30 October, 2020

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Video: Sinhala Nationalism, Tamil Nationalism And Military Triumphalism – Interview With Nirmala Rajasingam

By Colombo Telegraph

Nirmala Rajasingam, founder of the Sri Lanka Democracy Forum and who is based in the United Kingdom speaks to Newsclick about the challenges faced by the civil society and democracy activists in Sri Lanka.

 

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  • 1
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    Nirmala the sister of the late Rajini Thiranagama who co-authored ‘Broken Palmyrah’ and who was murdered in cold blood by the LTTE for exposing the fraud behind a misguided Theleepan’s famous Nallur fast, has given a balanced interview about the current situation in the island.

    Her analysis about the background of the majority of the people who were trapped in the war zone has been from the up-country is not without accuracy as is her preception about the attitude of the Jaffna Tamils for those people.

    Her call for all those who aspire for the struggle for a democratic SL and her special appeal to all progressive sections on the left of the political spectrum in the country to unite in that task is something that ought be taken into account seriously.

  • 1
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    It was nice to see Nirmala after some years. While her Tamil activism and her love for the Tamil Nation continues unabated, there is no hate for “the other” Here she says the attacks on the Buddhist priests in Tamilnadu “is unacceptable” – a view shared by most Tamils in Sri Lanka. She has suffered much for her principled stand. I hope there will be a role for her to play in NEP politics in the coming months and years. She has much to offer from her experience, learning and love to the Nation in the Sri Lanka struggling to define itself.

    Senguttuvan

    • 2
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      Could not agree more with you Senguttuvan ! Well said, I hope that she joins the TNA in the Northern province elections (promised for Sep though not certain ), she has a lot to offer and she like Sumanthiran have no LTTE baggage !

      • 0
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        Senguttuvan & Dev

        How can you guys like both Nirmala and Usha at the same time? They are two totally different types of girls. Don’t you guys have any discrimination?

        • 1
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          I cannot comment for Sengu but can you find a comment where I have stated I like Usha (or the LTTE)?
          I don’t think I have even commented on her articles (Usha’s -though I might have but def not a supporter)

      • 1
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        Dev,

        Although you have not examined Nirmala Rajasingham’s baggage well enough, I am glad you agree with what she says here. However, she is not a natural ally of the TNA. TNA will not be comfortable with her and she will not be with them. Nirmala, has a much broader and deeper understanding of the issues here, than the multitude who write and speak on the Tamil issues. She was a rebel and is yet a rebel. I welcome the home truths she has lucidly presented.

        I recommend you listen to her interview over and over to u deist and what she is saying. This may help you see the senselessness of the jack-in-the-box comments you frequently make.

        Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

        • 0
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          I am well aware of Nirmala’s past well as YOUR past !
          Don’t worry, we all know of your past as well, remember you were the one who lauded the government as part of the diaspora group in exchange for ………….. (fill in the blanks)

          As for her becoming allies with TNA, why don’t you let the TNA and her decide that !!!

          • 1
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            Dev,

            I cannot gauge what you know of her. Your comment is not illuminating on that score. however, you definitely do not know anything about me. the more you harp on what you know of me, you expose your ignorance more. Ignorance is sometimes bliss!

            Dr.RN

    • 0
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      Yes, Senguttuvan, but why did she over do the Indian / Jaffna Tamil divide in the middle of Indian audience? I think she is only good for interviews, not for politics.

  • 1
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    There cannot be one solution only for the Tamils and another for the Muslims. It has to be within an overall democratic framework. The Sinhala Buddhist Extremist so far succeeded in dividing the Tamils and the Muslims and first dealt with the Tamils and now the Muslims. The LTTE bogeyman is presented to prevent the minorities from uniting for their common good.

    So it is neccesary to understand the common position of the Tamil and Muslim minorities vis a vis Sinhala Buddhist Nationalism. There will never be a separate solution for the Tamils and another for the Muslims. Divide and rule is the policy. Hope our muslim leaders will understand this position.

  • 0
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    Mrs. RR is right about the Indian plantation settlements in the buffer areas and Wanni. That makes the Northerners such exploits.

    May I further add that these Indian plantation workers were infact settled in the buffer area with the promise of land with letters issued by the TULF with purporyed signature of Appapillai Amirthalingam prior to the General Elections.

    These plantation Indian Tamils were settled by the Ghandian movements under the kibutz system a project by S.A.David.
    This Indian plantation workers were duped by the TULF.
    Anandasangaree will be able to elaborate further.

    They were the buffer for the Northeners & their terrorists activities.
    The TULF created the enviorment for the Northern terrorists to blossom with a buffer out of Indi8an tamils.
    Northerners used these Indian Tamil from the plantations as they had no truck with them and their lives had no worth.
    These were the Daliths and the Low Caste

    Northerners are chauvanists and opportunists and Mrs. RR spoke the truth but not the whole truth.
    Tamil Nadu Tamils are a bunch of idiots. Hope at least now they realise the lives of Indian plantation Tamils wwere & are being used Northern Tamils who treat these lives as worthless.

    For whom are these Tamil Naduans crying for? The Northern SL Tamils who used the IPT or for the Indian Plantation Tamils whose lives were expended by the SL Tamils

  • 0
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    AnandaSangaree’s heart bleeds for such deeds by the TULF and that is the reason he has no truck with Sampanthan and the TNA thew ex-TULF guys. They are and were the terrorists..
    Mahavi Senathiraja the servant of the Airthalingams who took care of Dr.Baheerathan got these letters with purported signature of the boss AA distributed in the plantation with promise of land in the Wanni.

    This is how the Northern Tamils & the TULF duped Indians Plantation workers who came in hordes to serttle in the buffer areas in the mid – 70s with the dream of owning land.

    • 1
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      I noticed in the IDP camps and later in the Vanni that at least 30-40% of the Tamil population that survived the war are of plantation origin, though many in this category claim now that they a of Sri Lankan origin.

      Nirmala Rajasingham is right in her assertion that the poorest of the poor among the war-affected are of plantation Tamil origin.

      Dr.R.N

  • 0
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    Her role as a former LTTE member is especially interesting and valuable. Especially when so many of the current critics of LTTE and Tamil politics were former members or supporters like DBS Jeyaraj, Nirmala, Soba Sakthi etc. It says something about why they had joined in the first place and then became bitter critics.

    • 1
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      punchi banda

      Nirmala left LTTE almost thirty years ago.

      • 0
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        Native Veddha
        I know you like to offer clever almost mathematical answers to complex social and political issuess which reminds one of the jaffna technocrats more than any creative Veddha thinking.

        Leaving that aside, we need to understand why people like Nirmala, DBS who comprised the Jaffna Christian Vellalar elite joined the Tigers when there were so many other more left oriented radical groups in the late 70’s and 80’s.
        Their dramatic and often hysterical disechantment with the tigers is understandable but what is not understandable is that there were always more left oriented tamil groups includign tamil left parties they did not have time for. They did not even have time for Mr. Thirunagama who was realy a left winger and who wanted a left solution to the problem and hence the break up with Rajini in the early days after she joined the tigers.

        Covering up all that and speaking for the left now without acknowledgging the left parties in the tamil speaking world who have consistently critqued Tamil nationalist politics while advocating for solution to the National question is a repeat of the kind of liberal elite politics that had made them join ltte in the first place.
        this may be too much for your technocratic jaffna mind mr. veddha

        • 1
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          punchi banda

          “this may be too much for your technocratic jaffna mind mr. veddha”

          I am sorry please don’t lump me with the stupid Tamils or the stupid Sinhalese. I know for sure I am bit thick it does mean I am neither a Tamil nor a Sinhalese. The reason for my being thick is that all my old teachers were either Tamils or Sinhalese. That is besides the point.

          Please let me have the names of Sinhala/Tamil lefties of the past or the present. All Tamil men and women are die heart Tamil/Saivaites. All Sinhala men and women are die heart Sinhala/Buddhists. There isn’t much difference between the two who have always been chasing after mirage and not living a contended life.

          I am yet to meet a secular lefty in this island. Where can I find them?

          I have met a few Tamils and Sinhalese who claim to be on the left of politics but they are all parochial nationalist or secret admirers of Pol Pot. Some of them believe Sri Lanka should be ruled by China or North Korea. Before the collapse of the Soviet Union the lefties of this island wanted Soviet Union to run this country. Dayan doesn’t believe in anything anymore.

          Before you start preaching me on the goodness of leftism please define what leftism means to you.

        • 1
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          DBS never joint LTTE. Sometimes his writings would have suggested that he was leaning towards LTTE. As far as I know he is “neutral”when one reads his article without any prejudice.

    • 0
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      I Don’t understand whats wrong with LTTE sympathizers get involve in politics, any fair deal should be appealed to them also as they are one of the stakeholder and that’s how a durable viable political solution comes into existence, whether it is South Africa, Northern Ireland, Iraq, modalities adopted were similar.

  • 0
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    Nirmala

    It is commendable on your part that you are finally seeing the light with regard to the LTTE. You were one of those half-baked, radical-chic-wannabe, limelight-craving, starry-eyed groupies of Prabakaran from the Jaffna middle class who recklessly jumped on the LTTE bandwagon in its formative stages in late 70s and early 80s. Prabakaran was no fool and he used you and your fellow hangers-on only to gain legitimacy over other more people-based and progressive Tamil militant groups emerging at the time. You and your fellow camp followers were the first to attempt to provide a pseudo-liberation ideology to Prabakaran to justify his terrorist violence, legitimize his brutal murders of rival Tamil militant leaders and mask his fascist militarization of Tamil society. In return you shamelessly tried to creep into the Tiger hierarchy through the back door, but Prabakaran, the ever sniffing paranoid he was, dumped you unceremoniously through the front door after getting the job done. Then your tried your luck with the Diaspora paper Tigers and there too you were rebuffed. Where was your leftism, concern about militarization of society, concern for “democratic consensus,” and cry for human rights then? You talk about the 30-year brutal suppression of the Tamil people by the LTTE, but don’t delude yourself that people have forgotten your role in creating the monster.

    Having got that house keeping issue out of the way – I applaud you for your correct analysis of the current situation. You are absolutely right about the cleavages among Sri Lankan Tamils. It was the Jaffna peninsular middle class Tamils who pushed the Tamil Eelam project through its fascist organ, the LTTE, in their own narrow interests at the expense of the lower castes, the less privileged Tamils of the hinterland like Mannar, Wanni and the Eastern Province, and the hill country Tamils of Indian origin who had settled in the Wanni. After sowing the seeds of violence the Jaffna middle class escaped to the west and conducted the war from the safety of diaspora leaving the less privileged Tamils to fight and die for Eelam which they never wanted in the first place. You are also correct the Jaffna people maintained a social distance between themselves and the Tamils of Indian origin whom they regarded as of lower caste. There is indeed a unbridgeable chasm between the Diaspora LTTE rump and the Tamils who died at Mullivaikkal.

    I also agree with you the MR regime is taking advantage of the deserved military rout of the LTTE not to solve the ethnic issues, but to consolidate its Sinhala-Buddhist power base. As you say the urgent need is to build an island wide left-oriented “people-level democratic consensus” to resist the increasing militarization of the polity and to uphold the rule of law and the fundamental rights and freedoms of all people. And finally you are right the unprincipled politicians of Tamil Nadu are whipping up Tamil racism and jingoism to the detriment of the interests of the Sri Lankan Tamils, their post-war rehabilitation, and the process of reconciliation itself.

  • 0
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    Rambler

    “As you say the urgent need is to build an island wide left-oriented “people-level democratic consensus” to resist the increasing militarization of the polity and to uphold the rule of law and the fundamental rights and freedoms of all people. “

    Lets import a few ideologue from North Korea.

    • 0
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      Native Vedda

      You were surprised I’d say that right?
      We are learning something new everyday, aren’t we?

      • 0
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        Rambler

        Yes of course we are.

        Its too much for me I can’t take it anymore.

        Please slow down.

      • 0
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        You are not learning anything, Hope you will soon…

  • 0
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    I must that this has been a well balanced interview seen after a long time. The facts she brings out would be ‘information’ even for many of the diaspora tamils. I wish there would be more people like herself who truly desire a real reconciliation process of a country such as ours.

    I fear that if nothing is done in the next 6-12 months Sri Lanka could become a militarised dictatorial state with fresh bloodshed for another 30 years of war.

    In 1983 Jr Jayawardena did not do anything when the tamils were attacked. In 2013 Rajapaksha is not doing anything when the minority muslims and christians are being attacked. So are we heading for a repeat of the war or a different nature?

  • 0
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    ding dong the witch is still not dead …

  • 0
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    It really makes you wonder what the motive of the LTTE sympathizers are. It’s clearly not reconciliation because they have rejected every Government request to have talks with them, which many governments around the world have done with terrorists in the past for example Tony Blair with the IRA and though not successful Ariel Sharon and Hamaas.
    I could be wrong but it seems their real motive is to destroy the country economically affecting the people living here whilst they live peacefully in their developed countries protesting without a conclusive cause.
    The NGOs don’t seem to be very transparent at the moment with their only criticism being of the SL government but not one mention of the LTTE.
    Slowly losing faith in the integrity of our people….

    • 0
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      You should be losing faith in your reason, first, as I believe you have no integrity with your fascist interpretation of the history of what happened to minorities and the politics of fascism that is underway with your great MR brothers. think again about sanity? are you all there for sure?

  • 0
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    I think she is trying to promote her [Edited out] No one cares about her these days except SL government, but she should be thankful to LTTE for releasing her from the Batticloa prison break otherwise she will be ended up in Welikada prison and mascaraed with rest of the political prisoners.

  • 0
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    Nirmala prefered to [Edited out]

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy
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  • 0
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    Upali

    Batticloa prison break out was an insider job. The boys had nothing to do with it, although all armed Tamil groups claimed to have rescued the detainees.

    • 0
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      Vedda,

      Check your records correct. Nirmala was rescued by LTTE’s special mission. The jail break you mentioned was carried out by EPRLF and PLOTE with inside help. Nirmala’s (ex)husband Nithiyanandan was recused in the first jail break.

  • 0
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    Rahavan

    My elders told me long ago it was not a daring raid on the prison as the boys’ spin doctors would the the island to believe but an insiders job.

    However since you have raised this point I may need time to clarify with my elders.

  • 0
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    Vedda,
    Do you know after the Jail Break LTTE safe guarded Nirmala through a thick Jungle and lagoon all the way to Jaffna from there took her to South India. There she fallen love with Sivakumar and now protest against the Tamils in UK. Shame on her !

    • 0
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      This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy
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    • 0
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      Upali

      I also know soon after her escape from prison she was interviewed by Ilustrated Weekly of India.

      The point I am trying to drive here is there had never been a daring rescue mission.

      I may be wrong let me confirm it with my elders.

  • 0
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    Shame on her. This is the woman along with her husbund glorified the LTTE at one time. How many Tamil youth were killed because of this misguidance. She can change, but she cannot return the Tamil youth (who lost their lives fighting for a “superior homeland”) to their parents. Shame! Shame! Shame!

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