22 October, 2020

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Wigneswaran’s Polite Persistence Is Winning Over The Sinhalese

By Kumar David

Prof Kumar David

Prof Kumar David

“Any fool can state ultimate goals – Wisdom is getting the next step right”

It was in the 1960s at a meeting in the Colombo Town Hall grounds that I heard Colvin say this; he attributed it to Lenin. I have searched for the original quote but never could locate it. Perhaps he was not quoting, only describing Lenin’s unerring genius for getting it right each step of the way. Any damn fool leftist will tell you that socialism is the ideal, or chant “From each according to his ability to each according to his needs”, but what step to take next in a concrete conjuncture, neither sectarians nor party bosses who can’t think on their feet, can get right. Any Bishop can tell you about the Kingdom of Heaven but it takes an intelligent Christian to choose to pull the trigger when a drunk with a knife approaches a child, or to hold a nerve of steel. Lenin was master of the concrete conjuncture. His genius was making the right decision at each moment; when to stand firm and when to compromise, to accept or to reject, be flexible or rigid, and all the while teach his cadres and educate the people along the way.

I don’t want to overdo it, but I think there is a mild analogy with C.V. Wigneswaran’s (CV) strategic flexibility. Nor do I want to give offence to the good Justice by suggesting that he would ever knowingly copy a hardcore communist. Oh dear no!  But CV has had a startling impact; his rise from a nobody judge to a star in the political firmament has been meteoric – sorry about the mixed metaphor. When one reflects on why, the following answer takes shape: Invariably, CV has got the next step right; the man is an unconscious Leninist in matters of strategy. I hope he also has the stamina and the staying power that is needed.

The correct handling of contradictions between the Chief Minister and the President – or the Provincial Administration and the Centre, which is the same thing – should achieve three things. First it should unremittingly press the demand that the powers vested in the PC and the CM be respected and implemented, second the regime’s intransigence should be used to expose the authoritarianism of the state, and third the CM must, step by step, take his people through a learning curve. CV quite clearly is making a good job of the first task and showing relentless tenacity. Next, the government’s calculated efforts to undermine the province stand out like a sore thumb for all to see – that is to say the failure of the state in Lanka has been exposed to domestic and international view. The impending setback in Geneva is proof of the latter. Thirdly this is an unfolding case study, a model laboratory in which the Tamil people get invaluable political education with the potential to raise people’s consciousness.

It is against this background that I will use the rest of this essay to develop a few ideas.

A Wigneswaran in every province

CV is a shot in the arm for enthusiasts of devolution; he has proved that devolution can work if the Chief Minister has integrity, commitment and intelligence. Who in his right mind would assert that potential CMs with like qualities cannot be found in other provinces? There are quality leaders in all provinces and communities but the uses and abuses of GotaMahinda state power encourages knaves to climb and buries Sinhalese Wigneswarans. I have political differences with Vasu and they are many, but imagine if he was the Chief Minister of the South or Sabaragamuwa, instead of wasting away warming a chair in a lame duck ministry, how much he could achieve. Can’t he do for a southern province as much as CV for the north? That is if he were not blocked every step of the way, and if the Divinaguma Act, which strips provinces of financial resources to bestow on one of the Rajapakse siblings the status of a super-Tsar gaming with public money, were abolished.

A winner all the way but for the obstructionist state

A winner all the way but for the obstructionist state

Let me drive home the point at the cost of annoying you by repetition; no one has put it across clearly and emphatically enough yet. The lesson to be learnt from the NPC is that if able and honest leaders were to take charge of the provinces, Lanka could be a shining example of flourishing devolution. CV has not been allowed to function, but what he has shown is a tantalising glimpse of what devolution can offer. We must first get rid of incumbent joker CMs and administrations in other provinces and put decent people and institutions in place. The point has to be driven home; devolution has never been given a chance in Lanka, now we have a glimpse of what it might achieve. The message of the NPC experience is for the Sinhala people: ‘Kick out the crooks in provincial administrations! Give devolution a chance!’

Tamils at the cross-roads, again

A poser born of hardly six months of NPC experience is the possibility of either a decisive shift in Tamil politics to a new paradigm or its return to the old one. If devolution works and the NPC delivers, Tamils will seal the contract they initiated with the TNA in September 2013. Hope of a way forward within a united Lanka will take root and they will turn their energies towards nurturing a healthy society in their homelands. Of course one must not be complacent, there are a multitude of challenges; education and health on the social side; people centred development (not Basil style concrete pouring), fisheries (phew India again!) and agriculture on the development side, and halting a slide among youth to alcohol, promiscuity and idleness. And then, money matters (and money does matter); devolution cannot work till Divinaguma is repealed.

Yes, the challenges are formidable, but people know it. When some years down the road they read the NPC’s report-card, they will make allowances. If, despite this obstructionist and dim-witted regime, CV has tangible achievements to show, Tamil alienation will whither and confidence in living together will mature.

The regime however persists with negativity; it bends over to hinder, not to collaborate. Madness; given a post-war scenario and the special needs of the North, one would expect the government to go out on a limb to mend fences. It will never get a chance as good as this to make ethnic collaboration work. If the regime blows it again this time, the country may never get another opportunity.

If extremists gain ground in the post-Geneva rage and the regime plays electoral Sinhala-Buddhism and fans xenophobia, then the relationship with the North will collapse. If tensions ratchet up, if sanctions even mild ones are introduced, if mobs get on the streets, at that point Rajapakse is not the leader with guts or morals to stand up. Even a witch hunt may start and the NPC may be dissolved. A regime that can imprison General Fonseka, a so-called war hero on trumped up charges, will have no compunction about putting a Tamil Chief Minister behind bars and throwing away the keys. Sinhalese public opinion and the international community can stop these trends. They must!

To sum up, the second option, god forbid is that the Tamils are pushed to a point where they say: “They took even this away from us; they will never give us a chance; there is no hope for us in Sinhala desam”. Then, what happens? Which avatar of Parbaharan will be reborn? Over to you Mr Gotabaya and Mr Mahinda what say you, what is your game plan with CV?

The JVP needs to grow up

CV is probably old enough to be Anura Kumara’s grandfather, but as with most granddads and grandkids they have a lot in common. For starters, both are fresh faces and fresh minds. AK has said the JVP is prepared to review its attitude to the Tamils and its stand on the national question. Nothing has happened so far; if anything the signs are that the JVP is sliding back to its outdated nationalistic stand. It is forty years since the last serious discussion on the national question in the JVP – the prison debates of the Bopage-Wijeweera era. The JVP majority still swallows the myth that devolution is a chink through which imperialism will creep in and stymie the revolution. These guys live on planet Mars; it is time to rethink the national question from bottom up. The world has changed in the last half century.

CV for his part has shown refreshing tactical realism. He has told the TNA: ‘What you need to do as the leading Tamil party to get a political settlement on the national question, you go ahead and do; the minimum I need as Chief Minister to get my job done, is a subset; just 13A’. There is no contradiction though the media is trying to manufacture one. To return to the new faces on the block, CV has shown strategic flexibility but the JVP has not shown any yet despite early hope after Anura Kumara took over. This makes a principled understanding difficult. Let’s hope they make some progress soon.

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Latest comments

  • 12
    3

    .
    Mahinda needs people like Wigneswaran and Sumanthiran on his cabinet.
    These two can replace his 100+ cabinet.
    It’s not quantity, but quality that matters.

    :-)

    • 1
      0

      Aratai,
      You definitely belong to the company of your brightest Wigneswaran , Sumanthiran, Kumar David.
      Kumar D thinks that selecting Sobhitha thero for the single issue candidate as the main pillar of ‘regime change’ project is the brightest idea of this century. Not only it shows the bankruptcy of the ‘regime change’ project, it also shows intellectual disability of the proposers. These guys think srilankans are pathetic fools who can be easily taken for a ride… This monk once was in the forefront of the nationalistic and patriotic agenda and somehow due to ‘unkonwn’ (well known among Srilankans) reasons, he has left the camp to join the other … Srilankans know his huge ‘ego’ and his weaknesses … Kumar’s Sobitha is very well exposed and poorest candidate to his project … But, he thinks that is a superb idea.. Reality of these people had long left from them and some like Aratai think otherwise …
      Look at some of things KD writes in this article ..
      ” … I have political differences with Vasu and they are many, but imagine if he was the Chief Minister of the South or Sabaragamuwa… “
      KD’s illusions are so unreal that he should surrender his head for a medical checkup …. How could Vasu who can not find enough people to fill a three-wheeler be CM in a province?
      All these bright ideas of these guys are based on assumption like – “srilankans are fools like people in countries which had Arabian springs. ” –
      but the reality is far far away from it … For imaginations (“but imagine if Vasu was the CM”) there is unlimited space, time and billions of combinations, permutations … To make all these imaginations to reality, these guys need people like Aratai … Good luck guys …

    • 1
      0

      No, no. Wigneswaran is so popular among the Sinhalese he should become the latest “single issue candidate” now that Sobhitha has landed with a thud!

      Kumar David’s judgement is always 100 percent right! Isn’t t? Fifty years of left politics has showed that!

  • 7
    7

    With due deference to your academic credentials and political acumen we have not had a an erudite and mature potician as we see in C.V. Wigneswaran.CVW has the capacity and capability of spinning the government on its own head.Also he is a man of integrity in that he neither seeks prominence nor is he in need of munifincence from the government.

    We Tamils have not had this for a long time. Let us cherish him and ensure Tamils have neither lost their dignity nor their superior intellectual capacity to decide who will lead them into these turbulent times.

    My vote is on him.

    • 3
      2

      Yes it must be superior intellectual capacity that has got you this far.

    • 8
      0

      What is being discussed here is politics.

      I don’t know that I, myself a Tamil, can faithfully endorse your, – ‘Tamils have neither lost their dignity nor their superior intellectual capacity’.

      Tamils have intellectual capacity. Agreed. But, how is it superior. Where is the proof that it had been ever put to good use in politics.

      We are no more intelligent than the Sinhalese. And, you know that they have outsmarted Tamils before and since 1948. You are not going to ask me for proof, are you.

      We Tamils have lost our dignity to the Sinhalese. – The day the Lion flag was raised over Tamil soil comes to mind.

      Why do we let these things happen to us. How do we still keep on bragging about our superior intellect.

      There are lots of weaknesses in us to neutralize our intelligence. Tamils are selfish. Tamils are disunited. Tamils are … .

      There was a time when we almost won over our rights back. But, our weaknesses ruined that opportunity.

      Sinhalese always capitalize on our weaknesses. They are superior in working together as a unit. There is no daylight between their thinking when it comes to working against Tamil aspirations.

      The day you and I accept this fact is the day our struggle for freedom will begin moving in the right direction and with the right steam.

      RS and CVW alone cannot win us our freedom. Just pray to Lord that we have them at least.

      • 1
        1

        Nathan,
        You got it all wrong mate. It is a common knowledge that even today your so-called intellectuals are hard at work to destroy Sinhala Buddhists just like the days of Kalinga Magha. Margha, as you may know, usurped the throne of Lanka from Parakrama Pandu of Polonnaruwa, in 1215 and ruled the country cruelly till 1236. Magha’s inhumane acts, cruelty and expulsion made Sinhalas to abandon Rajarata and move down to the south and fight the invader from there.

        Finally, when Parakramabahu II expelled the cruel Margha from Polonnaruwa he moved to Jaffna to started the Aryacakravarti dynasty there. It must be emphasized here that there is no record whatsoever of a kingdom of Jaffna before Kalinga Magha. You must also know that except for periods that invaders ruled Lanka the ‘lion flag’ flew all over the island. And invaders went back to where they came from when they were beaten.

        You and your profesori should know that less than three million Tamils live in Sri Lanka and the majority of them among Sinhalas in non homogeneous down South. But there are over 70 million Tamils live in homogeneous and racist Tamil Nad. Needles to say that is the homeland of Tamils just like Israel for Jews.

        If you guys want a Tamil country, that’s where you should again start your separation struggle just as you did it in the 1960s. Don’t be fooled, just like LTTE, Tamils are united against everyone else there. There is an example for it; remember, how Tamil thugs have attacked and beaten few visiting solitary Buddhist monks there.

        Now to our super intelligent profesori David,
        Whatever happen to your fast track project to divide Sinhala Buddhists and elect Sobitha to be the EP and demolish the existing peace and destabilize the country and Establish Eelam?

        Many of us are not amused by your international gang backed project. We are not voting at this useless white-elephant PC elections but we shall definitely cast our vote and defeat your neo-con agent of palli nikaya at the coming-up Presidential elections.

        • 0
          0

          Dear Banda,

          You say, ‘Nathan, You got it all wrong mate.’ Thank you. I would have no problem learning thru you.

          Just pick part(s) from my comment and let me know which and which of the statements therein is wrong, and why you hold them against me.

          I am afraid that you might end up proving Pearl Thevanayagam right!

          NOTE: I sympathize with you so much that I hope that you will desist from another mockery, trying to defend you.

      • 1
        0

        Tamils are selfish. Tamils are disunited. Tamils are … .

        NATHAN:

        Just think Why Tamils use Tamil as the Uniting facotr and not anything else.

        Because Every thing else would Divide Tamils to different groups.

        That is why Tamils needed a Velupillai Pabakaran to unite Tamil in his own way. So, he killed as many Tamils as he could in order to unite Tamils.

        Now, you Tamils accuse Sinhala – army for that.

    • 5
      1

      Pearl

      Don’t you realize you’re no different from the Sinhala racists you condemn? What do you mean by Tamils’ “superior intellectual capacity”?
      Your not too subtle allusion to the racist stereotype that Sinhalese are of inferior intellectual capacity and your Tamil chauvinism reveal you are a racist. And you call yourself a journalist!

  • 1
    0

    If all that is allowed in all other provincial governments is also allowed in the NPC,that is all that is necesary,for a start,to be reviewd after a period of time.
    Even this,the MR government is unwilling to allow.
    The military governor,on instructions by his mentor the president,is blocking all proposals by the Council.
    This attitude amounts to purposeful ‘persecution’ of people in the NPC area.

    • 1
      1

      As far as I know most Tamils believed they are more intelligent than Sinhalas. This was instilled on them by racist Ponnambalam sn in the 1930s. Looks like they still carry that idea.

      • 3
        1

        British are the real ones behind manipulating Tamils. They did it on almost every country that they took tamils into.

        • 0
          0

          There is nothing called one is more intelligent it is a well known fact that the Sihala are lazy and never thrifty. IQ of 90% Lankans <50
          It's what your Portuguese slave master taught you slaves.

      • 0
        0

        Banda

        “As far as I know most Tamils believed they are more intelligent than Sinhalas.”

        As far as my Elders know Tamils and Sinhalese believed they are more intelligent than each other.

        In reality both people compete each other to earn first place for their stupidity.

  • 2
    0

    Aratai,
    You definitely belong to the company of your brightest Wigneswaran , Sumanthiran, Kumar David.
    Kumar D thinks that selecting Sobhitha thero for the single issue candidate as the main pillar of ‘regime change’ project is the brightest idea of this century. Not only it shows the bankruptcy of the ‘regime change’ project, it also shows intellectual disability of the proposers. These guys think srilankans are pathetic fools who can be easily taken for a ride… This monk once was in the forefront of the nationalistic and patriotic agenda and somehow due to ‘unkonwn’ (well known among Srilankans) reasons, he has left the camp to join the other … Srilankans know his huge ‘ego’ and his weaknesses … Kumar’s Sobitha is very well exposed and poorest candidate to his project … But, he thinks that is a superb idea.. Reality of these people had long left from them and some like Aratai think otherwise …
    Look at some of things KD writes in this article ..
    ” … I have political differences with Vasu and they are many, but imagine if he was the Chief Minister of the South or Sabaragamuwa… “
    KD’s illusions are so unreal that he should surrender his head for a medical checkup …. How could Vasu who can not find enough people to fill a three-wheeler be CM in a province?
    All these bright ideas of these guys are based on assumption like – “srilankans are fools like people in countries which had Arabian springs. ” –
    but the reality is far far away from it … For imaginations (“but imagine if Vasu was the CM”) there is unlimited space, time and billions of combinations, permutations … To make all these imaginations to reality, these guys need people like Aratai … Good luck guys …

  • 1
    0

    Any amount of attempting to rationalize and move people, concepts and functions into a pre-determined orbit for certain aspirational cravings will not work.

    What the West, the UN and UNHRC actually want to see is Democracy, Non-Racism, Non-Castism, acceptance of other races, and a move towards modernity and progression. They do not want to see coteries of ancient culture out of context with human development and progression (unless that culture is to do with forest and ecological system habitats e.g. Vaddas of Sri Lanka and Aborigines of Australia – but then, these people do not move along with modern culture and progression, and remain as a study of what the world was like before, and appreciated thus).

    It is up to Tamil society to then realize this, because all the West will do otherwise is to only shake their fingers at the Gosl and hope they won’t move closer to China.

  • 0
    0

    “Wigneswaran’s Polite Persistence Is Winning Over The Sinhalese”

    The best way to win over the sinhalese is to say that prabha is a hero.

    The best way to win over the tamils is to say mahinda is a hero.

    The best way to win over the muslims is to say Gnanasera thero is a hero.

    There,we have won over evrybody and united the country at last,

  • 1
    2

    What Mr Nathan mentioned here are absolute truth. Tamils are just beating around the bush, still thinking that they are smart, intelligent and all that but every one including them know how poorly they act and react when things happen. The “Sinhalaya Modaya” terminology cannot be accepted by anyone anymore. They are outsmarting all these so called ‘intelligent’ Tamil stupid folks. The unity of the Sinhala race, no matter whether it’s for a right or a wrong reason, is something, the always divided, suspicious and mostly selfish Tamils should try to learn. The fallout from grace for the Tamils is mainly due to this non unity, jealousy and fake ego among themselves. Tamils were never united for many selfish reasons and sadly, they are still paying for their own follies even today. This is some kind of curse befell upon Tamils in Sri Lanka. One cannot blame Sinhala racist rulers for everything…Tamils should honestly share some blame if they are sincere.

    • 2
      1

      The difference is that Sinhalese always know when to apply modern, democratic, humanistic paradigms, courtesy of Buddha, throughout history.

      They have assimilated other races into their fold from pre-history e.g. Sinhalese coastal people and progressing inland, have been mixing with alien settlers who came to our shores- whether North-Indians, Tamils, Europeans, Chinese, Africans, Malays and Middle Easterners. Tamils on the other hand strive to be racially pure – and if they are not, are told to keep quiet about it, so as to fulfill the Tamil blueprint. And Tamils then attempt to divide the Sinhalese by taunting them about their mixtures. This has happened especially since the Tamils could not get a grip on power after independence, in spite of being a minority. It would seem they tried to control the capital city where they had some majority, thus disregarding the veracity that the rest of the country was over 75% Sinhalese.

      Tamil education became during colonization, rote learning of colonial invention, and was grossly out of context with the reality of Lanka. Sinhalese on the other hand, as a perpetually modern healthy nation, has always strived to live within her own land, in understanding of her people.

      Tamil Western educational knowledge might have worked in a larger place like Tamil Nadu, which has a gigantic population to make foreign Western learning feasible. But even there it took several decades to become applicable.

      In the meantime Tamils became generally deranged and terroristic due to their inability to apply their new found knowledge, and the greatness they feel they deserved.

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