Are Sinhalese Loyal Sri Lankans?
| by Gajalakshmi Paramasivam
( January 7, 2013, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) I write in response to Sri Lanka Guardian article “Should Tamils be Loyal Sri Lankans? ” by Professor S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole
One who is a loyal Tamil would be loyal Sri Lankan/American/Canadian/Australian. As I keep expressing, I believe that we were all born free and hence come with the ability to live independently. Once we realize our independence as adults – all places where we feel free to express our beliefs are our homes. Hence the saying ‘Home is where the heart is’.
................. Summery : Play the Video .....................
................................................................To some Tamils this may not be Sri Lanka but could be the places where they have migrated to. So long as Tamils stayed within the areas where they were able to express their belief – however small that place was – and that place was called ‘Sri Lanka’ by others – they were/are Sri Lankans. If this place is geographically within the place that is called Tamil Eelam – then they are Tamil Eelar. Similarly, so long as Tamil migrants stay within the geographic area where they are able to express their belief – and that place is included in the space referred to as a country – for example – Australia – they are people of that country / Australia. The wider classification is by governments/managements/heads of families. But every place which is a part of us is our natural home. All the people to whom that place is a home – are our people and they naturally have our loyalty. Governments have the responsibility to facilitate the filling of the gap between belief and thought – through merit based systems. Where these are not available – we the citizens must continue to stay within our local areas and develop stronger belief in the local areas which would naturally merge with others in their local areas. Hence the promotion of diversity. Hence the system of majority vote in politics.
Tamils did come out of their ‘homes’ for various purposes. When this happened, we ought to have consciously used Common Principles and Laws to derive benefits and pay costs on merit basis. If we used the person who seemed more wealthy and had higher status than us, to elevate ourselves – we included them as our relatives. If they were Sinhalese and not Sri Lankans – we became Sinhalese/White Australians /Canadians etc. The better way to maintain our ‘independence’ as Tamils in those outer spaces was to use merit basis from zero base – as if we were equals – until we knew otherwise. This obviously did not happen in the case of majority Tamils who came outside their homes and hence many Tamil leaders ‘converted’ to wider cultures – majority culture and were called Ceylonese and Sri Lankans. Likewise, Sinhalese / Buddhists who demoted or promoted Tamils/Hndus subjectively. To maintain their sovereignty, as Tamils or Sinhalese who come out of their ‘local’ areas – they would need to consciously use rights and wrongs from zero base and not rely on subjective powers to curry favors. Likewise, the voter from her/his local area. If we get more ‘rights’ than ‘wrongs’ in a particular area, using common principles and laws – we start liking the place and feel that the place likes us. Thus we ‘expand’ our home. The moment we believe we are ‘right’ most of the time – we naturally connect to all others who feel they belong to that place. That power works naturally for us even though we may not know about it. Those who relate due to desire for benefits in the custody of those in whom they do not have belief – would find it difficult to ‘feel at home’ in the wider environments. This is the risk with migrants especially once they retire from paid work.
From the point of view of Governments – be it the Sri Lankan Government or the Government of the country we have migrated to – the above are displaced persons even if they displaced themselves outside war times and did so voluntarily. They would continue to be sources of unrest and add negative energies to their environments. It is in the interest of these Governments for them to facilitate such groups to start from zero base. Hence Equal Opportunity Laws and Principles.
The way to know whether we are within ‘home grounds/group’ is by knowing whether we are liked or disliked by our environment. If we, through our actions / expressions generate more dislikes than likes including within ourselves – we are not in our home ground. This is fine, so long we use the zero base merit method to make up for the shortfall. Those who are not able to use the merit base need to ‘go back home’ when they think they are being disliked more than being liked. When we feel we belong – we would like what we do for our environment and therefore would not depend on others to be liked. When we are right as per common principles and laws – we are entitled to count all those persons who are right as per those common principles - as those who like us in that regard.
Many Hindus/Buddhists converted to Christianity which was a religion from wider world. Many of them believe/d in Jesus Christ and hence were naturally supported by other believers all over the world. Some did not make it and hence felt displaced, lonely and isolated. If Tamils are loyal Christians today – then certainly they would be loyal Sri Lankans / Australians / Canadians.
Professor Hoole states ‘In Canada for Christmas as Sri Lanka goes downhill, I must confess to second thoughts about having returned home. A few of us who had been happy in Sri Lanka returned. Today many of us have gone abroad again; at least our children have. I am pained for our failed dreams of home.’
To my mind, if we felt the need to return for good – then it was because we did not feel ‘at home’ in the new countries. I myself keep going to Sri Lanka a few times each year but have not thought of renouncing Australia. I go to Sri Lanka to share my wisdom about making our environments our ‘homes’. I believe that this is the most valuable heritage I pass on to my children , grandchildren and the next generation through time basis and to juniors/minorities through caste and religion through the lateral system of democracy. Some Australians in high positions did demonstrate that they did not like me but I kept making up that ‘gap’ through conscious merit basis. Hence in my mind, the Australians (including myself and my family) who like me are far greater than those who dislike me or are indifferent to me and the values I stand for.
Professor Hoole continues to state [That pain and regret were underscored when the Rector of St. Paul’s l’Amoreaux in Scarborough, the Rev. Canon Dean Mercer, before pronouncing the benediction at the Tamil New Year Service conducted by Jaffna’s Rev. Isaac Selvaratnam and Batticaloa’s Mr. Vivekanandan, said this:
“The Canadian tradition at New Year was to make merry. After Tamils and West Indians came, I am glad it is now to be present in the House of God as the New Year dawns.”
Our talents and culture, so rudely rejected in Sri Lanka, are welcomed and used with appreciation, making me ask “Where is home?”]
Until we reject ourselves as Sri Lankans both Sri Lanka as well as Canada/Australia would be our homes. A Christian may find it more easy to feel Christian in Canada than in Sri Lanka. Likewise a Hindu in India. This does not make India my home by rejecting Sri Lanka. The stronger challenge in belonging to family is through marriage than through birth. Success through the stronger challenge – tastes sweeter than the easy challenge. My daughter Gayathri says when I compliment her – ‘but you are my mother. You would say good things about me’. We Tamils have the stronger opportunity to feel the sweeter success of independence. All we need is belief.