By K. Anaga –
Subrahmanyam Jaishankar came; He saw – He spoke – He conquered, which seemed to be the day’s order.
India’s eagerness to help ‘neighbors first’ commenced with Sri Lanka. The need to assist Sri Lanka would not have been on its card if China didn’t want to stretch its arms for a continuous embrace. Fortunately, for India, China’s embrace was let loose over the demand for a restructuring of the loan to satisfy the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Thus India came with outstretched arms and hugged Sri Lanka. But how long will this hug last depend on the reaction of China?
Unlike China, India’s hug will not be easy due to the Tamils problem, which has been hanging fire for the past 75 years. Not that India loves the Sri Lankan Tamils, but any move against the Tamils may create a situation in Tamil Nadu which may be difficult to cure. The North Indian Modi is trying his best to get at least a few parliamentary seats in the next elections from Tamil Nadu. Hence, he is freely quoting from Thirukkural and other popular ‘Tamil Classics’, whenever and where ever he visits the South.
Tamil Nadu Tamils have a weakness, in that, when a north Indian Minister or a parliamentarian quote Tamil Sayings in Tamil, they get elated.
On the other hand, Modi is playing a double game by appointing governors mostly from the North to Tamil Nadu who are not friendly with the elected regional governments.
Invariably, the governors deliberately delay approvals of bills that need his approval under various pretexts. Tamil parties please take note.
Recently governor Ravi subtly changed the name of Tamil Nadu to ‘Thamilaham’, as he is not happy with the word ‘Nadu’ which according to him defines a separate country. Perhaps with the approval of Modi? Modi’s attitude towards minorities in general and Muslims/Tamils, in particular, leaves much to be desired.
Dislike for Tamils is because no parties originating from the north could capture power in Tamil Nadu after 1967, despite even ‘underhand’ efforts.
Jayshankar’s visit to Sri Lanka apparently was to assist in the restructuring program of the loan to enable IMF to reconsider its stand and help Sri Lanka.
In effect, India’s Jaishankar’s interest was to ensure that their investment will be safe and give returns, without Chines and Tamils hindrance.
First time in Tamil politics all parties are clamouring for a Federal setup for the northeast with constitutional protection against possible devaluation of powers with the passage of time.
Of course, Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam is quite steady in this demand and has explained his reason for the same very clearly. But the others like Sumanthiran and Sampanthan together with other parties associated with TNA seem to be flirting with this idea rather than being certain about it. Justice Wigneswaran on whom the Tamils had a lot of faith is fluctuating. He is now keen on leadership rather than achieving the goal. He is the 2nd most senior among the Tamil parliamentarians, I believe. But his chances of being a leader are ‘deer’, due to his own folly of dilly-dallying.
Sampanthan has rightly brought to light that historically the Tamils are occupying the North and the east from time immemorial and therefore they are entitled to self-determination as declared by the United Nations.
Jayashankar on the other hand had told Sampanthan at their meeting that Sri Lanka is on the verge of collapse and what their next move was in this regard.
Sampanthan promptly replied that the only way out of the impasse is to solve the Tamil problem permanently.
This assertive statement from Sampanthan is something new.
Maybe like an oil lamp (Kuthuvilakku) before it fades off glows brilliantly, for a short time.
Jaiashankar was not keen on a Federal form of government and advised Sampanthan and others to accept the 13th amendment first and think of other additions subsequently. When?
It has taken over 35 years to ‘consider’ implementing the 13th amendment. That too due to a declaration of bankruptcy. How many more bankruptcy has to be declared before considering a Federal Constitution? Although India was responsible for introducing the 13th amendment as far back as 1987, what interest did they take to implement the same thereafter? Today India has come in with various projects to be introduced and implemented as fast as possible, whether Sri Lanka welcomes it or not. Sri Lanka, a beggar, has no choice.
Once India establishes itself in Sri Lanka it will care two hoots for the Tamils as they did during the war and thereafter.
India’s own interests first and its host country’s interest second. India would not hesitate to say that their economic strength will safeguard Sri Lanka from all ‘evils’ including Tamils’ clamour for a federal state or China’s need for further expansion in Sri Lanka.
Though Sri Lanka will not be happy with the overall results, they will definitely be happy with the demise of the clamour for federal demand if it does happen.
Between China and the Tamils, Sri Lanka prefers the Chinese.
There is a saying in Tamil ‘Enakku mookku ponalum paruvai illai ethirikku sahuna pilai entral’.
Meaning, ‘Even if I lose my nose it matters not as long as it is a bad omen for the enemy’ (TAMILS)’
Jaishankar, the Indian external affairs minister has apparently studied the internal moods of the Sinhala politicians and Tamil political parties, whose interest is only in leadership – leadership – leadership, which none of them seem to possess despite the same goal all pretends to achieve, not in practice but in words.
Tamil politicians, except the dead, can neither lead nor follow.
No wonder! Jaishankar has killed two birds with one stone, within 24 hours?