By Arthagnani –
One must despair about the destiny of the Tamils of Sri Lanka when one reads the words of a Ranawake, Wimalawansa or a Mahindapala or a Seneviratne, or a Peiris and Amerasekere and Gunasekere,or one or other of various Silvas and even Ratnajeevan Hoole—not to speak of the internet commentators of doubtful wisdom or insight.
One must however feel a sense of despair too when one reads the outpourings of certain members of the overseas Tamil community with grandiose titles that they have given themselves and their fellow travelers. Reading the words of these overseas cabals one feels that the Tamils of Sri Lanka should worry more about the Don Quixotes among them rather than the Ettappans. In Cervantes’s masterpiece the good Don imagines himself a knight and engages in various fantasy activities including seeking a duel with a windmill.
The late lamented leaders of the ITAK used to describe those who disagreed with them with words like these on public plat forms and look where it took them. Some of their fanatical followers took them at their word and in the end turned on them and too. Some of their latter day followers are too ready to fix these labels of traitor and Ettappan on those who disagree with them and have a different agenda for the Tamils. The latest exercise of this form of labeling is from “Diaspora Tamil Activist“. He compares Justice Wignesavaran with a certain traitor and then puts forth certain proposals that any Tamil chief minister should follow. He wants the CM to ask the international community to investigate the conduct of the Sri Lankan Army and the Sri Lankan state for war crimes and to have Sri Lanka condemned in international councils.
Let us admit that these events come to pass and an independent investigation was conducted by foreign jurists and Sri Lanka is duly condemned in various UN bodies and the members of the overseas Tamil community hold triumphant demonstrations in London to celebrate their successes.
What then? How will it affect the Tamils who live in Sri Lanka? Do the activists in the Tamil Diaspora really believe that it will affect the policies of the government of Sri Lanka–this one or a future one? Do they really think that the Sinhala nationalist forces, and the Sinhala people as a whole for that matter, will throw up their hands and declare “mea culpa” and agree to create the State of Eelam in Northeast? Do they think that these forces will say “okay let us allow the Kingdom of Jaffna to emerge and leave the Tamils to their own resources”? Do they really think that the large number of Tamils who live in the Sinhala part of the divided island will shout hurrah and abandon their lives and property and return to the homeland to live happily ever after in the Tamil kingdom? Or are they to be abandoned to the tender mercies of the Sinhalese people who according to the disapora theory are all racists? Is this not a traitorous conduct towards them? Or the diasporeans engaging in the fantasy of some overseas power sending an army to punish the war criminals and create a Tamil home land?
Far from this happening a newly energized Sinhala community will become more unforgiving and determined to continue their policies. It is indeed time for the overseas Tamils to adopt realistic and practical proposals to benefit the Tamils still living in Sri Lanka and abandon these quixotic schemes . When one’s house is on fire he should not worry about the boundary dispute he had with his neighbor– veli or kathiyal chandai in Tamil –but try to save oneself and his house.
So instead of worrying about Justice Wignesvaran’s caste and who he played rugger with and where he was educated and who his relatives are and his fondness for Sanskrit mantras and the pottu on his forehead, let us focus on the very realistic and practical proposals he has announced.
He may not succeed since the chauvinism among the Sinhalese leadership may be too strong to be tamed by Wignesvaran. But, on the other hand if the Tamils change and become more realistic they too may change. Nevertheless he must be given a chance to try to solve these problems of the ordinary Tamils who live in Sri Lanka rather than fulfill the emotional needs of the overseas Tamils who no doubt remember the hurt and injury they and their relatives and friends suffered before they left the homeland.