Born in Jaffna, come to Batticaloa, the Netball in her hands, she steps in her final destination delivering two Asian championships in the Sri Lankan Netball legacy. She must be the “Giraffe” of the Asian Netball games. What all other players ought to do was only handing her the ball, by any means necessary. She puts the ball in the net standing at the goal keep so easily knowing that there is no one else to challenge her height in the world. Both in 2009 and 2018 the contribution she made, the weight she lifted, for delivering an Asian Championship to Sri Lanka is beyond measure.
She is Tamil. A Tamil to the bone. She, a Tamil from Jaffna, tells a story to the whole country, a story however cannot be understood by any one of us. Majority of Sri Lanka worships girls like Tharjini as the symbol of peace and reconciliation. But we are not culturally matured to isolate the inner story Tharjini has to offer. Or, we do not like to understand at all. Tharjini touches the Netball at the University of East at minimum sports facilities available, not at school. Unlike the girls from the Southern, Tharjini had no facilities to play Netball at school; neither they had a privilege to wear short skirts and set foot in the ground, like the Southern girls do.
What Tharjini tells us is the story of the Tragedy of Economic War. Gods had gifted Tharjini with a height she can use to win the battle of Economy. If Tharjini was not gifted with such height, she probably might have worked in a local district secretariat’s office. It is not difficult to find hundred Tharjinis from around Jaffna, Batticaloa, or Kilinochchi. But the biggest issue to the country too is the fact that girls like Tharjini cannot easily be found.
It is no secret that school sporting in the North and the South is not served by the same spoon. The Sports Club network is only for creating a job description for the Officer-in-Charge at the Divisional Secretariat’s Office, not for creating players. Whether to implement a national selecting committee, there is not even a single system in it. But we are still boasting about Tharjini from Jaffna.
In my career of sports, the best fast bowler with a best fitness is a Tamil from Kilinochchi. He spins balls, 8 solid rounds, without a single disturbance in the speed or his strength. Even the day after, and after, he is ready for bowling. But they have never seen Colombo; not even a dream to see it. They must have learned that daydreaming is useless.
We boast today about Tharjini, only because she has delivered us an Asian Championship. We boast about Murali only because he ruled the realm of Cricket. Otherwise, for today and always Muralis, Tharjinis are but mere separatist huge Tamils.
Tharjinis have already shown us the cultural and economic wars on rise upon our society. The minute Sri Lanka begin to reach at its brick of defeating the terrorism of culture and economy, not only from Jaffna, Kilinochchi and Batticaloa, hundreds of Tharjinis from Maha Oya, Bibila, Padiyathalawa will be born.
- Asanka Arambegoda