15 January 2020
TAMILS OUT AND CHINA IN?
There it was again! The Island editorial headed ‘Swordsmen with ploughs’. Today is Thai Pongal - the Tamil festival of Harvest – Thanksgiving to the Sun.
In 2003, when I noticed the poster of two young boys – one carrying the rifle and the other the plough – I asked the tuk-tuk driver what its significance was. He then said that the farmer had to make the money to fund the soldier to protect the land from invasion!
I thought of that when I read the Island editorial. I wrote about the intuitive message I received in this regard – in my book ‘Naan Australian’ – as follows:
The editorial glorifies the Sinhalese soldiers on the day of Tamil festival:
[Soldiers of the Sri Lanka Army who combed dense jungles for nearly two and a half decades and effectively neutralised a formidable enemy are now tilling fields, growing trees and cleaning beaches. They have already made a tremendous contribution towards the country’s efforts to restore the fast depleting forest cover while being involved in greening and beautifying urban spaces and leading the national campaign against dengue from the front. They have demonstrated their adeptness at farming as well.
A 12-acre abandoned paddy field, acquired for the construction of the Sri Jayewardenepura Army Headquarters, was brought under the plough again, yesterday, after a lapse of many years. It was nice to see swordsmen with ploughs.]
To my mind the above confirms lack of civilization which usually happens when one is driven strongly by outcomes – including outcomes born out of pain and suffering of fellow men and women – taken as ‘wins’. Many loved ones of that ‘formidable enemy’ would today be taking some comfort from Thai Pongal celebrations. The Island editor must be so greedy for ‘victory celebrations’ that s/he would celebrate the Sinhalese soldiers who killed not only combatants but also the children of civilians – a good proportion of whom are farmers.
The wins we share do not enrich this land. The feelings of common ownership do. Truth does. A structure in which a soldier is celebrated on Farmers’ day is indeed a crooked structure based on outcomes that one desires to ‘show’ others. The editor is not a Sri Lankan by feelings.
Then there is the following report by Hindustan Times under the heading ‘Won’t allow ‘outside interference’ in Sri Lanka’s internal affairs: China:
[“China stands for the country’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence. We will not allow any outside influences to interfere with matters that are essentially internal concerns of Sri Lanka,” Wang said.]
So – China is now ‘insider’ through Hambantota Port – which is close to Kathirgamam – the Sinhalese looking Hindu shrine of People who by Constitution have the duty to uphold Buddhism as foremost religion. Now thanks to China Power – we have Sinhalese soldiers celebrating Hindu Tamil Thai Pongal as their heritage!