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Caste System & Governance

| by Gajalakshmi Paramasivam

( May 31, 2014, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) There have been feedbacks from various angles regarding the election of the Hon Narendra Modi to be India’s leader. The best one for me was that Swami Sathya Sai Baba had referred to Mr. Modi in 2004 as ‘future Prime Minister’.

Indian politicians have openly demonstrated that to them Swami Sai Baba is Divine and is respected above the highest political position in India. When we are therefore talking of structures – any structure under the leadership of Swami Sathya Sai Baba will merge with any good Indian structure to facilitate India’s merger with wider world – as Sathya Sai Organizations confirm. They quietly empower the Governments of the respective lands of their residence. That’s a lesson from which any Diaspora group could learn.

We are all born into one ‘system’ or the other. Initially they are our home-systems. Once we pay our dues to those home-systems we become independent of them. When we contribute more than we draw – we become owners. Thus a child becomes the parent many years later. By paying our dues – we become equal to the person holding the highest position in that structure. From then on it would not matter which individual makes the decision on behalf of the whole. Devolution of Powers facilitates us to not ‘takeover’ power from parents once we are allocated higher status than our parents by wider society. It is for this reason that in Thesawalamai – the Customary Law of Jaffna Tamils – sons are encouraged to be providers and daughters are encouraged to be beneficiaries. The parallel of that in terms of work based classification was Vellalar (Farmers) as providers and Pariahs(toilet-cleaners) as beneficiaries. So long as the dowry system is practiced by Jaffna Tamils along the above lines – Thesawalamai order within family structures and systems needs to prevail for justice to prevail. That way we are blessed by those who sacrificed immediate enjoyment of benefits to develop a system that would regulate our minds and therefore the social order. It is not different to the Judge being above the person being judged – including to be rewarded through the legal system. When we bow to the Judge we bow to the whole system – recognizing the unseen forces that gave us the current structure. They are there as our motivating Energy.

Some of us are ‘system’ developers whilst others seek to remain as beneficiaries. Those who live off past credits are of the latter category. This is fine – so long as they do not take up position above the system developers and providers.

Mr. Sebastian Rasalingam asks through his Sri Lanka Guardian article ‘Narendra Modi kicks out the Kshatriyas and Brahamins - Will the Vanni Vellalars be next?’

So long as Farmers as a group are considered to be of high status in Jaffna society they would continue to dominate governance in Northern Sri Lanka – one way or the other. The current challenges in relation to Land rights for example are closely linked to farming and hence Vanni area. LTTE knew about this power intuitively but failed to pay their dues to our ancestors from whom we inherited this hierarchy. Hence they did not rise high enough to include the whole community. Mr. Rasalingam presents his discovery in this regard as follows:

[The caste grip of the landed upper-caste Tamils (living in Karuvakkaddu – Cinnamon gardens) over the “lower caste” Tamils ensured that the same families continued to come to power in “elections”. They mounted anti-Sinhala Tamil nationalism against the Donoughmore reforms. After independence, they pushed separatism to counter the Sinhala-language act . The boiling point of this madness was the Vaddukkodai resolution to do battle against a majority ten times bigger than them.]

To me as an insider, the Vaddukoddai Resolution was not madness. It was confirmation of the existence of the Tamil Diaspora back then itself. The power of the Malaysian and Singapore dollars prevailed even then in Jaffna. These pensioners came back home to Jaffna-Vaddukoddai because they missed the feeling of family and community in Malaysia and Singapore. Other Tamils stayed on and developed the local Tamil communities in these countries – merging with Indian Tamils in those countries. The timing of the Vaddukoddai Resolution was politically perfect – confirming the Equal status of Tamils as a political group – through their position as Equal Opposition in Parliament.

Truth has a way of manifesting Itself when there are enough seekers. It’s the driving power of any system/individual. Senior Tamil politicians who endured pain rather than resort to violence were rewarded through the above non-violent political outcome. The system of Truth – manifested this outcome due to the path cleared by the Sinhalese who lost confidence in Mrs. Bandaranayake’s government. Majority Tamils living in Colombo (including those living in Colombo 7 - Cinnamon Gardens ) and other multicultural areas worked and lived under common operational systems as per their local areas. Every Tamil who felt at home in a Sinhalese dominated area contributed to the Tamil Community achieving this outcome through majority race. Once we believe – we are comfortable with any position in that system. Our own contribution would be as per the highest standards of our position – due to our belief which brings us the supporting empowerment of all those who contributed to those positions – beyond their personal interests. If there are enough of us to do so even now, Tamils will be a self-governing force in Sri Lanka. Those who developed this belief in multicultural areas would naturally empower other cultures also – including Sinhalese of that common area / system. Once we believe there is no form difference to our beneficiaries.

The blocks to this would come externally from Sinhalese leaders who are ‘beneficiaries’ of their separated positions as well as Tamil youth who have very little respect for their elders and their contributions to our cultural and administrative systems. They are the parallels of children who take-over power from their parents rather than merge with their parents’ system. Mr. Rasalingam confirms his version of this as follows:

[The Sinhalese extremist answer was the 1983 pogrom, supported by J.R. Jayawardene and tacitly also by Prabhakaran who wanted a final break in the “co-habitation” of Colombo Tamils with the Sinhalese. The militant “boys” assassinated the Vellalar leaders, hijacked Tamil nationalism and spawned a terrorist movement against the brutality of the State. This was in turn hijacked by the Vellalar leaders who controlled the diaspora and the dollars. They talked to Western governments and ran the NGOs.]
The caste system served Jaffna Tamils well at a time when son inherited father’s investment in work – including work-ethics and daughter from mother. Where our work cannot be pooled in common and then shared equally or freely as per each one’s natural skills, we need either separation or hierarchy so that one does not damage the work of another. Hence the work of women was separated from the work of men- so both could be seen in special areas. Likewise the work of farmer from the work of toilet-cleaner. In terms of gender separation – usually the older ones are providers and the younger ones are beneficiaries within their respective common groups. Likewise within the respective professions. In the common system – the judge is higher than the security officer of the court as per their hierarchy. The judicial system is higher in the national hierarchy than the welfare system or the business system. Likewise, farmers are higher as a group than toilet-cleaners in social structures. Work is represented by the outcomes produced and the hierarchical structures represent the Sacrifices made to raise ourselves to the higher level. So long as a structure satisfies this basic rule – it would function effectively to support its investors.

In the olden days when children inherited from parents – they inherited also the genes relating to their professions. Their family faith helped them work their profession and v.v.. Australian businessman James Packer for example inherited his father’s gambling genes and thus demoted himself by investing in casinos rather than global media. That is like a Vellalan inheriting the toilet-cleaning hobby of the father to develop a toilet-cleaning business and losing the empowerment from his ancestors.

The path of Truth is the most reliable system of all for any person. But so long as we are within an official system – we need to express our Truth through the structures of that system. Otherwise we need to step out of that official system and speak as individuals – as Lord Muruga – the Lord of Democracy did when He sat on the Hill of Palani after renouncing His share of parental wealth. That system develops automatically – even though we may not be conscious of it. The way that system develops is recognized through the operation of our own brain in relation to information. If we just register hearsay – all we are capable of is finding majority outcome through simple addition. To think deeper we need to see only the top – as one picture but are conscious of others supporting that top. Sacrificing earned benefits leads to such consciousness. The driving force to so arrange and find commonness through One form – is our true investment – in Truth personal to us – and/or through a common system. To that extent we are empowered to influence and to produce. At that stage where we contribute more than our dues, we raise our investment to Energy level and we lose consciousness even of the top and become the whole that we do not see but are a part of. That is the way of the Natural system.

During one of the public events in our Thunaivi village in the district of Vaddukoddai, a Tamil close to Central Government – said that like Murugan we were on the streets in our underwear. He meant it as a reduction in status. To me that was confirmation of Independent status as per Lord Muruga’s path. I had that ‘insight’ due to my genuine faith in Muruga. Tamil minorities led by Hindus will naturally tend towards self-governance. Once we completely separate from the physical structure – we are no longer representation of minority who earned Equal status as the parents. The two – minority status and the whole cannot be separated. Hence we lose this empowerment once we lose the value of minority pain to become majority by shrinking our area of governance.