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January 16, 2011




Page: 42/45

Home > 2011 Issues > January 16, 2011

Insight

‘Tamil Elam’ a Christian agenda?-II
Fr. Gaspar Raj transferred all the collected funds in his account in Paris

By B R Haran

It is reported that he collected around US $ 500,000.00. All these funds were raised selling the tales about plight of the Tamil orphans to the Tamil diaspora in Canada.

IN the meantime, he arranged the rebroadcast of the Veritas Tamil programmes in the then popular TRT Tamil Alai Radio, and used it to build a formidable link between himself and the Tamil Diaspora.

During this time the Tigers were running their own Radio IBC in Europe. Fr Gaspar Raj announced that Veritas radio as well as the TRT Radio would jointly run programmes for the collection of funds for the welfare of the Eelam Tamil orphans. Tigers have never engaged outsiders to collect funds from the Tamil Diaspora or welcomed welfare schemes put to them by others. When the Tiger leaders in Paris vehemently opposed this move of Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj, he was forced to contact Tiger leaders in Vanni for the approval for his proposal to collect funds appealing through the airwaves.

Even SS Kuhanathan, who continuously resisted the Paris, based LTTE leaders, joined hands with Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj in the hope that he might be able to establish contacts with the Tiger leaders in the Vanni.

Fr Jegath Gaspar Raj and Kuhanathan appeared in the TRT Television and appealed through TRT Radio to raise funds for the Tamil orphans in the Vanni. TRT, however, was very cautious about raising funds with Fr Gaspar Raj and insisted that he collects his funds in a separate bank account as this appeal for funds had nothing to do with the TRT organisation. Then Fr Jegath Gaspar Raj opened up a bank account in his name in Credit du Nord bank in Paris and channeled the funds into that bank account.

It is estimated that Fr Gaspar Raj’s appeal led to a collection of nearly a million of dollars. According to a source in the Paris, his Paris bank account alone collected a little over US$ 600,000. However the appeal for funds continued in TRT TV and Radio urging Tamil Diaspora to send in their donations not only to Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj’s the bank account in Paris but also to his bank account in Manila.

Later it transpired, according to TRT Radio and TV broadcasts, that the money sent to Fr Jegath Gaspar Raj’s Paris Bank account was subsequently transferred to his Manila bank account.

So far Fr Jegath Gaspar Raj has neither disclosed the total amount of money he received on behalf of the Tamil Orphans in Vanni nor announced how much he has paid out of the total collection to the Tamil orphans and to whom he has given that money.

In the meantime, TRT Radio and TV stations were acquired by the Tigers and at the same time Fr Jegath Gaspar Raj left Veritas Radio and went back to reside permanently in Tamil Nadu .

In another appeal launched in Canada on January 14, 2001, through radio stations in Toronto, Canada, it is reported that he collected around US $ 500,000.00. All these funds were raised selling the plight of the Tamils orphans to the Tamil Diaspora in Canada. With his oratorical skills he was successful in convincing the Tamils in the Diaspora to part with their money for Tamil orphans. He spent most of his last three years at Veritas overseas campaigning for funds.

After settling down in Tamil Nadu India he launched Tamil Maiyam in 2002. He is the Managing Director. It is located in the St Thomas Building, Santhome Communications Centre in Mylapore, Chennai 600 004. Tamil Maiyam is a ‘80-G tax- exempted charitable organisation.

Tamil Maiyam was founded in Chennai, India, in July 2002 by Fr Jegath Gaspar Raj and his friends as a non-profit organisation to promote Tamil arts, literature and culture with special emphasis on research, creative productions and publications. It also claimed that it aimed to bring the fruits of modern science to the ordinary Tamils and create a platform for Tamils living in various parts of the world to interact and work together for the betterment of Tamil language and Tamil society.

The Board of Trustees are: Rev Fr Jegath Gaspar Raj Managing Trustee, Tamil Maiyam, Fr Lourdu Anandam, Ms Akhila Srinivasan, Mr K Pandia Rajan, Mr Jerard, Mr Joseph Enok, Ms Latha Pandiarajan Ms Kanimozhi, Mr Arun Veerappan and Fr Vincent Chinnadurai.

Subsequently he launched Goodwill Communications Limited (GCL) to produce and provide programme for the Tamil television industry. The company was formally launched at a function which was chaired by writer Sujatha. Fr Jegath Gaspar Raj, the chairman and managing director of Tamil Maiyam, is also the managing director of GCL. Through these insitutions and with the funds collected in the name of the Tamil orphans he has managed to buy his way into the political establishment in Tamil Nadu.

One of Fr Jegath Gaspar Raj’s project was to present a musical rendition of the Tamil literary classic, Thiruvasakam.

Thiruvasakam, a collection of hymns in praise of Lord Shiva couched in heart-tugging phrases in ancient Tamil by the 7th century poet Saint Manickavasagar, is believed to provide a spiritual experience to those who recite it. Dismayed by the neglect of such rich Indian literature, Fr Jegath Gaspar Raj, a theologian and Founder-Chairman of Tamil Maiyam, decided to do something about it and the result was this project.

Thiruvasakam conveys the supreme love for Siva in an obvious rhythm of words, with pleasing sound. It is contained profound statements on love. The verses are in simple style and are easily readable and sung by the very common people and at the same time the thought contents in them are understandable only by scholars of Siva Sitthanta doctrine, and most particularly by the religious experiences.

Fr Jegath Gaspar Raj approached Ilayaraja, the maestro in music, and he in turn seized the opportunity. The music was recorded partly in India (Chennai and Mumbai) and partly at the over 100-year-old Budapest Symphony Orchestra, Hungary.

The album has six songs including a unique 18-minute composition that alternates between Tamil and English lyrics, sung in choral style.

Thiruvasakam has the voices of Iayaraja, his daughter Bavatharini and Benny Diggs. Over 300 musicians, including 140 instrumentalists and 60 chorus singers were involved in making this album.

It is said that Ilayaraja has not taken any remuneration to produce the album, but holds 50 per cent of its rights. The other 50 per cent is with Tamil Maiyam.

The total cost of the project is Rs 1.4 crore, of which 70 per cent funding has come through high cost debt. A total of Rs 1.1 crore has been spent on production.

Unfortunately Fr Jegath Gaspar Raj failed financially in this Thiruvasakam project.

‘Thiruvasakam’ by maestro Ilayaraja, the first ever Indian Symphonic Oratorio was launched for sale on June 30, 2005 at the Music Academy, Chennai, according to Tamil Maiyam.

The funds for this project were raised by the Tamil Maiyam. The total cost of the production is Rs 110 lakhs of which Rs 35 Lakhs came in as donations and Rs 75 lakh as borrowings from individuals and banks. Tamil Maiyam is non-profit 80-G exempted charitable organisation. TIS-Foundation USA played a crucial role in mobilising funds.

The album was presented to the President of India Dr Abdul kalam on June 17, 2005 at the Rashtrapathi Bhavan by Ilayaraaja accompanied by the Tamil Maiyam team. Dr Abdul Kalam listened to the Oratorio song in the presence of Ilayaraja and complimented it as ‘Great, a real contribution to the Indian music and culture’.

Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh received Ilayaraja along with Vaiko and the Tamil Maiyam team on June 18 in New Delhi. While complementing the ‘Thiruvasakam’ effort he underlined the fact that culture is the core strength of our land.

In the meantime, one Dr Vee has disputed Fr Gaspar Raj false Symphony claims.

Fr Gaspar Raj started his Thiruvasakam project with the title ‘Thiruvasakam in Symphony’ for soliciting funds. In US was titled ‘Thiruvasakam in Symphony USA’.

The official web page for the US activities of Thiruvasakam in Symphony. (http:///www.tis-usa.com/index.html).




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