Pandara Vanniyan - 'Last King of Vanni' - remembered in the Tamil homeland

The 217th victory day of Pandara Vanniyan, the last sovereign of the Vanni chieftaincy was commemorated last month with fanfare across the Tamil homeland in the North-East. Proceedings began early morning in Vavuniya in the presence of Urban Council Chairman E. Gowthaman who also organised the event last month. People gathered to pay respects to the statue of the chieftain who ruled the Vanni region in the 18th century. Known as the 'Last King of Vanni', he died fighting colonial rule by the Dutch and British. They decorated Pandara Vanniyan’s statue with garlands and ceremonially showered...

A militarised festival in Jaffna as Nallur Thiruvizha gets underway

Sri Lankan troops have been deployed at the Nallur Kandasamy Temple in Jaffna this week, as the temple’s annual festival – thiruvizha – began last month .

Observing Aadi Amavaasai

The new moon in Aadi (July) is one of the three most powerful new moons of the year. Devotees honour their ancestors by observing fasts, feeding crows and bathing in large bodies of natural water to rid themselves of their sins.

Annual Nainativu Nagapooshani Amman Temple chariot festival held

The annual Nainativu Nagapooshani Amman Temple ‘Ther’ was held on Friday. The historic temple festival was celebrated in its traditionally spectacular fashion with the day commencing with the “Vasantha Mandapam Pooja” at 7am, followed by the chariot being transported to offer blessings to the devotees.

Thanthondreeswarar temple hunting festival held in Mullaitivu

The historic Oddusuddan Thanthondreeswarar temple hunting festival ( Vettai thiruvizha) was held in Mullaitivu on Wednesday to conclude the temple's annual Thiruvizha.

Human Rights Solidarity speak on Tamil refugees

Human Rights Solidarity commemorated refugee week and world refugee day by speaking to Gayathri Thivyaa, a medical student at Imperial College London and the child of Tamil refugees who fled the genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka. Reflecting on her own experiences as well as the experience of her parents, Thivyaa spoke about the impact that trauma has on refugees and their children, saying also that “the impact […} on subsequent generations is overlooked.” She also spoke about the hardship of Tamils in Sri Lanka as well as the difficulties they face once they come to a new country. “I’ve seen...

Tamil Canadian community worker dies after stopping to help at highway crash

Tributes have poured from across the Tamil Canadian community for 52-year-old Surendran Thambirajah, who passed away earlier this month after he stopped to help another driver who had crashed their car in Ontario. Thambirajah had stopped at the scene of a crash to offer his assistance, after another vehicle has crashed into a hydro pole. He passed away after being struck by a downed wire. He was a popular and well known community activist after he moved to Canada in 1986, fleeing the armed conflict in Sri Lanka. Once in Canada, he was a founding member of a Tamil school in Ottawa and created...

'Since no amount of words could ever outweigh, what we have lost on the 18th of May'

The following pieces are by Yhalisai and Kulalisai, both escaped the war in the Vanni in 2009 and now live in the diaspora. 18th of May Our hopes and dreams, they did betray. For all their cruelty, they must pay. For our freedom, it's a long delay. We didn't want war, but there was no other way. Some people think Sri Lanka's a display, A "beautiful" island for their holiday. But they only see what the government portrays, Not the truth that's hidden away. The Sri Lankan government is to be blamed. Tamil genocide has always been their aim. By calling us "terrorists", they wanted to frame Us,...

The story behind the Quebec’s Tamil Heritage Month stamp

I had the greatest honour to design Quebec’s Tamil Heritage Month stamp for 2020. Designing is something I love to do and I am so grateful that it is a huge part of my life. As someone who is Tamil, when I was asked to design a stamp that represented my culture and heritage, I did not think twice.

Thalir - Reflections from Mullivaikkal survivors

The following pieces are reflections from Tamil children who all survived the massacres at Mullivaikkal. Eleven years later, they are telling their stories around the genocide they faced and are reclaiming the narrative. They have all lost at least one family member during the massacres of 2009. All are now living in the diaspora.