Buddhist-Hindu Identity: a necessity for Sri Lanka - II
by Thamizhchelvan on 13 Jan 2011 11 Comments

Diaspora’s politics 

Meanwhile the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora, despite being a Hindu majority, continues to trust its dubious leaders who are either Christian or Dravidian ideologues. It still buys the carrot of “Tamil Nationhood” sold to them by a leadership which has not changed the political and ideological stances maintained by the erstwhile LTTE even marginally.


Writing in Daily Mirror, London based writer-activist Nirmala Rajasingham gives a clear picture about the Diaspora, which follows a simulated politics (1):- The demonstration by Diaspora Tamils holding Tiger flags indicates that it is of no consequence to them that the LTTE is now discredited amongst Lankan Tamils. Does this movement’s evolution, at its heart, speak for the Tamils of Sri Lanka, or is it bent on creating a pseudo-politics for its own misguided ends? The Tamil-nationalist Diaspora community is pursuing as delusional a strategy as the Rajapaksa regime, banking on Western governments and institutions to offer deliverance to the Tamil people in Sri Lanka…Over the years of war, the Tamils in Sri Lanka gradually became disillusioned with the liberation struggle – the internecine fighting amongst the militant groups, the autocracy of the LTTE, and its callous disregard for the Tamil people’s welfare. All of this worked to dispel the myth of nationalism….”


Making a scathing attack on the LTTE and the Diaspora for doing nothing for the welfare of innocent Tamil population, she says, “…What the Diaspora nationalist community forgets, however, is that while the Sri Lankan state played its part, the total political disenfranchisement and subjugation of the Tamil people was wrought by the LTTE – with the backing of the Diaspora – over the war years. The Diaspora leadership abdicated its responsibility towards the Tamil people by being dismissive about the LTTE’s transgressions, including serving innocents up for slaughter by the armed forces in the final phase of the war…the Diaspora nationalists are confronted by a general splintering. Previously, the LTTE exercised highly centralised control over its Diaspora outfits; but of late, multiple factions have emerged. For the new groups, future control and use of the large funds and assets left behind by the LTTE has become an increasingly contentious issue….”


Christian/Dravidian influence on Diaspora


Though Nirmala Rajasingham has not commented on the Christian or Dravidian influence on the Diaspora, political observers could easily infer both. A quick glance through websites like www.tamilnet.com, www.tamilcanadian.com and www.transcurrents.com show how anti-Hindu and pro-Christian they are and how they are feeding and brainwashing the majority Tamil Hindus with Tamil secessionism. All have a Christian undercurrent and one can see a considerable space occupied by Christian priests and professors and Dravidian ideologues.


Writing in Sri Lanka Guardian (2), columnist Raman Kulasingham says, “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.”


We have seen in Tamil Nadu how the Church influences a section of Saiva Mathams in the name of Tamil and alienates them from mainstream Hinduism, which is based on ancient scriptures - Vedas, Agamas, Puranas and Ithihasas. A similar strategy is being adopted by the Dravidian ideologues in the Sri Lankan Diaspora. They influence the authorities of temples built and maintained by the Diaspora community and coerce them to act against Vedas and Sanskrit in the name of Tamil.


A Murugan Temple in Birchmount Road, Canada, has come out with a shocking announcement (3) of celebrating Tamil New Year along with Pongal on January 14 itself, in accordance with the outrageous and unconstitutional ordinance passed by the Karunanidhi government of Tamil Nadu (4). It has announced a cash prize of 1000 dollars for children born between 2001 and 2005 if they have pure ‘Tamil’ names. The temple has also announced cash prize of 100 Dollars to children whose Sanskrit names have been legally changed to pure Tamil names (5). Conspicuously there is no mention of changing Christian names into pure Tamil names and such an announcement has not come from any Church either. This announcement has been posted on the Tamil Canadian website leading to a Tamil cultural debate between Tamil Hindus and Dravidian/Christian ideologues.


Starting the debate, columnist Dharman Dharmaratnam wrote a scholarly article on the relevance of celebrating Tamil New Year traditionally in April (Tamil month Chithrai) which was published by Tamil Canadian (6).


It was cheaply contested in typical Dravidian style by one Velupillai Thangkavelu, who writes in Tamil as ‘Nakkeeran’. He brazenly confirms the Christian agenda behind the move, writing in Tamil Canadian itself (7): It is not disputed that the month of Chiththirai is the beginning of the Hindu New Year. Yes, the Sun purportedly enters the sign of Aeries (Meda Raasi) on or about April 14th. What is disputed is that Chiththirai is not the New Year for Thamils. This is because not all Thamils are Hindus while the majority do. Critics like Dharmaratnam misses the compelling reason for choosing Thai 01 as the Thamil New Year. It is for the purpose of having a continuous year count for accurate historical recording of events. Another reason the Thamils need a New Year that is secular and not religious for the simple reason that not all Tamils are Hindus! Those who claim that Thai 01 which is also Thai Pongal day too is religious (Maharasankaranthi) are out of step with reality. Thai Pongal is not tied to any Hindu deity! This is the reason why Hindu and Christian farmers in Vanni celebrate Thai Pongal confirming the fact it is essentially a harvest festival.” Thangavelu got a fitting rebuttal from columnist Raman Kulasingham as mentioned above.


Devious Church and dubious Tamil organisations


When LTTE was alive and kicking, it had dozens of dubious Tamil organizations in Europe and America as front organizations for fund raising and arms procurement (8). After its decimation, a section of Diaspora Tamil organsations have come together and formed the “Global Tamil Forum” (GTF) (9), an initiative of the Roman Catholic Church. Interestingly at the same time, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) had a vertical split resulting in the formation of Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF) in February 2010 by the breakaway faction. This unexpected development shocked the Church, already frustrated after the defeat of LTTE and killing of Pirabhakaran. It made Rev. S.J. Emanuel send appeal after appeal to TNA and TNPF to close ranks and unite to face the elections then (10). 


TNA, which realized that the Tamil population is not interested in Tamil nationalism, denied nominations to hardline candidates resulting in the formation of TNPF. The Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) formed immediately after the decimation of LTTE is led by US-based Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran, while the GTF is led by Norway-based Nediyavan, who made Father Emanuel, Head of the British Tamil Forum (BTF), the President. GTF is seen as an incarnation of LTTE in Sri Lankan circles, as Nediyavan was a hardcore LTTE cadre doing its fund-raising (11).


Christian clergy have played a huge role in supporting the LTTE and exerting their influence over the Diaspora as well. While Bishop of Mannar Rayappu Joseph, Bishop of Jaffna Savundranayagam and Bishop of Batticaloa Kingsley Swamipillai played their part well, Fr. S.J. Emmanuel, former Vicar General of Jaffna, played a prominent role from Germany, shunting between European countries. These Roman Catholic clergies act on instructions of the Church. Late J.N. Dixit, former Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, observed that the Catholic Clergy was always supportive of LTTE in his book “Assignment Colombo” (12).    




As the Diaspora is no longer united, the GTF cannot claim to represent the entire spectrum. Church influenced Tamil separatism may gain momentum if Rajapakse continues his hardline stance supported by a section of Buddhist clergy, which is anti-Hindu. Though Rajapakse exhibited bouts of Sinhala chauvinism earlier, he seems to be yielding to the machinations of the Church. Either way, he is bad for Tamil Hindus.


Fortunately or unfortunately, the Sinhalese are also divided among themselves, as evidenced by the Rajapakse-Fonseka rift immediately after the Eelam War IV. The small silver line visible is that there is a section of Buddhist clergy which understands the evangelist threat and is willing to cooperate with Hindu religious leaders. Hindu organizations of India must grasp this opportunity and establish contact with the Buddhist clergy and cooperate for the good of India and Sri Lanka and the region as a whole. 


This is the right time for Tamil Hindus to remember the yeoman services and inclusive politics of great Hindu leaders like Sir Muttucoomaraswamy, Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam, Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan and Sir Duraiswamy, et al, who spent their lives for establishing a united nation of Ceylon with Hindu-Buddhist Identity. The Church is acting very fast and if the present trend continues, the island nation may soon become another South Korea. Such a Sri Lanka will be a huge threat for the security, sovereignty and territorial integrity of India.



(1): - http://print.dailymirror.lk/opinion1/32128.html

The Simulated Politics of Diaspora

(2): - http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2011/01/tamil-canadian-website-and-tamil.html

The Tamil Canadian website and Tamil Hinduism

(3): - http://www.tamilcanadian.com/events/index.php?list=details&id=7

(4): - http://www.vijayvaani.com/FrmPublicDisplayArticle.aspx?id=662

‘Dravidian’ New Year Ordinance facing defeat and death, 28 Jun 2009

(5): - http://www.tamilcanadian.com/canada/misc/tcwa_tamil_names_app.htm

(6): - http://www.tamilcanadian.com/article/6018

(7): - http://www.tamilcanadian.com/article/6022

(8): - http://www.vijayvaani.com/FrmPublicDisplayArticle.aspx?id=670

Tigers’ Eelam: Nothing ‘Hindu’ or ‘Tamil’ about it – II, 2 Jul 2009

(9): - http://globaltamilforum.org/gtf/

(10): - http://globaltamilforum.org/userfiles/file/GTF_-_Good_Friday_Appeal_02Apr2010.pdf




Let this confusion not hinder or weaken our unity for our Struggle - Rev.Dr.S.J.Emmanuel

Do not weaken the goals and direction of Eelam struggle: Father S.J. Emmanuel

(11): -


(12): - http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2010/03/11/fr-s-j-emmanuel-of-the-global-tamil-forum/


User Comments Post a Comment
Comments are free. However, comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate material will be removed from the site. Readers may report abuse at  editorvijayvaani@gmail.com
Post a Comment

Back to Top