Did Sinhala Nationalism give birth to Tamil Nationalism?
14 September 2018
Did Sinhala Nationalism give birth to Tamil Nationalism?
The foot-massage lady here in Colombo said to me that many Jaffna Tamil ladies came there but most of them could not speak Sinhalese. The lady went on to state that it was all good before the war but now Tamils were claiming Nationalism. I said to her that they learnt it from Sinhalese who claimed Sinhala Nationalism – especially through Sinhala only language policy.
In his article ‘The Vijayakala Vortex: Standing Up For A Tamil Woman In Sri Lankan Politics’ - Dr. Chamindra Weerawardhana states ‘When writing about ethno-national politics in post-war Sri Lanka, this writer has constantly sought to highlight one point – that there is such a thing called Tamil nationalism. Tamil nationalism is a given, and whether some of us like it or not, it continues to exist and in some quarters thrive.’
To the extent Tamils realized self-governance through Tamil culture – Tamil Nationalism is right in that area for that group. But then rebels who ‘told’ Tamils what to do – separated themselves from such a group. Also as per the laws of Nature – one who claims nationalism through a section of the country called Sri Lanka, is NOT entitled to lead Sri Lankan Nationalism. It’s like Dual Citizenship. A dual citizen is not entitled to make policy contribution – the same way a Buddhist is not entitled to lead a Hindu in religious issues. There can be only one form to lead the primary level voter/follower strongly led by ‘form’.
Sinhala Nationalism claim by elected politicians automatically generated the parallel opportunity for all those who classified themselves in different ‘form’. Those like myself who remained Sri Lankans rank highest in Sri Lankan issues. They would naturally be supported by all Sri Lankans who are NOT any other nationalists as per their own declarations of belief. Through Vaddukoddai Resolution 1976 – Tamils became the Equal Opposition to the Sinhala Nationalists in Sri Lankan Parliament. That was possible only due to the Sri Lankans amongst Tamils. This was misunderstood as ‘Separatism’ by rebels who relied on immediately visible wins for their contribution. An armed rebels within a Nationalistic group is separates internally – to takeover power.
Dr. Chamindra Weerawardhana states ‘The fact that Tamil secessionism has no future in Sri Lanka is a geo-strategically proven reality. There is next to no inclination in international law to ‘separate’ and draw dividing lines in islands home to deeply divided socio-political backdrops. In the South Asian context, the national security concerns of the regional superpower, emerging Eastphalian forms of internationalism, the West’s alliance with India in facing up to rising China, the aversion to secessionism in the region at large are all reasons that should have enabled the LTTE to come to terms with the fact that their ‘separate state’ aspiration was thoroughly unrealistic. Their inability to understand this fact, or, to be precise, V. Pirapakaran’s inability to take stock of pressing strategic and geopolitical realities, and especially his unwillingness to take heed of the advice of a vice man, the late Dr Anton Balasingham [especially in the aftermath of the Oslo round of peace talks], were core reasons that led to his ultimate nemesis, along with his militant secessionist movement.]
The footnote to this article includes the following :
[ALWAYS STATE THE FACTS. ]
The FACT is that the LTTE did successfully establish a separate ‘state’ made up of Tamils who were disconnected from the Educational heritage that Jaffna Tamils before us and amongst us had developed. Only a true Jaffna Tamil can access such Energy at that place now or anytime in the future and that too for common good. I witnessed this yet again in Nallur especially during the more popular festivals when the devotees were self-regulated. No, we did not need armed control. The Police – largely Sinhalese, were around monitoring the outer circles. Scouts and other local groups monitored the inner circles – ensuring that the religious rules particular to Nallur were not breached.
LTTE would continue to invoke its own powers in places like Vanni and Valvettithurai – where the rule of the jungle comes before the rule of Education and its reasoning. Tamils as a community did not claim secessionism. The increase in Tamils migrating to Colombo on their own free will confirms this. Hence it is NOT a FACT that Tamils claimed secession. The conclusion that ‘The fact that Tamil secessionism has no future in Sri Lanka is a geo-strategically proven reality’ is illogical not only because of the above ‘facts’ regarding migration and the strength of Tamils returning to Nallur from all over the Nation and beyond but also because a ‘fact’ should have happened. That fact is armed secessionism – not only in North and East by Tamil groups but also in South and West by Sinhalese groups. They have more in common with each other than with Sri Lankans or intellectually driven Nationalists.
Dr. Chamindra Weerawardhana states ‘As noted above, it is clear that Ms Maheswaran’s statement was politically motivated. The reaction of the Government of Sri Lanka is perhaps what she expected. In other words, Colombo’s reaction puts Ms Maheswaran, who was not prominently present in the news until July 2018, in the spotlight. The indictment will now get tremendous publicity in Tamil nationalist media outlets and movements worldwide.’
THAT is also the heritage from the LTTE. Contrary to Mrs. Maheswaran’s claim – I felt quite safe in Jaffna – my hometown. I did not feel so in Thunaivi – a toddy-tapper community - after my cottage was attacked in revenge for reporting thieves and trespassers to the Police – after I felt that I could no longer improve their contribution to common order. The Chullipuram tragedy happened for the same reason – Separatism on caste basis. The father of little Regina who went away to work accepted hierarchical approach in which he was a junior. Not so his brother who remained isolated / separated – enjoying freedom within that community. There are many such leaders within the Thunaivi community who would not be ‘told’ by a senior. When pushed they would ‘tell’ an educated senior. My belief in Mother Kali took me out of that area before they established self-rule during the local-government elections in which a toddy-tapper by vocation is the elected leader. I had the early warning signs starting from January 2016. During this visit – the attitude of those close to that elected leader was separation from the educated. Unless such leadership takes advice from an educated person who has invested in that area – we subdivide – as equals – those who are led intellectually and those who are led by physical power. Like Dual citizenship both are invalid at the same time at that place. I am now limiting myself to guiding those who seek my advice in education.
The relevant FACT here is that little Regina was coming out of the jungle but was raped by someone within the jungle of toddy-tapper culture without strong heritage in marriage laws. I recently wrote to the Registrar of Mallakam District Court as follows:
‘Every good marriage negates the risk of rape in the area where such marriage is honored.’
To be part of Natural forces – such laws need to be practiced voluntarily of our own free will. During the last visit – the mother of a family whose elder daughter ran away with the younger daughter’s husband – abandoning her daughter of about five years old – asked me for a loan to supplement the housing grant they were getting from the government. I declined. The real reason was the mother’s support for both daughters as individuals and not as common children. Being sensitive to her lack of exposure – I stated that she had failed by not protecting me from the stoning – which happened from their side; and also that she and her family did not regularly participate in our temple activities on Sundays. I said that the processes that I have put in place confirm my Energy and that this could be accessed by those who have invested similarly through the ways known to them. That is how cultures are naturally shared – be it in family or community. When it becomes ‘one way’ without even gratitude – it disrupts that community’s natural order. Hence the need for separation as Equals.
Mrs Maheswaran sought to lead such group by ‘showing’ and ‘impressing’. Mrs Maheswaran was entitled to express her belief. But she was misleading Tamils and all Sri Lankans by being part of the UNP – which claims to be Sri Lankan – and not particular to any Nationalistic group. THAT was the dual citizenship problem. As per natural justice – not only Mrs Maheswaran but all those who have legs in two boats are guilty of the same offence.