By S. Sivathasan –
“They may have studied a thousand epics, but have failed to fathom the deep recesses of the poet’s mind” – Bharathi.
For anyone, whatever be the country, an election is quite demanding. It requires a study of issues and a good assessment of the principal contenders. Qualities of diligence and judicious judgment are called for from the voters. In Sri Lanka at this point of time, when issues of life and death seek examination and decision, the exercise needs far greater effort.
For eighty years and more we Tamils placed ourselves between the hammer and the anvil. In 2009 we were beaten to pulp. Yet the community demonstrated its resilience for resurgence. But failing to garner the benefit from this remarkable quality, a category of thinking, though insignificant and miniscule seeks to lead some people astray. They show the thoughtless path called BOYCOTT. On those of a sterner frame challenges sit lightly and make survival less difficult. To those traumatized for long by the travails of war, least resistance is an easier option. What is strange, those who have suffered most adversely are poised for resistance. It is the spurious interlopers who run for the comfort zone.
It is a senseless group identified by the Tamils as incapable of even following, leave aside leading, that is marketing Boycott. It calls itself Tamil National People’s Front, which in 2010 was decisively defeated and cast away with disgust. Unable to regain traction or territory it dreads the people’s endorsement of the TNA position and by extension total acceptance of the TNA itself. Therefore at the Presidential Election, it takes to this course with motives that are sinister and dastardly.
Karl Marx said quite succinctly, “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature… It is the opium of the people”. Tamils have gone through pogroms and oppression from 1956. Prolonged war, military occupation and constant surveillance have made life a daily grind. Their minds are now fertile soil for ideas incompatible with the demands of our times. When our capacity to meet challenges is seen as inadequate, a philosophy of inaction throws its grip around. ‘Does it matter whether Rama rules or Ravana rules’?
The typical Tamilian stance is not a mere expression of cynicism. It conveys colossal ignorance. Is it correct to say that there was no difference between Deng Xiao Ping and the ‘Gang of Four’? Did anybody assert that Clinton was no different from Bush Jr.? Americans saw a world of difference between Obama and a Republican. Those who were more alert manifested their intelligence and political maturity. When an opportunity opens, it is for us to prepare for change instead of waiting for a plateful of solutions. The course of BOYCOTT can lead us only to the grave as was done in 2005.
“Summa Iru”, Just be, said Yogar Swami. Whatever the understanding or interpretation, when it is grafted into our consciousness, we do not respond to the call of duty, personal or social. These lines from the Gita are oft quoted by Tamils after 2009:
“Whatever happened, it happened well
Whatever is happening, it is happening well
Whatever will happen, it will also happen well
The writer tried to relate the first line to MulliVaaikkaal, the second to Northern Province and the third to Tamils of Sri Lanka. He was unable to reconcile thought with reality.
Quotes from religious texts and lines from literature are often used inappropriately, to salve a troubled conscience or to philosophize dereliction of responsibility. They intervene like a sieve to convert a merciless shower into a tender spray. So far so good, when they are an analgesic to reduce pain. They wreak havoc when they are branded as BOYCOTT and marketed differently to suit the occasion. The Jaffna Boycott of 1931 served no purpose and was repudiated shortly thereafter, by the very people who parented it. The Tamil Boycott of 2005, changed the course of history, most adversely to the Tamils, defeating the very purpose it was designed to promote. Very unfortunately we have resigned ourselves to morbid fatalism.
To this day this stupid course of ease and inaction is advanced as some viable political philosophy. Impotence and imbecility are rolled into one and sold as a political instrument to supposedly hurt the enemy. The originators do not even realise that terror tactics are needed to make it work. Do they really think that their mere words are enough to strike terror? This is not the last time this issue is discussed. For many more decades this senseless debate will continue. Our stagnation in the political mire is heartrendingly prolonged.
A century ago, Subramania Bharathi composed these lines in anguish and exasperation:
“What shall I say and how shall I express? My heart can only burn for them”.
“Oh malign fate, In your design what malevolence are you thinking of for the Tamils”?