Gajalakshmi Paramasivam – 08 June 2015
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Global Tamil Leadership
I received with appreciation an email response by supporter of Non-Resident Tamils of Sri Lanka in the UK. Some highlights of that are shared along with my own responses to it.
NRT Supporter (NRTS): Thank you for your Email. It was nice meeting you at the gathering organised by the NRT(SL).
The questions (which I thought I might as well share with you and the like minded people) that need be answered on the news item, for now and the future, if it is true and in the context of the fact that it is a high level meeting, are:
1. NRTS: Is GTF such a body that it could be considered as " representing the Tamils" living globally (as the name implies) or even the Tamils living in the UK ?
Gaja: If GTF (Global Tamil Forum) has at least one member who believes that s/he is global – then the Forum does represent Tamil living globally – through belief. It’s a Natural Representation as we do in families.
2. NRTS: If so, how was this representation brought about?
Gaja: Irrelevant unless they claim that they Administer Tamils and not merely represent Tamils as part of the Common Diaspora
(3) NRTS: Who is Suren Surendran? -- Exactly what and when was his contribution to the Tamil people?
Gaja: Irrelevant unless we accept them as OUR Administrators
(4) NRTS: How did he and/ or what authority has he to represent and articulate the political aspirations of the Tamils in Sri Lanka , or in the UK, or globally?
Gaja: His belief. We have no obligation to give it credit, unless we are within the GTF. If it is not within their stated purpose any member of the affected public has the right to take legal action.
(5) NRTS: Can anyone, just because he/she has perhaps some time and money at their disposal, set up an outfit and claim themselves to "represent the Tamils" to the extent of having recognition by the higher echelons of the Sri Lankan and international governments to decide the fate of the Tamils,?
Gaja: To the extent we are sincere and true to our stated purpose – we have the moral right to make claims within that Truth. But these may not always be within the laws of the country. Where they are not, we have the right to take action through due administrative and legal pathways. If we have cultural clout we could use our vote within the community. Otherwise we have to treat our disagreements as social dismissals which will show returns as per our depth of investment in the common cause. To the extent we are true we would identify with the return as the confirmation of the solution we have already written in our minds and completed the picture through our Truth, the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth.
(6) NRTS: Has the GTF openly expressed their disassociation with the LTTE policies and methodologies, which they have been vehemently articulating and supporting during the LTTE days?
Gaja: They don’t need to. Karuna is part of the Government even though he was an LTTE leader. By conduct that is the law that the Sri Lankan Government has developed not only with LTTE but also with Southern Insurgents – the JVP. If majority British Tamils have not disassociated themselves from the LTTE methodologies and outcomes then GTF would be acceptable to majority UK Tamils. Why would GTF need to disassociate with LTTE and lose its importance as a group that could harness LTTE support through the political pathway of belief?
During LTTE days – they were the only Government known to most victims of war in Tamil areas. Hence whoever performed the Government work would be the real government known to these folks. Those who had/have little understanding of the root causes of the war would go by what happened to them at that time at that place. This is stronger in the case of those families whose children were with LTTE and/or whose family members died due to attack by Armed Forces. Civilians who were not protected were/are entitled to so conclude. If LTTE is denounced – GTF would cease to represent them. These groups would not have any government to turn to. The advantage of Social Groups such as GTF and NRT is that they do not have to be regulated by strict rules but rather through common beliefs. TNA (Tamil National Alliance) which also includes LTTE does not have that advantage and therefore the requirements are different – as laws are different in different countries.
The investment in Self-Governance through the Government in our respective areas is valid as having been made in the Government position – be it through the Sri Lankan Member of Parliament, LTTE or the Armed Forces. The Administrative pathway through which we invest confirms the ‘system’ through which we invested. The individual through whom we invest confirms the Political pathway we follow. To the extent the Laws of the Country were followed – habitually and/or by determination – Tamils continued to invest in the Government system. Only where this value is weaker than the following-of orders by the LTTE or other armed rebels – should one be listed as LTTE supporter – needing to expressly renounce their investment in such leadership by armed leaders – to become eligible for membership with wider systems.
In addition, to the extent Mr. Douglas Devananda’s group carried arms – all other political parties in that area were entitled to do so by virtue of Mr. Devananda’s party EPDP being part of the Government at that time. Also, to the extent EPDP killed to attack or in defence – every other Tamil Political party in that area had the authority of the Government to kill to attack or in defence. Once LTTE joined TNA – they were entitled to the same clemency as Karuna in the East.
(7) NRTS: Have they openly accepted their responsibility and accountability on this and apologised for the disastrous consequences of the part they played in cohort with the LTTE that has brought about the ruination of the Tamils and the country as a whole?
Gaja: Majority Tamils would not identify with the LTTE as being the root cause of the war. Majority Tamils would point to the Government as the root cause. Whether this is right or wrong depends on the measures used- especially whether they are common. One who has no other knowledge is entitled to belief that the person who caused her/him the pain is the cause. Politics is about belief and we need to respect the authority as per that belief where there is no higher common law in majority minds at that place at that time. It is self-judgment through belief.
If the Sri Lankan Government had accepted the 1977 election results as confirmation from Above – that Tamils are indeed an Equal force in Government – we would not have had the 1978 Constitution from which the Government is now working to release itself. If Tamil leaders had stayed within their circle of belief and upheld Political Solution as the preferred pathway and therefore continued along that pathway post Vaddukoddai Resolution 1976 – they would have observed Sathya Graham – in protest against LTTE and other armed groups. By failing to judge our internals on the same platform as they judged the Sinhalese – Tamil Politicians dwarfed their own thought structures in terms of Civil Administration. If they had used their Belief only for political purposes they would have used the level playing field. Truth is the most NON-VIOLENT uniting force known to me. Death for that Truth alone – makes the killer a Great Hero – Maha Veeran.
(8) NRTS: Apart from the general, vague and ambiguous declarations of "Self -determination", what exactly are the political structure and formation that they are propounding for the Tamils in Sri Lanka?
Gaja: Diaspora Groups without their physical presence in Sri Lanka – do not have the official mandate to Politically lead Resident Tamils in Sri Lanka. They could use their influence through other pathways to help Resident Sri Lankans realize self-determination – each group as per their own level of development. We – Australian Tamil Management Service - are doing this through educational pursuits – including through lessons in Human Values. There are others who are facilitating this through medical services. I did not realize self-governance through the Political pathway. Political clout at global level could help work the government system, but if we try to translate / express at global political level – we would lead ourselves astray.
(9) NRTS: Would that be acceptable to all the Tamil speaking people of Sri Lanka, including the Muslims, let alone, the Sinhalese? If not, how are they proposing to bring about this acceptance without which anything is meaningless and useless and in fact time wasting.
Gaja: Language on its own would never be an effective measure of unity and therefore of distribution of responsibility. Belief through common culture is the measure. Hence I, an Accountant may find it more harmonious to live with a Sinhalese Accountant than a Tamil atheist. It is the common belief that makes us Diverse and yet not Divisive. A family where at least one member invests in Commonness would be in union with itself even where the members physically live far away. In contrast – a family with large membership living physically close to each other – but without common belief – would easily get scattered where money is the measure. This is a serious risk within the Diaspora groups of both ethnicities. One such example was highlighted by the Swiss National’s part in the recent rape case in Northern Sri Lanka.
When we become models of Self-Governance in our own local areas – including Tamils in the UK – we would naturally lead others by example.
(10) NRTS: What are the exact political actions they advocate for the Tamils living abroad and the Tamils living in Sri Lanka to do (apart from pushing for a UNHRC resolution and 'war crimes' inquiries, which they too know well have been part of the international communities designs for change of Mahinda Rajapaks'e government and with the change they can be seen to be diluted now)?
Gaja: Some of us receive the Sri Lankan experiences through the Global pathway. Others use the global pathway only for particular purposes. The latter are visitors and the former are citizens. So long as the latter group does not desire to lead former – there is room for both.
The Sri Lankan Government which invested in Sinhala Buddhism more than in Sri Lanka of Global values – USED the Global Highway for its purposes as visitors and tried to lead the world in relation to Sri Lanka. If Tamil leaders also do that, their fate would be like that of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Regime.
(11) NRTS: Who and which organisations, if any, are they liaising within Sri Lanka, in UK and globally, that is representative of the Tamils, Muslims and Sinhalese, as this process is imperative for a meaningful, just and permanent political solution for the vexed national question that has defied answer and destroyed the country for the last many decades , and inevitably has to be solved amicably for the country as a whole to progress for the good of all the people? What is the understanding they have with them?
Gaja: Our organization – Australian Tamil Management Service – with a branch in Vaddukoddai Sri Lanka has no government affiliations. We are funded largely by immediate family out of our hard-earned savings. The higher capital is Human Capital and Corporate Wisdom. Through our regular work and interactions – we share our self-governance energies with others along the non-political pathways. We are very firm in our Administration and that is undisturbed by those who desire quick outcomes through which they can ‘show and tell’. Ours is the bottom up path with Truth as our leader.
Just yesterday, after Bhajan (group singing of Divine songs) I shared from Sydney, with our group at Thunaivi - Vaddukoddai – my belief that two children of one family in that area went overseas because the father prayed daily at our temple – in which shrine our family – mostly part of the Diaspora also has faith. With this Shrine as the Common Pool of Belief – we share our global values so that these groups do not feel disenfranchised. Given that they were disenfranchised previously due to their caste – they became a target group for exploitation by armed groups including LTTE and EPDP. By living with them I have learnt that they actually look up to the leadership by the higher caste – under whom their fathers worked. They may reject the current generation of that higher caste as leaders but when it comes to customary laws and family laws – they continue to take leadership from the higher caste in their areas, including through the life of elders they trust/ed. To the extent they submit of their own accord – it is belief based following and is not within the Administrative Jurisdiction of any official authority. Often when I explained to youth groups the family protocols – especially in relation to respect for parents – they say ‘Ammah we did not know about this’. I do believe that the pooling of belief by the Diaspora through Common prayers and living has empowered young ones to use the official pathways to emigrate. Others who came by boat to Australia are now discouraging their mates back in Vaddukoddai to not undertake that pathway. This was possible because our group educated them to follow their belief – however long it took to get the freedom they were seeking.
Due to the Testamentary matter in relation to my brother in law Subramaniam Yoganathan of Vaddukoddai – I myself learnt more deeply about the system of Thesawalamai – the customary law of Jaffna Tamils, encoded by the Dutch. To the extent the dowry system is practiced by Tamils – the highest known law suitable to Jaffna Tamils is Thesawalamai for marriage issues. Even though I did practice this Code of Conduct often by foregoing personal pleasures and benefits, towards pooling in Common with my husband’s family – and often even though I was often ‘forgotten’ after being used – the system of Truth would not let me walk away. It insisted that I converted my contributions into ‘system structures’ by escalating the matter to the highest level through my own pathways.
In the above case – sisters who received dowry are claiming equal share as brothers from the Intestate Estate of Subramaniam Yoganathan. But as per Thesawalamai Law and principles – Diversity & Equality are maintained through Separation of Powers between the role of Father and Mother respectively as Equal but Different Heads of the One family. To my mind, it is not different to the Judiciary & the Executive Government being the Equal but Different Heads of a Nation – with the requirement to uphold the Doctrine of Separation of Powers. That Separation of Powers is built into the Law of Thesawalamai through sharing of inherited wealth. That is how highly civilized Tamils of Sri Lanka have been.
Recently, I learnt through Nihal Sri Ameresekere’s book “Overseas Corporate Structures, Which Hide 'real Owners'” and his detailed listings therein of the inheritance claims by the family of Business Tycoon Upali Wijewardene – that the sisters, of Upali Wijewardene who is not known to have had children, were entitled to 50% of the Intestate Estate and that the wife was entitled to only 50% of the Estate. This to my mind, gave recognition to the investment made by the family whose genes we inherit and whom we grow up with. Under Thesawalamai – sisters who received dowry from that common family are NOT entitled to share of wealth of the brothers who die without children.
I learnt also that the late Philip Upali Wijewardene was the cousin of President JR Jayawardene. My mind asked the question as to whether there was any connection between the disappearance of Mr. Upali Wijewardene and his accumulation of excessive wealth which led to Political Promotions instead of Transparent Merit Based promotion to higher authority. The question arose due to the ‘promotions’ that Mr. Upali Wijewardene enjoyed due to his relationship with President J R Jayawardene. On page 4 of the above mentioned book, Nihal states that he had knowledge that Mr. Upali Wijewardene was returning from Malaysia to Sri Lanka on 13 February 1983 to assume political Office as Minister of Finance. That was when Mr. Upali Wijewardene’s plane is reported to have crashed. July 1983 becoming Black July not only for Tamils in Colombo but also for President JR Jayawardene was to my mind no coincidence. The Business pathway and the Political pathway when mixed indiscriminately – produce Separation2. Belief is an exponential power. Politics needs to be belief based and business needs to be transparent.
Family & National Governance when mixed indiscriminately eventually hurts someone so badly that they would be empowered by Truth to fight along their own pathways. One who operates close to Truth is always protected by Truth and would naturally merge systems into common pool and then draw from such common pools. I wrote in this regard:
[Nihal Sri Ameresekere was my senior when we were both students learning to become Chartered Accountants. I would have been about 19 or 20 years of age. It was voting time for the student society and Yogi Sri Khanta from our firm (Satchithananda, Schokman, Wijeratne & Co) was contesting to become the Treasurer. Nihal (Turqand Youngs & Co ) and Victor Rajakulendran (Ford Rhodes, Thornton & Co) were competing for the position of President. Block voting was organized between Victor’s supporters in his firm and Yogi’s supporters in our firm. But I got to know Nihal as a person through Sunnelle de Silva and hence decided that it was appropriate to vote as an individual. Yogi (my second cousin) being the gentleman he is – confirmed that that was fine and the block was for those who did not have individual preferences. The ‘independence’ power of that Political vote at such a young age – I believe is returning Dividends through the work done by Nihal of the same Profession. That I believe is the way Truth works to support the self-governance values of individuals who often make personal sacrifices towards self-governance. Nihal’s writings have added support to my own sharing of my work related experiences through my book Naan Australian. ] Beyond Consciousness
One who operates close to Truth will make the best connection between cause and effect through her/himself. That is the highest and natural Administrative pathway available to ALL of us.