25 October, 2020

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‘National’ Provincial Council For The Northern Province: A Reply To Austin Fernando

By Rajasingham Narendran

Dr. Rajasingham Narendran

I welcome Mr. Austin Fernando’s detailed response expressing his concerns and opinions on my proposal for a ‘National’ Provincial for the Northern Province.  My replies are specific to each of the concerns and opinions expressed my Mr. Fernando (Italics and bold).

At present it is not in the Constitution of Sri Lanka and hence may be considered dubious, but a circumspect mean to dilute the Provincial Council (PC) governance. One may identify it also as an unconstitutional path.

I do not think my proposal contravenes the constitution in any way and hence is not an unconstitutional path. Elections will be held and any number of parties can contest. What I am suggesting is that the major parties or groupings should try to come together to contest the election as one group, with the TNA as the major partner. What is proposed applies only to the first elections for the Northern PC.  Some of the constituent parties of the TNA and the UPFA may decide to contest separately. If the UPFA could have contested the General Election as a coalition of various political formations and it was constitutional, what will make a repeat of similar arrangements in the north unconstitutional? The 13th amendment which pertains to the Provincial Councils does not forbid such arrangements either. It cannot either.

 I believe it is his prediction of a victory to the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) under normal circumstances. I am careful in repeating ‘under normal circumstances’ because abnormal circumstances can be created. One need not ask “By whom?” as there is no troubleshooter for such ‘contribution like during the Presidential Election in 2005.  Nevertheless, it is strongly believed that the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) and the United Peoples’ Freedom Alliance (UPFA) want to win this election- “by hook or crook!

The ‘Hook or by Crook’ approach and its consequences are what bother me. Mr. S. Sivathasan in his article ‘Jaffna Development Council Elections 1987’ in CT of 4th May’2013, describes the details of such an approach and its consequences nationally, in the immediate period, aftermath and today. What could transpire at the on-coming Northern PC elections may be of greater consequence.

Darisha Bastians (Daily FT 2-5-2013) has revealed a purported novel power sharing manipulation after Dr. Narendran’s presentation was made. It had not been in the public domain as a strategy to hoodwink devolution.  

There is no intent, design or possibility to hoodwink devolution. My proposal instead points a way to make the PC system work in the north as a cooperative venture between various key political formations, to bridge the trust deficit. The PC system should be made to work as-is in the first instance, in an atmosphere of cooperation between the centre and periphery. I am no fan of the PC system, but that is what we have and has to be made to work in the north, once the elections are held. I wish alternatives were found during the past four years!

I think that if the latter happens it would be by itself the beginning of the conflict between the NPC and the GOSL, envisaged by Dr. Narendran, as these two issues are most allergic to pro government politicians and chauvinists, as well to the TNA and Tamil chauvinists. It is not what the Constitution expected, but these days who cares for the Constitution?

The contentious issues of devolving Police powers and land would not arise in this instance, as the ‘National’ Provincial Government will work strictly according to what they agree upon in the MOU.

To avoid such pitfalls what Dr. Narendran tries to do is to “make the best out of a potentially hopeless situation, while furthering the cause of the war-affected, national healing and establishing a Provincial Council for the north.” What I would have expected from him is to be constitutional and not to play ad hoc or by the ear!

Once again there is nothing unconstitutional about what I propose. The emphasis of the first PC, which will be ‘National’ in character, would be to take forward the concerns I have expressed,

Dr. Narendran is extremely adventurous and breaks away from conventional political thinking to implement a conceived ‘out of the box’ solution.  His thesis is to operate the PC system optimally in the north and to explore the possible means to achieve it efficiently. The contradiction is this optimal objective never received blessings from any government since 1987!

The major objective of my proposal is to make a break with what has been taking place since 1987.

His adventurism is so great he suggests the TNA to take the lead in “contesting the election in partnership with the UPFA” United National Party (UNP) and Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), fully aware the UPFA is a coalition of many parties of a diverse nature.  His expectation to bring Minister Weerawansa’s party or Minister Ranawaka’s party (coalition partners representing the majority) along with the government for devolution is a dream to me, when the above quoted newspaper reports are considered.

Even if some constituent parties in the UPFA disagree, the UPFA yet can come to an agreement with the TNA.  The traditional left parties, the SLMC, CWC, UNP dissidents and other smaller parties are likely to be supportive. I believe that Messer’s Weerawansa and Champika Ranawaka will fall in line, if there are no major changes contemplated to how the PCs operate now.

Another alliance partner Minister Rishard Bathuideen, coming from the North and a minority political representative went public a few weeks back that not a single Muslim will be elected if the elections are held as proposed.

Muslim members will be elected from Mannar and Vavuniya. The UPFA, UNP and if possible the TNA can also nominate some Muslim candidates, on the basis of what is agreed upon in the MOU.

In addition, what the TNA had been fighting during the last few weeks (e.g. on acquisition of land and resettlement and protests near District Secretariat and Tellipalai Divisional Secretariat last week) have to be forgotten by them to agree with what Dr. Narendran would like to happen. Concurrently, the GOSL- especially the Ministries of Defense and the Land and Land Development have to agree with the TNA on these queried issues to permit Dr. Narendran’s intentions to reach fruition, which is most unlikely.

I do not think this is an inresolvable problem. If there is an MOU and a ‘National’ Provincial Council is formed, these issues can be settled amicably, as the ‘Mistrust’ factor can be minimized or dissipated.  One of the principle reasons for proposing such a ‘National’ PC is to create the atmosphere to resolve such issues. This subject can also be addressed in the MOU.

When the Leader of the UNP says in Mannar that there cannot be any means to acquire land for militarization (I personally have a differing view on it.), for the UNP to go along with the new proposed NPC with the GOSL/UPFA, which trying to stealthily blunt the devolved powers cannot be a reality. The JVP has been a critic of TNA as well as devolution and for them to get in to a coalition will be difficult.

I agree that there cannot be a prohibition against the state acquiring land for above board, valid and legitimate reasons. The gray areas on the issue of land acquisition can be addressed in the MOU.

My intention was to make the impossible happen in the national interest and in the interests of the long and yet suffering Tamil people. This is the reason why I described my proposal as ‘Out of the Box’.

Notwithstanding this, I think the JVP may fall in line, if its concerns are addressed in the MOU. As to the UNP, it will depend on whether it views the on-coming elections in the north as an opportunity to begin resolving a long standing and debilitating national problem or as one step to topple this government.

Under these circumstance Dr. Narendran’s basic conceptualization will fail as the ‘National’ perspective in the first NPC may not go forward in that political and major policy conflict context. In contrast, I believe the TNA could agree to be in the Parliamentary Select Committee without so much hassle.

It will fail, if the concerned political formulations do not have the vision and farsightedness to seize the opportunity to seek a workable solution to a long festering national problem and forestall foreseeable consequences. The first term of the Northern PC should be the opportunity to take the sting out of the PC system and explore improvements or alternatives in a calmer and rational manner.

He proposes that TNA should name its Chief Ministerial candidate and make sure that the person is the right person for the times, proposes Dr. Narendran. What is the assurance that UPFA would consider that TNA’s candidate is the best for them too? If the TNA Chief Minister Candidate as mentioned in the media is Justice Vigneswaran, UPFA will never agree as it will be extremely difficult under the existing laws to stop such an erudite, knowledgeable person fighting for his constitutional rights.

Yes. Definitely the Chief Minister should be from the TNA. It can be anyone who has what it takes to be an efficient administrator, skilled negotiator and a model to be looked up to and respected. If it is Justice Wigneswaran, let it be so. He should contest the elections and win. Further, I do not think the UPFA would object to him, as he has to work within the framework of the MOU and is undoubtedly a fair man with a world view.

How are the Ministers selected? Just because some party is in a coalition, if the votes polled or percentages are negligible, is the TNA to repeat a “Douglas Devavnanda” where with a few thousands of votes for his party got a substantial number of seats in the Parliament and a portfolio?  Can the TNA agree to such a proposition?

The PC electorates in the north should be allocated as per a formula agreed to in the MOU. All political formations who are signatories to the MOU should support the candidates of the other parties to the agreement, in the assigned electorates.  If the TNA is interested in taking a new approach to resolving the problems of the Tamils, it has to do so.  The ‘DD’ phenomenon you describe will not take place, if there is an MOU and there is no ‘Hook or by Crook’ contest.

Dr. Narendran proposes to leave out politicians of the “old mould”, when it is a national trait to appoint senior politicians as Chief Ministers (e.g. MS Amarasiri, WMPB Dissanayake, GD Mahindasoma, Amarasiri Dodangoda) and old age retirees as Governors (Messers DB Wijetunga, Maithreepala Senanayake, EL Senanayake, MS Amarasiri).

The Governor has to be civilian. An ex-military man will be unacceptable to the northern Tamils, regardless of his credentials. This aspect too has to be negotiated and included in the MOU. I do not think the Governor has to be necessarily a Tamil.  He or she should be a person who has once again the standing to be trusted and respected by the people, the Provincial government and the President. Persons like Mr. Lionel Fernando or you fit the bill. If a Tamil is considered, Mr. Ramanujam, the retired Secretary to various Ministries would suit the bill. He is an efficient, stern, experienced and above board administrator. He has also no political affiliations.

The Chief Minister of course has to be an experienced and learned person of the likes of Justice Wigneswaran. However, a mix of the reasonably old and middle aged should be brought into the PC.  They should have proven themselves in various fields of endeavour and be able to reflect the new concerns of the people. Old wine packed in new bottles, will yet be insipid!

If ex-militants of all hues are to be given up what can the government say of Minster Devananda, Deputy Minister Karuna Amman, and former Chief Minister Pillayan or Daya Master as proposed now? When Dr, Narendran cannot stop UPFA stopping Daya Master to be a candidate, his trying to stop other political groups from nominating former terrorists in their lists will be a failing exercise for sure. Will it not denote permitting the UPFA to monopolize whatever vote sympathetic to terrorists to go along only with the UPFA, through Daya Master? Will not this be interpreted as Dr. Narendran trying to bring some novices who would dance to the tune of the Governor, a class of partial bureaucrats and central government ministers in the Northern Task Force, who according to TNA have usurped their powers and that of the PCs and trying to further weaken PCs as submitted earlier?

What the government wants to do with them in the centre is its concern. However, grateful the government is to some individuals for the services they have rendered, they should not play a role in the north and east. There were and are part of the problem in the north and east. They are definitely are part of the solution either by history,  intellectual capacity, experience or acceptability the people of the north .  These issues should be addressed and included in the MOU.

Dr, Narendran seemed to me as a great believer of Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs). Perhaps, if he remembers the number of MOUs signed between the UPFA and others (e.g. with the UNP, JVP) he will not try to stick to useless pieces of MOU papers.

An MOU has nothing wrong per-se with it. There has to be honour even among thieves! An MOU fails because the individual signatories fail. The MOUs you mentioned failed because of political opportunism and individual foibles. Because this MOU too would have the potential to fail, does not preclude it being tried. There is always a first .  This is a necessary risk that has to be taken.

Take the case of appointment of ministers. When there are only four provincial ministries and four major parties in his “National PC” exercise, any MOU will have to agree that each party should get at least one portfolio. Imagine as predicted by Dr Narendran at the outset an overwhelming victory goes to the TNA. Even if the TNA gets 70% of the vote and proportional number of Councilors, it will be entitled for the Chief Minister’s and another Minister’s position only on that basis, as the TNA, UPFA, UNP and JVP (if all parties mentioned by Dr. Narendran join, which I think is only a day dream!) have to be accommodated in the Board of Ministers; two out of five for the TNA inclusive of the Chief Ministry and three for the other constituent parties of the proposed “National” NPC. It will be the tail wagging the dog, with help of the Governor who will always act according to presidential dictates! Dr. Narendran’s thinking that the NPC and the “Council of Ministers” should have also Sinhalese and Muslim members may not be a reality sometimes, if we were to believe what was stated by Minster Bathurdeen a few weeks back that no Muslim would be elected if the election is held in September next. If we go by the current ethnic representation in the Parliament from the Northern Province, when the NPC election is held, no Sinhalese Councilor may be elected.

All parties need not have ministerial positions. The TNA, UPFA and the UNP would be entitled to ministerial positions. Whom they nominate in terms of communal identity and in terms of their elected members in the Provincial Councils, will be the prerogative of these parties. The MOU should include provisions to spell out these details.

Having required Mr. Sampanthan to act as the initiator of his thinking Dr. Rajendran predicts ensuring excellent objectives. No one can object to them. They are so serene. They seem to me as non-adversarial, enabling the recovery of the war-affected people and areas, building trust for non-separation, paving the way for a new political culture and the way for a national consensus to improve devolution exercises, promoting national reconciliation, dissipating the distrust between the ethnic groups, enabling the entry of quality persons into politics, forestalling political issues promoting ignition of divisive passions anew.

If this is the need of the country too why not the Parliament resolve a constitutional amendment to bring non-adversarial political behavior, trust building, to pave a new political culture, bring forth reconciliation, wipe out distrust, create space for quality parsons to engage in politics, which is rarely seen now even in the Parliament, so that such could be a guide to all lower level political organizations?

The solution I suggest is valid because of the failures of our political institutions- the Executive Presidency and Parliament. As I see it, the biggest hurdle is to convince the majority of the Sinhala people that some degree of devolution is in order and is not a path to dividing the country.  This can be demonstrated in practice by the ‘National’ PC in the north. This will help bridge the trust deficit.  Once, the majority among the Sinhalese is convinced, most of their politicians will fall in line. The northern Tamils also will also concede that the PC system even as it is, can be made relevant to their lives. The onus would be thus on the TNA to make things work, however hard the process is.

The Tamils in the north too need a break from contentious politics to concentrate on matters that are more crucial to them at this point in time. There is an urgent need for the people in the north to join the national mainstream and place their faith in the Sinhala political establishment.  What better opportunity would the Sinhala political establishment have, than what I suggest?

I agree more with Dr. Narendran on the last wish of his presentation. Let Mr. Sampanthan, the President and Mr.Wickremasinghe rise up to the occasion and act in unison with wisdom. It should not be limited to NPC elections. It should encompass all aspects of politics, governance, rights, independence whether it is of the economy, judiciary or press or movement or religious belief etc.

The process should start with the northern PC and extend to the national theatre. The north should be the crucible for the necessary experimentation.

Limiting this to NPC elections alone will be seen and at least interpreted as Dr. Narendran trying to scuttle democracy and constitutional operation in a vicious manner in a limited geographical terrain to satisfy the needs of a section of the political hierarchy, who cannot gain victory under normal circumstances. I need not say which section!

The proposal if accepted in principle will make democracy more meaningful and beneficial to the people in the north. A charade will not convince the northern Tamils, who by nature question everything.

The Northern PC elections are being held under a UPFA government and hence there is no alternative to dealing with it. It would have been imperative the same was done if the UNP was in power.  The idea is to not to satisfy any section of the political array. The underlying principle is to take out the sting of adversarial politics from the Northern PC and events leading to its elections.  This exercise must transcend partisan consideration and rigid positions to succeed.

My understanding is that the GOSL/ UPFA should not attempt to bogus discoloration of any political group against it, as representatives of the terrorists, and play the ‘sin-accruing game’ on such minority groups. It must see manipulations as roadblocks for reconciliation, better understanding, trust building, sustainable future relations. It must concede that governance needs more than triumphalism and adverse name tagging.

The TNA has declared that it is willing to find solutions within a united Sri Lanka.  However, doubts persist about its intentions on account of statements by some of its members and sections of the Diaspora. The political posturing in Tamil Nadu is also not helpful. While the government and the UPFA in particular should recognize that Mr.Sambanthan is trying to move the TNA in a more sensible direction.  The government should also be single minded in its approach to reconciliation and political solutions. It has to recognize that the TNA is a reality and has to be dealt with. Its attempts to forge alternatives have miserably failed. TNA should also move fast out of what Mr.M.Sivathsan recently described as its ‘Greek Kalends’ (A point in time that does not or will not exist) mindset.

TNA and other Tamil political groups, Diaspora and all Transitional Government supporters  also should recognize that they cannot be winning over the government or the majority communities by trying to crucify them, especially after a war victory that had been unprecedented, if they wish to develop reconciliation, better understanding, trust building, sustainable future relationships.

This was the biggest mistake committed by the TNA and the other formations you mention in the aftermath of the last war. The TNA- at least Sambanthan and Sumanthiran– is trying to rectify this mistake. The GOSL too made a serious mistake in trying to tailor a Tamil leadership to its measure and remaining extremely paranoid on the security front four years after the war. However, political grandstanding in the run up to the elections and after could potentially make the situation worse. My proposal takes this likelihood into account.

Striking a balance is a must, but it should be within the laws of the country and through consensus building. One group should not try to steamroll the other, because the two groups have lived like brothers and sisters and they can repeat that wonderful exquisite performance in the future too.

What I have proposed is within the laws. However, it may not be in line with the rotten political culture in this country.  The communities should come together and this can happen only if our politicians come together. There is no steamrolling involved in my proposal. It will be more of give and take, in the interests of the Northern Tamils and this country.

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    A correction: to the point made by Mr.Austin Fernando, starting with the words, “If ex-militants of all hues are to be given up what can the government say of Minster Devananda—“, my reply should read,

    “What the government wants to do with them in the centre is its concern. However, grateful the government is to some individuals for the services they have rendered, they should not play a role in the north and east. There were and are part of the problem in the north and east. They are definitely NOT part of the solution either by history, intellectual capacity, experience or acceptability TO the people of the north . These issues should be addressed and included in the MOU.”

    Dr.RN

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    Dr Narendran says “The process should start with the northern PC and extend to the national theatre. The north should be the crucible for the necessary experimentation.”

    What is the guarantee that it will extend? Why don’t you convince his excellency to start it in the southern province and end it in the northern.That way MR.Austin Fernando’s contention that “Limiting this to NPC elections alone will be seen and at least interpreted as Dr. Narendran trying to scuttle democracy and constitutional operation in a vicious manner in a limited geographical terrain to satisfy the needs of a section of the political hierarchy, who cannot gain victory under normal circumstances. I need not say which section!” is laid to rest once and for all.

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      Shanker,

      You had asked in the original thread why my proposal should not be tried in the Southern PC first? You are asking the same question now. There are no issues of contention involving the Southern PC or other PCs in the South. They are happy to go along with what exists. They were not demanding devolution and did not fight a for for separate states. They are not demanding full implementation of the 13th amendment nor are they demanding enhanced powers. In fact, they are ready to even concede powers vested in the PC’s to the centre.

      The 13th amendment was aimed at the Northern and Eastern provinces and the other provinces were a side show. The demand for devolution and later for separation was a largely north inspired phenomenon. It is the constitution of the Northern PC that has been the centre of controversy. It is the north that is at the centre of the political storm. I east apparently not even mentioned by those who are discussing the 13th amendment and its full implementation -both in favour and against. It is the north that is at the centre of a gathering political storm.

      Therefore, we have to seek a formula to get the PC system working in the north , now that elections have been decided. If we do not acknowledge the problems and find ways to resolve them where possible and circumvent them where it is wise, the PC in the north has all the potential to go the way of Varatharajaperumal’s. north- east PC.

      We cannot afford to ride the high horse, at this critical point. I was against PC elections in the north for five years after the war and was recommending that an Interim Council of experienced bureaucrats and technocrats be set up instead to operate the PC system. The intention was create the conditions for an elected council. This did not happen and we are yet at the starting point we were in 1987, with greater mistrust and bigger questions , and lesser political clout.

      Radical thinking and innovative solutions are the need of the hour. It is we who are demanding devolution. It is we who have decide, considering the circumstances whether a step by step approach, in partnership with the Sinhala political formations is the long term solution. The process has to start now. What I have proposed is based on my understanding of the present circumstances and the political tides and undercurrents.

      The issue is not about Tamil representation in the South, but about making the Northern PC acceptable to the centre and the South.

      I have replied Mr. Austin Fernando’s concerns about subversion of democracy in the article above.

      Dr.RN

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        Dr.Rajasingham,From your comments it is crystal clear that you have only the northern province in mind because you keep on mentioning that it is unique to the rest of Srilanka.However in your article you mention that later on your proposal can be extended to the rest of the country.Why did you mention that it can be extended to other parts of the country if according to you they do not need this type of national unity governments.

        PS.Since independence we have had a adversarial type of politics in this country.You can’t change that just for a specific region.It is not practical and will have a lot of resistance from the people of the northern provinc.That is why I suggested a comprehensive reform in the political culture for the whole country,not only for the north.

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          Shanker,

          There is no need for ‘ National’ PCs in the South, considering they are functional to the extent they are. I am using the word South here in the context of the rest of Sri Lanka excluding the north. The north, is in the eyes of a potential political storm and there is a need to take the wind out of this developing storm.

          However, there may be a case for similar arrangements for the Eastern and Western provinces. In the Central Province there is semblance of some cooperation between those representing the plantation areas and others. In the East, although a coalition is ruling, it is not ‘ National’ in the sense I use the word. TNA, the party that won the largest block of votes and seats is in the opposition! However, all other provinces will have much to learn from the experiment in the north, provided it is made to work.

          The concept could also be extended to the centre to address critical national issues, without the need to play to the gallery in the names of partisan politics and vote banks, which are mistaken for democracy.

          Dr.RN

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    Rajasingham Narendran

    Is there any slim chance of you contesting Northern Provincial Council?

    If and when you decide, under which party banner would you be most comfortable to put yourself as an esteemed candidate?

    If you are invited to serve as the Chief Minister of the Council what sort of changes would you like to see implemented in the North with a view to transforming the entire province ideologically, philosophically,politically, socially, culturally, ………..?

    How would you attract women’s vote?

    Will you publish your manifesto in time for us to pick holes in it?

    At the end of your full term in office, what would you like to see as Narendra Rajasingha I era?

    If you are asked to write your own Meykkirththis (True Fame) what would you include as a matter of fact?

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      Native Vedda,

      I am not made for elective politics. This plus my age precludes that I will hold any such position. I will however be available to provide my services in an advisory capacity to anyone who seeks it. I have my dreams of what the north could be made into. However, this is not the forum or occasion to spell them out.

      Thanks for your probing questions.

      Dr.RN

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        Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

        Come on you should try.

        In case if you change your mind, please let us know.

        We can be sure of friend in the Council. Please do not misunderstand, as we will not make 10% commission out of your good name.

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          Native Veddah,

          Thanks. Very unlikely.

          Dr.RN

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            Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

            I still think you should try.

            Never say Never.

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              Native Vedda,

              Thanks for repeating the wise words, ” Never say never”. I scrupulously avoid them, as I was very sternly told this by a Hindu Sanyasi visiting our parental home ( I must have been about 15 years old then ). He also went on to explain me the why.

              Dr.RN

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        Dr.Narendran,you must be in your late fifties or early sixties.That is not a barrier to entering politics.See karunanithi was the Chief minister at 85.The queen is still doing her duties at 90.Don’t miss this opportunity to contest the northern provincial council election.Start a party called Sri Lanka Peoples Party(SLPP).Get as many professionals as you can to become members.Let it be a multi ethnic party.

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          Shanker,

          Thanks for your suggestion. It is my nature that is a greater problem. I like to identify problems objectively and find appropriate solutions. I resent bureaucratic obstacles. I seek advice only to identify solutions. Having worked long in the University system and there after for long years in Senior management positions in the private sector, have made me very action, time , cost and result oriented. I also pay scant attention to popular opinion. I refused to contest elections for the Presidency of the Hindu Society at Peradeniya, because I was averse/ shy to ask for anything from others, by way of favours. I however did what I had to as an acting President of this society. I also tend to be very stubborn, once I am convinced of what is the best way. I will not compromise for anything less. I make the effort to teach those who do not understand and learn from those who know better, but am rather abrupt with foolishness, hate hypocrisy and abhor sycophancy. I am also averse to pomp and ceremony.

          My way is not the way politics works. I am very short on political skills and will be a total failure in politics. As per Peter Principle, I would reach the point of my incompetence in politics !

          Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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            Dr.Narendran,if that is your problem,you don’t need to enter politics,but you can form the party and become its coordinating secretary.Decisions can be made by the members of the party who will be all professionals and a manifesto drawn up getting their votes on all the issues using the internet.None of you need to become full time politicians.For example an eye surgeon can do his job and at the same time contribute to the country by giving his ideas on various issues and you can collate these and go by the majority decision and prepare a manifesto.This is the power of the internet and now you don’t need a physical presence to communicate.There are brilliant professionals contributing much in their own fields but not for the burning problems and upliftment of the country as a whole because no one is organising them and harnessing their energies.You can do that.

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              Shankar,

              Thanks for the advice. Food for thought.

              Dr.RN

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      Sounds like native vedda has a good command of the tamil language? :P

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        Bandaranayake

        Sorry Nayaker

        My elders use to tell me about “A Study of the Meykkirththis of the Cholas” by S Thillainathan which was published in the ancient time (1966).

        I was just name dropping.

        If Dyan could drop names I thought why not me?

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    “It will be more of give and take, in the interests of the Northern Tamils and this country” – Dr. RN
    It was not mistrust that causes the problem, it is unwilingness to give and take, that was cause of the whole problem.
    Once the eelction is held and served the rotten food ( as per your words,) the IC pressure will be eased on Srilanka and SL will silently put down all the demand of tamils to solve their political issues. Is that what latent intent here?

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    It would not be important who is nominated or elected if the business of administration and governance is conducted free of discrimination and in an equitable manner. This is the lesson that all our politicians must learn, not to favour their own community but to look into the well being of all constituents.

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    Manisekeran,

    While there has been an accelerating tendency towards centralisation of political powers, decentralisation of administrative powers and increased politicisation of all institutions in Sri Lanka over the past decades, the trust deficit between the Sinhala and Tamil polities have also burgeoned. While some aspects of the first are a national problem, the trust deficit is a sub national issue. The wars for separation have widened the trust deficit. The mistrust afflicts both communities. Tamils because of events that preceded the militancy and the Sinhalese by events that followed it. This trust deficit has to be first bridged, before rational discussions on devolution, power sharing ir a combination of both can be discussed. The situation here can not be compared to India. It is rather unique. Solutions hence have to be unique.

    I do not know whether you have heard the words that the Sinhalese though a majority suffer from a minority mindset because of the close proximity of Tamil Nadu. This has historical roots, because of Chola invasions. The Tamils on the other hand though a minority, suffer from a majority syndrome in terms of territoriality within Sri Lanka, which gives rise to the ‘ Aanda Innam, Aala Verndiya Innam ( people who ruled and have to yet rule) mindset. This seeds the conflict in many ways by creating mistrust of each other in both communities. Trust has to be built brick by brick,painstakingly in both communities, this is the need of the hour.

    Dr.RN

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    India is a different case.

    North America, Europe, Australis are multi ethnic countries. they all have one major language. Every one learns that language in order to get employment and progress in the society. Tamils are all over the world and even those migrated after 1983 have learned the respective majority language of those countries.

    Why Sri Lanka should be different ?

    Sri Lankan Tamil population increased drastically only after the colonial invasion.

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      Jim Softy,

      Where did you get the population figures for the or-colonial era? I remember being taught as a boy that the total population of Ceylon in the early fifties was around six million( imam saying from memory). Malaria was a major scourge and decimated all communities, until the anti- malaria campaign proved effective.

      Further, I see no reason why Tamils should not learn Sinhalese. They have more reasons to. the Sinhalese should learn Tamil too. I think the government is on the right track with its trilingual educational and public servant training thrust.

      Dr.RN

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        Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

        “I think the government is on the right track with its trilingual educational and public servant training thrust.”

        The state is actively teaching Sinhala to Tamils than Tamil to Sinhalese.

        There are many Sinhala Basha schools want to teach Tamil to their students and the students are eager to learn not only Tamil but English as well.

        The state deliberately ignores their request for resources.

        What does it say about the Sinhala/Buddhist state?

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

          Prof. Senerath Paranavithana (Archeologist and historian) wrote ‘The vast majority of the people who today speak SINHALESE or TAMIL must have ultimately been descended from those autochthonous people of whom we know next to nothing.’ (Ref: Ceylon: Some Problem of a Plural Society – B.H.Farmer)

          I do not trust the history twisting racist Sinhala historians but it seems like that one above is trying to be a bit neutral in his above statement. Instead of twisting history to deny the equal share of Tamils in Sri Lanka as usual, he is being honest.

          //You are missing the point. Nayakers were not Tamils.//

          Nayakar’s ancestors might have arrived from Telugu speaking border regions ruled by the Tamil Cholas. They were the Tamil speaking, Tamil blooded dynasty who ruled Madurai. For example Vaiko, the pro LTTE Tamil politician is an actual descendant of Madurai Nayakars. if you tell him that he is not a Tamil he might get more furious.

          If the Nayakars are not Tamils, King Parakramabahu the great cannot be a Sinhalese. Parakramabahu the Great’s father was a Tamil prince, his Grandfather was a Tamil King, his mother was a Tamil blooded princess, his wife was a Tamil, and then how can he be a Sinhalese? The same goes to Nisankamallan, he was a Kalinga Prince, and how did he become a Sinhala? How did the Naga Prince Duttu Gemunu become a Sinhalese?

          //You should read something on Kandyan hospitality//
          I do not know, what is SO special about Kandyan hospitality?

          //Using the same token of measure why didn’t the LTTE evacuate the Tamils since many Tamils had betrayed VP by then?//
          I heard the LTTE gave Lamppost treatment to the Tamil Quislings, but they just evacuated Muslims for spying s instead of killing them. That was the only easy and viable solution at that time. The LTTE evacuated the Muslims without harming or killing anyone but even that brought them the wrath of the entire world. The Sinhalese cleverly used that incident to make the Tamils and Muslims, permanent enemies and get help and funding from Muslim countries to fight the Tamils. The Muslims are still milking that incident to get sympathy and goodwill from everyone forgetting their atrocities against innocent Tamils in the East.

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            Thiviya,

            The definition of who is a Sinhalese, as construed over centuries, transcends origins. If a person adopts the Sinhala language and cultural, and preferably Buddhism, he/she becomes a Sinhalese. This is an assimilative process. The Sinhala language has developed by leaps and bounds in recent decades because of its capacity adopt, adapt, assimilate and change. The same applies to the Sinhala culture.

            The Tamils are different, because they are very conservative and reluctant to change, unless forced by circumstances. The Tamil mindset is definitely a contrast. The Jaffna Tamils epitomises this contrast more. It may be dictated by relative historical isolation and a. geographical landscape that is quite different from the rest of Sri Lanka. It is a culture that has evolved in the context of a very unique environment. This evolution was likely influenced also by the Sinhalisation and Buddhisization that was taking place over a millennia in the south of Sri Lanka.

            Understanding these differences by both parties to the conflict is an essential prelude to finding solution to our problems.

            Dr.RN

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              Dr RN
              “said earlier is the shortage of Sinhala and Tamil teachers and the willingness of those available to move eiher to the non-urban south or the north and east, as required. There is an acute shortage science and English teachers in the Vanni too.”

              You folk are liars who talk of 98% lit. We see so many voluntary teachers who arnt given post unless they lick political ass. You need German money to pocket it mate nothing else.
              Vasudeva just belches and farts in his old age arnt you trying to follow him or arnt you in it too.

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            thivya

            There were two major issues that were ignored by “pseudo” historians on the subject of Sri Lankan Historiography:

            Colonial Construction and Paranavitana Factor.

            You may not be aware of these factors. Please read up on these areas and then we can discuss the subject.

            “Nayakar’s ancestors might have arrived from Telugu speaking border regions ruled by the Tamil Cholas”

            Kingdoms and kings didn’t define the people who were living under their realm. If Vaiko would be furious that would be his problem and not mine. He has had many things to be furious about but he was not.

            Kandyan hospitality is something that you should ask Dr.Rajasingham Narendran. He is an authority on such histories.

            “but they just evacuated Muslims for spying s instead of killing them.”

            Why do you take trouble to defend LTTE and your hypocrisy?

            One more thing, if LTTE was so keen to safe guard Muslim lives, why did it grab all their cash and valuables before they were ethnically cleansed? If LTTE was so cuddly, it could have let them take all their cash, jewels and other properties. It didn’t.

            ” The Sinhalese cleverly used that incident to make the Tamils and Muslims, permanent enemies and get help and funding from Muslim countries to fight the Tamils. “

            So LTTE was innocent of ethnic cleansing but the Sri Lankan state was guilty of using the drift.

            How much funding did Sri Lanka receive from Muslim country to specifically fight Tamils? Why did LTTE fail to convince these Muslim countries that its struggle was legitimate?

            When are you going to learn?

            Being a Tamil from Sri Lanka no wonder that you too are another stupid person with LTTE Mahawamsa mindset.

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          Native Veddah,

          There are many Sinhala parents go send their children to tuition classes to learn Tamil. They also take pride in the Grades they get in Tamil. The shortage of teachers is the major constraint. The process has begun. There is a sea change in the attitudes of the people – Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim. Unfortunately, this is not reflected in their politicians and other community leaders.

          Dr.RN

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            Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

            “There are many Sinhala parents go send their children to tuition classes to learn Tamil.”

            It may the case among the wealthy but not the norm among the vast majority of the rural Sinhalese who don’t have the wealth or access to Tamil teachers.

            Even Vasu was approached in this regard through official channels and contacts and nothing has happened.

            The state, its rulers and its bureaucrats are deliberately ignoring multilingual policy or actively undermining it by withholding necessary resources.

            Is there any monitoring mechanism in place to audit implementation of policy on languages? As far as I know none exists.

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              The German Development Agency (GIZ) is financing the national integration project of which Tri-lingual education is a component , formulated and supervised by the Ministry of National Languages and Social Integration headed by Vasudeva Nanayakara. Funding can be sourced. The problem as I had said earlier is the shortage of Sinhala and Tamil teachers and the willingness of those available to move eiher to the non-urban south or the north and east, as required. There is an acute shortage science and English teachers in the Vanni too.
              This is a national problem and requires long term planning.

              Dr.RN

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              Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

              ” I had said earlier is the shortage of Sinhala and Tamil teachers and the willingness of those available to move eiher to the non-urban south or the north and east, as required.”

              There are many Teachers from both communities willing to travel specially during the weekends for a day or two in the remote areas to coach the students.

              There is a mismatch between availability and demand. The ministry should set up a data base through which it could channel and manage human resources.

              I still think the state doesn’t give a damn about implementation.

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        “no reason why Tamils should not learn Sinhalese” It takes generations to take that stupido. Some are not linguist like some aren’t mathmaticians etc. Barcelona they speak Catalan and Espanol but they want seperation though the religion is the same- Roman Catholic.
        In Belgium they study several languages but the folk in the French part which is poor now don’t want to speak Dutch.
        The industrious Flemish are the main stay of the economy so they rightly want separation and point fingers at immigrants who only speak French. Just recently the king patched it up but it is only temporary because of EU pressure.
        EU was created after 2 big wars where they involved the world now is it stable economically NO. UK has been the thorn. UK thinks of its past glory and wants to be the ruler of the commonwealth.
        Live with your warlord kissing his ass like the terrrorist tamil ministers.

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    Just imagine that there is an agreement between UPFA (Lead by MR), UNP (lead by Ranil), JVP (lead by Amerasighe) and come up with MOU. Who is left with? Sarath Fonseka (leading contestant to MR) on the Sinhala side join with Hela Urumaya, PPS, Wijeawanse form a united front to contest not only in the NPC but also in the Parliament election and Presidential election. On the Tamil side the party lead by GG Ponnampalam contests NPC. There is a possibility the NPC will get the majority and that is the end of politics for MR in the National Politics and MR family have to move inside Welikadai.
    A good proposal!

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    M/s Sambandan & Sumanthiran were respected by the Government and the leader of the opposition. The Sinhala & Muslim communities considered them to be moderates. Unfortunately, they too appear to be influenced by the funding provided by the Tamil Diaspora, with sinister motives. However, it is not too late to participate in all party discussions to resolve the contentious issues.

    If the TNA wins the power in the Northern Provincial Council, the best course of action will be to follow the path of the Mayor of Colombo and work with the Government to do what is best for the long term development and prosperity of all the people in the Northern Province.

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    Police powers and Land Banks, are the core issues and the only issues as far as Sambandan’s TNA is concerned.

    TNA will never compromise on these two issues.

    Both are no nos under Rajapaksa’s watch.

    What can the TNA offer the ex captives more than what the reformed LTTE members are doing with the help of Deva and his party and the Govt?.

    Has the TNA uttered one single word about providing electricity, to Pudithikurup or Mulikaval or even Nanthikadal?.

    Have they suggested ways to improve or providing better health, better education and more employment for the ex captives?.

    The Whizz Kid Sumnathiran raised his vehement opposition to Electricity tariff increases yesterday,

    Not sure whether he was speaking for the inhabitants of Weligaman or Wellawatta.

    TNA strategy is for a Mother of all confrontations with the Rajapaksas.

    And bring the UN accompanied by Canadian and British Military to settle it.

    We don’t have to be political scientists to work it out.

    Until the TNA comes out in public and declare openly that there won’t be demands for Police and Land Banks for at least the first full term of their rule, the great majority who are enjoying peace and freedom now, will be unsettled.

    Does Ranil’s latest trick (or Gilmart) tell us something ???.

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    Firstly,the elections will NOT be free or fair.
    The government cannot afford to let TNA win a majority of seats.
    Whatever parties form or whoever get elected,the Military Governer will determine policies and priorities and enforce them through the police and the army.
    The EPDP will assist too.
    The Governer is under direct control of the president and so is Devananda.
    All this daydreaming is useless.

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    Sumane,police and land powers are part and parcel of the 13th amndment,so there is no need for the TNA to demand it as it is already in the constitution,but not implemented by the government.So why don’t you ask your masters to just repeal the 13th amndment,without continously only talking about doing it.Why are you scared of India?Why are you scared of india,you have china in your pocket no to teach India a lesson.This is not 1987 when rajiv can throw his weight around.This is 2012 when China is a superpower and will not wait silently if India tries to throw its weight around again no?

    So why keep on making the TNA a scapegoat for the 13th amndment.They are not hollering from the rooftop for it.Even if you repeal it they could not care less and won’t protest about it.So the problem is in your president’s dithering mentality.If someone with balls like Wimal Weerawansa(who obviously wants to be the next president after mahinda and Gota and basil have their turns)was the president now he would have repealed the 13th amendment as he claims every day he will do.

    As for your contention that the TNA is asking only for devolution,but not looking into the basic needs of the people,the people will not vote for them if that is so no?Why are you worried about them winning the northern provincial council,if they are not meeting the aspirations of the people as you claim here.It should be a cake walk for your Daya Master to become the next chief minister no?Then no need of worrying about land and police powers no?

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      Well said, Shankar. The truth that most Sinhalese don’t know it is India who saved the day a few days ago for the crumbling Rajapakses
      in CHOGM being held in Hambantota. It is believed the Rajapakses have an underhand Quid Pro Quo with Delhi on this – as usual behind the backs of Sri Lankans. Interestingly, Delhi’s option even here is that the Rajapakses can be perfidious again. And, there too, Delhi would have an alternate Plan B, C and D.

      BTW, I notice someone here telling us Sinhalese parents now send their children for Tamil tuition. Whether in droves or trickles is not mentioned. While I certainly welcome this. I wonder if we have come to that sublime level yet. I don’t think many Tamils will believe this sunshine story either – probably calculated for consumption of other communities.

      Senguttuvan

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        Senguttuvan

        Please refer to my comments above:

        Native Vedda – May 6, 2013
        12:17 am

        &

        Native Vedda – May 6, 2013
        1:59 pm

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        FYI: Please be assured that Sinhala parents are very keen on teaching their children Tamil these days. My niece is one of those children now going for tuition for Tamil. By teaching Tamil to their children, like many other subjects, the parents are also learning a little Tamil these days. Students passing out of Sinhala schools in another 5-10 years time will have basic fluency in Tamil. Most likely as much as they are fluent in English now — which unfortunately needs lot of improving. However, since we have so many Tamil speakers among us, finding teachers who are fluent in Tamil won’t be as hard as finding those who are in English. As a “keen” observer of ethnic strife I’m surprised that you were not aware of this trend.

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          “Please be assured that Sinhala parents are very keen on teaching their children Tamil these days. My niece is one of those children now going for tuition for Tamil..” says regular commentator Navin. If the comments are addressed to me let me say this is one of the most encouraging statements I have read in recent times and I wish it grows to epidemic levels. But, Sir, I believe you come from the elitist upper middle-class from the suburbia which has, usually, been liberal in its outlook in the ethnic question.

          My reading of the issue at the national level is the differences have widened in recent years. There were several incidents of sincere efforts by Christian and other schools organising visits of students from the North to the South. The media reported several instances where the visits were abruptly called off as the students from the North were subject to physical assaults from the other side. I am also aware that a son of a friend of mine – whose father (Tamil) was a well known banker who died a few years ago – organised a memorial Cricket match between a leading Colombo College and one in Jaffna along the lines of promoting ethnic amity. I hope the original intention of this being an annual feature will find mutual acceptance – although I did not read much of it in the press.

          I might add I have myself spent years building North-South relationship working with my friend Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne of Sarvodaya. Nothing will please me more than seeing warmer Sinhala-Tamil friendship – even at this late stage.

          Senguttuvan

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      shankar

      “So why keep on making the TNA a scapegoat for the 13th amndment.”

      It is Sinhala/Buddhist national sport.

      Dayan is one of many active players.

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      Shankar,,

      The ex captives whose votes are the deciding factor in the up coming election are like the inhabitants of North Korea.

      They only know what Praba, wanted to tell them and what Premachandran and Senathraja tell them now.

      Vellalas in Jaffna is a different story.

      I have no problem whether it is Sambnadan or Pathmandan or Devanandan.

      But what our great inhabitants don’t want is Hartals which is the forte of you know who.

      And a Colombo Spring to wrest the power by the you know who again.

      When I see, hear and read about the poor Iraquis,Syrians,Afganis,and the Pakistanis in the border villages, I have great fears for our rural poor, inhabitants who will be copping it again and will be pushed back to the dark ages like the last three decades.

      Of course Shankars and Sengutuans of Colombo and elsewhere are in a win win situation.

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        sumane says”Of course Shankars and Sengutuans of Colombo and elsewhere are in a win win situation”.

        There is no win win for anyone in this world.As the Bhuddha said we are all born to suffer.

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          shankar

          “As the Bhuddha said we are all born to suffer.”

          Because of reading K.A Sumanasekera comments

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    All Players in politics are engaged in perpetuating the conflict, hell bent on acquiring, holding and enlarging the scope of their own agenda. Even after sixty years of independence and conflict that caused unprecedented, unparalleled destruction as result of failures of governance, there are no efforts to seek the peace demanded by the world. This demand can be met through a new out of box formula, which is unconventional, innovative, seeks the workable and is manageable.

    Dr.R.N is in seeking such a non conventional innovative arrangement. Mr. Fernando is keen in changing the pillow, to suit his agenda of choice, rather than in assisting to find a way-out, taking note of all ground realities, national interests and agenda, hidden and pronounced.

    There are a very large number of people amongst Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and others, who can rise above the parochial and unscientific, and who are for values, character, culture, dispassionate mind sets. They would be willing to support and work for a program based on wisdom. Such work had been done also in the past.

    But vested players want to perpetuate a now obsolete conflict ridden past and rather than move into a new order. The world is watching us with alarm and unless we speedily work a way out, it is imperative that some formula will be thrusted on Sri Lanka through various mechanisms designed for such an agenda.

    Mr. Fernando and their likes should understand world trends and synchronize with them. Innovative solutions should be sought to lead all the people in the country to lasting peace, prosperity, happiness and contentment. This is Compassion in action. This should be our way.

    Old Yarlppanathan

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