Tamils - a Trans State Nation..

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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  • * Edge of the Lagoon: Some Perspectives of Jaffna

    Book Description

    With a mature intellectual tradition and intensive educational provision since the sixteenth century, Jaffna had an edge over the rest of the country, not only in the matter of educational attainment, but also in other inter-related areas, such as a favourable socio-cultural and socio-economic ethos, as well as political awareness to organise themselves. With the attainment of independence in 1948 in the wake of the liberation of India, Jaffna witnessed a gradual decline in all areas, especially with the steady upsurge of ultra-religious and ultra-nationalist chauvinism, and the substitution of demagogic rule for genuine democracy, made possible by a constitution ill-suited to the needs of an emergent nation. While analysing the situation in the light of available evidence, the book goes on to argue the case for decentralisation of government and devolution of centralised power in the interest of the nation.

    "Tea from Ceylon!"-those were the words that still ring in my ears from advertisements in the 'fifties, and they always evoked a picture of a magical, exotic island world with acres of rich green tea bushes somewhere beyond the swelling rollers of the Indian ocean. Today "Sri Lanka" doesn't sound as romantic-but if I were to visit that land, I would be sure to take with me a copy of Dr Paramothayan's book. The title Edge of the Lagoon are words, once again, to conjure with! And indeed, the book takes one to the heart of that magical, though turbulent land with its ancient myths and rich mixture of cultures.

    This is a meticulous, academic, well-researched study or exploration, especially of Jaffna, that region in the northern apex of that triangular land just 22 miles from the southern tip of India, and is well supported by meticulous and accurate footnoting and quotations from the people who have shaped the country."  - Charles Muller, Diadem Books

    Review by Lighthouser (London, UK) -

    Long overdue book on Tamils in Sri Lanka, October 22, 2007

    It is the Nazi Joseph Goebbels who said "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie."

    Unfortunately this is exactly what is happening in relation to the position of Tamils in Sri Lanka thus far. Indeed the author quotes such propaganda that is widely available even today for lazy consumption by tourists and the casual observer of Sri Lankan affairs. Therefore it is refreshing to see the demolition of such lies through careful scholarly work. The author has produced a book of that rare quality which keeps the reader turning the pages while imparting well researched, historically accurate knowledge.

    The book is unique in its span - dealing with pre-christian era Sri Lanka, the many invasions by the Cholas and the successive colonisation by the Portugese, Dutch and the British and post independence. The historical, cultural, economic and political aspects are crisply (in about 120 pages) covered with sensitivity and humanity.

    It is a must read for those who think they know(!) the Tamil position in Sri Lankan history because I am in no doubt it will challenge their understanding, not through vitriol but through beautiful writing and patient exposition without rancour or communalism.



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