Niira Radia: I told you last night. I called after we spoke and I said that, you know, look at the health option. But give her environment and forest otherwise if the health is not there, independent charge or consider the aviation one. You know, that's the three I had said, you know, what else there was, there. So, they weren't sure. [Indiscernible] [0:00:52] pass the message and they will talk with you because they didn't want to...
Kanimozhi: Even tourism is not worth it.
Niira Radia: Tourism independent charge they will not give you Kanni because Ghulam Nabi Azad has still not given his, he wants something more than what you call it. He has got only parliamentary affairs, you know.
Niira Radia: They don't want to give MP more than that.
Niira Radia: That's why. So, I did mention tourism because I don't know because they will keep it up to cabinet post.
Niira Radia: I didn't know whether they will [Indiscernible] [0:01:22] because if tourism and culture together.
Niira Radia: It's got both the – we'll get involved in all the umbrella of temples and, you know, all this such thing [Indiscernible] [0:01:35] if you want to but anyway, I mean like tell them now if you want. But I didn't tell them…
During the last week alone, Father Gasper Raj has been promoted by mainstream electronic media as a representative of Sri Lankan Tamils! Participating in debates on electronic news channels, he blatantly supports LTTE in the guise of voicing human rights concerns, criticizes the Indian government, and in one debate on Times Now Channel had the audacity to call Dr. Subramanian Swamy a "paid agent of Rajapakse"! Yet it is unclear if he is a Sri Lankan refugee or an Indian citizen. His antecedents and present activities in India/Tamil Nadu need thorough investigation.
"Crorepathy" Fr. Jegath Gasper Raj main link for Tigers in India
Political observers state that Fr. Gaspar Raj was responsible for bringing the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister to come closer once again to the Tamil Tigers, banned in India.
Fr.Gaspar Raj sudden rise to prominence began when he joined the Tamil language broadcasting division of Veritas Radio broadcasting to Asia. This radio runs program in Bahasa (Indonesia), Mandarin, Bengali, Sinhala, Burmese, Tamil, Filipino, Telugu, Hindi, Urdu, Kachin, Vietnamese and Karen languages.
Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi is the coordinator. Joinlty they Father Gaspar Raj is the founder of the Tamil Maiyam, a non-profit organization. Tamil Nadu organized the "Chennai Sangamam" (a cultural extravaganza) in the city which has drawn flak for its Tamil Tiger links.
The Jaya TV, (which has AIADMK chief Jayalalitha's patronage), which is opposed to the Tamil Tigers, telecast a 30-minute program on 04 March focusing on Fr Gaspar Raj sharing the platform with Nachimuthu Socrates, one of the senior fund-raisers for the Tigers.
The program had also raised uncomfortable questions about Father Raj playing an important role in the state-sponsored Chennai Sangamam. The channel also questioned the 'Government Order' that had given Kanimozhi access to unlimited funds for her cultural programs.
Does Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj was born into a low-middle class Catholic family in Nagarkovil, located in Tamil Nadu, India. He was in the early days a parish priest in a remote village in the Kanniyakumari district.
Later he joined 'Radio Veritas' as director of the Tamil service, roughly during 1995 -2001. He began working for Radio Veritas on a monthly salary of US $200.00. His accumulated assets have earned him the title of a 'Crorepathy' today. …………….
Seeing his potential Tigers arranged visits for him in several European capitals. He was invited to collect funds for the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization, banned in some countries as the arm of the Tiger fund collections.
In the meantime, he arranged the rebroadcast of the Veritas Tamil programs in the then popular TRT Tamil Alai Radio, and used it to build a formidable link between himself and the Tamil Diaspora.
During this time the Tigers were running their own Radio IBC in Europe. Fr. Gaspar Raj announced that Veritas radio as well as the TRT Radio would jointly run programs for the collection of funds for the welfare of the Eelam Tamil orphans. Tigers have never engaged outsiders to collect funds from the Tamil Diaspora or welcomed welfare schemes put to them by others. When the Tiger leaders in Paris vehemently opposed this move of Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj, he was forced to contact Tiger leaders in Vanni for the approval for his proposal to collect funds appealing through the airwaves.
Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj and Kuhanathan appeared in the TRT Television and appealed through TRT Radio to raise funds for the Tamil orphans in the Vanni. TRT, however, was very cautious about raising funds with Fr. Gaspar Raj and insisted that he collects his funds in a separate bank account as this appeal for funds had nothing to do with the TRT organization. Then Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj opened up a bank account in his name in Credit du Nord bank in Paris and channeled the funds into that bank account.
It is estimated that Fr. Gaspar Raj's appeal led to a collection of nearly a million of dollars. According to a source in the Paris, his Paris bank account alone collected a little over US$ 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 moneys 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 another appeal launched in Canada on 14 January 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.
Tamil Maiyam was founded in Chennai, India, in July 2002 by Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj and his friends as a non-profit organization 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.
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 Ilayaraja, 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 Maiyam. any remuneration to produce the album, but holds 50 per cent of its rights. The other 50 per cent is with Tamil
Unfortunately Fr. Jegath Gaspar Raj failed financially in this Thiruvasakam project.
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 lakhs as borrowings from individuals and banks. Tamil Maiyam is non-profit 80-G exempted charitable organization. TIS-Foundation USA played a crucial role in mobilizing 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 Ilayaraaja and complimented it as 'Great, a real contribution to the Indian music and culture'.
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh received Ilayaraaja along with Vaiko and the Tamil Maiyam team on June 18 in New Delhi. While complementing the 'Thiruvasakam' effort he unde4rlined the fact that culture is the core strength of our land.
Ilayaraja and the delegation also met with the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Deputy Prime Minister L.K Advani respectively and presented the album.
In a press release issued by the Tamil Maiyam, Fr. Gaspar Raj says that this is the first music that transmits eastern music seamlessly into a western Symphonic singing.
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. [index.html/www.tis-usa.com].
Rev.Fr. Gaspar Raj's Tamil Maiyam website home page also projected his project as 'Thiruvasakam in Symphony'.
All newspapers including "The Hindu" [June 6, 2005] praised this project as 'Thiruvasakam in Symphony'.
But Ilayaraja explained in his interview to "Ananda Vikatan', a Tamil language weekly, that he did not render Thiruvasakam in symphony and clarified that he had employed the musical form Oratorio in the Thiruvasakam project. Misled by unethical marketing many innocent buyers still believe that Thiruvasakam is now rendered in symphonic music. .
Western Music does not have a musical form called 'symphonic oratorio'. Symphony and Oratorio are two different musical forms.
After Ilayaraja's interview clarifying that he did not render Thiruvasakam in Symphony, Rev.Fr.Jegat Gaspar Raj changed the label of his music in his Thiruvasakam project from 'Symphony' to 'Symphonic Oratorio'.
While announcing a project "Mozart meets India", Tamil Maiyam founder Rev.Fr.Jegath Gaspar Raj had called his Thiruvasakam project as "Thiruvasagam - Symphonic Oratorio" [18 March 2006 News Update Service, The Hindu and Deccan Chronicle 19 March 2006].
Rev.Fr.Gaspar Raj producer of the Thiruvasakam project had misled music students of India that Symphonic Oratorio was a Western Musical form and Ilayaraja had used that form to render Thiruvasakam. Being a Catholic priest with a background in Western music, he should have known that Western music does not have a musical form called 'symphonic oratorio'.
As a producer Fr.Jegat Gaspar Raj failed to do proper ground work for his project, misled Ilayaraja to undertake this miguided project and misused Ilayaraja's musical fame to gather funds and market this product cheating innocent buyers most of whom bought this product believing it to be 'Thiruvasakam in Symphony'.
It is unfortunate that the Indian President, Prime Minister and other VIPs had become victims by felicitating this project, a black mark in the history of Indian music. Dr. Vee wrote an email letter "Subject: India's First Symphony?" on August 20, 2006 to the Members of Parliament, protesting against the error of the President and Prime Minister in felicitating "Mozart meets India" as a symphony.
The defects are related to the confusion in the musical forms employed, music interval, wrong choice of vocalist and musical aesthetics.
Rev.Fr.Jegat Gaspar Raj's Thiruvasakam music project involved two different kinds of music, Western Classical and Carnatic. Western Classical and Carnatic music have different kinds of music intervals.
In Western music, keyboard and fretted instruments follow equal temperament. Violinists and vocalists unaccompanied by equal temperament instruments in Western Music may follow just intonation. The intervals of Carnatic music will be different from these. Hence any music project involving Western Classical music and Carnatic music must take into account these differences and work out a compromise. Then the musicians must be trained in this scheme. Recording must start after completing these formalities. Ilayaraja's Thiruvasakam does not appear to have followed these procedures. Brochures accompanying such projects must explain these procedures. A computer based objective investigation will bring out all these shortcomings, a valuable project for music research students.
The next shortcoming in this project is the employment of Ilayaraja's voice, which suits well for folk and film music. [eg.'Thenpandi Seemaiyele' in 'Nayakan']. But his voice will not be suitable for classical music like Carnatic music.
For spiritual chanting of Thiruvasakam, voice of experienced Othuvars [a special category of persons trained in chanting Saivite devotional text] will be good. For musical rendering of Thiruvasakam, voices of well-trained and experienced Carnatic vocalists will be good. The voice of Ilayaraja does not belong to either category.
Also this project failed to follow the traditional musical way of handling the Tamil words in Thiruvasakam. Instead of conceding these defects in his project, Rev.Fr.Jegath Gaspar Raj had blamed the Tamil lyrics of Thiruvasakam for the failure of his product. [Asian News Service- Chennai, March 20, 2006; 18 March 2006 News Update Service; The Hindu and Deccan Chronicle 19 March 2006].
This means he had proceeded with his project without realizing the music potential of the Tamil lyrics of Thiruvasakam and hence had used Ilayaraja's voice for singing the Tamil lyrics thereby damaging the music richness. Without realising his mistakes, Rev.Fr.Jegath Gaspar Raj had blamed the Tamil lyrics of Thiruvasakam for the failure of his project.
Apart from these, there are problems related to finer aspects of musical aesthetics of Western Classical Music and Carnatic music in such projects.
Rev.Fr. Gaspar Raj had recently announced a new project called 'Mozart meets India'. He had claimed that it would be India's first symphony. [Indo-Asian News Service - Chennai, March 20, 2006, New Indian Express, 19-3-2006]. He had not revealed who would be its composer. He had called it as 'orchestral symphony'.
His previous project also started with the title 'Thiruvasakam in Symphony '. Rev.Fr. Gaspar Raj supported Ilayaraja's claim of composing India's first symphony in 1993.
After misusing the words symphony and 'symphonic oratorio', Fr.Gaspar Raj started misusing 'Mozart' in his current project 'Mozart meets India'. He said: "The compositions do not directly correspond or relate to the creations of Mozart. The title is more allegoric as we consider Mozart the greatest composer of symphonies."(The Hindu- Aug 2,2006). Also he had identified it as "a global symphonic soundtrack based on six Carnatic ragas, Kapi, Sindhubhairavi, Panthuvarali, Sankarabharanam, Bilahari and Hamsanandhi," (The Hindu- Aug 2,2006). Is the above mentioned word 'symphonic' "more allegoric" as it may not 'not directly correspond or relate to' the six Carnatic ragas? From the above, there can be only two possible conclusions. Either Rev. Fr. Jegat Gasper Raj does not know what is symphony, or he just misuses the words 'symphony' and 'Mozart' to get funds and market his product, unaware of the damages to the aesthetics of the music field and especially to music education in the process.
Unfortunately for Fr. Gasper Raj, Thiruvasagam did not attract the Sri Lankan Diasporas attention and subsequently it was financially a debacle.
He was heard lamenting that if he could have made Tamil music maestro Ilayaraaja to direct and sing Tigers songs he could have reaped a few crores as profit.
When he failed to win the support of the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora he tried to win over the support of the Brahmins, but he again failed miserably. When he was openly supporting the LTTE he criticized Thuklak editor Cho Ramasamy as well as N.Ram of The Hindu. But when he returned later to win over the support of the Brahmins he failed to win over his erstwhile adversaries.
In the meantime, when DMK under the leadership of M. Karunanidhi, managed to win back the power in the last elections, Fr. Gaspar Raj moved fast to win the favour of the new Tamil Nadu regime. He won by using Ms. Kanimozhi one of the Board of Trustees and coordinator of the Tamil Maiyam .
Ms. Kanimozhi is the daughter of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and the leader of the ruling party DMK.
She is also poet and also run `Karuthu', an organization run by her and Karthi Chidambaram, Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram's son, to espouse freedom of speech, and expression of views. It is said that Karuthu is a non-political organization. Karuthu does not have an opinion on its own; nor does it reflect collective opinion. This is a forum for people to express their opinions in a decent manner. Karuthu is not constrained in any manner by religion, caste, and creed; nor is it shy of any subject. Politics, philosophy, contemporary understanding of history, social issues and all matters may be discussed here. One may also take a contrary view. The only requirement is that there should not be any personal attack.
This was the time LTTE wanted to make their presence felt in India again. Tamil Tigers were getting disenchanted with Vaiko – V,Gopalasamy, the leader of the Marumalarchchi Dravida Munnetra Kalgam (MDMK).
LTTE leadership, after a lapse of a long period of time, contacted Fr. Gaspar Raj who in turn proved himself as an indispensable person by organizing the meeting of the TNA parliamentary group with the Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and on the following day the meeting of TNA MPs with Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India.
Political sources claim that millions of Indian rupees changed hands from the Tiger coffers for the arrangement of these meetings.