Eezham Tamils learning languages
Thanks to the sustained efforts of the Indian Consulate in Jaffna ‘interest in Hindi’ is sprouting among Jaffna Tamils, reports New Indian Express on Tuesday, citing ‘Hindi Diwas’ [Hindi Day] celebrated by the Consulate, 20 students completing a course and one of them telling that “There are now people who think it will be useful to know Hindi if they go to north India for studies or pilgrimage.” Eezham Tamils wish that the Chinese embassy would soon start teaching Mandarin Chinese and the other embassies would follow suit in teaching major European, Latin American, Arabic and other Asian languages, so that the nation of Eezham Tamils could have a wider interaction with the world and with their own kith and kin worldwide, commented Tamil activists for alternative politics in the island.
“A passion for Hindi film music and the Hindi language is commonplace in Sri Lanka. But Jaffna, the stronghold of Tamil nationalism, has been an exception to this rule. The Tamil-speaking North is one place in the island nation, where Hindi films are not shown, Hindi soaps are not watched, and Hindi songs are not aired. But these may well be things of the past, soon. Thanks to the sustained efforts of the Indian Consulate, interest in Hindi is sprouting among Jaffna Tamils,” wrote P K Balachandran based in Colombo and reporting for New Indian Express.
He was subtly implying that the Sinhala nation has a natural passion and orientation for Hindi, more open to the designs of New Delhi and thus a better ally than the Tamil resistors.
Learning any language for human interaction and better economic opportunities should never be a problem to Tamil civilization that historically had long maritime contacts from China to Egypt in ancient times and later sent its diaspora worldwide to every continent during European colonial and post colonial times.
The problem arises only when any language comes with genocidal intent as in the case of Sinhala in the island or comes with the greed of replacing the colonial imperialist model of the British, which the New Delhi Establishment is long aiming within India and outside.
If New Delhi and Colombo are now making a strategic partnership model; if the aim of the partnership is annihilation of Eezham Tamils as a nation of language, identity and territory in the island; if the vast resources, input and more importantly the ‘military to military alliance’ of both these partners are deployed in the process in which the languages are a tool, and if the Tamil resistance model is not sufficient to withstand the onslaught – then Tamils in the island, in Tamil Nadu and in the diaspora should come out with an alternative outlook and strategy, suitable to their long heritage and current geopolitical opportunities.
Tamils should bring in all the major languages of the world and learn them equally to globally empower the Tamil nation in economy, society, culture, politics, and in meeting the regional genocidal treachery hatched by New Delhi and Colombo.
The current geopolitical and militaristic competition of powers over the island that doesn’t shun the genocide of Tamils has to be made the best use of by the military-less nation of Tamils in meeting the challenges through a different front. For instance, if a group of Eezham Tamils in the island comes forward to learn Chinese, it cannot be intimidated.
It is perhaps an appropriate way of balancing New Delhi that counts itself out in respecting the nation and territory of Eezham Tamils, and at the same time empowers Tamils with a knowledge of a classical language used by more people around the world than Hindi.
Tamil polity in the island should think creatively in linguistically empowering the society and the diaspora should realize the importance of harnessing and channeling its immense potentiality in world languages.
The world languages equally coming to Tamils will not endanger Tamil, as it would be by leaving the scene to Hindi or Sinhala. On the other hand, it would enrich Tamil and empower Tamils. South India has a prior experience in this regard by its openness to English and French in the colonial times, which still makes certain sections in India to envy the ‘Madarasis’.
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The ‘Mauryan Empire specialists’ in New Delhi would tell us how the empire, which could not conquer the ancient Tamil country, made an alliance with the island, to the extent that the local ruler there accepted the title of emperor Asoka, i.e., Devanampiya, as his name.
The New Delhi-centered political polarization in colonial times sidelined the Bengali language, which then had the single largest number of speakers in the subcontinent and divided them as Hindus and Muslims, in making Hindi originated in the Moghul court and military camps to become the ‘national’ language of India. The Northeast States in India and the tribal populations became the most vulnerable target. Marathi became overshadowed by Hindi film industry choosing Mumbai as its center.
After independence, New Delhi feared the maritime distribution of Tamils especially in the Indian Ocean: in Ceylon, Burma, Malaya, Singapore and in the Andaman and Nicobar islands.
As Andaman and Nicobar islands came under New Delhi, a calculated colonisation policy facilitated Hindi becoming the language in that archipelago for ‘better integration’. The agreement with Colombo for the repatriation of the Tamils of Indian origin from Ceylon and New Delhi’s tacit silence on the expulsion of Tamils from Burma have to be understood in larger perspectives. The Tamils in Malaysia and Singapore are constantly coaxed to drop the Tamil identity and put on ‘Indian’ identity. The card used there is ‘Hinduism’ of a brand culturally alien to Tamils. Hindi replaces Malayalam and Mahl (of Minicoy) in the Laccadives archipelago of the Arabian Sea, again for better ‘integration’ in the Indian Ocean.
Let learning Hindi in Jaffna and ‘passion’ for Hindi film and music in Colombo may flourish. But it is high time stateless global Tamils have to conceive an outlook and long-term strategies to speak to the world on their own.
Renowned sociologist M.N. Srinivas theorized how openness to a world language helped a section in India to ‘Sanskritize’ others and to retain its dominance. Ambedkar told Dalits to renounce Hinduism and to turn to Mahayana Buddhism. If these are understood, it will be easily understood why the country of Tamils always at the receiving end of the games of powers, especially that of New Delhi, should become a hub of expertise in all the world languages.
Speaking at the ‘Hindi Diwas’ function of the New Delhi mission in Jaffna, the Acting Consul General, S.D. Moorthy, hailing from Ma’nappaa’rai in Tamil Nadu said that Tamils in the North should learn Sinhala, the language of the country. [He is perhaps contented with the genocide in the East]. Hindi spoken by half of the population in India is analogical, he said. His advice to Tamils in the island was to learn Hindi, in addition to three languages, i.e., Tami, Sinhala and English.
Eezham Tamils would have certainly welcomed, learnt and accommodated Sinhala and Hindi for their own advantages, had New Delhi and Colombo recognised the nation, territory, self-determination and sovereignty of Eezham Tamils in the island.
But New Delhi and Colombo are not only partners in the genocide and on-going genocide, but are also responsible in sending half of the population of Eezham Tamils into the diaspora.
Whether it is Hindu philosophy or Buddhist philosophy, who could help the effects of Karma? The needs and realities of Eezham Tamils in particular and Tamils in general are different today. They have to be only awakened to take righteous and logical steps, intelligently deploying their potentialities, and that is certain to happen thanks to the continued ‘Karmas’ of Hindutva New Delhi.