தமிழ்த் தேசியம்

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."

- Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Journey Down Memory Lane To Reach 'tamiz Izam'
R.Shanmugalingam

Chapter 19

Dreams are virtual realities, so are seeing ghosts or apparitions, perhaps! Dreaming was explained as the reversal of seeing. In the real world light rays from the object pass through the eyes and are captured by the brain and interpreted as pictures. In a dream world, virtual light rays from a sub-conscious image of an incident, event or object from the brain through the eyes appear as the dream-something like a hologram. Simply put, it is virtual as the image behind the mirror cannot be captured on a film placed behind the mirror at a distance as far behind the mirror as the object is in front of it. In photography or seeing real light rays emanate from the object and are caught from any position of the object so long as the object is visible to the ‘eye’ of the camera or person.

In this day of high technology and unrestricted imagination to try out anything within available resources, someday a brilliant scientist will engineer a machine that is capable of photosynthesis. My father said that if man can invent such a machine, he will be ‘god.’ He also believed someday man will engineer a ‘video camera’ that is capable of capturing pictures of Jesus Christ and any of our ancesters and actually record their voices. It will be possible to listen to the sermon on the mount in the voice of Christ. Why not?

If matter is neither created nor destroyed, these energies or whatever that are fluttering and dancing on the loose, with the right tool, should be possible to retrieve. Don’t we undelete files that are assumed lost if we knew where to look for, within the time already predetermined. Who fixed a time limit for energy to completely disappear? In a world and that may be the Utopia, some can engineer machines for the living mass, some can doctor situations, some can keep account of all such activities, and importantly, some can teach the right thing. In such a world there won’t be courts, judges and lawyers, nor need for police army and prisons. Artists and entertainers will be free to create responsibly, because they have been taught well. Let me stop my sprinting imagination right here.

Cow the cud chewing animal is sacred to some, important and almost indispensable to many. Most of us eat meat and yet close our eyes at the sight of open wound. We use milk with reverence and gave ‘piLLajAr’ a drink of milk from the carton. Didn’t we know this milk is the product of an animal that eats its own vomit? The Pope in his New Year message called the over celebrated Christmas and New Year as a form of paganism. Some of us, ‘tamizar’ who did not know what Christmas was, set up a Christmas tree in our homes.

Fair enough, the children want to stand shoulder to shoulder with their peers. Now these children want to stand shoulder to shoulder with their peers in their teen age beer drinking, teen age impregnation. Do they have the will and wisdom of a teenage Bill Clinton to give into peer pressure by drawing in but not inhaling to avoid being addicted to marijuana? I advocate assimilation with the locals, but why ape them in toto? Learn to get the best from them, discard the worst and show them or introduce them to some of our best.

Our families back home are caught in a catastrophe, our roots are smothered and being buried and burnt alive as fertilizer for Sinhala Buddhist racism to grow fatter.

I requested restraints, not denial, and I am glad many parents have shown maturity and some children are aware of our predicament. I know of a Christian family with children, the youngest is attending pre-school. For the past few years we attended their Christmas party. The house will be decorated and the traditional Christmas tree set up. This year, there was no decoration and no Christmas tree. We told them that as usual we will spend Christmas eve with them. The children are too young to comprehend the sombre mood, but they expect some christmas activities.

What better activity than opening the gift. He insisted on ripping open every gift wrap and in one case wanted to assemble a complicated toy. He did not miss Christmas. On the other side there is a non Christian family who has a 12 year old child. For the last few years we usher New Year from their house. We normally contribute to a festive mood, singing, dancing, toasting the New Year with Champagne that was popped open at the strike of midnight. Christmas tree is part of the activities for peer pleasing.

We told them that we are not in the mood to get in the mood this year. Visited with them the day before. This family on New Year day goes to the temple and pays us a visit for the traditional new year visit. I am in no way condoning or condemning any, it is just a comparison and how religious fear makes a slave of our thinking process. One of their guests even asked me why I should take a social drink, if I am that concerned about our people back home? Tthis reminds me of a ‘tamiz’ cinema song:-

English impression of the above song.

 

Another of their guests sent me this excerpt by e mail: Happy New Year to every one. AanAl, eM makKalukku epPa vidivu varuM ? Yesterday I said to xxxxx uncle, "As individuals we can celebrate. But, as a people, we have nothing to celebrate for." When he said "That's true," I opined, "That's why we're in this state today"(meaning we have no sense of the predicament we're in!).

Some of us for a very long time accept anything that originates from pant wearing English speaking class. Reluctant to accept even gems of thoughts that comes out from a ‘vEddi’ clad ‘tamiz’ speaking great men. ‘Every action not only has an equal and opposite reaction,’ it has a time and place to have positive effect. Otherwise it will generate opposing reaction. We ‘tamizar’ have along history and our cultural traditions and language goes beyond time of recorded history. We may have been nomadics, hunters, city dwellers, anything, but from our literatuure certain cultural background materials come to light. We were meat eating, animal sacrificing, joy dancing, law abiding, sea faring, community oriented people.

Animal sacrifice and that too only roosters and rams were only beheaded in temples. There was no way my mother was going to cook mutton from the butcher. Either the meat has to be supplied by the caretakers of our palmyra grove or meat from tepmle ‘vELvi.’ It took some persuasion and subterfuge to get my wife cook beef at home in Zambia. While in Ceylon no beef was cooked but mutton, that too goat meat from the butcher was the only choice outside ‘tamiz’areas. When our lifestyle changed from being hunters into an agricultural society, may be, there was perhaps no lentils and other sources of vegetable protein.

Man, we all know is a creature of habit. We were in the habit of eating meat. Hunting became more and more difficult or dangerous. Man must have designed ways of domesticating animals. In the process he harvested the animal crop systematically. As time passed man designed all forms of entertaiment. May be he designed productive entertainments such as sacrifice of animals for meat purposes. Almost all animal sacrifice is illegal now. The merits and demerits of such man made laws are moot. But the competition and fun were enormous. Ataly Amman was perhaps the first temple to ban animal sacrifice but the tradition of

vELvi’ sans animal sacrifice goes on. Urumparai ‘kAddu vyravar and kavanhAvatty’ in Keerimalai were two temples of fame that carried on with animal sacrifice even at the time we left Ceylon.

Ram the sacrificial goat is paraded with all pomp and noise on his last journey next.

continued

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