The burden of the Presidency and 13-A
Posted on March 6th, 2019

The burden created by the politicians and politics of all hues has become unbearable for everybody, except the politicians who enjoy life like the proverbial crab in the pot. People irrespective of ethnicity are heavily taxed, not for the purpose of development of the country, but to maintain the thousands of politicians comprising four tiers of government from president to village councilor. Do we need such a vast organization of political institutions to govern this small country? The Provincial Councils were created to enable devolution of power to the periphery, but is such a division of centre and periphery discernible in such a small country to justify devolution with all its adverse implications. Have the ordinary Tamils got anything in return for paying for the maintenance of their Provincial Council, which was established as a solution to their specific problems? Leave alone solving the problem they don’t seem to know what the problem is in the first place.

The Northern PC does not even have the capacity to spend the money voted for it by the Central Government and returns most of it. Their excuse is they need more power if they are to serve the people. It is the Central Government which had solved all the problems of the Tamils related to language, culture, education, employment and infrastructure. This is why the household income in Vavuniya is better than in most towns elsewhere. The NPC, or any other PC for that matter, cannot even maintain what the Central Government has built.

One would expect all problems to be solved when we have a politician at every doorstep, so to speak. Instead of solving our problem they have evolved as the main problem. The Editorial of The Island of 06.03.2019 shows us how the Western Provincial Council wastes public money. Sometime ago this PC wanted to import luxury chairs at Rs. 600000/- each for its members, so they could be comfortable while watching blue films on their smartphones. The good editor knows how white these elephants are. Why is all this necessary and how has this corrupt exploitative system evolved?

Once we were a proud nation which achieved greatness under brave benevolent kings who were kind even to foreign immigrants. Our people accepted Tamils as their kings who pledged to foster Buddhism. However, intrigue had been a trait among the ruling class even then, as it is now. The colonial foreign powers exploited this weakness to grab the reins. This happened then and is happening now. The 1815 betrayal by the Nilames was a manifestation of this trait, and the 2015 betrayal by Mangala at Geneva is a recurrence. The colonial masters know about this trait for they had used it effectively for several centuries. Tamil separatists also know about it, and they used it even before independence and now also they use it within the parliament and without. Tamil Nadu, Tamil Diaspora, TNA and other Tamil politicians also know about this phenomenon and employ it opportunistically.

There were in the past heroes who fought against this trait. Kusumasena Devi, Keppettipola, and Puran Appu, are just a few names that come to mind. This trait grows in the mind that lacks patriotic feelings. Patriotic feelings could be overshadowed and surpassed by political expediency, and that happens in both sides of the ethnic divide. There are Tamils who feel for their country despite their politicians. Then there are Sinhalese who will go along with their politicians despite betrayals of the worst kind. For instance, they will continue to vote for those who are responsible for the Central Bank robbery and the UNHRC Resolution 30/1.

Unfortunately our present day intellectuals and politicians have done nothing to take the patriotic Tamils on board. There are no politicians on either side who could rise above communal politics. In fact, this is the bane of all South Asian countries. What is worst is the people do not realize that they are being taken for a ride, that their emotions are being exploited by unscrupulous politicians. The extremists of one side ask for what is not fair by the other communities, giving the extremists of the other side political ammunition; while the people who are the real stake holders remain ignorant of what is going on.

A disastrous outcome of this political chicanery is the perpetuation of discord among the communities, hardening of ethnic identity, exacerbation of ethnic differences and tendency for secession. This situation has externalized our issues and opened the doors for foreign interference in our internal affairs. Thus was the opportunity created for India to force down our throat the 13th A, which hangs over us like a Sword of Damocles, with the potential to cut our country into two. Its offspring, the provincial councils, have the potential to ruin our economy. They do not serve any purpose except provide another stage for the corrupt politicians to train their hand for bigger things, when they eventually get promoted to the parliament.

Further this farce has paved the way for western powers to help bring about a regime change, and then take a tight grip of our collective neck and force our government to obey their dictates. The government is forced to accept that war crimes have been committed and therefore the war heroes have to be punished, enact adverse laws such as the Office of the Missing Persons Act, Truth Commission, Reparation Bill and so on. An ill-defined process called Reconciliation and Prevention of Recurrence is being peddled as the reason for all these dubious acts, which in fact have only one purpose and that is to tighten the hegemonic grip. Reconciliation is something that cannot be achieved by being biased towards one party to the conflict while being unfair to the other.

The worst is yet to come and that is the proposed new constitution which is one of the recommendations of the UNHRC Resolution. Immense pressure will be brought upon the government at the Geneva UNHRC Conference to expedite the process of constitution reforms, in order to bring about Reconciliation and Prevention of Recurrence. The new constitution would create a grotesque “Ekiya / Orumitta Nadu” out of the present unitary state. Would this solve the so called ethnic problem? It would further deepen the chasm created by the politicians and jeopardize the peace and harmony that exists at present. How could such an outcome be beneficial to anybody, least of all the Tamils? Our misfortune is that there are no statesmen on either side of the ethnic divide, who have the vision and the courage to rise above opportunist communal politics, and tell the people that it is to the greater good that the country stays as one entity. Ordinary Tamils must realize that peace and harmony cannot be achieved by insisting on punishing war winning soldiers who saved the country. If real peace and harmony is to be achieved, forget and forgive is the best policy for both sides and not punishment to one side and reparation to the other.

If the people, the Sinhalese, the Tamils and the Muslims realize that if they could get together despite their politicians, the need for the burdensome politics, presidency, PC and so many costly elections would not be necessary. The intellectuals and statesmen, if there are any, must work towards that goal and rally the people for that purpose. Let both the presidency and the 13th A be abolished. Let all ethnic communities share power in the centre. Let the people find unity in diversity, and not allow foreign powers, who have made war instead of peace and never achieved reconciliation anywhere in the world, tell us how to do it. Unless we do that we are doomed in the claws of these vultures, both local and foreign.

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