The Sunday Leader

Hoole Speaks Of Tamil Insecurities

Dr. Ratnajeevan Hoole: Vice Chancellor,University of Jaffna

By Udara Soysa

Dr. Ratnajeevan Hoole: Vice Chancellor,University of Jaffna

“Overseas Tamil hardliners will talk human rights and self-determination and occupy moral high ground unless the government truly addresses the alienation of the Tamils”
- Dr. Ratnajeevan Hoole

President Mahinda Rajapakse appointed Dr. Ratnajeevan Hoole as the Vice Chancellor of the University of Jaffna in March 2006. However, due to pressures exerted by the pro-LTTE paramilitary group, ‘People’s Uprising Force,’ Dr. Hoole was forced to take special leave and leave the country. Currently, he is a professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where he teaches engineering and computer science at graduate level. He is widely respected among moderates as a critic of both Sinhalese and Tamil extremism.

In an exclusive interview with The Sunday Leader, Dr. Hoole recounted how “the government squandered an opportunity when General Ratwatte rode a horse to humiliate Tamils after retaking Jaffna in 1995,”  He added, “signs of the same now, are worrisome. Much has been said of the symbols of the Sinhalese sprouting up in the North-East like mushrooms. There is nothing wrong with that so long as it is by a natural spontaneous process. But if it is being driven by the government? Any Tamil would feel insecure.”

Q: How do you see the plight of Jaffna University?

A: Jaffna University’s plight is similar to that of the other universities in Sri Lanka – the flight of talented individuals leaving the university bereft of leadership. In the sense of Tamil areas having suffered from the war, Jaffna’s problems are indeed more acute. As the last of the Tamils trained in the South reach retirement age at Jaffna, working and negotiating with the UGC and the ministry will be increasingly difficult and the latter will begin unilaterally deciding what is good for Jaffna.
A concomitant problem is also the problem of English. Whatever ideological position we may take, English fluency – mastery – is key to success in the academic world. Nearly all academics who have done well are those who can, beyond coming up with good theories and ideas, also communicate and sell them to their peers and to archival journals. As administrators, they must be able to legally justify their positions through correct, well-argued memos and minutes. I have seen rather poorly drafted selection committee minutes that will make the university lose when challenged, even if their decision is correct.

The following extract from a charge sheet issued by the VC of a leading Southern university shows how important English is in administration too and that the problem is not in Jaffna alone: “The council has directed me to call for explanations from you having committed the following acts of misconduct.” Neither the VC nor his support staff knew they were accusing themselves of misconduct.

Do we give up and function in the mother-tongue, thereby losing touch with the wider world and writing papers that no one else will read and engage us in a discussion? Or do we pretend to be functioning in English with wrong minutes and marking exams where we are not quite sure what the student meant? The late K. Pooranampillai, as Hartley College’s Principal, by personally teaching English in the lower forms and giving it his full attention, has produced a generation of persons from non-English speaking families who have gone on to be great scientists. Later as my principal at St. John’s after his retirement from Hartley, he came to my A/L class thrice when a teacher was absent and did things I still find useful. One person like Pooranampillai can accomplish much.

Q: How do you see the plight of higher/university level education among Tamil youth in both the North and the East?

A: Challenging. What distinguishes the North-East is the devastation of the war and the uncertainties as to what awaits the Tamil people. After so many civilians killed, Tamils question their relationship to the Sri Lankan state. At the same time, there are opportunities too. The return of multi-party politics, the absence of fighting and the free transport to and from the North-East hold the hope of returnees who can contribute. After all, East or West, home is best.

Q: How do you view the culture in the North-East after the end of the war?

A: As for political culture, on the positive side, parties that did well, the TNA, the EPDP and the TMVP, have all been working for devolution through the democratic process. Purists point to the TNA’s and some TNA and other MPs’ dark pasts and demand an open apology. But I feel we must give them the space to complete the process of transformation they have begun without losing face. After all, they have been chosen by the Tamil people.
As for social culture, we lost it long ago when we supported political murder. The National Peace Council’s recent press release on conditions in Jaffna gives me pause.

Q: What are some critical observations you see here?

A: Some hardliners who cannot stomach the emergence of moderates in the recent general elections, say the turnout in the North-East was poor and the results are not reflective of the will of the people. To them I respond in two ways. First, the turnout was good if you consider that tens of thousands of absentees like me are still on the electoral register. And two, the turnout of the 31,000 that is boasted about by the same entities for the elections to the so-called Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam in Canada, is paltry in comparison. These same entities, for example the Ilankai Tamil Sangam of New York in a recent editorial on behalf of the Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA, argue that the election of the TNA is an endorsement of separatist politics. Certainly not. Remember that all the extremists imposed on the TNA were denied nominations on the FP ticket.
What the Tamils have endorsed is federalism. All, Messieurs Sampanthar, Douglas and Pillaiyan, have publicly stated so and work within the system. The extremists who were denied nomination by the TNA and contested separately, were roundly rejected by the Tamil people.

Q: What are some recommendations to improve the lives of North Eastern Tamils?

A: The Tamil people are resilient. You can see how well they have done in the West even when they came with nothing – and I mean nothing, often no money and no qualifications. They are innovative, cohesive and intrepid. To do equally well in Sri Lanka they must be in control of their lives and responsible for decisions that affect their lives as they are in the West. This means devolving power to the North-East. As the Indian Supreme Court said in a different context, to treat unequal people equally is to treat them unequally. Minorities and the majority are simply not equal. The minorities need a system that makes them comfortable, feeling that they are in charge of their own future. The majority needs no such hand-holding. Minorities need their culture to be protected. They need not to feel threatened if they are to endorse the state.

Q: What are some positive and negative developments in the current context?

A: On the positive side, I see the engagement of the TNA with the government in discussions, however preliminary, as very positive. The journalist Tissanayagam has been pardoned. That too is positive (although the man has written some horrid, hate-filled, untruthful things about me – The Sunday Leader, 12 March 2000). On the negative side, the press and the AG’s seem to be losing their independence. Commissions appear not to be for finding out or recommending anything. Minorities, to feel part of the state, must have confidence in the rule of law.

The Tamil Diaspora too is yet to reform. In the Tamil Sangam editorial referred to, it is argued that Tamils need not write about our own atrocities because “the abuses of the LTTE are well documented and are available from the Sri Lankan Government.” To see how facetious this is, ask whether the Sri Lankan Government and the UN need not look into the killing of civilians and the charges of genocide because the Ilankai Tamil Sangam has documented them.

The overseas Tamils were behind the suffering of the people in the Vanni for decades. They will talk human rights and self-determination and occupy the moral high ground unless the government truly addresses the alienation of the Tamils.

57 Comments for “Hoole Speaks Of Tamil Insecurities”

  1. I like this part the most from the whole letter (quote) “to treat unequal people equally is to treat them unequally. Minorities and the majority are simply not equal. The minorities need a system that makes them comfortable, feeling that they are in charge of their own future. The majority needs no such hand-holding. Minorities need their culture to be protected. They need not to feel threatened if they are to endorse the state.”
    U can’t ask for equal rights bcs nobody gets it since there R privileged & not so privileged people . Wealth, social status and U know Who etc determine that But U can ask for dignity no matter what U have or haven’t. So let’s treat our minority Bros and Sis with dignity.

    • tamil

      it means that minorities should feel that they live in this country too than feel in jail…

  2. rajapaksa

    Ado sinhalaya don’t you know that you useless fellows are minority when you compare that with the whole world.

    stop minority majority………….useless idiots in the world.

    stop critising you vedda

    • Of course I know it better than U do but U R minority of a minority. So where U R???
      So pls keep your idiotic ideas to your self and leave ppl in SL live in peace and harmony.
      U know what happen to your SOOO powerful sungod? Just died as an average person!!!

    • aaa

      Still There are few People who have the same mantality of wrong thinking about your own fellow Srilankans.
      You have to eliminate it , uproot it from your mind completely as a common citizen. NOT LIKE JUST all our POLITICIANS DO!
      Then we can assume a Brighter Srilanka at least another decades time. So Train your selves……
      No any other Comments>>>

  3. Thambi

    Ado thadi Demala. I think you Demala need some more Sambar.
    get lost.
    go back to your mother land

    • rajapaksa

      TRUTH HURTS YOU

      KONDA KEVUM KAAPALLA

    • rajapaksa

      CAME FROM NO WHERE…..NO IDENTY NO TRACE

      • This guy is (Rajapksa) a disgrace to upright human better send him to his APE roots, period.

        • rajapaksa

          I am gutted because I come from sinhala majority side. So when I write something about sinhalese this sampath idiot is upset.

          why ?

          don’t talk about human rights….where the hell you been in 1983?

          when you dad, uncles and friends burnt innocent tamils all over CEYLON

  4. Bandaranayake USA

    Tamils are minority in India as well as Sri Lanka. Both countries they do not have a good recognition due to their inhuman, sick, and wild behavors.
    They should understand they are always minorities in the world, india, sri lanka as well as Canada.

    • LALITH

      ADO WE ARE MINORITIES WHEN WE COMPARE OUR SELVES WITH OTHERS DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND THIS SIMPLE LOGIC.

      WHAT THE HELL YOU BEEN DOING IN THE US? WASHING CUPS OR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT

      • Bandaranayake USA

        I have two Tamil students studying under my supervision. Lalith thambi you need to study here in USA. I will give Sambaru if you come to me.

        • rajapaksa

          WHERE DID YOU PURCHASE YOUR BRAIN?

          IF YOU LOVE YOUR COUNTRY SO MUCH WHAT THE HELL YOUR DOING IN THE US?

          NO WONDER THOSE GUYS WILL END UP WITH NOTHING .

  5. vathy

    This man understates the oppressions Tamils are facing in Sri Lanka.

  6. NILU

    GUYS, IT’S BETTER TO SEND INNOCENT TAMIL KIDS TO SCHOOL THAN TAKE THEM AS SUICIDE BOMBERS, AND IT’S BETTER TO GIVE TAMIL PREGNENT WOMEN A NORMALCY OTHER THAN SUICIDE BOMBERS. U TAMILS ARE INHUMAN, DANGEROUSE, POISENOUSE,WENEMOUS, BRAINWASHED BY DEVIL PRABA. NO LIFE, NO COUNTRY….GO TO HELL! WE NEED OUR COUNTRY, WE LOVE IT NO MATTER WHAT! MOST BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY AND WE HAVE THE POWER AS WE PROVED FOR EVERYONE. RIGHT NOW I WITNESS THIS STUPID CANADA ELECTION… FEEL PITY ON YA TAMILS! JUST HELP YOUR COUNTRY TO GET BACK TO YOUR TAMIL PEOPLE TO THERE NORMAL LIFE.

  7. Raju

    Professor Hoole is a disgrace to human beings to think this way. As an educated person he should be able to articulate his thinking to unite people in Sri Lanka rater than dividing them. He still seems to have his finger in the LTTE coffers to speak this way. What is the independence you are talking about if all Tamils have to support same ideology? What about the Sinhalese, then there should be no opposition and attacking the government in power? It is a shame to think that only Tamils do have a right to blame the Sinhalese and yet seek their assistance to sustain. As the government says there should be no ethnic or racial difference in Sri Lanka. We are all same people and all these political parties on the lines of race, religion and region should be abolished.

    • Did U read the article?? He explained it quite nicely.
      Since U didn’t digest it, as an example “Just think fight of ELDER and YOUNGER brother, most of the times parents take YOUNGER one’s side and compensate him and later explain the ELDER one why they did that no matter how wrong the YOUNGER one is”.
      Minority feels uncomfortable since they think they R threatened and that is called “MINORITY MIND SET”.
      Another example- BLACK Americans always think that every thing bad happen to them bcs they R BLACK nothing else!!!

  8. Introducing Professor Ratnajeevan Hoole Udara Soysa wrote “He is widely respected among moderates as a critic of both Sinhalese and Tamil extremism.” What nonsense; in the keynote speech at a meeting organized by Canadians for Peace in Toronto, on August 17, 2008, Hoole said; “We need our own territories where we can decide our matters by ourselves. Such territorial division is good for all of us, be it through federalism or outright separation.” He had gone on to say “It is clear to me that some form of separation is the only answer.” Moderate as he is; he had wanted to have separate geographical units for Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims as a way to pursue their own well-being. I thought ghetto type of living had been rejected long time ago as being cruel. Yet, this man had been promoting that discarded ghetto mentality as good for Tamils. Now Mr. Soysa; tell me, on what grounds you call this man a moderate.

    I say, Hoole is more dangerous than Piripaharan. That is because he drives all Tamil moderates to extremism. He transforms moderates as extremist by dishing-out the so called moderate views and immediately ridiculing them by promoting extreme views. As a moderate Hoole told the government. “Simply implement the thirteenth amendment and the reasonable use of Tamil law, and the cry for Elam will for the large part vanish”. Hoole sounded as if he is a true moderate. If a reader reads only such sections of Hoole’s discourse he may well believe that Hoole has given up not just separatism but Federal demands as well. He would believe Hoole had settled for a unitary Sri Lanka. On 25 December 2008, ‘Sunday Lankadeepa’ had made such an effort. On whose behalf ‘Lankadeepa’ decided to publish one sided view; you have to find out from the editor.

    Anyway at that sermon Hoole lamented for LTTE not accepting Indian peace accord. I have all the reasons to believe that Hoole had lamented not for the sake of peace, but for not accepting a starter that could have lead to separation. If you read that speech right through, you will understand that Hoole wanted to follow Balasingham’s theory; take what you are offered now and ask for more, later.

    He asked his audience to ponder; “of what good are we when we take no risks for what we believe in?” What risks he asked his fellow Tamils to take that he did not? Though he had not elaborated, we could visualize his longing when we read his speech sentence by sentence.

    At that speech, Hoole could not hide his hatred towards Sinhala Buddhists. And, Following is what Hoole said about dislodging LTTE from the East. “The Sinhalese ruling clique’s mood is to crush the LTTE. Then, upon crushing the LTTE, they say, that all will be right and we Tamils will enjoy democracy. The kind of democracy we will enjoy can be seen in what is happening in the East – more colonization, new Buddhist temples sprouting up everywhere, vote-rigging, more Sinhalesization, etc.”

    Hoole may not have known that there are Hindu idols inside most Buddhist Temples and Sinhalese venerate them as well. He may also not know that Buddhist also visit Hindu temples to venerate and ask for favours from Hindu Gods. How could he, Hoole is a Christian and an anglophile to his tooth and nail and hate the Sinhala Buddhist culture. As for Hindu Tamils, they are a different kettle of fish altogether. Just like the olden times, Hindus can be assimilated to Sinhala Buddhist culture with easy because there remain a lot of common factors between us.

    Anyway, as far back as August 2008, Hoole knew LTTE will be defeated. He saw only two possibilities after that defeat. He said; “Either we Tamils lose out and in the long term are assimilated ….” Hoole had prayed for Tamils not to get assimilated but for Diaspora to woo the International Community, particularly India, into imposing a just settlement.

    Now that all what he preached and prayed had gone for a six, he wanted to show how good a moderate he is. This man reminds me the so-called chief of all the Tamil peace promoters, Chelvanayakam because; he was the father of the plight of all Tamils in Sri Lanka.

    Clearly, this interview has proved one point. That is; psyche of Hoole still lingers along the old Eelam – the North-East as one unit. He acts as if he does not know the North and the East are two provinces. I am sure, he is once again taking the ordinary Tamils through the garden path.

    • Peace

      Leela, you seem to be falling into the same pit that you dig for Prof Hoole, I must wonder if you are projecting while you lash out at moderates like Hoole. you start off by saying Hoole asks for ‘federalism or separatism’ then you claim that he wants ghettoization of Tamils. I’m sure you know these are very different things. Hoole carefully outlines why he thinks these are the best options, but you have chosen not to include that in your thoughts. Through out your comment you are twisting what Hoole has said in his speeches, taking them out of context and quoting only what you want to make a false point (like in para 4. in the actual speech Hoole implores Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims to speak up against injustice). You need to take everything with a grain of salt without critiquing those who actually fight for justice.

      • Peace

        And contrary to your opinion, which is not supported by facts at all, Hoole is a very respected member of the Tamil community who has maintained a humanitarian stance on many issues. As a result of his critiques against both the LTTE & the Gov Hoole has been the object of many a stubborn attack. Udara mentions this as well in his intro.

        • Mr.Peace: I am neither a racist nor a bigot but a patriot and a nationalist to the core. Let me tell you something important here: Before I commented on Prof Hoole’s speech in 2009, I must have read his speech in its entirety at least twice. Then again that is my usual way. True, I always start writing my comment after arriving at a conclusion. And I see nothing wrong with that.

          As you say, I do not deny that Professor wished Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims speak up against ‘injustice’. Which injustice is the question? Because ‘injustice’ can be unjust or just depends on what you want it to relate. For instance: 1) As far as I am concerned, everything what Piripaharan had done was injustice. 2) If you asked Piripaharan, he would say preventing Eelam is injustice.

          If you read his speech fully, anyone would understand that Professor Hoole prefers Eelam direct but would settle for step by step Eelam. Now the question is; which of those ‘injustice’ Professor Hoole wanted Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims to speak up against?

          You can read Prof Hoole’s speech here http://transcurrents.com/tc/2008/08/post_28.html

        • Peace

          I had not inferred you to be a racist or a bigot, however I do wonder what you mean when you say you are a nationalist. SL’s history is one flooded with SInhala-Buddhism as nationalism. Is this also what you support? I just suggest that you consider thoroughly what you support and why you do so. The current Gov & state of SL is not one to fell proud of, neither is it one that should be supported.

          Anyways, I am glad to hear that you read the article twice, however in you comments you pulled sentences out of context. What I pointed out was that you implied that he wanted Tamils to take ‘risks’. I merely pointed out the fallacy in that statement, and now we are clearly on the same page. Hoole has in several areas agreed with your view of Prabaharan. He maintains a critical attitude towards LTTE policy, as well as Gov policy. And therefore it follows that in asking for a separate state Hoole does not ask for one governed by the LTTE. It is a separate state in which Tamils have agency and autonomy over their own polity. Again it seems that you are taking his words out of context by implying he wants LTTE government. If he has ever suggested this (mind you asking for Tamil autonomy is not synonymous to LTTE Eelam) I would appreciate citation.

          The injustices Prof Hoole refers to are the injustices faced by minorities in SL, such as the prolonged encampment of Vanni people by the Gov, the evacuation of Muslims by the LTTE, the structural discrimination favouring Sinhala-Buddhists &c. These are things that, as SLans we must all stand up against, this means voicing our disapproval of such racist behaviour. Prof Hoole encourages us to do so knowing that in a democracy if enough people stand up against an injustice it is bound to be stopped.

  9. Ron

    Very soon when the american dollar is not the reserved currency the poor tamil will have to come back to srilanka.There will be no jobs in the western world, and we outsiders will be asked to leave these countries. good exmpale is the latinos.Americas and europe will change in front of your eyes the poor tamils will have to come bak home there will be no jobs and also there would be so much of racism the tamils will have no choie.

  10. Pearl Thevanayagam

    Luminaries like Prof. Rajan Hoole will always be ridiculed for their moderate and rational stance. Former Principal of St John’s College was murdered for engaging the govt. soldiers in a cricket game.

    It would bode well for Tamils to listen to the likes of professor and work towards an amicable political solution now that the war is over. That is not to say we ignore this government’s systematic violation of human rights among Tamils as we commemorate the loss of our brethren in their thousands.

  11. Psycho

    A fox or a wolf?

    Hoo! Hoo! Hoo! Hoole!

    Vice Chancellor, now in a Polytech???

    • Joseph

      Many people would rather be in a US polytech than be the VC of the best university in Sri Lanka.

      • I’ve lived in the UK for twenty years, read engineering and thought in a college. So, I know what is it like to be in the UK.

        I can visualize you mentality. If you people love the US so much, what can we say; good luck to you. enjoy your freedom there and live a happy life. But integrate into that society without creating problems to them.

        I cannot understand why do you want to create problems for ordinary Tamils that live here. Why did you give them false hope and driven many of them to be suicide bombers. Why did you brain wash the simple minds of so many children and ruin their childhood.

        Now that we saved those that had cyanide necklaces, let us rehabilitate them and make them responsible citizens of this country. Let them integrate in to this society. Let them live anywhere they like in this country.

        Hoole should know that there will be no ghettos here, ever.

        • Peace

          ghettos?? again?? If you insist on critiquing Prof Jeevan Hoole, I suggest you actually study what he stands for without throwing wild and manipulated statements.

  12. yakka

    I do not agree what Prof. said about Tamils who migrated to West with empty handed, but doing well because they have the total freedom and fully in charge of their own destiny unlike in Sri Lanka. Tamils by nature are good servants; they know how to serve the Anglo-Saxon bosses even it costs their self-esteem, I know very well, being living two decades in the western world. I also doubt that Tamils could work harmoniously under either own Tamil or Sinhalese bosses so successfully.
    When you look back to the colonial days, it is so evident the reason for high number of successes for Tamils compared to Sinhalese colleagues –held key/good public sector positions.
    Tamils are now overwhelmingly talking about their self determination and self esteem, but when they live in the West they go to the extent of fulfilling their personal goals even at the expense of their self esteem.

    • Peace

      Actually, I disagree. There is no evidence to suggest that Tamils are more ‘servantile’ than others. Tamils had higher rates of English speaking and were therefore more useful to the Brits. Work ethics probably the same across Sri Lankan cultures, interestingly though in 1900, Henry Cave describes Tamils as being ‘greatly different from Sinhalese in being industrious agriculturalists… and active’. Interesting how much perceptions have changed over 100 years.

  13. upul

    What everyone seems to forget is that the Sinhalese are a minority in the Tamil dominated Tamil Nadu region of South Asia. Dutugemunu pointed this out a long time ago, in reply to his mother’s concern that he could not sleep comfortably because the Tamils were pushing him out into the Ocean. If Dutugemunu had not defeated Elara, where would the Sinhalese be now?
    How can the Tamils feel that they are a minority, when Big Brother Tamil Nadu is always there holding their hands. The Tamils have to get rid of this minority and superiority ‘mindset’ and learn to assimilate into Sri Lanka, like they seem to be doing in Canada, Britain and Australia! Lakshman Kadirgama and several other Sri Lankans of Tamil ethnicity set an example, but they were murdered by the LTTE for their pains!

    • Peace

      Why are we quoting Duttugamini who readily accepted that killing Tamils is like killing beasts? Such a racist segment of Sri Lankan history is still taught with pride.

      • Mr Peace: From what we read Dutugamunu had never been a racist. All he wanted was to rid the country from invaders and plunderers and save Buddhist temples and monasteries.

        As the war progressed, Dutugamunu is said to have proposed a duel with Elara to avoid unnecessary killings of both sides. And Dutugamunu won.

        According to Mahawansa, Elara had been a just king. And for that reason, Dutugamunu had built a monument in Elara’s honour. Not just that, Dutugamunu had ordered everyone to get down from their chariots and walk past the monument as a marked respect to Elara.

        Even today, when Sinhalese visit their ancient dagabos in Anuradhapura, they visit that renovated Elra stupa (monument) and respect it. They have not defaced it with graffiti. Don’t take my word visit it and see how Sinhalese respect it. Some details are written in English.

        • Peace

          Your view of Duttugamini is understandable, it is the same history that I learnt in school, but it is biased. In hindsight, much of my history textbooks taught me that Tamils were invaders and a barbarous people. Quite to the contrary now I find. Rather it is racist propaganda being taught children at a very young age to hate and alienate Tamils.

          Now, what I had said is that D accepted the racist advice of Buddhist arahants, which numbered the millions of killed Tamils as ‘not more to be esteemed than beasts.’ (XXV). Indeed even that monument was established out of remorse before this truly barbarous piece of advice was offered him from arahants.

          Now you say that D was not racist. However the point I’d like to bring is that the Mahavamsa tells us, even as a child, D felt a need to destroy the Tamils. So much as to even insult his own father for refusing to war against them. Indeed, in my humanitarian opinion, building one monument for a truly righteous Tamil royalty can not cancel out a lifetimes worth of racial anger and Tamils eradication.

          Furthermore, I find no evidence of this duel. What I find is that D says, `None but myself shall slay Elara.’ and chases Elala, who in all honesty, was probably 70 years old while D was a mere youth. D’s hatred for Tamils incensed him to murder millions of Tamil civilians, chase down and kill a righteous man. He was not fighting for justice, for were that the case he would never have killed a good man like Elala. He was fighting for racist-religious ideology as is evidence through out the story.

        • azath

          Leela,
          I happened to visit the Elara stupa a few monts back in Anuradhapura. It is shocking to see the area closer to it was razed down to dust where I know Muslims were living for ages peacefully from one of my earlier visit ( popularly A.K.A Kurunagala Junction) even a mosque was not spared. I inquired from a friend of mine. Tears flowing down his face when he narrated story to me. they were mercilessly evicted without even a promise of an alternative. I asked myself a question If Buddha is alive today. Would he have allowed this carnage? and Is there a resemblance to killing of Elara? I leave it to your discretion to answer it !!!
          PS: this was also an area of strong presence of Tamils before ’83 and that of birth of VP at the same area?

        • Mr azath: I have not had an opportunity to visit Anuradhapura for the last two years; hence I cannot comment on what you say. But I must say; I am indeed sorry to hear if such things happen in Sri Lanka today.

          I am hoping a visit the North and the East next month. If we see injustice that you have illustrated we shall certainly comment on them duly. We can have our disagreements but we must all be equal in every sense not just in the eyes of the law.
          I had a lot of friends from Jaffna. One of them was the superintendent of an estate in our village that belongs to some charity of Ramanathan family. It is with them that I put my English in to practice at the weekends. We used to visit their homes in the outskirt of Jaffna. That was long long ago. What a hospitable people they were. Sadly, it all changed. When I first went to England in the sixties, I stayed with a Hindu Tamil family for a few days who I met only once in Colombo. How helpful they were towards me. By the late seventies there were enough signs that such amiability is all but coming to an end in the UK. I was told; we have become nothing but enemies by the late eighties. Why?

          I believe the commission that the President had appointed recently would take us a long way not just to analyse the cause but to put any wrongs right as well.

          But where does Arbour and co trying to drag us? They say; there had been ‘war crimes’ towards the end of the war, and they must be investigated and the culprits must be punished. Since Piripaharan and company are in the hell would they propose to investigate and punish their accomplices?

          If we start to hark back where would it all end? We could ask: Why they were in stark silence just few months earlier. Could they not have prevented LTTE driving those hapless humans to be their shields? Where were they when LTTE bombed our buses, trains and public places? Why not propose to go a further back and investigate massacres in places like Aranthalawa, Sri Maha Bodhi etc.

          Do you think Arbour and co want to heal the wounds or swirl the wounds? I believe they don’t like we ended our war and the terrorists. They and their local NGO cohorts do not like we live in peace and tranquillity. They want us to continue with our rift because they thrive on human misery. Human suffering is their business.

        • azath

          Leela,
          I am pleased to see a your comment here and above and I agree that majority of Sinhala, Tamil, Muslims and others are peace loving. I wish and pray that golden era of past will flourish again in our motherland.

          I do not agree with the Arbour and co drama It is after all a piece of clip. anyone can make opposite of real with the current sophisticated techniques. and killings of opponents such as LTTE in a battle is not at all a crime until they are properly surrendered. Having said that I vehemently condemn the targeted killings of innocents civilians in any form. I think it has to be investigated properly which will bring solace to those genuinely posses reasonable doubt and clear the name of govt instead. who should do it ! not by ch4 or UN which is utterly western sided but a relevant moderator may be SAARC by way of some sort of resolution.

          I think the Prof Hoole meant to “sprouting of Buddhist temple” as a sign of colonization. and you too, was critical about the emergence of Churches in the A9 road. I do not mind the spontaneous appearance of a worship place in accordance with the seizable number of that faith living in the vicinity. but a deliberate unethical colonization or unethical conversion should be aptly discouraged. constitutional measure in this regard may be interpreted wrongly by the wrong persons as in the case of Emergency regulation or PTA.

          I do not agree with the statement of no racial riots after ’83. I can quote many. but that will not give any pleasantry. just a pinch of it, a hot news; a mosque was attacked last night in Melsiripura refer the Lanka e news. so to say that having some sort of federalism under unitary state is the core issue I would see in his speech.

          I respect the Prof Hoole’s statement of living in “Indian orbit than assimilation” as his own statement concerning as a Tamil but not as a solution to the problem and I totally disagree with him. he said at the start that he speaks as a Tamil.

          I love to discuss the faiths and I believe in interfaith dialog and I learn from you the Buddhism and its teachings.

  14. Dr Hoole,

    Hindu, Tamil ,so called low caste people know how the Christian Tamils and Tamil elite vellalas treated them ; you eulogize that history and culture as you had some relatives who had good connections during Batticotta Seminary days. Did your church commit any form of discrimination? When correcting someone who wrote about Arumugam Navalar and his services you exposed your stance too much and were subject to criticism of a some. What you wrote defending the Missionary power in the North contradicts some points in this interview. Until we die we must remember and our posterity will learn from us that our Tamils have to be responsible – mainly the Catholic and Anglican Churches of the North and the Tamil elite of the North who flirted with the elite class politicians of the South(Sinhalease, Burgher, Muslim, Europeans) for more than 150 years dividing the other Sinhalese & Hindus. That is why the Western media still spreads the canard that the war in Sri Lanka was due to Sinhalese Buddhists discriminating against the Tamil Hindus. Dr Hoole please add the CASTE DISCRIMINATION, ANGLICAN & CATHOLIC CHURCH INFLUENCE IN THE DISCRIMINATION PROCESS FOR YEARS, HOW THEY SUPPORTED THE LTTE & THE WAY OUR PRIVILEGED TAMILS NEGLECTED THE NORTH & THE EAST FOR MANY GENERATIONS to your equation in the future!
    Thanks.

    • upul

      You are right Chanakya. I remember how some of my ‘Elite Tamil’ Colombo classmates used to refer to the Jaffna Tamils as ‘JT’ s, as if they were ‘children of a lesser God’!

    • Peace

      Yes you are right, at the actual conference I believe Prof did actually mention this. He mentioned how the church perpetrated caste to increase its numbers.

  15. gamanayaka

    unfortunately not only sinhalese leders but tamil leaders who are higly educated have not been able to diagnose the problem therefore they will not find the proper treatment too.government has not so far able to find solutions for the problems of south such as unemployment housing etc,etc.it is utter stupidity if one expect them to bring solutions to burning issues of north

  16. Joseph

    The SL government shuold engage and encourage people like Hoole, otherwise people like Nediyavan and Ruthrakumaran will lead the Tamils. It is in the best interest of the SL government to identify and engage Tamils who can be accomodative and approachable, and most importantly have an interest in Sri Lanka! Militarily defeating LTTE is half way to the victory. Silencing the sepratism is the other half.

    • The government should not trust Christian evangelists like Hooles any more it could trust Nediyavan or Ruthrakumar. Their road-maps may be different, but the goal is the same. We are in a better position to play back the game that Tamil Diaspora and the TNA had played on us.

      The government should address the problems of ordinary Tamils directly, just like the way it engage majority of Tamils that live among the Sinhalese. However, it should be done only with those Tamils politicians that accept Mahinda Chintanaya.

      Sri Lanka is in need of an opposition. The government policies need to be criticized. Otherwise detractors wan’t be happy. So, TNA separatists could to do that job with the evangelists of the UNP.

    • Peace

      *Like Joseph’s comment*

    • Hoole may follow one road map, and Nediyavan another road map, and Sambandan yet another road map, but in the end they all aim at one goal, Eelam.

      If the government negotiated a settlement with the most moderate party, there is no guarantee that others would accept it. Actually, if the government wants a lasting settlement it has to negotiate with hardest of the hardliners. Because everyone else’s demands would be inclusive in that set.

      Now, what do the hardliners want? They want nothing but Eelam. Are we ready to give in? No. So what are the options available for us? We should ignore Hooles, Sambandans, Nediyavans and start a dialog directly with the Tamil people.

      It is not the political liberation but economic liberation that we should offer to the ordinary people in the North. Rapid economic benefits should flow down to them. In that, politicians like Karuna, Devananda should be assigned with specific tasks.

      Let others fly kites and enjoy foreign trips.

      • Peace

        I agree with you on this. I agree with your appropriate view that economic liberation is imperative. However asking for political autonomy is not the same as LTTE support. There still remains a misconception that any Tamil who is unhappy under the currents system is a Tiger. It is fair to ask for a democratic system where Tamils are free from the discriminatory effects of today’s SL, or it is fair to ask that the system be changed to include all minorities in the SLan polity.

        • Mr Peace: I do not think Tamils are discriminated in Sri Lanka. Sinhalese patronize Tamil shops with no qualm. Sinhala doctors treat Tamil patients with no different. Come to our village in a good car well dressed, they’ll treat you with respect and address you ‘sir’. Even if you are Sinhalese and come like a pauper you will be ignored. Right or wrong, that’s life. As for 1983 program, I put the total blame on JRJ and his government. It was an act by thugs, hooligans, bandits and some JRJ cohorts. Fortunately, we had nothing like that since.

          When I went to England long ago, it was a different story. I’ve seen a corner shop window ads that said; ‘rooms to let’ at top and at the bottom ‘No cats, No dogs and no blacks’. There wasn’t a race relations act at the time. Even long after that, when a black man was killed by a mob of skin heads, at a rally aftermath they chanted; “Enoch, Enoch, one down and million to go.” Sinhalese had never ever chanted things like that at mass gatherings.

          Do you know that Sri Lanka is the only country in the world that a government issues its official reports in Tamil. Do we nationalists oppose that policy? Of cause not. We strive to learn Tamil. My son goes to a top most international school here. They were surprised when he chose Tamil as a subject and not French or Sinhala.

          Do you know that Tamils could correspond with government officials anywhere in Sri Lanka in Tamil? I look forward for the day that we could implement it 100%. Even today, I say, if usage of Tamil language is a criterion for happiness of Tamils, then Tamils of Sri Lanka should be the happiest.

          Let me give more examples to prove that Tamils have equal rights and Tamils are not victimised in Sri Lanka. Regardless where they live, Tamils are encouraged to educate their children in Tamil language from kindergarten to the University for free. In Padukka where I live, 99.5% of the population is Sinhalese. However, there is a Tamil medium government school for that 0.5% of children with Tamil mother tong. Do the Tamils in some non Dravidian village in India or in Malaysia or South Africa have similar rights?

          Sinhalese do not want to be Bhumiputras, they are for equal rights for everyone. I believe Tamils have the right to buy the land next to mine. Can the Tamils in Jaffna say the same?

        • Peace

          Leela, in some regard your answer pleases me. If you can believe this to be true, I believe that in some part of SL things are great. On a societal level there are many great Sinhalese, Tamils & others who find eachother ro be equal. On the other hand, I can see that there is no focus on the greater picture. Indeed some Tamils can go trhough life without experiencing too much discrimination, but that is not the same for all. A few people with out discrimination doesn’t porve that no one has (example, some blacks in England might not face discrimination, but that doesn’t change the fact that, like you said, Eng has racist elements – and they need to change)

          I’ll place 2 examples. One, those camped in Vanni. They have been there for over a year. It is by far time that the Gov has rehabilitated them, but there is a lack of motivation, and I would argue it is because the Gov is focusing on buiding 5star hotels in the south for the (dominantly) Sinhalese areas to develop infrastructre. But developing North/NE that the Gov & the LTTE have irreversibly destroyed is not in current in current discourse. Wouldn’t you agree that the Gov feels no urgency since the N/NE are mostly Tamils.

          2. The little development that is going on in the North is gov sponsored and instead of hiring and enabling the locals, the Gov is bringing in Sinhalese from the South. This is the same type of discrimination that goes on around the world where there are racist Govs. Instead of helping the locals, the locals are shoved out of the economy to fend for themselves, while the area is repopulated with the majority who become wealthy off the locals who, in this case, have had their jobs, family, wealth &c stripped away by the war. This is not fair. Even from where I stand, I can not argue that this is a good strategy. We must develop S, T, M & all minorities equally not hoard the wealth & power to one group.

          I’m sure that there is much more to be said. I can not argue with you in that some people are generous spirited enough to now discriminate (as I am sure you are) however from a top-down stand, there is certainly discrimination. In the schools, in the job market, in the economy, even in university. The discrimination doesn’t always come from peers, mostly its from the top dogs who have the power and arrogance to do what they like.

  17. upul

    Priyantha ABE, where are you? This is getting interesting!

  18. Mr Peace: In an article written to lankaweb, Romesh Jayaratnam of Kandy has accused Samuel Ratnajeevan Herbert Hoole as a fundamentalist Christian who never misses an opportunity to attack Hinduism. Perhaps you or someone would like to respond to that article on professor’s behalf.
    http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2010/05/19/defending-the-sri-lankan-hindu-of-yesteryear-arumuka-navalar-and-sir-ponnambalam-ramanathan/

    • Peace

      Sure, I’ll oblige you with a comment at the article page. I hope you enjoy it, Ms. Leela.

  19. azath

    Leela,
    I read your comments and the speech of Prof Hoole, he, I could see as described in Sunday Leader is a moderate Tamil intellectual. he talk of current issue in accordance with total reality. you have quoted him out of context as Peace pointed out. he in fact said what you quoted is an ideal situation but see what he says “we Tamils are due for some kind of homogenization, not separation of any sort.” he criticized the LTTE and Pro-LTTEers rightly. and he commended the sinhalese and the govt where it is appropriate.

    Can you justify that Prof Hoole is more dangerous than VP from his speech and interview presented here or otherwise?

    He may be a Christian by faith. He talk of his faith only to narrate an incident. I cannot see any conspiracy from his speech and interview intimidating the integrity of other faith.

    Please, give us some believable reasons barring the uneasy background to point finger at Prof Hoole.

    By the way, as both of you are in the same fields. Do you know him personally or professionally?

    • azath: No, I do not know Professor Hoole personally. Had I remain in the field of education long enough, maybe I would have got to know him. A deceased vet surgeon by the name Hoole had been a good friend of mine.

      Neither is Hoole’s race nor is his faith that I criticize, it is his Anglophile stand and anti Sinhala Buddhist attitude that I oppose. In that speech Hoole declared his sadness on new Buddhist temples sprouting up in the North. Hoole was so concerned about Sinhalese and Buddhism swamp over the Tamils; he said that he prefer Indian orbit than to get assimilated. What about the majority of Tamils that live in the south; are they being assimilated?

      But Hoole kept mum about the fundamentalist evangelists that mushroom their churches along the A9 and elsewhere in the North. Hoole may be thinking that those churches that sermonise Gospel and plainsong are part of Tamil culture. They were not alien to him. But diseased UNP MP, Maheswaran’s thoughts were known to have set in a different light. So much so, in 2002, Maheswaran even had talks with ‘Urumaya’ to bring about an unethical conversion act.

      There are many eminent Christians who feel they are truly Sri Lankan. I do not think Professor Hoole is one among them.

      We cannot have racial segregation in Sri Lanka because it is a too small a country to have bantu lands. Now, let me quote the relevant but entire paragraph of that speech, so none can accuse me for quoting ‘out of context’. “To be sure, peace is not antithetical to separation. It is possible to have separate geographical units where the Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims pursue their own well-being without clashing with the other communities.” What clash is he talking about? There were no race riots since 1983. Besides, more Tamils live in the South today than in the North and the East combined. ‘Urumaya’ do not oppose Tamils living among them in the south.

      People like Hoole that seek to demarcate Sri Lanka on race basis are conniving people. Sit on it and deliberate on the relevant points on his speech; you will understand what I mean. Goal is Eelam. Piripaharan had a straight road map. These people have twisted road map. That is more dangerous than the former.

      Now about the faith; I may not agree with the faith of another man. But I believe he has the right to stick to his faith. I also believe it is my right to disagree with that faith. I never get troubled or agitated if and when someone criticizes Buddha or Buddha Dhamma.

  20. P.L.J.B.Palipana

    Dr.Hoole is an Intelectual Property of SriLanka.We need not to take into account the caste,creed or religion in the process of re-conciliation. Really the process must be an homogeneous one.

  21. jazeel

    Prof . Hoole is, when looked at speeches, an outspoken man. He has given his views on certain issues. Those are his views only. We can not expect he should behave live what we want to. He is an intellectual and a moderate.
    He has quoted only what Indian SC mentioned. That he could have liked it.

    As for Prof. Hoole, he is in my view, a realist and brave person who earned professional jealousy due to his being genious in all most all the field. We need to call back him to Sri Lanka. He is our asset and we need to protect him.
    Leela must be racist. But we honour anybodys views.
    jazeel

  22. Annahl

    My father, Ratnajeevan Hoole, is running to become the vice chancellor in Jaffna. He is an amazing amazing father but he is also a wonderful teacher and administrator. He ran for VC back in 2006 and won but had to leave to the States due to unwarranted death threats from the LTTE. Ever since we left for America my father has planned to return to Sri Lanka despite the dangerous conditions to help the people in Sri Lanka. He hopes to help make University of Jaffna a university centered on equality, quality, education, human rights and freedom for the students and faculty.Sri Lanka has gone through so much what with the war/genocide and my father hopes to help heal the wounds in Jaffna.

    Once you have signed I would appreciate if you also passed it on! Thank you so much!

    http://digitechuk2.co.uk/petition/ProfessorHoole.htm

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