The negative approaches of the International Community towards the Tamil cause in Sri Lanka and towards the Tamil diaspora are allegedly more due to the Indian attitude than due to pressure from the Colombo government. How to expect the IC to back the masses facing genocide, when their brethren in India are not voicing for them? Voicing is not merely holding rallies and making speeches. They will not be counted in an international forum. What about the Tamil Nadu Assembly passing a resolution, upholding the right to self determination of the Eezham Tamils, and announcing a policy of supporting it, confining to the purview of the Indian constitution and laws, opines columnist Chivanadi.
Opiniion Columnist Chivanadi
A group of Indian officials and intelligence big wigs, described as a high power delegation, has recently visited Sri Lanka. Many government and opposition politicians in Sri Lanka thought it necessary to visit them with their submissions. Given the circumstances the media gave much importance to the delegation which otherwise should have gone unnoticed.
What is the exact role being played by these gentlemen of the delegation in Sri Lankan and Tamil affairs, what was the real purpose of their visit and what actually transpired in the talks may not be known to us for the time being. But, that is not important.
What has to be borne in mind not only by the Tamils of Sri Lanka, India and the diaspora, but also by the Sinhalese is the repeated demonstration of the present Indian establishment of its inability or unwillingness to go beyond shadowy bureaucratic levels in dealing with the Sri Lankan crisis.
Perhaps the Indian establishment can t help it, as its coalition structure and the nature of the ruling Congress Party do not permit the emergence of statesmen or visionary politicians to deal with the Indian outlook in a manner prestigious and magnificent to the size and gravity of India.
It now seems that as long as the Congress Party is in power in India, ideological or political approaches towards the struggle of Eezham Tamils and towards the plight of the island of Sri Lanka may not be expected. The BJP may be much better in this regard as there are parallel politicians and enough room for the role of politics in it.
The nature and structure of the Congress establishment is such that the political part of the government has become a dummy, especially when it comes to the question of Eezham Tamils.
Bureaucrats have been chosen and are assigned with a specific agenda, close to the heart of the establishment, in the pursuit of which they are not accountable to the people of India and need not be answerable even to the parliament. In a way it is a shadow military operation and a military option aiming at dismembering the Tamil National question as well as controlling the entire island.
Occasional sympathetic gestures and lip services about safeguarding Tamil rights in Sri Lanka coming from Indian politicians are not with any political farsightedness or with a principled programme, but are aimed at electoral politics inside India.
Unfortunately, the Tamil Nadu situation is not any better. Elections being around the corner, the formula of DMK - Congress alliance, united by mutual dynastic considerations on one hand, and the need for BJP to ally with Ms. Jayalalitha on the other hand, as the profiles stand now, may not bring in any break through in the Indian approach towards the suffering Tamils of Sri Lanka.
As had been pointed out in the earlier columns, if the Tamil Nadu political parties have any sympathy for their brethren in Sri Lanka, they have to use the next elections to get a mandate from the people of Tamil Nadu, demonstrating the political will that what foreign policy should be pursued by the Indian government regarding the Tamil question in Sri Lanka.
Neither the issues between the LTTE and the Indian establishment nor the formulas of political alliances should be a hindrance in Tamil Nadu political parties recognizing the Tamil National question in Sri Lanka.
The Tamil National question in Sri Lanka is a wider ideological issue of a people facing genocide and it involves the prestige of 70 million Tamils living all around the world.
The negligence and negative approaches shown by the International Community towards the Tamil cause in Sri Lanka and towards the Tamil diaspora are allegedly more due to the Indian attitude than due to pressure from the Colombo government. How to expect the IC to back the rights of the masses facing genocide in Sri Lanka, when their brethren in India are not voicing for them?
Voicing is not merely holding rallies and making speeches. They will not be counted in an international forum.
The Eezham struggle has now come to the stage of dealing with the International System. As a government, Colombo is in a better position to tilt the balance in its favour. The Tamils, even though a global community, don t have a government of them to handle the situation. The Tamil Nadu state is the only legitimate body.
Of all the states in India, Tamil Nadu has a unique status having a global diaspora. It has special perspectives and responsibilities in this regard.
What about the Tamil Nadu Assembly passing a resolution, upholding the right to self determination of the Eezham Tamils, and announcing a policy of supporting it, confining to the purview of the Indian constitution and laws.
Like the Vaddukkoaddai declaration of 1976, overwhelmingly mandated by the Eezham Tamils for their self-determination, such a declaration from the Tamil Nadu assembly will provide legitimacy to Tamil National question in any international forum and is of immense help to safeguard Tamil rights in any negotiations.
There seem to be a hesitation in high profiled politicians in Tamil Nadu to openly proclaim the nationhood of the Eezham Tamils, either to please the Delhi establishment or due to fear of being identified as serving the LTTE agenda. There are also some who harp on the Indian modeled federal structure.
The Indian model will not work in Sri Lanka. Right from the beginnings of British supremacy, India had a federal structure such as Presidencies and then as Provinces. Each part of British India had parallel developments in capital accumulation and in the formation of political, social and cultural institutions. As a result, there are always social formations, having enough capital and vested with interests in their respective states in India. The multiplicity of the social formations is a healthy balance in the Indian model.
The British rule and the post-colonial developments in Sri Lanka were such that capital accumulation, whatever small, was only Colombo-centric. The regional economy, autonomy and capital accumulation enjoyed until the Dutch times by Tamil regions in Sri Lanka were lost under the British. For instance, the last occasion Jaffna saw an inward population movement was under the Dutch. It attracted large number of people from today s Kerala and Tamil Nadu to settle in Jaffna due to its economy. From the times of the British, there was only an outward population movement, because there was no regional development there. The post independent phase has worsened the situation.
With such a background, any Indian modeled federal structure will still make the states depending heavily on the centre, which in the context of the unbalanced social formations in Sri Lanka, will not work.
This has already been witnessed by the failure of the provincial administrations created by the Indo- Sri Lanka Accord of 1987. At that time it was only the Tamils who asked for a homeland. But the accord created 8 units, Tamils getting one and the remaining 7 for Sinhala provinces that never asked for it. More than twenty years of experience show how the model could not make any headway, even in the Sinhala provinces.
The reality is that Sri Lanka today is deeply divided beyond reconciliation. Even anyone who harbour a desire to see a united Sri Lanka has to now think of first separating the warring parties than allowing the oppressors to achieve the `unity` through genocide.
Engineering and abetting a genocidal war in Sri Lanka has to be stopped immediately.
Secession of the sufferers who are graduated as a nation is a time-tested international remedy.
Those who cast doubts on the viability of Eezham often talk of the practicality and mechanism of secession. They cite the case of the Muslims and Tamils living in the Sinhala areas.
A principled secession based on the right to self-determination is only a first step. Proper political thought, agenda and development in both sides of the island can sort out many practical problems and eventually may bring in reconciliation. The desired unity may come sooner than one expects. The case of Malaysia and Singapore and the successful model of ASEAN need to be cited here.
The security of India on its southern front rests on the prosperity and goodwill of the people across the Palk Strait.