Tamil nationalism in Sri Lanka: Suryanarayan’s misinterpretations
Posted on August 8th, 2013

 Asada M Erpini

The local media reproduced a report that had appeared in the New Indian Express (NIE) on 08th August 2013 penned by V Suryanarayan, a former senior professor of University of Madras. When talking of Tamil nationalism in Sri Lanka, he points out, “Tamil political leaders (of Sri Lanka) in the early years of independence never thought of a separate state”, but only wanted federalism. He continues that the “ƒ”¹…”communal holocaust’ of July ’83 led the violent demands that had gradually been building up to spread like wildfire.

The true situation is far from what is alluded to by Suryanarayan. It is very easy to portray that the killing of innocent Tamils in July 83 by “Sinhalese mobs” was the root cause of the Tamil youth, who otherwise would not have hurt a fly, taking up arms against the Sri Lankan state or to attach the label “moderate” to people of the caibre of Amirthalingam, Sivasithamparam and Sambandan as Suryanarayan has done. The moderation of many of the Tamil politicians is merely that they did not carry guns and attack the armed forces of Sri Lanka: apart from that, whatever that Sambandan and many of his present day Tamil National Alliance (TNA) colleagues as well as those who were in the forefront in Tamil politics in the past did was inimical to the unitary status of Sri Lanka.

The separatist identify of the Northern Tamils, often put forward by their spokespersons based in Colombo, existed as far back as 1920, almost a century ago. The Tamil Chiefs in Jaffna and Batticaloa, during 1908-1912, opposed the admission of Sinhalese or Moors to the Vanni although they themselves did not want to settle in the region “because of the unhealthy climate”.

In 1918 the Jaffna Association demanded a 50:50 political representation (50% for the Sinhalese and 50% for the others). This was when the proportion of Tamils whose interests were presented by their representatives did not exceed 4% of the population. Ponnambalam in 1939 repeated the 50:50 demand (50% for the Sinhalese and 50% for the minorities). In 1949 Chelvanayakam (an immigrant from Malaysia), Vanniasingam and Naganathan established the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (meaning Ilankai Tamil State Party) before the ink could dry on the paper granting independence to Ceylon. Although Suryanarayan in his write up suggests that the ignoring of Tamil aspirations by Sinhala majority governments was the factor that made the Tamil demands more radical, the extremist and separatist mentality of the Tamil political groups existed in one form another as long as one could remember. A good illustration of this mentality is the English name used by the this very same party of Chelvanayakam et al. in 1949: Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (meaning Ilankai Tamil State Party) became, for the consumption of the non-Tamil Sri Lankans, Federal Party in the English language. Further perpetuating the violent Tamil politics, the Vadukkoddai Resolution of 1972 called upon the Tamil youth to take up arms to win their mono-ethnic separate state for the Tamils, and promoted open armed insurrection. Many of the so-called Tamil moderates had no problem in keeping company with the violent youth as their bedfellows or in serving as the mouthpiece of the terrorists whose modus operandi was killing as many innocents as possible and anyone – Sinhala, Tamil or Moor – who did not tow their line.

The most unpardonable feature in Suryanarayan write up is his statement, “Many Sinhalese leaders believe that the Eelam struggle was fanned and fuelled by the Dravidian parties in Tamil Nadu”. There is nothing to believe: it is a crystal clear, hard fact that the Tamil political leaders in Tamil Nadu provided finances to the LTTE, and many locations in Tamil Nadu served as training grounds for the LTTE and other Sri Lankan groups with the blessings of the Tamil Nadu politicians and under the guidance of the Indian military. The same Tamil leaders in Tamil Nadu even today keep on fanning the fires of hatred against the Sinhalese and Sri Lanka, and do not allow Sri Lanka to manage its own affairs. These moves are not because they love Sri Lanka’s Tamils and are determined to improve their lot, but shedding bucketfuls of tears at the “ƒ”¹…”suffering’ that the Sri Lanka’s Tamils undergo is a convenient prop to steal the limelight and continue to hoodwink the illiterate Tamil Nadu voters.

Clearly, the political scientist in Suryanarayan has been living in another world during the past few decades, and more importantly, in the more recent years. Never a day passes without Jayalalitha or Karunanidhi, well supported at least in their anti-Sri Lanka stance by a coterie of individuals such as Vaiko, Nedumaran, Sreemaran, etc. threatening Sri Lanka or inveigling upon New Delhi to take a firm stand against Sri Lanka vis a vis the discrimination of Sri Lanka Tamils or of arresting Tamil Nadu fishermen who enter Sri Lanka’s territorial waters. In fact, the attacks on some Sri Lankan pilgrims and a Delhi-based student monk that occurred in Tamil Nadu a few months back and preventing the Sri Lanka cricket team from playing any matches of the recently concluded IPL in Tamil Nadu are classic examples of the Tamil Nadu politicians adding fuel to the fire of anti-Sri Lanka attitude that they have managed to create in their state.

What Sri Lanka badly needs today is Sri Lanka nationalism, and not nationalisms of individual ethnic or religious groups. Until all Sri Lankans are ready to accept that Sri Lanka, their mother country, is one nation, the poor country will continue to rot in divisive politics: many politicians in Tamil Nadu as well as some based in New Delhi will fuel the fires to ensure that they enjoy various benefits at the expense of the small island nation that is struggling hard to rebuild itself after the most ruthless terrorists in the world have had a field day for three decades to cause mayhem and kill anyone they chose.

17 Responses to “Tamil nationalism in Sri Lanka: Suryanarayan’s misinterpretations”

  1. Senevirath Says:

    ASADA
    API KOCHCHARA KIVVATH OYA KAALAKANNI HEMADA OKAMA KIYANAWA
    THEY WILL GO ON TELLING LIES WHAT EVER THE TRUTH IS
    ASK THESE IDIOTS TO ACCEPT PROF .NALIN DE SILVA”s CHALLENGE FOR A PUBLIC DEBATE

    “”mata nam den ethiwela munta uththara deela

  2. Chanaka B Says:

    Their threat to Sri Lanka has existed since time immemorial. Just look at the ruins in Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, who caused those destructions? ( not by the Portuguese, the Dutch or the English)

  3. Lorenzo Says:

    “Just look at the ruins in Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, who caused those destructions?”

    MOSTLY Tamil invaders.

    So it is nonsense to say 1983.

    BTW LTTE’s first victim was in 1975. And they bombed banks in 1970s.
    Kundimani dies before 1983 trying to bring bombs.

  4. Sooriarachi Says:

    Separatist minded Tamils need to come down to earth and understand Sri Lanka is today an independent sovereign nation and there are no Colonial powers to continue with the extra privileges they enjoyed, for so long, at the expense of the Sinhalese natives. Today it is equal opportunity for every Sri Lankan and that is why everybody, whether Burgher, Muslim, Malay, Tamil or Sinhalese, is offered a free education from grade one to University degree as well as free health facilities in Govt hospitals and nursing homes. Sinhalese are known to happily share Sri Lanka with anyone, but wouldn’t tolerate any ethnic group trying to carve out mono-ethnic enclaves and deny the Sinhalese equal rights in those enclaves. Though the Tamils have rejected Tamilnadu to settle down, they have no option but live as equals with other ethnic groups in Sri Lanka.

  5. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    For the past 30 year Tamil Nationalism took the form of terrorism, which was mollycoddled by India with the aim of creating a separate homeland. Now that avenue has failed India, Tamil Nadu , the Tamil National Alliance and the Tamil Diaspora are hell bent in using diplomacy (if that is what it is called) to achieve what they failed by using a military approach. If Sri Lanka is divided it will now come from within her rank and file. The accusing finger points to the TNA whose manifesto clearly states a separate homeland for the Sri Lankan Tamils carved out of present day Sri Lanka.
    To quote a Roman statesmen and an orator Marcus Tullius Cicero: “A nation can survive its fools and even the ambitious, but it cannot survive treason from within”. The TNA which is a Sri Lankan political party voted to power by Sri Lankans often takes advice from New Delhi regarding domestic issues, especially the 13th amendment. That is treasonous.
    Now Tamil politicians and those who are sympathetic to their goal of Eelam freely move among the populace, using the media and the foreign press to instigate hatred to the policies of the Rajapakse government and try to force the devolution of powers with the sole purpose of creating Eelam using diplomatic means. I quote another quote from that Roman orator Cicero:
    ” An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor (TNA) moves amongst those within the gates freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not as a traitor, He speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men, he rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city. He infects the body politic so that it can no long resist. A murderer is less to fear. the traitor is a plague”.
    To date Tamil Nationalism sports a three piece suite with a matching tie and speaks words of deceit to the powers duped into believing that a separate nation is the only choice Sri Lanka has in resolving the Tamil problem. Gone are the soldier’s outfits and weaponry. Now it is the pen an not the sword that is being used to push the enactment of amendment 13 and by the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Jayalalithaa’s very words, to seek a referendum to the formation of Eelam while Karunanidhi has resurrected TESO (Tamil Eelam Supporters Organization). For anyone claiming that the 13th amendment would bring peace is a liar and a con artist for when it was drafted in 1987 it not only did not bring peace it actually made the civil war that much more deadly.

  6. Ananda-USA Says:

    Every Day, in Every Way, More & More of the Monstrous Atrocities committed by the Tamil Tigers with the support of the Eelamist Diaspora and the Tiger Nominated Agents of the TNA are EXPOSED!

    Most of the Military Leaders of the LTTE and their late unlamented SunGod have paid with their lives for these atrocities.

    But WHEN … OH WHEN, I ask… are those in hiding abroad in the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora, and in Sri Lanka posing as PERMANENT VICTIMS agitating for POLITICAL POWER to be DEVOLVED to them, are going to be held ACCOUNTABLE for their roles in the MURDER & MAYHEM they inflicted on the innocent citizens of Sri Lanka?

    Is the GOSL going to DEVOLVE POWER to these murderers via PC Elections so they can do it again?

    WHY … OH, WHY., I ask .. are they not being HARRIED FROM PILLAR TO POST, INVESTIGATED, ARRESTED, PROSECUTED, CONVICTED and PUNISHED to the MAXIMUM for their AWFUL CRIMES and TREASON against their country?

    Is it NOT OBVIOUS that TERRORIST SEPARATISTS UNPUNISHED are TERRORIST SEPARATISTS ENCOURAGED!

    …………….
    Dark deeds of Tamil Tigers come to light after 4 years

    Qadijah Irshad
    KhaleejTimes.com
    August 8, 2013

    Four years after the end of the war, the Sri Lankan police have arrested a man who revealed the gruesome torture and murder of over 85 prisoners, most of them Tamils, by the Tamil Tiger terrorist group.

    Last Saturday the police nabbed a Tiger suspect evading arrest, who provided detailed accounts of massacres of prisoners of war and renegade Tiger combatants, committed by the Tamil Tigers. Three other former Tiger cadres currently in custody corroborated the story, police officials said. According to a statement given by the former rebel to the police, most of the 85 prisoners were ethnic Tamils made up of rebels, some Tamil civilians, an army captain and a high profile Tamil intelligence officer attached to the Sri Lankan police.

    The death of Jeyaratnam

    Of the prisoners held captive and subsequently shot and burnt in a pyre, was the intelligence officer attached to the Sri Lankan police, T. Jeyaratnam, said the rebel.

    Jeyaratnam, an ethnic Tamil from Northern Jaffna was serving in the Sri Lankan police special intelligence unit. Known as “Scotland” Jeyaratnam, he was a key investigator of the activities of the Tamil Tigers with an extensive knowledge of the rebels and their operational methods.

    With a knack for tracking down terrorist operatives, he had cracked open cases relating to assassinations and bombings and was instrumental in arresting key Tiger cadres and unearthing explosives caches in Colombo. A top target on the terrorist hit list, Jeyaratnam disappeared from Colombo in 2005, suspected to have been abducted by the Tamil Tigers.

    According to the captured rebel, Jeyaratnam was abducted and taken to Kilinochchi, the former terrorist capital in the North, and was executed a year later in a jungle in Vallipuram, Pudukuduirippu. “Several other captives including an army captain, Tamil civilians and Tiger cadres who were suspected of betraying the Tamil Tigers were detained in the Vishwamadu prison compound,” said the former Tiger in his statement.

    “In May 2006, 30 of the captives were taken blindfolded to the Oddusuddan jungle and were shot dead. Another group of about 50 prisoners were executed in the same location two months later. Bodies of all the victims were piled together and burned,” he said.

    The former rebel confirmed that the army captain who had been imprisoned in a sprawling prison camp in Thottiadi, Vishvamadu, was also executed in 2009, just before the end of the war.

    Secret prisons and assassinations

    During the three decade conflict, Velupillai Prabhakaran, the Tiger leader ran an entire government in the North. The Tamil Tigers operated their own legal system, parliament, police and security forces, sang their own national anthem and operated vast secret prisons the existence of which no civilian knew of. A visit to one of the secret prisons run by the Tamil Tigers in Vishwamadu, Kilinochchi, where some of the 85 victims were incarcerated reveals the fate of the prisoners. The drawings and graffiti on the walls of families, a woman carrying an infant, a beautiful damsel, churches, verses from the Bible and words of hope and prayer tell their own story. The names and dates of suicide bombing missions inscribed on many of the walls can mean only one thing. The prisoners were trained suicide Tigers who refused to go on a mission.

    According to former cadres, in 2009, as the Tamil Tigers anticipated defeat, most of the prisoners in the six single prison cells and 20 group cells which could house 68 prisoners in Vishwamadu, were shot dead, and their bodies burnt.

    And it was not an isolated incident. Last month a Northern court in Vavuniya indicted two Tiger intelligence officers for the ruthless killing of 26 Sri Lankan military men during the final phase of the war.

    Eighteen Sri Lankan navy and eight army soldiers were held captive at a Tamil Tiger torture camp in Puthukudiyiruppu. The two Tiger cadres had been assigned to capture, torture and interrogate injured soldiers who had penetrated into Tiger territory during the final battle in 2009.

    Although the torture camp was protected by mines and claymores, on orders from their chiefs, the two Tiger cadres built a five foot high, 10 foot long pyre, lined up the blindfolded soldiers against it and shot them.

  7. Ananda-USA Says:

    While Tamil Nadu politicians PUBLICLY SUPPORT the Creation of a Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka, WHY DOES THE GOSL hold PC Elections in Sri Lanka to DEVOLVE POWER to the Tiger Nominated Agents of the TNA who work HAND-IN-GLOVE with the TESO to DIVIDE Sri Lanka?

    WHY?

    Incurable STUPIDITY … That is Why!

    …………………
    Boycott Commonwealth Summitt: TESO

    TheHindu.com

    Aug 08 (PTI) Raising the pitch on the Lankan Tamils issue and attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen, the DMK chief M. Karunanidhi-led Tamil Eelam Supporters Organisation on Thursday staged protests across Tamil Nadu demanding that the Centre boycott the Commonwealth meeting slated to be held in Colombo this November.

    Criticising the Centre for being ‘silent’ , the DMK chief, whose party pulled out of the UPA in March last on the Lankan Tamils issue, said it should not dismiss the protests as ‘mere gatherings’ in various places and “those in power should know that there is a limit to patience.”

    “Centre should not take this lightly as mere gatherings in Chennai, Tiruchirapalli, Madurai, Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Tirunelveli, Coimbatore and Salem. Sri Lanka, too, which is hoping for Centre’s support, should not think that way…” Mr. Karunanidhi said addressing a gathering in Chennai.

    The DMK patriarch alleged that everyday fishermen from the state were being shot, killed and abducted and their catch seized and boats damaged.

    “For how many days will the Centre remain silent? For how long do we have to tolerate this? Those in power should know that there is a limit to patience.”

    The organisation, revived by Mr. Karunanidhi last year, had resolved to press the Centre to boycott the Commonwealth Head of Governments Meeting (CHOGM) in view of the alleged war crimes against Tamils in Sri Lanka in 2009.

    It had also called for action from the Centre to take steps to protect Indian fishermen from “being attacked and abducted by the Lankan armed forces.” “If even for this the Centre remains silent, who do we turn to for support and help?” Mr. Karunanidhi asked.

    He urged the Centre to come forward to protect Tamils, their arts, their culture and fishermen.

    The TESO had insisted that India take the responsibility in ensuring that the island government did not dilute the 13th Amendment on devolution of powers, which was part of the 1987 Rajiv Gandhi-Jayawardhane accord.

  8. Lorenzo Says:

    LOVELY!

    We all know where this is heading.

    Govt. is blackmailed to hold NPC election with the promise CHOGM will be held in SL.

    Govt. will faithfully hold NPC election.
    But CHOGM will not be held in SL.

    ALL the agreements with Endia were like this. ONE SIDED. We lose BOTH.

  9. Fran Diaz Says:

    We Lankans have to analyse and sort out the Weliweriya incident which has given TESO the ammo to act against Lanka. GoSLs past & present are trapped (such as 13-A under JR due to 1983 trumped up Riots), by outside & inside elements.

  10. SA Kumar Says:

    We Tamil never care about these jokers (Chinima people – Theru Kuththadikal ) but You Sinhalese are !

    I do not know why?

    why can not you trust us , We kicked out Indian even they offered us NEP in gold plate !

    even If we get same offer from India still We will reject !!! but We beg less power for NEP from you Sinhalese !!!

    We both are very very stange community who live together last 2,500 years ( at least since Eelara time) !

  11. Fran Diaz Says:

    Tamil Nadu authorities allow ONLY protests against Sri Lanka ! No other protests are ever allowed – not a squeak !

  12. Fran Diaz Says:

    Tamil Nadu Caste Wars have been transferred to Sri Lanka. Do readers realise that then PM SWRD Bandaranaike was assassinated just 5 months after his Cabinet passed the Social Disabilities Act (13 April, 1957) which enabled low caste Tamils to gain access to classrooms in schools and enter the Hindu Temples of the North ?

    Today, less dependency on Tamil Labor the better for the rest of Lanka. Also, Deport all illegal migrants in Lanka.

    I am sorry that the ordinary Tamil people of Lanka are misled by their Tamil leaders.

  13. jayasiri Says:

    Thank you Asada & others following this with great responses. HOW can people in Lanka & even the Sinhalese & others who support Lanka, do anything to UN -LOCK this log jam??.

    This has been going on for decades, beccase, there is a faction in the WORLD Community who are hell bent on de-stablizing govts,. who are critical or do thing OTHER THAN the way they want us to do.

    Independent soveriegn nation in name sake, it all depends on dollars & conspiracies. TO make matters worst,some of our NGO’s are doing so much harm to Lanka, by supporting the foregn embassies, their point men in de-stablizing our country.

    THEN our own party leaders are fighting among themselves, WHILE TAMILS are united & irrespective of who governs lanka, TAMILS WILL ALWAYS plan & organize AGAINST that govt. To help them the so called, CHURCH orgaizations & their reps in lanka, who wears CHURCH attire & feel they can do anything as long as THEY GODS messengers.

    Thi is why RELIGION as it says WE ARE A PREDOMINANTLY a BUDDHIST Country, BUT Tamils are NOT mostly Hindus, THEY ARE SERVANTS OF CATHOLIC CHURCH or other NON Budhist beleivers.

    Wherever in the world, if there are problems IT IS BECAUSE these NON – BUDDHIST Clergy wielding so much power in the name of WEARING CHURCH’s attire. They expect whatever corruption they are involved in, is JUSTIFIED as ROME & ENGLAND controls them as puppets.

    Our Sinhalese NATIONALS are devided, and some COLOMBO people think that UNLESS they become or act as Westren PEOPLE, they are somewhat INFERIOR. These are problems that will NEVER go away as from the begining our leaders NEVER HAD any FEELINGS for the country as INDIANS or TAMILS do.

    EVEN if we EDUCATE our people & organize THESE problems can be solved, ONLY CONCERTED EFFORT< UNRELENTING & DECICIVE. THERE SHOULD be NO LETTING UP on our work against TAMILS & INDIANS Both communities are ALWAYS looking for loopholes, in any project to make it a dissster to our country.

    WHY cannot our present PRESIDENT declare, without any DOUBTS that TAMILS CANNOT have a seperate county in Lanka, its an UNITARY STATE & Tamils have to PAY ALLEGENCE TO OUR CONSTITUTION & any form of party affliations which promotes seperation, should be banned.

    With respect to IDIOTS who thought by crying for 50-50 KNOWING WELL that would not happen, even some percent is acceptable to them WHEN they ask 50%, we might give at least 20%. NO not even that when their population is ONLY 4-5% NOW. Then again their COUNTRY is TAMIL NADU.. go there, NOT TO WEST & America or any other country. DO NOT ASK OR EXPECT a homeland in Lanka.

    These are NEVER SPOKEN, should be DRILLED to their HEADS. WE will NEVER GIVE them what they want, they should realize that. FOR that we NEED to have BRAVE leaders, NOT with HIGHER DEGREES in education OUR first PM, DS Senanayake, managed the country so well with ONLY 6th grade education. Late President PREMADASA had the courage to KICK INDIANS OUT & the so called Peace Keeping force had to leave. He was NOT all that educated either.

    I am exposing some of our own follies, we beleive, that INDIA MIGHT invade, so what.? They have done that as some of your respones indicated for decades. LET THEM COME NOW, there wont be any MONUMENTS depicting INDIANESS IN LANKA, even IPKF monument should be DEMOLISHED so that THEY MAY THINK TWICE before they invade AGAIN.

    I know I am like many of you, am angry BUT very little we can do…..STILL DO NOT GIVE UP something GOOD will come -up after CHOGM.. I hope……..Another expat mouhing off from Canada………..Thanks you all…~ J

  14. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    India now has taken the stand to push Colombo to initiate the 13th amendment into the new Constitution with the flimsiest excuse that devolution of power will be the cure all. India has also hinted to Colombo that not initiating the 13th amendment would reduce Sri Lanka to that of Pakistan’s internal turmoil.
    India is using the “carrot and stick” approach of diplomacy to cater to her Tamil voting block. Does New Delhi really care if that amendment is part of the new Constitution of Sri Lanka or is she doing this because of the elections. Either way India has been instrumental in supporting the Sri Lankan Tamil course for a separate homeland, and by that is using the strongest weapon in her arsenal. To quote a saying: “The tongue is to speech as a rudder is to a ship; small in comparison to the whole, but capable of steering the ship into a disastrous course”.
    So far Tamil Nadu, the Tamil Diaspora, the TNA and New Delhi have failed in persuading Colombo to devolve her powers but has not given up in any way. Colombo too must use the word and the pen to dissuade New Delhi in interfering into Sri Lanka’s domestic issues by pointing to the laundry list of entrenched human rights in India which range from acts done by her military, sectarian killings that have gone unpunished to the eternal Caste system that continues to destroy countless lives. That is (Buddhist) Sri Lanka’s card against India and if played properly would cripple this rogue elephant called India.

  15. Fran Diaz Says:

    DELAY acting on the 13-A for AS LONG AS IS POSSIBLE – may be another 50 years !!! By then Tamil Nadu may have settled down and dealt with her Caste/poverty issues.

    The 13-A is the curse of Sri Lanka. Even for the Tamils of Lanka it is a curse. If 13-A is imposed fully and leads to Tamil Eelam, the Caste structure will be imposed in Tamil Eelam as that is the Tamil Nadu way of ‘crowd control’.

  16. Fran Diaz Says:

    The Joint Opposition of Lanka must realise the slippery road to destruction that they are taking their constituents and the rest of Lanka.

  17. Fran Diaz Says:

    read as ” …. must realise that it is down a slippery road to destruction …”

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