By K. Anaga –
All of us, who voted to elect Hon. Maithripala Srisena as the President of Sri Lanka, should apologies to each other for doing so. It may be due to our expectation that we may get rid of an evil and bring forth a man of ‘principle ‘who will pull us out from the den of the wicked. Unfortunately it has not been so. In fact by voting for Hon: Srisena, we have escaped from the burning fire, to a smothering fire with no escape route in sight.
Similarly, all those who voted for Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe, though few in numbers, when compared with that of Hon. Srisena, too should kneel down and bow their head in shame. The business people who are considered friends of Hon. Ranil should not only bow their heads but bank their heads on the ground and seek pardon from those who were coax to vote for Hon: Ranil.
And the other Members of Parliament, (not from UNP) who supported Hon. Ranil to make up for the required numbers, to appoint him as the Prime Minister, should jump into to the Diyawanna Oya, which I believe will have sufficient water after the recent continuous rain fall, to hide their hefty bodies, and ensure that they do not raise their heads to view the Parliamentary Complex again.
Sinhala Political parties
As for the Sinhala political parties, though their names differ the policies are similar. In that, they say that they have to better the economic condition of the Sinhala people. However, the route they take may differ. Even, when their routes differ, it essentially centre’s round their personal economic benefits, keeping in mind the ‘collection’ for their next election, with a spread of sweet smell of pseudo success to the people who voted them into power. They create their own problems and seek a solution from the people, whose opinions are never heeded. When the problems created by them linger for a long time without any solutions in sight, they create racial tensions between the Tamils and the Sinhalese – Sinhalese and the Muslims and the Muslims and the Tamils to escape the wrath of their supporters, who rightly question them. In fact Tamils are considered a necessary evil. Only to be seen and not to be heard.
The Muslim (Tamil) Political Parties
The ‘Muslim’ parties generally support the party in power, irrespective of their policies and obtain whatever comes their way. In that, the MP’s, get the best and the remnants are passed on to their supporters, to spread the word around with regard to their fake Success. Invariably, the Muslims are Tamil speaking, whether they hail from North or South and East or West. But most of them refer to themselves as Muslims, except for a few from the North/East, who rightly say that they are Tamils by race but Muslims by religion. This is not encouraged by the other Muslims and even the government, of course for different reasons. The government does not like to increase the population of ‘Tamils’ by numeral and the Muslims for their own betterment, especially after the civil war. The only community in Srilanka which is referred to by its religion, despite the fact over 90% of the so called Muslims are from Tamil Nadu. That is why, irrespective of the fact, whether they live in- Jaffna or Hambantota, Beruwela or Bandarawela they communicate among them in Tamil Language. Immediately after independence, numerous Muslim Tamils represented the Tamil Arasu Kadchi as representatives of the Tamil community as a whole. Subsequently they faded off. There are numerous recognized Tamil Writers too who have received awards. It is unfortunate they refuse to call themselves Tamil Muslims like Tamil Christians, Tamil Catholics and even a few Tamil Buddhists. If the Tamils and ‘Muslim’ Tamils are united, the language issue together with state aided colonization could have been greatly condensed. A federal form of government for the North/East could have been achieved. This would have been beneficial for the Tamil speaking nation as a whole, particularly during times of uncertainty like at present. The prevailing political situation may have never arisen. But unfortunately the Muslim Tamil MP’s have their personal agenda which supersede the overall welfare of their community.
The Up Country Tamils
The upcountry Tamils appear to be a cursed lot. When the milk is about to boil the pot is broken by the heat generated by the different political parties, fanning the flame with the ‘one thousand rupee notes’ or by different parties fighting among them to exhibit ‘who is great’.
Unlike in the past, various Trade Unions are engaged in ‘plucking’ the best. But the result is yet to be seen. Despite the lack of political support for their education, the youngsters, by their own effort, appears to have gone up the ladder. Nevertheless, they have a long way to go and reach the pinnacle of success and represent their people in the Parliament, with steady performance, without succumbing to pressure from the ruling class during uncertain periods like now.
As far as the Tamils are concerned, after independence they were initially represented by Tamil Congress. However, its leader, GG Ponnambalam’s flirtation with the UNP to obtain a Minister ship and his conduct thereafter cost him his popularity. Not only the Tamil congress, but various other Tamil MP’s too were enticed by UNP more than the other parties of the south. Hon: Ranil should be given the credit for picking out Karuna from the LTTE causing deep dent on their power.
Thereafter Tamil Arasu Kadchi (Federal Party) under the leader ship of SJV Chelvanayakam represented the Tamils in the parliament from1956. But his non-violent movement to achieve their goal did not bring in the desired results. Successive Sinhala governments went on cheating the Tamils by entering into pacts and unilaterally withdrawing from it to satisfy the Sinhala masses. Continuous cheating by the Sinhalese gave birth to the LTTE with the blessing of the Tamils. Rest is history.
After the demise of the LTTE, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) became the representative of the Tamils with difficult agenda. TNA, with a combination of various Tamil parties is like an ‘achcharu’ with an extra pinch of salt on Tamil Arasuk Kadchi. LTTE’s demise gave a free hand to the TNA, who appears to have lost its direction with no questions asked. The arrival of Justice Wigneswarn, brought into the political arena by the TNA, seem to have altered the fabric of Tamil politics. He is able to question the TNA, whenever they deviated from the promises made in the election manifesto prior to the elections. This appears to have created a permanent rift within the TNA, hard to patch up.
With the fortuitous appointment of Hon. Rajavarothiaum Sampanthan as the leader of the opposition by the government, (unlike Late MR Amrthaligam in 1977) the TNA lost its purpose and let down the Tamils like hot potatoes. Though they are in the opposition they are more with the government trying to safeguard the government, particularly Hon. Ranil, whose past concern to-words the Tamils has been questionable and the present a void. The TNA has not made adequate political move to release the Political prisoners, Redeem the lands taken over by the military, Colonization etc, etc. If not for the continued agitation by the families of the political prisoners and those who lost the land to the army, even the little progress in sorting out matters of lost land would not have been successful. The TNA has been promising to sort out matters before each Deepavali, Thai Pongal and Tamil New Year. The affected people have been awaiting the outcome like the ‘Illavu Katha Kili’ (Like the parrots looking forward to the cotton fruit to Ripe- which never happens.) It is evident that the TNA does not like to embarrass the government by putting forward demands to regain the lost cause. The leader Mr. Sampanthan and the spokes person Mr. Sumanthiran popularly referred to as ‘SAMSUM’ invariably eclipse them from the Tamil masses for fear of being questioned.
The efforts made by the TNA to “save democracy”, from the hands of the President Srisena and Mr. Mahinda has been awesome. In fact both Hon. Sampanthan and Sumanthiran have been moving about like a ‘ping pong’ ball in the hands of two seasoned players, to obtain a Stay Order against the Dissolution of Parliament. Good. Democracy is important. But democracy is necessary to safeguard whom? Is it to safeguard the Tamils from the Sinhalese or a section of the Sinhalese from another section of the Sinhalese? Or is it to support the foreign governments who were responsible for the debacle of LTTE and there by the massacre of the Tamils. TNA took the Tamil voters up the garden path to vote for Hon. Srisena to elect him as a president and subtly supported Hon. Ranil to be the Prime Minister. But, what is the result? Hon. Srisena appears to have lost his sense of equilibrium now. But TNA should have put their foot down gently at the beginning and strongly with the passage of time and demanded their hot cake from Hon. Srisena and Hon. Ranil simultaneously. But they failed. TNA’s interest was to safeguard the government from the Geneva outcome and continue their support to them despite the plight of the Tamils who elected them. Their approach to the present political calamity appears to be devoid of any tangible steps for the Tamils to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
TNA should have initially made an effort to sort out the problems between the warring parties, instead of taking sides and achieve something for the Tamils and tie up the loose ends, thus preventing pointing of finger. This is not easy. Even a wasted effort may be better than no efforts. May be TNA could have helped both sides to clean their stable prior to getting together. Now, TNA will be used as a door mat by all parties of the south to clean their feet and discard them. By taking sides, the Tamils can never get (share) anything for the simple reason- what is given by one will be taken away by other, unless both major parties learn to live in harmony with the Tamils by sharing, rather than giving and taking.
The need to look back at the recent history is to bring to light the forgotten past where ‘KOLAI VERY’ seem to be the name of the game to achieve.