Watch out! LTTE is dead and gone, but the other road map of ‘Elam Enterprise’, the ‘Federal Solution’ is very much alive.
Posted on May 25th, 2009

herold leelawardena

A dollar shark named Kusal Perera recently wrote; “Tamil separatism survives on the strength of Sinhala nationalism.” He is not alone in disseminating such views. Conspirators of INGOs and NGOs, evangelists of ecumenical Christian sects, colonialists of the neo liberal West and separatists of the Elam and the federal bandwagons have been spreading similar views for a long time. This lot wants to demonize Sinhalese as if they are the only people on earth that espouse nationalism. Cambridge dictionary describe “ƒ”¹…”nationalism’ as “ƒ”¹…”a great or too great love of your own country.’ If that is so, Sinhalese should be proud of being nationalists. The aim of the said clique is to accuse Sinhalese as racists. The Sinhalese have no more rights than Tamils in anything though.

However much they try to show Sinhalese as racists; they cannot hide the fact that Tamils are the most chauvinistic race in the entire Indian subcontinent. Pakistanis could be castigated as bigots but one cannot chastise them as chauvinists in the sense the Tamils are. That is because; Pakistan was separated from India on the basis of ethnicity, race or language. The fact that Urdu speaking Punjabis of West Pakistan and Bengali speaking East Pakistan or Bangladesh joining hands to create a united Pakistan under a flag of Islamic moon arc and the star proves this point.

It was Indian Tamils that asked the British to divide British India in to segments first and not the Pakistanis. Tamil separatist movement was based on race and language and not on religion. To understand the chauvinistic mentality of the Tamils, one has to hear the Tamil response when Hindis proposed them to join hands to retain British India as one country on the basis of Hindu religion. Tamil nationalists scoffed at Hindi proposal saying; in that case Europe should been a single Christian country all along.  

Today, Tamils of Tamil Nadu say, Hindi is spoken only in the northern belt of India and by mare 40% of the population. Yet, Hindis impose their language Hindi throughout India, they grumble. Tamils ask; what is the point painting our name boards in Hindi when vernacular languages and not Hindi are spoken everywhere other than the Hindi belt. Tamils are just 7% of the total Indian population. Do they not know Tamil language cannot be widely used in India in par with Hindi, or do they have an ulterior motive?

Pannikar, a Tamil that aspired to be the Prime Minister of India after Nehru said it all in few words. He is said to have said; Hindis had sidetracked him from premiership because he spoke no Hindi. True; Pannikar was adamant that he did not want to learn Hindi. Moreover, he is said to have said to Tamils; “if you receive a letter in Hindi, don’t answer it, you just throw it away.” Had he change his stance and learn a bit of Hindi, perhaps he would have been a Prime Minister of that powerful country. Two non-Tamil Dravidians that accepted due place of Hindi, Dev Gawda and Narasimha Rao had become prime ministers of India later on. Is it not the Pannikar style attitude that had put most of Sri Lankan Tamils in a Pandora’s Box?

Tamil leaders knew Tamils are a far too small a number to organize a winning separatist campaign in India. So, they tried to instigate Dravidians to unite in order to demand a separate country. Tamils of the present day Tamil Nadu and non-Tamils of Kerala, Karnataka and Andra Pradesh are Dravidians. Though Dravidians form a large population, they do not speak one dialect or language. For that reason not all Dravidians could have been knitted together as a racial group the separatist Tamils would have liked.

There are two other important reasons why Tamils separatists failed in their endeavors thus far. For one; Dravidians have never been united to single country. And for another; Tamils too have not been united under one ruler for a long time. In fact, from the time of written Tamil history or for over thousand years, there had not been one Tamil kingdom but three; Chera Nadu, Chola Nadu and Pandya Nadu. Scholars say; even that arrangement ceased to exist from around 1311. As for the present day Tamil bastion Tamil Nadu, it too had not being a one country before. The points I wish to emphasize is; all Dravidians are not Tamils, and neither Dravidians nor Tamils have been united historically.

For some reason or the other, wily British had lump this assortment of people called Dravidians as subjects of the Madras State during their time. Taking advantage of that situation, Tamil nationalists had started a forum in late 1920s and asked the British to detach Madras State from rest of India and hand it over to Dravidians. Thereafter, in 1930s, a Tamil nationalist leader named EVR Periyar came up with an assertive slogan; “ƒ”¹…”Dravida Nadu for Dravidians.’ What is significant about this campaign is the timing of that demand. It was a time that Indians all over had been proposing an “ƒ”¹…”all-India federation.’

Mr. Periyar had been the originator of Dravida Kazhagam (DK) and the precursor of the present day DMK and all the political parties in Tamil Nadu with an acronyms ending DMK. Leaders of those parties such as Karunanidi, Jayalalitha, Whyco, Nadumaran and the rest could be considered as Periyar’s protƒÆ’†’©gƒÆ’†’©s or followers. Their recent doings and past deeds prove that they are nationalist of extreme nature. So much so, some of them had gone so far as to rationalize killing of Rajeev Gandhi by LTTE. These people dream for a separate Tamil country, no matter where.

Dravidians have their own love, hate relationship then and even now. When Periyar realized that non-Tamil Dravidians were not responding to his separation call, sufficiently; he focused his attention to Tamils only and became a more refined nationalist of race and language. As a result, he changed his rhetoric to; “ƒ”¹…”Tamil Nadu for Tamils,’ later. So, the beginning of Tamil separatist movements could be traced not to Sri Lanka but India. When Tamils failed to carve out a separate state for Tamils in India, they slowly but surely turned their attention towards Sri Lanka.

Tamil writer D.B.S.Jayaraj says; a little know man named Visvalingam had proposed for a separate Tamil State in Sri Lanka around 1930s, but no one took it seriously. Jayaraj also says; a well known Tamil Politician named C.Sundaralingam had wrote a clear-cut political demand for Elam later. Yet, other Tamil politicians scorned at him as an “eccentric” and rejected his demand; says Jayaraj. Under earlier mentioned circumstances, we have no reason to argue about the validity of these claims but the purpose of Jayaraj highlighting it. Like Kusal Perera, Jayaraj is implying that it is the Sinhala discrimination that pushed Tamils to demand an Elam in Sri Lanka later. What a blatant lie.

No sane Tamil in Sri Lanka would have wanted a separate peace of Sri Lanka at the time, because they enjoyed preferential treatment in the whole country. Tamils were the preferred race by the British Raj. They were the government officers, the judgers, the lawyers, the doctors, the engineers and etc and by far in British Ceylon. As much as eighty percent of the top jobs were taken-up by a mare eleven percent of the Tamil population. Those were the reasons and not what Jayaraj imply for the Tamils to reject separation schemes or Elam before our independence.

Leave out the grip by Tamils on the career front at the time; they had beaten Sinhalese at the political front as well. The fact that Sinhala people had chosen an upper class Tamil, Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan as their choice for the Educated Ceylon’s member constituency at two successive elections over their own kind also explain why Tamils had not wanted Elam at the time.

This election had proved two important points as well: For one; Sinhalese are not racists or nationalists that Kusal Perera, Jayaraj and all their cronies imply. For another; upper-class Tamils have established themselves as heirs apparent to British in all fronts. Whatever it is, Tamils are known to have felt superior to Sinhalese at the time as well as secure of their hegemony. No wonder, Tamils had not sought the federal solution or bought Elam pills at the time.

The question Tamils should ask is; in spite of such gestures by Sinhalese, were they given an equitable share of the Sri Lankan cake during the time of British Raj? The emphatic answer is No. Tamils had in fact fastened their grip in everything firmer.  However, as the universal franchise took roots in the country, expectations of Sinhalese ran high. As a result, Tamils were taken aback. Tamil leaders realized that if egalitarian methods to elect the legislature continue, they would soon lose their supremacy and hegemony.

Ponnambalam senior was the first known Tamil to vent his opposition to one man one vote system in a racially prejudiced manner. He opposed one man one vote by asking the British to reserve only half the seats of the parliament to Sinhalese who were more than seventy five percent of the population. He opposed equality by asking half the seats to a mare twenty percent of the minority. That unfair demand could be considered as the start of the line up for the Sri Lankan Tamil demand for separation.

Tamils had retained their monopoly on government jobs for they knew English, and they had the best schools in Jaffna to learn it. No wonder Tamils and Sinhalese Elite had wanted to continue English as the official language after the independence. They did not want to accept the reality; how could English be the official language of a country after independence when ninety five percent does not speak it? When Sinhala, the language of seventy five percent of the population was made the official language in 1956, Tamils refuse to learn it the same way they refuse to learn Hindi in India.

If Tamils could learn English, a totally alien language and the language that less than 5% of the population speaks, why couldn’t they learn Sinhala the language of the majority?

Soon after that, all shades of Upper cast, Lower cast, Christian and Hindu Tamils of Sri Lanka were attracted to Periyar’s sayings: “The best way to preserve the liberty of Tamils is to agitate for separation.”  To them, liberty for Tamils means; domination of education and top jobs for Tamils. All those separatists have one word in common: “Tamil”. In time to come, Hindu Amirthelingams, Christian Hooles and Low-caste Peripaharans would forgo all their differences for that one word. What more proof one need to prove the existence of Tamil nationalism or indeed racism than that?

Tamil Diaspora, Former colonists, their paid workers, NGOs, INGOs, Evangelists, buddies and cohort preach us that Tamils have problems and our government should remedy them. Without listing the problems, they come up with an answer as well. They say; federal is the only solution acceptable to Tamils. If that is not offered, they warn us; blood bath would come at a future date. Just three months ago, a woman named Thisaranee Gunasekara wrote to Asia Tribune and said; LTTE cannot be beaten and even if it is beaten it would wage a guerrilla war for years to come. Another NGO vulture named Jehan Perera warned us that there would be thousand more Peripaharan to come if we kill the one at hand. Now that the entire LTTE leadership is decimated, these dollar sharks ought to know the truth is otherwise.

LTTE or the War front of the Enterprise Elam is dead and gone. Those who wiped it out are single-minded patriots. They would let no terrorist organization raise its head in Sri Lanka ever again. Majority of Sinhalese believe problems of Tamils are basically what are explained above. And the remedy is Tamils learn to live and let live with Sinhalese just like the Muslims and the Malays and the Burgers and etc.

We have to understand that “ƒ”¹…”the war-front’ or LTTE is only one of the road maps of “ƒ”¹…”Elam Enterprise.’ Watch out! War front or LTTE is dead and gone, but the other road map of “ƒ”¹…”Elam Enterprise’, “ƒ”¹…”Federal Solution’ is very much alive.  

In part 2 of this write-up, I shall demonstrate why “ƒ”¹…”Federal Solution’ will never meet Tamil aspirations with the help of Tamil Nadu paradigm.

2 Responses to “Watch out! LTTE is dead and gone, but the other road map of ‘Elam Enterprise’, the ‘Federal Solution’ is very much alive.”

  1. k k Says:

    i read your very intersting article. enjoyed most of it! i like to adress a couple of points . … In every race there are racists, nationlists, partriots, etc. so when we talk about sinhalese or tamils it seems rather odd to band all tamils or sinhalese or any cast creed or race under the same umbrella ! Also in this 21 century we have children from mixed parentage. so who are they??
    sincerely,
    kk lanka

  2. ajit Says:

    Dear Herold,
    An excellent analysis. This is a very rare and key article. It is important to for the majority of concerned Sri lankans, both in Sri lanka and aboroad, to be made aware of this side of the story. It is also extremely important to make these facts known to the world at latge. No doubt the Eelamists will counter and deny everything as they have cunningly done so far. Herold, I think that there is an urgent need to bring out a publication (a book) telling the whole story with all facts substantiated with a comprehensive list of references. I believe that you are the right person to do this, as amptly demonstrated by the quality and content of this article.

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