Tamils, who are native to Tamil Nadu and Eelam, have been migrating for various purposes for thousands of years. Evidence from the Sangam era shows that sea trade was a major purpose in ancient times. During the colonial period, Tamils migrated for various purposes such as business, employment, education and politics. “The Eelam Tamils of Sri Lanka have been dispersing in small numbers for more than the past 150 years and en masse in the past three decades to numerous countries, where they are living as refugees.” (Gunasingam, 2014a, p. 5). Among the emigrations of the twentieth century, the Eelam Tamil migration made the term «Tamil Diaspora» (Tamil Diaspora) internationally familiar. The word «Diaspora» is derived from the Greek word «diaspeirein» or «diasporic. It means «scatter». The term was first used when the Jews left their homeland. Although the primary use and meaning of the term are characterized with “the dispersed Jews after the Babylonian captivity” (Gunasingam, 2014b, p. 7), today it also includes those who have left their homeland for economic, educational or employment purposes.
Diaspora Tamil Infrastructure
Tamil Diaspora infrastructure is a structure built by many Diaspora Tamil organisations. The foundation of this infrastructure was laid by the diaspora Tamil community and the spirit that was raised from Eelam. Both elements were the strength, fertile and resource for the infrastructure. However, the environment and culture of each host country have had an impact on the Tamil community. The diaspora Tamil infrastructure is a precious asset given to us. It is an asset resulting from the combination of the continuing genocide of Tamils in Eelam since 1948; the struggle to resist by the Tamils living in the homeland and the diaspora.
Management leadership culture
It is the massive responsibility of all Tamil organisations to maintain and develop this infrastructure to protect and transfer the migrated Tamils as a Tamil diaspora society. This duty is of ever-increasing importance in the present for future generations. A strong diaspora Tamil infrastructure will be a resource for the Tamils back home. Management documents can be implemented in Tamil organisations to preserve and improve the infrastructure of the Tamil diaspora. They will pave the way for the evolution of management, leadership culture within an organisation and between other organisations. They will also create administrative control. This can regain the trust of the Tamil community in the diaspora and maintain the diaspora as a united force of Tamil society. Otherwise, there is a risk that the diaspora Tamil community will evolve into scattering over time.
Diaspora Tamil Community and Tamil Eelam
It is a matter of history that the majority of organisations in each diaspora country have looked up to the characteristics of the military force of the Tamil Eelam. The characteristics became role models for the growth of the Tamil diaspora organisations. An example from the Tamil Eelam military administration is presented here as an example of a Tamil administration. It is presented here because it can apply to a civil administration. Based on a piece of verbal information from a senior member, there has been a practice of writing “battle report” (சண்டை அறிக்கை) in the Tamil Eelam military administration. Initially, the «report of defeat battles» (தோல்விச் சண்டை அறிக்கை) was written. The practice of writing «report of victory battles» was also later introduced, and a research centre were also been established to research the battlefield, said the person.
The practice of writing such statements would have been initiated in order to review the defeated battles on the battlefield and to meet the administrative need to find new tactics. Such administrative management documents are tools for building control, handling complaints, reviewing mistakes, developing and improving, gaining trust and credibility and many more. These will later become our historical documents. We can learn such administrative culture from the military phase of the Tamil Eelam liberation struggle. It is necessary to see how it can be applied in a civil administration to improve the Tamil diaspora society. For that, the records must be created!
Co-operation between Tamil organisations
In the Western education system, social skills, such as cooperation, is taught and practised by the students in their daily practical education. Tamil children as they get older, work effectively in a Western workplace or other Western platforms. But the same Tamil adults are having challenges at Tamil platforms. Why?
This massive difference and the double standard environment creates a massive psychological paradox for Tamil children and young people growing up in the diaspora. As a result, many take a distance from the Tamil structures.
Here is an example of continuity and cooperation between diverse organisations. They will contribute to the impact on the culture of the diaspora Tamil society. Incorporated social skill development in organisations such as Tamil schools, sports clubs, arts / cultural centres can contribute to developing Tamil and social skills. These social skills should then be followed in organisations for young people and adults.
For example, it is not mandatory to create and maintain documents in private organisations under Norwegian archival law. This legal status poses a huge challenge to the preservation of the historical and cultural heritage of minority societies, including Tamil. Documents of Eelam Tamils are under serious threat back home. On the other hand, there are no integrated procedures for creating and maintaining documents in the diaspora Tamil organisations. Thus consciously or unconsciously, the historical and cultural heritage of the Tamils is being destroyed.
First, the “purpose, aims, functions, activities” of an organisation need to be identified and defined.
Documents of transactions within an organisation or between other organisations need to be preserved within an organisation. They will maintain administrative control. These documents do also define who has the authority, responsibility and duty. Thus the responsibilities that everyone carries on their shoulders will be decentralised in the documents. Documents protect and promote democracy and rights. But in the event of procedural violations, the consequences must also be defined. Trust in an administrative structure can only be developed when those procedures are followed. Otherwise, a double standard will prevail. That is, there is one procedure in written form and another procedure in practice. Thus, hopelessness and insecurity will continue.
Short term goal / long term goal
An organisation can face challenges in achieving the purpose and aim of that organisation. Solutions can be found through identifying “needs, challenges, measures”.
What is the prevailing need in the Tamil community?
What is the challenge(s) in working towards the needs of the Tamil community?
What measure(s) can be taken for the challenges to meet the need and achieve the aim?
Accuracy, reliability, people strength
Credibility can only be built by maintaining accuracy in operation and communication. Reliability is what keeps the visionary structure strong. Administrative management documents will become a useful tool to maintain this.
Key Management Documents
Statute of an organisation
- The historical background of an organisation
- The purpose of an organisation
- Values of an organisation
- What kind of management? (information on the number of executive members, how the management change process will occur)
- Rights and duties of the committee
The functions and activities of an organisation need to be identified
- What is the goal of an organisation?
- Short term aim
- Long-term aim
(Note: Identify and define the aim based on the purpose defined in the statute)
- What are the functions of an organisation?
- Which of these function(s) cooperates with other organisations?
(Note: Define the functions based on the short-term and the long-term aims of the organisation)
- What are the activities of an organisation?
- Which of the following activitie(s) cooperates with other organisations?
(Note: Define the activities within each function of the organisation)
- What kind of documents do each transaction create?
(Note: How are these documents created and preserved for the administrative use of the organisation, as well as historical documents for the future?)
Meeting related documents
1) Meeting agenda
Note: define in advance what the meeting will take place about. Let people prepare about the defined issues.
2) Meeting minutes
Note: talk about defined matters. So that the purpose of the meeting will be focused. What issues were discussed at the meeting, what decisions were made, and other issues will be recorded in the meeting minutes. These documents will serve as a source for conflict management at any later time. This will maintain trust and reliability among the members of the organisation and in the community.
Complaint related documents
Capturing complaints is very important. That alone will help to maintain peace and equality within the organisation and in society. Otherwise, complaints, grievances, dissatisfaction and injustice will spread in the society without any control.
- How can members of an organisation report complaints?
- How can public report complaints to an organisation?
- What are the procedures for handling complaints?
- Report on handled complaints
These procedures were practised in many diaspora Tamil organisations when there was a leadership back home. However, due to a lack of understanding of its significance and sufficiency in the diaspora, the practice has lagged behind since May 2009.
Gemini, S. (2019). Structures of Tamil Eelam: A Handbook. Switzerland: Puradsi Media.
Gunasingam, M. (2014). Diaspora Tamils from Sri Lanka: A Global Study. Sydney: M.V. Publication.
Shepherd, E., & Yeo, G. (2003). Managing records: a handbook of principles and practice. London: Facet.
Velauthapillai, A. (2020). Tamil and Eezham Tamil. Oslo: TamilNet.
சேதுராமலிங்கம், ச. (2020). பிரபாகரன் சட்டகம். Germany: உலகத்தமிழர் உரிமைக்குரல் மற்றும் நந்திக்கடல் கோட்பாட்டுருவாக்க சிந்தனைப் பள்ளி.