By S. Sivathasan –
Even as all Tamils approach the hour of destiny and look forward to the moment of awakening, comes a discordant note from the head of a constituent group of TNA, the EPRLF. The statement in TamilWin is now in the public domain from 10th evening, SL time. Little does Suresh realize that the attention of the world is upon us when the Council assumes its full form with the Ministers and the members taking their oath of office. At issue is not any principle, but crass advancement of self. Suresh taking umbrage at the Chief Minister and the TNA, saying they have ruffled the feathers of his younger brother. Why? Because the latter wanted to be the minister of agriculture and that wish was not met.
Was it to meet his personal ambition that an election was held? For what purpose did the people struggle? Why did they make all those sacrifices? Is it not the task of leadership to symbolize their aspirations, to burn the dross in their own selves and to lead them to the promised land? This was precisely the path of idealism that Chief Minister Wigneswaran was seeking to chalk out in the last few weeks. It is now for everyone to stand steadfastly by him and the TNA.
The Atman insignificant by itself, merging with Paramatman is held out to be the ultimate and the ideal of many Hindus. In like manner a nondescript EPRLF, ventured to add respectability to itself by first rubbing shoulders with the TULF. Then it aligned itself with the TNA. But never did it merge in it. It wanted to maintain its separateness to cash in on a situation by presenting its IOU at the appropriate time. The way Kaikaeyi in Ramayana turned villainess to spoil Rama’s coronation on the very eve. Not losing its identity for the Tamil cause, but bolstering its electoral fortunes for its own sectarian interests was its clear priority. It stands proven now.
Knowing full well the magnitude of the coming TNA wave, it tried to piggy back on it. The leader promoted his brother for a seat in the Council and he came 15th in preference out of 16 in Jaffna District. However he failed to wrench a Ministry for him, which was the target of Council entry. The denial of it by a no-nonsense Chief Minister, is the way principled governance moves across, clearing any debris on its way. This was too much of an abrasion to the two siblings. The elder one, the head of that paltry caucus wants to jeopardise the future of a whole community to self-serve the petty ambition of his little brother. With the imagined might of a label, he now lashes out on its benefactor, the TNA.
What used to be confined to a kusu kusu kooddam (in a cabal) in earlier times, is now known to the whole world in no time. Electronic media does this. From day one of nomination, Tamils were aware that Suresh had a personal agenda in the election. To make his brother a Minister in the NPC. The Chief Minister had important principles which he enunciated into criteria of selection to abide by. Has he deviated from them? No. He applied them meticulously. If Suresh thinks that his brother is too big for his shoes, let him go to a new boot emporium EPDP, the off shoot of EPRLF, buy a pair, sport them and seek people’s endorsement. The people in their rage know what size to cut the siblings to and where to consign them. If this is not the preferred course, resignation is the other respectable one. Remaining a thorn in the flesh is not honourable.
This is the political predicament in which we Tamils have placed ourselves. The Tamil parties sought to fuse together in a show of unity to wade through turbulent water. The shore is redemption for the Tamils. Eschew all happiness, personal pleasures and make endless sacrifices. People accommodated difficulties saying with fatalistic resignation, sufferance is the badge of our tribe and hoped for a glimmer in the darkness that had gathered. They helped win 80% of the seats to a seemingly single formation –TNA– led by Justice Wigneswaran, Sampanthan and Sumanthiran.
What does the world see in Suresh’s peevish outburst at the TNA? This person narrow and family centred in his thinking and seeking to promote his own particularist purposes, throws the interests of the Tamils to the winds. His party EPRLF, decimated in 1985 – 86, saved itself from extinction with the reprieve of the Accord of 1987. Its life philosophy was merely to lead self centred lives of ease and self- promotion, as is well established now. To secure a future of some consequence they backed the best horse – TNA. Having come into some prominence on the reputation of the traditional leaders, the upstarts now demand their remorseless pound of flesh. Where is the loss of identity in their quest for merging into one entity –TNA? Now the label is used as a bargaining chip. It will continue to be so.
The leadership of the TNA which includes the CM, is made of sterner stuff. They are now of tempered steel and will become weightier by the day. People will winnow the chaff away. It is such men who will grow in numbers and gain in leadership positions. They will remain unfazed amidst detractors. About one such in the thirties in Europe, Nehru wrote that he was like “The iron image of an inevitable fate going ahead to its pre destined goal”. The little dot on the world map will strike a path of its own.