Buddhist-Hindu Identity- A necessity for Sri Lanka

  • By Thamizhchelvan
  • 12 January 2011

Meanwhile the Sri  Lankan Tamil Diaspora, despite being a Hindu majority, continues to trust its  dubious leaders who are either Christian or Dravidian ideologues. It still buys  the carrot of “Tamil Nationhood” sold to them by a leadership which has not  changed the political and ideological stances maintained by the erstwhile LTTE  even marginally.

Writing in Daily  Mirror, London based writer-activist Nirmala Rajasingham gives a  clear picture about the Diaspora, which follows a simulated politics (1):- “The demonstration by Diaspora Tamils  holding Tiger flags indicates that it is of no consequence to them that the  LTTE is now discredited amongst Lankan Tamils. Does this movement’s evolution,  at its heart, speak for the Tamils of Sri Lanka, or is it bent on creating pseudo-politics  for its own misguided ends? The Tamil-nationalist Diaspora community is  pursuing as delusional a strategy as the Rajapaksa regime, banking on Western  governments and institutions to offer deliverance to the Tamil people in Sri  Lanka…Over the years of war, the Tamils in Sri Lanka gradually became  disillusioned with the liberation struggle – the internecine fighting amongst  the militant groups, the autocracy of the LTTE, and its callous disregard for  the Tamil people’s welfare. All of this worked to dispel the myth of  nationalism….”

Making a scathing  attack on the LTTE and the Diaspora for doing nothing for the welfare of  innocent Tamil population, she says, “…What the Diaspora nationalist  community forgets, however, is that while the Sri Lankan state played its part,  the total political disenfranchisement and subjugation of the Tamil people was  wrought by the LTTE – with the backing of the Diaspora – over the war years.  The Diaspora leadership abdicated its responsibility towards the Tamil people  by being dismissive about the LTTE’s transgressions, including serving  innocents up for slaughter by the armed forces in the final phase of the  war…the Diaspora nationalists are confronted by a general splintering.  Previously, the LTTE exercised highly centralised control over its Diaspora  outfits; but of late, multiple factions have emerged. For the new groups,  future control and use of the large funds and assets left behind by the LTTE  has become an increasingly contentious issue….”

Christian/Dravidian  influence on Diaspora
  Though Nirmala  Rajasingham has not commented on the Christian or Dravidian influence on the  Diaspora, political observers could easily infer both. A quick glance through  websites like www.tamilnet.com, www.tamilcanadian.com and www.transcurrents.com show how  anti-Hindu and pro-Christian they are and how they are feeding and brainwashing  the majority Tamil Hindus with Tamil secessionism. All have a Christian  undercurrent and one can see a considerable space occupied by Christian priests  and professors and Dravidian ideologues.

Writing in Sri  Lanka Guardian (2), columnist Raman Kulasingham says, “The Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora consists of a  spectrum of political views, not all destructive. D.B.S. Jeyaraj's TransCurrents is a liberal website based in Toronto although it once featured an anti-Hindu  article by Ratnajeevan Hoole. My criticism is directed at internet journals  such as Tamil Canadian and Tamil Net. Let me take Tamil  Canadian for purposes of this article. If one were to surf their website  using a proxy server, one would discover anti-Hindu articles by Barnabas  Alexander and Kristoffen Somanader dated 31 October 2004, an anti-Sinhalese  Easter Message by the Reverend S.J. Emmanuel dated 11 April 2004 and a news  item dated 15 September 2004 on American criticism of Sri Lanka on religious  freedom despite America's own poor record vis-a-vis Islam. One reads crude  anti-Hindu articles by Velupillai Thangavelu in the Tamil Canadian website dated 17 April 2008, 24 December 2010 and 6 January 2011. It published  an undated anti-Indian article by Professor P. Ramasamy. It regularly featured,  until recently, articles by overseas church websites on Tamil grievances in Sri  Lanka. It reproduced an undated article by the Late Father Xavier Thaninayakam.  In short, this is a Tamil Christian project under the garb of Tamil  secessionism. Its objective is to roll back Tamil Hinduism, vivisect Sri Lanka  and destabilize India.”

We have seen in  Tamil Nadu how the Church influences a section of Saiva Mathams in the name of  Tamil and alienates them from mainstream Hinduism, which is based on ancient  scriptures - Vedas, Agamas, Puranas and Ithihasas. A similar strategy is being  adopted by the Dravidian ideologues in the Sri Lankan Diaspora. They influence  the authorities of temples built and maintained by the Diaspora community and  coerce them to act against Vedas and Sanskrit in the name of Tamil.

A Murugan Temple in  Birchmount Road, Canada, has come out with a shocking announcement (3) of celebrating Tamil New Year along with  Pongal on January 14 itself, in accordance with the outrageous and  unconstitutional ordinance passed by the Karunanidhi government of Tamil Nadu (4). It has announced a cash prize of 1000  dollars for children born between 2005 and 2010 if they have pure ‘Tamil’  names. The temple has also announced cash prize of 100 Dollars to children  whose Sanskrit names have been legally changed to pure Tamil names (5). Conspicuously there is no mention of  changing Christian names into pure Tamil names and such an announcement has not  come from any Church either. This announcement has been posted on the Tamil  Canadian website leading to a Tamil cultural debate between Tamil Hindus  and Dravidian/Christian ideologues.

Starting the  debate, columnist Dharman Dharmaratnam wrote a scholarly article on the  relevance of celebrating Tamil New Year traditionally in April (Tamil month Chithrai)  which was published by Tamil Canadian (6).

It was cheaply  contested in typical Dravidian style by one Velupillai Thangkavelu, who  writes in Tamil as ‘Nakkeeran’. He brazenly confirms the Christian  agenda behind the move, writing in Tamil Canadian itself (7): “It is not disputed that the month  of Chiththirai is the beginning of the Hindu New Year. Yes, the Sun  purportedly enters the sign of Aeries (Meda Raasi) on or about April 14th. What  is disputed is that Chiththirai is not the New Year for Thamils. This is  because not all Thamils are Hindus while the majority do. Critics like  Dharmaratnam misses the compelling reason for choosing Thai 01 as the Thamil  New Year. It is for the purpose of having a continuous year count for accurate  historical recording of events. Another reason the Thamils need a New Year  that is secular and not religious for the simple reason that not all Tamils are  Hindus! Those who claim that Thai 01 which is also Thai Pongal day too is  religious (Maharasankaranthi) are out of step with reality. Thai Pongal is  not tied to any Hindu deity! This is the reason  why Hindu and Christian farmers in Vanni celebrate Thai Pongal confirming the  fact it is essentially a harvest festival.” Thangavelu got a fitting  rebuttal from columnist Raman Kulasingham as mentioned above.

Devious Church  and dubious Tamil organisations
When LTTE was alive  and kicking, it had dozens of dubious Tamil organizations in Europe and America  as front organizations for fund raising and arms procurement (8). After its decimation, a section of  Diaspora Tamil organsations have come together and formed the “Global Tamil  Forum” (GTF) (9), an initiative of  the Roman Catholic Church. Interestingly at the same time, the Tamil  National Alliance (TNA) had a vertical split resulting in the formation of  Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF) in February 2010 by the breakaway faction.  This unexpected development shocked the Church, already frustrated after the  defeat of LTTE and killing of Prabhakaran. It made Rev. S.J. Emanuel send  appeal after appeal to TNA and TNPF to close ranks and unite to face the  elections then (10). 

TNA, which realized  that the Tamil population is not interested in Tamil nationalism, denied  nominations to hardline candidates resulting in the formation of TNPF. The  Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) formed immediately after the  decimation of LTTE is led by US-based Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran, while the GTF  is led by Norway-based Nediyavan, who made Father Emanuel, Head of the British  Tamil Forum (BTF), the President. GTF is seen as an incarnation of LTTE in Sri  Lankan circles, as Nediyavan was a hardcore LTTE cadre doing its fund-raising (11).

Christian clergy  have played a huge role in supporting the LTTE and exerting their influence  over the Diaspora as well. While Bishop of Mannar Rayappu Joseph, Bishop of  Jaffna Savundranayagam and Bishop of Batticaloa Kingsley Swamipillai played  their part well, Fr. S.J. Emmanuel, former Vicar General of Jaffna, played a  prominent role from Germany, shunting between European countries. These Roman  Catholic clergies act on instructions of the Church. Late J.N. Dixit, former  Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, observed that the Catholic Clergy was  always supportive of LTTE in his book “Assignment Colombo(12).    

As the Diaspora is  no longer united, the GTF cannot claim to represent the entire spectrum. Church  influenced Tamil separatism may gain momentum if Rajapakse continues his  hardline stance supported by a section of Buddhist clergy, which is anti-Hindu.  Though Rajapakse exhibited bouts of Sinhala chauvinism earlier, he seems to be  yielding to the machinations of the Church. Either way, he is bad for Tamil  Hindus.

Fortunately or  unfortunately, the Sinhalese are also divided among themselves, as evidenced by  the Rajapakse-Fonseka rift immediately after the Eelam War IV. The small silver  line visible is that there is a section of Buddhist clergy which understands  the evangelist threat and is willing to cooperate with Hindu religious leaders.  Hindu organizations of India must grasp this opportunity and establish contact  with the Buddhist clergy and cooperate for the good of India and Sri Lanka and  the region as a whole. 

This is the  right time for Tamil Hindus to remember the yeoman services and inclusive  politics of great Hindu leaders like Sir Muttucoomaraswamy, Sir Ponnambalam  Arunachalam, Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan and Sir Duraiswamy, et al, who  spent their lives for establishing a united nation of Ceylon with  Hindu-Buddhist Identity. The Church is acting very fast and if the present  trend continues, the island nation may soon become another South Korea. Such a  Sri Lanka will be a huge threat for the security, sovereignty and territorial  integrity of India.


(1): - http://print.dailymirror.lk/opinion1/32128.html
The Simulated  Politics of Diaspora: by Nirmala Rajasingham
(2): - http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2011/01/tamil-canadian-website-and-tamil.html
The Tamil Canadian website and Tamil Hinduism : by Raman Kulasingham
(3): - http://www.tamilcanadian.com/events/index.php?list=details&id=7
(4): - http://www.vijayvaani.com/FrmPublicDisplayArticle.aspx?id=662
‘Dravidian’ New  Year Ordinance facing defeat and death’, 28 Jun 2009
(5): - http://www.tamilcanadian.com/canada/misc/tcwa_tamil_names_app.htm
(6): - http://www.tamilcanadian.com/article/6018
A Tamil Cultural  Debate: by Dharman Dharmartnam
(7): - http://www.tamilcanadian.com/article/6022
A Tamil Cultural  Debate: A Response: by Velupillai Thangavelu
(8): - http://www.vijayvaani.com/FrmPublicDisplayArticle.aspx?id=670
Tigers’  Eelam: Nothing ‘Hindu’ or ‘Tamil’ about it – II, 2 Jul 2009
(9): - http://globaltamilforum.org/gtf/
(10): - http://globaltamilforum.org/userfiles/file/GTF_-_Good_Friday_Appeal_02Apr2010.pdf
Let this confusion  not hinder or weaken our unity for our Struggle - Rev.Dr.S.J.Emmanuel

Do not weaken the  goals and direction of Eelam struggle: Father S.J. Emmanuel

(11): -http://epaper.newindpress.com/NE/NE/2010/05/13/ArticleHtmls/13_05_2010_004_049.shtml?Mode=1
(12): - http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2010/03/11/fr-s-j-emmanuel-of-the-global-tamil-forum/

Fr. S.J.Emmanuel of the Global  Tamil Forum:  by Asoka Weerasinghe

Sourced from www.vijayvaani.com

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