|Terrorism and Navalar
Apropos of the lengthy article under the caption "Defining Terrorism" (The Island 12/12 and 13/12), the author has digressed into what he terms as Jaffna peninsular culture of violence of vellahlas against low casts. What is more distressing is that he has blamed no less a person than the most venerable Sri-la-Sri Arumuga Navalar for perpetration of casteism and consequent ethnic conflict at the outset. There can be nothing further from the truth.
It is true that casteism had its sway on the Jaffna society in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. But with advent of the Independence and consequent social developments such as, temple entry to low castes, educational opportunities etc., the evils of casteism had lost its hold on the Jaffna people. No longer, low caste man is considered to pollute the scared way of life of Vellahla if both come into contact at social, religious or political levels. It is therefore pointless to argue that caste factor contributed to a mind-set that embraced mono-ethnic separatism.
Navalar had done yeoman service in the field of Tamil language and literature and championed the cause of "Saivism" at a time when Christian missionary activities were at a high tide.
In the evening of his life, he once addressed an election meeting in favour of Sir
Ponnambalam Ramanathan because he felt that latter was eminently suited to represent the
Tamils in the legislature. But other than this instance, Navalar had not dabbled in
politics at all. It is therefore deplorable to discredit Navalar for igniting the present
ethnic conflict, which according to the author himself, started with the Vadducottai
resolution of 1976, nearly hundred years after the passing away of Navalar.
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