The Western coast of the Batticaloa Lagoon (World famous for its
singing fish) the mighty Kalladi Bridge and the delicious prawns and
crabs, is called “Paduwan Karai” (coast of the setting sun) in Tamil.
Palacholai was an ancient prosperous hamlet at ‘Paduwan Karai’.
romantic village is surrounded by the Batticaloa lagoon on the east and
fertile paddy lands on the other three sides.
These paddy lands have been irrigated by the Rugam tank, both during
the maha and yala seasons. Majority of the villagers were farmers, some
were fishermen and the rest government servants and NGO workers.
Somanadar was a leading personality in the village. He owned several
acres of paddy fields and a herd of cattle, and for that reason he was
respectfully called “Podiyar Somanadar” by the people of Palacholai. He
was also the chairman of the Trustee Board of the famous “Arul Vinayagar”
temple of Palacholai.
Apart from the “Arul Vinayagar” temple, there was an ancient bo-tree
at Palacholai close to the lagoon, under which the Hindu God Ganapathy,
in the form of a stone resembling the face of an elephant, had been in
existence from time immemorial.
The villagers strongly believed that the elephant faced stone was an
incarnation of God Ganapathy.
Somanadar’s only son was the youthful Easwar. During the formative
days of the militant movement Easwar was very sympathetic towards them
and supportive of its terrorist activities.
Somanadar was shocked when he came to know that. He didn’t want to
lose his only son to a militant organisation. Therefore he immediately
packed him off to Chennai to complete his higher education.
When in Sri Lanka, Easwar had also been a strong follower of the
Rationalist movement of Abraham Koovar. In Chennai he was attracted by
the aesthetic policies of Periyar Ramasamy. After obtaining a science
degree from the Madras University, Easwer returned to his native village
and organised a Rationalist movement. Only some unemployed youths joined
The two main objectives of his movement were, “Freeing Hinduism from
the clutches of, ill-famed Swamys and religious heads; eradicating
unrealistic worshipping of stones, wood, snakes etc. and burying all
superstitious beliefs and myths.”
Easwar’s policies faced strong opposition from the indigenous
population of Palacholai. In spite of the stiff opposition, Easwar
marched on undaunted. He declared that as the first step in
rationalizing Hinduism, his movement had decided to demolish the stone
God Ganapathy implanted under the bo-tree on the April 15 i.e.,
immediately after the Hindu and Sinhala New Year.
The people of the village were shocked to hear such a horrifying
statement from the son of the nobel Somanadar. Some senior citizens
therefore hurriedly met with Somanadar and requested him to stop the
wicked activities of his son.
They told him, “Podiyar! our people had suffered enough due to
terrorism. Presently we require peace and nothing but peace.
Hinduism is safe in the hands of our people led by you. Your son has
now turned into an iconoclast. Our people would not tolerate if he tries
to interfere with our cherished beliefs and customs. Therefore please
control your son.”
Somanadar immediately sent words for Easwar and reprimanded him for
his unsocial activities. He ordered him to disband his rationalist
movement and be a useful citizen in the village. Easwar was silent for a
while later he told his father, “Father, I have not yet come to the
conclusion, that there is no God, because presently I am in search of
However I don’t agree with the unrealistic customs and beliefs
associated with Hinduism.”
“Easwar! you are tredding on a dangerous path which would destroy me
and you. Listen to me. All our people are conservatives. They would
never endorse your revolutionary ideas.”
“Father! What is conservatism? Is it not adherence to the old and
tried, against the new and untried”?
“You may be correct, but our people are not prepared to adhere to
your untried policies which would bring about disaster to the entire
“They have never seen God, therefore how can they say that the stone
under the bo-tree is God.”
“Easwar my son! Some belief in God, some do not. Those who do not
give reasons, those who do, do not. One is reason, the other is beyond
As he is beyond logic, He is beyond thinking, beyond reasons. A great
seer once said that ‘Godlessness’ is not no-God. Between God and no-God
there is the third, a third that encompasses both and transcends.
Therefore please stop your anti-religious activities and try to be a
Easwar was adamant. He rejected his father’s advice and walked out of
the house to the astonishment of Somanadar.
The villagers got worried when they came to know that Easwar had
rejected his father’s advice. Therefore some of the villagers went to
the police station and lodged a complaint against Easwar.
The D-day dawned quietly on the fifteenth of April. At about 10.00
p.m. on that day a group of the senior villagers surreptitiously went to
the bo-tree site, removed the stone God from there and carefully hid it
in a safe place close by, to prevent same being attacked by Easwar, and
returned to the village.
At about 11.00 p.m., Somanadar arrived at the site to persuade his
son, as a last resort, from demolishing the stone God, but he was
astounded to discover that it was missing. Somanadar thought that Easwar
and his men had come earlier and destroyed the stone God.
He was shivering and din’t know what to do next to save his son and
the stone God.
In the meantime he heard some people, chatting to each other and
coming towards the bo-tree. He thought that it was the police coming to
arrest his son. Since the stone God was missing he knew that they would
certainly arrest his son. Therefore he had to find a way to save his son
and the stone God.
Suddenly a bright idea flashed through his mind, Somanadar
immediately put that into action.
He covered his body from head to foot with his black blanket and sat
under the bo-tree motionless like a rock.
Unfortunately the people who came were not the police, but Easwar and
his men. Seeing “God Ganapathy” under the tree, Easwar, without wasting
any time, pulled out the crow bar which he brought and struck a
thundering blow on the head of his father, mistaking the blanket covered
object to be the stone God. It was a fatal blow and poor Somanadar fell
dead in a pool of blood murmuring, “God Ganapathy! please pardon my
Easwar, with his trembling hand slowly removed the blanket covering
the face of the dead body to discover to his astonishment that it was
that of his father, who was up to the last minute trying to prevent that
Easwar’s colleagues took to their heels when they discovered that it
was a cold blooded murder.
Easwar knelt down in front of his father’s dead body with the crowbar
in his hand and tears flowing from his eyes. The police who came to the
site at that time arrested Easwar and charged him for patricide in