– by Shenali D Waduge –
A question that needs to be finally asked and answered is whether the Sri Lankan Tamils are really upset that the LTTE has been defeated and how many Tamils elsewhere share the same sorrow? If tragically the majority of the Tamils wherever they live feel angered by the demise of LTTE’s ground force and leader we have some serious issues at hand. Tied to this notion of thought is the inability to understand why post-LTTE defeat, the Tamil party fielding the Chief Ministerial candidate for the North would continue to echo everything that LTTE stood for going further by demanding that all Sinhalese leave the North. The only difference now is TNA doing democratically what LTTE did through gun. What needs to be clearly articulated once and for all is that there cannot be 2 separate homelands for Tamils. Tamil of Sri Lanka came from India and when calls for Eelam originated and continues in Tamil Nadu, Eelam should be nowhere else but in Tamil Nadu and given that Eelam is meant to take care of all Tamils by Tamils and for Tamils ONLY they must all live in a place where they are gathered. 72million of the 76million World Tamils live in Tamil Nadu already. It is now opportune for the Tamils who are unhappy living in Sri Lanka to be given citizenship in Eelaam Tamil Nadu where they can live happily without living in a make believe fear psychosis sponsored by Western funds.
At times we have got mixed up with the Tamil – LTTE issue. Both have at times been mutually intertwined
When India informs that the sentiments of Tamils played a role in India’s Prime Minister not attending CHOGM in Sri Lanka, despite India proposing Sri Lanka as venue – it shows India’s domestic politics matters more than foreign diplomacy. This has been proven twice already with India voting against Sri Lanka in Geneva and using its power to get several other countries to vote against Sri Lanka too.
When India says it has always taken cognizance of Tamil sentiments, we wonder why India forgot to consult Tamil Nadu when deciding to send the IPKF to Sri Lanka.
When Tamil sentiments are upset because Rajiv Gandhi’s killers are not set free, we can only refer to Dr. Subramaniam Swamy who accuses the Congress Chairperson of using the LTTE to smuggle Indian artefacts out of India to be sold in two shops in Italy run by her sister. How could she deal with an outfit that blew her husband to bits and then visit the killers with her children and write a letter in 1999 to then President R K Narayan asking him to commute the capital punishment awarded to the three men and Murugan’s wife Nalini. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNxB4DYmiV4 These are all questions that confound our understanding of what Tamils really want.
Why would Sri Lankan Tamils wish to travel West when Tamil Nadu is waiting with garlands?
Why would Sri Lankan Tamils wish to put their lives in danger and get on to boats paid to travel to western shores when they can easily go to Tamil Nadu where the Tamil Nadu politicians are waiting to garland them. Certainly something fishy and that is connected to another racket LTTE is renowned for called Human Smuggling. Finally, countries like Australia are beginning to understand the logic – why are they not going to Tamil Nadu and so Abbot Government has gifted 2 boats to Sri Lanka!
Why create another Eelam – when an Eelam already exists?
Tamils say they want to be governed by their own, in an area called their own, named in Tamil and for Tamils. Isnt that already functional? Yes – Tamil Nadu means state of Tamils, its official language is Tamil, every decision taken by the State legislature happens in keeping with Tamil customs, rites, Tamil sentiments etc, it is led by Tamils and it has 72million Tamils and there is no likelihood of a non-Tamil ever ruling Tamil Nadu. So why would any Tamil wish to create another Tamil territory. With all this in place and given that LTTE used Tamil Nadu as its logistical base and hide out over the years? Why would Sri Lankan Tamils wish to live in fear when they could easily live with their Tamil Nadu family that spends more time and concern about the Sri Lankan Tamils than the Tamils in Tamil Nadu?
Why Tamil Nadu cannot dictate to a foreign state
Tamil Nadu however is a federal State and just one state amongst 28 others in India. Tamil Nadu can breathe fire but that does not mean a sovereign nation like Sri Lanka needs to listen to it or has to listen to it. Sri Lanka does not take orders from Tamil Nadu but obviously if Tamil Nadu legislatures cannot get sleep because they are worried about their people in Sri Lanka then we need to seriously address the issue. Given that Sri Lankan Tamils get on boats to travel to western shores for a better life the underlying reality is that they think that life is not good in Sri Lanka. So if life is not good in Sri Lanka, then even Tamil Nadu must be better. There are only less than 2million Tamils in Sri Lanka, more than half of them are living amongst the Sinhalese and not by force but by their own choice.
Therefore, it is no good a time than now for Tamil Nadu to offer to Sri Lankan Tamils the opportunity to make Tamil Nadu their home where they can live in that Tamils Only State that they had been aspiring for.
Illegal immigrants from Tamil Nadu to Sri Lanka
However, we are a little perturbed with our population calculations and census. With large numbers having left Sri Lanka over the years most of which remain unaccounted and large numbers of LTTE cadres that may also have been made up of people of Tamil Nadu, we need to also address this. How many illegal immigrants have flooded into Sri Lanka from Tamil Nadu during the 30 year period that LTTE ruled the North as a defacto Eelam? How many of the claimed ‘missing’ could be living without visas in the West illegally? All these Indian Tamils need to now be asked to kindly return to their original place without posing as Sri Lankan Tamils afterall the North is now no longer LTTE territory, it is part of Sri Lanka and belongs to ALL SRI LANKANS and NOT ONLY TAMILS as Chief Minister Wigneswaran seems to hallucinate.
But if Wigneswaran wishes to make the North a replica of Tamil Nadu he cant because the North does not belong to the Tamils, nor to the TNA nor Wigneswaran and certainly not Tamil Nadu or any of its politicians.
Therefore, it is perhaps a good time to decide whether to remain in Sri Lanka as part of a country that has communities of Sinhalese, Muslims, Burghers and Tamils or to live in Tamil Nadu with Tamils Only. This question is put not because we want any of the Tamils presently living in Sri Lanka to go to Tamil Nadu but purely because 4 years after the LTTE terrorist outfit has been eliminated and we are thinking that the Tamils must be relieved that they too can live in peace, there are pockets of Tamils claiming they want to live amongst the Tamils ONLY. If this is the case they are quite welcome to pack their bags and it is Tamil Nadu’s duty to provide them home. Though we must not hesitate to mention that there are Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in Tamil Nadu languishing in refugee camps still and none of the ‘We care for Tamils’ rhetoric has left any of them been looked after and quite a number of them have been raped and abused too!
Yet, with the uproar for an area ruled by Tamils for Tamils and only for Tamils its not so honky dory in Tamil Nadu either.
There are 11million Dalits in Tamil Nadu – that makes them 20% of the Tamil Nadu population.
Tamil Nadu looks after Tamils, well that’s what we thought but 50% of the 11million Dalits live below the poverty line.
90% of Dalits in Tamil Nadu do not own land or are not given to own land.
Dalits are given menial work and child labor has been a rising issue as well.
90% of Dalits are illiterate
Dalits suffer appalling abuses. Some examples taken from Indian newspapers:
5 September, at Kaundampatti in Dindigul district, Sankan, a Dalit agricultural worker was forced to drink urine because he lodged a police complaint of trespass against a caste Hindu following a land dispute.
22 May, Thinniyam village in Tiruchi district, two Dalits – Murugesan and Ramasami were forced to feed each other human excreta. Their ‘crime’ – for standing by another Dalit, Karuppiah, who was engaged in a prolonged struggle against a former panchayat president and her husband to recover money given as a bribe to get a house allotted for his sister.
In 2001, the proportion of Dalits was 16.2% of India’s total population.
What about Tamil Nadu governance – Times of India has reported that the Land Registration Department is the most corrupt in Tamil Nadu, the same newspaper reporting that Tamil Nadu tops immoral trafficking as well. The Indian Express has reported that Tamil Nadu has the highest cases of child sexual abuse exploitation. One supposes these are all acceptable because it is done by Tamils Only upon Tamils. Then there is also dowry death, molestation cases rising alongside rape with over 700 reported cases in 2012 – again by Tamils upon Tamils. Then there is also the cruelty against women by husbands and his relatives which has also seen a steep rise. Is this also tolerable because it is by Tamils upon Tamils and can be solved in reconciliation and transparency with accountability.
Perhaps it’s a good time for the Sri Lankan Tamils to take cognizance of these statistics and ground realities before joining in the TNA-Wigneswaran chorus because the composers are all living overseas and deciding what tune is to be played.
Chief Minister Wigneswaran has issues with the Governor of the North too and wants him replaced because he WAS in the military. Would Chief Minister Wigneswaran refuse to meet John Kerry too for he too served in the US army and there are scores of other foreign leaders who had been in their respective armies serving their nations as well. What needs to be reiterated again is that the Governor was in the army and he is now well retired from military service.
However, with Wigneswaran and the TNA projecting such a dreadful scenario despite the statistics shown above Tamil Nadu looks to be far better than living fearfully in Sri Lanka as a Canadian parliamentarian Obharai has recently claimed. No one should get into boats and give Australian navy nightmares which end up issues for Australian Governments, when there is a ready made Tamil Eelam state in Tamil Nadu and when it is just minutes to travel to why would any Tamil get into a boat and travel the wrong way? This has been puzzling us for quite some time now and we need to have more people asking this same question from the Tamil Diaspora overseas and from foreign Parliamentarians speaking on behalf of the Tamils too. Moreso, Australia needs to be asking this question no different to Canadians asking the question too!
If Tamils are fleeing Sri Lanka it is best for their safety and to curb the nuisance to Australia that Tamil Nadu openly invite ALL Sri Lankan Tamils to make Tamil Nadu their home. It will make everyone all the happier and the aspiration of the Tamils will be fulfilled once and for all and we can finally get on with our lives in peace without having to listen to the same record being played whatever improvements the Sri Lankan Tamils now enjoy placing the country in a state of debt since US3billion has gone towards the Northern development for which the LTTE is solely responsible. So when Wigneswaran and the TNA and their cohorts fuss over this and that and nothing being done they need to know that nothing could be done because LTTE ran the area for 30 odd years and renew their spectacles to see what the North looked like prior to May 2009 and what it now looks like in 2013!
All those happier amongst Tamils, in an area already called Tamil Land run by Tamils, with Tamil as official language can make Tamil Nadu their home and save both countries having to severe diplomatic ties because they are using the 2 countries as a tug of war for their own selfish ways.
LTTE terrorists are now defeated. Sri Lanka’s North has seen development of the kind they had never seen before. They have been given the opportunity to pick up the pieces and start life afresh it is NOW their turn to offer the olive branch.