Monday, September 16, 2013

Tamils are political prisoners

Sri Lankan Tamils have been confined to a single political ideology based on the concept of so called Tamil homeland and an ethnic conflict. Alarmingly, even those Tamils who support the government do not seem to have an alternative story. This is because throughout their history Tamils have been systematically corralled in to this ideology by the colonial Dutch, the English and now their imitators. Making ordinary Tamils liable for the atrocities of LTTE is just one example of how this political imprisonment has been carried out.

The LTTE mascaraed a score of pilgrims at the Sri Maha Bodhi in ’85 and bombed the Dalaga Maligawa in ’98, two scared places of Sinhala Buddhist culture, to propagate the myth that that there was an ethnic war between the Sinhalas and the Tamils. The myth, or the so called theory, was created in the west by the west for the consumption of the west. The LTTE was merely providing the predicted results of the so called theory. Nobody denied that it was the LTTE who carried out the attacks, but neither the Tamil politicians nor the peace merchants of various NGOs came forward to absolve ordinary Tamils from blame. Those who are with the TNA today could have acknowledged that these barbaric acts were not a natural outcome of a conflict between ordinary Tamils and Sinhalas. They simply kept silence and allowed the myth of ethnic conflict to be propagated. Ordinary Tamils had nothing against the Sinhala Buddhist culture and even Sinhalas knew this. But by not exonerating ordinary Tamils from these and other LTTE atrocities, Tamil politicians, with the connivance of west, have made Tamils prisoners of their theory.

The direct impact of politics based on the mythical concepts of Tamil homeland and ethnic conflict is Tamils been isolated; culturally, socially and politically from the rest of the nation. It is this ideology that physically imprisons Tamil to the North. It is this ideology that disallows Tamils to directly politically deal with the center. The problem that Sri Lankan Tamils have (e.g. feeling like second class citizens, problems related to language, etc.) is their separation from the rest of the nation. Tamil racist politicians and the west however portray problems specific to being isolated as specific to being Tamil. This is not a coincidence but the Modus operandi.  The more Tamils isolated themselves their problems due to isolation aggravates; just as Prbhakaran had anticipated when he forced the innocent Tamils to Nandikadal, and hence the justification for a separate Tamil state.

It is known that, Vellalas, the clan of Tamils who has dominated Tamil politics for the last century or so, were first brought to Sri Lanka by the colonial Dutch as agricultural laborers. They were given privileged position in the colonial Sri Lanka over Sinhalas. In return the Dutch and the English used Tamil Vellalas against Sinhalas with their divide and rule policy. Just as Prbhakaran forced Tamil civilians to Nandikadal to save his own skin, colonials kept Vellala Tamils from integrating to the nation to ensure their rule and today the Vellala politicians keep the ordinary Tamils from integrating for the same reason.

The defeat of LTTE has loosen the grip of Tamil racist politics and the government’s developmental work in the north has helped win the hearts of ordinary Tamils to some extent but without an alternative political ideology the political gains made with the loss of thousands of lives will be lost. An alternative political ideology must aspire for a unitary state (Clearly what the TNA has in mind is not this). It should promote the idea that whole of Sri Lanka and not just the Eastern and Northern provinces as demarcated by the British in the late 19th century is Tamil’s homeland.  It should produce leaders who can lead not just Tamils but Sinhalas and Muslims as well. Such a political ideology can only rise from a Tamil Sri Lankan nationalist movement based on a unique Sri Lankan Hindu culture and history that can be distinguished from that of South India. Given what could be achieved by Tamil nationalist movement rich in culture and history it is not a surprise that Hindu culture does not have a prominent place in the western sponsored Vellala run political machine, which is only interested in regaining its lost privileges.