A visitor to the tamilnation website commented: "The world is one unity.
There is no Tamil or Telugu or Moslem or Christian. Truth is termination of search and
therefore, useless. We are all standing on it. Nobody will ever know it..."
It is true that the world is 'one unity'. At the same time, Tamils living today in many
lands are inevitably drawn to examine their relationship to that 'one
Even if a Tamil should forget his national identity, the
environment around him will often conspire to remind him, of that which he may have
forgotten. As one of many illustrations, one may consider the case of a Tamil who lives in
the United States. He may be a US citizen and he may wish to serve his country (and have the ability
to do so), but his chances of becoming, say the President of the United States are
remote. His Tamil identity becomes relevant to the way that others in the US will exercise their
democratic right to vote. This is today's political reality. Even in other areas, (the
higher that one climbs the ladder of 'success') a Tamil may need to be better to be
Again, even those non Tamils who may speak about the 'one world' (and decry divisions) are
rarely prepared to give up their own national identity and they continue to live with
seeming contentment in a world divided by nation states - - 'one
world' for the Tamils but 'our
nation' for the American, the Canadian, the French and so on.
It is when a Tamil comes across these lines that a sense of his own identity as a Tamil,
quickly emerges within him. His past becomes relevant to his present and in this way, has
something to do with his future. Every inside has an outside and the relationship between
the two is intrinsic and dynamic - the relationship is not extrinsic and static.
When the rest of the world ceases to separate the Tamil as a Tamil, the Tamils
themselves may truly become world citizens. But we cannot pretend to live in a world which
has not yet arrived.
But that is not to say that we should not work toward the ideal of a 'one
the separate national identities of the peoples of the world will be transcended by
a greater unity.
A true transnationalism will not come by the
suppression of one nation by another. A true trans nationalism will come from
nationalisms that have flowered and matured; from peoples who have grown from
dependence to independence and inter-dependence - and to work for the flowering of the Tamil
nation is to bring forward the emergence of a true trans nationalism.
We believe that Tamils have no cause, to be apologetic about their togetherness as a people. As
a people, they too have much to contribute to the rich fabric of the many nations of the
world - and to world civilisation. At the same time, is true to say that the Tamils have gained, and continue to gain,
by their interaction with other peoples and other cultures - particularly those of the
Indian sub continent. No people are an island unto themselves. The Tamil people do
not take an exaggerated view of nationalism. They are not chauvinists.
And, how does one accept what is valuable in another's culture without losing that
which is valuable in one's own cultural heritage? Here, it seems that the cultural
identity of a people and their struggle for equality and freedom
go hand in hand. It is only then, that the exchange between different cultures will remain
voluntary and not enforced.
The words of Mahatma Gandhi will strike a chord, though some may dismiss them as
an empty idealism:
"...My goal is friendship with the world and I can combine the greatest love with the greatest
opposition to wrong ... Through the realisation of
freedom for India, I hope to realize and carry on the mission of the brotherhood of
One World and Mahatma Gandhi -
Truth is admittedly a pathless land, and as you point out,
(final) truth may be the termination of search - and beyond
words. But that may not render the search itself useless. Here, Stephen Covey's quote from
T.S.Eliot may be helpful:
"We must not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to
arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time."
Aurobindo's reflections on the Evolution of Man
may also be of some relevance:
"Man's highest aspiration - his seeking for perfection, his longing for freedom
and mastery, his search after pure truth and unmixed delight - is in flagrant
contradiction with his present existence and normal experience. Such contradiction is part
of Nature's general method; it is a sign that she is working towards a greater harmony.
The reconciliation is achieved by an evolutionary progress."
The post modern vision as articulated by persons such
as David Ray Griffin helps to further our understanding of that evolutionary
progress and the relation between the individual and society:
"... we are not simply the products of our natural and social environments. We
are, to be sure, deeply constituted by our relations to these environments. But in each
moment, we create ourselves out of these relations in terms of our desires, purposes,
meanings, and values - in short our spirituality.
Because of this element of autonomy, individuals are not only shaped by their
society; they can shape it in return. In stating this two fold position -
that individuals are internally constituted by their social relations, and that they are
nevertheless not totally determined by them - I have already rejected a modern for a
post-modern viewpoint." (David Ray Griffin in Spirituality and Society:Postmodern Visions, 1989)
Theory and practice are the two legs on which we walk. Theory informs our practice
and practice refines our theory and Mahatma Gandhi's
experiments with truth continue to inspire several decades after his death. The search
for truth is not useless, though truth is a pathless
land. Gramsci's words remain persuasive:
"The man of action is the true philosopher: and the philosopher must of necessity
be a man of action... the real philosopher is, and cannot be other than the politician,
the active man who modifies his environment, understanding by environment the ensemble of
relations which each of us enters to take part in".