Gajalakshmi Paramasivam- 23 July 2016
Jaffna University confirms need for Executive Presidency
Sunday Leader reports that Minister Mano Ganeshan has ‘confirmed that there is a strong push to continue with the Executive Presidency and this position may have some support from minority parties.’
Most of us do not get to participate directly in the discussion but to the extent we genuinely share through avenues available to us – it has an impact on the manifestations. The deeper seers identify with this as the root contribution which often is beyond the sight of those holding the official position. Those who contribute to the root cause of an opportunity / benefit – are the true governors. Those who identify with their own Truth – identify with the Truth of others in any issue that they can manage. Otherwise they are outsiders to that issue.
Jaffna University incident has confirmed that the Jaffna mind is yet to be restored to its ability to think at the higher level in a ‘free’ environment. My generation often sought Education mostly towards employment purposes. That helped value order at the workplace also. But the younger generation has inherited premature exercise of ‘freedom’ including from their parents. During our generation, the mind of the senior was trained to think ‘inclusive’ and the mind of the junior was ‘free’ of responsibility. The junior needed the Master’s voice to regulate her/him or s/he risked losing benefits. Likewise the voter and the politician. But the LTTE turned this pyramid upside down by the manual workers killing some of those intellectual masters. That was also Jaffna’s uprising against the higher caste. Those who rebel genuinely often know they have to but do not consciously know who or what they are rebelling against. When genuine – such rebellion is to preserve one’s own Sovereignty. I learnt this through my own experiences within family and community and later in Australian workplace. Usually I rebelled at exit point – i.e. – as a last resort. Hence I am able to identify with a genuine rebel who prevents excessive abuse of authority. Such a rebel would never act to attack or shift the blame on someone else first. Both sides to the Sri Lankan war failed this test of ‘protecting Sovereignty’
The University of Jaffna has proven to be one that needs the ‘Master’s Voice’. As per the Sunday Leader report:
‘Talks on power sharing is possibly the most sticky issue in the process to draft a new or amended Constitution. Ganeshan said that there is division on the 13th Amendment to the Constitution which includes sharing powers to the provinces.’
The 13th Amendment is about devolving power to the lower level which is NOT officially responsible to the outside world. Faculties within the University are the parallels of Provinces. But the Tamil Provinces under the leadership of Northern Province have confirmed yet again that they are capable of escalating the problem to the International level. Until the Tamil Tiger showed up, the Sinhala Lion held that position. Both sides have confirmed that they need the meek cattle to remain in power. Excessive use of power resulted in rebellion from the lower classes when there was interference from the ruling class.
Even today – villages like Thunaivi in Vaddukoddai District function reasonably well when they are left on their own – to manage through their own culture. During my parents’ and grandparents’ time the local folks who were largely toddy tappers – would not come outside when we were at our family temple. Toddy is not sacred food and hence the hierarchy and the separation that suited both sides. The Hon Mano Ganeshan would be able to identify with the parallel of this in his Constituency made up largely of Tea Estate workers. This separation exists between Jaffna Tamils, Batticaloa Tamils and Hill Country Tamils as per their mind order. Now that I have learnt that excessive inclusiveness would disturb the peace I have become largely an observer when living in Thunaivi. When I asked our neighbor Chellammah the morning after a serious brawl between two other neighbors one promising to kill the other – Chellammah said ‘Ammah – this has been going on for years - but not even one fellow is dying!’. That would be the declaration foreigners to Sri Lanka would hear from locals – about these ethnic fights after which have become low class due to easier availability of arms. Both side armies want to rule like animals and what better could one expect?
In such environment, the Jaffna University incident ought to have been managed within the University. The Dean of Science and the Vice Chancellor ‘left it to the students’ and hence the infiltration from outside and the threats. If the Dean and the Vice Chancellor are accepting of manual settlement they would be like our neighbor Chellammah – but this then confirms that the University of Jaffna a low class University. Any University where brawn is used ahead of brain is disconnected from its core purposes of Research and Teaching. Where the University Administration resorts to calling armed forces as first option – the return karma happens within the University to weaken its own connection to the core purposes mentioned above.
As per Ceylon Today report, the order in which action happened confirms that brawn acted before brain:
[Leader of the House and Minister of Higher Education and Highways, Lakshman Kiriella, said action with regard to the violent clash at the University of Jaffna would be taken upon the recommendation of the three... ...member committee appointed to probe the incident………"The Police reported to me that a student by the name of Thanakeshwaran Sisitharan', whom the Police identified as a suspect in this incident, appeared before the Court through, a lawyer, and was released on bail when the Police was about to arrest him. The UGC Commissioners, including its chairman are to make a visit to the Jaffna University tomorrow. They will meet the academic staff, non-academic staff and students and will report back to me,” he said.]
The choice for Jaffna citizens is therefore to leave their University to downgrade itself or become the Masters of their children and bring about order – individually and/or collectively in groups. Those who started the war through the Vaddukoddai Resolution have the responsibility to now develop the structures needed for such internal mechanisms. If they are not able to – they must withdraw that Resolution in good faith. That is the challenge facing TNA. If it continues to take the soft approach – then Jaffna will become the playground of mischief-makers.
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