Gajalakshmi Paramasivam – 25 Aug 2015
Minority Leadership – Living with the Gods
On rare occasions, minority gets to lead majority. When such opportunities happen and/or are taken in the appropriate mindset – stable and reliable Administration will follow. The force of cause would be equal to the value of effect when this happens. Such an opportunity has arisen in Sri Lanka as it did back in 1977. Such repeated manifestations confirm that the minority side is Equal in value to majority side. The ‘sides’ in this instance are not the physical voters but the forces working through the respective sides. The vote of a Sinhalese, strong in Administration, may thus go in support of Tamil side as a force and v.v. The higher the mind order the greater the real value of the vote. At primary level we count the physical vote. At secondary level we multiply the vote as per height of brain order and the circle it covers. At tertiary level – that vote is of exponential value. The last is also the least visible and is often not built into the structure by the selfish. Then we keep seeing repeated manifestations of minority wins where minority continue to uphold their beliefs anyway they can, despite threats by visible majority who through complacency become minority power at total level.
An educated American of Sri Lankan origin who does not identify himself with either ethnicity in conflict responded as follows in relation to Tamil Leadership in Political Opposition in Sri Lanka:
“I beg to disagree that TNA ought to lead the Opposition. Symbolism plays a large role in Politics. It will send the wrong signal to illiterate Sinhala as well as an inviting opportunity for Sinhala Buddhist chauvinists to exploit the ethnic divide that can lead to more disunity, even trigger riots.
It is time for Tamils to bury the hatchet and move on, towards an universal goal of peace and prosperity for all in Sri Lanka. Economic considerations must transcend all else. This is Sri Lanka’s last chance. Just read the Economic Statistics to get a sense of urgency and realism!
The risks of making TNA leading the Opposition are too high; the benefits illusory, even hallucinatory.”
As opposed to this, a British-Tamil Diaspora Leader wrote:
‘I usually, tend not to comment on all your articles. I do agree, we need to coexist in this Island. However you have not still understood the mentality of the Sinhala politicians with the "Mahavamsa Buddhist Mind Set" and this mindset is true in many rural and urban Sinhalese. The Educated few also have this notion, that they are the sole people who need to govern this Island. They are still not willing to accept that the Tamils &,Muslim's are equal partners of this Island. In the recent wrangling over who should become the opposition leader, many of them including Mr Clean Ranil or Mr MY3 (good governance) and Madam Chandrika have not yet shown any willingness to give this position to TNA leader. Champika has already shut this door on TNA's face. Are we all living in a fools paradise? The problem was created by British in 1833 with the unification of three sovereignties and handed over the full power of governance to the Majoritarian 'Sinhala Maha Janathwa' who are now under the impression that the Island is theirs and others are mere interlopers who should, Just take the crumbs thrown at them, shut up and listen. We can write facts to any journals until our blood flows through the pen nib, or we can shout until we lose our voice box. no one will heed our plea or plight! USA and the Internationals who helped passing the UN resolutions in 2013,&2014 are now slowly moving away to support the Sri Lankan government. UN report may end up in garbage. Tamil Diaspora can only scream and kick their own legs. Sorry to be pessimistic but that is the reality. Best wishes to keep on disseminating your knowledge, Best wishes’
In many ways, both of the above writers are saying the same thing in different ways – the Sri Lankan says that majority would not let minority be Equal in Parliament. The Tamil confirms that he has given up. To my mind neither of the above have experienced life as a minority. As educated males they have both been majority forces in Sri Lankan hierarchical system. Neither would understand Sinhalese only or Tamil only rebels and their racing minds. In fact both would disconnect with these two once an educated leader like Mr. Sampanthan is in leadership.
My response below to the Tamil leader was as follows:
Thank you Dr. for your valuable feedback. I am happy to note that you recognize that we need to coexist as Equals. This cannot happen unless we Tamils feel Equal. Going separate would reduce the value of both sides. The side that gets the higher common persons would be more independent than the other. This I believe is the Tamil side but only if it includes the likes of me who work with our heritage as the foundation. Many known to me sold their lands and brought the money into their new countries of residence. They eloped from Sri Lanka.
I do not understand the mindset of Sinhala politicians with the "Mahavamsa Buddhist Mind Set". But I do understand the ‘Traditional Tamil Homeland Mindset’ of my side. I therefore take the former as the trump-card when the latter gets active and vv.
In both instances these are to cover up their weaknesses and lack/absence of solution that would serve all. Most Hindu Tamils cling to caste based discrimination for similar purposes. They would otherwise become victims of reverse discrimination and that destroys all our investments in common civilization.
In terms of UN – it is an avenue through which we can keep bringing the Sinhalese into Administrative pathway through legal avenues. To me I am the UN in any global environment where I am present. All those who sought support of UN structure - have the responsibility to go global in their standards and not forget the UN once we have our use of it. In terms of global governance – UN is the parallel of the Parents and Ancestors under the Traditional systems – based on religion such as Mahavamsa and language based homeland – such as Tamil Traditional Homeland. As we know, most Tamil youth do not follow their parents but go their own way. As per my observation Rural Sinhalese touch the feet of their elders. I have observed this tradition not only in Colombo airport by departing children but at Sydney airport also – all Sinhalese and not Tamils.
In rural areas in North – some do touch the feet of elders (not necessarily parents) but the moment they have power in their hands they try to ‘tell’ the same person whose feet they touched – as LTTE did. No we do not have a ready-made solution but that is good. We need to make it ourselves.
Q: Is Tamil Politician entitled to become Leader of the Opposition ?
I believe that we need to first of all recognize that we are part of the Global Community now and Separation is senseless in our current environment where all ethnicities of Sri Lankan origin live all over the world. Separation may confirm total power for politicians who are strongly ethnic but that would also drastically reduce their Democratic value. Those who frequently use majority rule keep downgrading the whole until the lower grades in Administration understand the outcomes and takeover control. Once an Academic of University of New South Wales said to me that Union Leaders say one thing as Union Leaders but speak the same language as Management, once they become part of Management! This is true also of both side rebels in Sri Lanka.
The current governance picture at National level has been described as follows by Mr. N. Ram, former editor of The Hindu in his article ‘Ranil hopeful of political solution to Tamil question’:
“The Sri Lankan political situation has taken an interesting turn with the narrow victory of the United National Party in the general election, its leader being sworn in as Prime Minister for the fourth time, and the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two main parties, the UNP and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, paving the way for a ‘unity’ or national government.”
Where two Political parties come together to form ‘unity government’ neither qualifies to be the Opposition. The reason for this is that Subjective Power – i.e. Political Power - is time based and once Government is formed – Democracy demands that the other side be ‘shown by another group of believers who give form to their belief - independent of those in Government. If there was no immediate Opposition, one has to ‘wait for time to tell’ through experience. If therefore Hindus and Buddhists form Government then neither would qualify to form Opposition because of their Unity through religion. The Christians being the next large group in Sri Lanka would become the Leading Opposition. Likewise if Sinhalese and Tamils unite to form Government – Burghers whose mother tongue is English would be the Leading Opposition with Equal rights as the Unity Government. Such a formation would be the most healthy start for a reliable Administration.
In the current context under as Political Parties - the next eligible is the Tamil National Alliance – TNA – as per seats. The question in relation to this was structured as follows:
“There is a feeling that the present political situation provides an opportunity to move fairly quickly towards a political solution to what is regarded as your principal national question – the Tamil question in the North and East. You have supported devolution. What are the prospects of making progress towards a permanent political solution? A lot of time was lost after the war ended in 2009.”
The response from the Prime Minister is reported to be:
‘There have been a lot of administrative barriers, which have to be removed. Secondly, there has been a request by some of the Provincial Councils that as far as the powers exercised jointly, by both the Centre and the Provinces, concurrent powers, are concerned, some of it could be transferred to the Provinces. Those are the main issues and we have to work this out. We have to discuss this, the two main parties and the TNA [Tamil National Alliance], the third one. They will be the three key players in formulating [the proposals].
Unless TNA is recognized as the Leading Opposition – Tamils would be worse off including through Devolution of powers on Equal Footing as other provinces. Tamils have worked for and sacrificed for this issue to be made global. The current structure of votes won confirm the pathway for Political Solution – not as a Handout but as the right of Tamil Community. If this were not accounted for – then Tamils must continue to insist on UN Investigating the war-crimes charge and insisting on Anti Racial Discrimination Legislation to be implemented forthwith.
Tamils in turn at individual level must bring about action against those who are believed to be discriminating against Tamils on the basis of Race. That would be an Administrative solution facilitating Managers and Lawyers on both sides to lead the development of the solution with the full participation of civilians. But the UN must actively monitor this and have a special pathway through which appeals could be made to its own Administration through Global Administrative pathway, by individuals as well as groups without government support.
To my mind, if Opposition Leadership is not facilitated for Tamils who have justly won that position – the road is ‘closed’ for Political / Group solution – with or without Devolution. If our earned position is not facilitated, then Devolution becomes a handout – with or without India’s assistance. All Tamils must reject anything less and keep fighting for Equal Opportunity to access Common Wealth of Sri Lanka.
I believe that this Opposition Leadership is the 50:50 recommended by Mr. G.G. Ponnambalam with one of the cleverest legal brains known to our generation. It would also reincarnate Tamil Administrators such as Pillai’s (who are described in Wikipedia as:‘Pillai is a Tamil speaking community hailing from the elite caste of agricultural landlords called Vellalars.’) or Udayars who Administered Social Justice and Mudaliyars who were great combinations of Business and Administration – especially of Coastal Borders of their homelands. To my mind we can each classify ourselves as per our current skills and functions and draw on Tradition to become high level owners of the land we occupy and our diverse culture. Caste by name only is of little value once out of the local environment due to time and place changes. The substance that renders real value to a common group would bring us together through our skills and mind orders. We would then have the blessings of all those higher contributors who transcended mere physical separators. That would be like living with the gods.