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The Tamil Canadian website and Tamil Hinduism

by Raman Kulasingham


Tamil Eelam is not in the interests of the Sri Lankan Tamils. While, I do not support Mahinda Rajapakse on the issue of human rights, we need a moderate Tamil Hinduism to rethink Sri Lankan Tamil politics, reach out to the Sinhalese and Muslims, and redefine Sri Lankan Tamil politics.
(January 07, Batticaloa, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Tamil Canadian website is not accessible in Sri Lanka due to internet censorship. The Government of Sri Lanka has done no disservice in blocking this website. The political leadership of the Sri Lankan Tamils has made numerous blunders in the last 60 years. We need to now strategize afresh. Whereas the Rajapakse administration may not be helpful in my view, this does not mean that Tamils should persist with the failed politics of the past. We need to forge a strategic partnership with the progressive elements in the Sinhalese and Muslim communities.

Internet websites such as Tamil Canadian need to be situated in a broader political context. Tamil Canadian is intended to selectively spotlight unresolved Tamil issues in Sri Lanka, radicalize Tamils domiciled in Canada and use Tamil secessionism to undermine Tamil Hinduism. While part of the blame in my view is Mahinda Rajapakse himself, elements of the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora are not clean.

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.

Let me recount the highlights of December 2010. Mootharigner Kanthamurukesanar, a Point Pedro native domiciled in Toronto, called for a discussion to jettison the celebration of the Hindu new year in April in favor of the Hindu harvest festival of Pongal. Velupillai Thangavelu, who uses the pen name Nakeeran and is on the Board of the Tamil Canadian website, wrote on December 24 calling for the dismissal of the traditional Hindu new year in April. He urged that Pongal, another Hindu holiday, be declared the Tamil new year to accommodate Tamil Christians! Pongal is as Hindu as it gets! A Murugan Temple in Toronto then offered one hundred Canadian dollars to those Tamil families whose children had been born between 2005 and 2010 to legally erase their Sanskrit Hindu names and substitute that for non-religious Tamil language names. Interestingsly, no such money was offered to Tamil Christian children to replace their Biblical and Latin-derived names.

Indian Hindu activists in Canada are exploring legal options within Canada to contest this issue of bribery and religious discord. Thangavelu then wrote a Tamil article in December 2010 and then in English once more on 6 January, 2011 attacking the Hindu new year. He appears an obsessive individual who goes off like a broken record ad-nauseam. All this happened in a span of one month! This illustrates that the Tamil Canadian website is intended to roll back Tamil Hinduism. We have to make sure that this anti-Hindu ideology never ever regains a toehold in our polity as in the days of Prabhakaran.

The London-based Tamil Nation website led by Satyendra Nadesan once espoused a similar stealth Christian agenda. It shut down in 2009 with the decisive defeat of the LTTE in Mullivaikal that year. Tamil Net has toned down its anti-Hindu and pro-Christian rhetoric in the past two years although it retains a vicious anti-India and anti-Buddhist animus.

The sudden flurry of anti-Hindu activities flagged in the Tamil Canadian site is of concern. The Tigers have been decisively defeated in Sri Lanka. The Tamil diaspora in Canada which would have otherwise reconciled itself to integration with their ethnic brethren back in Sri Lanka would inevitably have become apolitical. Such desperate moves on the part of one or two individuals using the platform of Tamil Canadian is solely intended to keep the Tamil Christian secessionist agenda alive.

Tamil Eelam is not in the interests of the Sri Lankan Tamils. While, I do not support Mahinda Rajapakse on the issue of human rights, we need a moderate Tamil Hinduism to rethink Sri Lankan Tamil politics, reach out to the Sinhalese and Muslims, and redefine Sri Lankan Tamil politics. This alone will meet the needs of the Tamil dispossessed, the war-afflicted and the poor. The dinosaur Tamil nationalism nexpressed in forums such as Tamil Canadian needs to be exposed.

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