30 March 2019
Jaffna 67% and not 80%?
Mr Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam’s revelations facilitated by IBC Tamil TV at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYs-VlS0Uec confirmed to me yet again the downgrading by Jaffna Tamils their heritage in the intellectual pathway. The news report at http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=201816 reveals that only 67% of Jaffna students qualified to progress to Advanced level also confirms the lower priority to higher education by the current generation Jaffna Tamils. One of the core issues on which Tamil Politicians demanded self-determination was the standardization of university entrance which disadvantaged Tamils. That was against the rule of Natural justice because it meant double advantage to majority race – (1) through the power to elect government and make policies in their favour and (2) the policies that facilitated higher status and/or head start to majority race. So long as we fought against such injustice and continued to fight against recurrence – we would be supported by Divine powers / Dharma. Ultimately justice happens as per our own consolidated divinity within.
Last year our eldest granddaughter sat her HSC here in Australia and my contribution included prayers at Our Lady of Refuge at 4th Cross St in Jaffna. In February this year, I thanked our Lady for answering my prayers. That is a shrine at which my mother prayed frequently when we were living in that area. In 2016, when I said thank you to my mother at our cottage in Thunaivi where our family temple is – I ended up at the church after disorderly conduct by youth in that area which resulted in bringing to a halt our Pongal celebrations. At the church – I shared in the sweet rice by workers who celebrated Pongal at Catholic church. I felt that my mother from within me was guiding me to take a break from Thunaivi youth who had little or no regard for education and had enjoyed high status during the war due to some amongst them becoming combatants. To the extent these combatants upset the educated Jaffna Tamil by being disrespectful – they diluted the rights of Jaffna Tamils to self-determination on the basis of subjective unjust discrimination in education by the government and thereby placed a ceiling on higher common thinking. Aren’t the pro-militant groups espousing that very same pathway?
One of the accusations against Mr Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam seemed to be that his party was failing to engage at grassroots level. The Educated person driven by the intellect – has to be like Gandhi to deliver at grassroots level. But this then defeats her/him as a politician because most at grassroots level are driven by immediate outcomes for their votes – in a language they understand. Politicians like Mr Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam have their first duty to their natural electorate which is largely those to whom education is first priority. Mr Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam has the capacity to escalate the need of his electorate to global level but such leaders are handicapped by their own political electorate to which higher education for life is not a priority. Mr Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam’s parallel in Northern Public Administration is Dr Suren Raghavan whose status fell recently at UN level - due to his parallel of Ponnambalam’s politics – the media.
Given that intellectual investors are in the minority in Northern Sri Lanka, blaming the government through current voters – who have failed to value their ancestors – would be to defeat oneself. Without the likes of Mr Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam in Northern Politics, Jaffna in North would be the parallel of Kotte in South. Then we become true minority and not Equal power. Right now, Jaffna voters are driven more by compensation for their suffering than for prevention of future wars which is possible only by escalating the issue to global level.
I learnt through my life at grassroots level – that the moment electorates with idle youth are denied the freedom they enjoyed during war-isolation, they would abuse their power as per their past titles. Youth employment is as important as women empowerment, in redeeming ourselves from this mess. The distance between the so called representatives of the public and grassroots public in Jaffna – was confirmed through the above discussion – during which Mr Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam was questioned as to why his group would not join forces with Mr Wigneswaran. When asked the common public response was that he was all words and no action person. Not one at grassroots level certified Mr Wigneswaran positively. Majority in North are disconnected with their intellectual ancestors and that is the worst punishment that we have given ourselves. Mr Wigneswaran acted more as a politician than as an heir of intellectual Tamil Administrators from whom we inherited the Doctrine of Separation of Powers between Politics and Judiciary.
As Mr Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam kept emphasizing – that the value is not in the individual but the common value. Had the Tamil Diaspora of Jaffna origin invested in current population in Jaffna, through intellectual pursuits as a foremost priority - Mr Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam and/or his heir would be the Chief Minister and the admission percentage to higher education would be 80% - with the blessings of Natural Justice. The project he could start with is legal administration in Northern Courts – so that the lay litigant would be Equally respected as the lawyer members in his political group. This is essential for self-governance. Without this – it is all about taking over power from the Sinhalese.