| by Gajalakshmi Paramasivam
( October 30, 2913, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) This morning I received advice from the Supreme Court of New South Wales that in the matter Paramasivam v Sabanathan, my Application for Leave to Appeal has been dismissed with costs against me. As usual I was upset – not because I expected fairness and Justice from our Australian Judiciary but because of the defeat I need to work on before the value is passed on to our next generation. It is my son’s birthday today and as a mother I felt even more obliged to recognize the Reality of the threat of loss of cultural values for my descendants. Until now it was about Equal Racial Opportunity with White Australians on the other side. Now it is about Tamils who are excessively showing lateral cultural spread rather than root values.
This morning I received also an email regarding presentation by Tamil Youth Organization UK (TYOUK), about the importance of Mother Language – Tamil with the following comments by the Diaspora Leader: ‘ It is amazing that the entire program was organized by the youth, under TYOUK leadership. One child, probably about 6 years old, spoke for 14 minutes without buffering.’ I did listen and the kid did speak well. The kid reminded me of the smart granddaughter of Mr. & Mrs. Sabanathan of about the same age. But the question is whether this child would carry forward the Tamil ancestry of her grandparents? The answer from with me is a definite NO as per my Truth. Language is the parallel of Votes. Spreading the language without the connection to the root values would confirm excessive focus in Rule by majority opinion.
I filed action against Mrs. Sabanathan and 7 other relatives of hers for ridiculing my marriage as second marriage claiming it was for the purpose of money. Most of the respondents are living in Australia due to my second marriage. Others are benefiting due to my second marriage. Yet, because my husband stated that the Estate of his late brother Mr. Subramaniam Yoganathan ought to be distributed on the basis of Thesawalamai and therefore it should go to the brothers and not the sisters – Mrs. Sabanathan and her group made the above claim – that I was going after other people’s monies. What perhaps Mrs. Sabanathan does not appreciate is that her own grandchildren would benefit from including diverse marriage systems which are intrinsic parts of Australian society. One of them may need gay marriage laws to protect her from abuse by wider society.
To my mind, the basic principle in Jaffna Tamil families is that dowry is given to daughters to maintain the specifics of woman’s role in a family. Where the work of a daughter becomes ‘common’ with sons – no dowry ought to be given and we need to restructure the laws of Thesawalamai to suit our current needs. Majority residents of Northern Sri Lanka continue to practice the dowry system and I am aware that Tamils do give dowry even within the Tamil Diaspora. But then here in Australia, we do not have laws to support such a practice and genuine practitioners often get cheated by the beneficiaries.
Mrs. Sabanathan along with her sister Mrs. Mahadevan was given the largest share of the parental wealth and the children of both of them were sponsored by us. Their dowry included inheritance/ Muthusum due to my husband and his brothers. But the sons did not oppose the distribution as they wanted their sisters to get married. In addition they continued to support the families – including through migration to Australia for which I worked very hard and added my own Energies to ensure that the youth focused on their education, leading to income earning jobs. I believe that those of us who forego benefits contribute to structures and beyond towards developing Natural Energies. To me that is God’s system. The question here is not whether or not Mrs. Sabanathan and her sister believed that I was going after their monies. The question is whether they are damaging a structure developed by us for our family, by integrating the values of both countries.
Our Australia’s first Lady Prime Minister did not need marriage laws to live in partnership with her man. I understand that Mrs. Sabanathan receives Australian pension without having worked here at all. I worked here, contributed to Government through my taxes and am yet to receive any welfare benefits. I earned enough money to support myself in old age as well. In addition, my husband recognizes that whatever we earned is our common wealth until we die or lawfully part. After the shocking revelation that these so called relatives would claim wealth as per their individual thinking, we rewrote our wills so that Mrs. Sabanathan’s and Mrs. Mahadevan’s children did not make a claim on ours through expensive barristers. They had enough money to hire barrister to have my application defeated in the Supreme Court. There was no internal ‘reconciliation’ but only the further claim that I was mentally ill. They all speak Tamil language much better than I. But ask them about Thesawalamai – and they are likely to ask ‘How much is a kilo of that?’ The Australian Judiciary is also feeding such migrants. Let’s then not complain about illegal refugee problems. To me, every person who works against traditional laws is carrying the heavy potential of acting illegally.
When we value the dowry we get – we become good mothers not only to our children but beyond that to others’ children. That is the higher value of inheritance. Such mothers merge naturally with mothers of all cultures. THAT is the value we need to treasure as Jaffna Tamils. That is when we would value diversity in our new home countries.
As recipient of Australian welfare Mrs. Sabanathan has the greater responsibility than I, to accept Common Australian culture.
To me, the wealth of knowledge I brought from my life in Sri Lanka is my Inheritance from Sri Lanka for my life here in Australia. The wealth I earn here in Australia – including human relationships and status through such relationships – is my acquired wealth – called Thediya Thettam in Thesawalamai. I have the right to spend my acquired wealth/knolwedge during my lifetime but I have the responsibility to carry the inheritance forward, use it to earn more wealth (including knowledge) here in Australia but not deplete it by converting it to Australian looks - including Australian Tamil looks. To me such conversion leads to assimilation with other cultures who also convert.
Under Thesawalamai law, daughters inherit mother’s dowry and sons inherit father’s Muthusum. This separation helps us maintain the essence of the values of those structures and systems that helped our mothers function as mothers and fathers as fathers. Similarly those of us who carry forward our traditional values will carry forward the essence of our inheritance from Sri Lanka’s North, South, East or West – as values and not as dispensable property / surface knowledge. Separation as migrants is needed where mainstream cultures tend to interfere. Hence devolution of powers.
Mrs. Sabanathan’s dowry in Vattukottai for example is idling as is her brother’s. What right do we have, to complain about take overs by the Government of Sri Lanka when we fail as a community to protect and preserve our ancestral wealth as precious to develop current wealth towards a higher base for our next generation?
Recently I got cross with a relative of mine for selling one of our ancestral properties without first checking with me. The relative knew that I was investing in development work in Northern Sri Lanka including through our family temple. Yet, he failed to check with me. I felt saddened by this and have asked the new owners whether they would rent it out to me. To them it has only cash value at the moment. To me it carries ancestral Energies.
Similarly – any position status I get here in Australia is of dispensable value to me. The status I brought with me from Sri Lanka – carries ancestral Energies. Much of it is through my Sri Lankan education and qualification as a Chartered Accountant.
We show our current benefits and costs in our new activities and from time to time we need to find their net value and carry the net value forward – to appear as our status as in Balance Sheet.
Due to excessive expenditure in surface knowledge such as Tamil language – by the Tamil community – my inheritance from Sri Lanka shows negative value here in Australia. The likes of Mrs. Sabanathan use our Welfare monies to hire expensive lawyers to show defeat for their own Thesawalamai ancestors.
Whilst this is painful – I believe that Truth is always healthy. It keeps the mind steady. One who investments more in unpleasant Truth than in pleasant Truth develops structures for the next generation.