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 27

I have to stress on the need to bring out some ‘tamiz’ texts in my "Journey" documentation. There can be no ‘tamiz Izam' without ‘tamiz.’ It is true due to economical and political expediency we learnt the colonial Queen’s English well. But Sinhala? Which Queen is that?

I do not think learning Sinhala is a problem. I knew of a ‘tamiz’ friend, a telecommunication Inspector, who emigrated to UK in the early sixties who could speak and write Sinhala upside down or inverted. I have seen him challenge some Sinhala pundits to read what he has written in Sinhala. So it is not the language that keeps us from learning that comparatively new and insignificant language. It is the principle of the thing as they say. It is not a perception but the truth that an injustice was meted out to ‘tamizar’ under the guise of official language act enacted with an ever present majority. A situation that will never change under this myopic unitary form of government.

Of course quislings will say anything anytime to anybody to fill their begging bowl. Can a full blooded ‘tamizan’ survive in a Sri Lanka that is brimming with triumph, though far away from being victorious. Under more conducive periods in the history of Sinhala ‘tamiz’ cooperation life was miserable. In an assumed spoils of a war situation some ‘tamiz’ ‘kOvanhak kaNtar’ seem to preach about Sinhala magnanimity towards ‘tamizar’ having used every dirty trick to hoodwink the international community with the help of quasi ‘tamizar.’ Their own folklore condemns them to banality for having cut the mother’s throat for a piece of turmeric. And how can we trust them having tasted their unfaithfulness all these years? Yes we want peace and harmony with dignity and honor not as a gesture of triumphal alms-giving.

Until such time as a software that can be used widely to post ‘tamiz’ text in the internet, transliteration has to be resorted to. Because of the lack or non availability of a standard code for writing ‘tamiz’ with current keyboard layout in English, a code had to be developed that will use phonemes in English to represent ‘tamiz’ with the minimum number of English letters combination to represent the 247 ‘tamiz’ alphabets. I am unable to represent the Table here as the Table contains the basic 31 ‘tamiz’ alphabets in the Table. This is necessary to assign English equivalents initially.

Once by usage English alphabets representing ‘tamiz’ basic letters become familiar, there will be no need to use any ‘tamiz’ letter for use in the Internet. However, a simplified ‘tamiz’ software using only the 26 keys of the QWERTTY keyboard to create all 247 ‘tamiz’ alphabets is now available and those who are desirous of enriching their knowledge of ‘tamiz,’ and want to teach their children ‘tamiz’ could buy such a software.

One more ‘tamiz typ pongkal’ has come and gone. Another Martin Luther King Jr. memorial day has just passed us. The Boston Globe of January 15, 1996 Op-ed page carries the article "On Separatism." what was applicable some thirty years ago in the USA throws better light to our predicament. I give below some excerpts:

"As long as the mind is enslaved, the body can never be free. Psychological freedom - a firm sense of self-esteem- is the most powerful weapon against the long night of physical slavery. No Lincolnian Emancipation Proclamation or Kennedyan or Johnsonian civil rights bill can totally bring this kind of freedom. The Negro will only be truly free when he reaches down to the inner depths of his own being and signs with the pen and ink of assertive selfhood his own emancipation proclamation. With a spirit straining toward true self-esteem, the Negro must boldly throw off the manacles of self-abnegation and say to himself and the world: I am somebody. I am a person. I am a man with dignity and honor. I have a rich and noble history, however painful and exploited that history has been. I am black and comely."

"But revolution though born of despair, cannot long be sustained by despair. This is the ultimate contradiction of the Black Power movement. It claims to be the most revolutionary wing of the social revolution taking place in the United States. Yet it rejects the one thing that keeps the fire of revolutions burning: the ever-present flame of hope. When hope dies, a revolution degenerates into an undiscriminating catcall for... futile gestures. The Negro cannot entrust his destiny to a philosophy solely on despair, to a slogan that cannot be implemented into a program."

The Afro-Americans never had a land of their own in the USA. They were never harassed by a government though somebody in the government or authority might have closed their eyes to the burning and attempted annihilation of the non-conforming Afro-Americans. But with us ‘tamizar’ it is a different story and situation. The freedom fighters are there to protect our people from being kicked about by the Sinhalas and their governments instigated and in several instances led by the champions of Mahavamsa Buddhism. In circle 647 Peacetel has posted an interesting but ignominious article:

"Front Page News from the Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) January 7th 1996 Buddhist Monks In US Oppose Package From Lakshmi Pieris in Los Angeles"

These Buddhist monks like many of their peers and countrymen know that we have not changed from our passive position, except for the freedom fighters. These irreligious clerics, as is the case there are exceptions to this rule, were waiting in the background to see which way the wind blew. They know that what the Sinhalas and their government are doing to ‘tamizar, is wrong. They did not want to come out from their hiding until they were convinced that the freedom fighters are a menace of the past. They are now safe to speak about a devolution proposal that is not worth a fig to ‘Tamizar.’

As King Jr. has said, and to paraphrase him, no Chandrikayan devolution proposal is going to give us freedom, dignity, honor, security, progress, peace and pursuit of our glorious culture, language and traditions. I just was told that according to BBC news, the devolution package has been released. What our freedom fighters do with that is what counts. There is nothing much we can do except wait in trepidation that Chandrika and the Sinhalas may have subjugated ‘tamizar’ in a war-if that is over, which is not. We have to sign in blood unfortunately, an assertive selfhood for our own freedom.

Are we going to sit idle or indifferent to what is happening to us there and what has begun to happen to us here? Are we only good for watching street brawls? Turn away our heads when we have to head into the fight. Ours is not a slogan of despair, it is a goal of hope and optimism. We have to rise up to meet the bald headed ball throwing with our bat of newly learnt inner strength from our freedom fighters. T.S. Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral comes to mind.

I am sure most of us have seen and learnt in this country the power of advertisement and people are so manipulable. The Sinhalas and their government have known this for a long time. They have now released their most dangerous weapon in the publicity arena. The laser missile ‘putta pikkAcuram.’ Do we need any counter measures? Even if it is not 100% effective let us send a simple ‘patriotism’ message missile to the world. Let us move away from the archaic sayings, "Ar kuttijum arici jAkaddum,’ into ‘Ar kuttAddAlum NanAvatu kuttuvam.’ We are leaving the publicity market without competition for the ‘tamiz’ devouring devils to bring in person their devil dance to this country. Of course they have the right and they are welcome. But are we going to continue with a life of voicelessness and powerlessness?

Do we have to be coaxed to do the right thing? Are we being coerced by someone to cringe from our duty? Do we really lack the resources to meet the challenges of our times? Are we comfortable with ourselves and do we get a goodnights sleep when the proverbial sword is hanging over our heads? Or are we happy that we have the means and access to ‘unisom’ and therefore able to put to sleep our conscience? What are we doing? Where are we going? Why can’t we be the ones that shared a bigger responsibility to inform the international community to act fairly?

I am reminded of a few lines from an old P.U Chinnappa song from the film Kannaki:

"mAnamellAm pOna pinnE vAzvatu tAnoru vAzvA?

(tamizar) kula marapinarkkO vacy tara En piRaNtEn NAn"

I cannot think of a better way to make us realize the need for action other than to keep pounding and pounding and pounding until I go out of action.

continued

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