Common Christmas Celebrations at Vaddukoddai
Gajalakshmi Paramasivam – 26 December 2015
Politicians & Voters – Who is the Boss?
‘Good morning Ammah’ said the voice from behind me. This was followed by another and yet another. I did not respond. I was carrying two trays of cake-mix to be baked in the local bakery for the Christmas party for the Hindu students attending our classes at Vaddukoddai Junction. The pathway was riddled with potholes and I needed to focus on where I was stepping. After completing that task I returned to our cottage and on the way paused – to pull up the kids in Common. The spot at which I stopped was the spot where I was greeted. I said in Common that if they sought to greet me – they needed to come in front of me to do so and not shout from behind. The mother of one of the youngsters came to fetch her little son and said ‘ok; ok’. I asked about her son’s health and walked back to our cottage. I have now learnt to become an ‘observer’ with those who reject my authority.
To the outsider – I may seem to be making a mountain out of a molehill. But one with the experience knows that this reaction from the kids was an expression of their ‘freedom’ not to take authority from me. I linked it to my denial of toys on the basis that they did not attend our classes. The rule is that they get the toys/games only on Sundays – when the training center is officially closed. Parents of these kids are not committed enough to bring them to the center. I would be failing in my duty to show higher valuation to kids who do come to our center where after classes they play indoor games – with Chess being the most popular one. With the kids who did not come – my ‘use-by’ date was over and hence the shouting from behind. They are likely to oppose authority if they do not accept ‘bosses’ / ‘gurus’ above themselves in wider world. As per their minds, they have little to lose when the parents use temples and classes as ‘child-care’ centers.
Thunaivi village is an example of the effects of unjust discrimination. Given that my root motive is to help these kids develop self-confidence I do not lecture them about the wrongs of their conduct. I reward the ones that demonstrate the right side of that conduct. Given that the latter is in the majority – I take them as being respectful in Common.
This morning’s mail took me to the Ground Views article ‘What’s missing out there? People or Politics?’ by Kusal Perera, about the apparent conflict between the TNA Leadership and the Chief Minister of Northern Province – over the setting up of the Tamil People’s Council. To my mind, TNA is taking a Program approach instead of taking a Project approach to complete the Northern experience. The inner natural Separation of Powers within the Tamil Community was beyond the grasp of even the LTTE. Karuna – the Eastern LTTE Leader like the above children, showed his true nature once his use of Northern Leadership was over. THAT is our reality. This separation happens naturally when we feel ‘free’ and are in our ‘home-territory’ within larger grouping. Sri Lanka for example is the larger grouping Natural to Mr. Wigneswaran while Jaffna is the natural grouping to many Tamil Political minds. The former is like our Training Center at Vaddukoddai Junction and the latter is Thunaivi with its particular character showing its individuality at the lower level. LTTE’s leadership was based largely on the latter type who took-over leadership positions of the former.
Mr. Kusal Perera states in the above article:
‘The Rajapaksa rule was horrible in many ways in any language. His 09 year rule had two distinct phases. Beginning in year 2006 the first phase geared up to wage war against what it called “Separatist terrorists” generalised as “Tamil terrorists”. The social ideology created for that war was a broad “anti-Tamil” Sinhala ideology sponsored by the Rajapaksa leadership with a partly coerced, partly willing Colombo based mainstream media.’
If I had ‘reacted’ to the above children who were waging their own war against my rule regarding games, I would have, like Mr. Rajapaksa – confirmed that we were Equals – operating at the same level. Sometimes it becomes necessary to come down from our position to ‘show’ the other side – to younger ones who are allowed to be ‘free’ in their territory. Such groups happened in places like Thunaivi – due to caste based separation which exceeded its functional authority – the same way Tamil Community got separated from Central Government due to race based separation going beyond its functional authority. By labeling his Equal other side as Terrorists – Mr. Rajapaksa named himself one. Mr. Rajapaksa was not the first. The LTTE were listed as Terrorists by India in 1992. To the extent Indians funded the LTTE the Terrorism label applies to Indians as well. There are no separations at primary level nor at the tertiary level – i.e. General at money only level and Common at policy level.
If Mr. Rajapaksa himself was a tertiary level leader – he would have absorbed the LTTE as being part of Sri Lanka. He was at primary level and hence became the natural opposition of the LTTE.
Radha Aiyar – of Vaddukoddai who performs the poojah’s at our temple said to me last Sunday – that he would bring us lunch on Tuesday. I did not know what was special on Tuesday but agreed to wait for his Prasatham (holy food). I appreciated the common belief that Radha Aiyar and I are bound by. Hence I waited for his lunch even though it was late. Later I learnt that it was in celebration of Lord Shiva who ‘taught’ the Government authorities a lesson for getting citizens to do their work – the legend being known as the Puttukku Mann Sumantha Sivan story. On that day not knowing that it was such an anniversary, I disciplined myself to separate from a group of Australian migrants/expatriates who fund projects in Sri Lanka as if they were of a higher status. To the extent I am true and undeserving of the ‘separation pain’ the karma would go to the members of the group. Likewise, Tamil Community and Sri Lankan National leadership positions demoted through pretenders who take up high positions – causing pain to those who empower them – but are abandoned once the voters’ ‘use-by’ date is over. Mr. Kusal Perera highlights this syndrome as follows:
‘Immediately after his swearing in as Executive President, Sirisena brought in a UNP dominated government for his promised 100 Day programme. The much-hyped 100 Day programme had nothing for the Tamil people. Not even the words “Tamil” and “Muslims” or “ethnic and religious minorities” were mentioned in it even by accident. Yet the TNA was politically naïve and was not prepared to challenge the 100 Day programme to at least demand inclusion of “de-militarisation” of North-East, release of all Tamil detainees under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) who for many years have been kept without any charges or even to demand a “Land Dispute Commission” to allow the Tamil people to have legal and official access to their own lands. Instead the ITAK leadership continued to hold out its promise for a total answer to long overdue Tamil problems from this government leadership even after the 100 Day programme was openly flouted and dragged on with very lame excuses. With the forthcoming parliamentary elections in August, Sampanthan addressing Trincomalee TNA members told them, “As far as the TNA is concerned, it does not want to further stretch the journey for a political solution for our people. We want to reach the end to our struggle. Hence the Tamil people must give us an overwhelming victory. If you will give us such a victory, we will definitely find the solutions in the year 2016.” That was in mid July this year. Three months later, the TNA could not even have the 206 Tamil suspects detained without charges released before Diwali. President Sirisena very casually backtracked on his promise given to the TNA leadership in late October and left them helpless.’
We witnessed the demotion of TNA by the Diaspora when Mr. Sumanthiran visited Australia during the above crisis. If Mr. Sumanthiran had been empowered by a truly independent Tamil – he would have been saved this demotion. Just yesterday, this problem of Tamil Political Leaders becoming like the Central Government was highlighted here in Vaddukoddai. I explained to them that when that uniform is worn – they become like majority power when they are relaxed and are off-guard. Intellectual discrimination as per their promises to voters is the security against such assimilation with majority. Internal Opposition is healthy in Democracy and to the extent we contributed to Democracy through our Politicians – we would not fear this separation – be it within the Tamil Community Political Leadership or Sri Lankan National Leadership. If we truly became part of the power that elected the current National leadership – we would continue to work the system with or without them. If it is without them due to their own withdrawals – then THEY would eventually feel the separation pain – as Mr. John Howard’s leadership felt in Australia.
We cannot all be ‘seen’ as leaders at the same time, but the real leader is always the causal power – even if s/he is power of One. THIS is the lesson we reinforce through Christmas memories. Such a voter employs the political leader as such a litigant employs the lawyer.
The real governance power takes root in such persons even though they may look very ordinary on the outside. Once we escalate our work to the highest common level – of Truth – it is there forever – and manifests Itself whenever we and our loved ones are in need of manifested support. I believe that Jesus was with us yesterday at Vaddukoddai empowering Vaddukoddai that has been used and abandoned by Politicians. We did not have to go to Vatican to receive such blessings.