21 June, 2021

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Provincial Councils: Gejendrakumar Ponnambalam & The Federal Party’s Challenge

By S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole –

Prof. Ratnajeevan Hoole

I woke up this morning (05 Jan. 2021) and was shocked to read that Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam will oppose Provincial Councils, and all our Tamil aspirations to take decisions about ourselves by ourselves. Every Tamil likes to be guarded by kindly police who speak to us in Tamil. We want ministers to whom we can express our needs and shortcomings with clarity – in Tamil. We want control over our lands so that they are not leased for exploitation to companies and our forest and animal reserves may be conserved; and that Sinhalese prisoners and hooligans will not be settled around us by a central government currying favors with their voters. I can go on. But these remain our unfulfilled dreams, what we hope to fight for and achieve.

And then along comes Gajendrakumar. It is said that one must argue the point and not demolish the person opposing our point of view. Anything contravening this is said to be ad hominem and is seen as bad manners. However, sometimes the character of a person and his family tells us that person is not to be trusted. To ignore that works to our peril. 

The purpose of this article is to examine Gajendrakumar’s family antecedents and conclude that he cannot be trusted with anything that affects Tamil lives. The man has no loyalties to anyone. Except for the time the LTTE admittedly rigged elections, he has been defeated and just squeaked in in 2020

His grandfather G.G. Ponnambalam (GGP) voted for stripping our Tamil brethren in the hill-country of their citizenship. After promising Savumiamoorthy Thondaman to support them, in the first bill he feigned a massive cough and walked out of parliament to avoid voting. In the second bill he shamelessly voted against Hill-country Tamils. According to J.L Fernando (Three Prime Ministers of Ceylon, MD Gunasena, 1963, p. 27), “The Damila [Ponnambalam] bowed low before the Sinhala Lion, DS Senanayake, and was made a Minister.” GGP would soon be rejected by the Tamil electorate.

Take Rose Clough, Gajendrakumar’s paternal grandmother. Through her Gajendrakumar, scion of the Clough family of Kaarai Tivu, is into big money from rubber estates in Malaya. He is building a palace on Cross Street Nallur close to my home and, after a change of mind, is taking it down to build by another plan. His roots are Christian. And yet, the family has argued for a Hindutva order. His mother told Carlo Fonseka that the Vice Chancellor of Jaffna ought to be a Hindu according to the Ramanathan Trust. When I joined that dinner in a Tamil home in Wellawatte, Carlo beckoned me to come towards him as he was speaking to the mother and said, “I say Jeevan. You know Mrs. Kumar Ponnambalam [Yogalakshmi], don’t you? She says that according to the Ramanathan Trust no Christian may be made VC/Jaffna. Do you know anything about that? Yogalakshmi, waffled and went off without even waiting to eat, telling the hostess that she would never have come if she had known that I would be there. Ramanathan gave the land to the University But indeed, the Ramanathan Trust has no provision like that. Truthfulness is not one of the family’s strong points. 

Switching to my times, in the 1970s Jaffna saw a lot of political turmoil. Standardization had just been introduced in its initial form, adding 28 marks to the 4-subject aggregate of every Sinhalese student for deciding on university entrance. Thus, a permanent secretary’s son at Royal was declared underprivileged while a street sweeper’s son from Vaideeshwara was deemed advantaged. We were aghast and angry. The Maanavar Peravai was founded and we took to several protest marches. A Sub-Inspector called Waragoda was terrorizing us. I too was badly assaulted by him.

The Jaffna Mayor Alfred Duraiyappah had control of the all-important bicycle tyre through the coop and wanted us to pay the Rs. 2 SLFP membership fee to get his signature for buying our tyres and being mobile. Politics was strange those days. We were a Federal Party family related to several MPs by blood or marriage (Chelvanayakam, Kathiravetpillai, Vanniasingahm, Tharmalingam , Naganathan). My Federalist Uncle, Peter Somasundaram, ran the illegal Federal Party Post Office and was jailed for the Sri-tarring campaign. He was the FP’s Councillor for Chundikuli. Duraiyappah was part of the Jaffna Protestant lot though he played the religious card to effect. His wife was my mother’s student. We were at once enemies and friends. When I went to him for my cycle tyre permit to the Mayor’s Office, he asked me, “Hello young Hoole. What can I do for you?” and signed off on my permit without asking me for the 2 Re. charge. Srima Bandaranaike really thought he was very popular for getting so many new members into her party.

Duraiyappah asked me why I will not support him. I told him the SLFP was a communalist party. I mentioned that I had been admitted to Peradeniya for engineering, and then moved to the Ceylon College of Technology after 28 marks were added to Sinhalese students. The politician that he was, he promised me: “Oh I did not know about it. You should have come to me. I will speak to the PM and get you back to Peradeniya.” I never pursued it.

The point is that all of us hated Srima. We hated SI Waragoda even more. A horrible man, at his next posting in Anuradhapura he had tried his jackboot tactics and was murdered. We were a meek people then. As a people we rejected Colvin’s constitution which removed the protections of Article 29 and imposed Buddhism.

It was a time of political hyperventilation.  Srima and nephew Felix Dias Bandaranaike (who gave noncompetitive admission to law college for MPs and gave us lawyers who do not know the law) were visiting Jaffna often. It was the general view that they should be boycotted. Gajendrakumar’s father-in-law T. Murugesapillai was additional GA through promotions. He did three things that made people hate him. One he washed Srima’s feet when she went to the Nallur Temple. It was like GG falling before DS Senanayake. Then worse, two, he garlanded Srima violating the norm that a man garlands only his wife. In that anti-government frenzy there were newspaper headlines asking whether he had married Srima. And three, Felix was on the stage at a public meeting. Murugesapillai was in the audience. When Felix needed a light, Murugesapillai, despite being Additional GA, ran to the stage and lit Felix’s cigarette for him like a peon. We were devastated. In Tamil there is a saying, “kind marries kind.”

Loyalty is the least of the virtues of the Ponnambalams. Much has been made of female servants facing trouble in GG’s home. Exploits in Tamil Nadu were the subject of an FP Election rally I attended in Narikundu in 1970. Gajendrakumar himself is now married for the second time.

When UNHRC 30/1 was passed, Gajendrakumar, trying to stake a strong LTTE position, burnt a copy of the resolution claiming it had nothing in it. At the time, he was married to a strongly pro-LTTE British Tamil whom he has since divorced and remarried. 

Still yearning for succession to the LTTE mantle, during the 2018 UNHRC hearings, he went to Geneva seeming to demand punishments for war criminals using the same resolution he had burnt as useless. There he made a pitch for switching from UNHRC to UNSC in New York. At the UNSC we Tamils have no one to talk for us while there are countries ready to veto anything against Sri Lanka. All the painstakingly gathered eye-witness testimony and video evidence is in Geneva; not with the UNSC. The many activists in Geneva fighting for justice for victims pleaded with Gajendrakumar not to jeopardize their work which was slowly but surely moving forward. According to a Muslim activist there, the other activists fled from Gajendrakumar merely on seeing him. Seemingly supporting 30/1, he was undermining it.

Very recently Gajendrakumar fell out with his member V. Manivannan. Manivannan now says that Gajendrakumar had given his party offices to the CID who were keeping watch on us. Why was he silent till now? They are all the same.

That is our man. At the time, it seemed that he was trying to undermine the efforts to get war criminals punished. Today he is scuttling all our effort to get some say in running our lives.

Recall that in 2013 Gajendrakumar who had been badly defeated in the 2010 and 2015 parliamentary elections had no chance of winning the PC elections. When Bishop Rayappu Joseph wanted all Tamils to contest together, Gajendrakumar emphatically said he would not accept Provincial councils as even a starting point prior to a long-term solution. Then after 2015, working with C.V. Wigneswaran, he got hope and was preparing to contest. Now, that his pal Manivannan has broken off from him with a good half of the party, Gajendrakumar has no chance of winning. His rejection of PCs is simply sour grapes. The President may be able to make him bow down and rise as a Minister like his grandfather. That is the kind of man he is.

The Federal Party and the TNA have a huge responsibility to show that if given the reins of our Provincial Council  and Municipalities, they can make self-governance real for us. It can start by getting the Nallur and Jaffna municipalities in order. Our internal bickering has led to the Federal party losing the mayorship. We must get the Palaly Airport going again. It came through Indian pressure to make devolution real for us, after the government shut it down and transferred out the equipment and staff. We are mum on it.

We need to work on making our disastrous education system better and pull us out of the last place for provinces. We to assert the land powers in the law books. We need inquiries into how people without the required certificates are employed in high office in our provincial ministries. We need inquiries into how and why then Chief Minister CV Wigeneswaran was allowed to return billions to the UNDP simply because that agency refused to endorse his nephew as the person in charge of the funds.

The Sinhalese state is a goner. It is venal and cruel. We must focus internally and get our house in order and muster any support we can internationally to empower institutions under our control. We must begin with ourselves.

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Latest comments

  • 6
    8

    Prof. Ratnajeevan Hoole,

    As rightly pointed by Prof Ratnajeevan Hoole, a huge responsibility rests on the shoulders of Tamil speaking people to run both Northern and Eastern Provincial Councils and also the Local Authorities within the Northern and Eastern Provinces efficiently and Effectively. Of course within the scope set by the existing legislation and within the existing political realities and proof ourselves and others before requesting for more autonomy.

    When we examine the way we had run both Northern and Eastern Provincial Councils and the Local Authorities up to now, we have become a laughing stock of our own people within the country and abroad.

    We came out with lame excuses and put blames on everyone other than ourselves.
    and overcome with self –pity for our plight.

    Only a bad worker blames his tools!

    We never acknowledge the blames on ourselves. Both Provincial Councils and Local Authorities are not political institutions,but development oriented organizations.
    . This will be clear when we study the enabling legislation such as 13A, The Provincial Council Act No 42 of 1987 and the subsequent amendments , Pradesha Sabha Act No 15 of 1987, The Municipal Council Ordinance No 29 of 1947, The Urban Councils Ordinance No 61 of 1939 and the subsequent legislation.

  • 15
    6

    It is not very nice to argue a case against GGP based on his family background or private life. Why not focus on precisely what he says he stands for and how he has behaved?
    The guy is an opportunist who cannot be trusted to act in the interest of the people he claims to represent. That is obvious. But nor can the rest of the pack, going by what you say about CVW and the UNDP grant.

    • 7
      1

      Agreed that Gajen’s personal life, divorce, etc., shouldn’t be brought into it. Whether his approach will bring the Tamil people closer to a solution should be the question.

  • 3
    4

    Evidence of failure of 13A. It must be put to a referendum at least now.

    Tamils already have their very own power devolved state. No need to replicate it in SL and Malaysia.

  • 7
    3

    It is sad that there is no Tamil political leadership to lead Tamils now. People are confused and frustrated with Tamil political leadership since 2009. There is no clear cut policies or programmes to meet the challenges Tamil community faces. Blaming each other politics and heroic speeches in parliament will not solve the problems of Tamils. Sinhala political leadership whether it is right or left their politics is determined by Buddhist Fundamentalism. Buddhist Fundamentalism wants to oppress Tamils or other minorities. They are successful in dividing and confusing Tamils. Further the divisions such caste, religion within the Tamils help them to divide us and to oppress us. So, it is a duty of Tamil political leadership to start their fight for remove the barriers to unity among Tamils. For example, EPDP have the votes of the so called low caste communities only but they are in large numbers. It is important to realise that one of the barrier to remove the remove the caste system is economic status of the community. Political leadership should build up from the base, not from the top.

  • 1
    1

    Dr Hoole
    Your priority must be to launch a campaign to encourage the Tamils living in Sinhala majority provinces to relocate themselves into North and East.
    Once that starts happening no force on earth can stop creation of Vadukkodai Ealam and until that starts happening Ealam is a halucination in your mind.
    You must help the Tamils to get rid of this notion that the Sinhala Buddhist society is superior.

    Soma

    • 1
      0

      soma’palan’, why don’t you jump in the Indian ocean and swim to your heart’s content in the opposite direction as far away from SL. It will do you a great deal of good and the people of SL can live peacefully ever after. Please let us know when you are going? While you are at it, ask Chimpa, and that mutt by the name Eagle ‘dumb twat’ Eye to join you in your swimming expedition to nowhere.

      • 0
        1

        Tamil from Canadian North
        Is that how you escaped from Thalaivar’s temporary Ealam?

        Soma

  • 13
    0

    Its very funny reading a hoole call others to be disloyal to Tamils. Whereas grandfather GG ponnambalam was a sell out who betrayed the up country tamils, every sinhala nakki sycophant in the hoole family tree has been doing the same for years. Cuddling up with the Rajapaksas.

    Their obsession with their white man religion is another annoyance, and shows how colonised their mind is. Im an atheist, and i dont care so much for hinduism myself, but i can see how this hoole values his fake white man religion more than Tamils and Tamil welfare. These people converted to the protestant religion for colonial benefits, and their genetic predisposition to opportunism is all well and clear to see.

    Until the younger Ponnambalam does something treacherous to Tamils like the Hooles constantly do, he should be given the benefit of the doubt.

  • 6
    4

    Ponnambalam family has the history of selling themselves for their own benefit. I have been writing not recently, but for a very long time, from the time Gajendrakumar started appearing on the political scene, that he is not one to be trusted. This has been proven over and over again and now it has been confirmed with no doubt.

    His father G.G. Ponnambalam is a “Traitor”. He voted to take away the rights for citizenship of Tamils of Indian origin by voting with the then prevailing government.
    He did not first treat the estate workers who have lived here for generations and contributed immensely to the betterment of the country as Tamils leave alone humans. His shortsightedness has resulted until today and is being followed by other Northern and Eastern politicians as they too do not talk about estate workers issues other than Sumanthiran and Shanakiyan.
    If only GG voted against the removal of citizenship of the estate workers then and treated them as equal Tamils today’s political scene would have been very different. Even today the population in the North and East are made of estate Indian original workers and their children who moved to those areas after repeated communal attacks. This the Tamil politicians should understand.

  • 15
    0

    There is hardly any analysis of Gajendrakumar’s views on 13A in the comment by Hoole. The impression is that he has used the opportunity to hurl abuse not only at G, whom he targets regularly, but his family circle as well.
    There are several factual errors as well, but I will not bother to comment on them either as that too will grant respectability to vile abuse.
    What exactly G meant is not clear from this text. I wonder if G gave his reasons and bothered to suggest an alternative.
    I will make my observations on 13A separately.

  • 9
    0

    “Thamil Thesiya Makkal Munnany Leader Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam has observed that it was because Tamil leadership accepted 13 A and unitary state that it had become impossible to find a political solution to the Tamil issues.”
    The above criticism was made at the Jaffna Press Club on Tuesay, July 7 2020.
    [http://www.omlanka.net/news/16679-all-tamil-political-parties-have-erred-accepting-13a-gajendrakumar-criticizes.html]
    This appears to have been the consistent position of GP for some time and Tamil newspapers (except pro-TULF papers) made less of a fuss about the recent repetition of that stand.
    *
    His position seems that 13A was a sell out while the Indo-Sri Lanka accord was acceptable within limits.
    *
    13A failed to deliver because successive governments ensured that it was not implemented. The LTTE helped President Premadasa to undermine the integrity of 13A by enabling an amendment that empowered the President to remove the Chief Minister at will— a short sighted move designed to spite the EPRLF and its N&E Chief Minister.
    The de-merging of N& W was effected by the JVP & JHU in 2005.
    *
    To make the maximum of 13A there should have been consensus among rival Tamil parties about what was feasible and deserved fighting for. But inter-party and personal rivalries got the better of sense.

    • 4
      0

      SJ,

      Tamil society is so divided that finding a political solution is going to be a tall order. It shows even in this forum. Such divisions exist in every society, but for a small community under siege in SL, it is a shame that Tamils can’t find a degree of consensus and unity.

      Whenever I raise the issue of a political solution with my Peradeniya batchmates, most Tamils say two things:
      1. Sinhalese polity will never give a decent solution to Tamils.
      2.Tamils are so divided that a solution is hard to find.

      What do you think is the way out of this morass? Given your Marxist and somewhat anti-Indian/pro-China views, your opinions don’t get much approval either, but I am willing to listen.

      As for Gajen P., I think he should use his inherited wealth to improve the Tamil economy and serve them via some non-profits, but should leave the politics to someone else, since he doesn’t seem to be taken seriously even in India.

      • 6
        1

        Dear Agnos
        I do not crave approval, especially in middle class fora like CT, when I tell what I believe is the truth.
        Thanks for the kind offer to listen. That is a little better than what the typical Tamil nationalist has to say. Kindly avoid labelling people as pro this and anti that. It will be useful to challenge without prejudice anything that seems false or dishonest.
        *
        I was very much pro-Socialist China based on my socialist belief. There has been nothing anti-Indian but for opposing the expansionism by the Indian rulers in South Asia, of which we are victims at many levels. (Tamil nationalists fight shy of mentioning even Indian poaching in SL waters,)
        I do not gloat about the mess that Modi has landed India in. I am sad that there is no viable alternative in the Congress or the liberal-left alliance. I think that both countries need radical change.
        *
        There has been so much faith in foreigners solving our problems from as early as 1956. First the British, then flirting with the US after the failure of the Satyagraha, then attraction to Israel, then unsuccessful attempts to woo India, which materialised briefly after Mrs Gandhi chose to settle scores with India.
        For well over two decades it is the International Community that seems our salvation.

        • 1
          0

          SJ,

          I know you have given an ‘explanation’ Let us put the pro/anti labels aside. I agree the Indian poaching issue is a serious one that needs attention.

          But I am not looking for ‘explanations.’ I am looking for ideas for a serious solution. Simply lamenting or explaining is not going to help anymore.

          Let us say international community is not the answer. Then what is the alternative that has produced even a semblance of results on the ground?

          • 1
            0

            Dear Agnos
            Thanks.
            Sorry that there is no Quick Fix. (Look at Palestine, where the struggle goes on.)
            The answer is with the people of the country, and obstacles have to be overcome.
            One has to agree on some basic concepts before ideas can be discussed.
            *
            I think that the Tamil leaders will be lamenting for ever.
            I am with some of those who have made positive proposals like “Let us build a progressive Tamil nationalism”.
            I have been urging relevant concepts in more than one way here and for the last 20 years in a weekly column in Tamil.

            • 3
              0

              SJ,

              SL Tamil issue must not become like the Palestinian one, where their land and hopes keep shrinking forever, while Israel continues to create facts on the ground, and on top of it, forms alliances with Arab states that previously championed the Palestinian cause. The Tamil people shouldn’t allow themselves to further slide into such a hopeless stage; they can and should change their strategies. I will leave it to politicians and influencers on the ground, and their contacts in the diaspora to work it out.

              Meanwhile, I am focusing on trying to help the people economically, especially given how Covid has deprived employment opportunities. Some of it is direct, targeted financial aid to families that are struggling for food. Another is trying to find ways to get employment for students who graduate high school but do not enter universities.

              [contd.]

              • 2
                0

                There is a highly successful global software company in TN that often takes some students directly from high school, pays them a monthly stipend, trains them in software for a couple of years, and then absorbs them into their workforce. This is a unique vocational training model, and for some people it may even be more valuable than a university education since it leads to guaranteed employment.

                They restrict intake to Indian students now, but I am trying to negotiate with their CEO on taking in qualified and motivated rural students in the North-East. Do you know the best way to identify such kids, and any POC’s on the ground who can help with the process. I need to submit a workable proposal to the CEO and need good people on the ground who share this vision, and can help me with the logistics of it. I welcome input from others like SAV, the Hooles and any others who are familiar with the ground conditions at high schools in the N-E. If this experiment succeeds, we might be able to expand it to other rural areas of Sri Lanka, but first we need to convince the CEO it will work with kids in the North-East.

                • 3
                  0

                  Agnos
                  Palestine is not my model or an analogy for our context, but a shining example of the fighting spirit of a people against severe odds, with the world’s biggest power backing the most effective military machine in the region. There is diversity of opinion; but the people have not lost hope.
                  *
                  There are some valuable negative lessons for us:
                  They paid a big price for trusting the US as an honest broker.
                  They were betrayed by some of their Arab ‘patrons’, especially Saudi Arabia and post-Nasser Egypt. (Syria has been a consistent supporter of the struggle, well ahead of Iraq. Non-Arab Islamist Iran is now a staunch supporter.)
                  It is the Palestinians at home who keep the struggle alive.
                  *
                  What do we have here? I think that your batch-mates have much of the answer. (Also check what we have had here earlier.)
                  *
                  Your ideas of development are welcome for whatever their worth; and I do not discourage any as long as one is not intentionally cheating the people by giving false hopes.
                  The Jaffna Tamil is learning, however slowly, as the General Election results of 2020 have shown. It is a negative verdict, but a sign of waking up.
                  Rejection of Tamil nationalist con-men will take time, but has to happen.

                  • 2
                    0

                    SJ,

                    The Syrian and Iranian regimes have killed thousands of their own citizens in horrendous rights abuses, so they are hardly models to emulate. And they are Shiite regimes in competition with Sunni countries for the mantle to be the most committed champion of Islam, so they hold themselves up as champions of the Palestinian cause even though the latter are Sunni as well. While talking about their fighting spirit, you should also look at the mistakes they have made in the past, in not accepting certain solutions. The Sunni Arab countries are exhausted by their own internal issues, and the Palestinians should have understood that eventually these countries would consider their cause an obstacle to their own interests, and come to an accommodation with Israel. SL Tamils can learn from that as well.

                    • 0
                      0

                      Agnos
                      Now we are going at a tangent.
                      The point that I made was that the Palestinians rely on their resources and do not overly rely on outsiders.
                      As you say the Palestinians will learn what is good for them. (The lessons may differ from what you or I have in mind.)
                      Can we say that of the Tamils since the FP’s fiasco of 1961?
                      *
                      The issues that you raise have a lot to do with US-UK meddling in the Middle East.
                      I thought that your concern was about SL Tamils.

                • 1
                  0

                  Agnos: Ideas like this, thinking a little outside the box are useful and badly needed. I guess the easiest way forward is to get in touch with the principal of the school you went to and have a chat. My guess is 18yo school leavers with the right skill/aptitude/initiative are more likely to prefer to go to university locally than venture into an overseas apprenticeship. But if your CEO is interested in internships for graduate engineers (there is much in software engineering one has to learn after taking an SL university degree), there is demand and need — in SL as a whole and NE of SL in particular.

                  • 1
                    0

                    SAV, Agnos,
                    This is indeed a good idea. Even Bill Gates and Steve Jobs didn’t complete PhD’s in software engineering. Qualifications won’t get you an IT job even in SL. They will only get you an entry level job at which you will have to show your mettle while working on real-world projects. There is no reason why a talented school leaver cannot pick up his trade as an apprentice. The IT field fortunately is not a closed shop like the medical one.

                    • 1
                      0

                      OC,

                      Thanks!

                  • 1
                    0

                    SAV,
                    Thanks. I will try that.

                    • 1
                      0

                      SJ,

                      My point is that it doesn’t help to celebrate ‘fighting spirit’ when the reality shows an inexorable trend toward utter defeat, marginalization, etc.
                      Furthermore, small, divided and dithering communities like the SL Tamils may need a friendly external power to force a decision and then get on with life, instead of endless navel gazing about what might have been.
                      So your negative views about certain things are not the last word.

                    • 1
                      0

                      Agnos: “…when the reality shows an inexorable trend toward utter defeat, marginalization, etc….”
                      I agree with this assessment. But I wonder why this was not something Tamil leaderships could not have judged back in the mid seventies?

                    • 1
                      0

                      Do not belittle the fighting spirit of a people.
                      It was the fighting spirit of the Irish nationalists in N Ireland that brought the British and Ulster nationalists to the negotiating table.
                      That is what is still keeping Turkish oppression at bay in N Kurdistan.
                      I can give more examples.
                      *.
                      Rights are won, not received by begging after the mighty.

                    • 0
                      0

                      SAV,

                      “But I wonder why this was not something Tamil leaderships could not have judged back in the mid seventies?”
                      If VP had accepted the Indo-Lanka accord, and not murdered Amirthalingam and later RG, the struggle might still have accomplished something. There was the Dravidian movement in India that encouraged militancy in the N-E; there was the creation of Israel and Bangladesh. So the youths were restive and expectations were different. Leaders don’t rise in a vacuum.

                      It is pointless to harp on that point now. We just need to look at the current realities and the path forward.

                    • 0
                      0

                      SJ: “That is what is still keeping Turkish oppression at bay in N Kurdistan.”

                      The Kurds are still aligned to the U.S., despite the many betrayals by the latter. The U.S. military helps them to a certain extent, in return for their fight against ISIS, etc. They didn’t fight on their own. There is always a foreign element involved.

  • 1
    0

    SJ,
    Your following comment is inaccurate in parts.

    “The LTTE helped President Premadasa to undermine the integrity of 13A by enabling an amendment that empowered the President to remove the Chief Minister at will— a short sighted move designed to spite the EPRLF and its N&E Chief Ministe”
    .
    13 A was never amended.

    Provincial Councils as per the 13A could not be dissolved as long the Chief Minister enjoys the support of majority number of members of the council unless Chief Minister himself recommends dissolution.

    When the Chief Minister of Northeast Province Mr Varatherajaperumal and others abandoned the Provincial Council and escaped to India along with IPKF in March 1990, The Provincial Council only became defunct, but could not be dissolved because of 13A.

    However as rightly pointed out by SJ President Premadasa made use of the request of LTTE passed an amendment to Provincial Council Act no 42 of 1987-Act No 27 of 1990 in July 1990 to dissolve a Provincial Council if majority of members support a separate state.

    The NEPC was dissolved only in July 1990 based on this amendment.

    • 0
      0

      Did I say that 13A was amended in “The LTTE helped President Premadasa to undermine the integrity of 13A by enabling an amendment….”?

  • 1
    2

    Though I never agreed with the way GH conducted himself, I will fully agree with GH on this issue. At this point GKP’s actions can do great harm to Tamils. He must remember that ‘ A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’. He must think carefully about making historical mistakes. No one will forgive him.
    Some of the comments from Sinhalese people implied that Tamil people must find another place to live. Tamil people have a long history in Sri Lanka and for long periods they had their own kingdom. But they face so much oppression in Sri Lanka they will be happy to settle in another country any time. Unfortunately no other country including India believes that we have any historical rights to settle in their country. Except for the lucky ones who have migrated to western countries or countries like Singapore, others have to remain in Sri Lanka and face oppression unless there is a change of heart.

  • 11
    0

    A perceptive reader will surmise Prof. Hoole is planning to run for CM as Federal Party (ITAK) candidate if elections are held for NPC. Presumably he has hit the end of the road as far as his career is concerned. So naturally he is incensed that Gajendrakumar is trying to turn Tamil opinion against 13A. The article also inadvertently (He always manages to bring a personal angle to every ‘public’ issue that he purports to discuss.) reveals how a few interconnected families have dominated Jaffna’s public life over the years by virtue of their monopoly of Christian institutions.
    .
    However, what is really concerning about the article is his vicious personal attacks on Gajendrakumar. He reveals very sensitive details about the personal lives of Gajendrakumar and his grandfather. I too find their politics very dishonest, opportunistic and racist. But ad hominem attacks are totally unacceptable. They’re not simply “bad manners” – they’re immoral. They’re also illogical. His sheepish justification for his dirty tactics is: “sometimes the character of a person and his family tells us that person is not to be trusted.” If that is true, many people are going to find it difficult to trust the writer himself.

    • 5
      0

      Presumably he has hit the end of the road as far as his career is concerned.
      Which career?

  • 3
    0

    Buddhist1 and others
    I am not a fan of GGP or a supporter of TC but wish to place the historical events correctly.
    G G Ponnampalam and other six Tamil Congress Members of Parliament , that include S J V Chelvanayakam, did vote against the Citizenship Act No 18 of 1948 at the bill stage. They never supported this Act. But many wrongly accuse them particularly G G P without checking the facts. G G P’s speech is available in the Hansard pages 1821 – 1861.
    In August or September 1948 Tamil Congress joined the UNP govt. Before joining with D S Senanayake all Tamil Congress members ( G G P, SJV, Vanniyasingam, Kumarasamy, Kanagaratnam, Thambiaiya and others ) had a discussion on 19.8.1948 where all of them accepted D S S’s assurance given to them to bring Indian and Pakistani Residents ( citizenship ) bill.
    On 22. 8. 1948 a public meeting was held by Tamil Congress in Jaffna esplanade to seek the approval of public to join the UNP. In this meeting G G P, S J V Selvanayakam Vanniyasingam Sivapalan Kanagaratnam and others delivered speeches.
    Indian and Pakistani Residents ( citizenship ) Act No 3 of 1949 came into force on 5.8.1949. In December 1948 S J V, Sivapalan, and Vanniyasingam did vote against this bill. Other Tamil Congress members including G G P, and muslim and independent tamil members supported it.

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    G G P expected a substantial number of upcountry tamils will gain citizenship but D S Senanayake deceived them. 52 Members of Parliament voted for and 32 members against. Upcountry representatives Peri Sundaram and George Motha supported it. Thondaman who opposed initially changed his mind at the end of two years period given to submit the applications.
    On the eve of independence, G G P forged solidarity with Ceylon Indian Congress . He gave a written undertaking to CIC that he will stand by the upcountry tamils and raise his voice whenever they are threatened.
    In 1930s there were several strikes protests and demands by estate workers. In one of the strikes Govindan, an estate employee , was shot dead by police at Mooloya Estate in Hewaheta. Thousands of workers and their families were suffering without proper housing , schools, basic necessities for their living and above all fundamental rights. G. G P raised his voice in support of them .
    In June 1939 he was criticizing Mahavamsa, a chronicle of mythical and super natural tales causing division and destruction between the communities until now, but believed by Sinhalese as their record of history, at a meeting held in Navalapitiya.

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    Continuation…….

    GGP was the first tamil politician identified and exposed the dangers of the Mahavamsa Mentality that was brewing up in 1930s by the speeches and writings of Anakarika Dharmapala, Walpola Rahuls and others. His criticism on Mahavamsa in a meeting at Navalapitiya was not a racist outrage as alleged by Dr Jane Russell but a pre warning of the dangers and destruction that mentality would cause to the minorities in the future. The subsequent violent acts inflicted on tamils living in the neighbouring areas by the Sinhalese were the results of that mentality.

    GGP appeared before Sir Jackson Commission on Immigration and argued to secure the rights of up country tamils, Malayalis and other minorities.

    GGP appeared before Soulbury Commission and spent a whole day in submitting the matters relating to up country tamils. As a result Soulbury Commission recommended that 14 percent of the seats to be reserved for upcountry tamils. Furthermore Commission recognized eighty percent of upcountry tamils were permanent residents.

    When UNP did not have majority in 1947 election ,GGP had a meeting with the opposition party members at Sir Nisanka’s house to form an alternative govt, but the leftist parties failed to reach a decision.

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      RMN,
      The debate is in columns 1679 – 1821 of the Hansard for 19 – 20 Aug 1948. It was Chelvanayakam who spoke. Ponnambalam was present but did not speak a word on the subject. Ponnambalam followed Chelvanayakam in voting against the Bill. Being present, he had no choice. None of the five other TC MPs voted against, probably hid in the corridors or the canteen. The Hansard does not give the voting.

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        RH
        You have said this before.
        Have you figured why the other five ACTC MPs (including C Vanniyasingam, SJVC’s closest comrade in parliament) did not vote?
        To say “probably hid in the corridors or the canteen” makes light of a serious matter.
        I think that we need more research here.
        I know that CV’s children are still around, in Canada or UK. One should ask them.

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          RH & SJ

          If the Hansard does not give the voting, surely there will be a some other records maintained by the Parliament that shows the details of voting. Any parliamentarian who could spend some time to go through such records could solve this matter. Will Gajendrakumar or anyone else be interested to do it ?

          I don’t know any of them. Hope either of you could contact any one known to you and bring this matter to an end, please.

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            I shall

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              Thanks. Hope you will succeed soon.

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    Part One

    For some years now, he has been having “too many irons in the fire,” but none related to his academic career as far as I know. That’s what I meant, but I maybe wrong. Or maybe he has reached his retirement age, I’ve no idea how old he is. But I know he’s a master at staying in the news … actually an expert in hitting the headlines by creating controversies. He has been doing this by stirring the pot in a variety of kitchens. He has a great talent for turning public issues into petty personal squabbles. Sort of reverse of the feminist dictum: “the personal is political.” So it is more accurate to say he “sets too many fires with his rod” … sort of a serial pyromaniac.
    Contd …

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    Part Two

    Now it appears to me his next target is going to be the NPC. As I’ve said you must be a perceptive reader. If someone wants to be the protagonist he needs antagonists. That is why this sudden egregious attack on Gajendrakumar. You can attack his views on 13A. Attacking his marriages, his mother’s valuation of ‘truth,’ his father-in-law’s attitude towards his superiors, his grandfather’s dealings with women – is not exactly the way to do it. He then, as usual, indulges in some name-dropping and establishes that “We were a Federal Party family related to several MPs by blood or marriage.” WOW. I then put two and two together and prove the obvious that this man is going to contest the next NPC elections as the Federal Party (ITAK) candidate for CM.

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    Part Three
    My above comments are in response to SJ’s question:
    “Presumably he has hit the end of the road as far as his career is concerned.
    Which career?”

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      A
      Thanks for bothering to explain. I was seriously not sure which career you had in mind.
      There are many victims who avoid a brawl and that is seen as weakness.
      In fairness, he took a bold stand against the violation of democratic norms by those in power during 2019-20.
      That was courageous, but his comment this time ignored a man who showed far greater courage during darker periods in the 1990s and paid with his life during CBK’s time as President. In fact it is Kumar Ponnambalam’s credentials that are standing in good stead for his son. I say this despite my rejection of the political views of both father and son.
      There is a cultured way to address issues in public fora, which Hoole severely lacks.
      Sadly several who commented on this matter failed to object to the vile abuse.
      *
      But, in a light vein, I still do not know which career you had in mind.

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    Dear SRHH

    A case for “Little India in Sri Lanka” made very well as was done since 1948 by FP. Not just in upcountry but Vanni also has 30% ++ Indian composition who are all cause Sri Lankans now. Overall is a gain indeed/victory etc.

    To do that you need to get all the Tamils live overseas (diaspora) + and down south + India (families settled with funding from overseas) to return and spend their life and savings in Jaffna??

    This will create an economy where you have to fast build sky scrapers with their investment so the limited space can be divided into residential area / agricultural area /Industrial area. Fishing you have to leave to the Indians cause.

    You also need to get the TNA armed wing TELO/PLOTE to start disciplining the people the way they used to do for TULF in 70’s by eliminating their opposition will get your Municipalities and Electorates back to TNA in no time?? and since all the diaspora arrives soon after we can fix all the action list in no time?? it is matter of deciding of we can have an airport ready for direct flights into Jaffna and the mono rail system Dr GS mentioned ready working together for the arrivals should make some home comforts for the Diaspora and their children who are bringing their wealth of knowledge and money with them too??

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    I think the development plan by the TNA as articulated by SRHH will turn around things fast as all others are not Tamils and Tamils need TNA to speak for them or else. Excellent historical facts some may look new but once “New Suthenthiran” get on the case we can easily normalise matters and history accordingly.

    This is all about getting this fantastic Tamil history paper / FP party paper to the World and the UN should solve all facts related issues about Tamil History…should consider English/Hindi/and all the Diaspora living country versions get this new information out sooner the better. Even people like SSS/Malayuran/Dr GS/Umberto all can column to share all they care to share with us all here will be most appreciated by the new generations of the Diaspora. They will all ready to join TELP/PLOTE for democratic inspirations/causes too…it is just a transition before the best to come. Should make the case to the Pr Trump and hon PM Modhi for the development work plan by the TNA in Jaffna.

    New Suthanthiran will get the message out to the world effectively. I am sure Muslims and Sinhalese will be happy to hear this news too.

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    I shall save this article as a document for Lankan politics when it is dirty.

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    One of the delights of reading this column is the way the discussion veers off into irrelevant tangents!I t also seems to give opportunism for some vent their petty peeves.
    It seems to me that the only issue to be discussed is not GajendraKumar’s sexual or marital life or his religious life or his ancestry but this: Are the Provincial Council system effective in helping the citizens of the north and east of Sri Lanka
    live in safety and are able to fulfill the social and economic needs and aspirations? Or on the hand is it all eyewash while the Central Government has all the power and continues to victimize the north eastern citizens in minor and major ways? |
    If it is the latter then it is best to abandon it and Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam has raised an important and relevant issue.

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    “We need inquiries into how and why then Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran was allowed to return billions to the UNDP simply because that agency refused to endorse his nephew as the person in charge of the funds.”
    Ratnajeevan H Hoole
    I like to give more details how an egocentric Chief Minister in CV Wigneswaran spurned the offer of USD 150 million (Rs.2m250 million) merely because the Resident Representative of the UNDP in Colombo Mr Nadhi refused his request to appoint his nephew Nimalan Karthikeyan as Special Officer on a monthly salary of US$ 5,000 plus perks.
    To avoid personal prejudice on my part let me quote excerpts from the Political affairs column by the “Sunday Times” Political Editor of October 4th 2015.
    It was only weeks earlier that the UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka snubbed Wigneswaran after he tried to establish direct links with the world body bypassing the Government, his own Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the NPC ministers. That was by appointing a Special Advisor (he named his own nephew to the position), seeking a UN Joint Needs Assessment (JNA) team and millions of dollars from the Peacebuilding Programme. This was with the military defeat of Tiger guerrillas.
    1/3

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    A Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO) was established by the UN to assist and support the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) with strategic advice and policy guidance, administer the Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) and to serve the Secretary-General in coordinating United Nations agencies in their peacebuilding efforts. Wigneswaran had named Nimalan Karthikeyan, who lives in Melbourne, Australia, to work with him and the NPC ministers. He was previously an employee of the Tamil Refugees Rehabilitation Organisation (TRRO) which was later banned.
    Chief Minister Wigneswaran in a letter addressed to the UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka Subinay Nandy dated August 15 said, “With regard to your reference to briefing TNA Representatives, as Chief Minister of Northern Province (CM-NP), I have stated the nature and type of approach UN Resident Co-ordinator’s Office should have adopted in his interactions with CM-NP and Northern Provincial Council bearing in mind UN values, good governance principles and protocols that need to be adhered to by UN without interference in the Government aspects of NPC.
    Nandy replied in a letter to Wigneswaran dated August 28 that the “UN on numerous occasions advised you that there was no donor willing to fund a standalone advisory position for a pre-selected candidate without following standard competitive process for recruitment.”
    2/3

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    The Sunday Times learnt that a monthly fee of US$ 5,000 had been sought in addition to expenses. “…. the excessive canvassing by the proposed Special Advisor made it even more untenable for the UN to consider such an appointment,” Nandy said.
    Here are other significant points made in Nandy’s letter: “You are noting that “…. You urged my office to advocate with the Government of Sri Lanka to enable equal partnership of NPC in the JNA process….” perhaps aptly describes the misperception that you convey about the role of the UN. What you do not know in your response is that we advise you to directly communicate with the Central Government – like you did while pursuing central government approval for the proposed Special Advisor.
    I offered to arrange for you and your board of ministers a comprehensive briefing on the JNA (Joint Needs Assessment), including elaborating on the scope, purpose and key outcomes. Unfortunately, you never responded to the request. This offer of the UN stands to-date
    “We, therefore, were surprised that after your meetings in New York in July, different media channels were presenting the draft concept note that we shared with you as something that was “leaked.”

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    Thus, it will be seen a haughty and arrogant Wigneswaran blew up an offer of USD 150 million to help rebuild the livelihood several thousand war-affected farmers of the North.
    Needless to say, the USD 150 million (Rs.22,500 million) the UNDP offered in 2015 exceeded the funding by the centre for capital expenditure of Rs. 17,256 million from 2013-2018! It was later found half of USD 150 million was diverted to the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation (NUR) run by former President Chandrika Kumaratunga.

    No wonder Wigneswaran was dubbed. as an inefficient, inept, haughty and dysfunctional chief minister!

    http://www.sundaytimes.lk/151004/columns/pm-assures-security-forces-chiefs-over-geneva-resolution-166706.html
    3/3

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