Friday 19 May 2017

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam
19  May 2017

One Indian Doesn’t  Sri Lanka-Indian State Make

I learnt from Dr. Christopher Pulle the saying ‘One Swallow Doesn’t a Summer Make’. Was reminded of that this morning when reading the Hindu article The Long Journey of a Forgotten People by Ms Meera Srinivasan.

Ms Srinivasan states:

[Several decades of neglect by the plantation companies and the state, that earned huge profits and export revenue from the estate workers’ cheap labour, have pushed hill-country Tamils to the margins of society. Northern Tamils underplay their sacrifices in the armed struggle, forgetting that many of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam cadre who died in the final offensive in May 2009 were those who migrated from the hill country.]

The question is the inner purpose that brought the Hill-country Tamils to Northern Sri Lanka. Did they come for employment purposes or did they come as representatives of Hill-Country Rebels against the Government? If latter – who was their leader – as Karuna Amman was of Batticaloa Tamils? Like elected leaders, one needs particular ‘form’ to show their specific contribution to an outcome. That group is limited to the credits and debits of the leader for particular ownership. The rest is Common which is most effective when least shown.

Land is the basis of ownership form in this instance. Hill Country Tamils have to first become Jaffna Tamils in their own minds – to be entitled to equal share of credit as a Jaffna Tamil in the struggle to maintain our Independence at earned levels. Armed struggle is truly secondary to Jaffna Tamils in our investment to maintain that Independence earned especially through our investment in higher education. In terms of Natural challenges, Jaffna is dry while Hill country is cool. Those to whom Jaffna is ‘home’ accept the discomfort of extreme heat more readily than others. The investment in Independence by Jaffna Tamils is preserved in this Land as Energy – and that Energy raises Itself to support anyone fighting for Independence through any pathway and to whom Jaffna is home. Armed Tamils are known to have killed some of those who were seeking through other pathways – for example, Dr. Neelan Tiruchelvam. Often it happens when armed leadership is accepted by the general public to whom it does not matter whether Rama or Ravana rules Sri Lanka. Hence they are comfortably subdued until the problem is at their own doorstep and/or inside their own homes. Jaffna Tamils are now experiencing this.

Now, living in Vaddukoddai which was represented by the Hon Neelan Thiruchelvam, why we could not invoke the powers of Vaddukoddai to protect us from the Government Forces. The vision of the folks here – to whom Vaddukoddai is now home are not able to invoke those higher level powers to seek Independence on behalf of all groups. The lower the pathway, the more limited the partnership. The folks here change the rules to suit the outcomes they desire.

I feel that Dr. Thiruchelvam would have been better off following through the legal pathway. Recently I was surprised to learn the following from a Tamil lawyer in a Colombo law firm to whom I wrote inquiring about representation in a Colombo Appeal matter:

Colombo Tamil Lawyer:

[I am sure that you must be having a Lawyer already representing you.  We are reluctant to take over a case handled by another Lawyer.]

The ensuing communication went as follows:

Yes, I had Mr. Manoharan as the instructing solicitor and Mr. Parathalingam as the Barrister. But Mr. Parathalingam undertook without any advice to me,  to represent our opposition in a Testamentary matter here in Jaffna. I was very upset by this and asked Mr. Manoharan to terminate the services of Mr. Parathalingam. Mr. Manoharan withdrew stating health reasons but I feel that it was because he did not want to upset Mr. Parathalingam. I have since then represented myself.

After hearing this if you are still reluctant to take on the matter – I would conclude that you are also not committed to professional ethics.

Colombo Tamil Lawyer:

Dear Ms. Gajalakshmi,
I refer to your e-mail of 15th May 2017.
What do you mean by stating that “I would conclude that you are also not committed to professional ethics”.  Is ‘not’ erroneously used.  Please clarify.


Thank you Mr. ……..
No, the word NOT is not erroneously used. It is in its right place. The clarification goes as follows:

You state as your ‘ rule ’ – whether it is based on a legal principle or not - :

“I am sure that you must be having a Lawyer already representing you.  We are reluctant to take over a case handled by another Lawyer.”

If in your mind, a lawyer cannot take on the case handled by  another lawyer, without going through DUE PROCESS – then  a lawyer also has the duty as per that ‘ rule ‘ to not take on an opposition as a client while representing one client, during the period of that representation. Mr. Parathalingam did not have even the courtesy to inform me or our instructing solicitor Mr. Manoharan, leave alone following Due Legal Process.

To my mind, a lawyer is a combination of a Judge and the Litigant represented by her/him. When the mind of the lawyer is ‘opposed’ to her/his client – the lawyer loses her/his capability to represent that litigant during the period the first matter is active. If Mr. Parathalingam sought to represent our opposition in the Jaffna matter – he had the duty to first excuse himself from our Colombo matter. He failed in that duty as a professional. We have this kind of process in Auditing services and I was trained by M/S Satchithananda Schokman Wijeratne  & Co and even now Mr. Paupati refers to me as a star student.  

It is my understanding that as per Due Process the Judge who heard the case has to deliver judgment. But as per Due Process  - another judge of a higher court does have the authority to rule in that  matter after the matter had been completed at the primary level. My request to you came along that process.

In your case,  the Public have priority access above fellow lawyers, to your loyalty to the profession. To my eye,  your response seemed very similar to that of Mr. Manoharan who did not want to get a debit point from Mr. Parathalingam.  Being committed to Due Process, we both filed the papers confirming the termination of services of the lawyers. I have been representing myself since then. I am ‘free’ of any obligation to those lawyers who were scratching each other’s back.

Hope this clarifies.

Dr. Thiruchelvam died because he sought the higher pathway of the Constitution-making when the lower pathway of armed struggle was still active. International leaders keep finding fault with the Sri Lankan Government for not abiding by International laws. The way the Sri Lankan Constitution has been crafted – it following some provisions would defeat the parallel International law. When the Constitution becomes a summary of Political promises – it distracts the citizen from her/his own natural Constitution. Such a Constitution becomes a pleasant dream when one has custody of power and nightmare when one loses power.

The claim that Hill-country Tamils are entitled to Equal  share in the investment made by Jaffna Tamils in self-determination -  is such a dream. As per true contribution including through the higher pathways – Hill-country Tamils are the most junior section within the  Sri Lankan Tamil Community and they are not yet mature enough for equal leadership of the whole – no more mature than LTTE was to lead intellectual Tamils. If indeed the LTTE had not been defeated – Tamils of Sri Lanka would have been limited to lower pathways to enjoy ‘freedom’ the physical cost of which is much higher than the intellectual pathway. Pushing the Indian Tamil mandate is likely to kill more of them.

Premature assumption of leadership limits one’s vertical development towards higher pathways. It’s by foregoing the benefits when we reach the milestones that we make ourselves ready to the next stage of the pathway to the goal of Independence for ALL. One who limits shrinks her/his world. 

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