Thursday, October 15, 2009

I want you to write a history with a twist Pulavar!

Well as you know I posted that first post “Inconsistent bits in Professor Nalin’s history of Tamils in the kalaya forum and now the discussion is progressing. I thought of posting my latest reply here because as before I don’t want to deprive my own blog of the pulsating, throbbing, virile, witty style which is all mine.

“Dutch had the burden of keeping the imported Vellalas in Jaffna. That is why they wanted to make a story for Vellalas to buy. We have to assume Pulavar's motive for writing this book is genuine (which is doubtful as he was employed by the Dutch for some purpose. What is the motive behind inviting Pulavar to write a history? Are we to propose that Dutch came here to explore the history of Sri Lanka?) to reason that it should have been consistent with the demography at the time of writing. His interpretation of Vijaya and the origin of Sinhalas are inconsistent with other historical evidence. He does write about Hindu kovils made by Vijaya around the country at the time even Hindu culture was yet to born. It seems that he had a different motive than being honest.”

Dasun, whatever a writer’s motives are it’s next to impossible to write a history which is not consistent with the writer’s current frame of reality. We are all very much creatures of our present and when we write about history we tend to take our present as a solid point of reference and explain how our present came to be. What all historians do whatever their motive is to try to answer the question, what went on before NOW? What are the events and incidents that led to the NOW? No historian can help it.

According to Mailvahanam Pulavar writes that under Jaffna rulers, Tamil families were brought from South India and settled in Jaffna. He writes that the Sinhala population was resisting the Arya Chakravarthi rule and getting themselves hanged, exiled or leaving in large numbers unable to take the harassment. He writes that the climax of this ruler- subject incompatibility came under Sankili who unleashed his rage against the many Sinhala Buddhists still living in Jaffna chasing them beyond the border, killing them, laying waste to their places of worship so that they took refugee in Wanni and Upcountry and nevermore came back to Jaffna. Isn’t it a simple thing to deduce from this the ethnic composition of Pulavar’s 1736 Jaffna?

However since you insist, let us examine the possibility that out of non genuine motives Pulavar wrote his history to be consistent not with his actual current reality but with a fabricated current reality. Then something along the lines of the following conversation would have taken place between Pulavar and the Dutch Governor.

Dutch Governor - Pulavar

Pulavar - My Lord?

Dutch Governor - I want you to write a history Pulavar

Pulavar - Of Yalpanam my Lord? I’ve always wanted to my Lord. I shall start right away (backing out of the presence)

Dutch Governor - Not so fast Pulavar!

Pulavar (stopping at once) - My Lord?

Dutch Governor - I want you to write this history with a twist!

Pulavar - A twist my Lord? I am afraid I don’t quite….

Dutch Governor - When you write this history I want you to imagine that at present the majority in Jaffna is Tamil and that there are next to no Sinhalese and then show with your ‘history’ how that transpired .

Pulavar - But they are here my Lord and they are more than us!

Dutch Governor (Chuckling evilly) - Not for long Pulavar not for long !

Pulavar (whispering conspiratorially) – What are you going to do with them your Lordship? (in a hopeful voice) Kill them?

Dutch Governor – Something much better and much less messy Pulavar! We or rather you or rather these hoards of Vellala laborers we have been bringing from South India since 1650 are going to absorb them!

Pulavar - Your Lordship!!!

Dutch Governor - You see Pulavar we want these Vellala hoards to make Jaffna their home and we want to do everything possible to make these Vellalas feel at home and when they read this ‘history’ they must feel that Jaffna is theirs and the Sinhalese have nothing to do with it and….

Pulavar (visibly upset) - But but my Lord these laborers, these plowers and tillers of the land, they can’t read!

Dutch Governor(Chuckling evilly and rubbing his hands together) - Oh they will read Pulavar. Not only read they will do greater things and this ‘history’ my dear Pulavar is really for them because when they can finally read your ‘history’ I don’t want them to get the slightest inkling that it was their coming which caused a Tamil majority Jaffna. I want them to go on believing that Jaffna was always theirs. These Vellala labors Pulavar even though you call them plowers and tillers of the land in your superior Brahmin fashion are the future. The future!

Pulavar - They are the future? No my Lord. We are the future. We Brahmins. We have always been the future!

Dutch Governor- I think you forget yourself Pulavar! A little more respect please! You are not the future by the way. You too will get absorbed and disappear. And Pulavar please write that history exactly according to my brief. Or else…..

Pulavar - Or else?

Dutch Governor - Or else you can forget about sending your son to the William of Orange Royal Dutch Academy in the Dutch Republic! Among other things!

Are you really suggesting something like the above took place? Let’s not become ridiculous here.

If the Dutch were manipulative to that extent, can you explain why the following scene didn’t take place.

Back Ground - The Dutch governor has been reading the first draft of Pulavar’s ‘history’

Dutch Governor – Pulavar! What is this shit? This won’t do!

Pulavar- Shit my Lord?

Dutch Governor- Here you have written that it was some king of Ceylon who gifted the Jaffna kingdom to its first ruler. Are you mad to suggest that statehood and power only flowed to this kingdom from the crown of Ceylon? No you must write it to suggest that this was a sovereign State since time out of mind. And why have you written this nonsense about Jaffna rulers bringing over families from South India and colonizing Jaffna and then treating the Sinhalese natives and settlers alike and then persecuting the Sinhalese and driving them out? Why do you have to write about the Sinhalese at all Pulavar. They…were…never…here. Get that into your thick skull! The Sinhalese had nothing to do with Jaffna remember it was you people from the start. Go back man and bring back a more sensible ‘ history’

Can you tell me why the above scene did not take place if Pulavar and the Dutch Governor were so evil?

…..To be continued soon…..

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