Mindset of Tamil Diaspora changed a lot since 2009, Nallur Kovil festival as the unifying force for the contradicting minds ( conflicting minds )

People used to change time to time. There can be many reasons and factors for a change of mind. When someone realizes that he is making a mistake , he may change his mind or some people wait until others point out the mistake. People make mistakes. It is human nature. But we must make sure that, people should not be addicted to mistakes. If you make a mistake the first time , you will be pardoned. But, not the second time. If you keep on doing the same mistake, then it cannot be termed as a mistake but it is termed as a crime. You may face a penalty or deemed to get a punishment.

Similarly before the war , tamil people in the country and tamil diaspora had a different mindset. But after the end of hostilities in 2009 , tamils in this country have realized the truth. Now they are slowly getting attached to the national parties and started showing their national patriotism at times.

It is not only the individuals, but the countries also changed their perceptions. The present Indian government BJP government has a clear policy about Tamil issue, which is well appreciated. The central government of INDIA maintains a better relation with Sri Lankan government. But it is unfortunate to see that some of the Tamil Nadu politicians still pursue the LTTE supportive policies. TamilNadu politicians talk about Sri Lankan Tamils but when it comes to Fishermen problem they take the tamil nadu side, which is ridiculous.

When indian government proscribed LTTE as the terrorist organization, some LTTE supportive elements in Tamil Nadu and in europe countries said to lift the ban on LTTE. But one question remains un answered . They argue that if an organization does not exist , why should we ban ? As a result another question arise , who are the people asking for lift of this ban ? don’t you think these elements are LTTE supportive elements , that justifies that there is emerging force or existence of LTTE  elements? Answer this ? A moderate tamil will find it difficult to answer this , but tamils hate these activities & perceptions. Ordinary tamils in Sri Lanka do not want to see LTTE again. They suffered a lot under LTTE iron grip. They do not want to face that situation again.

Now Tamil Diaspora also divided into 3 parts. 50% of the people have become balance minded.But they are keeping silence. No one from this group is interested in making their opinion public. Then around 30% of the people , still have LTTE supportive interests. They have some good speakers. They always try to speak out and make statements in publc. Another 20% of the people have changed a lot and started showing their gratitude to the motherland – Sri Lanka. This is the present situation of  Sri Lankan Tamils.

Whether you fall into 50% or 30% or 20% of Diapora , it does not matter, the members of the Tamil Diaspora always have a practice to visit Sri Lanka at least thrice a year. This clearly shows , even the controversial members of Diaspora have started to realize that there is real peace in the country. Otherwise , they will not invest large amount of money in northern province.They come here to meet their relatives, to buy lands and houses and even to get married. But one important event they will not forget. That is NALLUR KOVIL FESTIVAL.

This is an annual event and it is the most colorful hindu religious festival in the country. Even the foreigners used to visit this temple. It is also popular among the Non-hindus as well. Sinhala Buddhist people also have a high respect to this temple.

NALLUR FESTIVAL falls in the month of August every year.

 

Nallur Kovil Festival is one good example to change the contradicting minds & promotes patriotism of the nation

Annual festival

Although NALLUR festival is considered as the religious festival for Hindu devotees, now it has changed a lot. The demography and culture of the people  are changed in such a way to accommodate other communities into the forum. Thus it sets an example to others. People in this country know about nallur. Nallur is a town area. When we remind NALLUR , the temple comes to our mind . not the town. Thereby, the town got famous because of the temple.

Nallur (Tamil: நல்லூர்)(Sinhala: නල්ලුර් ) is a town in the northern Jaffna District, Sri Lanka. It is located 3 km south from the city centre of Jaffna. Nallur is famous for the Nallur Kandaswamy temple a popular place of worship and respectively the largest Saiva temple on the peninsula. It is also famous for being the historical capital of the old Jaffna Kingdom and birthplace of renowned philosopher and theologian Arumuka Navalar.

Nallur Temple is one of the most significant Hindu temples in the Jaffna District of Northern Province, Sri Lanka. This kovil hosts the most prestigious NALLUR FESTIVAL every year with a KODDIYETRAM.The presiding deity is Lord Murugan in the form of the holy Vel. The idol of the Nallur Devi or goddess was given to the temple in the 10th century CE by the Chola queen Sembiyan Mahadevi, in the style of Sembian bronzes.

The “Mahotsavam” (annual Great Festival) begins with “Kodie

Nallur Kovil Picture

Nallur Kovil Picture

tram”(Hoisting Holy flag) on the sixth day following “AadiAmavasai” ( the New Moon in the Tamil month of ‘Aadi’) and continues for twenty five days. The cloth for hoisting is obtained ceremonially from the Saddanathar Temple in the neighborhood. This temple was patronized by Ariyachakravarthi – one of the kings of Jaffna Kingdom.

During the festival days various “Yaagams”, “Abishekams” and special poojas are conducted.
The Deity goes round the inner precincts at noon and the outer precincts in the evening daily. Lord Skanda or his vel, as the case may be, does the rounds by the “Vahanams” (Vehicles) like Silver Peacock. Silver Swan, Silver Rishapam(the Cobra), the green Peacock, the House and etc.

The huge and heavy chariot carrying the statue of God Muruga is paraded along the streets of Nallur shrine. It is pulled by a rope by thousands of devotees where the rich and poor, old and young stand shoulder to shoulder in pulling it giving God Muruga the opportunity to witness the sincerity and purity of the devotees. The next day is the water cutting ceremony which is called in Tamil ‘Theertham”.

The final religious activity of ‘Theertham”  is the lowering the flag – “Kodiirrakkam” in Tamil.

Socio –cultural role of Nallur Festival

During Nallur festival, all the days feeding the congregation with quality lunch takes place in various “Madams” around the temple. The word “Madam” in Tamil refers generally to a religious establishment which does social and religious activities.

Everywhere we saw large decorated cadjan sheds built by various private organizations. They supply freely soft cool drinks in day time and some of them supply freely milk tea in evenings. The worshippers can rest in the sheds sitting on the white  sand during day time’s sunshine .
In Evenings parents with their kids, Elderly people and youngsters accompanied by their friends sitting on the silver sandy area around the temple in all directions ,east,west ,north and south usually take rest and have chat for long hours with enjoying music or art programs staged in the open spaces and halls around the temple  after pooja come to end. Small children and young people often create temporary divine statues by using the white sand.

Traders competitively invade Nallur area during festival time. They install stalls. Almost south west area and west area around the temple become trade fair exhibition area”  , often held annually, at which from big companies to small book shops exhibit their goods and products to potential buyers or inform people of business ,educational and job opportunities. Many food stalls serve delicious food items. Sweet and chilly flavored hot short eats.

Nallur Temple Trustees implements strict dress code guidelines for male devotees entering the temple. Male devotees should remove their shirts when they enter the temple. It is observed that  all the visitors including all the VIPs and VVIPS coming from south of Sri Lanka and members of Armed Forces and the Police  respect the cultural values and traditions of Nallur.

The historic festival draws devotees from around the island as well as overseas. Many families of expatriate Tamils living in Europe, Canada, USA and Australia show interest to visit their native land , Jaffna during the festival season . They stay in Jaffna for one or two months and take part in the Nallur festival.

*** **** **

When president Mahinda Rsjapaksa visits Jaffna , he always make a visit to NALLUR KOVIL. As a head of state , when he visits the temple he always make it a practice to adhere to the customs of the kovil. This sets an example to other citizens of this country. Thus the kovil has become the symbol of reconciliation and peace. President Rajapaksa made the Tamil community proud by visiting this kovil. This also pave the way to cultivate the contracting Diaspora minds to unite and live in a peaceful atmosphere in Sri Lanka.

 

Written by : J.Yogaraj, senior journalist

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