Feature Article

Diaspora and Tamil Nadu have to play their cards

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 13 April 2010, 10:51 GMT]
Diaspora's self-organised structures of experimental democracy polarising political will, is inspiration as well as fallback to the polity of the silenced people at home, writes TamilNet political commentator adding that diaspora Tamils have an immense responsibility in seeing right people come forward and right people elected to these bodies. On current geopolitical perspectives he writes: “The West and intelligence circles in India invariably acknowledge that much significance is attached to the role Tamil Nadu could play in the given scenario. But how effectively the people of Tamil Nadu are going to play their strength to achieve a decisive solution overpowering deceptions of detractors is the concern of Eezham Tamils.”

Full text of the article by TamilNet political commentator in Colombo:

The parliamentary elections are over without surprises.

The Mahinda Rajapaksa dictatorship, with more litters of the ‘family,’ has been firmly installed with the backing of powers that have much ‘expectations’ from it.

From the US Asst. Secretary of State to the organs of the Indian Establishment are prepared to ignore all odds of the dictatorship, since ‘family business’ is a ‘long tradition’ in South Asia and is something that is very much present in New Delhi and in Chennai too.

The obsession of ‘their business’ is strengthening and capturing the Colombo-centric system to their favour.

In the process the powers commit the gravest blunder of viewing the national question of Eezham Tamils not from the point of its own merit, but from the point of how to diffuse and patch up this inescapable question, ultimately to save and strengthen the Colombo-centric system that has been nurtured since colonial times.

The belief, as the US Asst. Secretary of State puts it, is that with ‘some’ accountability for ‘some’ of the past violations, greater respect for human rights, and with some efforts of reaching out to Tamils such as the release of the remaining IDPs and implementation of the 13th Amendment, the conditions necessary to save the Colombo-centric system could be achieved.

With slight omissions and additions this is the perspective of the Indian Establishment too.

In what directions the war crimes investigations will go, to what extent the investigations will be translated into political justice to the national question of Tamils and how subtly the programme ‘words for Tamils and cash for Colombo’ will be implemented, should be now understood by all Tamils.

The powers want their belief to be believed by Eezham Tamils too as the sole ‘possibility and reality.’ But for ages the Eezham Tamils are exposed to a different reality that is subjugating them in the island.

The current position of the powers doesn’t mean that they don’t have any other alternatives.

It only means that adequate and appropriate pressure has not come from where it has to come to direct the powers to inevitable alternatives in favour of the cause of Eezham Tamils.

The pressure exerted through an armed resistance was crushed in the name of a bogus paradigm by intolerance of world system to local genius in such matters and by bias in the Indian Establishment.

Now, unless the non-violent struggle and political pressure are orientated properly with a clear judgement of strengths and weaknesses, the CEOs of the system on their own are not going to change their position but will only delude Tamils into accepting subjugation.

The ongoing military-protected Sinhala colonisation in the conquered Tamil land, military-led ‘development,’ Tamil re-settlements resembling open prisons segmented and watched by military posts, construction work beginning for permanent military cantonments and the onslaught of Sinhala trade in Tamil areas reducing Tamils to total consumers, invariably make Tamils to smell ‘a deal’ between Colombo and the powers.

It is strongly suspected by Tamils that the powers, especially India, are silently nodding approval for Colombo executing a demographic genocide as a ‘permanent solution’ to the national question in the island.

* * *

Early this month, the Indian-sponsored Eezham politician Mr. Varatharaja Perumal said, “If all the Tamil factions agree on a common solution for the ethnic issue, India will exert its pressure on Sri Lanka to implement it,” but he added that “Tamil factions should adopt a lenient attitude at least in the future, understanding the ‘reality,’ and this is what the Indian journalists and politicians expect.”

All Tamil factions categorically agreed on what should be the solution by proclaiming the Vaddukkoaddai Resolution in 1976. The solution – independent and sovereign Tamil Eelam – received the mandate of Eezham Tamils in the last ever of the free elections conducted in the island in 1977.

But the Indian Establishment intently worked against it and is working against it. What the Indian side now means by reality and leniency is that all factions of the subjugated Tamils should commonly agree on not going beyond terms and conditions set by it.

Echoing Varatharaja Perumal’s reference to Indian journalists, The Hindu in an editorial ‘ A decisive Mandate in Sri Lanka,’ Saturday said: “It is one of the tragedies of the Tamil community that its leadership, even in a post-LTTE world, remains confused between the politically achievable and the impossible.”

The Hindu, known for its good will to Colombo, said that a responsible Tamil leadership should come out of extremist politics and “expectations of vocal sections of the Tamil diaspora” to engage meaningfully with the Sinhala majority for devolution of power within a united Sri Lanka.

* * *

The concerns shown by Tamils at home and in the diaspora about ‘Tamil unity’ in the parliamentary elections are certainly justifiable. But, sections of them fail to see that crafty forces have prevailed over Tamil leadership so that Tamil unity itself can be used for blackmailing Tamils to disown their cause.

Even without saying anything on the model of solution the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) would have got what it deserves just because of the concern of Tamils for the unity of Tamil nation. Then what was the need for it to proclaim reversion to the failed federal polity?

What is needed now is Eezham Tamil leadership working for effective political pressure on powers through concerted efforts along with the diaspora and the grass root support of the people of Tamil Nadu.

Struggle is the reality for Eezham Tamils today and abandoning the cause will weaken the struggle.

But what the TNA has achieved after riding on the unity sentiments of the people, simulating an image that the Eezham Tamils can politically be made to surrender their cause to the Colombo-centric system, only buttresses the agenda of the powers.

The editorial of The Hindu shows that the Indian opinion makers are not satisfied even after the revisions of the TNA. They will not stop until Tamil leadership accepts the 13th Amendment as the solution with truncations as penalty for Tamils rejecting it earlier.

Tamils have to carefully note where the extremism lies. It is futile to replace struggle by compromise when there is aggression and arrogance.

Whether the nuances of the need for challenge posed by the TNPF were disseminated to the people or not, a large majority in the North has come out with the challenge in its own way by abstaining from voting the politics of surrender.

In the ethnically divided East, different realities made Tamil participation and choice of TNA inevitable.

In the unfolding scenario, the duty of Tamil national media is not climbing on the parliamentary bandwagon but attending to the silent majority of Eezham Tamils and taking care of its need to evolve a new genre of polity.

* * *

It is in this respect the diaspora has a significant role to play.

Self-organised polity in the diaspora, capable of attracting wide participation, is the inspiration as well as fallback to the silenced people at home.

Diaspora’s political organisation is not only for the people at home. It is for the emancipation of the larger global nation of Eezham Tamils who seek global justice for their global victimisation. All knows that solution in the island is a global affair.

Not surprisingly what the detractors of the cause of Eezham Tamils are now seriously concerned about are the diaspora and the people of Tamil Nadu.

Through insinuations, intimidation and creation of dissension, immense pressure is exerted against diaspora’s efforts of organising its polity.

What the diaspora is engaged in now, the Transnational Government and the Country Councils, besides global referenda on independence, have a vital role to play in leading the struggle and in the process of polarising the will of the Tamil people to exert the necessary pressure for the liberation.

But, to what extent they are able to rise above the lure of tangential polity, ambitions of sectarian power groups and able to attract sections aloof with disbelief and bias, remain to be seen.

The success of these political bodies of experimental democracy depends much on the vigilance and participation of the people in the diaspora. They make a watershed in Tamil affairs and any slips are irreversible.

Diaspora Tamils have an immense responsibility in seeing right people come forward and right people are elected to these bodies.

* * *

On the unfolding geopolitical perspectives of the island of Sri Lanka, retired Col R. Hariharan who served as head of intelligence to the IPKF wrote this month:

“In the emerging strategic setting in this region, U.S. and India are the two important players, with China breathing down their necks to get into this league.”

“Big power play is likely to increase in the Indian Ocean region after the U.S. lessens its commitments in Afghanistan. Once the U.S. sheds the shackles of its skewed Af-Pak policy as unworkable, there could be increased strategic security convergence between the U.S. and India.”

“If Rajapaksa does not give a course correction to his foreign policy prejudices, it could affect Sri Lanka’s strategic security.”

On Sri Lanka losing assistance from the West he says:

“If that happens Sri Lanka is likely to face a difficult passage. This could make him [Mahinda Rajapaksa] move closer to the Chinese.”

“Though India is an equally important and economically powerful entity for Sri Lanka and has excellent relations with the country increased Chinese role in Sri Lanka could change all that.”

“And such a development coupled with the unfulfilled promises in resolving the ethnic issue has the potential of affecting India-Sri Lanka relations during 2011, when Tamil Nadu goes to polls.”

The passages may not mean anything more than pressure tactics of India to realise “unfulfilled promises” that could range from further strategic cum economic inroads to salvaging Indo-Lanka Accord ultimately to blunt the Tamil national question. The passages could also mean ‘hope’ to some sections of Tamils.

While China is projected as an issue by Hariharan another intelligence writer B. Raman records India’s deal with China involving its own ‘internal security’:

“India already has a mechanism for counter-terrorism co-operation with China under which two exercises have been held so far in Yunnan and Karnataka,” Raman says.

* * *

Whatever the case may be, the West and the intelligence circles in India invariably acknowledge that much significance is attached to the role Tamil Nadu could play in the given scenario.

But how effectively the people of Tamil Nadu are going to play their strength to achieve a decisive solution overpowering deceptions of detractors is the concern of Eezham Tamils.

Informed circles tell us the extent of Colombo’s intrusions into Tamil Nadu.

A wide spectrum of influential persons, from politicians and businessmen to media persons, academics, cine-artists and religious persons have been carefully cultivated over the last several years to become sympathetic to Colombo-centric system through opportunities, money and other lures.

Insufficiency in the inclusiveness of Eezham Tamil national polity in finding an equation for the accommodation of Tamil speaking Muslims has been effectively exploited by Colombo not only in the island but also in Tamil Nadu.

Colombo has been systematically working in the neighbouring states of Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra in South India and in the major cities of India too.

Colombo’s activities in India will now get intensified in projecting the ‘virtues’ of a united Sri Lanka.

Ultimately it is the silent masses, the common public, simmering with anger that have to take care of the situation and they need mobilisation.

* * *

This week, popular film director and political activist in Tamil Nadu, Mr. Seeman, has announced the launch of a new political party, Naam Thamizhar (We are Tamils), on 18th May, to coincide with the first anniversary of the Mu’l’livaaykkaal massacre of thousands that silenced the armed struggle of Tamils.

He has already launched the flag for the party, a leaping tiger, and he says he inherits that from A’n’nan (elder brother) Pirapaharan and the party will fight for the liberation of Eezham Tamils.

The status of discourse the symbols have attained in Tamil Nadu is a slap in the face to the so-called international community that made a big fuss about them, but miserably failed in upholding international justice in the island of Sri Lanka.

It seems the mainstream politics of Tamil Nadu, hitherto suppressing the Eezham question to the extent of even erasing the word Eezham, is soon going to face many grass root challenges in the grass root fashion.

The mood in the grass root is such that anyone can trigger off an uprising. But elite organisation at another level is essential to translate that into a positive political programme.

If the elite in Tamil Nadu, long misled by English media empires on the question of Tamil Eelam doesn’t recognize the need to come out with positive contributions, and if they contribute only to further oppression, then they invite turmoil to their land and to the neighbourhood.

If the coterie in New Delhi bungles geopolitics, people of Tamil Nadu will be the first in facing the brunt of it along with Eezham Tamils. It is time for all concerned in Tamil Nadu sitting on a volcano to wake up to their duty to their own geopolitics, even if Eezham Tamils or Tamil nationalism do not mean anything for them.

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