(1998 August 19)
I thank the leader of the Tamil United Liberation Front, Mr. M. Sivasithamparam for "replying" to
my article" Vajpayee Smiled" , in "The Island" of August 12th. It
motivates me to write more and more on the aspirations of the English educated Tamils.
Mr.Sivasithamparam in his so-called reply says "it is customary for every Head of Government or Foreign political functionary to meet with leaders of opposition parties and to familiarise themselves with the critical political and economic issues affecting the country and the perceptions of these issues by the opposition parties. At no stage has Mr. Nalin de Silva or others of his ideological persuasion sought to object to such meetings or consultations. However, it is revealing that he views any discussion between the Prime Minister of India and the political parties representing interest of the people of the North-East as disturbing and constituting an interference with internal affairs."
I do not know that every head of government or foreign political functionary visiting this country meets with leaders of political parties of the opposition. Did the other SAARC leaders who were in the country during the same period as Shri Vajpayee was visiting us meet Mr. Sivasithamparam and the others? On the other hand what are the opposition parties these dignitaries would like to consult when they are visiting Sri Lanka? Is it confined to the parliamentary opposition? If that is the reason why Shri Vajpayee did not meet Messrs. Dinessh Gunawardhane, Kumar Ponnambalam, and Harishchandra Wijetunge then the Indian Prime Minister could have met the leaders of the JVP, which is represented in the parliament.
The simple truth is that these so-called Tamil leaders who mislead the Tamils, living among the Sinhala people in Kolomba, sought an appointment to meet the Indian Prime Minister while he was in Sri Lanka. It was not my 'knee-jerk reaction or bigotry and intolerance' which made me to write that the Tamil leaders had no business to tell the Prime Minster of a foreign country to interfere in our internal affairs. I shall show, in articles to follow, that the "Tamil problem" in the country is due to the intolerance of the history of the country and the fact that the Sinhala people are the majority, by the English educated Tamils. In the mean time I quote the following from two newspapers published in Sri Lanka, which the English educated TULF leaders also read.
"TULF chief commenting on the meeting (with the Indian Prime Minister) said that Mr. Vajpayee only listened and did not say anything on what was explained to him. 'The TULF gave a clear picture of the current situation in the North and the East and the problems faced by the Tamils living outside North - East. The General Secretary of the TULF R. Sampanthan MP, stressed the necessity of Indian co-operation to find a political settlement to the Sri Lankan ethnic crisis' Mr. Sivasithamparam said.
Dr. Neelan Thiruchelvam MP, was also in the TULF delegation which had met the Indian Prime Minister. The EPRLF which was headed by its leader Suresh K. Premachandran handed over a memorandum urging Indian assistance to settle the ethnic issue and the EPDP headed by its leader Mr. Douglas Devananda, who had just returned after treatment abroad also submitted a memorandum to the Indian Premier and called upon his good offices to assist finding a settlement to the ethnic issue." ( Sunday Observer August 02 1998 ).
" Parties representing Sri Lanka's Tamil minority said on Saturday (August 01) they had called upon India to once again intervene and mediate to find a solution to the 15-year -old ethnic war that has claimed thousands of lives.
The latest request came at a meeting between Tamil party representatives and Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in Colombo last Thursday." (Reuters as quoted in 'The Island', August 03 1998). I am not sure whether this is the knee-jerk reaction or bigotry and intolerance of the Reuters representative in Sri Lanka.
What is the co-operation that the TULF is seeking? We have experience in having received the "benefits of the good offices of Dixit and Rajiv Gandhi". India also has learnt a lesson from the past and is determined to leave the 'Tamil problem' to the Sri Lankans. The TULF had attempted to get the Indian Prime Minister involved in the so-called ethnic problem for which the English educated Tamils and the British are mainly responsible. However Shri Vajpayee only listened to them and smiled. Mr. Sivasithamparam having failed in his attempt has cried. In my article 'Vajpayee smiled' I drew the attention of the readers only to the smiling part. Mr. Sivasithamparam is not satisfied with that. He wants me to emphasise the crying part as well. It was the great Indian Philosopher Nagarjuna who more than anybody else said that a word has a 'meaning' only in relation to its opposite, so much so that he tried to understand Nirvana relative to the Sansara. Though I do not agree with the formulation of Nirvana and the Sansara as concepts relative to each other, I am grateful to Mr. Sivasithamparam for reminding me of the importance of Nagarjuna in Politics as well.
The Sinhala people, I am sure the Buddhists as well as the Christians have a very high regard for India. We have assimilated many aspects of the Indian culture into our culture. However that does not mean that we were dependent on Bharat nor we were a colony of that land. We have been an independent country throughout and our dealings were as equal partners with various states and kingdoms that arose in that land. Even Buddhism was not enforced on us and the Sinhala people became Buddhists on their own after listening to Arhant Mahinda. The Sinhala people have created a unique culture in this country and have even contributed to Buddhist Philosophy not as rationalists or empiricists but as Sinhala Buddhists. (Please refer Budusamaye Lankeya Wardhanaya published by the postgraduate institute of Pali and Buddhist studies) Contributions of the Sinhala Bahushruthas should not be compared with the works of the present-day vulgar rationalists and empiricists who are imitating the west.
India is naturally concerned with "the peaceful resolution of the North- East conflict" just as much we are concerned with the Kashmir problem. Mr. Sivasithamparam says "it is these concerns which led to the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord and many of the concepts and ideas embodied in the Accord have formed the basis for subsequent efforts at ethnic reconciliation."
What led to the Indo- Sri Lanka Accord was mainly the foreign policy of the J. R. Jayawardhene government, the over reaction of the two Gandhi governments, the activities of Dixit who thought no end of himself and, of course, the misinformation supplied by the Tamil parties. I will just give one example. The Indo- Lanka Accord recognises the traditional homeland concept. This may have been expressed in words other than these, but the concept has not been changed by a different wording. The homeland concept is a hoax and may I ask who was responsible for this misinformation. The traditional homeland was 'constructed' or created by Mr. Chelvanayakam, if we are to go by his only son- in-law who has written a political biography of his father- in-law.
The Indo- Sri Lanka Accord, which was opposed by the overwhelming majority of the Sinhala people cannot form the basis for any efforts at resolving the so-called ethnic problem. Mr. Sivasithamparam's attitude is that, irrespective of the opinion of the Sinhala people the so-called ethnic problem should be resolved. If the Tamil leaders think that they can ignore the Sinhala opinion, simply because Tamil racism is backed by the Western powers and the NGO's financed by the west, then they are sadly mistaken.
Mr. Sivasithamparam says that listing grievances and seeking remedies is only in the realm of master and servant. We also do not consider that Tamils have any grievances for the simple reason that the relationship between the Tamils and Sinhala people is not that of servants and masters. If Sinhala people behaved like masters trying to impose their hegemony over the Tamils, Mr. Sivasithamparam and the other Tamil politicians would not have been in a position to dictate terms to the Sinhala politicians as they are doing now. It is not grievances but aspirations or objectives that have directed the Tamil racist movement during the entirety of this century. However the Tamil politicians have managed to give the impression that they have grievances. Mr. J. R. Jayawardhane recognised Tamil grievances because the Tamil politicians auctioned their votes in the parliament to the highest bidder of the grievances. The Tamil politicians then talked of sufferings under the Sinhala state, implying that the Sinhala master discriminated against them, contrary to what Mr. Sivasithamparam says now. They created a master in the absence of one to gain the sympathy of the outside world.
For example, Mr. Mavi Senathirajah writing to the chairman of the parliamentary select committee on the 23rd of March 1993, on page 3 of the document, stated that the seventies ushered in a period which heaped upon the Tamils more and more discrimination and further repeated regular sufferings. He then went on to give a list of 'sufferings'. The Tamil politicians now have given up the usage of words such as grievances, sufferings and discriminations not because of any graduation from grievances to aspirations or realisation of the fact there are no masters and servants, but due to the fact that they cannot come out with any such grievances, that they have merely being Tamils. They have always had only aspirations and objectives and they have now been compelled to admit the truth.
The UN or any other organisation or state has no right in interfering with the internal affairs of a country. Mr. Sivasithamparam mentions the involvement of the USA in the Camp David Accord. The involvement of the USA was resented by many Arabs. Can anybody think of the USA with a strong Jewish lobby, as a neutral country in this regard? It is exactly this type of intervention that we do not want. We have on many occasions protested against Mossad. It is not my fault if Mr. Sivasithamparam has not come across these statements and articles mainly written in Sinhala.
Finally Mr. Sivasithamparam says that the Tamils are a people. In the absence of the definition of a 'people' that he has used I am unable to comment on it. However, as far as the Tamils in Sri Lanka are concerned, it is easy to show that it was Mr. Chelvanayakam, who created the Tamil homeland and who was responsible for the myth of a Tamil nation. I will deal with the intolerance of the Sinhala majority by the Tamil leaders, Chelvanayakam's Homeland and Chelvanayakam's Tamil people in forthcoming articles