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Monsoon Journal
October
  2007
Ramakrishna Mission appeal
re: Sri Lanka IDPs

Due to recent eruption of violence in the eastern part of Sri Lanka , 72,000 people have
been displaced from Vaharai, Sampoor and Muthur. Among the displaced 17700 are
children of whom 10500 are school going. 41,500 (1160 families) people are in 61
refugee camps.
Sri Lanka’s Neglected Population

IMC's mobile clinics bring health care to those
who need it most

By Sonia Walia

I
n recent years, the coastal region of Trincomalee in eastern Sri Lanka has been buffeted
by civil war and natural disaster.
www.flickr.com
October 7 - 13, 2007
TamilWeek Archives
" You can show a war without showing a gun,
and that’s interesting - in only one photograph. "
- Alexandra Boulat, (1962-2007) French Photo Journalist
Converting Military Success to
Political Victory in the East [FI]

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

T
he launching of “Operation Riviresa” in 1995 - 96 saw
the Jaffna district in its entirety coming under the
Government of Sri Lanka’s (GOSL) writ. It was regarded
then as a magnificient military victory . The USA after
conducting a fact - finding mission of the Northern
peninsula urged the Government headed by Chandrika
Bandaranaike Kumaratunga to consolidate the military
gains by converting it into a political victory. Kumaratunga
was advised to make Jaffna a “showpiece” of
development and prosperity. Colombo was also
requested to advance a political process.

But the Kumaratunga regime did not heed that advice.
Lured by the mirage of military conquest the Govt
plunged the armed forces into war in the Northern
mainland known as Wanni.
Dan Keating, 105, Dies; Fighter for Irish Independence [NY Times]

Dan Keating, a member of the Irish Republican Army and the last surviving
veteran of Ireland’s 1919-21 war of independence from Britain, died Wednesday
in County Kerry. He was 105.

His death was confirmed by his political party, Sinn Fein, and his nursing home.

Mr. Keating joined the First Kerry Brigade of the Irish Republican Army in 1920
and took part in two major 1921 ambushes, which left at least five police officers,
four British soldiers and five I.R.A. members dead.

“When you are involved in an ambush with a crowd of men, you wouldn’t know
who killed who,” Mr. Keating said in a March interview with the BBC. “But the
prospect never troubled me.”
Sinhalization of Ravana and Un-deification of Rama [TC]

By: Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

R
amayana is an epic that pre-dates the Mahabharatha. The Ramayana,
though originally composed by Valmiki Rishi in Sanskrit, has been reproduced
in many languages through the centuries. The Tamil version composed by
Kamban, reflects the best in Tamil poetry, values and culture, although
following the line of the story in Valmiki's original. The Ramayana has also
influenced the cultures as far flung as Thailand, Indonesia, Timor, Philippines
and Cambodia. Lanka plays an important role in the Ramayana, as the plot
unfolds in its manifold facets representing all aspects of human life, behaviour,
thought and values, set against the background of what are eternal truths,
un-impeachable ethics and divine values. The lessons to be gleaned from the
Ramayana, will remain valid and valuable to humankind, as long as we aspire
towards higher humanistic goals and cease our head long descent into
soulless consumerism and the accompanying barbarism.
Sri Lanka’s homemade political constitutions [FI]

By Dr. S. Narapalasingam

T
he first (Soulbury) constitution of united Ceylon (the earlier name for Sri
Lanka) was drafted according to the guidelines set out in the declaration of 26
May 1943. An important stipulation of the British government was that the draft
should have the support of at least 75 per cent of the Members of the State
Council, excluding the Officers of State and the Speaker or the presiding
officer. This was to ensure that it was acceptable to the ethnic minorities. The
original draft of the Board of Ministers (Sessional Paper XIV of 1944) included
various safeguards against discrimination of ethnic minorities.
UNP, SLFP, APRC, USA
and the Politics of Constitutional Labels [FI]

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The United National Party (UNP) and its leader Ranil Wickremasinghe have
been at the receiving end of negative publicity for the past week or more. The
UNP is accused of doing a flip - flop on its commitment to federalism. There are
charges that the party has now embraced the concept of a unitary state as
opposed to its earlier position. There is much confusion about the issue.
UNP’s double U-turn on devolution [TC]

by Rajan Philips

“T
he two WCs!” That was S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike poking fun years ago at the
political abbreviations of the plantations-S. Thondaman’s CWC add the rival
DWC of Abdul Aziz. Last week, it was ‘one double U-turn’ for the grand old
party that Bandaranaike reluctantly co-founded and rapidly left in desperation.
Whether it was intentional reversal by the UNP or inadvertent misinformation
by the media, the UNP’s repositioning and re-repositioning on devolution
caught everyone off guard. It brought the Party some headlines that it has
been struggling to have for some time.
The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress: The Logic of Politics [TC]

by Dr. A.R.M. Imtiyaz

T
he process of the modernization brings both progress and violence in deeply
divided societies. It may trigger more of blood then bread before it weakens
the tendency of instability to gain development. Sri Lanka already witness
many blood from the Tamils and the Sinhalese. Muslims, who constitute less
than 8% of the country’s population, have lost their peace and security due to
the Tamil-Sinhala ethnic war, and now actively seeking justice for their
grievances. They often beautifully claim they are peace-loving and law-abiding
citizens of Sri Lanka, and thus they embrace democracy to seek justice
stability, security, and peace.
Refugee scholar At Adelaide University Studies Trauma of
Lankan Civil War [TC]

The long-running civil war in Sri Lanka is causing more mental health problems
and social breakdown than the catastrophic 2004 tsunami, according to a
University of Adelaide researcher.
Clinical Associate Professor in Psychiatry Daya Somasundaram himself fled Sri
Lanka fearing for his and his family’s safety, and is Australia’s first ‘refugee
scholar’ at the University under the Scholar Rescue Fund.
'Military victories' to hoodwink people [Sandeshaya]

The main opposition in Sri Lanka has accused the government of exaggerating
military victories to hoodwink the public on ever increasing Cost of Living (CoL).

Opposition and United National Party (UNP) leader Ranil Wickramasinghe also
accused the media of involving with the government in the plot.

"As the price of a loaf of bread increases, the media and the government
destroy three LTTE boats daily," he told journalists in Colombo.
Sri Lanka Monks show solidarity with Myanmar protesters [IRIN]

A group of monks chanting from sacred Buddhist scripts is not a typical scene
near the UN compound in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, but 100 monks from
Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Thailand and Bangladesh were there to
support the pro-democracy protests in Myanmar.
Tamils 'entitled to' international help [Sandeshaya]

The Tamil community is entitled to the same right to be protected from state
terrorism if Sri lanka is entitled to seek international help to defeat LTTE
terrorism, a Tamil parliamentarian said.
Sri Lankan president’s speech at the UN: lies in defence of war
and human rights abuses [WSWS]

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse’s address to the UN General
Assembly on September 26 was another exercise in lies and deception. Facing
criticism at home and internationally over his government’s renewed war and
abuse of democratic rights, he falsely claimed to be fighting defensive actions
aimed at forcing the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to the negotiating
table. Delivering his speech in Sinhala to maximise its nationalist appeal at
home, Rajapakse declared: “We launched military operations only to exert
pressure on terrorists in order to convince them that it will not be possible for
them to obtain a military victory. Our goal remains a negotiated, honorable end
to this unfortunate conflict.”
Government leaders talks of devolution, while Army prepares to
target Tiger heartland in the north [Christian Science Monitor]

By Mian Ridg

A
s he walks across "no man's land," a desolate stretch of ground in Omanthai,
in northern Sri Lanka, that serves as the de facto border of the Tamil Tigers'
northern heartland, a white-haired farmer tells of his fears.
Kamal Haasan's 10 avatars [Rediff]

After the roaring success of Rajnikanth's Sivaji: The
Boss in India as well as overseas, the next most
awaited Tamil feature is Kamal Haasan's
Dasavatharam.

Unlike Sivaji though, Dasavatharam does not boast of
a bombastic budget nor glitter. But what it boasts of is
Kamal Haasan in 10 roles!

Add director K S Ravi Kumar to the mix and what we
have is unadulterated fun! Some of the successful
films as a result of the duo's (Haasan and Ravi
Kumar) combo are Avaai Shanumughi, Thenali and
Panchathanthiram.

Now, here's a sneak peek at Dasavatharam.
Kamal's art and Hollywood expertise shape
Dasavatharam into mega movie [Hindu]

Kamal Hasan's Dasavatharam packs tremendous
energy into a unique screenplay and visual imagery
that has impressed not just the film industry, but Chief
Minister M.Karunanidhi as well.

The film's publicists say Dasavatharam is so full of
interesting themes that Mr.Karunanidhi apparently
called up Vairamuthu who was in Australia and
conveyed his enthusiasm.

"The fact that the Chief Minister enjoyed the pictures
with youthful enthusiasm and pinched my cheek with
affection as if I were a kid is equivalent to celebrating
the success of Dasavatharam with a huge function,"
says Kamal.
Aishwarya Rai to star in Ben Kingsley movie
on Taj Mahal

Bollywood actor Aishwarya Rai will star in a movie by
Ben Kingsley on the making of the Taj Mahal, India's
famous marble monument to love, a report said on
Thursday.

The movie is likely to be filmed next year in Agra that
is home to the Taj Mahal, The Times of India
newspaper quoted Kingsley as saying in an interview.

The Taj Mahal, recently voted one of the new seven
wonders of the world, was built by Mogul Emperor
Shah Jahan between 1632 and 1654 for his favorite
wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Soon after its completion, Shah
Jahan was deposed by his son and imprisoned at the
nearby Agra Fort.

``The movie is on the building of the Taj Mahal,'' said
Kingsley, who is producing the film. ``The romance
will also include Shah Jahan's isolation for years in a
prison cell.''
Vyjayantimala: My favourite raga

My very favourite would be dancing to the music of
the Thanjavur Quartet — it was absolutely beautiful
music. Whether it is music for dance, or dance for the
music, I can’t say. I’ve always admired their musical
excellence, and I fe el their compositions have the
essence of ‘Carnataka sangeetham’.

I also like to do padams of Kshetragna. On the whole,
I enjoy doing rare padams and javalis. That is why I
take time to present them, because they require a lot
of research. And the response has always been
good. It is not that youngsters today don’t like such
compositions. I want them to see what dance was like
in those times. Otherwise, how will they know? Today’
s youngsters are very confused. They are neither
here nor there.
Lending colour to legends

Mounted grandly, the paintings done under
Murugan’s supervision line the walls of temples

Scenes from the epics and the puranas materialise
here in a rich panorama of colours and forms and
from this tiny room flow massive paintings that adorn
numerous temples in Tamil Nadu.
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For credible power-sharing acceptable to all communities [FI]

by N. Ram and B. Muralidhar Reddy

I
n an interview recently given in Colombo to The Hindu, United National Party
(UNP) leader and former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe speaks about
the relevance of the experiences of the J.R. Jayawardene administration from
1977 to 1988 to the current situation in Sri Lanka and the quest for a political
solution to the ethnic conflict.