4 June, 2023


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.


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

  • 12

    The game plan is clean. Regime change. It is not just limited to Sinhala polity. US needs their minions in the Tamil politics. Who else is there to do a better job than those in the American mission. Now the de facto leader of Tamils is Abraham Sumanthiran who is also the secretary of Sri Lanka Methodist mission. After 40 years, Tamil leadership is now occupied by a Protestant Tamil. Other Protestant Tamils, US educated Marxists, liberals and democrats are united in this mission. They have placed agents in the form of Dantan and Karunian.

    • 6

      “Protestant Tamils, US educated Marxists, liberals and democrats are united in this mission”
      Marxists too as party to US imperialist conspiracy???

      The Hindu Tamil leaders (excluding the weak Left) are all too willing to oblige the US. So the US has no need to head hunt.

      It is the Sinhalese leaders who can be troublesome. There is a long history of anti-imperialist campaign in the South, even outside the Left.
      The US has the UNP, the JHU and the Field Marshal in its pocket, though.

    • 3

      Thank you. You and most of these commentators are confirming Professor Hoole’s thesis that there is a strong CBS under-current running through Tamil society.

      Will the TNA please take note and have a discussion on how to counter this?

    • 2

      US at one time funded and supported LTTE. US supported Mahinda Rajapkase to carpet bomb NE to defeat LTTE . Then US kicked Mahinda out and put proxy RW in power. US screwed up in Afghanistan and ME.
      US is there to protect its own interest.
      This is the mistake VP made. He thought he is a super power. He thought US, India, China, the West will bow to him when he prematurely flew a mosquito to colombo during the World Cup cricket.
      The rest is history

      • 0

        What a scholarly comment Rajash.

        Keep it up.

  • 1

    @Fellow readers of CT:

    A jolly interesting piece and some brilliant follow-ups. Comments are absolute gems with a lot for us to learn about Tamil society. A parsimonious explanation for the ad hominem attacks on Hoole is this. People find it difficult to accept this man is somehow different. He wants to give up successful academic careers and wants to return to Sri Lanka. Wants to return to Jaffna. Live and work there. Mad, isn’t he? He has done it three times. Twice, when chased away, the man was able to run back to the West and start all over again — and in very short time build up his research. Jolly good what? He has trained several Sri Lankan students at PhD level — the most recent one from Jaffna computer science department itself.
    Now, pause, all of you, step back a bit, take a deep breath and ask yourselves the following. Just in the subject of electronics/computing which Hoole specializes in, there are several Sri Lankans who are professors in leading western universities. In the UK, there are Jaffna-born electronics professors in Edinburgh, Sheffield, Loughborough, Kings (London), Bristol and Southampton. Look up McMaster in Canada, look up Melbourne and Sydney here in Australia and you will quickly find names of Jaffna-schooled electronics professors. Ask yourselves this: would any of them, any one of them, ever think of giving up the successful careers they have built and return to help rebuild post-war SriLanka/Jaffna? The best you can get out of these fellows is a visit to Jaffna for a wedding or a funeral followed by a few pictures they might share on facebook. Hoole is different. People find it difficult to accept that. The frustration he vents is understandable (even if part of what he says is true,as Kumar David suggests, and remember we know quite a lot of it is true: they did change the advert after he applied; they did invite him to an interview after two years; they did ask him to wait for a skype call and didn’t call; they did delay paying his salary).
    All it takes is to understand the context is look a little bit past his inability to be diplomatic.

    @Yovahn Hoole:

    Jaffna politics is dirty indeed. Very. Best you to keep out of this please. Just concentrate on doing your assignments!

  • 9

    Can some one explain how this professor got a English/American Family name? Is it similar to Caribbean people carrying English like family names because of the slavery.

    • 2

      Dear Selvan
      Do we wonder how Tamils got Sanskrit names, or Sinhalese got Portuguese names?
      Do we wonder why Tamil movie director A Beemsingh named his son Lenin or why there is a reputed Tamil artist called Trotsky Marudu or why our Ceylon Teachers Union leader (a Tamil) has the name Stalin, and there are Nixons and Kennedys among us?

      Several American missionaries in Jaffna did good community work in Jaffna. Some sponsored people’s education; and some people took the names of the sponsors out of gratitude. I know a few ‘Hindus’ with such names.

      What name one has is one’s own business. It is good to respect free choice.

  • 0

    “The Civil Engineering Diploma/Degree programme was started since establishing the Division of Civil Engineering in 1985 with three Senior Academics under the leadership of Prof. Alagaiah Thurairajah.”

    He was Dean Eng and HoD Civil Eng at Peradeniya; and VC Jaffna.

    Much of this is common knowledge. Thus far no one has overly elevated Thurairajah’s performance. (VC OUSL was perhaps a slip.)
    In fact, some have tried to run him down. That was the source the long unwanted discussion.

    பெரியோரை வியத்தலும் இலமே, சிறியோரை இகழ்தல் அதனினும் இலமே

  • 9


    Please ask Hoole or Kumar David why Peradeniya University did not want to get Hoole and his wife back to teaching in spite of Hoole’s successful appeals. ( Hoole himself has written about the refusal in one of his previous articles but did not say why ) Is it because he is believed to be a trouble maker?

    Educational qualifications are not the sole criteria in selecting a candidate. Each institution will look into additional criteria talents conduct temperament etc. Even in gaining admission to the best overseas Universities the authorities now look into what sort of extra curricular activities the students have excelled and whether he or she is involved in violent protests etc.

    Hoole was not appointed as Jaffna Uni V .C last time due to Douglas’s somersault. Thesamnet group ( Tamil website) in UK supported Hoole throughout and even met Mahinda in one of his visits to UK, at the high commission office, and begged to appoint Hoole. Mahinda agreed to appoint him when Hoole and his wife met him at President’s palace. Yet he failed. The only alternative is for you to take his horoscope to a Hindu astrologer and read it.

    • 2

      Dear MR,
      How do we judge if someone is a troublemaker or not?
      When Hoole served in Peradeniya, he challenged many wrong decisions. A few of these he took to higher places of arbitration and won. I hope you will agree that there ARE many things wrong with SL universities, Pradeniya included. So if we are to accept that these institutions can keep qualified people out using “trouble-maker” as a reason, the system is not going to get any better, is it?
      You say extra curricular activities are considered in addition to academic qualifications. True, but you see, our university system is full of people who ONLY have extra curricular activities and not much academic talent. Is this what we want for the future?

    • 2

      Why does Peradeniya not want Prof. Hoole? Is he a trouble-maker?

      [Kataragama’s excellent reply to MR came while I drafted mine. But I send it anyway]

      Prof. Hoole objected to many wrong things done at the university – illegal promotions, delaying results, accepting late applications to VC after discarding a strong application from a Singapore Tamil, refusing to register four Trinco students who reported late because their letter of admission did not reach them on account of fighting, etc. There were “inquiries” against him for fraudulently altering the mark book to give a first class to a Tamil, teaching human rights to engineers and bringing down standards, mistakes in question papers, etc. These inquiries were delayed and used to deny him confirmation. The IESL was petitioned by engineering professors to deny him membership. He lacks ethics they had claimed. However, after inquiry, he was admitted as a Fellow. The delayed Peradeniya inquiries under former Kandy Mayor H. Dunuwilla cleared him of all charges and the one on fraudulently altering the mark book said he should never have been charged. Finally the Court of Appeal ordered that he be confirmed and promoted to senior professor, both backdated to 2002. The court faulted the conduct of the VC and the university was fined Rs. 50,000. This was in Dec. 2005. The university was very angry with him.

      Three months later when Prof. Hoole was made VC, he was given three years’ leave. When he had trouble with the LTTE and fled to the US, Peradeniya used the opportunity to terminate him. It is a wrong this government is yet to right.

      So you see, the trouble Prof. Hoole makes is the same trouble we are taught as engineers in our ethics class to make. The four Trinco students he got into the faculty by taking them to the Sunday Leader offices and highlighting their plight in the press will swear by him.

      My own nephew had his batch’s results delayed while Moratuwa students were getting all the jobs which asked for their degrees. Peradeniya said that there was no hurry because the convocation was far away! They did not seem to know that students cannot apply for many jobs pending results. Moratuwa at that time got crucial CEB and Water Board jobs which were in large numbers. Prof. Hoole raised it in the press by drafting a letter on my behalf (I was in Jaffna then)to the Daily News, and getting the Editor to publish it. The Minister called up the VC, and the VC ordered the results released. The engineering Facuty Board was very angry with him. Prof. Hoole paid by facing inquiries including the one on altering the mark book at the same meeting where the delayed results were released. But my nephew is ever grateful for the jobs he was able to apply for.

      I wish all of us will have the guts to make trouble the way the good professor does. Then perhaps we will have Yahapalanaya (Good Governance) which was promised but is still evading us, and with so many trouble-makers, we will have a trouble free world where the corrupt would be scared to be corrupt.

    • 8

      Did the Hooles apply to Peradeniya?
      I doubt.

      On both occasions he was nominated VC Jaffna he was not the top choice of the University Council, despite intense canvassing.

      The nominations were by the Presidents, for political reasons.
      Pirapakaran torpedoed one and Douglas the other.

      I heard that he did not even come third in his recent bid for VC Eastern University.

      • 0

        Another idiot bull-shitting like a know-it-all!

        How can the President nominate when she/she has to pick one from the three sent by the Council?

  • 4

    There is more than meets the eye to the urge to serve Jaffna.
    I stop there as this does not seem a forum for objective comment.

    • 11

      Please SJ! You yourself have not been objective. Now you make a snide comment that there is more than meets the eye to the urge to serve Jaffna. Hoole’s urge I suppose?

      If you have evidence of anything bad on Hoole’s part, give it. Do not use your self-described urge to be objective, to cast insinuations without evidence. That is not at all being objective. In fact it is being vicious and slanderous without taking responsibility.

      • 1

        If I am not objective, so be it.
        Have fun.
        Think what you like.

  • 15

    Dear Kataragama

    Thanks for your reply which I fully accept. But when the system is wrong one or two persons cannot repair it by rebelling against it. Either you close your eyes and go long with it or flee from the country. Many educationists intellectuals followed the second. Hoole should have stayed in US. His desire to become a V C in a srilankan university and going behind every Tom dick and Harry for the same was the mistake he made. When each and every youth in srilanka knows how bad is the system and politicians since we gained independence, I wonder how a matured person failed to realise the same. Is he so blind or V C post is his ultimate goal in his life?

    The worst thing Hoole did was identifying each and every person holding a position ( rightly or wrongly ) in the Tamil society by mentioning his or her caste in this article. When the caste system is fading Hoole is reenergising it. Some of the castes are no more in existence. There is no Theevu vellalan. First time I hear this. Most of the students or friends who were unaware of the castes of these persons until now will now pass a sarcastic smile on them. Hoole has done untold damage insult by placing the caste in print against each person. I have no sympathy at all for Hoole.

    • 1

      Dear MR,

      You say: //Either you close your eyes and go long with it or flee from the country. Many educationists intellectuals followed the second.//

      Many have done that does not make it the right approach, does it?

      Hoole certainly is venting his frustration and his writings show he has zero diplomatic skills. But the context in which he is doing it is understandable and does expose the shameful state of the Tamil community. This is reinforced by your observation: //students or friends who were unaware of the castes of these persons until now will now pass a sarcastic smile on them//

      You are accusing Hoole of “outing” these people. What should concern us more — an individual doing it in anger, or the state of our society in which that is actually an issue? Attacking Hoole will not make our social problem go away, but if we deal with our social problem, Hoole (in the form of authoring this piece) will not exist. Let us work to treat the cause of the illness, not merely the symptom, shall we?

  • 1


    I was only quoting DR.H.W.Tambiah.It is there in the book.Plato,admits heis not an authority on the subject.
    If you are happy,I am happy.

    • 3

      Dear Plato
      I did not mean to offend. If I have, I am sorry.

      The myth of Koviyar being Goviya has floated around for a while. Perhaps HWT innocently accepted it. I too believed it until I heard Jeyapalan’s talk in 1990 or so. He had studied that caste identity in detail, its emergence as a caste group, its origins in India, and Dutch references to bringing people from India etc.

      Why I commented was because Tamil scholarship has a general weakness for oversimplified explanations (often to fit prejudices).
      The harangue about Saivaism being the first Tamil religion etc., from which I pulled out, is an indication of the Tamil nationalist mindset which refuses to accept historical evidence.

      Thanks especially for the polite response, rather exceptional to feedback here.

      • 24

        No one was speaking of Saivism as the first Tamil religion. They were speaking of Hinduism being part of the context at the start of Tamil history. Quite different. They will retort that you, SJ, fail to accept the historical evidence.

        • 3

          Not quite.

          The point is that people like to believe that the ‘Hindu’ gods (and hence Hindu philosophy) were well established in Tamil society in Sangam Period. That is not accurate.
          Besides this has serious undertones which need to be addressed.

          Of the five main cults of Sangam period, only two have properly digested to the Hindu pantheon of the Tamils. (Murugan retaining some of the Sangam features, Vishnu with just a trace.)
          Hinduism as practiced today in much of India is essentially post Shankara. Saiva Siddhanta, negating the Advaita of Shankara, is dated after 12th Century.
          The cult of Siva gained strength during the Pallava period through the Bakthi movement (with a Brahmin-Vellala alliance in the lead, but tolerant on the matter of caste).
          The earliest reference to Vishnu is in Paripaatal where His attributes are those of a fully Sanskritized deity. Much is true of Murugan. Siva is referred to but not as the main subject of any verse.

          These matters apart, the poetic structure of the Paripaatal verses (with even the ‘pan’ -raga & rhythm- is defined unlike other Sangam literature. The words are more modern, with strong Sanskrit content. Thus Paripaatal belongs to a later period that the rest of the ‘eight anthologies (Ettuththokai).
          As philosophies, Buddhism and Jainism penetrated Tamil society well before ritual worship of Siva and Vishnu was established.
          Jainism gave Tamil all its ethical and much of grammatical texts and three of the five Tamil Kavyas were Jain and two Buddhist.
          The period in which Tamil thrived owing to Buddhist and Jain contributions (Kalappirar Period) has been denounced as a dark age after the Saivaites took control.
          During the peak of Saiva intolerance Vaishnavaites were driven out of Tamil country. (much like Muslims from the North? This is for comic reflief.)
          The Vaishnavaites, besides the brilliant Divyprabantam with ‘purer’ Tamil than the Thevarams and Thiruvasakam (whose literary excellence is great), gave Tamil Kampa Raamaayanam, the pride of Tamil literature and the highly commended Villiputthurar’s Bhaaratham. There was no Saiva epic of repute: what get close are Periyapuraanam (a compilation of the biographies of the Saivaite sages but with central place to Suntharamurthi) and later Thiruvuilayaatal Puranam connecting with the age of Maanikkavaacagar, but later in time.

          What the Saivaite Tamils especially of Jaffna suffer from is the illusion that the Tamil language is predominantly (if not exclusively) linked to Saivaism. (Arumuga Navalar is partly responsible, perhaps unconsciously, for this myth.)
          This excludes Tamil Buddhism which thrived in North Lanka up to at least the 10th Century, and thereby making all Buddhist relics of the North Sinhala Buddhist.
          It tries to make Valluvar a Hindu, by applying ash on his forehead.
          It rejects the contributions of Christians and Muslims.

          Tamil Hindu intolerance is encouraged by the surge of Hindu fascism in India. That is another issue, perhaps not for here.

          I am an not in a debating contest.
          But the Tamil community has to learn to successfully coexist.
          Arrogance based on imagined greatness will not help, The same goes for the Sinhalese.

          • 21

            SJ, you have the obstinancy and hatred of a Mao Ze Dong and Periyar. This explains your serious undertone of venom against Hinduism. Even Mahindapala and Hoole are better than you. You keep saying that you are not in a debating contest. But you never stop despite others providing you the facts. There is no reference to a Tamil chief praying to the Buddha or Jina in the Sangam corpus. There are many references to several Sangam chiefs undertaking a Vedic sacrifice. You concede the existence of Murugan and Vishnu in Sangam literature. What about Varunan and Venthan. Have you read the Tolkapiyam which provides even more evidence. Your tired arguments have been addressed by other commentators who have conclusively provided the data and the sources to mention that Hinduism was present in Tamilaham in the early centuries of the Christian era. I will not repeat their points but only refer you to Professor Neelakanta Shastri. Tamil Buddhism in the North is a convenient excuse to erase the Sinhalese presence there. Mao’s policies killed 30 million Chinese during a man made famine in the late 50s. He annexed Tibet. You have the gall then with your loose talk of Hindu fascism.

          • 2

            malarvili gnanaraj

            I have nothing against any religion or for any either.
            Mao laughed away religion. He did not bother to attack any.
            As a Marxist he accepted the social role of religion which was bound to fade away as life becomes less oppressive.

            Periyar’s mission was different. Like Ambedhkar he had to attack Hinduism to secure social justice. But he did nor recommend religious conversion as, to him, it was no answer. He prescribed rational athiesm.
            Ambedhkar to much of MK Gandhi’s annoyance embraced Buddhism with his own interpretation of it. Both were right to the extent that they could not reject caste without rejecting Hindism. That was many years of their experience in the Congress and with Gandhi.

            Tholkappiyam is a work of grammar. As any linguist will point out grammar follows literatue. It came much after the ‘Sangam’ period when Tamil literature took form and the language needed codifying.

            Varunan and Venthan have no status in modern Tamil ‘Hindu’ worship.
            Murugan and Maal survived as rather Sanskritized gods. Kottravai too time to integrate with Kaali.
            Animal sacrifice existed in all societies. Yakgna was Aryan practice. It perhaps entered Tamil society in late Sangam period. (Sangam period stretches several centuries. The anthologies too represent a wide time span. They were later compilations of what was oral tradition.) Even then, systematic worship of Siva as creator-destroyer-emancipator came much much later.
            Vishnu worshipped by the Vaishnavaites too was slow to be accepted as almighty god. He acquired a darker shade, confused with blue because ‘neela’ can also mean black in Sanskrit. (I have heard the opinion that the Jains after suppression by Saivates in Pallava country tuirnedd to Vaishnavaism to escape persecution. It sounds credible. But needs more evidence.) I like the poetry on Maal in Vaishnavaite writings.

            Vasishnavaism linked up with Vedanta philosophies. Saivaism had to wait until after 12th Century to have Saiva Siddhanta, a truer Tamil product. Systematic too.
            As far as philosophical thought went, Jain and Buddhist thought influenced early Tamil life most, as evident in the large volume of literature including didactic works.
            These are facts that one cannot escape.
            The point I am stressing is that the Hindu religions (form of deity, worship, rituals etc.) of today are post-Shnkara phenomena.

            I cited Neelakanrta Sahstri as he was one of the most eminent historians of ancient Tamil society. I can bore the reader stiff with more names, but that was not my purpose.

            If my questions have been satisfactorily answered by others, please yourself. I never obstruct anybody’s bliss.

            As for Mao, there are plenty of locations on the internet which will give a fuller picture than what the Western establishment has to offer.
            Readers are already saturated with Hoole, Thurairajah and Lords Vishnu and Shiva (and above all me). They deserve a break.

            Keep an open mind. It will not make you happy, but will keep you alert.

            • 5

              SJ Propaganda! SJ Mahavamsa!

            • 13

              SJ states “Ambedhkar to much of MK Gandhi’s annoyance embraced Buddhism with his own interpretation of it”.

              As always, SJ gets it wrong. Ambedkar converted to Buddhism in October 1956. Gandhi died in January 1948.

              • 4

                Anon, I stand corrected.
                If always wrong, I will appreciate a fuller list for which I shall only be grateful.

                Ambedkar moved away from Hinduism in the early 30’s. That was a bone of contention with Gandhi. His disaffection for Hinduism and attraction for Buddhism grew with time. By 1950 he had made his intentions about Buddhism more public by 1950 and implemented it in 1956.
                The point I intended to make was that A rejected Hinduism for its caste content very early. He clashed with Gandhi from the 1930’s.

                On Oct. 13th, Dr. Ambedkar presided over the Yeola Conversion Conference, held in Yeola, in Nasikh District [Imperial Gazetteer] [Imperial Gazetteer map]. He advised the Depressed Classes to abandon all agitation for temple-entry privileges; instead, they should leave Hinduism entirely and embrace another religion. He vowed, “I solemnly assure you that I will not die as a Hindu.” (–Dhananjay Keer, Dr. Ambedkar: Life and Mission, Bombay: Popular Prakashan, 1971 [1954], p. 253.)”

                The actual act of mass conversion was after Gandhi was killed by a Hindutva assassin.

              • 5

                Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar was quite prescient when he said “Instead of according recognition to China in 1949, had India accorded this recognition to Tibet, there would have been no Sino-Indian border conflict.” He was an Indian nationalist who envisioned Tibet as a buffer state between India and China. He opposed Nehru’s foreign policy. Ambedkar passed away in 1956. He was not present therefore when Chinese forces ruthlessly crushed the popular Tibetan uprising in 1959. It would have saddened him profoundly to witness how Buddhism had been so ruthlessly crushed in modern times. 87,000 Tibetans were killed by Chinese forces that year alone. That death toll needs to be seen however in the broader perspective of Mao Ze Dong’s failed policies. The Chinese academic Pen Xi Zhe estimated in 1987 that between 20 and 43 million had perished throughout China between 1959 and 1962 due to Mao Ze Dong’s man made famine. Tibet once again suffered disproportionately. Had Ambedkar lived, he would have had a compelling denunciation of Mao Ze Dong. SJ’s enthusiasm for Ambedkar on the other hand is shallow. His real motive is to mock Hinduism. He is worse than Mahindapala and Hoole.

                • 1

                  Enthusiasm for Periyar and Ambedkhar is as far as they stood up against caste oppression.
                  Periyar was really not a nationalist of any kind. He rejected the Dravidanadu as soon as Andhra state was formed and did not talk of any nation after that.
                  Neither was a leftist. (Periyar was for a while though.) But their social roles were commendable whatever they thought of socialism.

                  As for what happened in China there are more than two sides to any story, Relying on stories pumped up by Western media and rightist thinkers is an option.

                  Wise or not, choice is free.

                • 1

                  Words can be criticized from any view point.
                  Intentions, without true evidence, are hard to determine.

                  Thus it will be nice not to pass judgment on others.
                  It makes communication more civil than often seen here.

  • 3


    I think you have taken me out of context.
    Now look; This essay by Dr.RH.highlights caste.What I was attempting to highlight was that even though Dr.RH writes disparagingly about non-vellala castes he has had a sponsor- A surgeon who is a Tree-climber.Frankly,I SHOULD HAVE TYPED NON-VELLALA,instead of Tree-climber[which was the term used by my source].
    Plato pleads Mea Culpa Mea Maxima Culpa!
    By the way,if not for the Tree-climber we will not have that brownish liquid[or Fluid?] in our Goblets!

    • 5

      “Tree climbers” have elevated status among the Sinhalese. A section of them have risen in status in India and refuse to be treated as scheduled castes.

      Had you said toddy-tapper (if it was the profession and not caste) that may have been less offensive. Over there in Batticaloa, the Vellalas do not count for much.
      People are touchy about caste and it safe not to refer to the caste of anyone, unless absolutely necessary.

      Non-Vellala could have been a Brahmin!

    • 3

      You re making Prof. Hoole’s point. To you, even an FRCS surgeon from the lower castes is not an FRCS surgeon but a tree climber.(Here I assume that labels by anonymous persons are accurate).

      What you say in private conversation and hiding behind anonymous labels is what what Prof. Hoole is saying in the open in his own name. Let us please stop the charade. Caste is a part of us, even if you want the freedom to use it in all your conversations while denying it in public.

      It is clear from these comments where those against Hoole stand. It is also clear that tree climbers and similarly labelled others will be with Prof. Hoole. These are the silent (silenced) majority.

      • 6

        And then pretending innocence, after whispering people’s castes like tree climber and getting a laugh, they ask my father how he found out what Castes the various people in his article belong to.

  • 4

    I am never one to read the comments or comment on Colombo Telegraph but this has blown out of proportion.

    The only reason people here are upset is that they have misread the article or fear what it means because they know it to be true but are too afraid to accept it.

    I was born and grew up in Jaffna till I came to USA for my PhD with Prof. Hoole’s help. He has, not only at my university, but during his whole time in America, worked hard to ensure that Sri Lankan students get the best they can. I know a research student who worked with me who took 4 years to complete his PhD, the university refused to keep paying for the student and wanted to let him go. Prof. Hoole fought for that student and ended up paying the student out of his own salary. I have heard many stories like this from other students of his. He constantly works to educate people about Sri Lanka here, he has tried to work in Sri Lanka many times but our people refuse to see his value because they fear being outed for their wrongs. Where ever he is, in America or Sri Lanka, the Prof has fought for justice. In Sri Lanka, he is feared because of this.

    He is not anti-Hindu. He is against how the Hindu community in Sri Lanka is using their power in the name of Hinduism. Hinduism in Sri Lanka is polluted and it’s just a way to express power. You can buy your way into higher castes – it is a defiled and corrupt form of Hinduism. Proclaiming to be Hindu is just a way Tamils make themselves feel important and to make themselves feel vital in a broken country. I have seen my Christian friends refused recommendations because they are not Hindu, contractors hesitant to wok with them because they are not Hindu and so many more instances where Hinduism is abused. The University of Jaffna supposed to be secular but it contains a Hindu temple and they are building a Hindu statue in the grounds. The University is now a place of politics not education. The unqualified VC covering up for the illegal activities of unqualified lecturers, qualified lecturers refused jobs because they refuse to brown nose, and students are definitely neglected and refused a proper education.

    Please stop your vendetta against him and instead try to help him being Jaffna back to it’s original state as an educated community. Stop blaming other people for Jaffna’s misfortunes and start changing yourself and helping your community grow. Prof. Hoole has done more for Jaffna than any of you hiding behind a screen posting nasty comments have done. Start thanking him and stop posting lies.

    • 16


      What does what you say have to do with the main drift of the article and the comments that follow. I am sure Dr.Hoole as a man is a socially concious person with a large generous heart. He is also the rare and probably the only one alive in Sri Lanka today who holds a DSc.

      However, the manner in which he approaches issues of caste and religion are wrong. As an academic he is head and shoulders above many in Sri Lanka. He should not demean himself by adopting tactics that are below him and which he himself condemns. He has to be a bigger man, if he intends to nudge Jaffna in the right direction. He cannot do this by finding fault with everyone based on caste and religion. There is much meanness in the Tamil community, as also in other communities in Sri Lanka. The Jaffna University has a higher concentration of these because it is mediocre and manned largely by small men/women.These can only be subdued by charitableness and forgiveness. These can also be eroded in time by example and persistence coupled with patience. A revolution cannot be brought about in Jaffna. It is not in the Jaffna man’s nature. His article triggered responses that indicate that he has touched the wrong side of many across a wide spectrum.

      His attempt to gain the position of VC, which he probably merits, through political influence, has also eroded his standing. He has also retreated in the face of adversity. He should have stood up and fought the EPDP on the election related issue. He should have been ready to go to jail or die, as befits a crusader. His retreat to the US, has further damaged his standing. Mahatma Gandhi said once that ‘ If a society is unjust, every decent citizen should be in jail’ ( or words to that effect) . I was told these words of Gandhi are etched in stone at the entrance to the Berkely campus of the University of California.



      • 6

        Surely, you are not serious!

        “He should have stood up and fought the EPDP on the election related issue. He should have been ready to go to jail or die, as befits a crusader.”

        Would you have?

        I would not have.
        I am bold (and brave on occasion) but (hopefully) not stupid.

        • 6

          If one wants to be a committed crusader for a noble cause, he/she should be ready to die. Aristotle died for what he espoused. Jesus Christ was crucified for what he stood for. Mahatma Gandhi courted death on many occasions and finally died at the hands of a Hindu fanatic for what he stood for. There have been men like them in human history.

          I will be ready to face death, if I have the passion for what I espouse. I was warned by the LTTE not to write as I do. I however, continued. Further, when my mother, brother and another person were killed by the IPKF, I travelled to Jaffna against even the wishes of my father, amidst an on-going war between the LTTE and the IPKF. I was surrounded by gun-toting IPKF soldiers who called me a terrorist. This happened after I had crudely cremated the rotting bodies. They were pointing their guns at me. I remember, I knew no fear. I have also faced danger during the 1977 riots in Peradeniya. I learned courage also from by father, who defended our family and home, by confronting a mob with his rifle. This happened during the 1958 riots.

          I write this only in response to your query. Of course this does not mean that one has to display false bravado, but when circumstances warrant, one has to be ready to even die especially when I one takes up a cause and has the zeal of a crusader cum reformer.


      • 0

        “He should have stood up and fought the EPDP on the election related issue. He should have been ready to go to jail or die, as befits a crusader.”

        You mean go to velanai to be judged by a Devananda appointed judge and be abducted by a white van if he won? or be stabbed on the way in the the ferry or causeway or whatever connects his island to JAffna? You must be wishing his death like the EPDP and Thamil Chelvan and his golaya on campus.

        Crusader For what? (you must be a convert to use such terms) To save the Cross and shroud of Christ or The Holy Jaffna university?
        Etuch churakai karikuthavathu! paarum.

        (an ashgourd on paper is not useful for curry). Heep your breath to cool your porridge or use your Ph. D for analysis or uplift the community.Not hold PAndang to Crooked officials.

  • 11

    The discussion on Dr. Ratnajeevan Hoole’s article, has meandered in different directions, albeit mostly interesting and in many instances ugly.

    Further, to this article, in an interview with the Sunday observer as a member of the Election Commission ( I had mistakenly referred to him as a member of the Delimitation Commision in a previous comment) he has pursued the caste issue in Jaffna in electoral terms further.


    I disagree with his approach. Is this the right approach to resolving what is lingering of the caste system? Is it the job of the Election Commision to resolve caste issues? Should we entrench a system to elect parliamentarians on a caste basis, which would help further encourage caste divisions and thereby reinvigorate it? Would the next step be a caste based quota system like in Tamil Nadu? Should we instead launch projects to uplift the poor,who are largely of the so-called lower castes (there are also poor Vellalahs!)? Should we invest in the schools the poor attend? Should we provide the facilties they need to attend schools – the recent incident where 80 students in one school did not have shoes to wear to school comes to mind. Should adult education and part-time technical skill training courses be held for the adults ? Should the menace of alcoholism and narcotic use be severely curbed? Should better housing provided for them? The Community at large should be mobilized to help and campaign for such improvements.

    Many are already setting the pace. I take this occasion to record the recent instance where a prominent Brahmin priest invited a so-called low caste person who had painted his vehicle to his daughter’s wedding and served him dinner along with others. This is the progress we need, where everyone of us do our mite to chip away at what is remaining of a now irrelevant system. We have to also without reservations condemn those who yet talk and act in terms of caste.

    I condemn Dr. Hool’s approach both as an individual and as a member of the Election Commission’.


    • 1

      Which Hoole do you have in mind?
      The one of the Election Commission is not the one who wrote this article.

      • 2

        According to the link I have provided, the one on the Election Commission.


      • 4

        Dr Ratnajeevan Hoole IS the one on the Election Commissioner. The Sunday Observer of 21 Feb carried an interview with him.

      • 4

        Thanks Manel and Dr RN.

        I assumed that it was Rajan Hoole who was on the Commission as he was here for long and was actively involved in HR and other work.

  • 4

    Caste is sacrosant in Hinduism Sri Krishna Bagavan has declared.

    The Supreme Lord said: “I have created this four fold order ( Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras)” Bagawad Gita.

    Author is not wrong to append caste to the name of person even the Professors.It was the custom until the milechcha white sahibs came to India. Lord Krishna himself gave each caste its name. It is his karma. Each man has his caste. A scheduled caste vellah is born a shudra and a sattriya is born sattriya as Bagavan himself has created them. He said: I am equal to all. Accept your caste and do your caste dharma in this birth faithfully. Then you will be better caste in the next birth says Lord Krishna. The upadesicas too teach us we must obey caste dharma strictly according to all the niyamas to be a good Hindu.

    Ceyonese vellalah’s are not pure Hindhu. They are corrupted by budhists and like Bodhisatva therefore they rebel against caste and varnavyastham. These days they too tie the samskaare like brahmin. But shudras are not permitted to perform this upanayana, to study the Vedas or become upadesicas of the sacred vedas. But they dont follow the sacred Gita. Anybody can become uadesika and teach anything in Jaafna. They must perform their prescribed duties to become good sravakas. That alone is correct sanatana dharma.

    • 20

      Please grow up. We are in the 21st century. The Vedic concept of Varnas with regard to aspects of human nature, with time evolved into rigid castes and sub castes. based on occupations. If you look deep enough you will find people of the four Varnas within each caste. You will find Sudras among Brahmanas and Brahmanas among the Sudras. Everyone in Jaffna, including the Hindu Priests are Sudras by Varna.


      • 6

        Periyakaruppi, Dr RN

        Hindu practice in India and here is caste based.
        It is the only religion which defines on caste basis who can perform religious (and even social) rituals.

        Manusmriti has plenty on caste (call it Varna if you like). For example, “If a Shudra ever listens Vedic chants, pour molten lead into his ears”.
        There are plenty more in that text, the Bhagavad Gita and several others.

        Untouchability is a consequence of the varna-caste system.
        The practice of caste in India and its cruelty are based on the assumption that caste is god-defined and written into the scriptures.
        Caste-based intolerance is justified using “sacred texts’, whose age is immaterial.

        One cannot escape with excuses like “This is not what was meant”, for what mattes is what has been in practice.
        Nothing is lost by accepting our flaws and rectifying them. But it will not do to pretend that we do not have a problem.Hinduism has justified caste in more than one way.

        Highly educated persons like Rajagopaachari have tried to preserve the caste system by devious means. Tamilnadu luckily had a strong tradition of anti-casteism struggles and the rationalist movement. There was much left unaccomplished but Tamilnadu is perhaps the freest of religious intolerence, although caste-based violence is strong in certain regions.

        The 21st Century is still carrying the burdens of the 19th Century and earlier, let alone the 20th.
        We need to grow up and face reality. Caste-based intolerance and discrimination exists and has to be addressed.

        • 12

          This is what I have said. But not by entrenching it further as suggested by Varadarajaperumsl and Dr. Ratnajeevan Hoole. It has to be tackled at the roots through education and enabling.

          Further, Savaism does not sanction caste or trade-based discrimination. The stories of our Saivaite Savants
          (Nayanmar) demonstrate this.


        • 4

          The Bakti movement accommodated all castes as the Velaala-Brahmin alliance need allies who may otherwise convert to Jainismm or Buddhism which rejected caste, the former in theory the latter in practice as well. Caste had returned with a vengeance by time of Periyapuranam.
          A brave effort that transcended caste was that of Ramanuja who baptized Dalits to beconme Brahmins.
          If what you say is fair, what was Arumuga Navalar up to? Reintroducing non-existent caste?
          Why did Marath Thamizan C Suntharalingam block the gates of Maviddapuram Temple to Dalits on pretext of not letting in atheistic communists.
          Ask the “Lesser Tamils” their experiences in refugee camps and detention camps.
          பூனை கண்ணை மூடிக்கொண்டால் பூலோகம் இருண்டு போகுமா?

  • 0


    • 1

      Who told you that cast was eliminated under VP? I was govt official in the Vanni when the masses were forced out of Jaffna by VP. They came to Kilinochchi and Vavuniya. They ate together. They slept together. I thought the world had changed. It was wonderful. Six months later, when those who had shared with them invited them to weddings, they refused. We do not eat with them, they said to me.

      In Nanthikadal,almost everyone who died was from the low side. As Professor says, everyone who is permanent IDP is low.Please ask the GAs if you want truth.

      • 6


        Your comment illustrates that the caste system cannot be killed by laws, edicts, violence or punishment. It should be rendered irrelevant. The turmoil, war and displacements and migrations have enfeebled the system. The times are not conducive for it to thrive. It lingers now. It can be almost totally eliminated from public life by educating and enabling the so- called low castes and the poor among them. The caste preferences when it comes to marriages would take more time to disappear. I know that even before the turmoil the Vellajahs have given their daughters in marriage to men considered lowest among the castes, who had become medical doctors ! Many of the so-called low castes have given up their traditional trades and taken up other jobs consonant with their education and training. More will do the same in the coming years.


  • 25

    Some people are trying to misguide here: Purananuru 224 clearly indicates Karikala Cholas Hindu beliefs and as such the later Periya Puranam mention of Chola love for Saivism is credible; Kochenganna Chola is one of the Nayanmars. To suggest Hinduism was not dominant during Sangam era is therefore untrue.

    Tholkappiyam is believed to be inspired by Aggatiyam (a copy of which has not been recovered to date). Tholkapiyars Guru is Agasthiyar, sent by Lord Shiva to bless and propogate the Tamil Language and Sangam. This is why not only is Shiva considered the patron and founder of Tamil but also the deep connection between Tamil and Saivism.

    We can all appreciate that when you colonise and try to convert people you make them feel inferior and guilty. Tamils have a glorious indigenous culture and nothing to be ashamed of.

  • 24


    Why did you stop with applying ash on Valluvar and making him a Hindu? There are so many Christian fundamentalists like you in TamilNadu and I mention below some of their quotes / books so that you could use them in your next comment:

    1 Hindu religion is the offshoot of St Thomas Dravidian Christianity – M Deivanayagam and his daughter Devakala

    2. Thiruvalluvar is a Christian and Thirukkural is a book based on bible – Deivanayagam

    3. India is a Thomas Dravidian Christian nation – ( Note: Pope Benedict said ” St Thomas never visited India )

    4. India is a Dravidian Christian nation and Christians made Sanskrit. – J Samuel

    5. India is achristian nation – Sunder Jesu Adiyan
    6. Silappathikaram was a Christian inspired epic
    7. Saint Manickavasakar was baptised when he went to purchase horses. – Daniel Thangappa
    8. Thiruvalluvar is a Christian and Thirukkural is a book of Christian ethics – Bishop RevDr Ezra Satkunam
    9. Karaikal Ammaiyar is a Christian
    10. Refer ” Christian witness to Hindus ” Lausanne.org to learn how to convert Hindus.
    11. Refer ” sages of the New Covenant” to know Christian ashrams Upanishads villuppaddu katha pirasankam and adopting & adapting other Hindu ways of practice to indigenise Christianity.
    Sathu Sellappa is another person excelled in this camouflage.
    12. There is a Christhava brahmana seva samithi for Brahmins. Actor Charu Hassan ( Kamal’s brother) has composed Jesus sahasranamam. ( So caste based society is ok so long as they become Christians . Brahmins are known “prized catch” for Christians.

    There are hundreds more and all available in the Internet.

    As Koenraad Elst, a reputed scholar on Hinduism, said ” Hindus have lost self confidence.They have become passive and apologetic about their ideas their institutions about themselves and about their very name. They behave as if they are making amends for being Hindus ” so English educated Christians have a field day.

    Good luck!


    There a so many articles on caste Varna jathi and what Krishna meant about Varnas in esamskriti website. Please read and enlighten yourself. Advise your friends to read as well

    • 6

      “There are so many Christian fundamentalists like you in TamilNadu” -MR (Not the other MR I hope.)

      Thank you for the news.
      That is the second best thing I have for a laugh. For the best, I await reading my own obituary.

      Do not give up. Carry on digging more wrong holes. (They can make a movie in that series)

    • 9


      SJ belongs to the engineering faculty and is a communist linked to china.


      • 5

        Sorry dear Tanya
        Another wrong hole.

        • 10

          I stand by what I said. SJ is a well known university man who had written on Chairman Mao in Tamil. Another commentator here had even given his name.

        • 4

          Wherever you stand, kindly check the facts of your claim.

  • 7

    “Tholkappiyam is believed to be inspired by Aggatiyam (a copy of which has not been recovered to date). Tholkapiyars Guru is Agasthiyar, sent by Lord Shiva to bless and propogate the Tamil Language and Sangam. This is why not only is Shiva considered the patron and founder of Tamil but also the deep connection between Tamil and Saivism.”

    VK, history, however flawed, is scientific documentation of events.
    When we count on mythology, we delude ourselves.

    Agastiyam & Agastiyar are themselves Sanskrit terms. (Tamil had no ‘s’ or ‘g’ consonant, as they appear in these words, at the time.)
    Agastiyar perhaps refers to Paaini, world’s first-known grammarian whose work on Sanskrit precedes Tholkaapiyam by a few centuries. But, as a language, Tamil is better structured and more scientific than most Aryan languages, especially with grammatical rather than natural gender and therefore an awkward set of declensions. (Interestingly, Sinhala grammar is more akin to Tamil than to Sanskrit or other Aryan languages, making it easy for Tamils to learn)
    Where Tamil missed out was in missing out on essential new consonant symbols as new sounds entered Tamil through the two Brahminic religions. Prakrit (which Prakrit I am not sure) and Pali words that entered with Jainism and Buddhism were readily Tamilized.
    The Grantha script was developed to accommodate Sanskrit sounds. Sinhala and Malayalam adopted it to their gain. Tamil accepted four consonants and no more and faces problems with its new word stock of foreign orign.

  • 17

    Dr R Narendran / SJ

    Please send your father’ s books and articles on saivam Tamil literature and Thirukkural to SJ. With due respect to him I urge SJ to become a wide reader irrespective of what religion caste or nationality the authors belongs to and engage in critical discussion with eminent people, give deep thought, before he put down his views on paper. Ancient and modern Tamil literature is a vast ocean. No one should pick and choose as he or she wishes to suite their argument. It will be half baked if he or she does so. Hope SJ will not misunderstand me.

    Writer Jeyamohan correctly said that Tamil community has many educationists but no original sinthanaiyalarkal except Ananda Kumarasamy ( thought in English) M Thalayasingam ( thought in Tamil) and S N Nagarajan ( thought in Tamil ) . First two are from srilanka. We need many more.

    I urge RN to follow his father’s footsteps and write serious articles instead of limiting his views in comments.

    • 8


      Thanks for this comment. It is a pleasure to hear from someone who knew my late father. I cannot however guess who you may be. I learned much from him, but it is yet only a small fraction of what he knew.

      His vast library of books, magazines, his and others articles, and newspaper clippings were stolen by the LTTE. This collection included books also collected by my grandfather. I now have only a few books he published. His library was my only material inheritance which I had treasured and taken care of, from the time I was a boy. I do not know where they are now. I cannot forgive the Tigers for this act. Our community is the poorer for this act of stupidity.

      It will be a pleasure to know you and interact.


    • 5


      I reprinted my fathers ‘The Cultural Contribution of the Tamils’. Publishers are Manimekalai Pirasuram. A copy can be obtained from them or if SJ wants he can contact me for one.

      Thirukural must be reproduced. There are few other in depth articles of our father published by the International Institute of Tamil Studies.

      Unfortunately, his vast collection of writings and rare books were looted by the LTTE from my brothers house when they controlled Jaffna.

      • 2

        Thank you
        Just give me the details. I can visit a bookshop.

        • 0


          P O BOX 1447
          T NAGAR
          CHENNAI 600 017
          TAMIL NADU

          PHONE 2434 2926


          • 2


    • 5

      Kindly stop patronizing people. (It is not good for your mental well being.)

  • 2

    What Prof. Hoole has presented in this article is anecdotal evidence that caste based discrimination is very much alive in our society. If it was one or two examples it could be dismissed. But Prof. Hoole has documented enough here that it should make responsible people willing to ask – is caste-based discrimination really oppressing those in our community? And if so, is this something we are willing to ignore?

    (Prof. Hoole is not clear here whether he means caste or caste-based discrimination. However, given the question he has asked at the end of his article, he appears to believe that Hindu values go against this kind of injustice, so I am assuming he is trying to discuss caste-based discrimination.)

    As I understand it, there are four main themes in how some commenters have tried to refute this:

    (1) The “ad hominem attacks’ on Prof. Hoole
    (2) Argument that caste-based discrimination no longer has relevance in our society
    (3) Argument that caste-based discrimination is too deep in our society (and our values) to be addressed
    (4) Argument that caste-based discrimination exists, but bringing it to light can only make it worse

    1 is simply irrelevant. Prof. Hoole has brought forth enough evidence to begin doubting 2. And if 3 is true, then there is indeed a form of injustice holding back people in our community, and there is good reason for Colombo Telegraph to continue publishing social inquiries like this.

    As for 4…this is the worst response to any kind of injustice. I think Tamils have suffered enough from people being unwilling to speak up when they see wrong.

    More evidence is needed to show how caste-based discrimination affects our society more broadly. But Prof. Hoole has presented enough specific evidence in this article to show that this is a serious problem within the university. Those inside the university have a higher responsibility to bring this to public knowledge. I hope more university leaders will begin looking into how these issues affect its students.

  • 1

    Some people whose advice I value have told me, as does one D, that the point about “the funeral of the current Jaffna University Vice Chancellor’s father as having been led by the late old man’s mistress” does not come across clearly. According to university sources, mother and daughter attended the funeral and sat outside with the outsiders.

    This article is about people on the margins of Hindu orthodoxy trying to reinforce their orthodoxy by feigning high caste status and practices. Let me say how this is relevant to the article’s theme.

    The VC in her vision statement when applying for VC openly played the Hindu card, promising to spread Hindu culture. Yet in Hindu culture, a decent woman lives with her father and then with her husband and finally with her son. The father was a rotter, but given her commitment to orthodoxy she had to live with her father and not alone as an unmarried woman. (I do not subscribe to this but it is what the Dharmashastra she promised to spread demands). Both mother and daughter were in violation of the very culture the daughter promised to uphold and spread. To make up for that she had to promise Hindu missionary activity in the university in her vision statement.

    While a woman wronged deserves sympathy, not so when she tramples on the rights of minorities by using the position of VC to spread Hindu culture.

    • 16

      Dr.Ratnajeevan Hoole,

      A distasteful comment!

      Ascending the caste ladder with time, education and wealth, is a time old trend recognized in Tamil literature. I forget the complete verse, but will cite what I remember to enable someone who knows to complete it in his/her comment.

      ‘ Pallar, maravar , ahambadiyar, padi padiyaaha, Vellahlar ahinaray’ ( the castes of Pallar, Maravar and Ahambadiyaar in steps become Vellalars).

      I hope this will happen faster and more often. I wish everyone in Jaffna becomes a Vellahlah and there are no more persons of so-called low caste.

      Does the father having a mistress, lower the standing of a daughter?

      Dr.Hoole your slip is showing!


    • 4

      Distasteful? Perhaps. Disgraceful? Perhaps. But relevant, I must say yes indeed.

      I am sick and tired of people thrusting all kinds of odd outdated practices on me, including the “red party” which was thrust on me when I was 13. My brothers had to always go with me after that for my tuition classes and my father came at their end. My brothers could not sit on my bed with me when I was in my room — as if they were incestuous. I had to wait for my elder sister to marry first. My father was very upset when I wanted to do my PhD before marriage. My parents were both acting on the Dharmashastras. They had never read them but somehow took the practices from them to be inviolable. They knew them without ever reading them. It made us prisoners of an outdated past.

      I think the Dharmasastras which we live by are mostly nonsense. When a woman who makes us proud by becoming VC wants to spread this retrograde culture putting down women, she is targeting all women. Dr. Hoole is therefore right in demanding that she live by her missionary message. She had better eat what she cooked.

      It is called, to use male language, “Hanging the beggar on his own nail.”

      • 5

        Thank you Rajani. You speak for me and many other women. Tamils must pick the many good things in our culture and throw out rest. That will free 50+% of Tamils from clutches of other 50-%.

        You are one of the first to say this openly. You are great. Thank you again.

      • 14


        Where are the Dharmasastras that dictate what you describe? These are cultural habits that pertained to Jaffna and prevented girls smiling even for a wedding photograph. These habits are long gone, but in the wake of this progress, retrograde habits are engulfing us. We are yet a society defining ourselves anew, after the war. We have discarded much of the now meaningless customs and habits of the past, but have not replaced them with with anything that elevates the quality of our society. We are a much degraded society now despite dismantling many social shackles and habits that we inherited from our past,

        We are a society that prescribed sexual propriety only to the females and called it ‘Katpu’. Katpu was not expected from men. Whereas Auvaiyar- the grand old Tamil poetess – defined Katpu in a completely asexual context. Katpu for her was not being untrue to ones words ( sottriambamai). I will consider her an an authoritative source. Further, we are a society that rather covertly permitted a mistress ( Sakkalathy) to be kept at home with the sanction of the wife. Socially the offspring were called Sakkalathy’s children. These mistresses were usually from the so- called lower castes. The intent of this arrangement was to prevent the men roaming in search of extra marital sex and disgracing the family. Many men had such mistresses. These are social habits and were not sanctioned by any Dharnasastram,

        We in Asia have much hypocrisy built into our lives. We are pretenders. This is so yet. Jaffna is not an exception.However, this is no reason for Dr.Hoole to deal with what is his personal grievance in this manner. He was denied the post of VC for various reasons, some of which he is validating now with his outbursts. They are both distasteful and disgraceful when uttered by a person with his learning, targeting a specific person.


        • 5

          Dr. Narendran, here goes a male again. An empty drum making much noise. Sorry but that best describes you. You write like a savant but with little or no knowledge. We have come to believe that you are learned and have tended to take you at your word. Today, however, I saw through you.

          In this case you are using that cultivated reputation and savant image to tell us what is false – that there is nothing in the Dharmashastras like what I have described. I am curious. Did you ever read them before pontificating like this?

          For your information, until recently anyone who did History for BA Ceylon had to read the Dharmashastras. This was because our culture, whatever our religion, is derived from that. Even things like the left hand for ablutions and right hand for eating is from that.

          My mother did her First in Arts and was quite well versed in the Dharmashastras. It was common for the elite ladies of Colombo to assert those rules as a means of claiming orthodoxy. This made our life very difficult.

          Dr. N, I am not going to do your research for you. But here are some samples from the Dharmashastras (Manu’s Laws) taken from my mother’s notes from her undergraduate class about 60 years ago.

          II. 215: One should not sit in a lonely place with ones mother, sister or daughter; for the senses are powerful, and master even a learned man.

          V.147-149: By a girl, by a young woman, or even by an aged one, nothing must be done independently, even in her own house.
          In childhood a female must be subject to her father, in her youth to her husband, when her lord is dead to her sons; a woman must never be independent.
          She must never seek to separate herself from her father, husband, or sons; by leaving them she would make both her own and her husband’s families contemptible.

          VIII.357: Offering presents to a woman, romping with her, touching her ornaments and dress, sitting with her on a bed, all these acts are considered adulterous acts (samgrahana).

          VIII. 371: If a wife, proud of the greatness of her relatives or her own excellence, violates the duty which she owes to her lord, the king shall cause her to be devoured by dogs in a place frequented by many.

          We can match ISIS – dogs instead of rocks! Not just for adultery.

          Contrary to what you say, there are some sexual restrictions on men too. For example, IX.234: The slayer of a Brahmana, a twice born who drinks the spirituous liquor called Sura, he who steals the gold of a Brahmana, and he who violates a Guru’s bed, must each and all be considered as men who committed mortal sins (mahapataka).

          Dr. Narendran, next time please do not make authoritative assertions to impress us with your knowledge when you are really ignorant.

          You will agree that this garbage must be swept out of our lives.

          • 16

            Rajani what you quote from Manu is indeed garbage. There is also a lot of crap in the Bible and church history. That too should be swept out of our lives.

            Your critique of patriarchy is otherwise appreciated and acknowledged. Genuine thanks. But stop using that to attack the Vice Chancellor. A better forum would be to have a debate with her in person – perhaps at the University of Jaffna itself. As to Jeevan Hoole, he is a discredited, embittered and hopeless man. Any thing he says is not taken seriously anymore.

            • 4

              In fairness, the essence of what Rajani has cited is garbage that should have been sent to the waste-bin of history.

              The issue is whether is she telling the truth or not? I think that what is reproduced is accurate. What do we do about it?
              Is it not time that we reviewed what goes on in the name of tradition, religion and customs? Is it not time that we rid ourselves of the rubbish.
              There is much rubbish in all religious texts. The question is how a society circumvents it?

              The challenge before us to be rid of evil ideas not justify ours using evil ideas of others as counterpoints.
              A critic of Hinduism need not be a Christian or communist. He or she can be a good Hindu. I know many such Hindus. What if she is one?
              Bringing into the picture what is by implication assumed to be her religion is unfair.
              Cannot we digest the truth if it comes from ones whose face or faith we do not like?

              She said: “Distasteful? Perhaps. Disgraceful? Perhaps. But relevant, I must say yes indeed.”
              I too am inclined to think that she has swallowed hook line and sinker the narrative of Hoole.

              As for her second comment discussed here, she was understandably provoked by patronizing remarks from someone.

          • 19

            Thank you for the comparison with ISIS. How many women have been devoured by Dogs as a punishment in your family ??? After all you seem to be one of the few families following the Manu Dharmashashtras. Or have none of you sinned or wronged.

            Stop this blatant proselytising. The West particularly USA were lynching Blacks, practising segregation and slavery. This was not only supported but fully backed by the Churches.

            Tamil Siddhars, Nayanmars and Alwars on the hand were talking about one humanity and equality thousand years back.

            The game is up. Appreciate it.

          • 5

            Manusmriti should only be of historical interest. It is oppressive by gender and Varna. Its value is only as the first codified legal system, however unfair.
            Like most laws (except laws of nature) it was made by one elite group in partnership with another to decide the rules of governance. (While it is true of all religious codes and many legal systems, Manu is notorious in certain ways.)
            Manu should have been read critically in any university, as should the history of many things. As we often see, lack of critical reading is the bane of not just our educational system but Tamil scholarship as a whole.

            It will take time to shed the vestiges of male chauvinism, race and caste arrogance etc. even after egalitarian values pass into law. Gramsci talked of ‘the dominant ideology’ which will remain for long even after the old order is replaced by the new.

            Thus, the struggle should go on.
            We males have at least some MCP protein in us needing to be ‘surgically’ (I mean consciously) removed and it is an every day battle. It is also true of several other legacies.

            It is good to rebel against the slightest sign of gender oppression. One just struggle is reinforced by taking up another.
            Keep attacking the castle of male dominance till the walls crumble and make it part of the struggle against all forms of oppression.

          • 12

            Rajani, PhD,

            I did not study the Manusmirthi (A Dharmasastra) in full. I have read bits and pieces of it from other sources. However, what you quote above appeared illogical and absurd. Thus, I have gone through Google to understand whether what you quote is right. I came across the following comment in a discussion/debate on the Manusmrithi. I present it below for your comment and those of other interested readers. The source is indicated within the quoted text.

            I hope the editor, will permit this copy and paste long text to appear.

            It has educative value, while demonstrating that many of these ancient texts have been misinterpreted through ignorance or malice. I do not know who lectured your mother and what text he based them on, but it appears that she had been taught wrong.

            ” It is an allegation that Manusmriti is an anti-women book.

            Manu Smriti has been grossly interpolated. However it is very easy to identify the fraud verses and separate them from the original Manu Smriti.

            If we review original Manu Smriti, one can proudly assert that there is perhaps no other text in world (except Vedas of course!) that accords so much of respect and rights to women. Even the modern feminist books would have to seek further amendments to match up to Manu Smriti.

            3.56. The society that provides respect and dignity to women flourishes with nobility and prosperity. And a society that does not put women on such a high pedestal has to face miseries and failures regardless of howsomuch noble deeds they perform otherwise.

            We became slaves despite all our greatness because we neglected this advice of Maharshi Manu. We did not heed to this advice for centuries even after invasions, and hence our situation turned from bad to worse. In late nineteenth century, thanks to efforts of reformers like Raja Ram Mohun Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar and Swami Dayanand Saraswati, we started considering the Vedic message seriously and hence observed a gradual upturn.

            Importance of happy women

            3.55. A father, brother, husband or brother-in-law should keep their daughter, sister, wife or sister-in-law happy and pleased through gentle words, respectful behavior, gifts etc. Those who desire prosperity should ensure that women in their family are always happy and do not face miseries.

            3.57. A family where women remain unhappy due to misdeeds of their men is bound to be destroyed. And a family where women are always happy is bound to prosper forever.

            3.58. A family- where women feel insulted or discrim
            inated against and curse their menfolk- is destroyed in same manner as poison kills all those who eat it.

            3.59. One desiring glory should ensure that he keeps women in the family by giving them respect and pleasing them with good ornaments, dresses, food. Women should always be revered under all circumstances.

            3.62. A person who does not keep her wife happy causes misery for entire family. And if wife is happy, entire family appears as happiness incarnate.

            9.26. Women give birth to next generation. They enlighten the home. They bring fortune and bliss. Hence women are synonymous to Prosperity.

            This shloka forms the basis of women being called Ghar ki Laxmi or ‘Goddess of Fortune in Home‘ in India even till today.
            9.28. Woman is the source of all kinds of happiness in all generations – be it from children, or from noble benevolent deeds or through conjugal bliss or through service of elders.
            In other words, woman is the primary source of bliss in many forms – sometimes as mother, sometimes as daughter, sometimes as wife and sometimes as a partner in spiritual deeds. It also means that participation of women is necessary for conduct of any religious or spiritual activity.

            9.96. Man and Woman are incomplete without each other. Hence the most ordinary religious duty would demand participation of both.
            Thus, those who deny Vedas or Vedic rituals to women are anti-Hindu and anti-Humanity.

            4.180. A wise man should not indulge in fights and arguments with his family members including mother, daughter and wife.

            9.4. A father who does not marry his daughter to a deserving groom deserves condemnation. A husband who does not fulfill just demands of her wife deserves condemnation. A son who does not take care of her widow mother deserves condemnation.

            Polygamy is a sin

            9.101. Husband and Wife should remain together till death. They should not approach any other partner, nor commit adultery. This, in summary, is the Dharma or religion of all human beings.
            Thus those societies which justify polygamy or sex-slavery or temporary marriage are bound to suffer miseries because they neglect the core tenet of Dharma.

            Autonomy of Women

            9.11. Women should be provided autonomy and leadership in managing the finances, maintaining hygiene, spiritual and religious activities, nutrition and overall management of home.
            The shloka clearly puts aside false claims that women do not have right to conduct religious rituals of Vedas. On contrary, women should lead such rituals. Thus all those people who suggest that women do not have right to study or practice Vedas are against Manu and Vedas. Such bigoted people are the cause for misery of the nation. We should simply not tolerate such mindsets that demean women.

            9.12. A woman who is kept constrained in a home by noble men (husband, father, son) is still insecure. Thus it is futile to restrict women. Security of women would come only through her own capabilities and mindset.

            This shloka explains the futility to attempting to restrict a woman to home in name of providing her security. On contrary, to secure her, she should be given the right training so that she can defend herself and avoid getting misled by bad company. The prevailing notion of cornering women within a small home is against Manu’s ideology.

            Protection of Women

            9.6. Even a weak husband should attempt to protect his wife.

            9.5 Women should keep themselves away from vices. Because when women lose character, the entire society is destroyed.

            5.149. A woman should always ensure that she is protected. It is duty of father, husband and son to protect her.

            Please note that this protection does not imply restriction as clear from verse 9.12 cited in previous section. But a society that does not protect its womenfolk from attacks of perverts writes its own destiny of doom.

            It is because of this inspiration that many a brave warriors laid their lives to protect the dignity of their women when butchers from West and Central Asia invaded our nation. The sacrifices of Alha-Udal and valor of Maharana Pratap brings a gush of glory in our blood.
            Its a shame that despite such a chivalrous foundation of our culture, we have women either oppressed in backyard of homes or commoditized as sensual-items instigating lust. When we ourselves have turned invaders instead of protectors of dignity of women, who can help us!

            Marriage of Women

            9.89. It is better to keep the daughter unmarried than force her to marry an undeserving person.

            9.90-91. A woman can choose her own husband after attaining maturity. If her parents are unable to choose a deserving groom, she can herself choose her husband.

            Thus the concept of parents deciding the groom for their daughter is against Manu. A mature daughter has full rights to choose her husband. Parents act as facilitators for the marriage and not final decision makers, as wrongly practiced in many societies.

            Property Rights of Women

            9.130. A daughter is equivalent to a son. In her presence, how can any one snatch away her right over the property.

            9.131. A daughter alone has the right over personal property of her mother.

            Thus, as per Manu, while daughter has equal share as her brothers over property of her father, she has exclusive rights over property of her mother. The reason for this special treatment of women is to ensure that women are never at mercy of anyone. After all happy dignified women form the foundation of a happy society!

            9.212-213. If a person has no kins or wife, then his wealth be distributed equally among his brothers and sisters. If the elder brother refuses to give due share to other brothers and sisters, he is punishable by law.

            To further ensure safety of women, Manu recommended harsh punishments for those who rob away wealth of a woman, even if they are her relatives.

            8.28-29. If a woman is alone because she has no children, or no men to provide for her security in her family, or is widow, or whose husband has gone abroad, or who is unwell, then it is duty of the government to ensure her safety and security. If her wealth is robbed by her relatives or friends, then the government should provide strict punishment to the culprits and have her wealth returned back.

            Prohibition of Dowry

            3.52. Those relatives who rob away or thrive on wealth, property, vehicles or dresses of a woman or her family are wiliest of people.

            Thus any kind of dowry is a strict NO NO as per Manu Smriti. No one should dare attempt to take away the property of a woman.
            The next shloka takes this concept further and states that even slightest exchange of tangible items amounts to sale/purchase and hence against principles of noble marriage. In fact Manu Smriti suggests that a marriage along with dowry is marriage of ‘Devils’ or Asuri Vivah.

            Strict Punishment for harming Women

            8.323. Those who abduct women should be given death sentence.

            9.232. Those who kill women, children or scholarly virtuous people should be given strictest punishment.

            8.352. Those who rape or molest women or incite them into adultery should be given harshest punishment that creates fear among others to even think of such a crime.

            Interestingly, a judge of sessions court suggested today that castration seems the best punishment to prevent alarming increase in rape cases.
            We are in agreement with such a law.

            8. 275. One should be punished if he puts false allegations or demeans mother, wife or daughter.

            8.389. Those who abandon their mother, father, wife or children without any reasonable reason should face severe punishments.

            Ladies First

            The concept of Ladies First seems to originate from Manu Smriti.

            2.138. A man in a vehicle should give way to the following – aged person, diseased person, one carrying burden, groom, king, student and a woman.

            3.114. One should feed the following even before feeding the guests – newly married women, girls, and pregnant women.
            May we all work together to implement this true Manuvaad by showering respect and ensuring dignity of the motherly force. How else can prosperity be restored in the society, nation and world?

            References: Works of Dr Surendra Kumar, Pt Gangaprasad Updhyaya, and Swami Dayanand Saraswati. Manu Smriti and Women

            The online version of Manusmriti is manipulated one. If some one want to understand Manusmriti then buy the whole book or a genuine interpretation of Manusmiriti is done by Dr. Surendra Kumar.”

            This version seems rational,logical and sane.

            I will not comment on the personal barbs and name calling directed at me. Let the readers judge.



            • 1

              Dr RN, Agnos and others,

              I hope that you have heard or read about the protests against Vadamarachi East R/O plant. Local population apparently opposes the plant that according to them has no CEA approval and no Environmental Impact Assessment. They claim it will destroy ground water. Protests planned on Friday.

              I believe it is NPC project with ADB funding.

              Any more information and comments you have on this?

              • 0

                Inspector Dirty Harry,,

                Yes. The NPC Councillors had also raised this issur among other in a resolution they passed.


              • 0

                Sorry Inspector saheb.
                They are too busy with caste.

            • 3

              Rajani has quoted correctly from Buhler’s authoritative translation http://hinduism.about.com/library/weekly/extra/bl-lawsofmanu1.htm

              Dr. Narendran writes like our many gurus preachers with interpretations and commentaries hiding half the story. E.g., Chapter IX, Verse 101 says only:
              ‘Let mutual fidelity continue until death,’ this may be considered as the summary of the highest law for husband and wife.

              What Dr. N quotes:
              9.101. Husband and Wife should remain together till death. They should not approach any other partner, nor commit adultery. This, in summary, is the Dharma or religion of all human beings. Thus those societies which justify polygamy or sex-slavery or temporary marriage are bound to suffer miseries because they neglect the core tenet of Dharma.

              Manu only says marriage is permanent. Man can have many wives. We are permanently locked in as wives however horrible our husbands are. He does not forbid polygamy for men. Dr. N’s version adds “They should not approach any other partner, nor commit adultery.” That is nowhere in Manu.

              Manu really allows polygamy in Chapter III:
              12. For the first marriage of twice-born men (wives) of equal caste are recommended; but for those who through desire proceed (to marry again) the following females, (chosen) according to the (direct) order (of the castes), are most approved.
              13. It is declared that a Sudra woman alone (can be) the wife of a Sudra, she and one of his own caste (the wives) of a Vaisya, those two and one of his own caste (the wives) of a Kshatriya, those three and one of his own caste (the wives) of a Brahmana.
              15. Twice-born men who, in their folly, wed wives of the low (Sudra) caste, soon degrade their families and their children to the state of Sudras.

              Manu’s ideas of women are very bad so Dr. N. please do not whitewash him and elevate him to the level of the Vedas:

              Chapter IX (the real text)
              14. Women do not care for beauty, nor is their attention fixed on age; (thinking), ‘(It is enough that) he is a man,’ they give themselves to the handsome and to the ugly.
              15. Through their passion for men, through their mutable temper, through their natural heartlessness, they become disloyal towards their husbands, however carefully they may be guarded in this (world).
              16. Knowing their disposition, which the Lord of creatures laid in them at the creation, to be such, (every) man should most strenuously exert himself to guard them.
              17. (When creating them) Manu allotted to women (a love of their) bed, (of their) seat and (of) ornament, impure desires, wrath, dishonesty, malice, and bad conduct.
              18. For women no (sacramental) rite (is performed) with sacred texts, thus the law is settled; women (who are) destitute of strength and destitute of (the knowledge of) Vedic texts, (are as impure as) falsehood (itself), that is a fixed rule.

              I know I am not like that. Most women are not like that. Many more men I see are out of control but no women like our men. So Manu is a male chauvinist pig.

              It really is sad that we women hold up this Manu man without knowing what he says about us. We women should unite and stop feeding our children about Manu and his Laws. We cause the many Manu-worshipping Narendrans in Tamil community.

              • 7


                Who decided that Butler is an authoritave source? It seems to have become reduntant now. Many other Western scolars have written on the subject nowI have read on the subject on the Google today. The impression I gathered indicate that origina Manusmriti itself has been subsequently enlarged to suit the agenda of individuals and the needs/ attitudes of the time. Only approximately 50 % of what is presented as the Manusmriti is considered the original by present day scholars in India. Even if not, let us pick and choose what are applicable to our lives and adhere to them.

                The link below makes interesting reading. It is authored by Dr.Anil Kumar who is considered a scholar on the subject, in present times.

                The link to his book is given below:


                I will conclude by saying the subject we are discusing is much deeper and has implications beyond what we perceive. We have to evolve a culture that is attuned to our times, while recognising that some of Manu’s rules are yet necessary today.

                Girls have to be yet escorted by parents and male siblings. The women are liberated in Jaffna today, but they are yet not safe, due to decline in societal values. There were / are brothers who were called upon to delay their marriages either to collect a dowry for their sisters or wait until the sisters married. Many had to live as bachelors all their life as a consequence. Many had to marry partners they did not like, because they had to get a donation to pay the dowry for their sisters.

                I do not think the present VC was thinking of the Manusmriti when referring to Tamil/Hindu culture. I am sure she was more concerned about the post-war degeneracy in Jaffna and was concerned about restoring values from the past. Of course she has not done anything on this front, as far ass I know


                • 0

                  Correction: Buhler.’


                • 0

                  [Edited out]

                • 2

                  Butler provided I believe a translation not an interpretation.
                  What the good lady who cited Manu was as taught to her in the University.
                  There is fact and there is opinion.

                  There is much done now by Hindutva activists to sanitize sacred texts and ancient beliefs to make them digestible.
                  The fact is Hindu (Brahminic) religions have deep male- and caste-oriented values as their roots and thee is no running away from it.
                  The book (a translation of the work in Sanskrit by “Dr Sunil Kumar” that you cite is in response mostly to criticism by Ambedkar and some litigation relating to Manu. It is flawed and has several falsehoods in the interpretation.

                  I do not want to drag this debate further. I cease with my doubts about considering Dr Ani Kumar as the authority on Manu.

                  • 1


                    Since I do not know you, I have to ask whether you know enough Sanskrit to authenticate Buler’s translation?
                    What reasons do you have to accuse someone who knows Sanskrit of Sanitizing the text. Don’t you think that someone who knows Sanskrit , is Hindu, a Indian and a trained scholar, understand the text and the nuances better?

                    It is not right to condemn something on the lines you have. Yes, critical evaluation is necessary, but it should be on the basis of deeper knowledge or with reference to someone with the same or better attributes and qualifications.

                    I can cite an example from Tamil literature. Auvaiyar’s ‘ Aram Seyya Virumbu’ when taught in our schools, as explained as ‘ Should like to perform charitable deeds’ . This was so also, when I learned ‘ Aathisoodi). However, I learned later in life that the word ‘Aram’ meant ‘Theemai Illaatha Seyal’, meaning acts that will not harm others. The words ‘ Theemai Illaatha Seyal’ is further defined in Thirukkural in more specific terms.


                    • 1

                      I don’t know you either, so we are evens stevens.

                      Your comment:
                      “Don’t you think that someone who knows Sanskrit, is Hindu, a Indian and a trained scholar, understand the text and the nuances better?”

                      My response: “I don’t. The above is an unscientific criterion.
                      Much depends on the objectivity of the author and the kind of research training he/she has had.”

                      It took Bishop and Cauldwell to establish that Tamil was of a different language group from Sanskrit. No Tamil scholar said it until then.

                      I condemn nothing unless it is evil practice or thought.
                      My critique is based on historical context. My point is: Manu was relevant to Varna society, and it defined the place of each according to Varna and gender.
                      That code of social practice became less relevant with time, but was upheld in socially unacceptable ways for long, after Brahminism took control.

                      Tamils were fortunate to have had 2-3 centuries of strong Jain and Buddhist influence before Brahiminic religions took over. They ended up with several good books of ethics that influenced the post-Sangam Avvayaar.
                      Later works like Ulaga Neethi, despite strong ethical values, also upheld strong caste based values (தாழ்வான குலத்துடனே சேரவேண்டாம்; தாழ்ந்தவரைப் பொல்லாங்கு சொல்ல வேண்டாம்); the later Avvaiyaar (குலத்தளவே ஆகுமாங் குணம்) etc. Can we defend their teaching at school? They were taught and I memorized these verses. That besides.

                      The point I stress is that the original commentator on Manu referred to a university text which thus had some authenticity. To counter it with a sanitized version of Manu as the correct text lacks something good.

                      I have read several comments on Manu on the place of women, members of different Varnas and the sacredness of Brahmins.
                      People like C Rajagopalachari and his followers believed strongly in Varnasrama and advocated caste-based education. (Nehru will not have it.)
                      What CR wanted was a sanitized version of the fundamentally flawed Varnasrama.

                      I am equally well aware of cruder efforts to sanitize offensive aspects of Manu, by trying to say this is what was meant etc. That mission is in full swing now because the current Hindutva agenda needs to rally sections of the Dalits and Adivasis to keep down Muslims and Christians. That is shameful.

                      Manu has been cited as law in Brahmin-Kshtiya society. Slokas prescribe who can learn the Vedas and who cannot and the harsh penalties for offenders. There are also severely Varna-based differences in penalties for crime.

                      That apart, Tamils had two sets of ethical codes, one derived from Jain and, later, Buddhist traditions which influenced the Avvaiyaar and others of post-Sangam period. The second was based on Braminic values which dominated since the Pallava Period and got well entrenched by the time of the Cola empire.
                      Gradually the Tamil society leaned towards the latter and used only texts that suited Brahminist values. (You may have heard of the suppression of the Thevarams in the early Cola period.)
                      I have read book on Hinduism by Arumuga Navalar and others.

                      I think that the Tamil middle class should stop pretending to be something that it is really not. That is the basis of my comments. I appreciate what is great in Tamil. I respect several aspects of Hindu thought, especially philosophy. I reject the false way God is defined by any religion. But that is not disrespect for any.

                      I do not attribute motives to others and do not call people names.
                      Anyone can call me anything. That tells more of that person than of me.

                    • 0

                      Since I do not know you, I have to ask whether you know enough Sanskrit to authenticate Buler’s translation?

                      What a question to ask a stranger!
                      Never mind, kindly tell me if you know enough of that language or the source text to challenge anyone?
                      Also please say what makes you believe that your source is authentic.

                      Please note that the Tamil ethical values you suggest do not tally with Manu.

                      I will be grateful to know what have I condemned.
                      Are you so sensitive to serious critical comment?
                      People have borne with nasty remarks from you (like “However, what you quote above appeared illogical and absurd.” to Rajini) and got back in kind.
                      None of it good for healthy discussion.

                      It suggests that today’s Sri Lankan Tamil intellectuals are a long way from civilization in both direction on the time axis.

            • 3

              Dr RN
              It is a doctored document that you have. Rajani’s was the source document as used in University.

              People try to sanitize the Manu Dharma and many other things, and get away with it.
              Many White racists of yesteryear have been sanitized as have Hindu fanatics of the Hindu Maha Sabha behind the killing of Gandhi been.

              Brahminic Hindu society, we should know, was utterly Brahmin-Kshatriya dominated, male-chauvinist, and oppressively caste-ridden.
              That was why widows and depressed communities flocked to the Buddha.
              It is of no use to whitewash Manu, who only formalized the Brahmin-Kshatriya order of things.

              It is hard to accept that one’s forefathers (not really of the Tamils here) had offended. But facts have to be faced.

      • 10

        Rajani PhD

        If you had a terrible childhood I am truly sorry to know of it. It should not happen to any.

        Kindly look at the issue at hand. No one is talking about the article (which has nothing to do with the Dharmasastras anyway).
        It is about a vile remark about another WOMAN.

      • 9

        Rajani, I am a feminist myself, part Tamil and a Christian. I find your argument to attack a female academic disgraceful. Do not bring women’s rights and your family’s evidently backward ethos to attack the Vice Chancellor on feminist grounds.

    • 1

      Dr SRH Hoole,

      Thank you for your article.

      “This article is about people on the margins of Hindu orthodoxy trying to reinforce their orthodoxy by feigning high caste status and practices.”

      This is nothing new in Jaffna as many others already have pointed out.

      Don’t worry about the Vellalah hegemony. In 10-15 years the 60% others will take over this place. It can and should not be avoided.

      I dislike the current VC but you should not try to use her family to throw dirt on her. We cannot choose our family.

      To my best knowledge you guessed wrong the caste of some of the people including former VCs you have listed as Vellalah.

      There is an increasing number of mixed caste couples in Jaffna. Since you don’t take this up in your “sample” I believe that you are unaware of who they are and have married.

      You also fail to name “Mr P” who was taken up by your brother and continues very active at the university and politics. He would be a fine example of the people you describe.

  • 9

    This is a disgraceful personal comment.
    If he could descend to this level, can one complain about other such shameful remarks about the writer?

  • 11

    RN, Malarvili, Nedunchezhian, Tanya, Sekara & others

    We are wasting our time on Hoole and his followers including SJ.

    Great people – Perior- have told us longtime ago ” Cannot straighten up dog’s tail however much we try. ”

    ” The only alternative is to cut it ” it goes without saying.

    • 1


      Still smarting about
      “Kindly stop patronizing people. (It is not good for your mental well being.)”?
      I genuinely meant it.

      “Hoole and his followers including SJ”
      Don’t make me laugh. It is only early afternoon and I have had my day’s fill for silly jokes.

    • 4

      MR, You lied to us in quoting Prof. Thurairajah on UTHR (see my comment above).

      I suggest that you explain why you lied before writing anything more as if nothing happened.

      Till then, anything you write is worthless. Go away please.

  • 9


    I do not patronise anyone and there is no need for me to do it. Thanks for your concern! I am ok physically and mentally.

    It appears that you don’t accept good advice from me or anybody else. It is your wish and we don’t loose anything but the community will have last laugh at you.

    I hear you still wish to run around the student halls with Mao’s Red Book in Peradeniya. It is your habit and nobody can change it but wake up sir, world is moving fast and things are changing rapidly. Mao is forgotten in China. Kentucky and McDonalds are now in the town capturing youths’ hearts belly and mind. Capitalism is a sweet word there. If you want to visit there now please remove your red shirt and cap. Don’t carry little red book otherwise Chinese will have best laugh at your expense. You may escape if you go on a group tour with your Christhava Bala sena members headed by Holole.

    On your return please write to us your experience in new China.

    • 3

      Dear MR,
      I only said “Kindly stop patronizing people. (It is not good for your mental well being.)”
      I did not say that you are not all right, and am pleased to hear that you are “ok physically and mentally”.

      Your earlier unsolicited advise was most patronizing.
      Now you resort to abusive personal remarks as well.

      I quit. You will need some of the residual venom to turn on “JU Ex-staff “

      Good Luck.

  • 10

    From JU Ex Staff

    After reading your comments above I checked and found your previous comment just now.

    The extract of an editorial sent to CT by me was not written by me. It was written by eminent journalist / writer / most respected late Mr Sivanayakam. I copied from sangam website and sent it toCT for readers benefit, as this deals about Hoole. I have not contributed or altered anything. Read carefully what I have told in the first paragraph, on top of the extracts.

    I have not lied and how could I lie when that editorial was not written by me. You couldn’t understand this simple fact. Aththirakkaranukku puththi Maddu.

    Anyhow this editorial was written and published in July 2006. Where were you all these years? I assume you didn’t had guts to raise you query when Mr Sivanayakam was alive.

    Tender your apologies, if you are a gentleman.

  • 1

    What my conclusion from studying your column is this.


    “Mulup poosanikayai saadhaththukkulla maraikap paarkirangol” .

    (Hide a whole pumpkin in a plateful of rice” – It is a burning issue now in India. They trample on all women and the poor and marginalized people and it is sanctioned by the Brahmana religion which Periyar himself rejected. The greatest Dhrona aachariyar asked the vedan Ekalaivan to cut off his thumb because he beat the great Arjuna of the arrow in a shooting competition.Poor man did it.

    Scheduled castes are reinterpreting the Dharmasaashtras in their favourrywhere. They are trying hard to side with the Brahmins who arrived in their country only 8000-5000 years ago over the mountains above into India and much later into Tamil nadu and there are no true brahmana castes in Ceylon they say. This is according to the latest DNA studies.

    Their minds especially in the writer’s country are compromised by free western education in Christian schools and catholic convents. They teach the opposite to varnashaastra:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

    Some people here are sounding like they grew up in Christian aaththus or agraharams or are post colonial self-taught english Hindus.The writers have not learned the living Hindu culture by living in the agraharams. From ancient times all our munis and gurus interpreted the shastras very carefully and the sadhanas are based on their interpretation and vaakku.

    Author’s article is good to start an anthropology Ph. D. Theses for me and in his country. Booklets and blogs by unknown people will not do. This is a serious karma cycle issue.

  • 2

    “The greatest Dhrona aachariyar asked the vedan Ekalaivan to cut off his thumb because he beat the great Arjuna”
    Sorry mate Agraharam, you seem to have made a vattakka malluma of the story.
    There was no contest as such. Can a Shudra(-) character contest against a Kshatriya?
    The Gura saw the envy in the Golaya’s eye and did the needful to preserve the Varna order, that later the Lord will explain in full to the vacillating Golaya.

    The caste system works differently here.
    Very few Vellaalas (Mudalyar, Pillai + any more I missed) would have converted to Protestant Christianity there. The Nadars did and elevated themselves socially. Good for them I wish more followed.

    Here both Tamil and Sinhala Vellala/Govigama and rival Sinhla caste elite took to Christianity to become community leaders.
    But the Hindu Jaffna Vellala of the North had the land and some secret understanding with missionaries to keep on top.

    Besides author’s article his later comment suggests that there is more material for PhD in psychology than sociology.

    What goes on here is our Karumaya! (Forget the cycle)

  • 8

    Rajani PhD

    Your childhood experience is similar in some aspects to Bibilical patriarchy. Luckily we did not have ” home school ” system in our country.

    Rajani nothing in this world stagnates. Changes happen every day and we move along with it. Whether you like it or not our younger generation sisters have broken many shackles and shown the world that their place is not kitchen any longer but battlefield commanding a battalion. About forty years ago none of us in the North and East or our Sinhalese friends in south would have Imagined that our sisters will join movements, ride vehicles & high speed boats, carry arms and fight in the battle field. In the same way we wouldn’t know how our next generation will be in another forty years time.

  • 2

    The narrow minded up caste elites brought division and mass destruction among Tamils. Equal education and social status to every citizen would have built a great nation. Now so-called dispersed high caste Tamils are washing up toilets in many European countries. It’s really a curse.

  • 4

    SRH Hoole said:
    “Some people whose advice I value have told me, as does one D, that the point about “the funeral of the current Jaffna University Vice Chancellor’s father as having been led by the late old man’s mistress” does not come across clearly. According to university sources, mother and daughter attended the funeral and sat outside with the outsiders.”

    A non-university source from Jaffna informs me that the old man is very much alive.
    Can someone check on the veracity of this “obituary notice” either with him (I do not mean Hoole) or the next of kin.

    • 1

      C’mon! Let’s not plant more stories. I knew the VC’s Father.[Edited out]

    • 1

      “Wherever you stand, kindly check the facts of your claim.”

      VCs father is no more. I attended his funeral. He was a surveyor or someone related to field work. Because of her father Jaffna VC now has siblings of another ethnicity and religion.

      • 0

        Can you give more details please like date of death/funeral & venue
        Was an obituary placed in the media with contact details?
        Some UoJ academic contacts whom I approached later did not know of the event.

      • 1

        Can you give more details please like date of death/funeral & venue
        Was an obituary placed in the media with contact details?
        Some UoJ academic contacts whom I approached later did not know of the event.

  • 1

    Dr.Rajasingam Narendran.

    You would notice Ratnajeevan Hoole has elicited almost 300 responses on his Magnum Opus.

    I am indeed sorry to hear that your Mother and Brother fell victim to IPKF fire.
    IPKF presence in the North-East of the country was easily the worst period in our History.

  • 1

    No religious or caste prejudice among Tamils?

    There is a very high elected official in Jaffna. The highest elected official you can think of. He is a widower. He has had for years a live-in Secretary called Mary. The public’s path to favours is through Mary. Although he is free to marry her, he will not because he cannot.

    Marrying Mary will make people question his caste and his commitment to Hinduism especially after his two sons married outside. That is why he wears a red pottu begger than anyone else wears.

    When reporters asked him this week (22nd I think) on marrying outside the culture, he replied that it must be tackled after Tamils get their freedom (or a word to that effect).

    Will Mary then have to wait to legalize her de facto relationship till there is Eelam?

    • 1

      Today’s Ceylon Today (http://ceylontoday.lk/e-paper.html)on page A6 (27 Feb. 2016) has a thought-provoking piece by Manekshaw on mixed marriages and what Governor Cooray and CM Wigneswaran have to say about them.

      Regarding this comment, when this high official’s wife died, he went to a Vedamathaya who advised him to dig a hole and burn certain bushes for her to be cured of her cancer. Despite his intellect (which we talk about a lot in glowing terms) he followed those orders but unfortunately his wife died 2 days later. This was 10 or so years ago and Mary has filled that void.

      Mary is a Tamil so if he married her it would be a mixed marriage religion-wise but not race-wise.

      The highest elected official in Trinco also has a liaison with a Kali Kovil Iyer’s wife who neglects his wife and goes after many others.

      Our Batticaloa MP in the 1970s was travelling in the birth with his friend using a railway warrant drawn up for his wife. When railway officials were tipped-off about it, they planned to stop the train at a particular station and catch the man, but a friend of the MP’s heard of it and off-loaded him and the woman at the previous railway station.

      Is this then a Tamil disease? Does the public care?

      • 2

        CV Wignesvaran is superstitious (or to coin a phrase, may be called hyperstitious”) and believes in god-men. It is well known, but, however irrational, is his private life. Let us leave him alone on that unless it influences his public role.
        Most, if not each, of us has a skeleton in the cupboard.
        I do not know why you should bring in the temple priest’s private life and cast aspersions on his wife’s conduct.

        Such need to discuss private lives which do not affect society in a serious way is it not a Tamil disease?

        I know for certain that C Rajadurai MP boarded the train wit his sister-in-law using the railway warrant for his wife. There was no affair but an abuse of a privilege.There were many such minor breaches of privilege then. But bribe taking by MPs was not much in voguee at the time.

        That apart, what was said in the comment I think comes out of a campaign to character assassinate CR, a very popular man in the Batticaloa District, whom A Amirthalingam envied and tried to defeat at the polls in 1977 by fielding and campaigning for Kasi Ananthan.
        CR joned the UNP in 1978 not to betray the Tamils but out of disgust with AA. He was encouraged to leave the TULF by his friend (from Trincomalee I guess) Sivanayagam, once editor Suthanthiran.

        • 0

          I am glad someone remembers that night chase of the train by car. I did not know it was the sister-in-law with the MP. Thank you for that information.

          It makes the matter worse. Nice sister-in-law indeed. SJ is very gullible. How many Tamil women will spend a night in the mail train berth alone with a brother-in-law? The incident violated trust within the family. Abuse of a warrant was not serious enough to chase the train from Colombo. It was much, much worse.

        • 0


          “Most, if not each, of us has a skeleton in the cupboard.”

          What is yours, I am curious.

          • 0

            “What is yours, I am curious”

            Curiosity kills the cat.

        • 0

          It ceases to be a private matter when you use your Public position and interfere and attempt to influence Judicial or Police proceedings. In the initial Premananda trial he intervened as a character witness and went to the extent of certifying miracles. This was as a sitting Judge. I do not think it is appropriate for a sitting Judge to intervene in such manner, let alone certifying miracles in a court case for murder/rape. Then as a Chief Minister he wrote to the Indian Prime Minister asking for release of convicts. He questioned the Indian Judiciary and Judgement. Both occasions he used his official position and letterhead. This is certainly not acceptable. Such a man’s judgement is definitely suspect in my opinion.

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