Buddhist-Hindu Identity: a necessity for Sri Lanka

via Thamizhchelvan - Vijayvaani.com published on January 23, 2011

The agenda of the Church

Generally there is an utter lack of understanding in both India and Sri Lanka about the tricky role played by the Church which has been exclusively focusing on forming a “Tamil Christian Nation”, a combination of the Indian State of Tamil Nadu and the North-East of Sri Lanka. That is why the Church backed the LTTE, influenced its leadership, usurped the Diaspora leadership, and formed an unholy nexus with the Dravidian parties of Tamil Nadu. It is unfortunate that the Tamil people have failed to understand the Church in this regard.

The formation of a Tamil Christian Nation will help the Church to Christianise Sri Lanka quickly, given its influence over the Sri Lankan leadership. It will also help the Church to Christianise South India next, so that the South will get culturally alienated from India, as has happened in the Northeast. Already Hindus have become minorities in Kerala, while Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are in the severe grip of evangelization. The Tamil Dravidian parties, Congress, Communist parties and other secular (sic) outfits such as Janata Dal, TRS and TDP, etc., are always prepared to crawl before the Church asks them to bend.  

This Christianisation started since the European Missionaries landed in Indian and Sri Lankan shores and established themselves, especially in the colonial period. Despite independence, the process of Christianisation has increased, thanks to the imposition of the Christian concept called ‘secularism’ by the political leadership of both countries, showing scant regard to the native cultural heritage and religious traditions.

Church’s strategies

The strategies adopted by the Church to achieve this goal can be summed up as:

1.      Influencing the leadership of both LTTE and the Sri Lankan Government

2.      Influencing the leadership of the Dravidian Parties of Tamil Nadu and forming an unholy nexus with them; spreading the myth of “Christian Missionaries’ contribution to Tamil” (1)

3.      Acquiring vast stretches of lands, as much as possible, in the name of education and health care, and planting Churches along the stretches so that neighbourhood citizens are coerced and converted easily

4.      Baptizing Thiruvalluvar, hijacking Thirukkural and doing things in his name. Inventing a St. Thomas-Thiruvalluvar connection and spreading that myth. Thiruvalluvar and Thirukkural are a stop gap arrangement, a transit point, through which the transformation from Hindu to Christianity takes place (2)

5.      Sowing anti-Veda and anti-Sanskrit poison and dividing the Saiva Mathams, thereby separating a section in the name of “Tamil Saivam” and controlling them. A few Saiva Mutts, who flirt with the Atheist Dravidian Parties, are allegedly backed by the Church to go all out against Vedic culture, Agama Worship and Sanskrit usage

6.      Corrupting the secretariats and officials of Vaishnava Mutts and Saiva Adheenams and purchasing their lands through them, thereby liquidating their assets immensely. Many Mutts have sold their lands to Christians.

7.      Influencing the Government to interfere in Temple affairs and harass the Mathams and Adheenams through the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Department. Changing Hindu traditions through government ordinances to suit their agenda.

8.      Erasing “Hindu” identity and establishing a “Tamil” identity through inculturation, Tamil chauvinism and Tamil separatism, with the intention to totally Christianise the state.   

Present status of Tamil Nadu

As far as Tamil Nadu is concerned, the Church has established a clear nexus with all the Dravidian parties and Dalit outfits, notwithstanding its hegemony over the Congress party, which now owes its allegiance to the Vatican. As a result, all four pillars of democracy are wreaking havoc on Hindus, Hindu temples, Hindu culture, Hindu tradition and ultimately the Hindu identity of the state itself.
 
Dalits are rapidly getting alienated from the Hindu fold due to the onslaught of Christian Missionaries and foreign-funded Christian NGOs, as evidenced by the rampant conversions across the state; thousands of ancient temples are left unattended to ruin by the HR & CE Department as authenticated by the fact that thousands of ancient temples do not have the resources to conduct at least one-time puja or do not have even oil to light the lamps; street temples are destroyed by civic authorities in the name of clearing encroachments, but the same space is allowed for vendors from minority communities to run businesses; temple lands are sold or leased to atheist politicians and non-Hindus; shops around big and famous temples are allotted to minorities for vending, a fact seen at any famous temple in the state.

Hindus are made to discriminate against each other through government-controlled ‘ticketing’ systems for worship in temples, and recently the various charges increased five times; temple rituals are changed as per the whims and fancy of politicians and bureaucrats; age-old traditional festivals and religious traditions are changed through ordinances and government orders, the change of Tamil New Year and stopping of Brahmma Ratham ceremony in Srirangam Temple being apt examples; mutt heads and micro minority communities like Dikshidars are harassed by design to take over temples under their control.

Also, there is no sealing for purchase of lands by the Church; Churches and Prayer Houses are allowed to flourish disproportionate to Christian population; conversion activities by the Church are not checked; no screening of huge foreign funds received by the Church and Christian NGOs; no regulation of foreign-funded and Christian-dominated mass media which are bent upon destroying Tamil Hindu culture as evidenced by the various programs aired by channels like SUN TV, VIJAY TV and Kalaignar TV. Even Chennai Doordarshan allows a flurry of evangelical programs violating its own code of ethics, rules and regulations (3)

Hindus are not getting full justice from the Courts of Tamil Nadu and the judiciary is influenced by the state government while hearing issues concerning Hindus, as evidenced by the Rama Sethu, Chidambaram Temple and many such cases. A case filed against Vijay TV for hurting Hindu sentiments was dismissed without proper hearing. Another case against the demolition of Street Temples was haphazardly handled by the High Court and not taken to its logical conclusion (4)

Solomon-Samuel Effect

The present situation in Sri Lanka is not encouraging for Tamil Hindus. In fact, it is getting worse with the government yielding to the Machiavellian agenda of the Church. President Rajapakse seems to have a soft corner for the Church and Christian organizations, even while exhibiting Sinhala chauvinism through some of his activities.

To understand the Christian domination of the polity, one needs to go back to the early 1950s. Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike, born to Anglican Christian parents, converted to Buddhism for obvious political reasons and raised the evil concept of ‘Racism’ in the run-up to the general elections in 1956. After forming the ‘Sinhala Maha Saba’ in 1936, he backed the United National Party, enjoyed ministerial positions, and in 1951 withdrew from UNP and formed his own ‘Sri Lanka Freedom Party’ (SLFP). He announced the “Sinhala Only” policy, adopted it as electoral strategy in 1956, and swept the southern electorate. He became Prime Minister and immediately made ‘Sinhalese’ as the Official Language, despite the fact that Tamils (excluding Muslims) constituted 25% of the Island Nation’s population.

Meanwhile, Samuel James Velupillai Chelvanayakam, a member of the ‘Ceylon American Mission’, founded the “Federal Party” aka ‘Tamil Arasu Katchi’ and lost the Kankesanthurai seat from which he contested the 1952 elections. Later, SWRD Bandaranaike’s “Sinhala Only” cry galvanized the Tamil population behind SVJ Chelvanayakam and helped him win the 1956 elections.

The immediate fall out of the ‘Sinhala Only Act’ was the ‘Gal Oya Riots’ in which hundreds of Tamils died in the eastern province. Eventually, Bandaranaike negotiated with Chelvanayakam and concluded the “Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam Pact”. But failure to implement the pact on the advice of the United National Party led to the infamous “1958 Riots” from 22 May to 27 May 1958; violence, arson and loot spread across the Island.  

The government called in the military to quell the violence and restore order. But sporadic violence continued and at last in 1958, the government passed The Tamil Language (Special Provisions) Act – which provided for the use of Tamil language as a medium of instruction, of examination for admission to the Public Service, for use in state correspondence and for administrative purposes in the Northern and Eastern Provinces – which formed a part of the Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam Pact. The passing of this Act eventually led to the murder of Bandaranaike by a Buddhist Clergy in 1959.

Samuel Chelvanayakam died in 1976 after 20 years of politics from 1956 to 1976, during which he achieved nothing. He never lived in the Tamil dominated North-East, but in Colombo, practicing as an Attorney at Law; his family spoke only English at home. He picked up Tamil later and was the first to call for an “Independent Dravida Nadu” on either side of the Palk Straits. Being Christian, he worked towards fulfilling the agenda of the Church, which ultimately led to the marginalization of the Tamil people from the Sri Lankan mainstream.

Chelvanayakam’s co-founder of the Federal Party was another Christian, EMV Naganathan, whose daughter Anne Nirmala Naganathan was married to Chelvanayakam-Emily Grace’s son Samuel Chandrahasan. Chandrahasan didn’t prefer to stay in Sri Lanka during the entire period of conflict, but focused more on the refugee camps in Tamil Nadu. A soft-spoken person, he had good contacts with both DMK and AIADMK leaderships. Reliable sources from Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu say that, apart from being a fervent Dravidian ideologue, he is a member of the Church of South India and Ceylon American Mission, because of which Christian Missionaries and NGOs had whale of a good time ‘harvesting’ in the refugee camps across Tamil Nadu.

Rajapakse’s moves

President Percy Mahinda Rajapakse is contemplating elections for the Northern Province, which has been demerged from the erstwhile North-eastern Province. Sources say Rajapakse’s Sri Lankan Freedom Party, founded by SWRD Bandaranaike, intends to field Chandrahasan as its Chief Ministerial candidate and government missionaries are expected to ensure his victory.

 It must be noted that the erstwhile ‘Federal Party’ is the present TNA (Tamil National Alliance), which was supportive of the LTTE, as both were backed by the Roman Catholic Church. While the Northern Province is 80% Hindu, Rajapakse has appointed five new Government Agents (District Collectors) out of which four are Christians, namely Emelda Sukumar for Jaffna, Nicholaspillai for Mannar, Mrs. Ketheeswaram (a Born Again Christian) for Killinochi and Mrs. Charles for Vavuniya. With Samuel Chandrahasan as Chief Minister, Christian dominance will be complete in the Hindu majority north.

However, latest reports say Nicholaspillai has been removed following complaints by a senior Muslim Minister that he was working with the Roman Catholic Bishop to deny rights to returning Muslims. The only Hindu Government Agent from Mullaithivu district has been transferred to Mannar district in place of Nicholaspillai and a Mannar Christian named Pattinathan has been appointed GA for the predominantly Hindu district of Mullaithivu. Four out of five GAs being Christian is deliberately disproportionate to the Hindu Northern Province. This shows Rajapakse’s scheming and dangerous mind.

Church planting activities are already on the rise in the north, starting from Mannar, exactly opposite Rameswaram; evangelization of the north would be complete soon. Chandrahasan, with his close rapport with the Dravidian parties and Church backing, is likely to revive the call for “Tamil Nationalism”, a return to the politics of his father.

This may probably be intended to ensure a Dravidian monolith on either side of the Palk Straits, which would certainly impact on Indian security interests. Both evangelization and Tamil Nationalism would undermine Buddhism. Rajapakse cannot feign ignorance on all this. This move by Rajapakse raises questions about his intentions.

The fact that Rajapakse is ‘not clean’ can be confirmed by his latest move in the field of academics. He is bent upon making one Professor Ratnajeevan Hoole the Vice Chancellor of the University of Jaffna, though he is a rabid Christian with anti-India / anti-Hindu bias. Despite strong protests from Sri Lankan Hindu academicians and intelligentsia, it seems Rajapakse will be successful in placing Ratnajeevan Hoole at the University of Jaffna, which stands on the erstwhile Parameshwara College, a Hindu institution founded by the great Hindu leader Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan. Ratnajeevan Hoole has viciously attacked Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan through his writings (5)

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
ajority 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).    

Conclusion

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.

http://www.vijayvaani.com/FrmPublicDisplayArticle.aspx?id=1582

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