Vice Chancelor of Jaffna University Ratnajeevan Hoole questions the warnings issued by the Messenger of Deaths in Japan
Philadelphia, 18 December, (Asiantribune.com): Dr. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole, who was preventwed from taking up his position as the Vice Chancelor of the University of Jaffna by the terrorists threats of the Tamil Tigers has questioned in a letter to Ilangai Tamil Sangam in New York, whether one of its writers Sachchi Sri Kantha had prior knowledge on the intended attack on the Gothabaya Rajapakse, Sri Lankaâ€™s Defense Secretary and the brother of Mahinda Rajapakse, President of Sri Lanka.
The Tamil Tigers terrorists attack on Gothabya took place two days after Sri Kantha wrote this article in the Tamil Sangam.org website.
In an open letter to Editor, Ilangai Tamil Sangam, New York, Dr. S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole has pointed out Sachi Srikantha ends in one of his denunciations pieces, dated November 29th with the cryptic comment: "Letâ€™s wait and see what is going to happen to the Triumvir Rajas [President Mahinda Rajapakse and his brothers Basil and Gothabaya]."
As signaled by this messenger of Death, Tamil Tigers targeted Gothabaya Rajapakse who narrowly escaped death on 1 December. This raises suspicion about Sri Kanthaâ€™s link to the Tamil Tigerâ€™s suicide group.
Earlier the Tamil Tigers used "Nitharsanam.com" to signal messages of deaths to its indented victims including Lakshman Kadirgamar, the former Foreign Minister of Sri lanka.
In his open letter, Dr. Hoole poses a pertinent question, "Was Ilangai Tamil Sangam aware of the impending attempt on Gothabaya Rajapakseâ€™s life? You are indeed aware by Sachi Srikanthaâ€™s own admission in your web-pages."
In his open letter, Dr. Hoole has emphasized "The disclaimer that the Sangam is not responsible for the articles rings hollow. After all, when you promote a writer, you promote his views. And when hints of a soon-to-be attempted murder are broadcast through The Sangam, you are culpable."
Dr. Hooles pointed out that Sri Kantha the â€˜Messenger of Deathâ€™ writes from his safety in Japan â€œwho is often called in as the hatchet man to do the hit-job on anyone who does not accept the over-arching world view that we must all accept.â€
The full text of the letter Dr. S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole addressed to The Editor, Ilangai Tamil Sangam , New York, New York is given below:
3200 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Dec. 16, 2006.
Ilangai Tamil Sangam/Sangam.Org
New York, NY.
Sachi Srikantha, The Sangam and â€œThe Tamil Nationâ€
The piece by Sachi Srikantha was called to my attention recently A Tale of Two Tamil Vice Chancellors. Likewise another piece on my appointment as ViceChancellor. On Academic Politics and Religious ZealotryThis also appeared in tamilnation.org.
I sent a version of this letter in response to tamilnation.org since that web-site too had published these vile pieces. After listing censorship in their home page as one of their indictments against Sri Lanka, they have not even acknowledged receipt. I hope you will have the goodness to publish this. Your web site gives no names but I am aware that Dr. Karunyan Arulanantham and Dr. Rajan Sriskantharajah were editors at one time (You may not be aware that I was Editor in 1983 when Dr. S. Nagendra was President and the Sangam stood for higher principles, accuracy in particular). As people who know the standards of academic discourse, I expect an opportunity from you to rebut the inaccuracies you have propagated. As I expect a barrage of responses from rabid nationalists, I will say it all in a long piece and get back to my normal work.
Are the Sangam and Tamil nation.Org into Terrorism? When I was living in Sri Lanka these past so many years, I was too busy to read you but now that I have more time, I have caught up a little. Srikantha writes from his safety in Japan. His pieces exude venomous hype and diatribes â€“ all kinds of name calling and subtle and not so subtle anti-Christian tirades.
Rajani Tiranagama was labeled a prostitute â€“ a line that I would never have passed as Sangam Editor. Recall also his writings on Prof. Rajasingham Jeyadevan in â€œTamil Nation.â€. Srikanathaâ€™ latest is calling President Mahinda Rajapakse a bumpkin Selected Writings by Sachi Sri Kantha: Triumvir Rajas
Sachi Srikantha ends this piece dated November 29th with the cryptic comment: "Letâ€™s wait and see what is going to happen to the Triumvir Rajas [President Mahinda Rajapakse and his brothers Basil and Gothabaya]." And on Dec. 1st, a suicide bomber blows himself up trying to kill Gothabaya. Was Sangam aware of the impending attempt on Gothabaya Rajapakseâ€™s life? You are indeed aware by Sachi Srikanthaâ€™s own admission in your web-pagesthat he is a suspected terrorist on the US no-fly list. This was also carried in your echo (like most articles), I got trapped in the Secret â€˜No Fly Listâ€™ of Transportation Security Administration
The disclaimer that the Sangam is not responsible for the articles rings hollow. After all, when you promote a writer, you promote his views. And when hints of a soon-to-be attempted murder are broadcast through The Sangam, you are culpable. Through these threats of murder even before they are attempted, you will jeopardize the many innocent Tamils who come to Ilangai Tamil Sangam for cultural entertainment.
If trust that this is not the style and taste you promote in the name of high Tamil culture and the â€œTamil Sangamâ€. For my part, I know a much better Tamil culture that is larger, generous and has space for multiple opinions and religions.
Corrections to the Two articles on my vice chancellorship: Recall our ancient adage "Oru Vithuvahnukku Vahymai Vendum" â€“ if you are an expert, you need honesty of words. A sentiment in journalism captures our ancient wisdom: "Comment is free but facts are sacred." As such I ask that you please correct several factual errors and contradictions emanating from this particular author who seems to have a fascination with my personal details that I myself tend to forget (dates of appointment, date of my brotherâ€™s death, etc. and even news articles on my appointment for which I need to thank him as I had not seen all of them). These errors of fact and contradictions by Sachi Srikantha in your web site are:
1. Double Doctorate versus a Higher Doctorate versus the Junior Doctorate: I have never claimed to have a double doctorate as stated by him in quotation marks in your web-pages. I recall some 10-15 years ago Satchi Srikantha rather distastefully comparing his credentials with mine and saying he also has doctorates like me. At the time I thought he had a higher doctorate. After seeing his biography on tamilnation.org, I realize he has 2 doctorates and does not know the difference between a double doctorate and a higher doctorate. A second doctorate is more commonly worked on by "permanent students." Often they do not like to take on family responsibility and are supported by their spouses or parents. Or they are using it as a means of visa extension. Sometimes a second doctorate is resorted to when oneâ€™s career runs aground and one seeks a second career. Be it noted that it makes no sense to earn two doctorates in the same field or closely similar fields except for these dubious reasons. To call me a double doctorate is a sinister insult by Srikantha who should know the terminology well, especially since he has described himself in tamilnation.org as a science historian.
What I have is a doctorate (Ph.D. degree) from Carnegie Mellon University and a higher doctorate (D.Sc. (Eng.) degree) from London in the same field. Historically a doctorate was earned through sustained research over several years, when one had acquired the authority to be a "doctor," i.e., a teacher, of his discipline. About a hundred and twenty five or more years ago, todayâ€™s doctorate was introduced in the US because of the need to train many people at universities as education rapidly expanded. Unlike the original doctorate, the new American doctorate involved a course of study. This was called a junior doctorate and involved supervised research of limited duration (3 to 5 years). The new junior doctorate in time spread to Europe (to the UK only as late as the beginning of the 20th century) and we find i) Hungary offering junior doctorates in political science (with some law) to public servants in 1875 at the Ministerâ€™s request and ii) the curiosity of the taught degree with no research thesis, Juris Doctor, for lawyers in the US even today. Gradually, as the soon numerous junior doctorate holders dropped the adjective junior, the original doctorate came to be called the higher doctorate. The US abandoned the old doctorate but Europe retained it with modifications and the UK in particular keeps it in its original form, with rigorous examination standards. As a result of this history it is known practice that a person with a higher doctorate goes as Mr. so and so rather than Dr. so and so. A UK higher doctorate today is based on significant, sustained and independent contributions to a field over a period and is held to be more prestigious than a named chair. Rarely is it given before the age of 40; more often the award occurs in oneâ€™s fifties (when I was given the higher doctorate in 1993, London awarded well over 1200 Ph.Ds and 30 higher doctorates). In contrast, a doctorate is based on supervised study for a short period on a topic within a field as opposed to a field. It is usually earned at age 25-30. It is all the more reason why it is considered that one already with doctoral training, and ipso facto with the ability to train another Ph.D., is not required to have further supervised training. He simply is self-supervising. This makes a double doctorate a sort of oxymoron. I do not have a double doctorate. Please spare me from this reputation.
2. I have never claimed as given in quotes by Srikantha that I am the first double doctorate in engineering from Sri Lanka. This great honour (not of a double doctorate but of a higher doctorate following a doctorate in engineering) goes to Prof. S. Mahalingam of Peradeniya. Prof. Mahalingam having his first degree from London, I have been described as the first engineer with this honour from University of Ceylon or its successors.
3. Jaffnaâ€™s Vice Chancellorship: The opposition to my appointment as Vice Chancellor of University of Jaffna came mainly from LTTE supporters and their studentsâ€™ union and deracinated overseas Tamil nationalists. Indeed, TNA MPs who asked Mr. S.P. Thamilchelvan were told that the LTTE had no opposition to my appointment even as their minions went to work. An LTTE front newspaper, Oru Paper, editorialized thus from London and Canada immediately after my appointment in March, with the same anti-Christian venom that Sachi Srikantha betrays and for which the Sangam and tamilnation.org seem a ready forum:
"[T]here are a few Christian who are unable to reconcile their minds to the fact that they had deserted the religion of their forefathers [emphasis mine]. This grievance they carry against the whole community. The Hoole brothers, Lakshman Kadirgamar and D.B.S. Jeyaraj of Canada belong to this category. As for Ratnajeevan Hoole as Vice-Chancellor of Jaffna University, this much has to be said. He should not be allowed to roam free in Jaffnaâ€™s Tamil Hindu society, particularly in the university campus where there is even a Saiva temple." [Emphasis as in the original making the threat to my physical safety all the more ominous]
A fact that is commonly and cleverly ignored, as does Sachi Srikantha, is that mine was one of 3 names chosen from applicants responding to a public advertisement and proposed by the governing Council of University of Jaffna (consisting of leading Tamil citizens) to the President of Sri Lanka. Under the Universities Act, the President cannot appoint anyone outside these 3 names. Once he had these names, my appointment was natural given my academic credentials and experience. If you point to an applicant more qualified than I, I would honorably resign from the post of Vice Chancellor immediately.
How many of you are aware that there were threats to the council members for having voted for me? Very unfairly guessing that 5 particular council members had voted for me, their names appeared on posters with skull and cross-bones threatening punishment. The notice ominously promised to discover who the others are who voted for me. With that there is little chance of the free election of a VC for Jaffna again. Such freedoms, ironically, are now only for the Sinhalese in Sri Lanka for their 12 universities and the Muslims with their one university as we Tamils curtail our own freedoms. These threatening notices have re-appeared in many pro-LTTE web sites such as "Nitharsanam." I am in receipt of several messages from those interested in being Vice Chancellor to resign so that they may try. One of my considerations as I mull over what to do, is that no election can be freely conducted after this sordid episode.
Two persons responsible for this campaign claiming that I am anti-Tamil culture were one of the two LTTE "Poruppalar" for Jaffna University and the TNA MP Gejendran (as opposed to the more decent MP Gajendrakumar who is, unfortunately, very often loaded with all the dirty stuff done by Gajendran such as vote rigging and his followers boasting of having voted 100 times). This Gajendran championing Tamil culture, as other TNA MPs have bitterly complained to me, lets off in the foulest Tamil filth in Parliament in front of little school girls who come to watch democracy at work â€“ a sad come-down for our community given that once was the day when the public went to parliament to simply to hear some of our Tamil MPs.. MP Gajendranâ€™s and MP Eelaventhanâ€™s claim that the TNA opposed my appointment was immediately contradicted by MP Sivajilingam in an interview on Tamil Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on the 11th of March and this was available on Tamilnatham.com under its news/interviews for 12 March 2006. TNA leader R. Sampanthan, MP (whom I worked with closely in setting up the new Trincomalee Konesapuri Campus for Eastern University), told me to accept his personal assurance that there was no position like that by the TNA and advised me to drop the matter there.
4. Stand of the University of Jaffna Community on my appointment: Further to the above, are you aware that the University Teachersâ€™ Association (UTA) of University of Jaffna met on March 15 at the request of the so called studentsâ€™ union to support their opposition to me and that at the UTA meeting it was decided not to do so since I was legitimately appointed? Prof. Sitrampalam I believe was President of the SJV Chelvanayagam Trust and Federal Party at the time and presumably still is unless he has resigned with all this. Are you aware that he spoke up at the UTA meeting and had his house stoned that very night and his name-board broken at the university? When the UTA wanted to meet again to condemn those incidents, it was ordered not to meet by the Poruppalar and MP Gajendran saying they would take care of it.
Similarly, the Vavuniya Campus University Community (academic and non-academic staff and the students) was to meet on 22 March and the meeting set for 10 AM was called off when they were told by the Campus Poruppalar Gnanam just 5 minutes before the meeting that "there was no need to meet." Such is the freedom that you are offering the Tamils of Sri Lanka from your safety in the West.
5. Position of the Jaffna Community on my appointment: As for Eelam Tamils opposing my appointment as Vice Chancellor, besides many TNA MPs standing up for me, are you aware that Bishops Rayappu Joseph, Savundaranayagam and Jebanesan wrote separately to Mr. V. Pirapaharan asking him to let me function? One Bishop used the phrase that our peopleâ€™s education should not be interfered with. Many others appealed to the LTTE and were told politely that the LTTE had no objection but that they were unable to control the students. Several Hindu religious leaders wrote to President Rajapakse urging my appointment. It is a pity that Tamil nationalists abroad are so out of touch with what the Tamils in Sri Lanka feel.
6. Offering me another VC-ship and Jaffnaâ€™s Engineering Faculty: Sachi Srikantha asks why I was not offered the VC-ship of one of the other universities by the President. He does not seem to know despite his being touted as a historian of science, that no one can offer the Vice Chancellorship to me. It may come as a surprise to him that our universities function in a legal framework. Under the Universities Act, the relevant university Council has to advertise the post, I have to apply and the Council has to forward my name to the President. No appointment is possible without this process. I had been asked to apply to other universities by friends there and I politely declined for lack of interest and my determination to build up University of Jaffna. Jaffna clearly needed a broader vision of education, especially with regard to the founding of a new engineering faculty which was opposed by some of the others who wanted to be VC. Many Council members asked me to apply as they saw the vacuum in leadership. As a UGC member, one of my last acts was to persuade successfully my colleagues to recommend engineering for Jaffna. Alas, it was not to be, in part because many expatriates worked against a Christian walking about on Jaffna Campus with its Saivite Temple and some students asked in a poster â€œWhat business has Hoole in the university of Nanthi, [the bull god who adorns the imprimatur of the university]?â€
Prof. Thurairajah went to Jaffna as VC after the UGC decided to give Jaffna an engineering faculty. We bickered over its location and finally when we were ready to start, the political vacuum after 1990 put a stop to it. With that, despite the decision that Jaffna would get the next faculty, it went to Galle because we were not ready and the pressing need to admit more students had to be accommodated. This year, with the mistakes in machine grading at the A.Level, suddenly a large number had to be admitted -- those who had been offered admission on the mistaken marks plus those who had to be admitted on the corrected marks. That is when I persuaded the UGC to meet this need by recommending the engineering faculty for Jaffna. I had a few Ph.D level people prepared to come with me to Jaffna. Again the opportunity has slipped as Jaffna shut down and Rajarata University is getting the faculty as we shot ourselves in the foot through the activities of all kinds of anonymous makkal padai (peopleâ€™s forces), citizensâ€™ association and what not..
7. Eastern University Vice Chancellorship: Sachi Srikantha is simply wrong about Prof. Raveendranathâ€™s resignation from his VCâ€™s post at Eastern University. He is still the Vice Chancellor and is operating from Colombo. Srikantha correctly wants much to be made of the attempt to force Raveendranath to resign from the post of VC, Eastern University, but ignores his immediate predecessor Prof. Mookiahâ€™s experiences and praises what happened to me. It is not widely known that the students who are imposed as leaders on the other students forced Prof. Mookiah, to resign by surrounding him and not letting him move. Very fearful for his life, he simply got into a bus and came to Colombo with only the clothes he was wearing. It is not without significance that he was so called â€œIndian.â€ Being a man who avoids publicity, he wrote to the UGC and quietly stepped down. I was on the UGC then and when Prof. Raveendranathâ€™s nomination came from the Eastern University Council with 2 other names as required by law. Raveendranath was appointed. This happened not because of any dues Prof. Raveendranath had paid as claimed by Sachi Srikantha, but because the President recognized that his was the most qualified of the 3 names nominated by the Council and the only one at the rank of full professor. The idea of an internal candidate (paying dues â€“ that is, working there â€“ in Srikanthaâ€™s words) is generally frowned on so as to encourage fresh vision. It was in these conditions that Prof. A. Thurairajahâ€™s VC-ship was favored and he was brought in to Jaffna from Peradeniya without working in Jaffna. It does great credit to the system, despite all its faults, that one of the other 2 candidates for VC-Eastern University had strong SLFP â€œpullâ€ but was not appointed. Not surprisingly, Srikantha praises the carefully thought out appointment of his friend, Raveendranath from Jaffna, while claiming in the earlier article that all VCâ€™s are appointed for political reasons.
Srikantha also does not want to comment on Prof. Mookiahâ€™s predecessor as Acting VC at Eastern University, Dr. Yuvi Thangarajah, an eminent son of the East who, despite being a natural candidate for the Eastern VC-ship, did not even apply because of fear. He was arrested by the LTTE apparently because he had told the BBC that Tamils must be mindful of eastern sensibilities or something close to that. At the time of his arrest as he went to the East on a World Bank project to help Eastern University, he had his laptop stolen, his official car was used after his arrest for some 200 miles of what nefarious purpose or joy rides no one knows, and he was released only through the good offices of his brother-in-law Taraki Sivaram and sent into exile in London. Last I heard, his salary was still being deducted for the stolen lap top, valued at close to Rs. 185,000 at Sri Lankan rates. He was so scared that he even refused to make a police report to get out of paying this tidy sum for a Sri Lankan academic.
I suppose only Karuna can do wrong in Sachi Srikanthaâ€™s eyes and only forced expulsions of Vice Chancellors by Karuna are wrong. â€œThe Sangamâ€ and â€œTamil Nationâ€ must not advance such eastern-phobia. I am sure that it is such attitudes that are part of the Karuna problem. We northerners may not be openly hostile to Easterners, but as is clear from Srikanthaâ€™s polemics, we see only our problems as problems (Raveendranath is from the North). It is for full-time historians to ask the pertinent question why nearly all the eastern TNA MPs (with the exception of 2 I think) waffled and showed signs of going with Karuna before settling with the Vanni only when it was clear that the Vanni faction would emerge dominant. Why is Raveenthranathâ€™s attempted ouster objectionable to the Sangam, but we do not even murmur about similar attempts on Mookiah or Thangarajah? To solve a problem, its existence must be recognized first.
Srikantha also dismisses Prof. K.D. Arudpragasam, his own teacher, as someone who did not do anything for Tamils. Obviously this science historian does not know of the many things Prof. Arulpragasam did at the UGC and that he went as VC to Eastern University only after extracting from JR Jayawardene the promise that the University College would be made Eastern University. This happened and he became the new universityâ€™s first VC. I suppose in Srikanthaâ€™s scheme of things, something by a Christian to the people of the East counts as nothing. No wonder we are turning off the whole world.
8. My location: I am not settled in a Midwestern university as Dr. Dr.. Srikanthaâ€™s reliable sources have told him. I am at Drexel University in the East and make no secret of it. It clearly shows the reliability of his sources and the care with which he writes, despite tamilnation.org portraying him and foisting him on us as a historian of science.
The Editor of Tamil Nation and Sachi Srikanthaâ€™s credentials: Editor, Sir, you also need to check the claims of glory by Sachi Srikantha. His biography has been published at I got trapped in the Secret â€˜No Fly Listâ€™ of Transportation Security Administration
I do not know if Sachi Srikantha made this up or the editor of "Tamil Nation" cooked it up.
It is well known at University of Peradeniya (then University of Ceylon) that the editor of tamilnation.org, the son of a great Senator, was in the chemistry special batch in the 1960s. He carried material into the exam hall and when the examiners checked him he put the material on his knees and held it with his knees pressed on to the under-side of the desk. In this posture he waved and showed his bare hands as if to say he had nothing. Despite his valiant efforts at hiding the smuggled chemistry notes, he was caught and he lost a year on account of this episode. His Senatorial father could not influence the Senate of the university to let the son off. Usually after an incident like that employment is difficult. But not for this man, with his Royal College background and his Senatorial father. He got into the private sector in Colombo and led a good life until the 1983 riots when his house was ransacked. He moved abroad and the only way to avoid oblivion was to go into any form of politics for the first time in his life. So he meandered about looking for hosts and finally settled on an anti-Christian pro-LTTE platform and founded his only legacy to the world, tamilnation.org that serves as an insult to the greatness of the Tamil people.
A fellow Royalist and Senatorâ€™s son from the same period, Neelan Tiruchelvam, in contrast had a brilliant career. He was involved in politics even at Peradeniya. Earning his doctorate from Harvard he returned to Sri Lanka and built up the International Centre for Ethnic Studies which outshines any university in Sri Lanka in scholarship and is the only place in Sri Lanka where a scholar can go and hear all shades of opinion and participate in in-depth seminar.
Naturally the failed chemist smarts from the success of his colleague Tiruchelvam. As Tiruchelvam received praises and grants from international agencies and scholars, the failed chemist tried to build up his own base giving lectures to the Diaspora where he claimed that Christians must accept that Hinduism is the religion of the Tamils (I am aware of one such lecture in Lancaster, CA). He has resorted to building up tamilnation.org where his sectarian themes come forth clearly. He has set up Sachi Srikantha as a feature writer who does all the attacks on Tiruchelvam even after his murder. Similarly to 1948 when SJV Chelvanayagam spoke of safeguarding minority rights and was put down as disrupting Sri Lankan unity, today the need to preserve minority rights within the Tamils is put down as disrupting Tamil unity. Sachi Srikantha plays his role as hatchet man in attacking anyone who raises these matters.
This Editor who is a failed chemist and has set up Sachi Srikantha has claimed in the biography that Sachi Srikantha has published "over 100 papers in 40 biomedical journals." But a search in Google Scholar which captures articles in any journal of repute reveals his "singular contributionsâ€ to science â€“ one letter to a journal! Not even a single proper article! (Try it. Itâ€™s free) If he really has published over 100 articles as claimed, I put it to you that they are in insignificant obscure journals not cited by the indexes. This also means that both his Ph.D. degrees were flops insofar as they did not lead to articles in indexed journals. I have double checked on other indexes to which my university subscribes and saw one Japanese conference abstract (not even a journal article abstract â€“ for the initiated, conference articles are held to be of little value in academe). Perhaps Srikantha the science historian is counting his articles of the quality of the ones in discussion in the â€œbiomedical journalâ€ called tamilnation.org and then double counting the same articles in sangam.org? I further put it to you that his credentials are as fraudulent as the facts on which his articles are based.
What more does one expect other than destructive, murderous envy like that of his patron the editor of "Tamil Nation?" What more from a â€œdouble doctorateâ€ who tried hard to enter the university to read medicine and entered bioscience under Catholic Fathers from Aquinas after multiple attempts at the G.C.E. AL while growing up on his large collection of "Anantha Vihadans" in Bambalawatte, and then became a failed scientist despite (perhaps even as evidenced by) his double doctorate?
I do not like to have a dig at people who have failed as scholars. The war and discrimination have aborted many promising Tamil careers. But this is a case that deserves special treatment because his writings are full of erroneous slander in the name of scholarship promoted by sangam.org and tamilnation.org, and he is imposed on us with a lot of hot-air and non-existing qualifications.
A Sick Overseas Tamil Community: This may be a good time to examine why we have this kind of sick behaviour among our people. When I returned to the US from Jaffna, an old Iranian friend remarked: "Just like our people â€“ murderous frenzy, destructive of ourselves." What was he saying?
War creates psychosocial problems among those affected. At a time when I did not recognize this, I used to react with anger against those who manifested psychiatric symptoms. Running away from oppression, we ourselves become very oppressive. In our safety, we urge our poor brethren to blow themselves up in Sri Lanka and feel vicarious bravado as though we ourselves had done it. We act out being Raja Raja Cholan from Toronto, London and New York. I well remember a wealthy Tamil in the US some 15 years ago at a meeting with a militant group that had come to the US for money. This arm-chair general asked in full earnestness: "We have given so much. Why havenâ€™t you sent suicide bombers to win the war quickly?" Another suggested, "Just go on a motorbike by a petrol bowser and stick on a limpet mine." Boasted to me an accountant who doubles as a religious leader: "It is like in the Gita. It is our dharma to raise money and do propaganda; and the dharma of those in Sri Lanka to fight."
If this is not being sick as a community, what is?
We are denied our full rights in Sri Lanka. But coming to the West to claim freedom, in the Diaspora we must have one view, one religion, etc. as promoted by "Tamil Nation" which touts worshipping fallen LTTE heroes and things like "Siva is love," failing to recognize the multi-religious nature of our community. Those who do not fall in line have a barrage of insults and lies on web-postings (as in sangam.org and tamilnation.org). These attacks ensure that any one who knows the lies to be what they are, are silenced through fear. Those who dare to speak up do so in anonymity as a debate in our student newspaper Triangle recently showed . (http://www.thetriangle.org/home/index.cfm?event=displayArticleComments&ustory_id=6a9f899f-332a-480f-ab30-a358d025b9df#811a30a7-f01b-45c5-916f-6b60e725d444). In that debate, the thoughtful writers are seen to write in an educated way. For the others, the level of writing, content as well as cogency, shows the dregs of society using the Internet to fulfil their undeserved ambitions as writers and to give vent to their frustrations. The venom thus is seen to be in proportion to their non-accomplishments in life.
It is Sachi Srikantha who is often called in as the hatchet man to do the hit-job on anyone who does not accept the over-arching world view that we must all accept. For example, as noted earlier, he described the late Dr. Rajani Thiranagama as a prostitute in tamilnation.org and sangam.org. It is a clear case of prostituting his misdirected scholarship. If this is the high uniting Tamil culture that Ilangai Tamil Sangam and tamilnation.org promote by insulting the dead, No Thanks! That is the sort of Tamil culture that I would be happy to be considered an enemy of.
We have in the Tamil Diaspora many who have suffered loss of dear ones, career, wealth, etc. and are in the West unable to put their lives together again. It has been shown in a recent paper by Daya Somasundaram, Senior Professor of Psychiatry at University of Jaffna, that massive trauma as we Tamils have suffered can lead to ill mental effects on the entire community â€“ I think it is what we now see as the collective psychiatric sickness of the nationalist sections of the overseas Tamil community. The mental ill-health is pronounced in those who have been unable to adapt and fail in their professions. The hitting back â€“ the literally murderous envy as we have seen â€“ is as to be expected against those who have succeeded. Thus we see another of your famous authors, Thangavelu, berating Kevin Shimmin, then an official of Amnesty International in Canada, for being â€œa hireling at the services of a Christian elitist group of de-Nationalized Tamils [sic.].â€ (http://www.lines-magazine.org/Links/Discussion_Forum/Discussion_Thangavelu.htm). The use of the word elitist betrays his feelings of being dispossessed and his almost envious hatred of Christians, despite his grammatical writing. Indeed, although I am from Nallur and not the neighbourhood of Chundikuli dominated by Christian institutions, I have had much hate mail calling me a "Chundikuli Christian." Sachi Srikantha takes off about Christian Tamils of this "elitist group" as "while possessing bragging credentials about their academic expertise, [having] myopic vision burdened by religious zealotry.â€ This, surely is from a communalist "frus case."
We simply deal with those mentally affected by our sufferings with understanding and kindness. We thank God for those who have preserved their sanity despite the pressure to conform and, would never be pressured, despite calls late in November from the Canadian Diaspora, Tamil Nation and other newspapers, into worshipping the dead militants as our gods!
Well, Editor, Sir, if you are serious about uniting Tamils in our culture, we must not use different standards on northern Hindus on the one hand and easterners, "Indians" and Christians on the other.
Please do not tell us what our culture is. We live our culture. We decide in our own conscience what is good and what is bad. We choose who our leaders are and whom we will follow.
That is how it was among the ancient Tamils.
S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole, D.Sc. (Eng.) Lond., Ph.D. CMU, M.Sc. Distinction Lond.;
B.Sc. Eng. Hons. Cey., IEEE Fellow, Chartered Engineer;
Vice Chancellor, University of Jaffna (on special leave);
Senior Professor of Electrical and Electronics Engineering;
University of Peradeniya (released to University of Jaffna);
Visiting Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering,
Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA 19104