– by Shenali D. Waduge –
There is nothing to be surprised about the TNA manifesto – while it attempts to distance itself from the LTTE it continues to cling on to the one slogan that it can bind the Tamils and that is the dream of a separate Tamil State. That dream appears to be close to reality that it must be sending shockwaves to the Indian establishment who are being told that the 13th amendment is not the solution. This means the TNA baby is now beyond Indian control and in the hands of a surrogate mother or mothers and we wonder who. In alienating India through it manifesto, the TNA has now put into gear a very dangerous scenario of actually creating the ‘Eelam’ but for whom it is actually meant for remains the open question. ‘We told you so’ is what we like to tell India for that ‘Eelam’ encompassing India’s South is something India should now start sweating about having thought that its intelligence and Constitution would suffice to protect its shores from separation, unless India has already been handed over to the same surrogate mother. In these games of politics one never knows whose fooling whom.
Let us next view the forthcoming Northern elections as a possible rehearsal scenario that would give the likes of Navi Pillai the argument to foster the notion that the election results is sufficient to be the basis of the Tamil will. This is why the Tamil people need to be more than spectators. If the Sri Lankan nation is at stake India is also at risk and it works both ways which really prompts us to ask for what reason India even thought of arming Sri Lankan militants in the first place when it is now pretty obvious India has totally lost the plot. Whether officials on either side have been part of the gameplan the overall threat to the region is nothing we should now ignore. We need to also think of the relevance of TNA Suresh Premachandrans’ call to arms for in establishing a win in the North and with the TNA manifesto making no bones about its plan to separate this means the next stage will be one of conflict. Unless the Sri Lankan Armed forces have been able to uncover all hidden catchment of arms the possible use of these to trigger another bogey cannot be ruled out. Alongside this threat comes the need for intelligence to establish exactly how many Tamils are illegal and how many Indian intelligence may be on the ground. They may not necessarily be working for India either. What these manoeuvred scenarios would next lead to is the ability for those seated at the UNHRC to call for a R2P on Sri Lanka citing a return to conflict, risk to civilians and that foundation has been set superbly by Ms. Pillay who has declared President Rajapakse to be an ‘authoritarian’ running an ‘authoritarian’ government.
If not for Russia, we can imagine what would have happened to Syria with the false accusation of chemical weapons attack by ‘dictator’ Assad. Had Russia not come to the rescue of Syria, the nation would have been sprayed with bullets and bombed into oblivion.
Have we in Sri Lanka garnered our support and allegiance to obtain the same level of support that Russia is currently giving to Syria in the likely scenario of Sri Lanka becoming a target in a gameplan that has nothing to do about helping Tamils?
Surely the Tamils must realize this now. Is it difficult for the Tamils to now look at the similarities and the type of personages aligned to the quest for Eelam and to wonder whether it is conducive to the Hindu civilization that the majority of Tamils align and belong too? When the conversion aspect of Tamil Nadu is sufficient to raise alarm why is it that the Sri Lankan Tamils are slow to realize the dangers at play. Are they willing to again succumb to Tamil politicians who have been fooling them all the way?
The TNA draws its arrogance on the mandate given by Tamils at the 2010 general elections ignoring its allegiance to the LTTE.
In 1949 when the Illakanka Tamil Arasu Kadchi was formed it was immediately following independence from British rule. There was no grounds to even argue on discrimination to form a party claiming to separate. A distinct language/culture for Tamils is found in Tamil Nadu for it is from there the Tamils descend therefore self-determination requests rightfully belong to Tamil Nadu.
It is totally out of context to use the Sinhala Only as a basis for argument of grievance because Tamil language was never used in administration to feel discriminated – is it not racist to not mind use of English Language to prevail but go against Sinhalese language which was the language spoken by the majority? Moreover, let it be reiterated again that the platform on which SWRD Bandaranaike came to power was on the ticket that the leadership would put to right what the colonial powers had denied the Sinhala Buddhists for over 500 years. Was this not a bigger grievance that is yet to be addressed and remains totally ignored by all parties including present day politicians? If grievances are to be addressed what about the grievances of the majority Sinhalese Buddhists – if reconciliation is the basis of unity what about addressing all that the majority Sinhalese Buddhists were denied which include apologies for the vast lands taken over and temples destroyed upon which Churches prevail even today.
However, Tamils have been luckily enough by promoting a scenario of grievance to make Tamil language move from reasonable use to official level and now to become a bi-lingual policy of the state whereas not a single grievance of the Sinhala Buddhists has been addressed. As the oldest indigenous race the Sinhalese Buddhists have unmet rights too.
The TNA has been shrewd enough to use ‘Tamil speaking’ to enable them to galvanize the Muslim population claiming a new notion of ‘shared sovereignty’ for that is the only way that the Tamil Eelam seekers can stake claim to the Eastern province – where the natural harbor is not the ONLY resource TNA’s surrogate mothers wish to tap. Therefore it is obvious that every attack currently taking place at different levels and for different reasons has a basis for sidelining and marginalizing the majority Sinhalese Buddhist populace one to which unfortunately and sadly the politicians have fallen prey to unable to resist the carrots that can easily entice them into submission. Had they been well read on the geo-politics and current scenarios taking place the world over they would wake up from their slumber as should the advisors advising them.
Why would politicians need to defend the status given to Sinhalese Buddhists and the foremost place given to Constitutions – it is because politicians have failed to make the identity of the country known publicly that those like the TNA put forward arguments in an attempt to denationalize the populace and once that is done no one will defend the nation. Let it be not forgotten that it was the men who gave their lives to defend the nation deserve to be entitled for a stake in it and not those coming later to reap the dividends.
The standardization is being again repeated though conveniently forgetting that it enabled Tamils low castes to obtain education and this is what the elite English speaking Tamils and even Sinhalese are up in arms against.
TNA’s political solution
Can someone please explain how a country can remain ‘unitary’ but have ‘internal self-determination’ at the same time – what kind of tomfoolery are people playing with words? If Tamils are a distinct people then they must certainly align themselves to the Tamils in Tamil Nadu and much as India does not like to accept Tamil Eelam is nowhere else but Tamil Nadu. It is impossible to create Distinct People and claim self-determination all over the world otherwise soon the Tamil Canadians would make claim, British Tamils would do the same, German Tamils will also start and that may get the Sikhs in UK, Chinese in Australia, UK and US to also start making claim for they too have been distinct in those countries. Tamils cannot prove that an independent Tamil kingdom existed nor disprove the many Sinhalese presence in the North and the East as archeological findings continue to stake proof of such. If Tamil people were entitled to self-determination then it was for the British during colonial rule and whilst handing over independence to decide so – the British did not and therefore decades after independence have been given to Sri Lanka, the Tamils have no right to make such a claim.
The merged North-East by Indian in 1987 was demerged by Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court in 2006 therefore the TNA has no basis to once again call for its re-merger for the Muslims are not part of a self-determination bid to satisfy the distinct Tamil identity. But the Muslims will obviously use this as a bargaining slogan against the Central Government. All this nonsense of having to barter and give in to immoral demands would have been taken care of if politicians put their greed aside and brought back the election system that would have ensured parties that do not serve the people except themselves are thrown into political oblivion. The ‘first past the post’ system is one in which politicians would be made to serve the people and not the other way round. When TNA speaks of the sovereignty lies with the People and not the State this is all the more reason for the Government to seriously address the need to change the election voting system so that the bartering and bargaining and bribing stops.
What right does the TNA who are living in Colombo while the military has been making houses, toilets and what not for the Tamil people and giving them homes have to ask a country’s armed forces to leave any part of the country. Who is the TNA to be making such demands? What has the TNA done for the Tamil people in all the years it has been in politics? If Tamil people have been displaced should the TNA not take part of the blame because it was aligned to the LTTE and did these TNA members give even a bag of rice to these Tamils or help them in any livelihood programs to now be dictating terms to the country’s military? Obviously it is because the TNA has no defense over the LTTE that it is now calling for an international human rights investigation against both the Government and the LTTE but surely it will also mean that the TNA will also get caught up in these allegations but obviously the call is coming from parties that may provide them witness protection and cover and that is why TNA is making such an open call. If Tamils fled the country it is upto them to return, no one asked them to flee. All the programs that the TNA is now promoting through its manifesto are well in place and have all been well established by the State and the defense forces – the TNA is a bit late to come with its suggestions.
When TNA now comes out and says ‘Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka is flawed’ that is bringing down the gavel on India and is poignant to set this against the killing of Rajiv Gandhi wherein it is strongly believed that LTTE changed its allegiance from India to another more powerful bloc. This bloc having been in the local scenario both in India and Sri Lanka is now ready for the kill. It is this that has prompted the TNA to now kick India out of the picture and to declare that they would seek ‘development with international assistance’ echoing some of the clauses of the ISGA/PTOMs which personages like GLPieris and Jayantha Dhanapala may be more familiar with. And if we wonder who apart from India will be dangling the TNA puppets we need to next move to wonder who those in the ‘international community’ are who are now steering the shots for an unregistered alliance in a bid to once more take Tamils for fools and betray India once more – making that betrayal all the more significant is the manner the TNA chief Ministerial candidate adorns a sataka in the color of the Indian flag!
Never answered is why more Tamils live amongst the Sinhalese including the TNA and its Chief Ministerial candidate if they cannot live with Sinhalese ‘anymore’.
Never answered is why Indian Tamils are never taken into the equation while Muslims are brought in – surely it cannot be because of Trincomalee only?
Never answered is why Tamil Eelam cannot be in Tamil Nadu when obviously they are calling for the same Eelam – they cannot be different Eelams for Tamils surely?
Never answered is why TNA would not take the oath of allegiance to the state of Sri Lanka for the Constitution is one that upholds its unitary status.
TNA and Sambandan and WIgneswaran need to keep in mind that much of what they are claiming to do has already been done by the armed forces in what can be described as a perfect civilian-military partnership and the UN survey conducted reveal that the people of the North have no issues with the military presence so what nonsense are the Colombo living TNA and Wigneswaran talking about?
What India needs to now concern itself is that its stranglehold on both the Sri Lankan state and the Tamil politicians has come to such an extent that TNA is prepared to depart ways with India and seek allegiance elsewhere – if India does not need to be told in any uncertain terms this spells more trouble for India than it does for Sri Lanka.
It is perhaps a good time to redefine India’s relationship with Sri Lanka to a more amiable one departing from the big brother bully role adopted thus far on all its neighbors and take a leaf from the fine manner that Russia is now steering global opinion.
India needs to first realize it belongs to Asia, its base is Indian, its identity is Indian, its foundation is made by the majority Hindus, national identity is above the regional identity and this means that India and Sri Lanka civilizational ties should be treated above those of the divisive compulsions of coalition political games played by Tamil Nadu. Regionalism is weakening the Indian state and eventually the Balkanization of Bharat. TNA has set the ball rolling and TNA is no longer the Indian puppet – once again India finds itself betrayed.