16 December 2021
Tamil Centre for Human Rights – France, sent me a 2015 article headed 19th Amendment for the South and
‘Zero’ for the North and East !’ The article was written in English, as was other parts of the communication. Later, I read the Ceylon Today report headed ‘Citing language barrier: Sritharan walks out of NP development meeting’ by Sulochana Ramiah Mohan – also written in English.
As per that report:
[Tamil National Alliance Jaffna District MP S. Sritharan walked out of the Northern Province development meeting Tuesday (14), saying the discussions were held in Sinhala and English and that he and the others could not understand the proceedings.
“We could not understand and answer you because you speak English and Sinhala in this Northern Province meeting, therefore we are leaving the meeting,” he told the Media.
He further said the meeting of the Northern Provincial Council was chaired by Governor Jeevan Thiagarajah and several other MPs, secretaries, and Government officials were invited, however, the discussions were held in the other two languages and not in Tamil. “Even after being there for an hour, there was no preparation for any language change,” the MP lamented.
“I said that I could not comprehend and answer these matters. The underlying linguistic problem was one reason for the war. This is how the Provincial Council system came into being. We could not understand and answer words because you speak English and Sinhala, while this area is full of Tamils and the need to address the issue should be in Tamil,” he added.]
As per the fundamental principles of Democracy, we need to belong – in order to represent as Equals. This is based on the premise that we are bound by common belief. A vote based on belief is a governing vote. At the individual voter’s level – such a vote is based on the individual’s belief. At government’s – institutional level – it is as per the voter’s belief in the whole institution.
On the basis of the above report and my own knowledge I conclude that the Northern Provincial Council was chaired by Governor Jeevan Thiagarajah represented the Central Government – and does so until the Provincial Council elections are held. This is an interim structure needed urgently in North which is currently at risk of reverse discrimination on the basis of caste. I myself have taken some measures to invest more of our savings in Thunaivi, Vaddukoddai towards more secular structures. Part of the initiative is to train young ones in maintaining a section of their home as Airbnb accommodation – so that their relatives and friends in the Tamil Diaspora would become their customers. This would require intense training but I am confident that to the extent to which they take my authority they would learn. I am a Super-hostess in the Airbnb system and this would be the base for those who believe in me. As part of their training, they would undergo English language training at basic level.
I am therefore deeply disappointed with Mr Sritharan walking away on the basis of language. If Mr Sritharan sought to be Tamil only, he ought to have limited himself to Provincial level and not contested at National level. At National level English is the link language. It is the duty of every National MP to learn English at Parliamentary level – so that they can make the connections with MPs of Opposing ethnicities.
Once a senior Australian academic-administrator said to me, when I found fault with him – that I ought to take what he said at face-value. Back then, due to lack of appreciation of White Australian culture – I responded that I had taken it at face value and that it did not make sense. Later thinking about it and learning through it – I realised that he was saying he did not mean what he said. Hopefully – that is also the case with Mr Sritharan.
As per the above report Mr Sritharan said -“I said that I could not comprehend and answer these matters. The underlying linguistic problem was one reason for the war.”
This is false. The war happened due to LTTE misinterpreting and hijacking the Political agenda which resulted in Tamil MPs walking out of National Parliament instead of Opposing - which when based on belief has exponential value. Hence the saying that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts by Aristotle. When it is language based – there is no invisible exponential value. We don’t need MPs to represent that value which like Majority vote is face value only. It is through the invisible value of belief that we as a community would be of greater value than the sum of us.
Jaffna desperately needs the support of English speaking heirs of the British whose Administration we continue to follow and whose laws are part of our Judicial system. When we value that heritage we are more valuable than those Sri Lankans who have forgotten that heritage. We Tamils settle Pithur Kadan (Ancestral Debt) and thus get to share in the Energy of our Ancestors. Being genuinely grateful is the best way to settle Pithur Kadan.