanded into a very useful campus. Unfortunately he died of Cancer in 1994 when he was only 60 when his vision was just being executed. I never met him but had corresponded with him when he appealed for Tamils living abroad to come and join Univ of Jaffna. He did not enough staff to perceive and execute his vision. I hope someday the Faculty of Engineering will be named for him.

    • 2
      4

      Thanks Ethir to highlight a few of Prof’s achievements that were apparently given a little notice by a few, and being questioned here.

      I knew he was the linchpin to open the Agriculture Faculty in Killinochi, what else he could do under difficult circumstance prevailed at the time with his health conditions. Respect he commanded so high that he didn’t need to do travelling with body guards and with big fanfare to get things done.

      Yet, he hadn’t written a vision statement nor had published on the Web. These seems to be the thing not only the younger ones but oldies also are looking for now. You should write a awful lot of stuffs and market yourselves, unless you do it, no one knows what you do other than those who closely associate/d with.

      If Faculty of Engineering named after him, the faculty will get a huge publicity globally.

    • 2
      0

      Dr.Edirveerasingham.

      Please read the timeline provided by Old Yarpanathan in this thread to understand the role played by Prof.Thurairah-the when and how. Vision and performance are two separate entities. It is rare persons they come together.

      Dr.RN

  • 1
    8

    I am saddened to see the increasing personal attacks in this forum.

    As Native Vedda has said:

    “The question is what are you (and me) going to do about caste structure and discrimination?”

    This I take as the main issue raised in the original article by Prof Hoole.

    “Eppolrul Yaar Yaar Vaaykkedpinum Apporul Meyporul Kanpathu Arivu”- (whoever said doesn’t matter, one has to find out the truth of what has been said) – Thirukkural (423)

    BTW I have not used a ficticious name in this forum (I do exist).

    I am originaly from Neervely in Jaffna and I studied in Somaskanda College, Puttur during (1957-1964), and my parents are the late Pandithar Thuraisingam and Pandithai Sathiathevy who were both Tamil and Saivite scholars who also had very long involvement with the Ghandiya Seva Sangam and opposed caste descrimination.

    • 1
      2

      Sorry Dr Vinayakalingam
      The article has more to do with the writers other obsessions and objectives. His statements often lack precision and truthfulness.
      But I welcome your intervention.
      Cheer up: All the thumbs down are merely a sign of intellectual laziness than considered opinion that dominates the electronic Tamil community.

  • 0
    12

    Thank you Jeevan. The agriculturist Vellalas by all accounts are in reduced numbers. I have wondered how then they maintain control. This is a brilliant piece giving the answer for the first time – by the intermediate castes siding with the Vellalas to raise themselves up.

    In this context, it has been unfortunate, but necessary, to mention people by caste. Without that your argument/thesis would have remained unproven. Now it is evident, but at the cost of embarrassing some. Unavoidable.

    In anthropology we see people being shown ourselves in a mirror. Jeevan, you have done this effectively. Many of us do not like it when we see ourselves in reality whereas in our minds we like to think we are very idealistic liberals. We are shocked by what we see. Our world is shattered. That explains all the anger and hurt in these responses. Jeevan, please carry on. Your work is not only brilliant, but also important.

    • 1
      9

      I feel the same as Don. Thank you.

      A one example about us seeing into mirror for how we look. Srisatkunarajah, Dean of Science Faculty (Kovia) is from the Point Pedro side. He is upward mobile. He moved to Jaffna where no one know his background. To move upward, he must need temple. But Jaffna man does not spend money. If temple in his house he will lose his land. He cannot eat meat with temple in home. So what does Jaffna man do? He build temple on street in front of Hindu Ladies College on public land. Municipalty people look for man building to say no permission. But neighbours not telling who. By the time municipalty find out about who is building temple on government land, temple finished.

      Now Srisatkunarajah with muscles is seen by Ladies College girls without shirt doing poojas there. He is high caste man. He eats meat at home. Government scared to demolish temple. Win-win-win-win – have temple, no land cost, no any vegetarianism, upward mobile.

      See how smart we are! How to tell this story of how we move up and success without mentioning caste?

      • 2
        2

        This is a disgraceful uncalled for attack.

      • 2
        0

        I am a devout Hindu. I am deeply offended by this practice of giving God other people’s things. I think we have many of us overseas who send a lot of money for temples. Why must be take government land? The Nallur Temple is a disgrace. Point Pedro Road has been nationalized and the public has to drive around. Everywhere I see a little idol where holy ashes were sold to make a little money, now made into huge temples encroaching on the road. Even a cobra puththu (tunnel) by A9 has been used to take over public land. We are serving our pockets, not God.

        Dr. Srisatkunarajah as a Dean must show responsibility and set an example. Whoever wrote that piece about his temple is I am sure drawing attention to our habit captured in the pithy Tamil saying about picking up free coconuts from the street to smash before God. When we give God, we must give from our hearts and pockets, and not for show.

        I wish the Dean had made a real contribution from his own pockets by building on land he purchased through contributions instead of taking state land. Then what a fitting gift it would have been to God, making even God smile down at him. It is this kind of theft that makes minorities among us feel threatened and complain against us. I pray for a society where all are respected and public things are not reserved for the majority to take over without permits. That is the Jaffna I want to live in.

        Those of us in the West must bring to us the respect there for public property to Jaffna, instead of flashy saris and gold for our ladies, and motorbikes and i-phones for our youth. It is one aspect of the west I want here. We have much to learn from outsiders even as we can teach them much.

    • 8
      0

      Don, you needed Hoole to tell you that?? You aren’t very intelligent then.

  • 1
    3

    Dr.Ratnajeevan.

    I reread your essay.
    To which category does it belong?
    Rancour or Humour?

    P.G.Wodehouse that famous English humorist would keep me laughing all day long in my salad days.It was only much later,I realised that he was taking a hit at the English leisured class!
    At Peradeniya,I had a pal from Jaffna who once told me that he could identify the caste of a person after chatting with him for a few minutes;Not only that but also the GPS in Jaffna.
    Interestingly,I was once introduced to VC-Shanmugalingam-[your Palaly Vellalan with Kaikula admixture!…By the way it was identified through a Blood sample eh? by this very same friend several years ago.
    I casually asked him later,just to pull his leg,what caste does he belong to.
    For once,he was not very sure; After awhile he said this Fellow is from outer space!!

  • 11
    0

    Already the island’s Tamil Muslims have been alienated from the other Tamils and now this religious bigot so called out cast belonging to a Christiam Vellalah family is trying his best to the rest of the dirty work for the Sinhalese by diving the Tamil Hindus and Christians into two separate camps.

    • 0
      7

      Why blame the Sinhalese?
      Sir P Ramanathan did it twice over to antagonize the Muslims.
      The LTTE topped it up with expulsion of the Muslims.
      The Muslims have suffered enough from both T & S communalists.

      Most Tamil Catholics were alienated early last century by the narrow Saiva Vellala attitudes so that they readily switched to Sinhala.

      Why are we obsessed with the Sinhalese?
      Let us not confuse a people with its bigoted politicians.

      தீதும் நன்றும் பிறர்தர வாரா

      • 6
        0

        Far too simplistic and childish an explanation for Muslim identity formation and Tamil Catholics becoming Sinhalese.

  • 0
    7

    its sad to see all our vellala brothers chanting mantras here to bring cosmic influence to hide caste discrimination and inhuman attributes assosiated with them which are still stongly ingrained in our society deceptively and openly deny equal rights and opportunities our lower cast brothers and sisters. it is for them say they are not oppressed and have been given equal opportunities in our society.It would be better for us to suggest any better ways to abolish these discrination as all agree this should not be allowed to demonise our culture.

    • 5
      1

      several attacking SRH here are not vellalahs, sajith. there is caste among sinhalas too.

  • 2
    0

    Hi Dr. Jeevan,
    Not only, Good Saivites must take a stand – Good Christians, especially the so called Vellala Christians (I meant converts!) also must take a stand– then and then only it will reflect your values? Please do not tell me that Jaffna Christians do not undercut non-Christians.

    It is good to see that this caste/religion issue is disappearing in the diaspora community because lots of inter caste marriages are taking place despite the strong objections of the respective parents.

    I wonder why almost 99% of the commentators here do not reveal their identity. We are discussing here a live issue and nothing about LTTE to fear for our lives as we did few years ago. Is this habit of throwing stones standing behind the cadjan is part of the Jaffna culture as described recently by HLD Mahindapala. HLD, please take notice of this.

    Come on Ladies and Gentleman, come out of your den and say what you believe in courageously. Please please. . .

    No more pseudos!

    • 1
      3

      My only reason is that comments get too personal and I prefer it to be a clash of ideas.
      Having read some of the early comments, I chose a degree of anonymity. A few may by now have guessed who I am, but they are safe customers.
      It is fine as long as people do not take cover behind pseudonyms to resort to personal abuse.

  • 11
    1

    If Jeevan Hoole’s intention is to point out some social issue in Jaffna then be our guests. I grew up in Jaffna and I still don’t recognize some terms he was using to label some people.

    Here Jeevan’s real intention is to use this issue to personally attack some of the academics in Jaffna because he or his family for the last 200 years has not been respected by any means in Jaffna.

    Not sure why he is labeling people with their birth cities or what their great grandparents did for living.

    Isn’t that the same issue we all want to disappear?

    One thing Jeevan should remember that those great grandparents worked hard to earn their living. But Hoole’s families have been living on missionary funding for the last 200 years in Jaffna. He was calling someone pinky and it seems his wife also looks pinky! He attacked another person with how that person’s father lived his life. It’s humiliating to know this slug was raised by a Rev father!

    Here is the real issue with this man.

    His contract at MSU was a fixed term. He was paid well at MSU (Salary details of MSU are available on the web). But it wasn’t renewed. This man needs a job to look after his family.

    He was mad at Jaffna University because even his wife was also not hired. At MSU, it seems he made a deal to give a title as professor to his wife. According to the official record at MSU, she was not even paid. She was a research personal doing some voluntary work with the title of professor. So it was his master plan to get the professor title to use it in SL for his wife. Then he slammed Jaffna academics who might have figured that hole. I thought not to mention about this poor lady just because she married to a slug. But after reading again and again how this man insulting current VC and others, I thought Jeevan should be remained that he shouldn’t throw stones from a glassy house.

    I’m impressed with how the academics at University of Jaffna, Eastern University, and University of Peradeniya are matured to ignore his personal attacks on them.

    Don’t worry, he would keep attack people personally in coming months until someone react to him then he would report that to his missionary management so that they would find him another high paying academic job in US. That job would give him more time to think about social issues in Jaffna!

    Have any one noticed how it could be possible to manage a high demanding academic teaching job doing productive research, managing graduate students while searching for new research grants? This man is claiming that he is a master all of these tasks while spending most of the time writing reports on his religious believes! Some thing is wrong in his made up stories!

    • 3
      12

      Tamil politics is dirty. I normally do not participate but do so on being told that there are some slanderous comments on my parents.

      My father has a sense of serving Jaffna despite all of us telling him that Jaffna is not worth working for. Our views are proved by these frustrated men like Slug (I am sure they are men to have so much venom) venting their frustrations.

      Slug is way off. My father was never denied a renewal. He is on two years leave of absence to age 65. He felt he could do something for Jaffna before his retirement age there. Here there is no retirement age. After wasting nearly a year in Jaffna, he has till Aug. 2017 to return or he will lose his job in Michigan. Here he makes over $15,000 a month for 12 months since 2011 when we came here to MSU. He is by all measures a very successful academic. I hope he will cut-short his leave and return to us without wasting his time as all of us in the family hope he will. Unfortunately for us, he is fixated on being in Jaffna.

      My mother is a paid full-time Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at $60,000+ a year at Michigan State University, one of America’s top-50 engineering programs. Earlier she held the rank of Professor in the Department of Chemistry and was also a paid member of the faculty. She is the one supporting me and my father right now. She has never been an unpaid volunteer at Michigan State University.

      When people like Slug write misinformation with authority, I feel confirmed in my views of Tamil society – at least the internet comment-writing parts of Tamil society. I think they are just frustrated and take it out on anyone who is successful.

      Yovahn Y.R. Hoole
      Engineering Sophomore at Rice University, Houston, TX

      • 15
        0

        If Tamil politics is dirty, which it is, Tamil Christian polemics that your dad represents is far worse. He describes the funeral of the current Jaffna University Vice Chancelors father as having been led by the late old man’s ‘mistress’. Do we really need to know all that dirt. This is called washing dirty linen in public.

        First admonish your dad before you condemn an entire people. So you very evidently a sopho-more – i.e. intelligent but a moron.

        Shame on you.

        • 2
          10

          D,

          Yovahn did not condemn Tamil people. Tamil people condemned themselves. Like you continue to do, by shutting down people, like Prof. Hoole, who are trying to change it.

          So really, shame on you. This sophomore speaks more wisely and intelligently than most commenters like you are doing.

      • 11
        1

        Yovahn, I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings. I hope your dad would also treat people with some respect.

        I have no personal issues against him. In fact I used to promote him in this forum until I got to learn more about his nasty personalities. All I wrote here was not to personally attack people.

        Hope you are smart enough to understand the core part of this discussion.

        I stand by with my previous comments about MSU. Do you want me to link the official source document here?

        So tell me, even though he is not a tenured professor at MSU, he took a break from his work (teaching, research, funding commitments to the projects and his research group) and also left you guys with no income to help people in Jaffna?

        Then he should be my hero!

        But the character assassinations that he described in his articles don’t reflect your point.

        Is it the type of article he supposed to write to reach out to his follow academics in SL?

        After writing this low level, how could he work with his follow academics in SL or how even people would accept him?

        And you think I wrote my previous comment because I’m jealous of his achievements?

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          Slug and all the other commenters,

          As someone who has worked with both professors at MSU I cannot emphasize how completely wrong you are about them both.

          His family has a good income. His wife, who is a professor despite your fallacies, makes more than enough to cover the family. Prof. Hoole also has savings and is still earning in Sri Lanka too. Also his children are successful enough to not need their parents support. He is a most loving father and the fact that the family decided together that his moving to Sri Lanka to be a voice for the Tamil people with a substantial decrease in income rather than stay in America and make a lot of money here speaks so much about their values. You should learn from them.

          If speaking the truth about wrongs people are doing are “character assassinations” then how do you expect the world to change? As someone who has lived in Sri Lanka, academics are few, and honest academics are fewer. Prof. Hoole has worked hard to earn his accomplishments and he doesn’t need to rely on bought favours or his religion/caste unlike most Sri Lankan “academics”. He is still an MSU employ, he took 2 years leave to work on a book contract with MSU while also working in Sri Lanka to make the University of Jaffna more a university and less a joke.

          I worked with Prof. Mrs. Hoole. She is an intelligent professor who was doing paid research on a project for President Obama. The case you are talking about was filed due to the racism she faced from her boss.

          I don’t know where you are getting your “facts” from or whether you are jealous but I do know that you are so completely wrong about both of them.

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          Yovahn. Do not be dragged into this. Take Kataragama’s good advice and do your assignments.

          Slug. Produce any link you want It will not contradict Yovahn. I am not going to prove my status or my wife’s to let you sit in judgement as if you are more than what you are and to give you the chance to question us on our private matters.

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            Jeevan, in Nanda’s comment, my point is confirmed. Nanda spilled out more beans than what I wanted to highlight to prove my point.

            Nanda also confirmed what I wrote that MSU is not paying your spouse’s salary. But it’s interesting to know that Obama’s grant is directly paying a professor’s salary and that is not reported in university’s official report.

            You mentioned about little undercurrent is being circulating in Jaffna culture.

            It seems much stronger undercurrents are being driven on your side. But it’s none of my business.

            You identified the points I mentioned were private matters. Then why are you discussing private matters of other people? Isn’t that we all are telling you not to do so?

            As a citizen journalist, I highlighted a hole in your arguments. Let the readers decide what you are up to.

            Due to the nature of the undercurrent that you are in, slug is going to hibernate until read your next article.

            Enjoy your book assignment. I guess it would be an engineering book and not about taking another shot at Naavalar!.

            By the way, thanks for your previous article about dissing Naavalar’s IQ. I got to learn more about 1900th century Jaffna culture from that article.

            ————

            Nanda, So Hoole has a lovely family but others he was dissing about have dysfunctional families? Don’t they have spouse and children? Are you justifying character assassinations? And you also have a Phd? I’m jealous of you man! FYI: University of Jaffna has a Hindu temple because it was built many years ago for a Hindu college called Parameswara College. Don’t get emotional. This discussion is not about how cool is Hoole sir to the students. When you get emotional, it make me to cry!.

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              You, Slug, claimed that
              “But it [Hoole’s contract] wasn’t renewed. This man needs a job to look after his family. At MSU, it seems he made a deal to give a title as professor to his wife. According to the official record at MSU, she was not even paid. She was a research personal doing some voluntary work with the title of professor.”

              You promised links to prove that. There can be no links when I am an employee on 2 years’ leave of absence to fulfil my book contracts at the end of which I have to return or lose my job. There can be no official record at MSU that my wife was not paid when she is on a monthly MSU pay-check of $5000 as Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering.

              Please fulfil you promise to provide the links that do not exist before you, Slug go to hibernate.

              Or admit that hibernating is an excuse, that you took shots in the dark hoping to make a hit, and that you are a very untruthful, untrustworthy fellow and that there are no links to provide.

              Please take on another pseudonym because no one will believe Slug’s lies any more.

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                Here you go. Show me where the name of your wife is. If you show me then Slug will apologize to you. And if you don’t then you should also apologize to the people that you dissed.

                http://msu.edu/state-transparency-reporting/assets/documents/Sec245FY14SalaryList.pdf

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                  Look for her in the janitorial section at Michigan Uni like a Chaiva fanatic would. They call them asangas (outcastes, falling even lower in caste than whom the Jaffna people still call thurumabars for they are dalits to the last of the dalits in the caste dharma) belong there.

                  Their good books teach: “Kulaththalave aahumam kunam”. One’s nature is limited to the measure of his/her caste. This they taught us in grade 2 itself along with “ilamayit kalvi chilayil euththtu” (education received in the tender age is like it is chisseled on a statue) never erased.

                  Mrs Hoole’s knowledge of toilet chemicals must be unmatched. She is also a Christian I know for her grandfather lived in Columbuthurai near our house. So she is also an asanga below the untouchables.

                  Slug I don’t know what venom you slug before writing. You say some of Ratnajeevan Hoole’s academic work has developed your hatred towards him. I thought your Michigan Uni was an academic institution allowing free expression.

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      Slug, you find it hard to believe that Prof. does so much work: “Have any one noticed how it could be possible to manage a high demanding academic teaching job doing productive research, managing graduate students while searching for new research grants? This man is claiming that he is a master all of these tasks while spending most of the time writing reports on his religious believes! Some thing is wrong in his made up stories!”

      Well, he does all this. Do not judge him by your very limited abilities.

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    These are very misconceived ideas expressed by the writer which shows his unfamiliarity with the realities related to religious beliefs and understandings among Jaffna people. I am born and bred in Manipay and my father a staunch Christian from Mather’s clan. My mother a Hindu from Maruthayanar’s ancestry. I know how the Hindus and Christians cooperate with each other in conducting their respective religious rites and annual temple and church festivals and observances. The Maruthady Vinayagar temple and the CSI church are located opposite to each other with the Jaffna – Karainagar road running between. A cordial relationship had been prevailing between the Hindu and Christian communities from time beyond memory. I am unable to comprehend why the professor had made such baseless disparaging comments on religious and caste discrimination as if existing now among the Tamils. I am convinced that the rejection for the Jaffna University VC post to the author is justifiable.

  • 13
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    Hoole brothers are no one other than trouble makers. Religion has no place in Tamil politics. People don’t choose their MPs by religion. Can Jeevan suggest a single incident where a Christian person was attacked because his religious belief? Saivaism and Christianity are good religions and Tamil people have no issue with these religions. So where is the problem? Some power hungry people who converted to Christianity for jobs and better education want to maintain their status quota. Only a handful people from some families are make this havoc. These families are
    Nessaiah , Kathirgamar, Hoole, Ankatel, Rajasingam, Rasanayagam and Jeyaraj.
    Post war, post Rajapaksa period has give an opportunity for their come back due to their American connection. Mind you at least one person in these families studied at an American University.
    Now, these guys are having upper hand. Sumanthiran, Dantan Thurairajah ( director of Canadian Tamil Congress), Karunyan Arulanandam(USTPAC), Niran Anketel and Elias Hoole are taking decision for TNA.

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      Gautaman Vithiyasagaram asks
      “Can Jeevan suggest a single incident where a Christian person was attacked because his religious belief?”

      He should read his own comment.

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      There has been much speculation on the Hooles – why they converted, living off the church, for better jobs, etc. Here is an extract from page 95 of the book

      One hundred years in Ceylon; or, The centenary volume of the Church Missionary Society in Ceylon, 1818-1918, by J. W. Balding, CMS, London, 1922.

      Taken from https://archive.org/stream/yearsinceylon00balduoft/yearsinceylon00balduoft_djvu.txt

      In December, 1880, the Rev. G. T. Fleming arrived, and the following year on July 17, the Rev. E. Hoole who had been a faithful and successful worker passed away in his fifty-second year. Mr. Hoole’s father was the founder and proprietor of a temple dedicated to the goddess Amman, one of the wives of Siva. Every parental effort was directed towards the training of his three sons for their duties as temple-masters. The father’s greatest ambition was to see his elder son growing in favour with the gods, but one day he received a great shock, when he had left him in charge of the household gods with strict injunctions as to the quantity of food and flowers to be offered. The boy prepared the offerings and presented them to the images, but after a time, seeing they had not partaken of the food, he expostulated, and threatened them. He then took a hammer and smashed the gods to pieces. He had once before seen an image of Pulliar, which had been sold for seven shillings and sixpence by a Brahman to a missionary who wanted to send the idol to England. This had also helped to undermine his faith. In 1837 he was baptized and became a Wesleyan minister. The mind of the younger brother was influenced by the example of the elder, and, renouncing his right to the temple, he openly professed Christianity and was baptized by the name of Elijah Hoole.

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        FYI
        “Mr. Hoole’s father was the founder and proprietor of a temple dedicated to the goddess Amman, one of the wives of Siva.”

        This does no tally with Hoole’s
        “My grandfather, the Rev. Canon Samuel Sangarapillai Somasundaram, BA, was in line to be the Chief Trustee of the Maviddapuram Kandasamy Temple after his brother…”

        A slip of the keyboard?

        Incidentally, Siva had only one consort. He had affairs with other women.

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          SJ,
          Not a slip of the keyboard. It is a slip of your brain when you rush eagerly to find fault.

          Hoole like all of us has maternal and paternal lines.

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            RSitta, FYI
            Sorry.

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            Well Said, R Sitta. SJ rushes into controversy.

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    I have nothing against Prof. Thurairajah who was a nice, personable man.

    But claims have been made in these comments that he was VC at the Open University (Old Yarlpanathan}and that he built up engineering there (SJ).

    That is news to me. Would anyone please clarify? This is not the place for cooking up history for elevating our heroes and destroying our ideological enemies. I would like to know the truth.

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      Just spoke to a nursery teacher in Thanniootru. Mrs. Selvaranee. She described being displaced 18 times but not disturbed after contributing her sister as ordered. That sister died. She was tearful. I recall prof’s speech “Eelam malarattum. Puratchi vedikkattum” (let Eelam flower and the revolution explode). Unlike Mrs Selvaranee, Prof’s children got passes and did not have to contribute a member.

      We are yet to face up to our past in glorifying caste and the LTTE in private while pretending to be modern liberals.

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      According to the Wikipedia he was the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at the Open University.

      Dr.RN

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