The Value of our Vote
I received the sad news that Sinnarasu - a member of our Local Community in Northern Sri Lanka suffered heart-attack while working in the farm – using his tractor. I remember also the loss of my dear uncle Visvanathan while working his farm similarly in Kilinochchi. Sinnarasu is not part of our family and yet due to my work in Vattukottai area – I feel for his family. As for Sinnarasu – he did not suffer due to old age.
With all this in my mind, I read Sri Lanka Guardian article ‘Tamil Vote: Is It 2005, Again?’ by Tissaranee Gunasekera. Ms Gunasekera states ‘The current situation of the North is both alarming and pathetic. Poverty is extremely high – according to the Headcount Index, it is 28.8% in Vanni, 12.7% in Killinochchi, 20.1% in Mannar and 8.3% in Jaffna. Only Vavuniya at 3.4%, has a poverty-ratio lower than the national average of 6.7% . Unemployment is high as well’
Given that the article is about the Tamil vote and its influence in Presidential elections – it is more important for us to be driven by how Tamils feel about themselves. If the vote is the parallel of statistics, governance is the parallel of ownership service. As per my feelings as a Tamil – Vattukottai that suffered much due to the war is more self-sufficient than it was in 2005. Hence I do not identify with the above statistics.
Ms Gunasekera states also ‘The Rajapaksas do not need Tamil votes to win. They just need Tamils to abstain from voting. The Rajapaksas understood this in 2005. That is why they did a deal with the LTTE to impose an election-boycott on Tamils’
I take the above as an accepted account of what happened during the 2005 Presidential elections. I must say I was unhappy that Tamils were suppressed by the LTTE from exercising their rights to vote. But as I appreciate these days through a more mature mind – the LTTE’s vision did not extend beyond armed win. If Ranil had won Tamil unemployment would have been high under LTTE.
Even in 2005 – the LTTE knew that the Tamil People on their own would vote for Peace. That would have meant loss of jobs for the LTTE. In 2010 Presidential elections – Tamil voters by voting for General Sarath Fonseka confirmed that they did not hold the armed forces responsible for the death of Tamils in 2009. The grievance was against the Policies by the Government elected by majority race. The vote of Tamils in the 2015 elections would confirm whether to the Tamil citizen – the situation has improved since 2010 or whether it has gotten worse. Like with immigration, irrespective of the form in which we express ourselves – for most Tamils Colombo (therefore President / Government) is about employment / jobs.
As an individual, I believe that God’s system has worked on many occasions to balance the equation for me as per my own inner structures in relation to jobs. Most Tamils of my generation prayed for particular outcomes especially in terms of jobs. They did not think that if they had the visible qualifications that was enough. There is of course the known and seen efforts by us as individuals, the structures that supported us to get to that place at that time and above all – the urge that motivated us from within.
In early life – when I felt unjustly treated by custodians of power – I absorbed that pain and carried on performing as per my allocated position. Unlike LTTE I did not retaliate. This helped me look beyond custodians of power for my own inner satisfaction. I relied heavily on my belief in God to fill the gap. This helped me wait until I had reached my peak – at the University of New South Wales – before producing my own returns of karma – but without violating others’ work. This was largely through Gandhi’s path of peaceful non-violent non-cooperation. Hence whilst others accumulated more money wealth - I developed self-governance ownership in Australia as well as in Sri Lanka.
The form of that God in my mind was as per my family structures. Later, I added my own forms through my life as an independent person. This continued in Australia where my Sri Lankan qualifications were not recognized but my work was by those in need. But within me I upheld the Sri Lankan structure that groomed me to be a Professional. Even when I did basic bookkeeping work – my standards were those of a Chartered Accountant. I thus upheld the investments in common structures by Sri Lankans who recognized themselves as Sri Lankans. I do not know of any in my age group who qualified as Professionals through Tamil only or Sinhala only structures.
This quiet acceptance of lower positions but without compromising on the higher Sri Lankan standards, eventually led to me finding opportunities without actively seeking. The last private sector position with Lend Lease – a large successful organization here in Australia – happened without me applying for any job there. The employment agent to whom I had gone previous contacted me asking me whether I was available? Christians say ‘Knock and it shall open’. The knocking happened when I completed my previous job to my satisfaction but was not facilitated to progress to the higher level and therefore in my mind I was ready for the next job. To the deep investor – the knocking happens in the mind – on the door of our own investments in higher opportunities through our conduct.
Likewise in voting, those who have invested in governance would invoke their powers by knocking automatically on their own doors of opportunities – within themselves. True Buddhists would invoke such powers that would help sustain Buddhist management structures in South and true Hindus would invoke such powers that would help sustain Hindu management structures in North. True Muslims and True Christians would be the common bridges that link the two cultures – provided they believe they are Sri Lankan Muslims and Sri Lankan Christians and not look beyond for support from areas where Muslims and Christians are in majority. Minorities need to complete their experience with what they have – so that they would be more open to recognizing the contribution by their belief in God in filling the gap to produce outcomes of standards equal any member of majority group. It’s the quality that confirms the divine support from within.
Votes are about belief and how it works for the individual. The level of self-governance is determined by the level of belief in oneself. Any grouping to influence the mind at the last minute is a block in this path between governance and voting – be it by the Common Candidate by the Sinhalese Opposition or by the Tamil National Alliance who are the ruling power in North and East. In terms of the Diaspora – their inner vote would influence residents through their own belief that they are part of that community – not because of the seen or even the known but because of how they feel with the folks at the grassroots level. Those members of the Diaspora who work for status benefits in their own circles would not have this power because those voters at grassroots level in Sri Lanka are not part of that circle through the nucleus of Oneness. Every stroke of the work of a Diaspora member who feels for the current voter as part of her/himself would naturally influence the voter at ground level. The greater the benefits we receive / take for our work – the less our investment in this natural influencing power of belief.
Ms Gunasekera states ‘Ensuring a low voter-turnout in the North and the East will be a key Rajapaksa aim.’
LTTE suppressed the freedom of Tamil voter and elected Mr. Rajapaksa – effectively to kill them. In 2005 itself the Tamil Community had enough evidence of the limits of the LTTE to lead Tamils. Whoever suppresses the freedom of a Community which has lost much in its quest to maintain its diversity – through belief based self-governance – is doing a repeat of LTTE suppression. If this is TNA then they lose political power – as Mr. John Howard did here in Australia by suppressing migrants from Asia – most of it subconsciously due to lack of investment in global communities. If it is the Diaspora – Tamil or Sinhalese – then they would lose governance power in their own countries of residence in their own respective circles where they are leaders. One who promotes self-governance in others develops self-governance in her/himself. Once realized self-governance would work any time anywhere to protect and guide the person – like a guardian angel.
Gajalakshmi Paramasivam – 15 December 2014