Friday 18 January 2019

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam

18 January 2019

Democracy & Belief

Yesterday I received an email from my Sri Lankan friend Harry, under the subject heading ‘Canadian National Anthem sung in Tamil.’

The performance was touching and the singer looked Western which was most natural. I felt that my granddaughter was signing that song. That deep experience happened due to Common culture.
Yesterday I received another email – this time from Mr Alan Keenan, Crisis Group’s Project Director, Sri Lanka, based in London. Mr Keenan’s credentials are described as follows by the Crisis Group:
  • Sri Lankan politics
  • Human rights and peacebuilding
  • Transitional justice
  • Democratisation
The email message in response to my article ‘Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s Moral Ineligibility to be President of Sri Lankacarried the following request:
Hi. Can you please remove me from your email list? I simply don’t have the time to read them.
Best wishes,
Harry has been receiving my emails for a much longer time than Alan. I doubt that Harry reads all my emails or that he reads them to gain knowledge or to use them for intellectual debate. From time to time Harry comments or merely asks a simple question about what I wanted? Such communications confirm and deepen our common feelings developed through various pathways – including as Australians of Sri Lankan origin. To the extent we believe in common issues – we believe in each other. That belief is the basis of natural and continuous sharing of Energy. We don’t need to prove ourselves to each other within that circle of commonness. Must say that such sharing would have been difficult under the previous government.

Alan did not have to read my emails but has the duty to respect them for my insight into the Common Sri Lankan and the Common Tamil. The Common Tamil is one who has transcended caste, gender and age based discrimination – in that order. One cannot access that knowledge through text books and speeches by politicians. It comes through sharing our happiness and benefits as well as participating in the other’s pain and costs. It’s experience based.

I received a third  email from Victor who is very witty. Victor’s email directed me to the following:  - a recording of Mr M A Sumanthiran’s speech at a function celebrating the October victory in Courts. Mr Sumanthiran strongly attributes credit for that to Mr Kanaganayagam Kanag-Isvaran. Mr Sumanthiran stated also that Mr Kanag-Isvaran had ‘gifted’ the occupation of his Jaffna residence to Mr Sumanthiran. Mr Kanag-Isvaran’s ancestral property is at Sangarathai-Thunaivi junction where we have our family temple. Mr Kanag-Isvaran’s name is merely hearsay in Thunaivi – a toddy tapper village. He is known mostly as ‘proctor’ in Thunaivi. There is no pathway through which Mr Kanag-Isvaran’s victories would be shared with the folks of Thunaivi – to whom law is largely the word of their supervisor.

In the above mentioned speech, Mr Sumanthiran refers to the following conclusion by Sir Winston Churchill:

democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time’.

I identify more with the following:

[At the bottom of all the tributes paid to democracy is the little man, walking into the little booth, with a little pencil, making a little cross on a little bit of paper—no amount of rhetoric or voluminous discussion can possibly diminish the overwhelming importance of that point.]

Belief in that place / homeland – naturally binds the leader to the voter. To many Tamil leaders and their foreign supporters that little voter as an individual is almost non-existent. Thus far Mr Kanag-Isvaran has failed to demonstrate his identity with the toddy-tapper voter who is also his neighbour in Northern Sri Lanka; nor has he shown any identity with those folks’ need for law and order to connect with his group. Members of this intellectual group praise each other and live in their own world. They practice Separatism while preaching Federalism. In Federalism the Central Unit is conscious of its higher position but at the express level takes equal position as the other units to which power has been devolved.

In terms of caste for example, Mr Kanag-Isvaran – a lawyer would generally have earned high status. But he does not practice law to represent the little toddy tapper in Thunaivi . To the extent he believes in  his ancestral home in that area he would connect to the toddy tapper who believes in that same area through his own home. In Democracy, he needs to keep the merit based gap in reserve and take equal position as the toddy tapper. As per my knowledge the common voter in Thunaivi has no idea about the so called ‘October Revolution’ and its defeat led by Tamil Political group.

To my mind, the Tamil group developed strong belief in their homeland despite carrying minority status. When such happens and we function independently – maintaining our belief based dignity – the ‘gap’ develops as ownership Energy. That was how Tamil National Alliance won equal status in Parliament and later led the legal action to success. But until it is shared with the little voter it stagnates to breed autocracy.  

Belief connects us through Nature. Earth being  a natural element carries our belief as Energy. I believe that I am able to invoke this energy to the extent my loved ones and I have a common need. The sharing happens at root level. The outcomes bloom in diverse forms through all with belief – to the extent of their belief  - in the form through which they developed that belief.

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