Representation for the Low-Castes
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.
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.”
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.
- Around 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