Feb 7 – 13:

Patriotic Tamils Hail Mother Lanka as “Sri Lanka Thaayae” in Their Mother Tongue

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

“Sri Lanka Thaayae, Nam Sri Lanka, Namo, Namo, Namo, Namo Thaayae…” (Sri Lanka Mother, our sri Lanka, We Salute, Salute, Salute, Salute Thee) – Sri Lankan National Anthem in Tamil

Sri Lanka known as Ceylon gained Freedom from Britain on February 4th 1948. I was born six years later in Independent Ceylon on May 21st 1954. Ceylon became a Republic and changed her name officially to Sri Lanka on May 22nd 1972.Sri Lanka celebrated her 68th anniversary of Independence on Feb 4th 2016. The official commemorative event was held at the Galle Face Green. The highlight of the day was the singing of our national anthem in both Sinhala and Tamil.

SL NA

During the past decades I have seen many official commemorations of Independence day occur. However for the first time in my life I witnessed a scene via the internet which I thought would never ever happen during my lifetime. I saw and heard a youthful choir of boys and girls exuberantly rendering the Sri Lankan National anthem in my mother tongue –Tamil. It took 2 minutes and 32 seconds. The singers were students of Bambalapitiya Ramanathan Hindu Ladies College and Colombo Vivekananda College. They sang harmoniously with gusto and great fervour. After several decades the National anthem was being sung with official approval at the state sanctioned commemoration of Independence.

I was in a state of emotional ecstasy. I did something which I have not done before when Sri Lanka’s National Anthem was being played. I cried! I am not ashamed to say that!! I kept clicking replay to see the clip over and over again. My eyes turned moist and tears kept trickling down my cheeks. I even sobbed a few times involuntarily. It was with the greatest difficulty that I controlled myself. When the “Rupavahini” camera panned on the distinguished gathering, I saw those very important children of the Sri Lankan mother – most of them Sinhalese- standing respectfully erect as the words rang out clearly in Tamil. It was truly a defining moment! [DBSJ]

Jan 31 – Feb 6:

Power Sharing Quest of Sri Lankan Tamils After Independence

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

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The premier political configuration representing the Tamils of Sri Lanka in the Northern and Eastern provinces is the Tamil National Alliance(TNA). According to newspaper reports the TNA seems to be disappointed over perceived delay in setting up an appropriate mechanism to draft a new Constitution for Sri Lanka. It is also worried about what it sees as a potential dilution of the Constitution making exercise. Views have been expressed to this effect by TNA spokesperson and Jaffna district Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran at a press conference held last week at the office of the leader of the opposition.

The TNA’s concern over what it perceives as unnecessary delay and potential dilution of the Constitution –making exercise seems understandable when viewed against the backdrop of recent history in the Island where the Sri Lankan Tamils have consistently struggled to achieve equality through adequate power sharing arrangements.

Sadly these attempts to remedy the situation through Constitutional reform have not resulted in success from the Tamil point of view. The post –independence quest for power sharing of the Tamils of Sri Lanka has remained elusively unattainable. [DBSJ]

Jan 24 – 30

Monsignor Rayappu Joseph: “Controversial” Catholic Bishop Emeritus of Mannar Diocese

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

A news report from the Vatican Information Service(VIS) datelined January 14th 2016 stated that His Holiness Pope Francis has accepted the resignation presented by Bishop Rayappu Joseph upon reaching the age limit, from the pastoral care of the diocese of Mannar, Sri Lanka.The VIS report further said that Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Joseph Kingsley Swampillai, Bishop emeritus of Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, as apostolic administrator of the Mannar diocese. [DBSJ]

Jan 17-23:

Muslim Congress Wants a North-East Muslim Majority Council Based On India’s Pondicherry Model

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

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For more than two decades the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress(SLMC) has remained the foremost political party of the Sri Lankan Muslims. The SLMC co-founded and led by the legendary MHM Ashraff is headed by Rauff Hakeem who succeeded him as party leader after Ashraff’s demise in 2000. In recent times the dominant position held by the SLMC among Muslims is being challenged by the All Ceylon Makkal (Peoples) Congress (ACMC) led by Rishad Bathiudeen. Both Hakeem a lawyer and Badiutheen an engineer are members of the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe cabinet. While the former is minister of City planning and Water supply the latter is Industry and Commerce minister. [DBSJ]

Jan 10-16:

2016 பொங்கல் விழா வாழ்த்துக்களும் ஒரு பணிவான வேண்டுகோளும் – அருட்தந்தை எஸ்.ஜே. இம்மானுவேல்

அன்பான எனது தமிழ் உடன் பிறப்புக்களே,

Pongal FSJE

இன்று உலகம் முழுவதும் பரந்து வாழும் தமிழர்களை நான் எனது உடன் பிறப்புக்கள் என்று அழைத்து பொங்கல் விழா வாழ்த்துக்களை பகிர்ந்து கொள்வதில் பெருமை அடைகின்றேன்.

Tamil Leaders Opposed When Sinhalese Leaders Proposed Federalism

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

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“A thousand and one objections could be raised against the system, but when the objections are dissipated, I am convinced that some form of Federal Government will be the only solution’” – S.W.R.D.Bandaranaike in 1926.

“We suggest the creation of a federal state as in the United States of America” – Kandyan National Assembly in 1927.

Political developments in Sri Lanka during the post –independence years has devalued the concept of power sharing through the federal idea. Each major ethnicity has viewed the question suspiciously through its particular prism. Sri Lankan Sinhala “patriots” think the introduction of federalism will ultimately lead to division of the Country.Tamil Eelam Tamil “patriots” think federalism is a ruse to weaken Tamil nationalist aspirations for a separate state. The Muslims particularly from the North – East are worried about their place in a federal situation. [TW]

Jan 3 – 9:

Political Settlement Based on the “Federal Idea” in a “New” Sri Lanka

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

FI DBSJ

The new year has dawned on a note of hope and optimism for Sri Lanka! On January 9th 2016 President Maithripala Sirisena is scheduled to present a resolution in Parliament that proposes to convert Parliament into a Constitutional Assembly. The envisaged Constitutional Assembly is different to the Constituent Assembly that drafted the 1972 Republican Constitution. The political vision of the Sirisena –Wickremesinghe Govt is to enact a new Constitution differently. A Consensual approach would be adopted. [DBSJ]

Dec 26-Jan 2:

New Year’s Eve and Watch Night Service

By Sab-Thambi

December 31!
We are at the end of Year 2015.

The last day of the 365-day Western (Gregorian) calendar is generally referred to as New Year’s Eve. It is also known as Old Year’s Day. In some countries (Germany) it is also referred as Saint Sylvester’s day (Silvester) named after the burial day of Pope Sylvester I in the 3rd century. [TW]

Murder Most Foul of a Tamil MP In Church During Christmas Worship

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

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Blessings of Christmas are once again upon us all!Even as we immerse ourselves in this universal season of peace and great joy, my thoughts hark back to a terrible incident which marred the spirit of Christmas and sanctity of a Church a decade ago. It was an instance of murder most foul being committed within the hallowed precincts of a Catholic Cathedral in front of the Diocesan Bishop and congregation during midnight mass on Christmas. It happened ten years ago in 2005.

Though several persons including the MP’s wife were injured in the incident the primary victim was Joseph Pararajasingham the benign Tamil parliamentarian from Batticaloa.He was the target of the assassins.The 71 year old politician was shot dead at the St. Mary’s Cathedral in Batticaloa at 1.10 am on Christmas.

[DBSJ]

Five of my Favourite Christmas Carols – How they Originated and Became Widely Popular

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Merry Christmas and a Happy new Year Friends!

Central park NS

It’s Christmas season again!

An integral part of Christmas is the singing of Christmas carols in churches as well as at events celebrating Christmas. [DBSJ]

Dec 20-26:

How Will The TNA Resolve The Problem Posed By Northern Chief Minister Wigneswaran?

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

“How do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?
How do you find the word that means Maria?
A flibbertijibbet! A will-o’-the wisp! A clown!”
“Many a thing you know you’d like to tell her Many a thing she ought to understand But how do you make her stay and listen to all you say How do you keep a wave upon the sand?”
“Oh, how do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?” – Oscar Hammerstein in “Sound of Music”.

PresentationTNA3

Balachandran’s report as well as my column last week have focused on what has now become the major problem threatening the unity of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) which is the premier political configuration of the Sri Lankan Tamils. The problem is none other than the political conduct of Northern province chief minister Canagasabapathy Visvalingam Wigneswaran who was elected on the TNA ticket under the house symbol of chief TNA constituent party Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK) with over 132,000 preference votes at the September 21st 2013 Provincial poll. [DBSJ]

“Nagaichuvai Mannan” Nagesh: Monarch of Humorous Actors in Tamil Movies

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

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An intergral part of the Tamil Film tradition has been humour. While a few films have been devoted to comedy alone the bulk of Tamil movies have had actors playing out amusing roles evoking mirth and laughter. These roles are generally supplementary to the main roles of the hero and heroine. The actors enacting comic roles are referred to as comedians. [DBSJ]

Dec 13 – 19

சம்பந்தனால் முதலமைச்சராக ஆக்கப்பட்ட விக்னேஸ்வரன் தனியாகச் செல்ல முயற்சிப்பதால் தமிழ் தேசியக் கூட்டமைப்புக்குள் நெருக்கடி தோன்றியுள்ளது

ஆங்கிலத்தில் டி.பி.எஸ்.ஜெயராஜ் இனால் எழுதப்பட்ட TNA Leader Sampanthan, Chief Minister Wigneswaran and the Crisis of Tamil Political Leadership கட்டுரையியின் தமிழாக்கம் [TW]

TNA Leader Sampanthan, Chief Minister Wigneswaran and the Crisis of Tamil Political Leadership

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

RS CVW TNA

RS TNA CVW

Political tensions prevailing within the Tamil National Alliance(TNA) underwent a dramatic transformation last week. In an unexpected twist , Leader of the opposition and TNA leader , Rajavarothayam Sampanthan, declared in Batticaloa that he was prepared to step down in favour of Northern province chief minister Canagasabapathy Visvalingam Wigneswaran if the “Katchi”(party) and “Makkal”(people) wanted it. By doing so , the veteran Tamil politician from Trincomalee not only brought out the simmering internal crisis in the TNA into the open but also issued an indirect challenge to Wigneswaran who is being promoted by diverse elements as contender to Sampanthan’s leadership. [DBSJ]

Dec 6 – 12:

4 Muslim MP’s Including Minister Bathiyudeen Shout at Sumanthiran and Prevent MP From Speaking on Shariah Law in Parliament

By By P.K.Balachandran

Four Muslim Members of Parliament, including a cabinet Minister, shouted down Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP M.A.Sumanthiran, when he mentioned the term “Shariah” while speaking in parliament on Friday on a Saudi Arabian court’s order to “stone to death” a Lankan women for committing adultery. [DBSJ]

Power supply restored as Chennai floodwaters recede

A massive relief operation is continuing to get food and medicines to tens of thousands people. Many residents are living in shelters after their homes were submerged. [BBC]