31 October, 2020

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In Praise Of Non-Violence – The Politics Of ITAK

By Shanthi  Sachithanandam

Shanthi Sachithanandam

The defeat of the armed struggle waged by the LTTE  seems to have now resurrected the debate about  the non- violence struggle amongst the Tamils. The Federal Party’s post 2009 trend of holding Thanthai Chelva memorial meetings annually and the eulogies given to non- violence in these meetings, attest to this development. Mr.R. Sambandan, leader of the Federal Party, in one of his speeches in the Parliament has alluded to the terrorism practiced by the LTTE as the reason for their annihilation, and has time and again stressed that his party  resolutely stands for a non- violent struggle to gain Tamil rights. This year also, at the Thanthai Chelva memorial meeting, he reiterated this stand and was very clearly supported by the main speaker Justice C.V.Wigneswaran. Notwithstanding the fact that the Federal Party has no choice but to tread the path of non – violence in the present context, it is useful to examine the role of violence and the relevance of a non- violent movement for the Tamils in Sri Lanka.

The intransigent nature of the Sinhala political leadership was referred to in both Mr. Sambandan’s speech and the speech of Justice Wigneswaran. “It is a trait in their (majority community) leadership to speak with forked tongues. I am puzzled by this fact, given that the Sinhalese with whom I have lived all my life, having been born, bred and educated in Colombo, are not given to this kind of duplicity..” says Justice Wigneswaran. Well, he need not puzzle over it at all, this problem is not about individuals but about their collective project of State building.  All the world over, every attempt at establishing a Nation-State was fraught with violence.  Human societies do not flourish on the basis of geographic territories. Historical imperatives that drove migration, cultural exchanges and military occupation all have led to the blossoming of innumerable communities and Nations which have distinct language, cultural traits and religious observances. A death knell to this wonderful diversity of the human race was the development of the modern Nation-State.  All Nation states seek to homogenize the population in order to consolidate their power. There are very few minority Nations in the world which are not in conflict with the State of their respective geographic territories.

However, the degree of intransigence demonstrated by each State in accommodating a multi ethnic polity  depends on various factors such as the level of industrialization and the development of an industrial elite, the culture of the practice of statecraft through the centuries, and the consequent  perceptions of the society of its own strengths. The Industrial class always  seeks to unify, because therein lies its market.  And, a self- confident Nation is less threatened by the expression of autonomy of  other communities and Nations. On the contrary, the modern Sri Lankan society is a super structure built on a feudal foundation. The inability of successive Sinhala leaders to be able to handle the office of the executive presidency  is one indication of this reality. Each one was one step ahead in fashioning  himself along the lines of ancient monarchs, J.R. Jayawardene  naming  the Sri Lankan Capital as Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, Premadasa and his famous throne,  and now the Rajapakses’  family rule. The fact that still the Sinhalese speak about “ giving Tamils autonomy might lead to the establishment of a separate State” belies a deep sense of fear and  inadequacy on their part.

The conflict created by the nationalist aspirations of the Tamils spilled over in to an armed struggle. Professor Robert Pape  of the University of Chicago has recently done some path breaking studies specifically on what he calls suicide terrorism. For his book Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism, Pape started with the bombings themselves – every documented case between 1980 and 2004 – and noticed some suggestive common threads. He has established that foreign occupation, and not religion or any other social aspect is the core motivating factor behind suicide terrorism. “From Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank to Sikhs in India, from the jihadists of 9/11 to the secular Marxist Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka – for all of these, it is ‘a nationalistic response.’” When  a community had been backed into a corner by a superior power and saw no better alternative, it resorted to terrorism generally and suicide terrorism in particular. His studies establish that the military occupation of a superior force always preceded the outburst of terrorist movements. In Sri Lanka also, sending the garrisons to the North East began the militant protests and armed violence.Thus, it becomes necessary to acknowledge the legitimacy of the armed struggle of the Tamil people, regardless of the disagreements one might have in the particular  methodology applied. Denying this past amounts to totally undermining the Tamil Nationalist Movement. It seems ITAK stands guilty of this grave error.

Now that the option of the armed struggle  has failed the Tamils for the present, we have turned to the doctrine of non violence to deliver us from this predicament. In that case, we need to study its logic and the consequent applications.  It must be realized that this philosophy as espoused by Mahatma Gandhi, also speaks with forked tongues.  Gandhi advocated non violence only to unarmed citizens and not to States which were actually armed to their teeth. It seems that in his scheme of things, it was legitimate for the States to engage in violence while only the citizens had to practice restraint and sacrifice. Or probably he thought that it was not possible to change the nature of the State. But gradually it is dawning on the world community that  there is a dire need to rein in the extraordinary powers amassed by most States. The doctrine of Responsibility to Protect is one indication of this trend. A future has to be envisioned where States are restructured so as to be ‘multi-national’ and totally accountable to each and every citizen. Without simultaneously working for this new world order, we cannot go far with merely the ‘non-violence’ as understood and practiced traditionally. Hence ITAK needs to engage with the larger democratic questions nationally and internationally, than just constantly talking about “Tamil Rights”.

So what about the non-violence practiced by Gandhi, King and others? Were they not successful? History shows that nowhere in the world a non-violent movement succeeded on its own. The Indian independence movement was propelled also by the formation of the Indian National Army by Nethaji Subash Chandrabose, and the violence unleashed by the various trade unions in their struggle for workers’ rights. It became simply untenable for the British to rule India. Similar interesting accounts are told also of the other countries’ experiences. These are not highlighted in popular literature and media, nor are the roles played by those individuals given due prominence. Since the ruling classes would not want the populace to effectively challenge the State through violent means, the history they helped to write obliterated these facts. For instance, what might happen to occupied Tibet if it continues to pursue the path of  rigorous non- violence is easy to guess, but not many speak about the failures of non violent movements.

This is not to say that there is no merit in practicing non-violence. However, the true practice of non violence pre-supposes many conditions. It is more about maintaining a righteous  frame of mind rather than about the action of  not using arms. That is why Justice Wigneswaran rightly describes in his speech the collective and multi dimensional approach that needs to be formulated, which does not name and target an enemy. Gandhi established Ashrams in various places to provide training to his Satyagarahis in practicing this Dharma. They had to maintain excellent personal conduct in order to retain the high moral ground which is so essential to change the hearts of the opposition. How is ITAK organized so as to be able to carry out intense educational work amongst the Tamils in order to practice non-violence? It is public knowledge that the ITAK leadership does not meet with even their party members and their own party councilors of the local governments outside of elections.  Leave alone  meeting with the masses regularly.  It is hilarious to listen to pompous statements issued by them on being “non violent”  which is basically saying that they are prepared to talk with the government, as they have been saying for the past 60 years. Conducting talks with the government is not practicing non violence by any stretch of our imagination.

Another common element of all the non violent movements around the world is that none of those leaders  were involved in electoral politics. Electoral politics is an entirely different game, that has to appeal to the irrational and emotional zeal of the masses. A Satyagrahi cannot be an election facing politician at the same time. At some point, obtaining votes and seats in the Parliament will inevitably become more important than mobilizing the masses for a war of Dharma. Very few seem to be asking the pertinent question that if the 1961 Satyagraha struggle in the North and East was so popular and successful as it is claimed, then why did not the ITAK continue with it? One discards only unsuccessful initiatives under any normal circumstances. Even after seeing the Tamils come out in their thousands to paralyze administration in the North and East for weeks, why did they revert back to making back room deals with Mr.Dudley Senanayake in the next round of elections, having learnt the lessons of the Banda-Chelva  pact? All mobilizing efforts of ITAK were halted almost immediately afterwards. This is the variety of  opportunistic politics played by our Tamil leaders all along the way.

Today the Tamils are caught in a situation devoid of any hope and are in danger of being annihilated as a Nation. There has arisen an urgent need to throw up mature and honest political leadership from amongst them. This is no time to be involving in the usual political maneuvers and power games. My fervent appeal is that ITAK and the other constituent Tamil parties of the TNA come forward with honesty of purpose and the willingness to change their entire approach  to political engagement with the government of Sri Lanka and the Sinhala people. In this mission, the Tamils here and abroad have a role to play. They cannot be blindly continuing the same path they had tread for years. Pro-actively they must seek a transformation of their own society and politics.

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    Shanthi Satchithanantham,

    A good analysis and a very wise conclusion. I hope those in the ITAK read such opinions. On the question of the role of institutionalised violence in a state, Gandhi agonised over this issue much and concluded that it was necessary within defined boundaries and in defence of the state. His decision to support the British in the Boer war, was based on this realisation. Gandhi’s autobiography ‘ My experiments with Truth’ highlights his dilemma and struggle on this issue However, his concept of Satyagraha to meet violence with truth, honesty and non-violence even in thought, stands vindicated. He, his colleagues and the people of India won the respect of the British first and there after the cooperation of the British government. As you have rightly indicated the so-called non- violent struggle of the Tamils lacked fundamental elements of what constitutes Satyagraha.

    Thanks also for pointing out that the leaders in the Satyagraha movement in India or the one based on those principles in the USA, were not in electoral politics. This key aspect had not struck me before. I have learned something new today.

    I hope more Tamils will come forward to lend their support for sanity in Tamil politics.

    Dr. Rajasingham Narendran

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      yes, when you observe non-violence for cause of people, it resonates to much deeper cause.And also, Gandhi wanted to abolish Congress post independence for the very same simple reason.

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    The Tamil community needs women like you Shanti to lead it!

    Had enough of the old, doddering unprincipled dead weights and dinosaurs who cling to power like Sambandan and Andnadasagaree whose shelf life expired many moons ago!

    Time for the whole bloody lot of doddering Lankan politicians and wanna be dicatators – from Ranil to the dead leftists to the dinosaurs in the Tamil political leadership to move over and let a youth and women take over an lead Lanka to a better place – this is my hope and prayer!

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      You have a point. Is the wrong generation running the country? Is that the main problem? A good subject for research.

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        OF course it is the WRONG GENERATION, the generation that has RUINED the country that is still running Lanka.

        The govt and opposition are equally corrupt and all the dead leftists etc. All the old politicians like Ranil, Rajapassa, Somawansa, Pathala Chimpika and some racists like Weerawansa whois Rajapassa’s puppet need to be booted out and a young generation with less filthy and bloody hands need to lead Lanka NOW and BE THE CHANGE!

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          We need GOOD WOMEN LIKE SHANTHI TO BE THE CHANGE and lead a more enlightened and cosmopolitan Tamil community that stops playing Ghetto politics and addresses and works with the SInhala community which is fed up with the political rot and erosion of democracy and rule of law in the country.
          Shanthi you must lead the RAINBOW COALITION for change – to educated the TAMIL AND SINHALA masses that they need to join together and fight the corrupt blood-suckers who are living the high life in Parliament on the people’s back – UNP, UPFA, TNA, MC, JVP, JHU etc.
          The current generation of blood-sucking politicians have ruined Lanka by all play the ethnic card to win elections and the people should STOP VOTING for racists. This should be the EDUCATION CAMPAIGN FOR POLITICAL CHANGE. EXCELLENT START SHANTI!

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      Hi Dodo, We do not need Shanthi like women man. I personaly know how she cheated INGOs fund man. Before commenting, just have a background study of her past activities. She is expert in writing fake proposals for funding….

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        Dude you seem to be suffering from the green eyed monster – Jealousy which is an awful Sri Lankan disease…

        Buvanes for gods sake do something CONSTRUCTIVE rather than pull down and destroying other’s efforts – particularly women who are trying to do something useful.

        SHANTHI, MORE POWER TO YOU! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK

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    Dear Author,

    “In this mission, the Tamils here and abroad have a role to play.” – if you could have elaborated a paragraph what is their clear role, that would be made this article more productive.

    Coming the illusion of Ahimsa, yes, Non-violence to be observed on unarmed people. When one has arm and gun in hand, no point in speaking to them with empty hand. But at the same time, when you have gun in hand, you need to be restraint on unarmed. Ahimsa means not initiating violence and not simply being silent when one attacks us

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      I believe non-violence has to be observed on both armed and unarmed people. If you try to get arms against armed people, man with more killing instinct will win at that instance, but will he really win anything..
      To me SL government didn’t win any war… Nobody can win by killing humans they don’t agree with in this modern times.. may be 500 years back, strongest men win and lead for long time.. not any more…

      As I get older, I am now confident love, tolerances and forgiveness (non-violence) always win but not the opposite..
      Anura

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    Shanthi has very subtley brought out the idea of the hypocrisy of the concept of Gandhian non violence. It worked under Gandhi because it was the majority Vs the minority in British India. In the Sri Lankan context of majoritarian democracy it is the other way about.”Pro-actively they must seek a transformation of their own society and politics”. For this the Tamils have constantly been denied of the space.
    Bensen

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      It worked for Martin Luther king who was not a member of the majority.

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    Conflict begins when blood, honour and property rights of each other are violated.

    Historically, every struggle starts with non violence and eventually ends up in violence as a result of a community is cornered and finds no other way to survive but to hit back as a last resort. Thus resistance turns to terror. It’s also like a politician starts with a good intention to serve his people until he gets elected and once in power gets boxed into greed and nepotism.

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    Dear Ms. Sachithanandam,

    The sentence that struck me was the following: “Hence ITAK needs to engage with the larger democratic questions nationally and internationally, than just constantly talking about “Tamil Rights”.”

    I couldn’t agree with you more. In fact, if ITAK and TNA worked for the emancipation of Sri Lanka as a whole, the possibility of the Tamil community achieving its own aspirations and rights within a united Sri Lanka become more of a reality.

    When I listened to the YouTube clip of Mr. Sumanithiran’s intervention in Parliament during the tabling of the Parliamentary Select Committee’s report on the impeachment of the Chief Justice, it became absolutely clear to me that without Sri Lankan Tamils advocating for a pluralistic democracy, Sri Lanka as a whole was doomed. There is an opportunity for the Tamil community to inject a progressive discourse into Sri Lankan politics and lift it out of the mire that it has got stuck in. This will help build the necessary alliances with the Sinhala moderates and bring on-board a broader constituency for agitating for a pluralistic democracy founded on the principles of justice and equality. This is the statesmanship necessary from the ITAK and TNA as it is clear that none of that is forthcoming from the current regime or other political parties.

    Regards
    GTBP

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      George, you are right. The bad Sinhalas are ruling. The good Sinhalas cannot change this government’s poor governance without the help of the good Tamils. This is a struggle between good and evil.

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    One point that Shanti Satchithanandan has missed in her very lucid and thought provoking Article, is the Past History of South India attacking Sri Lanka, not once, but many times over. Sri Lankans have a very real fear that this might happen again if North and East Sri Lanka became an Independent State. The activities of TamilNadu Politicians only serve to consolidate this belief. I am sure that moderate Tamils would consider carefully, the consequence that it could become a reality again.

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      Why would we attack once North and north-east obtained Independence? Even now, we are part of India, if anything happens it will happen through India only. Moreover we are not living in kingdoms of Chola, Chera and pandya.. we are people, responsible to elected government of Tamilnadu.

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        If TamilNadu is part of India, why are its Politicians fighting against the Policies of the Central Government?

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          Thats the beauty of federal arrangement. if something is against their wishes they ahve every right to press the centre. That is called democracy. Tell what are the policies that they are against?

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            manisekaran

            “Thats the beauty of federal arrangement”

            What is beauty about India? She is all dressed up and nowhere to go.

            Corruption is decentralised, state leaders and parties have more devolved power to swindle state coffer.

            Just after Bangladesh’s Independence war 90,000 Pak army surrendered to Indian forces. India made a deal with Pakistan and let the war criminals escape without war crime charges framed at these peopr.

            It was a betrayal,Bangladeshies will never forgive or forget.

            Since

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              @NV,

              Yes, India was messed up and dressed in dirty clothes. But I disagree your statement that she has no path to go. probably a bit true under current congress regime, but still crores of right minded people there, who will take her to correct path.Though India 2020 is on slower track, yet progress is being realised.

              90000 soldiers were let go as America was standing to attack Chennai, we had no choice as India did not want to escalate the war further and get destroyed.

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              manisekaran

              “90000 soldiers were let go as America was standing to attack Chennai, we had no choice as India did not want to escalate the war further and get destroyed.”

              You are ever becoming sillier than the previous day.

              Why did not USA stop the war by bombing Chennai?

              USA could have stopped the division of Pakistan with its 7th fleet which was almost in the Bay of Bengal?

              Why did India cave into USA threat just after the war than during the war?

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          Good question pol pot, but you failed to ask the 2nd question why India succeeded and Srilanka failed ? Answer is India recognised the differences Srilanka didn’t, India respects democratic dissent and Sri lanka doesn’t

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            Jay

            “Good question pol pot, but you failed to ask the 2nd question why India succeeded and Srilanka failed ?”

            You failed to ask the 3rd question, why is India reluctant to stamp out caste politics? For your information Indian Express reported on 2nd May 2013:

            “Uprooting of trees, burning and stoning of buses, and blocking of roads marked protests across Tamil Nadu and Puducherry by PMK supporters all Wednesday even as their party chief S Ramadoss settled down in Tiruchy jail with a copy of the Gandhian Thoughts.

            Around 2,000 people, 107 of them in Chennai alone, were arrest­ed for vandalism, which left 120 buses damaged and four gutted.”

            manisekaran

            how do you propose to deal with bad “publicity”?

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              India or tamilnadu still thrives on certain casteist element, unfortunately I agree to this point, these parties make use of yester generation uneducated people.However my generation saw a sea change with respect to need to eliminate the evils of the caste and current generation outright reject casteist politics. In couple of coming generation, this will go. It is matter of just next thirty years.

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              India is a cast society, an aryan culture infected to other races like dravidians, India has got cast reservations for employment and education usually for backward classes Andrew made sure no one is left out. Is that wrong? Is it wrong to give a help hand to under unprivileged? Objective of this idea to establish just and fair society, of course India has to travel a long way to minimise social gap however unlike Sri Lanka India doesn’t hold a constitutional superior race, religion, cast but that doesn’t mean there is no discrimination, considering the diversity of India their superior political model (federal/quasi federal) keeps the country relatively calm and all indications there to be prosperous. In contary to India river of blood flowing in Sri Lanka out of propotion, 2 JVP uprising and 30 years civil war

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              Andrew ___ read and they

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    Look at it this way:
    Almost all the Legislation that led to Socialist style Reform and Redistribution of capital ownership under the nationalization policies of the Socialist Govt of Mrs. Bandaranaike (landed proprietors and Bus Mudalalis etc etc) affected by and large, the Sinhalese. The Tamil people were largely unaffected and remained silent. When Land Reform took away the properties belonging to the Sinhala land owners and redistributed the property rights of the Sinhalese were violated. But there were no organized violent campaigns to destroy the Govt., or the image of the country internationally. Earlier in history, when the British Governors decided to kill all Sinhala men and boys and burn/destroy their houses for rising in the Uva rebellions, there were no criticisms of that colonial barbarism by the “other” communities.
    Therefore, while the Sinhala people have also suffered greatly,what we hear today are only of the sufferings of the Minorities.
    This is a time for ALL groups to reflect on the entire historical landscape of this country and to appreciate the sufferings and discriminations that all the inhabitants of the island have experienced, and not dwell just on one’s own community. Perhaps then we can find some common ground and work together to rebuild this nation.

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    Shanthi has presented sufficient grounds for looking for alternate strategy.

    But she has not formulated any winning strategy.She seems to be working within Tamil nationalism.

    I agree that Tamils are not minorities, but a nation with the right to self determination.

    But Tamils need not go all the way towards a separate state. Tamils could exercise their rights within Sri Lanka.

    Because less in number in electoral politics, the Tamils will always face legitimacy questions while working within the democratic paradigm and have to face the mighty state coercive apparatus even when non violent methods are used.

    It is easy for the state apparatus to turn non violent into violent movements and discredit such movements nationally and internationally.

    What is happening in Tibet is a case in point.

    Violence by the oppressed is noble. Dr Dayan Jayathilake speaks about ethical use of violence in Cuban revolution.

    His claim is not backed with facts.

    However ethical use of violence in mass movements is praiseworthy and inevitable and could be the appropriate strategy.

    India won independence was through mass movement, not strictly non violent as believed by many.

    After the annihilation of LTTE the strength of Tamils had appeared to be gigantic with TNA, Tamil Nadu Tamils, The Diaspora Tamils(LTTE rump!) and the international community backed by western powers joining forces.

    This is a temptation that is preventing Tamils from adopting new strategies.

    However this power is illusionary even if successful It will be temporary and when power balance changes as bound to happen there will be another catastrophe similar or worse than that faced by Tamils after the defeat of LTTE.

    The winning strategy for Tamils in Sri Lanka is to mobilize and form alliances within Sri Lanka with the progressive, disadvantaged, marginalized groups and engage in a Arab spring type rebellion and the demand of Tamils is sharing of power at the centre as well as the periphery including security forces.

    It should not be an electoral alliance.

    Once the present regime is overthrown and replaced by the new regime , the tamils must ensure that they continue to play key roles there will no way the Tamils could be marginalized.

    In this secnario,a new paradigm with new oppurtunities open!

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    “It is the form of the oppression that determines the nature of the struggle”. The Tamil resistance should be seen in this light. I hope Mr.Sambanthar will acknowledge the facts outlined in this article, and address the real issue head on instead of continue to beating around the bush. It is imperative that Tamil women like shanthi sachithanantham should be recognised and encouraged to participate in the policy formation of tamil national struggle which can only be a healthy discourse not just at the Sri Lankan level but also at the international level. After all the struggle of oppressed minority nations, armed or non armed, should be differentiated from terrorism and should be given the due recognition it deserves, so that it could be addressed humanely, rather than finishing it off as UN sponsored “Blood Bath on the Beach”.

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    The Tamils fought non-violently for more than 30 years before they took the arms to defend themselves from the Sinhala atrocities. The Tamil Leader SJV Chelvanayakam was nicknamed Eelaththu Gandhi, because of his non violent protests. Mahathma Gandhi is from the majority community and he succeeded against a minority and Sri Lankan Tamils are dealing with an unwilling, greedy and violent majority. Non violent concept won’t work with Sinhalese.

    Every Sinhala coward will attack the Tamils if they are unarmed, that is what is happening now in the North East under mono ethnic Sinhala military occupation. Every Sinhalese who visits the North East acts like a chandiya because the Tamils have no one to protect them.

    SL army’s atrocities against Tamils took place long before the LTTE formed. The thuggish behaviour of the Sinhala people and their army created the LTTE. Prabhakaran was not even born when the Sinhala army sicced their dogs on the unarmed Tamil non violent protesters on the Galle face green.

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      Where do u live?

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    In Praise Of Non-Violence – The Politics Of ITAK

    A good piece on a re-balanced perspective. The question I have with Shanthi is what percentage of this work is that of your older and eldest brother Satchithanandam Sathananadan who seems to have gone into voluntary exile after the demise of the LTTE. When we last parted in person in the late 90’s in Melbourne he was so confident and cocky that he said when parting at Mano Navaratnam’s home that we would meet in Eeelam flying into Palaley international airport; MR dynasty has to fulfil.

    Knowing and understanding the problems is one thing yet resolving them will take much more than Earth ‘spin, angle of tilt, the whole of human history, geography and geology. I am alluding to the book entitled Guns, Germs & Steel authored by Jared Diamond, Winner of the 1998 Rhone-Poulenc Science Book prize. A book of extraordinary vision & confidence reported the Observer then and I still concur and recommend it to Shanthi, Satha (if they have not already read it) and to all other serious readers with that assessment and more in favour to grasp the bigger pix.

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    Shanthi Sachithanandam –

    What will you say about one of the LTTE members Thileepan’s hunger strike and his death?

    Also LTTE leader Pirapaharan’s hunger strike to get back their communication equipment in Madras.

    Your writing about non-violent struggle is not perfect.

    Do remember, even LTTE believed in non-violent struggle, but Sri Lankan state response were such, they were forced to fight back.

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    Hi Shanthi,

    Good analysis. Nice to see you making a public appearance after a long time. Miss your singing “Amudei Padium Nilave…..” Please continue writing and also singing and acting. That will help mending broken bridges.

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    The TNA/ ITAk should come out of what Mr. Sivathasan has described ( article on A Marshall Plan) as Greek Kalends!

    Dr.RN

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    It is a good analysis and should open the eyes of our leaders and institutions.

    The important and immediate task for TNA is to reform itself as a liberation organisation than a political party fighting for elections. Elections should be only one part of the wider objectives of the organisation. We don’t need political games! We need transparency, We need Charismatic leadership that can unite Tamil people around the world, and gather support of the international community to achieve justice for our freedom struggle.

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      We, Tamils have enough leaders, charismatic or not, they cannot do anything against the occupying mono ethnic Sinhala military. We need to focus on how to stop the State sponsored Sinhala colonization aka ethnic cleansing in the North East. The East has already gone, now no one identifies the East with Tamils any more. Not only are the Indian journalists, even the Western ones are beginning to say ‘Northern Tamils”. The Eastern Tamils have been terrorized, muzzled and made to become a manageable minority in their own historic homeland. While we keep on criticizing and dividing the existing Tamil leadership the Sinhalese are systematically settling the Sinhalese in Tamil areas to make the Tamils minorities in their own historic homes and villages.

      The Canadian government has the guts to openly say that “Soft ethnic cleansing” is going on in the North East but the Tamils, even people who live outside of Sri Lanka are afraid to tell the truth and blabbering about reconciliation and are criticizing the few genuine Tamil leaders we have. Unfortunately we Tamils have more than our share of quislings, and they are the ones who are busy in these internet forums. If we criticize the TNA and Sampanthan, we are only left with people like Dr. Rajasingham in Sri Lanka. Can this hapless Tamil race afford that kind of tragedy? :-))

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        Please come back and start your struggle in northern Sri Lanka. without being a vocal worrier in the Internet.

        what have u dine to help the war affected up to date?

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        thivya

        “We need to focus on how to stop the State sponsored Sinhala colonization aka ethnic cleansing in the North East.”

        What is the difference between LTTE ethnic cleansing of Muslims and Sinhala/Buddhist ethnic cleansing of Tamils. Remember this land once belonged to my ancestors. Tamils too are descendants of colonisers.

        As far as my people are concerned our land has been colonised by both the Tamils and Sinhalese and we see no different from one another. It does not matter to us whether Sinhalese colonisers or Tamil colonisers in the end it is my people who have lost their entire land to Kallathonies.

        “We, Tamils have enough leaders, charismatic or not”

        Just like your Sinhala brethren you only have very stupid leaders.

        “the Sinhalese are systematically settling the Sinhalese in Tamil areas to make the Tamils minorities in their own historic homes and villages.”

        Historic land is a loaded phrase. How historic is your land?

        “Can this hapless Tamil race afford that kind of tragedy?”

        Actually Tamils are a tragic comedy.

        “we are only left with people like Dr. Rajasingham in Sri Lanka.”

        Whats wrong with him? He once assured me that he never enjoyed Kandyan hospitality.

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          //What is the difference between LTTE ethnic cleansing of Muslims and Sinhala/Buddhist ethnic cleansing of Tamils. //
          It seems like you want my answers. The LTTE evacuated Muslims because they backstabbed the Tamils, their own linguistic brethren by spying for the Sinhalese, the historic enemies of Tamils. It was only a temporary measure and the LTTE apologized for it and was willing to resettle the Muslims in their own homes. But the Muslims never apologized for the murder, rapes and other atrocities committed against the Tamils in the East by the Muslims in the East. The Sinhala Buddhists’ ethnic cleansing of Tamils is government sponsored ethnic cleansing; it is a permanent colonization to make the Tamils a minority in their historic habitat.

          //Remember this land once belonged to my ancestors. Tamils too are descendants of colonisers.//
          Some or a part of Sri Lankan Tamils, are actually the descendants of indigenous Naga people of Sri Lanka. The Veddas never lived in the North or in the Jaffna peninsula, so that land belonged to my Tamil ancestors.

          //Historic land is a loaded phrase. How historic is your land?//
          The Sinhalese uses Mahavamsa stories to claim their ownership of Sri Lanka. We can use the same Mahavamsa to prove our historic ownership as well. The Sinhalese and Tamils histories are intertwined we both have an equal claim in Sri Lanka.

          //Actually Tamils are a tragic comedy.//

          Yes, because we have too many quislings.

          //He once assured me that he never enjoyed Kandyan hospitality//
          The rule of Tamil blooded kings, culture and tradition of Tamils have influenced the Kandyan customs and hospitality. :)

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            thivya

            “The rule of Tamil blooded kings, culture and tradition of Tamils have influenced the Kandyan customs and hospitality”

            You are missing the point. Nayakers were not Tamils. You should read something on Kandyan hospitality.

            “Yes, because we have too many quislings.”

            I hate to agree with you, including VP who worked tirelessly for India, then the West and Premadasa, then help to elect MR for a fees, then surrendered to Sri Lankan armed forces and got tortured to until his last days in this land. Is he still alive?

            “The Sinhalese and Tamils histories are intertwined we both have an equal claim in Sri Lanka.”

            If you believe Mahawamsa you will belive anything. Even if you trust Mahawamsa, you could only go back to 2,500 years whilst my people were here more than 30,000 years.

            Please note Tamils and Sinhalese are the descendants of Kallthonies, please go back to your mother land which is in India. When you go please take your Sinhala brethren with you. They have a choice either they could live in Sinhapura or Tamilnadu since most of their ancestors came from Tamilnadu.

            “Some or a part of Sri Lankan Tamils, are actually the descendants of indigenous Naga people of Sri Lanka.”

            Could you site chapter and verse of you newly discovered history.

            “The LTTE evacuated Muslims because they backstabbed the Tamils”

            So did many Tamil quislings (to borrow from your vulgar vocabulary). Using the same token of measure why didn’t the LTTE evacuate the Tamils since many Tamils had betrayed VP by then?

            You don’t have to respond to my comments if you don’t feel like it.

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              Native Veddah.

              Some or a part of Sri Lankan Tamils, are actually the descendants of indigenous Naga people of Sri Lanka.”

              Could you site chapter and verse of you newly discovered history.

              As late as the second century A.D there is a reference to this Naga Kingdom in the story of Killi valavan and his love match with pili valai the beautiful daughter of Valai vanan the Naga king of mani pallavam (Jaffna)

              Tanj. Gaz p 17

              “Nakulam nama samasuddha asti stanam mahitale”

              sudha sam: p 325

              Naguleshwaram temple in kirimalai

              the name which perhaps had its origin from nagas was latter corrupted to nakulam means in tamil Kirimalai.

              Manaridal was a name given to Jaffna in yalpana Vaipava Malai and the the name Veligama(m) a sinhalese name with same meaning still in use to mark a portion of Jaffna ( The issue of land swap in Vali north) similar names were mentioned in sangam (old classic tamil literature)

              you might know about Naga capital of Kadiramalai (Kantarodai) in Jaffna and mantota port. In these places there are piles of ruins yet to be excavated. recent excavation shows the historical existence of Buddhism in Jaffna

              Probably under cholas influence significant number of these people become tamil saivites aged back to 2500 or more years.

              However there is no clear cut say on these assertions, it could be true or myth who knows ? but there is a valid argument as above

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    Violence was visited on the tamils from soon after independence,without
    any provocation whatsoever.
    This was the reason for tamil militancy and the birth of the LTTE,more than any other factor.
    The writer ignores this completely.

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    Can someone translate this article? She has ideas to for ITAK I gather from the reader comments, but what she has written seems too complex to be just that!

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    Right article, non violence means mainly to keep your soul alive rather winning rights however democratic movements achieves goal

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      Why not change your goal when you know you can not reach it?

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        Change to what? Is it a sin to talk about democracy and equality in Sri Lanka?

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    In Praise Of Non-Violence – The Politics Of ITAK

    Not only is the above title deceitful and deceptive to catch the eye of readers’, Shanthi seems dumfounded to respond to the questions and concerns raised or is she waiting for her great LTTE speech maker brother’s response?

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    ITAK started raising the conscience of a political divide at the start of the independence, it’s like teaching a child to see the differences between him and another. Its heart begins to see and feel the differences. The newly born Tamil separatism is imported from India following the Tamil insecurity that exists with the non Tamil in India at the time of independence of India. The Tamil politicians at that time even considered, the Madras presidency to be administered from England following India’s independence. The congress party took the steps of dividing the Indian south in to linguistic states. History is a teachers and records facts, so why is India so motivated by the Tamil regressive politics.If the Tamils felt that they were second class in Sri Lanka please note that it is the English who brought the estate labours to SRI-Lanka, creating an underclass. When Mahatma raised the wrights of the Tamils in Sri Lanka, the fact is that the writes and nation hood of the extracted Tamils from India should have been raised and solved in India not in Sri Lanka. The truth is that, be Tamil, Sinhala or Muslim(religion not a race) has a common need to be protected by enlighten leaders with Altruistic principles if you are one then this a calling for you. Please note you need to be a Tamil, a sinhala and a muslim at the same time.

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