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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NATIONS & NATIONALISM

On Tamil Nationalism
 

Tamils - a Trans State Nation


"A trans state nation is a cultural, economic and political togetherness of a people living in many lands and across distant seas. It is a togetherness consolidated by struggle and suffering. It is not an 'idealism' expressed only in word. It is a political togetherness expressed in tangible deed. It is a togetherness directed to secure the aspirations of a people for equality and freedom - finding expression in establishing, nurturing and maintaining governmental or non governmental networks or institutions  necessary for that purpose."

Forging Nationhood Through Struggle, Suffering and Sacrifice - Sumantra Bose, 1994


"...What seems to emerge clearly is the fluidity and malleability of the concept of nationhood. Not only is the sense of belonging to an essentially common collectivity, called a 'nation', not a 'primordial' identification, rooted in objective factors, but any such sense of solidarity has to be carefully and painstakingly nurtured over time, if it is to form the emotional basis of a mass movement for 'national liberation'..."

The Tamil Tigers : Armed Struggle for Identity - Dagmar Hellmann- Rajanayagam.1994


"...LTTE represent a strand of political will and thinking which is extremely strong and entrenched among the Tamils... aims of equality and social justice have been realised best by LTTE who are as mixed by caste and religion as one could wish. And there lies another source of LTTE's strength: the undoubted support of the movement depends on the mixture of deep loyalty to the culture and history of the Tamils and an attempt at social reform... While the other groups claimed support and assistance from the population, LTTE was the only group that could prove to have grassroots support and influence, a support which enabled them to achieve military control. This was not solely based on military superiority, which is, after all, a relative concept, but much more on the ideology of the survival of the Tamil race, Tamil nation, Tamil language, Tamil culture and Tamil homeland... the reason for the success of this particular strand of ideology...must lie somewhere in the direction Tamil culture took in the past, which determines the shape of Tamil nationalism of today. ..."

Sumathi Ramaswamy in Body Language: The Somatics of Nationalism in Tamil India - Gender & History, Volume 10 Issue 1 Page 78  - April 1998


" The modern nation resides, literally and symbolically, in the bodies of its citizenry. These bodies in turn constitute the national body politic. The female embodiment of the nation is frequently the ground on which the two bodies intersect. This essay explores this intersection through the analytic of the 'somatics of nationalism', with examples drawn from Tamil-speaking India in this century. Through an analysis of how images of the shared womb, blood, milk, and tears of the female embodiment of the nation were circulated by nationalist narratives, the author suggests that these were somatic building blocks with which the nation and its constituency were constructed in southern India. In turn, Tamil citizens were called upon to demonstrate their loyalty by putting their own bodies on line, shedding their own blood and that of their enemies, for the sake of the embodied nation. Nations and citizen-patriots may relate to each other politically, materially and emotionally, but they also do so somatically."

Reconceptualising State, Nation and Sovereignty - Sumantra Bose, 1994


"The territorial, juridical state is in serious peril. Despite the legalistic 'legitimacy' that such states enjoy, and the formidable coercive resources that they often have at their disposal, their very existence is facing concerted challenges, the world over, from those who speak the emotionally charged language of 'national self-determination.'.."

Belief, Ethnicity & Nationalism - David Little, USIP


"...The specific role of religion and related cultural factor in the Sri Lankan conflict is clearly significant. While nationalism is a relatively modern invention in Sri Lanka, it nevertheless draws on and puts to use traditional religious warrants. Sinhala Buddhist "revivalists" of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries have artfully manipulated ancient legends concerning Buddha's alleged associations with Sri Lanka, as well as the patterns of cooperation and mutual support between king and monastery that are part of the island's history. These appeals have done much to mobilize support for Sinhala nationalism among the monks and laity, and to provide the movement with sacred authority... What is most menacing about the type of religious and ethnic nationalism that has appeared in Sri Lanka is precisely its more or less systematic incompatibility with the right of non discrimination. The eminent Sri Lankan historian, K.M. de Silva has pointed out that the Sinhala Buddhist revivalists had no time for such norms: "In the Sinhala language, the words for nation, race and people are practically synonymous, and a multiethnic or multicommunal nation or state is incomprehensible to the popular mind. The emphasis on Sri Lanka as the land of the Sinhala Buddhists carried an emotional popular appeal, compared with which the concept of a multiethnic polity was a meaningless abstraction..."

Narrating Tamil Nationalism: Subjectivities and Issues - Michael Roberts, 2004
Sinhala-ness & Sinhala Nationalism - Michael Roberts, 1999
Jacob Pandian in Caste, Nationalism, and Ethnicity : an interpretation of Tamil cultural history and social order
 
"...Within the same cultural tradition, a number of political and religious symbols of greater or lesser importance exist, and some of these have more continuity and have greater relevance as representing cultural boundaries. It is not necessary for these symbols to be interrelated as a systemic whole. It is true that these symbols often fuse each other's meanings and are transformed to convey a collective or synthetic meaning; but the fusion, transformation and synthesis occur in their use to conceptualise identity. We can say that the symbols of cultural boundaries are like books in a library: an individual may organize his knowledge through a selective reading of books.

To the question, "What is your group identity?" a Tamil may answer by identifying his jati title or jati name, his language, occupation, religious or political affiliation Depending on the context and who the questioner is, the answers would vary.

.....language is not the sole emblem of collective identity among the Tamils. The Tamils are divided into several jati groups, each group having distinctive ritual status and political power. The emblems which denote or identify ritual status and political power are jati name and jati title, respectively...

An individual has a coherent system of self and group identity but what this system does is to enable the individual to employ and deploy multiple identities in his lifetime and in different experiential contexts. In other words, there is no set pattern of identities that remain static. The individual knows what "appropriate" identity to dramatize, and knows how to respond to the dramatisation of the "appropriate" identity by others..."

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