By S. Sivathasan –
“Those who make revolution half way, only dig their own graves”.
Relentless and Resolute
A revolution rightly called or miscalled, glorious or not, needs first to be consolidated. Disaster can result otherwise. A bloodless revolution can be stamped out in blood. The leader who was elevated as Prime Minister in 1956, was swept to that position by a demagogic wave. It became a tragic irony that the assassin had in him the same demagogic forces. He was a Bhikku, a swabasha teacher and an ayurvedic physician. To avert a repetition after the second bloodless one in 2015, the revolution needs consummation with no loss of time. Compassion can be misplaced strategy. Complacency may be ill advised default. Relentless pursuit savours of realism.
Dr. N M Perera attributed IRRESOLUTENESS of the leaders for the failure of the 1962 coup. Never ever may it be said that the second revolution of 2015, had an inglorious end for the same reason. Karl Marx has pointed out that the ruling class will never depart the stage voluntarily. It has to be pushed out. Rephrasing Lenin’s words to suit the Sri Lankan context, liberation of the oppressed minorities is impossible without destroying the repressive apparatus of the state. To the Tamils, the use of extra-legal armed groups has been the worst feature of oppression by the previous government. They have to be in preventive custody at the earliest, for Tamil turnout to reach 85% in April 2015.
In 1688, the bloodless revolution in England shifted power from monarch to Parliament. The arrangement has not changed since then. In Sri Lanka power has shifted from President, Family and Dynasty to the people and their representatives in Parliament. This change of 9, January 2015 is destined to remain if infanticide is precluded.
Tamil Leadership and Support to Government
Mahathma Gandhi once said in stern terms. “If you are not satisfied with my leadership, throw me out, trample upon me, spit on me and I shall not complain. But so long as you choose to have me as your leader, you must follow my command, accept dictatorship and the discipline of Martial Law”. Tamil leadership is too refined to say it. Whatever be one’s innate inclinations for soft management, this is the temper that demands of leadership impose.
As of today it applies most pertinently to the New Regime and the TNA. Sampanthan has responded to such imperatives and has navigated wisely and diligently through treacherous waters. The Tamil community has accepted his leadership. Anyone disagreeing, lady or gentleman can plough an independent furrow, if they have the strength for it. This will allow the true leaders to work unfettered for the Tamil Cause.
Distressingly, sulking voices in negative mode are yet heard. Even after seeing success for ten years and in the most tortuous five after 2009, the leadership is assailed with impractical suggestions. The most suicidal among them was the call to boycott the presidential election. Tamils rebuffed it knowing full well the stupidity of it.
Now they have a feel of getting their leadership heard in the counsels of Colombo. The central government too has a sense of Tamil support that worked for regime change. Total disregard by all Tamils, of calls for negative action at the general election in April 2015, will bring more seats to the TNA. Such action will increase its bargaining power with the new government. To realise that objective, a massive Tamil vote needs to be worked for by the community and its leadership. In the 100 Day programme, both Government and TNA have to move apace.
Resolution of Tamil Issue
The Tamil Question which plagued the country since independence has vexed the Tamils for as long. By a benign turn of events, it has fallen into three segments and primary responsibility is trifurcated. It has happened not by design or decision, but with effluxion of time.
Diaspora – Death and destruction on a huge scale internationalized the issue, invited world attention and involved the UN and its institutions. It was but inevitable that Tamil Diaspora should be drawn into it and it is engaged in it irrevocably. It was very unrealistic of the government to have judged the capacity of an injured community very lightly. What realistic handling required was plain honesty about wrong doing and remedies with genuine intentions. Instead, $ millions were wasted by the displaced regime in flaunting untruths and playing ‘Numbers Games’. They convinced nobody when Diaspora mobilized its intellectual resources. Victory at the UN will flow from resolution of the problem in Colombo.
Delhi – To decide on Indo Sri Lanka issues, there is a new dynamic leadership in Delhi from May last year. In Colombo power has shifted to more knowledgeable quarters. Both places have the benefit of Obama’s leadership in Washington. Modi’s spectacularly successful visit to US is not lost on anybody. Obama’s visit to India as Chief Guest on Republic Day is significant. It was not without interest in Sri Lanka’s developments that Kerry spoke to President Rajapaksa on election eve. Reference to free and fair elections with transparency was more a strong message than a goodwill one. Modi being the first Head of Government to congratulate Maithripala too was very significant. In the ‘Vibrant India’ Investment Forum of January 2015, Kerry was a distinguished invitee.
Together with them all, is Sri Lanka’s tectonic shift in relations with India and US vis a vis China, just beginning to be seen. It is Sri Lanka’s recognition of India’s dominance in the Indian Ocean and mastery over the South Asian Region.
Colombo and TNA
It is at this confluence of the Colombo – Delhi – Washington Axis power play that TNA is destined to steer the fortunes of the Tamils. The crucial spheres are political and economic. Primary are equality in all respects, of Tamils with the Sinhalese and all other minorities, with the majority community. All political parameters needed for restoration have to be worked out and anchored to a secure foundation. The next and no less important is the resuscitation of the fundamentals needed for economic regeneration in the North East. To put the past behind us, the majority and the minority have to hammer out a meeting ground.
The top leadership of the Tamils is endowed enough and adequately enlightened to think mainly of the future and to venture for fresh pastures. But when the tail wags with confidence deriving from ignorance of history or politics, movement is impeded. They advanced the philosophy of boycott. After miserable failure at the hands of an intelligent electorate, they changed tack. Non-participation in governance till Tamil issues are solved in the 100 Day Programme ie 100 years in 100 days, is now the stance!
Rejection of Portfolios
What does non – acceptance of portfolios mean? Preference to be outside the circle of influence. Eschew being in the cabinet and be listened to, even with a whisper. Bleat at the periphery never to be heard. Bellow from the barricade and get thrashed.