04 July 2018
Minister or Free Citizen
Sri Lanka’s State Minister of Child Affairs Vijayakala Maheswaran’s remarks about bringing back the LTTE has understandably provoked emotions in Parliament. The speaker had to adjourn Parliament for a few hours to bring about order. Those who demanded action from the Speaker – and this includes Minister Wimal Weerawansa of JVP origin – were making the same mistake as Mrs Maheswaran. Tamil MP Mr. Sumanthiran who was present when the controversial statement was made by Mrs Maheswaran is guilty of remaining silent on this issue. Instead Mr Mano Ganesan tried to explain that the lady structured her expressions without thought. Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake’s recorded conversation with Mrs Maheswaran also indicates this.
So what is the Truth? More urgently needed is the answer to the question ‘Did the minister act in breach of the law or was the Minister abusing her power ?’
The expression by Mrs Maheswaran is quite common in Jaffna – especially from women who ‘abandoned’ their children to militancy. In a way Mrs Maheswaran was revealing their views as if she was part of them. One needs to keep in mind that Mrs Maheswaran was ‘given’ the position in compensation for losing her husband who was part of the UNP. This means that unless Mrs Maheswaran carries in her mind and heart – her husband’s true contribution to UNP – the most common party in Sri Lanka, the lady would become who she is as an individual.
We have institutional structures through which we have the opportunity to elevate our thinking in common groups. This is second best to living in Truth which is not easy especially when our environments expand to include other cultures. Taken as a group – the women of Jaffna who abandoned or surrendered their children to militancy, are a special needs group and Mrs Maheswaran would naturally identify with them – especially considering that she surrendered or lost her husband to militancy. The expressions on 02 July confirm that Mrs Maheswaran surrendered. Her position as Minister gives the message that she ‘lost’ her husband to militancy.
The response to my article headed ‘Regrouping of Militants’ included the following from London:
Gaja: "When I resided in Thunaivi in Vaddukkodai district – I witnessed such behaviour within that toddy-tapper community."
Response :In UK and in other parts of the world we do not have "Toddy-Tappers". But such behaviour exist in those parts. It is nothing to do with Toddy-Tappers.
casteism is a social evil
I responded back as follows:
[The Common terminology is ‘class’. You say ‘In UK and in other parts of the world we do not have "Toddy-Tappers". But such behaviour exist in those parts. It is nothing to do with Toddy-Tappers’
That is where the problem is. When you are able to find commonness by grouping on the basis of the factor that developed that commonness one can deal with it on ‘project’ basis. We have a few in Thunaivi who are able to look at themselves through our current pathway specifically designed for them. One of them got elected to be the Councillor for that area. He is also the immediate past President of the Toddy Tapper Association. Jeevan - the younger member is our (Australian Tamil Management Service) - Representative in that area. He gets special mention as our Representative through Power of Attorney (attached) to file our papers in Jaffna High Court. This recognition has also been included in my current book which includes restructuring wisdom needed by the Jaffna Judiciary. Jeevan is addressed by our Jaffna members as Mr Jeevan or Jeevan Anna. Had we dealt with the issue in general terms – I would have appointed a University Academic or a lawyer in our circles or more educated member of our Vaddukoddai family as our representative in Court. Truth prevailed to uphold completion of that merger of Thunaivi – through the likes of Jeevan. Those who prematurely abandon caste system to be part of global trends lose this value. Caste is healthy so long as it helps grouping for common purposes. The guy who entered the altar of the temple taps toddy for a living but chose to perform the duties of the Priest. That is like the cleaner in Court doing the judge’s work. That is when disorder surfaces from any place anywhere. Combatants from junior castes need us to take care of them on ‘project’ basis. Their need is my child.
Like the Toddy Tapper group that the person who raped and murdered the child at the centre of Mrs Mahaswaran’s statement, mothers and wives who lost their men and children to militancy are a special needs group during peace times. Many of the militants were from junior castes. Like the London Tamil who claims caste to be evil – there would be a good proportion of Tamil women in the elite suburb where Mrs Maheswaran actually resides, would consider militancy to be evil. That is the duality we have to deal with. The side that is neglected reveals itself. In Jaffna – that side was natural side of Mrs Maheswaran. Mrs Ananthy Sasitharan – a minister at provincial level – also freely expresses such sentiments. At this function, Mrs Maneswaran was standing next to Mr Wigneswaran – the Judicial elder to whom such sentiments would be ‘hearsay’ unless he neglected that side of himself to become a politician driven by popular votes.
All of us who contributed to Common Sri Lanka – would influence the real values from this saga. It’s a lesson through which Tamils have the opportunity to lead the nation intellectually