Colombo, Jaffna, Peace and Conflict, Poetry

The Tamil Man’s Genes

My Tamil DNA,
inherited from generations before,
and the genes lined up along it,
have now been analyzed:
99.99 percent the same as a Sinhala fellow’s
99.90 percent the same as a South Indian Tamil’s,
99.00 percent the same as that of a chimp.

To the chimp, I give bananas,
From the Southie I learn to make Dosas,
With the Sinhala chap, I have picked a fight!

How strange! I say,
It cannot then be,
the genes of my Tamil DNA.

Modern Biology readily explains,
function not just in them genes it claims,
but from the way of their control:
Turned ON and OFF
when, why and where in space
and for how long.
Not the genetics of what came from past,
but the epi-genetics of regulation,
the Here and Now of their manipulation.

Oh, Historian! Do come to my rescue.
Why hast thou not seen an epi- too?

  • national guard

    who picked the fight? ahistorical rubbish

  • yapa

    The Language of facts has never been Poetry. Mathematics, Philosophy, Science preferred prose. However, this itself is not a reason for confining to the tradition. On the other hand Experimentations could produce new traditions. However,ultimate intention of the poet seems to be generating some vivid imaginations giving away a very specific message through poetic entertainment using factual concepts, which is a new experiment. I think this is a new, both in content and form as a piece of literature,and a novel experience, making soft toys with hard substances. I think this shows the brilliance and the background of the writer. In return we too must be clever enough to grasp the essence of his finely crafted message. Marvelous!


  • Les Misérables (The Miserable Ones)

    You miserable people
    are a total disgrace,
    you have killed innocent people,
    to preserve your race!

    You miserable people
    cry over dead cattle,
    but what about the people
    who die in battle?

    You miserable people
    do you know how to mourn,
    for the innocent children
    killed in the battle zone?

    You miserable people
    can count me out,
    when you all join together
    for the victory shout!

    You miserable people
    do you know the cost?
    Thousands have died
    and both sides have lost!

    • Saman_Melbourne

      As usual another nice contribution from Niranjan. PresiDunce Bean I would also say “count me out”.

  • Excellent piece Niranjan. Would love if some body to translate it in to Tamil

    • Chandra

      Why you suggest translation into just Tamil — why not Sinhala as well?

  • wijayapala

    Maheshan, we are waiting for your next Sivapuranam Thevaram story.

  • Humanist

    Niranjan, this is a really sharp piece. Many thanks.


    Thousands have died…Millions survived on both sides. what are you going to do about them? Be violent and miserable for the rest of history?

  • ordinary lankan


    and Yapa – congratulations on your finest post as well

  • Michael Dee

    Tamil DNA!

    Poetic license is no excuse to spread rubbish around.

    And then those who speak English have English DNA?

    The point that there is a structural and systemic basis to the problems faced by the Tamil speaking people in Sri Lanka does not justify the causing of this kind of confusion.

    And by the way, all Tamils whether they live in Sri Lanka or in Timbukto are of Indian Origin and so are the Sinhalese though many of them like to believe that they fell from the sky like some of the Tamils in Sri Lanka choose to believe as well. The contribution made by this belief to the mess that has been made may be considerable.