April 1 – 30:

How And Why The TNA Helped Defeat The No Confidence Motion Against Premier Wickremesinghe

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

In the seven decade long history of Independent Sri Lanka’s legislature there have been two no confidence motions and related debates that are unprecedented and unparalleled. The first was in 1981 when members of the then United National Party (UNP) Govt brought and passed a no confidence motion against the former leader of opposition Appapillai Amirthalingam. The No Confidence Motion (NCM)brought against the late Tamil United Liberation front(TULF) leader was farcically unique in the sense that members of the ruling party were sponsoring a no faith motion against the leader of the opposition. [DBSJ]

TNA Captures Jaffna, Point Pedro and Chavakachcheri By Defeating Tamil Congress in Skilful Political Operation

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Jaffna is the capital city of the predominantly Tamil speaking Northern province of Sri Lanka. It was at the time of independence from Britain, the second largest city in the Island, next only to Colombo. Jaffna gradually declined in the post-independence years dropping to fourth place at the 1981 census. Thereafter with the escalation of the ethnic conflict, Jaffna along with many other places in the Northern and Eastern provinces got drastically affected by the war. Disruption of the economy and mass migration saw Jaffna drop to 14th place when an Island wide census was taken in 2012. In fact there are more Sri Lankan Tamils living in Colombo,London and Toronto than in Jaffna now.Nevertheless Jaffna known as “Yaarlpaanam” in Tamil and “Yahapanaya” in Sinhala continues to retain its glory as the cultural capital of the Sri Lankan Tamils. [DBSJ]

Mar 1 – 31:

Orchestrated Anti-Muslim Violence in Amparai Town and Kandy District

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as minister of Law and Order on February 25th 2018. It was a stop gap measure. The premier was only expected to be in charge of the portfolio for two weeks until a new minister was appointed. The fortnightly stint as a”caretaker” minister however has proved to be a terrible ordeal amounting to a baptism of fire for the new Law and order minister. A pre-planned, well co-ordinated campaign of anti-Muslim violence was unleashed in two phases , first in the Amparai town and next in the Kandy district.[DBSJ]

Feb 1 – 28:

Seventy Years Of Independence and the Tamils of Sri Lanka

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Three score and ten years have passed since Sri Lanka then known as Ceylon gained Independence from Britain on February 4th 1948. The Island nation has been under colonial bondage for a very long period. Portugese rule came first in 1505,followed by Dutch rule in 1658.Finally came British rule in 1796 that lasted until 1948. It was the British who unified the Island under a single administration in 1833. They also introduced universal franchise and electoral representation through the State Council in 1931. [DBSJ]

♛ Singer A.E.Manoharan Was Crowned “Thamizh Poppisaich Chakkaravarthy” (Emperor of Tamil Pop Music) ♫

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj



“Ithaya Oasai”(Sound of the Heart”) was a drama put on the boards by the students of St.John’s College,Jaffna in 1963/64. The play proved so popular that it was staged to members of the public in Jaffna,Kandy,Trincomalee,Batticaloa and Colombo. The chief actor in the play was a handsome curly-haired student in the then Higher School Certificate(HSC)class. He was a hosteller as his family was living in the central highlands. [DBSJ]

Jan 1 – 31, 2018

Many facets of Thai Pongal: Pongal as Tamils’ Passover

By K. Thirukumaran

Tamils have celebrated Thai Pongal in one form or the other over millennia. Celebrating Thai Pongal nowadays in its traditional, purposeful piety and outdoor gala continues to evolve as vast numbers of diaspora Tamil communities exist in far corners away from their homelands. [TW]

Will Tamil Film Hero Rajinikanth Become Tamil Nadu Chief Minister?

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

In the May 2014 Indian General elections the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) led by Narendra Modi swept the poll in many states to form a government with a stable majority in New Delhi. However Tamil Nadu was one of the few Indian states to resist “Modimania” with the Jayalalithaa Jayaram led All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham (AIADMK) getting 37 of 39 Lok Sabha seats allocated to the state. Jayalalithaa’s resonating challenge at the 2014 hustings “Modi or Lady”resulted in the Lady routing Modi on her home turf. The BJP could not make headway in Tamil Nadu even during the 2016 Assembly polls. The AIADMK and chief opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham(DMK)swept the polls.

The BJP was not the only National party of India that failed dismally in Tamil Nadu. Even the Congress party of the Gandhis and Nehrus which ruled in Tamil Nadu for 20 years after Independence from 1947 to 1967 has been unable to regain power in the South Indian state for the past 50 years. The “Dravidian” political ideology has been ruling the roost in Tamil Nadu. Either the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham(DMK) or its Alter Ego the All India Anna-Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham(AIADMK) has been enjoying power in the state.Currently the AIADMK is in the saddle though Jayalalithaa herself passed away in December 2016.

In a not so subtle bid to gain politically in Tamil Nadu the BJP currently at the helm in New Delhi has been making several overtures to a popular Tamil film actor. 67 Year old Rajinikanth or ”Superstar” as he is known is still the single most popular mass figure among actors in Tamil cinema. Prime minister Narendra Modi paid a courtesy call to Rajinikanth when he visited Tamil Nadu for the polls campaign in 2014. Rajinikanth was invited as a special guest for Modi’s inauguration as PM the same year. BJP’s Tamil Nadu state leader Dr.Thamizhisai Soundararajan has been calling on the actor several times. The lady doctor has even been cultivating the superstar’s spouse Ms.Latha Rajinikanth.The BJP has been trying very hard to entice Rajinikanth into its Saffron folds and utilise him as the vehicle to reach its destination of capturing state power in Tamil Nadu. [DBSJ]

“Moovaenthar” Sivaji Ganesan, MG Ramachandran And Gemini Ganesan Were The Three Kings Of Tamil Cinema Heroes

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

‘We Three Kings of Orient Are’ is a popular Christmas carol written and set to music by Rev. John Henry Hopkins Jnr in 1857. This is about the wise men mentioned in the Bible who came to Bethlehem with the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to pay homage to the newborn infant Jesus.

Oral tradition gradually transformed the wise men of the east into three kings from the Orient. Western Christian tradition regards the three Kings as Melchior – a king from Persia,Balthasarr– a king from Arabia, and Gaspar – a king from India.

‘We Three Kings’ is one of my favourite Christmas carols.The “three kings” referred to in the carol keep ringing in my ears and provides the inspiration for this post-Christmas ‘Spotlight’ column. Only this article will be about three cinematic kings and not the mystical kings of the orient.This latter-day trio of kings were actor-heroes who reigned supreme as monarchs of Tamil movies during the latter half of the 20th century.

Sivaji Ganesan, M.G. Ramachandran (MGR) and Gemini Ganesan comprised the triumvirate that dominated Tamil movies from the fifties to the seventies of the 20th century.The top thespian trinity of that vintage in Tamil cinema were Sivaji, MGR and Gemini. They ruled the roost in ‘Kollywood’ as the Tamil Nadu film industry is referred to in lighter vein. [DBSJ]

Dec 1 – 31:

DK-DMK Dravidian Movement Split in India and the Decline of Tamil Separatism

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

India gained freedom from Britain at midnight on August 15th 1947. At the time of Indian independence there was a separatist movement in South India spearheaded by the “Dravidar Kazhagham” (DK) or Dravidian association led by E.V.Ramaswamy Naicker popularly known as “Periyar”(Great Person). As stated in an earlier article the DK demand was for a separate state in South India comprising areas where the Dravidian languages Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and Tulu were pre-dominantly spoken. The envisaged state was called “Dravida Nadu”(Dravidian state). [DBSJ]

Scintillating Sri Lankan Actress Jacqueline Fernandez Is Sparkling Jewel of Hindi Cinema

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

‘Spotlight’ shines again after many weeks to focus on a luminous Sri Lankan star of Sri Lanka who has been illuminating the Hindi cinematic firmament for several years. A beauty queen turned film actress who possesses a flair for promoting culinary commerce as well as retaining a penchant for espousing social and humanitarian causes. [DBSJ]

Tamil Secessionism and the “Dravida Nadu” (Dravida State) Demand in India

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Tamil secessionism in the island of Sri Lanka came to an effective end in May 2009 when the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE)Organization was militarily defeated by the Armed forces of the Government of Sri Lanka. Interestingly enough our big neighbour India which has a Tamil speaking population of over 60 million people too faced a Tamil separatist challenge several decades ago. Although secessionism flourished at one time in India’s southern state of Tamil Nadu – formerly known as Madras – it was confined within limits of democratic dissent and never transformed into a bitter armed struggle as it did in Sri Lanka. [DBSJ]

Nov 1 – 30

LTTE Oriented Event “Maaveerar Naal” (Great Heroes Day) On November 27th Is Not The Tamil National Day Of Mourning

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

November 27th 1989 was the day on which the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE)first observed its annual “Maaveerar Naal” or Great Heroes Day (GHD). Twenty –eight years have passed since then and the 28th anniversary of the event is today Nov 27th 2017.

The event continues to be observed on a large scale by sections of the Global Tamil Diaspora despite the military debacle suffered by the LTTE in May 2009. The event has lost much of its lustre after the demise of tiger supremo Veluppillai Prabhakaran.These are days of decline when compared to the manner in which Great heroes day was observed when the LTTE ruled the roost. Nevertheless commemorating the fallen tigers as great heroes annually remains an enduring tiger legacy despite the LTTE being militarily decimated in Sri Lanka. [DBSJ]

Fear grips Muslims in Sri Lanka’s Ginthota after attack

by M Riza

Muhammad Abrar is still in shock, nearly a week after his house in Ampitiya village in the southern Sri Lankan town of Ginthota came under attack from a Sinhalese-Buddhist mob.

On November 17, he had returned from the mosque after evening prayers and was about to retire for the night, when he heard his neighbours’ home being attacked.

“The first attack on our home was when our window panes were broken by rocks,” said Abrar, who drives a tuk-tuk (three-wheeled taxi) for a living.

“There was a mob of about 150 to 200 people armed with steel crowbars and other makeshift weapons. They smashed our gate and came in and poured petrol on my tuk-tuk and set it on fire.” [AlJazeera]

Geetha Kumarasinghe, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and the UPFA Galle District MP’s

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Popular Sinhala movie actress Geetha Kumarasinghe who was elected member of Parliament from Galle electoral district on the United Peoples Freedom Alliance(UPFA) ticket in August 2015 has been unseated as an MP by rulings of the Sri Lankan judiciary. [DBSJ}

Oct 1 – Oct 31:

“Aekiya Raajya – Orumiththa Naadu”: For An Undivided, Indivisible Sri Lanka.

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The Constitutional Assembly Steering Committee chaired by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has laboured mightily and brought forth the Interim report of proposals for an envisaged new Constitution. It would be premature to prognosticate on the report’s potential future or delve deeply into its contents at this point of time. Nevertheless it must be stated that the release of the report in the current political landscape was like a welcome shower of rain pouring on drought-stricken , parched earth. [DBSJ]

Sep 1 – 30:

Navarathiri as an Autumn Festival 🎆 Celebrate the “Guardian Goddess” of Environment 🎃📚💱⚔️

by K. Thirukumaran

In 2017, Navarathri is from September 21st to September 30th. Calendars in USA and Canada have marked the beginning date as September 20th.

Mahakavi Subramaniya Bharathiyar wrote many poems in praise of Sakthi. His famous praise of the goddess invoked Sakthi as Mother of the nation in the form of Muththumari, the main deity in numerous rural parts of Tamil Nadu.

However, “Bhooloka Kumari” – is one of two Sanskrit songs composed by Mahakavi Bharathiyar and may not be the first song that comes to the mind in praise of Sakthi or in renderings during Navarathri.

Yet Bharathiyar praises Mother Nature too as “Guardian Goddess”, making reference to her via “Vaani”, “Janani” “Sundari” “Kalyani” and “Rani” etc. in this song. The great bard remains the trailblazer Editor of a globally spirited Women’s Magazine “Chakravarthini” (The Empress) as early as the year 1905. The magazine is said to have been in tone and spirit of Women’s magazines of the West. His showering words of praise of Mother, Mother Nature – and bestowing Womanhood via this song can be said of his “secular” and “global” form of praising the “Guardian Goddess”. [TW]

Jul 30 – Aug 31

ITAK Gets a Clean Chit as Supreme Court Rules Federalism is not Separatism

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The month of August saw a flurry of hectic political activity in Sri Lanka. The statement made by controversial minister Ravi Karunayake at the Presidential Commission of inquiry followed by his resignation, the move to postpone Provincial council polls by way of the 20th Constitutional amendment, the revolt within UNP ranks against the conduct of maverick UNP minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe and the fast tracking of probes concerning allegations against family members of ex-president Mahinda Rajapaksa along with other issues like the SAITM affair etc have been drawing the attention of the nation at large for the past few weeks.

In the midst of all this August excitement, the supreme court of Sri Lanka delivered a landmark judgement of profound importance on August 4th. The three member bench comprising Chief Justice Priyasath Dep, Justice Upali Abeyratne and Justice Anil Goonaratne in a landmark ruling gave a clean chit to the federal form of governance and the chief Tamil political party espousing federalism in Sri Lanka namely the Ilankai Thamil Arasuk Katchi(ITAK) popularly referred to in English as the Federal Party(FP).

From the very early years since its inception in December 1949 the ITAK/FP had been accused by its political detractors of being a party attempting to divide the country by espousing Federalism. This has led to the growth of an erroneous impression among many Sri Lankans that Federalism amounts to Separatism . In its long political journey the ITAK/FP found this perception of equating federalism with secessionism a major obstacle in pursuing the objective of power sharing through negotiations.

[DBSJ]

Jul 2 – 29:

“Govigama” Monopoly Of Presidents And Prime Ministers In Sri Lanka

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

As a keen observer of the Indian political scene for many decades the election of an Indian President is an exercise I greatly admire. What I have been impressed most is the tradition followed by successive Indian Governments of electing presidents reflecting the mixed population of the country at large. India has through a deliberate process of selection ensured over the years that members of the regional, religious and linguistic minorities are rotated as Presidents of India. In recent times caste and gender too have become relevant factors. [DBSJ]

Anatomy of an Anti-Tamil Pogrom: Thirty-fourth Anniversary of “Black July” 1983

(This article was posted in 2013 to denote the 30th anniversary of Black July 83 and is reproduced here again with minor changes in view of the 34th anniversary of the anti- Tamil pogrom)

by
D.B.S. Jeyaraj

“Shops, Banks, Offices and Restaurants in the Capital’s crowded City Centre and Main Streets being burnt while the Police look on. Thousands of houses ransacked and burnt, sometimes with women and children inside. Goon squads battering passengers to death in trains and on station platforms and, without hindrance, publicly burning men and women to death on the streets! Remand prisoners and political detainees in the country’s top prison being massacred.The armed forces joining in and sometimes organizing this pogrom against members of Sri Lanka’s two Sri Lankan minority communities. The nation’s President and top ranking cabinet members publicly justifying the pogrom!” – (Introductory Paragraph from “Sri Lanka” The holocaust and After” by C.R. Hensman writing under the pseudonym L. Piyadasa)

The tragic history of post – independence Sri Lanka records that the Tamils of Sri Lanka have been subjected to mass –scale mob violence in the years 1956, 1958, 1977, 1981 and 1983. The anti-Tamil violence of July 1983 was the most terrible and horrible of them all. It remains etched in memory even after 30 years. [DBSJ]

Ex-LTTE Leader Ezhilan’s Wife Ananthy Sasitharan Becomes First Woman Northern Provincial Minister

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

45 year old Ananthy Sasitharan made history when she was sworn in before Northern province governor Reginald Cooray in Jaffna as Northern provincial minister of women’s affairs, rehabilitation, social services, food supply and distribution and industries on June 29th 2017. Ananthy who will celebrate her birthday on September 10th has set a record of sorts by becoming the first woman to be appointed as a Northern provincial minister. She was elected from the Jaffna district in the first Northern provincial election with the second highest number of preferential votes polling 87,770. ( Incidently her name is spelled in the media in different ways such as Anandhi, Ananthi, Ananty and Ananthy. The official Northern province council website spells her name as Ananthy. Therefore I am also using the same).