Lessons for Tamils and India from Tamil Nadu insular voting mentality

Narendra Modi with Jayalalitha

A harbinger to the largest democratic exercise in history was the lone state of Tamil Nadu desiring to be different from the rest of India. They thought differently and voted differently. Whereas the Modi wave was consistent throughout India it was not so in Tamil Nadu. In Tamil Nadu, their unanimous choice was Jayalalitha and not because of any accolades for good governance or high levels of integrity. It was simply because she was Tamil and her AIADMK manifesto promised Eelam or a separate Tamil State. For Tamils the promise of such was enough whether it was in Sri Lanka or India and should caution any Indian Government of the looming internal and regional security dangers given that Eelam has now been hijacked as a Western agenda to create a pan Christian new state giving the West their much sought after foothold into Asia fulfilling indirectly its commercial and geopolitical advantage as well. A good look at all those promoting the ‘devolution’ compromise reveals they are paid agents of that larger plan. Additionally, the voting pattern in Tamil Nadu brings out the insular nature of Tamils that is emerging in other nations that Tamils reside and beckons greater attention in view of the fatal attractions that may result in dangerous consequences.

Why Indians voted for Modi

Many Indians had become fed up with the Congress family hegemony. Six decades after independence 400million Indians were still without electricity. Modi’s Gujarat template was good enough reason to put faith in him as a doer. Moreover, Indians were beginning to wonder exactly where India was heading with a puppet PM and a pro-Western Gandhi widow.

Modi’s victory poses a challenge for the secularists. Their unchallenged imperial agenda will come under review. The recent calls for national development to be kept distanced from nationalists are a perfect example where Modi and team would falter if they distance themselves from the very sources that brought them to power. When nationalists are solely driven by their desire to preserve the historical and cultural heritage how can they be an impediment to development?

A mistake most popular Governments end up making to be eligible for aid and investment carrots for these gestures come coated with ulterior motives to remove the nationalism among the voting populace. It is why we are ever cautious of untrustworthy devolution proponents in Sri Lanka who were to expectation quick to declare that the BJP victory heralded a dawn of a very dark era for South Asia (Sri Lankan Minister Vasudeva belongs to that gang) Modi’s victory at best has shown that united, Indians can win and win big and minorities cannot dictate as every occasion the minority politicians have used their minority status as a personal bargaining tool not translated into bringing any merit to the minorities blindly voting for them.

Modi votes – Muslims voted but not Tamils

The election result of India has been a surprise to all political pundits locally and internationally especially those that rely on character assassination via media to bring down leaders. There was nothing Modi was not called. Media reluctantly saluted the Gujarat state development by continuously portraying Modi as anti-Muslim to drive a wedge in the 175million Muslims in India (15% of the 1.2billion Indians). Yet, poll data reveals that 45 out of the 87 Muslim strongholds voted for Modi. Large numbers of Muslims voters voted for Modi in Assam, Guwahati and Chandni Chowk in the national capital.

When even the Muslims voted for Modi, Tamils voted differently.

Insular Tamils

Is there a history to Tamils wanting to be different? It was Tamils who helped British form the Madras Regiment, India’s oldest army regiment. Tamils formed the majority of the colonial indentured labor force 2million of whom were transported to work on British plantations all over the world and the allegiance and servitude towards white rulers has a historical past and favoritism towards Tamils by colonial rulers forms the basis of the roots of issues currently emerging.

Extending the argument of insular is the fact that Tamil Nadu remains the only state that refuses to use Hindi as its official language – another example of Tamil Nadu’s refusal to integrate. The Sri Lankan Government has made the same mistake, instead of insisting that all citizens know the majority language, in agreeing to two languages it is only polarizing people further and giving politicians the clout to create divisions for their own political gains. Giving language portfolio to the same man that says dark days are ahead for Asia is unlikely to lead Sri Lanka anywhere.

It is unfortunate to see Tamil Nadu isolating itself from the rest of India. When 76million population isolates itself from the Indian nation it is a visible sight. Moreover, the victory has brought a reality check. For the first time, Tamil Nadu is unable to dictate to the Centre. Tamil Nadu is now making goodwill gestures which the Modi camp will reciprocate but not on the basis of blackmail as the Congress was subject to by both Karunanidhi and Jayalalitha. In many ways, the victory has been an anti-climax. Even Prabakaran’s friend Vaiko has lost showing how empty vessels make the most noise!

Nevertheless, there are greater dangers. Tamil Nadu has always been exercising desires to separate. That dream of separatism was what brought Constitutional amendments to deny secessionism in India and prompted to export the effort to Sri Lanka leaving Tamil Nadu to watch from the balcony. Over the years, numerous other foreign players have entered the equation. Contrary to the Hindu-Buddhist / Tamil-Sinhala sentiment being promoted, Eelam by far is today a Western-backed initiative to which Tamil politicians from both Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu have been coerced into joining for their own political existence and of course the money involved.

The dangers of Tamil Nadu voting for a State leader and not going with the rest of the country to vote for the common leader at the centre shows a very clear insular thinking mentality amongst Tamils. It is the same in reading the manner Tamils vote at Sri Lankan elections. On this basis can they argue and maintain the position that they are for peaceful co-existence when by their actions they have shown the contrary.

By insular the definition implies desire to be different, not wishing to know or learn about other cultures and in looking at the ghettos of Tamils overseas especially in Canada where whole areas are named in Tamil has shown that there is a dislike to integrate. If there is a dislike to integrate where does that leave ‘reconciliation’?

With BJP introducing new concepts and plans for India’s future what would the response of the Tamil Nadu state be with the current insular thinking that dictates their vote and how will this affect at the Centre given that Tamil Nadu is a geopolitically important state at the apex of a key sea lane and if Hillary Clinton’s direct visit to Jayalalitha is to be taken in context of the West’s looking Asia overall plan it necessitates a very clear set of do’s and don’ts to be read out to the States of India in particular Tamil Nadu. They have acquired the habit of believing that as a State they can carve out separate policies devoid of Centre permission and directly deal with foreign governments, a situation that Sri Lanka’s Northern Provincial Council and its Chief Minister ails from as well.

With BJP alone having a clear majority, Jayalalitha the queen of Tamil Nadu finds herself without clout at the centre. Modi will be in no mood for the type of tantrums Manmohan had to suffer making a mockery of the power at the Centre. Victory for Jayalalitha has come without the smoke or teeth to threaten the Centre.

The Modi Government and the Sri Lankan Government would need to seriously look at the 13th amendment in the context of Eelam being part of the Western agenda and amicably decide to do away with it in the interests of both nations.

As for Tamils, it is no better a time to reflect on their insular thinking and resolve to be part and parcel of a nation without aligning with external forces seeking to create scores of regional councils dismantling sovereign governments/nations.

– by Shenali D Waduge