Failure of the politics of the pseudo-Gandhians of Jaffna
Posted on September 21st, 2014

Part I  H.L. D. Mahindapala

 Capturing the moral high ground in politics is a  necessary tactic to pose as superior and legitimate combatants who are blessed with the righteous power to exterminate the immoral enemies in the battlefield.  The chances are that those who occupy the high moral ground have already won half the battle. Once you are ensconced in that ethically approved elevation it is easy to target your enemies down below. It will be like killing fish in a bath tub.

 Throughout the 33-year-old Vadukoddai War the moral high ground was hijacked by the pro-Tamil NGOs who ran private research” projects targeting only the south. Their bias was demonstrated not only in the contents of their publications, seminars, lectures and other stratagem but also in picking the subjects for research”.

 Radhika Coomaraswamy, for instance, who ran the ICES as her political base, used to boast that ICES was the best research center in South East Asia. But neither its founder Neelan Tiruchelvam nor she, his successor, ever peeped over the cadjan curtain into Jaffna to explore the internal dynamics that propelled peninsular politics incrementally to mono-ethnic extremism. Research” work done by ICES explored every nook and corner of the south – from the Kalutara Maha Bodhiya to Vihara Maha Devi Park – but I do not know of any serious and comprehensive research into any single corner of Jaffna.

 A typical example is the focus on Anagarika Dharmapala ( 1864 – 1933).  ICES and allied NGO researchers” from academia relentlessly denigrated Anagarika Dharmapala, the Buddhist revivalist of the 20th century who influenced the rise of Sinhala-Buddhist nationalism. The objective behind the targeting of Anagarika Dharmapala was to blame the Sinhala-Buddhist as the sole cause for the worsening of inter-ethnic relations. But his counterpart in Jaffna, the casteist Arumuka Navalar ( 1822 – 1879), was never researched” by the ICES. If they did go down that track they would have had to reveal the dehumanizing and oppressive casteism he revived to anoint, elevate and install the Vellahlas as the Brahmins of Jaffna – a religio-political movement engineered to consolidate and entrench the power of the Vellahlas as the God-given force to rule the Tamils, with brutal force if necessary.

 Navalar’s fake religious theories introduced to legitimize the elevation of the Vellahlas of Jaffna to the level of Brahmins in India proved to be a decisive force in shaping the casteist politics that dominated the landscape of Jaffna. It became the primary political factor that led to the rise of Saivite Jaffna Vellahlas who roused, manipulated, financed and backed the mono-ethnic extremism of the north  all the way to Nandikadal.

 As a research” organization it was the duty of the ICES to objectively explore all ethnicities as a means of understanding the interacting forces of inter-ethnic  relations. But ICES did not produce a single significant researched study that threw light on the internal dynamics of Jaffna politics – politics that incrementally gathered momentum into a violent force of the most inhuman kind.  Why? Why was Dharmapala demonized by the NGO mafia and why was Arumuka Navalar the casteist fanatic exempted from any scrutiny by the ICES researchers”. 

 It was a strategy to divert attention away from the politics of oppressive and brutal Vellahla elite. Exposing the  systemic oppression of English-educated Saivite Jaffna Vellahlas (ESJVs) would undermine any political or moral legitimacy to rule the Tamils by establishing a separate state.  Besides, how could the historical oppressors of the Jaffna Tamils be their saviours?

 Jaffna politics has been dominated and ruled by the myths manufactured by the Vellahla elite to project themselves as the saviours of the Tamils though, in reality, they have been the most oppressive persecutors of low-caste Tamils kept as slaves from feudal times. Slavery was legalized under Tesawalamai laws drawn during the Dutch period. 

 The legitimacy of Tamil separatism depended essentially on presenting the ESJVs as the selfless saviours of the Tamils. S. J. V. Chelvanayakam was the varnished symbol of the mono-ethnic extremism  of the Vellahlas. He attained the status of a trousered Gandhi” (Prof. A. J Wilson), not because he was a committed disciple of non-violence (he fathered the Vadukoddai Resolution which authorized Tamil violence) but because his Parkinson’s disease and frail constitution gave him the appearance of a abstemious, pious and disciplined holy man. Exploitation of his frailty and Parkinson’s disease to build his image as a pseudo-Gandhi was pointed out to me by Dr. E.M.V. Naganathan as he was climbing the stairs of the old Parliament, hanging on to my shoulder. I was then the Lobby Correspondent of The Observer.

 Pontificating on the need for moral perfection of the south while exonerating the north of their violent politics has been stock in trade of the NGOs and academics allied to the NGOs. The latest example is that of Radhika Coomaraswamy sneakily admiring the deadly genius” of the Tamil mass murderer, Velupillai Prabhakaran, while shedding tears for the young girls forcibly dragged by him into a futile war. How could she have acted as the protector of children at the UN when in Sri Lanka she chooses language which considers a mass murderer as a genius” with deadly powers? To even think of a mass murderer, who had no compunction in killing his own fellow-Tamils on a mass scale, as a kind  of ‘GENIUS”  should be absolutely repugnant to any decent, sensitive moralist. There is more than a touch of triumphalism in that phrase. It reflects the open admiration by a Tamil moralist for a Tamil Pol Pot. 

 Describing Prabhakaran as a deadly genius” is a disgusting  obscenity. It is possible to overlook it if it came from fanatics like  Fr. S. J. Emmanuel or V. Rudrakumaran – die-hard apologists for blood-thirsty Prabhakaran — but not from a former Under-Secretary General for Children in Armed Conflict. But Radhika Coomaraswamy sees no contradiction in the deadly genius” of a mass killer. Could this be because she comes from the political tradition of Janus-faced Neelan Tiruchelvam, who functioned simultaneously as the head of the International Center for Ethnic Studies, and also as the nominated MP of the Tamil National Alliance which was the public face of the Tamil mass murderer?  NGOs claim to be above partisan politics. But how could Neelan be the objective defender of human rights in the ICES when he was also a MP nominated by TNA which stood for Prabhakaran’s brutal politics?

 Tamil morality rises in anger only when non-Tamils kill Tamils – and that too purely to extract political mileage. Take the notorious case of Ms. Coomaraswamy’s ICES going all out to perpetuate 1983” as the darkest day in  post-independent history. When the Tamil masses – mostly the low-castes — were marched out of Jaffna at gun point by the LTTE in 1995 to function as a human shield to protect Velupillai Prabhakaran and his boys” not a peep came out of the Jaffna moralists. On the contrary Fr. S. J. Emmanuel, the former Vicar-General of Jaffna, hailed it as a Biblical Exodus in his political tract titled, Let my People Go. He, of course, failed to mention that  his people would eventually go to the hell of Prabhakaran! 

 The ESJV elite in the Tamil Diaspora too were delighted with the plight of the Jaffna masses living in Prabhakaran’s hell in Vanni because their collective misery gave them the opportunity to pose as righteous moralists fighting for the just cause of Tamils oppressed by the Sinhala-Buddhist governments”.  Behind this cover of moral righteousness they were venally using the Tamil masses to pull their political chestnuts out of the racist fires lit by them. They were even boasting in the Western capitals that the Tamil youth, who were forcibly recruited into Prabhakaran’s dwindling army, were volunteers ready to sacrifice their lives for the Tamil cause. That was how they justified the use of low-caste masses left behind as foot soldiers in Prabhakaran’s futile war.

 Their strategy was to ride on the backs of the Jaffna youth into power. In 1983” the ESJVs got, for the first time, a taste of what they had given to the Jaffna masses for centuries. The Tamil masses were deprived of their dignity, their self-respect, justice and even the right to drink water or bury their dead according to their religious beliefs from medieval times by the Saivite Jaffna Vellahlas who ruled Jaffna with an iron fist. The accumulated karmic forces, moving slowly across time, boomeranged finally on ESJVs in 1983” to give them a taste what they had given to their oppressed Tamils in Jaffna.

 Faced with the unexpected blow to their property and security, the ESJV’s fled to greener pastures in the West, leaving the poor masses to bear the brunt of the Vadukoddai War they unleashed in May 1976.   The Vadukoddai Resolution produced by ESJVs was designed mainly to use the Tamil youth / masses as the foot soldiers who would fight on their behalf to grab power from the Sinhalese and install the ESJV elite in power. That was their dream. But it all came to naught in Nandikadal.

One Response to “Failure of the politics of the pseudo-Gandhians of Jaffna”

  1. Christie Says:

    “pseudo-Gandhians ” No they are real Gandhians. Gandhi is the most celebrated Indian colonial parasite who made his fortunes from black Africa. Vellah of Jaffna ate the descendants from Vellars who came from the Malabar coast to administer the Dutch possessions taken over by the British in 1792.

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