16 November, 2018

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The Story Of A Tamil Boomerang

By Mahesan Niranjan

Prof. Mahesan Niranjan

For our story today, we travel back in time and space. It is the year 1976 and we are in the bicycle shed of Jaffna Hindu College, Sri Lanka, where a handsome young Sri Lankan Tamil man in his late teens was debating with his classmates. Participation was uneven. He was alone and there were five opponents. But the five being highly emotional while the young fellow maintained his cool compensated for the numerical advantage they had. Those were “the best of times and the worst of times,” as was famously said, for that young chap. 

On the one hand, there was high quality secondary schooling to stretch his intellect, a thriving chess club and plenty of cinemas to sing along and temporarily forget the world. The real icing on the cake, however, was the well-stocked public library in Jaffna. 

In 1976, the library had not been burnt yet. 

On the other hand, the years leading up to 1976 saw the fastest rise in Tamil Nationalism — the introduction of ethnic and district quotas in university admissions serving as spark – and the thought that an armed rebellion might be the solution to problems faced by the youth of the region. Armed robbery of a bank and the subsequent suicide by Sivakumaran was widely perceived as setting the right example. The hero status held by film stars M. G. Ramachandran and Sivaji Ganeshan in the impressionable minds of Tamil youth was beginning to get replaced by a pistol-wielding Sivakumaran. In 1976, the local political party – the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) – formally declared that the way forward was to carve out a separate country in the North and East of Sri Lanka.  

On stage, having mastered the art of telling lies, the TULF claimed separation was to be achieved by peaceful means, but lacked the honesty to say (a charitable view would be they lacked the capacity to see) that they were laying the foundations for an armed rebellion whose trajectory was a slow thirty-year march to the massacre at Mullivaikkaal in May 2009.

As images of Rajendra Chozan (the 12th century Tamil king in South India) and Clint Eastwood started filling the minds of young Tamils, the bike sheds of Jaffna Hindu College became serious debating chambers for our young fellow, where he tried to persuade friends that an armed struggle was, to put it bluntly, a stupid idea. 

Adopting for the sake of argument an “us” and “them” metaphor, he would make his case based on simple numbers: “Machan (buddy),” he would say, “they are 80% of the population and we are under 20%, what chance do we have?”

That might seem simple logic to us now, and to the young fellow then, but when nationalism is on the rise, logic takes a backseat and suicidal tendencies take over. 

First came the argument of our superiority, a particular hallmark of nationalism. “We may be 20%, but we are cleverer, aren’t we?” his debating opponents would counter, “just look at the island-wide secondary school public exam grades, they very clearly show that we are smarter and if we correct for that, 20% can easily defeat the 80%.” 

The young fellow was skilled at countering this line of thinking. He knew that Hindu College being a selective school would not admit anyone who couldn’t see that this claim was idiotic. He would simply say “really, machan?” and pause a little. That would do the trick and his opponents would recognise that this was not a winning argument. What they were actually good at was memorising answers to a whole load of questions at Jaffna’s industrial scale tuition centres, and spitting them out in an exam hall. This, they knew. 

“Do you know about Bangladesh?” the nationalist who took Geography as a subject would ask authoritatively. “If we start a war, there will be refugees. All it takes is 100,000 refugees to swim across the Palk Strait into India and the Indian army would come in and create a separate country for us.” 

That argument, too, is easily demolished. Intervening to create a separate state in Sri Lanka for some 2.5M Tamils when India itself had a Tamil population twenty times that was not going to happen. And India’s relationship with Pakistan, which had a touch of grabbing the chance to “teach them a lesson,” was very different from its relationship with Sri Lanka. And despite the proximity to the sea and some excellent beeches, Jaffna people were generally not good at swimming.

So we come to the third argument – the trump — of the nationalist schoolboys in the bike shed: “What then is your solution?”

“There is a problem. We are advancing a solution. You are criticizing us, telling us our solution won’t work. But then you yourself have no solution. You have no right to criticize us.”

The young man recognized that this is the last argument in the toolbox of the nationalists. It is a point he was not prepared to challenge. For back in mid Seventies, even though lamp post killings were yet to be introduced, should the nationalist lose the “so, what is your solution?” argument, the next step would have been a fist fight. And our young friend knew he was never going to win a fight in the bike shed. So he made a tactical withdrawal, shrugging his shoulders politely and saying “maybe you have a point.”

The young fellow left the college bike shed with a touch of frustration and anger. He could predict where his friends were heading and where they were going to drag the community. He had to document his thoughts. 

So, he sent a text message excusing himself from the afternoon’s chess game and sat for an hour or so in the Jaffna public library and wrote a story: a story of a potato farmer, his daughter and a ferocious bear. 

He could write that because the library had not been burnt yet.

He kept the notebook in which he had written the story and, on the day the war ended in May 2009, read it, again and again, sitting in a corner of the library in Bridgetown. 

We fast forward some four and a half decades. 

The community has been decimated by the war. Some 100,000 have perished and about five times that number emigrated. The ability to pass exams is confined to a tiny fraction of the population. The winner who defeated the armed rebellion celebrated victory over the community sending a strong message that they do not belong in our country. The political class has no interest in thinking through the causes of youth rebellions – both North and South. Nepotism, corruption and incompetence, firmly imprinted in the epi-genome of the political class, can be seen anywhere one looks. And that, too, both in the North and the South.

Up North in Jaffna, in 2012, a visitor to the University asked a dozen undergraduates what use the newly refurbished library was, and discovered all of them had taken selfies from the outside.   

The main political party in the North is the Tamil National Alliance (TNA). We should not be fooled by what they call themselves. Their belief in Tamil Nationalism is no more plausible than the belief in God of an average priest chanting in Sanskrit. And the “alliance” part is far weaker than the weakest of arranged marriages in the community. At present they have a peculiar mode of operation in the Sri Lankan parliament. They sit in opposition, but don’t particularly oppose anything. They are cooperating with the Government in writing a new Constitution for Sri Lanka, one which is supposed to minimize the probability of conflict ad infinitum.   

TNA’s spokesperson is M. A. Sumanthiran MP, an accomplished lawyer and an eloquent speaker. Since taking up politics, he appears to have taken efforts at improving his ability to speak in Sinhala. This could be confirmed by comparing his speeches in Sinhala in 2009 and in 2018 and counting the numbers of “ah”, “eh”, “E kiyanne” “ethakota” etc., which are fillers thrown in to the acoustic space to give the brain some time to recall the right technical term that would not be misunderstood. He seems to be making an effort at explaining to the Sinhala people the need for, and the harmlessness of, some simple changes to the way our country is governed. Trading a tiny bit of operational power and responsibility to local government can buy immense satisfaction and a sense of belonging to the whole. There is nothing new in this. Such arrangements can be seen to work successfully in India, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the semi-autonomous region of Trento in northern Italy. 

But a recent speech made by Sumanthiran in Galle caused a lot of stir. It upset the residual Tamil nationalists back in Jaffna and he came under fire, mercifully verbal. His utterances were carefully scrutinized: Did he say “partitioned” or “federal”? Did he say “united” or “unitary”? Did he say different things in Sinhala, Tamil and in English? Or does the same word mean different things in each of these languages? Airwaves and cyberspace were filled with such analyses. 

Sumanthiran was fairly clear. We should not be held hostage by technical terms and the historical connotations they attract. What matters is the substance. But that message was drowned out in cyberspace.

A few days later, speaking at a memorial event for a young rebel who lost his life by being put on a fast to death adventure during the occupation of Jaffna by the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) – the acronym still remembered as Innocent People Killing Force by the local population — Sumanthiran retorted approximately as follows: 

“There is a problem. We are trying to advance a solution. You are criticizing us saying our solution won’t work. But you yourself have no solution.” 

And he rubbed the salt in. “Are those of you criticizing us going to recommend another armed rebellion to our people?” he asked. “With huge fighting capacity of their own army, navy and even an air force, the Tamil Tiger rebels could not achieve what they promised. “Are you going to do better than them?

“Those of you who are criticizing us have no solution.”

Now that was a boomerang. A boomerang of logic. You throw it to temporarily win an argument in a bike shed and it comes back to you.

Readers would by now have guessed that the handsome young fellow of 1976 in the Jaffna Hindu College bicycle shed is none other than my regular drinking partner in the famous Bridgetown pub – the Sri Lankan Tamil fellow, Sivapuranam Thevaram.

Yesterday in the pub, after describing to me his bike shed debating experience, story written in the library and the logic that came bake to bite at Tamil nationalism, Thevaram took a long sip of his Peroni and said with a touch of vengeance he did not attempt to hide in his intonation: 

“I had to wait four decades, machan (buddy), for the buggers to get a taste of their own medicine.” 

“Cheers!” 

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Latest comments

  • 12
    0

    Even with all the constraints that Tamils had as a small community, if the people who resorted to the armed struggle had been wise enough to strategically think in the face of Indian intervention in 1987 or later, when CBK was elected by the Sinhalese on a peace platform, or after the Oslo accord when there was a chance to get certain international guarantees, the trajectory of the conflict would have been different. The madness of Mullivaikal didn’t have to happen.

    Anyone can get excited and aim too high or demand too much, as in the demand for a separate country, but the ability to make course corrections in the face of roadblocks and to recognize the changing international order was missing.

    • 6
      1

      Thank you Mahesan and Thevaram. Excellent journalism! There is madness everywhere in Sri Lanka. The misguided but idealistic youth in the bike shed can be forgiven for their mistakes. Similar debates had taken place and are taking place in “bike sheds” elsewhere in the country. Be thankful for the exuberance of youth; elders should learn to guide and give them hope and not mislead them. Can one forgive the middle aged madmen in the parliament and PCs for their lack of quality in debates and their indifference to its hapless citizens’ concerns, thus leading the country to the current ungovernable “rotten cashew nut” state? Time will tell. Another apocalypse is in the making, now. Listen to the youth or face the consequences. (Cheers! but Peroni is for ladies!)

      • 0
        0

        Wonderful story. I had put off reading it because of my obsession with what was happening in the Maldives:
        .
        https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/nasheed-requests-sri-lankan-government-to-engage-robustly-in-transition-of-power/
        .
        I have now read this story and most of the comments.
        .
        I will return to it soon and hopefully try to see what further lessons can be drawn from this bit of fiction. Mahesh Nirmalan, you are a master at stimulating constructive thoughts in other minds.
        .
        Thanks.

        • 3
          0

          Aiyo Sinhala_Man, I am thinking you are author’s name wrong getting, no.

    • 3
      0

      Prof. Mahesan Niranjan and Sivapuranam Thevaram.,

      “There is a problem. We are advancing a solution. You are criticizing us, telling us our solution won’t work. But then you yourself have no solution. You have no right to criticize us.”

      “I had to wait four decades, machan (buddy), for the buggers to get a taste of their own medicine.”
      “Cheers!”

      Thank you for your narrative of their “solution”. A similar “solution” was advanced by the JVP 5 years earlier, during 1971. What was sad was that, the Tamils with high IQ’s in the IQ distribution could not prevail in the debates, and the rest is history.

      Nationalism and Religion imbibed emotion make people lose reality and go blind.

      • 3
        0

        Amarasiri: Fantastic.How many of theLankans recognize that/

        • 2
          0

          upali wickramasinghe

          “How many of theLankans recognize that/”

          How many of the Lankans have IQ above 100? The Mean National IQ id 79, the standard deviation is 15 and the population is 21 million.

          https://photius.com/rankings/national_iq_scores_country_ranks.html

          The intelligence scores came from work carried out earlier this decade by Richard Lynn, a British psychologist, and Tatu Vanhanen, a Finnish political scientist, who analysed IQ studies from 113 countries, and from subsequent work by Jelte Wicherts, a Dutch psychologist.

          Countries are ranked highest to lowest national IQ score.

  • 2
    0

    Agnos.
    No amount of ‘course correction’ would help so long as +50% Tamils live in Sinhala majority areas and display no inclination to budge.

    Soma

    • 6
      0

      Mahesan,
      In the interest of historical accuracy,
      “So, he sent a text message excusing himself from the afternoon’s chess game and sat for an hour or so in the Jaffna public library and wrote a story:”
      Nobody could have done this in 1976.

      • 8
        0

        Dear Old Codger:

        1. By now (assuming you are old) you should know a bit about the structure in Tamil names. If a Tamil chap writes his name as “One Two”, “One” is from the father and “Two” is the given name. They don’t have a habit of carrying a “GivenName FamilyName” structure. So you would address the chap who writes his name as”One Two” or “O. Two” informally as “Hey Two” and formally as “Mr. Two”. And if you were a student of the man and want to get a good exam grade, you might say “Professor Two” while bending at an angle of no less than forty five degrees to the vertical.
        Tamils who emigrated sometimes invent shortened first names for the sake of the Western consumption. So, “Old Codger”, who in Jaffna would have been called “Hey Codger” and “Mr Codger”, upon reaching Toronto might shorten “Codger” to “Cod” and call himself “Cod O. Codger”, satisfying the constraints of the Western style!

        2. And why do you assume in 1976 the text message was sent via mobile communications link as it seems fashionable nowadays? The young fellow could have written the message on a post-it note and handed it to a cyclist at JHC going in the direction of Kaithady to stop at the YMCA and hand it to the chess players. That still counts as sending a text message, does it not?

        • 4
          0

          “And if you were a student of the man and want to get a good exam grade, you might say “Professor Two” while bending at an angle of no less than forty five degrees to the vertical.”
          *
          Thevaram, I wonder what kind of grades you and your drinking pal got in the Uni and how.

        • 0
          0

          Aha but were there post-it-notes in 1976..mate Theveram? A torn half a page from an exercise book would have been the text message..the gum strip on the 3M product would have not served any purpose anyhow, unless you wanted to physically adhere it to the messenger, and for that you would have used a bit of pappa, or the librarian may have had a highly guarded jar of gum which she would have let the boy use because he was so handsome and what not.

        • 5
          0

          Mr. S. Thevaram,
          ” And why do you assume in 1976 the text message was sent via mobile communications link as it seems fashionable nowadays? “
          Point taken. Yes, Terry Pratchett has a mechanical internet system in one of his books. Quite likely there was one in Jaffna, given all those bright students.I hear the webmasters all had eight legs and the chips were made of palmyrah flour.
          Cod.

        • 2
          0

          S. Thevaram,

          “That still counts as sending a text message, does it not?”

          Yes, text message, whether written with the aid of an electronic keyboard, written on a piece of paper using a pencil or pen, called written message, note or letter, is a text message.

    • 0
      0

      Soma the ass,
      “50% Tamils live in Sinhala majority areas and display no inclination to budge.”
      This is for the same reason that your women prefer to live in Dubai. Not because they love their Arab slave-drivers more than they love you.

  • 1
    1

    People need to build confidence and trust before they can write constitutions. Constitutions and legalese are just the things which make people fight over the interpretation of words. Leave the constitution aside, and let Sinhalese politicians come to the north and try to speak in Tamil (even reading from a sheet) about how to help with the problems of Tamils (because that is what they understand) while the Tamil politicians go to Galle or Martara and talk in Sinhala, but NOT about tamil problems, but about how they are will to help with the problem of the Sinhalese (which is all they understand). Instead, we find that both types of policians are trying to re-write the history of Sri lanka according to their own legends, or establish the purity of their Aryan or Dravidian descent. . Rewriting history, and making a new constitution can wait till some trust is build .between the two groups. The same advise goes to Muslim politicians, even though the facts are, according to Captain Percival’s account of Jaffana in the early part of the 19th century (he lived there for two decades) that the Muslims were the majority, then the Tamils and Sinhalese, with the Sinhalese and some Tamils being land owners. The latter (Sinhalese) began to sell their land to Tamils who had got rich by working the tobacco fields of the Dutch.
    I want to Remind you of Markkar (minster in SWRD’s cabinet) and other early leaders (TB Jaya) from my comminity . We muslims cooperated with the Sinhalese. So did Thondaman who was never fulyl welcome within the caste conscious TULF.
    But unlike the Muslim leaders or Thondaman, SJV who was an arch nationalist came out stringently against Banda, holding “peaceful Sathyagrahas on Galle Face Green but where toy wooden pistols were distributed.. SJV and EMVNaga wanted to be Chola Martyars for the Eelam cause, and displace GGP from his leading position at that period.

    • 3
      0

      B: “So did Thondaman who was never fully welcome within the caste conscious TULF.”
      Does B have the foggiest idea of Thondaman’s politics and relationship with the FP/TULF?
      *
      And btw, Captain Percival had not very pleasant things to say of Malay women.
      Would B endorse that part of Percival’s account as well.

    • 1
      1

      One infers that Bodin is Muslim from ~ “……I want to Remind you of Markkar (minster in SWRD’s cabinet) and other early leaders (TB Jaya) from my comminity . We muslims cooperated with the Sinhalese…….”.
      Probably Makkar above is C A S Marikkar of the 1956 SWRD B cabinet. CAS M called himself Sinhala Marikkar. He was accepted by the Sinhalese because he excelled in foul-mouthing Tamils. He will repeatedly shout that Tamils are good to be manual scavengers and no more. He claimed that his household spoke Sinhala at home. It turned out that Mrs Marikkar ONLY spoke a version of Tamil spoken in a remote part of the then Madras State (now Tamil Nadu). Based on his anti-Tamil stand, much to chagrin of the cabinet, he was rewarded with the Ministry of Post, Broadcasting and Communication. He was to face charges for several counts of bribery (Yes at that time there was Law and Order).
      CAS M’s grand-daughter Kareema M is the Mayor of Harrow – her talent would not have been recognised in SL.
      So Bodin that is it!

    • 1
      0

      seriously did SJV distribute wooden pistols among the Tamil protesters? ha ha ha

      • 1
        0

        sach

        “ha ha ha”

        I assume you are laughing like a neurotic.
        Why? What was the joke?
        Did you see HLDM’s clanking w***i?

  • 4
    0

    “The introduction of ethnic & district quotas in the university admissions serving as a spark”

    Well, this shows the very misconception at the very beginning of the struggle.

    It must be corrected/understood as district quota rather than ethnic & district quotas as it had never been ethnic.
    The unfairness of it is felt not only by the Jaffna district but also the districts of Colombo, Kandy, Galle, etc.
    It shows clearly that it’s the superiority complex of Jaffna people that played a big role in taking arms for the destructive struggle for a separate country.

    Time has come to stop this quota system as the country’s resources are evenly distributed now & the result of favoritism offered to rural students can be seen through undergraduate’s behavior pattern, that has become a serious threat for smooth functioning of SL universities.

    Let me say again that superiority complex of anybody is destructive & the Tamil diaspora should understand it.

  • 1
    0

    The biggest mistake was prabhaharan opposing the indo lanka accord for purely selfish reasons.He compounded the mistake by killing indian jawans and rajiv ghandhi.Even after this he survived for more than a decade which was creditable.However again he made a mistake in having long drawn out peace talks when the new century began.The cadres went back home to their families and lost interest in coming back and fighting.The momentum and mood that had been built up was lost.The split with karuna was the final straw that broke the camels back.Mistake after mistake had its toll.

    • 3
      0

      The Vaddukoddai Resolution was the boomerang thrown at Thevam by his buddies at the Hindu College bicycled shed.
      He had waited four decades patiently to see how the boomerang had returned to back to hit them back knocking out their teeth.
      You deserve another sip of of Peroni Thevaram.

  • 1
    3

    This article is a total bias and false and flawed from the beginning. Violent and discrimination against Tamils did’t start in 1976 and didn’t end in 2009. Instead these started in the late 50’s still continues. The article reflects the Hindu brahmins view of Dharma to justify the 60 years of discrimination genocide.

    • 3
      1

      Discrimination must end. Whoever does that ought to be condemned. Discrimination against Tamils have been going on for longer than since the late ’50s. Perhaps for centuries. Blame the Tamil caste system and the high caste Tamils for that but not the Sinhalese. Racism against Sinhalese was rife in the elite Tamil community. Ponnas, Chelva and Sunda were among the architects of that.They threw the Boomerang and it Boomeranged!

    • 2
      1

      Mathi!
      You have said it well.Discrimination did not start from 1976. It started from 1920 in a subtle way Against Ponnambalm Ramnathan who did so much for the Sinhalese. I do not wish to go back to what and how much he did to Srilanka in general and Sinhalese in particular, sometimes at the expense of the Tamils . There is no proof to state that Tamils were responsible for separatism and they never spoke against the Sihalese to the Britishers. When the Sinhalese were enticed by the English language, and fashioned themselves like the English people, it was Sir Ponnambalam who focused on the Sinhala language and and asked the question from the Sinhal leaders thus,’ If you are not going to promote your own language who will do it for you?. Unfortunately Sir Ponnambalam did not envisage the present plight for the Tamil language caused by the Sinhala politicians.
      How and why was Vaddukkoddai resolution adopted after 28 years of independence.? It is because the Sinhalese politicians went on cheating the Tamils continuously. May be the Tamil politicians adopted this resolution to to convey to the Sinhalese that their activities are forcing the Tamils to look back prior to 1833 when a separate Tamil kingdom existed. Tamil politicians may not have been fully convinced of their own resolution, but the Tamil youths were convinced that they can reach their goal of Tamil Eelam because justice was on their side. Whether you like it or not they did rule the North and East for a few years. If not for the intervention of India, Pakistan, America , UK and and other external forces things would have been different. It is customary for the people to blame when one loses and praise when victory is achieved.- very similar to our cricket team. What have you got to say about the Palestinian and their fight against Israel backed by the West in general and America in particular. Do they have to give up?

  • 6
    0

    What Sumanthiran said about “a federal solution by any other name” has implications for the party and the alliance that he belongs to.
    It is a display of lack of political maturity to make sensitive public utterances without prior discussion at least within the party.
    *
    I seriously doubt if any of the advocates of federalism by any name has a clear idea of what kind of federal devolution of power he/she has in mind.
    None considers the reality that there are three distinct Tamil speaking nationalities.

    • 3
      4

      SJ

      Seriously, it’s high time you put forward alternative proposals, including the one you may prefer, China annexing this island as an autonomous region of peacefully rising middle kingdom.
      Please stop being a sniper.
      What is the alternative?

      Rohana and Prabha were twin babies of SWRD and Siri Mao.

      • 1
        0

        Native
        Wait till SJ digs up Thevaram’s boomerang lying buried in the JHC bicycle shed and give it a try aiming it at you.

        • 2
          3

          Uthungan

          Thanks for your early warning.
          SJ’s words are his own enemies.
          If he throws a boomerang now he will have to live in constant fear for the rest of his life as one doesn’t know when it will come back.

  • 2
    3

    Just a quick “pint” Machan and a history lesson.

    Tamil Nationalism was a by product of Sinkala Nationalism whicih is 3000 years old and that has now been replaceced forever by Indian Natioanalism. India has finally woken up to the dangers posed by Sinkala Natioalism. Just look at how post Mahinda period India has finally recognised that there are two States in Sri Lanka. It is evident from the posting of a Consul General in Jaffna.
    The spreading of its shepere of infuence in Sinkala Lanaka diminishing Chinese influence to the bare minimum. by investing in the South and North ( building Palaly International Airport) and there is no way out for Sinkala Lanka from this DOMINANCE. It is here to stay fo another millenium. and beyond.

    ***First came the argument of our superiority, a particular hallmark of nationalism. “We may be 20%, but we are cleverer, aren’t we?” his debating opponents would counter, “just look at the island-wide secondary school public exam grades, they very clearly show that we are smarter and if we correct for that, 20% can easily defeat the 80%.”
    *** Machan I dont buy the above argument. I will tell you why. because Nationalism is a sign of fear and weakness( to be exact fear of Tamils to the North ( 75 million) and sea to the South words f GEMMUNU . If you feel diminant you wont be a Nationalist just like the English machan in Manchester.

    Just one question machan I didnt know we had text service back in 1976 especially in a bike shed. You have had too many pints so next time sober up before you embark on a history lesson.

  • 6
    0

    The article is by a Tamil Intellectual and may be the comments are also from Tamils. So, it is a good contribution to have a comment from a Sinhala person. It is written around a story which is fictitious or true but presents the correct picture of the long fought and finished war in Sri Lanka. The subsequent comments add to the facts that are not stated there in. It is the politicians and religious leaders who wanted to grab power who triggers the animal instincts of man. In Sri Lanka both Sinhala and Tamil leaders have done in the past and trying do the same now. Countries need in built safeguards to prevent such manipulation in the form of a constitution and laws of the country. Many countries like US, India, Switzerland and Singapore are good examples. Ordinary men are normally not driven by hatred feelings but easily could trigger some of them to act in such behavior. So the constitutional safeguards has to be there to control and to prevent such occurrence.

  • 2
    1

    Machan just a foot note as to why your definition of Nationalism was wrong. Indian Nationalism was a byproduct of her fear of Sinkala Lanka mooving too close to regional rival China and allowing a foothold to threaten Indias security which forced her to warn Sinkala Lanka and take decisive action . India cant and wont allow China to gain a foohold in Sinkala Lanka . Gotha admitted this when he stated this quite claeraly that MR was given a stern warning to always bear in mind that Sinkala Lankas sovereignty is limited to Indias security. Just look at the outcome in the Maldives election. People voted for India leaning opposition fearing Indian takeover of their country.

    Proff next time dont write anythng so silly

    • 4
      1

      K
      Your logic beats me.
      How can voting in a pro-Indian regime prevent an Indian take over?
      *
      The ‘foothold’ that China has here is just about what it needs anywhere at a time when it judiciously avoids any form of military confrontation.
      Thus there is nothing for India to prevent.
      Confused, it is using the TNA to deny China a role in development in the North.
      *
      India has, at best, been a client regional power– once of the USSR and now the US.
      India’s biggest enemy, however, has been its diplomacy.

      • 2
        2

        SJ It is obvious you dont understand politics. My friend voiting in a Pro Indian Government reduces the Chinese threat. Do you understand I bet you dont.

        • 4
          1

          K, you wrote: “People voted for India leaning opposition fearing Indian takeover of their country.”
          Now you add another story.
          Your logic well and truly beats me.
          *
          I am not a gambling man, and it seems obvious that I cannot benefit by trying to understand your politics.

          • 1
            2

            SJ Certainly you cant and you wont so go and sell some Rambuttan.

            • 3
              0

              K,
              Sorry mate, the season was over two months ago– unless you have one or two to flog!
              Your business ideas seem as outdated as your political ones.

  • 11
    3

    This guy writes so sanely, sardonically and so bloody well. I hope he collects these pieces and publishes a book.

    • 2
      0

      One good thing about Dayan J. Wherever he is or what high position he holds he keeps a firm grip in the pulse of what the more initiated think – of all communities. He is thus qualified to write and sermon on events of the day. Whether you like it or not is a different matter. Reminds me of his father, my friend Mervyn, who took the views of his tuk-tuk driver also into reckoning when writing important articles on the local scene. I still one beauty around the Indo-Lanka Agreement days “Sirr – Rajiv Gandhi JR-ta koka pennala wage”

      Backlash

      • 3
        0

        Backlash: “Sirr – Rajiv Gandhi JR-ta koka pennala wage” However, what it turned out to be, according to my tuk-tuk driver: “JR thamai Rajiv-ta koka pennuwe” :-)
        [i.e. the cunning fox settled for an un-workable agreement without any loss of face, followed by the peacekeepers ending up in a fight and eventually costing Rajiv’s life]

    • 2
      1

      DJ
      Do you think that anyone will pay you a similar complement?

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        SJ: Why the ad hominem challenge? Correct me if I am wrong, but you may recall DJ’s scholarship (with reference to South America) was praised in a socialist publication with the perceptive remark “… but his politics may not be genuine” in parentheses by a certain Dr. Yu No Hoo :-) People have their strengths, and their weaknesses, too.

        • 2
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          TT
          DJ will score well on the ‘sardonically’ and ‘bloody well’ part.
          But ‘sanely’ is where I have my doubts, and believe that many others (even excluding those who love to hate him) will share them.
          *
          I know DJ. He is bright and capable. Sadly, his opportunism gets the better of him.
          *
          It was a lighthearted remark any way.

    • 0
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      I hope Thevaram would continue to write, would not run away. In Tamil, they say Calf needs to there if the cow has to give milk. If one see calf as competition and kill it off, they switch off the milk fountain too. Right or wrong, Supporting or opposing Thevaram is a part in the chain of free discussion even though he never throw stone on a chasing dog, but wait for 40 years to the dog’s boomerang takes care of it. Thero unnecessarily wrote unwanted praising to Sara Dissanayake and her no more to be seen in CT. I don’t think, unlike Sara Dissanayake, Thevaram would be scared to become a “Smart Patriotic Social democratic Cuban Communist” and run away hearing Thero’ Puhazharam. My hope is stemming from the strong point of that Thevaram wouldn’t mind to wait for another 40 years to take care of Thero with his own boomerang. Thero in fact, the most famous boomerang himself, fly from Varathar to Richard. P, Vije and Chandrika, Old King, Sajin Vas, Ranil, Maha Viyath, New King and back again to Thevaram and Varathar.
      I have a request to Thevaram. Can he write one episode about in which bicycle shed or Kallu Kottle Thero recruited Varathar for him to preside EPRLF? How many Kallu Kottles operated in North under the RAW’s franchise to match make Thero, Padmanabha, Varathar…..
      (The worst wasted material in the world is the paper carrying the script of Thero’s Cuban Communism and the Thevaram (or poovaram) he composes on the Hooligan Castro. This is how one shows off his/her Ultimate stupidity!)

    • 2
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      Dayan you complement each other. He sings THEVARAM and you sing MAHINTHARAM. But the difference is he collects empty beer bottles and litter he can publish but you dont collect anything except disappointment and despair following MR”s downfall.. Nothing to publish.

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    Whether it is Tamil or Sinhala, lying to the people and giving them false hope is NOT good. How can any responsible government and politician (Sumanthiran) bring a constitution which is called Ekeeya in Sinhala to Sinhala public and Oru mitta nadu in Tamil to Tamil public? What is this deception?

    • 1
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      Then why did you lied to Thero all these times that he is best writer represents Sinhala Intellectuals aspirations. Now see what is happening? Sumanthiran wants Ekiya Rajya. Thevaram says Sumanthiran is correct & Thero is saying Thevaram is correct. Isn’t that now Thero wants Ekiya Rajya after he went to Moscow? At least that is what the so called math law of Transitive Property of Equality says. (In Tamil: பரம்பல் விதி)

  • 1
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    What is Thevaram trying to tell?

    But anyway, this sounds like an story I heard when I was very small boy. I was too small that time so when I reproduce it here please excuse for any mistake I may make by memory lapses of over 40 years.

    One time a Gentleman from a far village was walking on a downtown’s congested area. There was another man was swing his umbrella too back forth, so it almost hit our gentleman on his nose. Our gentleman was so mad, but as he is too smart, he still behaved very wisely. He right away turned back and went to the railway station, Waited for the Train and got off at his village station. Waited for the Bus and caught it, got off from the bus, went into the house opening the door and hanged the hat carefully on the coat rack mad made sure it will not fall off. Then he turned towards the door; brushed his mustache with his fingers and rolled his eyes up and down. Then Shouted “Idiot! He din’t know his Liberty To Swing his umbrella Ends Just Where My Nose Begins. If it had hit my nose he didn’t know what would have happened to him. This time he escaped, but I will see him next time”. Then he sat on his drinking table in the minibar with his usual extraordinary coolness and had a glass of Perioni.

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    Looks like there is only Tamil boomerang (not plural!).

  • 0
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    Good one mate.
    That 80% is now only 70% mate,
    10% have joined Dr Ranil , hoping to get residence in the Elite, Anglican and Vellala Homeland.in Colombo which Dr Ranil is furiously working to sneak in through his new Constitution.

    Even Vellala Kid Abrahama’s Solution is not acceptable to that 70% for obvious reasons.
    I don’t know whether you know about it.
    But 5 Million of our inhabitants are in that 70%.

    My3Sira joined Dr Ranil with the grand promise to eliminate Poverty in Lanakawe.
    Sampathar already had many MOUs with Dr Ranil
    .But none had any reference to Poverty because the other partnert the GTF Boss Suren Surendran had promised 4 Billion USD for Sampathar to pump in to the Homeland in the North and the East.

    But Dr Ranil had other ideas Dr Ranil doesn’t know there are poor people in Lankawe..
    He only wanted to make Multi Millionaires out of the UNP Millionaires and bring in a new Constitution to cater for their needs
    And of course give Sampathar the Homeland.

    Dr Ranil has achieved his goals ,bar one
    That is to give Homeland to Sampathar.
    But he is working on it

    But Dr Ranil is clearly on his way to create the Homeland for the Elite Anglicans and the Vellalas in Colombo
    It will be all owned and operated by Hindians and Singaporeans in partnership with the UNP Millionnaires.

    Now JVP Prince is more popular in the North than the South.
    Abraham seems to be more comfortable in Galle than in Jaffna.
    Dr Ranil even sacked the UNP Minister from the Vellala Faction because she was trying to resurrect old LTTE dudes.

    And My3Sira didn’t bother tot ake even one Vellala Mp with him to the UN this time.
    instead he took Manao Ganeshan who is only in charge of our new Lankans..

    Wonder what Mahesha’s Beer Buddy Siva as to say about this?….

  • 0
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    Part I:
    This character Thevaram was an insensitive brat in 1976. With age his bratishness has increased.
    In 1956 the “Sinhala Only” attained legal status. The Thevarams of that vintage said “Study Sinhala and beat them”. But along came the order that schooling has got to be in mother tongue (defined as the language spoken by the father). Muslims were exempted.
    The 1958 pogrom was expected to instil fear. The Thevarams of that vintage advised “Do not retaliate in N&E because they will beat the hell out of Tamils outside”. N&E did exactly that and what happened ……? The somewhat agitated students held protest marches and the like. The Police were ordered to stop this. At that time the Police Service was not segregated. The mainly Tamil N&E police went berserk. Student leaders were spirited away in Jeeps and the next day headless mutilated bodies were left in full view under culverts. By 1976, trains to and from N&E were stopped and the passengers looted. The Army check points eventuated. In times like that only young Thevaram could turn the other way. It requires insensitivity of the highest order. The rest is history.
    The Muslim Thevarams got out of the then FP and were rewarded with MMDA1950. The requirement to school in any language also helped. What helped them most was the hassle-free living. Through hard work and industry they lifted themselves. They deserve it.
    But but but. Evil eyes noted their prosperity and came up with the 2014 Aluthgama pogrom – more to follow.

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      KP: “The mainly Tamil N&E police went berserk. Student leaders were spirited away in Jeeps and the next day headless mutilated bodies were left in full view under culverts.” In 1958? In Jaffna?
      Some mistake I guess! (Also how can things be in full view under culverts?)
      *
      Nothing particularly untoward happened in 1976 in Jaffna, but for the police response to the brutal murders by Tamil militants since 1975.
      Worse happened in 1977 under JRJ. Army presence followed but no checkpoints until some years later.
      *
      There is serious need for self-criticism on the part of Tamil nationalists. Has any leader admitted a single mistake? Has any leader taken responsibility for his/her actions that cost the Tamil people heavily?
      *
      Tamils can do with a healthy sense of humor and ability to see things from another’s viewpoint. That is where Thevaram is welcome.
      *
      Thevaram is not the kind of opportunist that you have in mind.
      He should not be taken literally, and I agree that there are factual errors in his utterances.
      But there is a message, that one may accept or reject, which many seem to miss amid the seemingly insensitive lightheartedness.

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        SJ: Tamils have a grievance, expression of which has been given this term ‘Tamil nationalism’. This ‘nationalism’ is a luxury unaffordable to Tamils.
        .
        And you opine ~ “….There is serious need for self-criticism on the part of Tamil nationalists. Has any leader admitted a single mistake?…….”.
        This implies that the Tamil leaders are all ‘Tamil nationalists’ which is what the inventors of the term want to hear!
        And should this ‘self-criticism’ come ‘before or after’ the Tamil grievances are addressed? Or better still ‘instead of’?
        You say ~ “……..Nothing particularly untoward happened in 1976 in Jaffna, but for the police response to the brutal murders by Tamil militants since 1975……..”.
        The ‘brutal murders by Tamil militants’ is as one sided as ‘the bond scam’ touted as the ‘one and only scam’.
        As to what was happening in 1976, find out when you visit Jaffna next.
        .
        Your advice “Tamils can do with a healthy sense of humor….”.
        “Yes” to the “He comes from Jaffna”. But the plight of Tamils is not be mocked at.
        By the way, I never said that Thevaram is an opportunist.

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          KP,
          I am not making nationalism a dirty word as you seem to fear.
          My comments concern the pathetic history of Tamil nationalist leadership from early days.
          Any criticism of the ills of Tamil society is readily put down by Tamil nationalists as an attempt to divide the Tamils.
          Tamil nationalism always sided with imperialism (but for a brief spell when a few groups saw the justice of the Palestinian cause).
          *
          Kindly enlighten me on whatever calamity that occurred in the North in 1976 except for police action.
          The Tamil leaders owe serious SELF CRITICISM to the Tamil people.
          *
          One cannot miss the dearth of a healthy sense of humor among Tamils who comment in this space, unless one is seriously lacking in that sector.
          What happened to the Tamils was not funny. But why should one refrain from laughing at the ‘all knowing’ leaders who played a big role in taking the Tamils to their destruction. Laughter is more effective than the bitterest curse.
          BTW, humor has come a long way in the half century and more since “He comes from Jaffna”.

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    Part II:
    To cut it short: The old Sivapuranam Thevaram shows crudest insensitivity in the last sentence ~ ““I had to wait four decades, machan (buddy), for the buggers to get a taste of their own medicine.”
    Thevaram does not realise that the Bear in the ‘Bear and the little Girl’ story would have raided the potato farm – stones thrown or not.
    The young Thevaran never had a machan. The (now) old Thevaram has Mahesan Niranjan! Perhaps the only Machan both ever had.
    PS: Do you know that for all practical purposes the Lankan Police is segregated?

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      Dear K. Pillai: With a thousand apologies for my insensitive youth and all due respect to your sensitive self, Sir, which of the problems you list could have been solved by killing 16 year old children from the TELO group in 1986 at the Parameswara junction and setting their bodies on fire? Some of the kids were not even dead when the matches were struck. Repeatedly narrating the problems caused by chauvinism and opportunistic politics of the Sinhala political class to our own ears like a scratched phonograph record is not the path to finding a solution. If pointing out the errors in our ways, be it in 1976 or 2018, appears insensitive, then so be it.

    • 0
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      Mahesan Niranjan and his one and only machan: You do not know what ‘liberation’ is. You are treating this as ‘nationalism’. This is exactly what some bigots want to hear.
      Dr Dayan Jayatilleka for example says ~ “This guy writes so sanely, sardonically and so bloody well. I hope he collects these pieces and publishes a book”. Dayan was fast losing his sanity and has been sent to Moscow for treatment. “…sardonically and so bloody well”. My my my bloody foot.
      .
      Did ‘nationalism’ drive Nelson Mandela? Martin Luther King Jr? Ho Chi Ming? Castro? The liberation theologists? Jose’ Ramos-Horta?

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