Wednesday 17 March 2021


Gajalakshmi Paramasivam

17 March 2021





Every community needs an internal hierarchy through which the community is managed. Mine  began with family and then extended to the workplace in Colombo. Hence I became Sri Lankan largely through the workplace. Likewise here in Australia. After I stopped working for material returns, I had to find a group that  would best facilitate my contribution to become a  heritage. The first call came when a Yoga Swami devotee asked me whether I would go to Northern Sri Lanka to help the Tamil Tigers set up a public admin system with funded by the UNDP? That gave me the opportunity to assess not only the needs of the Tamil community as it was then but also the willingness of the LTTE to accept such an administration. It was a failure due to both factors. The public who were affected by the war expressed from different angles. Hence I had to first become part of the LTTE managed group and then the Government managed group. The reports were differently structured to suit the diversity of the two groups.


As a Tamil in Australia, I am similarly having to go into two different modes when engaging with the Tamil Community. I identified with similar separation in the British Tamil Community also. The UNHRC report has manifested this at this time. Anyone serving the Tamil community of Sri Lanka, needs to appreciate this need to take two different structures when dealing with the Tamil Community of Sri Lankan and of Sri Lankan origin.


As has been published  frequently this month, Mrs Ambihai K Selvakumar, a director of the International Centre for the Prevention of Genocide (ICPPG) is on hunger strike, and she demands that the UK refer Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court. It is possible that this identity came through her workplace structure which needs to first identify with the need of the community. Given the internal divisions, this is not possible. It is worse when the issue is seen as a Sri Lankan problem and becomes more confusing when it is seen in the context of global participants.


Each one of us needs a structure through which to connect to other participants. To the extent we provided service on the basis that the need  of the beneficiary is our need, the structure is Universal. Universal Franchise is based on this discovery. Hence in democracy where the voter is positioned below the one who receives the vote would empower the one above through independence. Independence is an absolute power. A democratically elected leader would lead naturally through this absolute power of truth.


As a self-governing person, I do not identify with Mrs Ambihai K Selvakumar’s claim that she represents the Tamil community. Within the British Tamil Community, this lady’s part is very small as per the supporters. Global Tamil Forum which has been given official space by the Island, which is a mainstream Sri Lankan on the basis of an interview by the BBC.  The essence of it was presented as follows:

[The Global Tamil Forum (GTF) spokesperson Suren Surendiran said that the Tamil community did not believe in commissions appointed by the government of Sri Lanka to address post-war reconciliation issues. In an interview with the BBC Sinhala service, Surendiran said that the Tamil community expected the UNHRC to address their grievances.]

The role of GTF is confirmed also as follows:

[GTF doesn’t directly involve in politics in Sri Lanka. We work very closely with the elected members of our community and others. We engage with civil society organisations and representatives from a cross section of all communities in Sri Lanka and reflect the ground reality in Sri Lanka to overseas stakeholders.]

When Mrs Ambihai K Selvakumar began her hunger strike did the GTF see it as its democratic duty to either endorse it or openly oppose it? I have no knowledge of the GTF’s stand on this. Hence one has to conclude that the GTF’s stand was to remain silent on the issues raised by Mrs Selvakumar.

Until one knows otherwise, one  has to acknowledge  that Mrs Selvakumar believes in the claims she is making. If GTF were law abiding group then it is possible that they would identify with the belief of Mrs Thatcher in the case of IRA Martyr Bobby Sands:

"Mr Sands was a convicted criminal. He chose to take his own life. It was a choice that his organisation did not allow to many of its victims".

This applies also to Mrs Selvakumar whose mentor as per her own admission is LTTE’s Thileepan. LTTE killed Tamil Politics and hence Democracy itself.  If that is the governance structure  that Jaffna Tamils wanted they would have abstained from voting in the parliamentary elections.


As I keep saying to my students, one has to believe in the measure/theory, – to know rights and wrongs of an action. I usually use  Pythagoras's theorem which states that ‘the square on the hypotenuse   is equal to the sum of the areas of the squares on the other two sides.’

Represented as follows:

a2 + b2 = c2


This was also the 50:50 demand by the Hon G G Ponnambalam – as per Sri Lanka’s Political reality.


The reverse of Pythagoras's theorem is also true. Accordingly when the square of the longest side of a triangle is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two the triangle is a right angled triangle.

Represented as follows:

c2 = a2 + b2


Politics is linear measure and its square is governance measure. Hence the second highest vote winner is raised to Equal level to complete the governance picture.


 In Sri Lanka, the Sinhalese community is the hypotenuse. Tamils and Muslims are respectively the other two sides of the triangle. Self-governance cannot be measured through linear measures. It has to be multiplied by itself. Hence where all three communities are self governing the triangle is a sovereign body. If there is interference with this through powers using linear measures – the whole loses its sovereignty and does so exponentially.


LTTE killed such Tamil leaders – using linear measures. This is why Mrs Selvakumar said that she was not following in Gandhi’s path. Gandhi was self-governing and hence whatever he did to himself  as penance would naturally spread itself to all those who believed in him and considered Gandhi to be part of themselves. Mrs Selvakumar’s penance would go towards those to whom LTTE was governance power. But this then makes them part of the  group proscribed by the government of the UK and other countries. LTTE chose to live in hiding. It would not have gone to the UN for Justice. It had the courage to give itself the same punishment that it meted out to its opposition. It is disrespectful for those who take the lawful path – to grade them – including as heroes.


If proscription is lifted by the UK prior to governance power being allocated by law to those in Sri Lanka – then that would effectively demote the status of law abiding Tamils and Muslims of Sri Lanka who have realised self-governance in the little space they have had.  Tamil community’s claim of Nationhood was lost when Tamil Politicians were killed and majority remained silent.

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