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 36

I do not make excuses for wandering from one subject to another. It is the result of the untrained writer that I am. I enjoy the freedom, I have never known, through my journey, towards a freedom for our people in ‘tamiz Izam.’ In chapter 35, I wanted to continue wit the dynamism of opposites as it applies to us, ‘tamizar.’ There is a lack of conviction to show intense passion for freedom, the real freedom in our natural habitat.

My reason for interjecting the article about Kanniyakumari, was to illustrate that, even a small incident or event could take mountainous proportion, if validated and publicized. This particular story is not unique, as there are several stories of ‘tejvam’ possession and shrines springing. Here a scholar has taken the time and energy to delve into the story and write a paper. I have always maintained that religious faith is personal.

But, sometimes I am perplexed by the lack of conviction in our faith. In the story under reference, the ‘fundamentalist Hindus’ objected to the ‘ammantAj’s’ marriage. One of the reasons was that she will lose her virginity and hence her divine power. These same people deified her in the belief that she was ‘amman’ reincarnated. Where does the duplicity in faith lie? Under one set of circumstances it is blind faith and under others distrusts.

The author of the article has given authenticity to one of our best traditions, ‘mother worship’ it does not necessarily mean the divine mother, but embraces our own mothers. ‘avvyp pAddi’ has said it, ‘tAjiR ciRaNtoru kOvilumilly taNty col mikkatOr maNtiram illay.’.

My mother had a collection of written and unwritten adages for every occasion. She did not go to college, she had a short spell at Uduvil Girls School. This was a sort of punishment for her precocity and practical pranks. The father thought a boarding school life or army training will change people. Why? I know of many cases where a young woman’s life has been messed about in the belief that a drunkard, a ‘good for nothing’ will change for the better with marriage. Of course there were few cases where some men turned out to be responsible, while others continued with their style of life to the suffering of an innocent party.

My mother’s stint at UGS came to an abrupt end with her fathers sudden death. Again under such situation she will sing, ‘tAjOdaRucuvy pOm, taNtyjOdu kalvi pOm, cEjOdu tAn peRRa celvamum pOm.’ Somebody in the family had passed it down for generations. My maternal grandmother could hardly read and write ‘tamiz.’ But I tell you that not many of us with all our reading and schooling could come out with appropriate answers or adage to suit the situation. I have to warn here that everything they said or did was not always right or practical in a changing world. ‘tuddanyk kanhdAl edda Nil.’ We tried to distance ourselves from the ‘tudda kymunu, kedda kAdyjar, and ciRumyc cingkaLar,’ and see what is happening to us?

I admire President Clinton for his middle-path stand. He does not want to contribute to chaos dynamism by equating extremism. A "give and take" liberal policy is the dawn of brightness, and a "take and trickle give" conservative policy is the dusk of darkness. It is not vacillation, it is solution creation. Devolution of power to people in the US is unmatched and yet the checks and balances are placed to avoid absolute power in the hands of anybody. We are tasting the tyranny of the many by the few in power in Sri Lanka.

Even in a ‘tamiz Izam’ we do not want few to tyrannize the many of us. We who are experiencing the brilliant checks and balances placed in the constitution, at times there are signs that it is working in the wrong direction, but under wise, loyal, and humane leadership the hopes and wishes of the founding father’s will prevail. I do not know how many of you watched the State of the Union address in the TV. I was more than anything mesmerized by the sincerity that emanated from President Clinton. I could almost see the waves of feeling rising from his heart. With such leadership, and hopefully sanity of voters unchanging, a few more years of peace initiatives are matters of smooth sailing, and we should stake our claim with President Clinton now.

I am in the process of translating the US Constitution into ’tamiz.’ There are some legal terms that I would like to have a universally accepted ‘tamiz’ equivalents and hence the delay. I would also like to know from this circlites whether they are aware of any ‘tamiz’ translation of the US Constitution. If we have to make any claim to a ‘tamiz Izam’ constituted government, it is not enough to give lip service or crocodile tears to our suffering. Intense passion is the mood that is required. This is the time to prop up ‘tamiz Izam’ effort, and claim the right to participation in a "constituent body" that will be responsible for a constitution that will have all the etchings and avoid the need for any "Bill of Rights."...

.... I learnt very early in life, perhaps as a result of my mother’s repetitive singing, "kanhnhArak kanhdatuvum poj, kAtthArak kEddatuvum poj, Arat tIra (tIra ArAjNtatu) ArajNtatu mej." Here is the basis for scientific expeditions. "Seeing is distortion, hearing is deception, unless by thorough investigation." ‘viralaLavE jAkumAm vIkkam,’ Everything has a set of coordinates. One can do or contribute or achieve according to his ability, effort, endurance, enthusiasm and yet, they have their limits. But no one is hopeless or ineffective. Some do it big and some do it small, and everybody does it all. One of ‘cittar vAlyccAmi’s gnanakkummi’ comes to mind:

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