Feature Article

‘Colombo’s ‘genocide’ of Tamil even in the nomenclature of New Year’

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 12 April 2011, 11:54 GMT]
The traditionally known nomenclature, Tamil-Sinhala New Year or Sinhala-Tamil New Year, for the festival that falls on 14 April, has been in recent years twisted in a scheming way as Sinhala-Hindu New Year by genocidal Colombo and by chauvinistic sections of Sinhalese, to get rid of the word Tamil even in the secular festival of New Year, says a Tamil academic in Colombo. A festival has to be recognized in the way the people celebrate call it. Otherwise it is an insult. No one can deny that Eezham Tamils traditionally call the New Year that falls on April 14 as Thamizh Varudam, the months of it as Thamizh Maatham and the dates of it as Thamizh Thikathi. No one has ever used the word ‘Hindu’ and the word Hindu itself is only of roughly 125 years old in Eezham Tamil usage, the academic further said.

Further comments from the Tamil academic in Colombo:

As a secular festival based on the astronomical transit of the Sun in the Zodiac, just like the Pongkal, the New Year in April will not alienate the Christians or Muslims either, to isolate the festival as ‘Hindu’. In that case, even the term Sinhala is inappropriate, and it has to be called Buddhist.

The fact is that most of the Hindus in India and Buddhists elsewhere do not observe the solar New Year that falls on April 14, but observe another astronomical New Year based on lunar calendar.

In South Asia, the Tamils, Malayalis and the Sinhalese only make a major region, where the solar New Year on April 14 is celebrated.

By twisting the nomenclature as Sinhala-Hindu, if the Sinhala chauvinists mean to claim the festival as ‘Aryan’, then they are wrong.

The 60-year-cycle associated with the solar New Year, based on relative positions of Saturn, Jupiter and the Sun, may have Sanskrit names today, but that is not the concept of the New Year that falls on April 14. Even Pongkal has a Sanskrit name Makara-Sangranti. That doesn’t make it ‘Aryan’ festival.

Unfortunately, some among the Tamils also don’t understand the logic and concept of the secular festivals they observe and are carried away by shallow rhetoric. Now they lose even the Tamil identity of their festival to the Sinhalese.

13.04.08  Tamil New Year


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