Ravana's land and Tamil Nadu politicians: a brief history

C. Wijeyawickrema

"We are helping Tamilnadu to achieve self-rule"
V. Balakumaran, Advisor to Prabakaran, (Jan. 2006)

"There is no state without a Tamil, but there is no state for the Tamils."
World Confederation of Tamils (2006) (

"If the Tamils' cry for separatism is given up, the two communities could solve their problems and continue to live in amity and dignity"
M. C. Sansoni, former CJ (Sessional Paper No. 7 of 1980)


Mr. Sathseesan Kumaaran's (SK) short essay in the Island (Feb 13, 2008) on the topic of "Indian (Tamil Nadu) politicians," covered two items: (1) highly opportunistic behavior of Tamil Nadu politicians and (2) "high hopes among the Tamil Nadu people" (of an Eelam?). Because Tamil Nadu politics is a life and death issue for the Sri Lankans this topic deserves further objective analysis. A separate country for the Tamils is a lively and a permanent feature in TN politics. It thus runs deeper than the surface behavior of its current political actors/actresses mentioned by SK. One could say 90% of Tamil Nadu politics is a cinema by ex-film stars who played the movie role of the Tamil version of Ravana, the hero, before getting into politics. It is as if separatism is in their (politicians') DNA.

Paradigm shifts

While in Sri Lanka politicians talked about paradigm shifts from an Eelam to an "F" model, in Tamil Nadu the separatist paradigm had been in existence since 1917 never changed. In fact, it was even temporarily transferred to Sri Lanka as DMK when it faced a mild ban in India under the 16th Indian Constitutional Amendment in 1963 which outlawed politicians or political parties promoting it. Nehru suddenly got the wake up call by the sudden electoral gains by DMK in 1962. Nehru gathered political courage to fight against the Tamil separatist agenda with the nationalism surge after the Chinese captured Indian border regions in 1962. But after 1963, the "independence movement" changed from anti-India to an anti-Hindi campaign.

There was also no shift in the thinking pattern of the small Tamil separatist cell in Sri Lanka operating from Colombo since the separatist fever reached Ceylon in 1918 from Tamil Nadu. With the governor Manning actively behind it during 1921-24, this became an official fever via a concept of "balanced representation" supported by both Tamil and Sinhala Colombo politicians (ref. Communalism and language in the politics
of Ceylon, by Robert Kearney, 1967, page 37). In 1928 and in 1944 two royal commissions rejected it but it was resurrected in 1949 as the Tamil state party (ITAK).

In a way the 1956 Sinhala Only (with Reasonable use of Tamil Language Act of 1958) Act was a reaction to Tamil separatist politics by the Colombo-living Tamil politicians who copied unfairly the separatist agitation in Tamil Nad. While in Tamil Nadu it was anti-Brahmin and anti-Hindi in Ceylon it was dominated by Tamil Christians. Thus in July 1947, SJV Chelvanayagam proposed merger of Tamil Nad and Tamil state in Ceylon. In November 1947, Chelvanayagam's speech at Trincomalee promised "to snatch Trincomalee from the Sinhala enemies and deliver it to Nehru for India's security if Nehru so asked." The famous Malyalee Indian diplomat K. M. Panikkar once said Trincomalee is India's jewel.

A prison called homeland

After the Vaddukoddai resolution in 1976 separatism took the form of a traditional Tamil homeland in the Eastern Province. This is why despite all the good behavior of Mr. Anandasangaree, lately, unless he gives up the Tamil homeland idea he would continue to remain as a prisoner of Tamil separatism which is buried but not dead. Any "F" formula mixed with a homeland idea is fuel and fire. Thus when he warns India of the dire consequences to India itself if Eelam terrorists are not removed from India, he does not realize that the idea of a Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka is equally deadly to India as well as to Sri Lanka. He is obviously concerned with what Balakumaran said above, but he has no control over what the world confederation of Tamils say.

Mr. A and the other "moderate" Tamils are still ignoring the golden advice given by the Burgher Chief Justice in 1980 which Col. Karuna interpreted in 2007 as-"give us what Colombo gets." Karuna was only repeating what the Youth Commission Report said in March 1990-kolambata kiri apita kakiri (Sessional Paper No. 1 of 1990, p. xvii). The sooner the "moderate" Tamils look at the economic plight of the village Tamil (as well as the village Sinhala and Muslim), the easier for them to come out of the prison of a separate Tamil homeland. On the other hand, under a language-blind devolution system, each Tamil household, each Tamil village and even the Northern Province itself could become a Tamil cultural-aspirations center with ties to the real Tamil homeland in Tamil Nadu. The ties are not just matrimonial. Tamils in Jaffna used to go by boat to Tamil Nadu coast to see newly released Tamil movies in the afternoon and return home early hours of next day!

Ravana versus Ramayana

The two separatist rivers in Ceylon and Tamil Nadu ran parallel mingling with each other until 1963 when an amendment to the Indian constitution made it a criminal act to talk about separatism by politicians (not by others such as writers). Then the poison water was transferred to Lanka and after 1978 (beginning of JRJ-IndiraG family feud) it was the Lanka river that rejuvenated the Tamilnadu river. In the late 1950s the poison water in Tamilnadu was sprayed on the walls with a Dravida Kazagham proverb, "When you meet a Brahmin and a snake, kill the Brahmin first."

For the Lankan river and the Tamilnadu masses the Tamil separatist master E.V. Ramaswamy Naicker twisted the Rama-Ravana story in the Hindu epic Maha Bharatha so that Shivaji Ganeshan and MG Ramachandran (born in Kandy) were able to act as folk hero-Tamil Ravana in low-budget movies watched in Madras, Jaffna and Dehiwala as well as in Indian estate worker line-towns such as Hatton. Naicker concluded, "Rama and Sita are despicable characters…Ravana, on the other hand, is a Dravidian of excellent character." The "boys" in Sri Lanka with their Chola empire symbols are thus good Ravanas in the eyes of an average Tamil Nadu Tamil. There are about 30 Ravana-Seetha sites identified in Sri Lanka.

Chronology of the Separatist Paradigm (Dravidasthan)

E. V. Ramaswamy Naicker, born in 1879, married at the age of 13, became a sannyasi 6 years later, started the Dravidian Federation (DK) party in 1944, as a militant (DK members wear black shirts), anti religious (philosophy of Hinduism is false and an opiate), anti-Sanskrit (need to de-Sanskritize Tamil language, Ramayanaya is false, destroy the images of sacred Hindu deities such as Rama and Ganesha) movement. The selection of a poison flower and a cyanide pill by Tamil separatists in Northern Sri Lanka is thus not hard to understand (ref. chapter10: Religion, politics and the DMK by Robert L. Hardgrave in South Asia Politics and Religion, edited by Donald E. Smith,1966).

(A) 1917-1963 (legal phase)

1. 1917 August - South India Liberation Front founded (Justice Party)
It was then anti-Brahmin not anti-Hindi (power of Tamil Nadu was in the hands of the Brahmin 2%)
1921-1924 - Agreement in Ceylon between Tamil and Sinhala politicians for a ratio of 1 Tamil for 2 Sinhala representatives
2. 1925 - Self-Respect Movement began
3. 1931 - Naicker's trip to Russia
1936-1937 - Balanced representation (fifty-fifty) demand by GG Ponnambalam (a Christian) in Ceylon.
4. 1937 - Hindi introduced as a compulsory subject in schools (Rajagopalachari of
the Congress Party was in control)
Anti-Hindi campaign began, Hindi language changed to an optional subject
5. 1938 December - Justice Party Convention asked for a separate Tamilnad
operating directly under London
6. 1939 - Dravida Nadu Conference asked for a separate and independent
7. 1940 - Muslims League's Lahore resolution demanding a Pakistan, mutual
support for separate states
1940s - C. Sundaralingam, MP for Vavniya spoke of a Tamil state in Northern and Eastern Provinces in Ceylon.
8. 1944 - Justice Party reorganized as DK- Dravida Federation (remained a quasi-
military organization).
1944 -1945 - Soulbury Commission rejected discrimination complaint by GG Ponnambalam.
9. 1947 - Jinna refused to help Naicker to help create a Dravidasthan
July 1947 - SJV Chelvanayagam proposed merger of Tamil Nad and Tamil state in Ceylon.
Nov 1947 - Chelvanayagam's speech at Trincomalee; promised to snatch Trincomalee from the Sinhala enemies and deliver it to Nehru for India's security if Nehru so asked.
10. 1949 - DMK formed by C. N. Annadurai. Reasons: Naicker was a dictator, had
no faith in democracy, refused to honor the national flag, boycotted independence day celebrations, rejected Indian constitution; married a 28 year old girl when he was 72 and made her heir to the party leadership.
Dec. 1949 - Tamil state party (ITAK) was formed in Ceylon by SJV Chelvanayagam wowing for a separate Tamil state.
11. 1952 Indian General Election. Anna said DMK was "genuinely communist."
burned Hindi books, painted tar over Hindi signs, burned the flag, burned pictures of Gandhi. (DMK has a tribal mentality-Nehru)
Independence demand at the election
12. 1955 - Hindi became the National (official) language of India
13. 1956 - Reorganization of states on language basis (Naicker abandoned
Dravidasthan goal to a smaller Tamilnadu separatism goal)
14. 1957 Tamilnadu election - Independence demand
15. 1962 - DMK Election manifesto (long-range goal was the creation of a
Dravidasthan Socialist Federation) Independence demand
Kamraj of the Congress Party won but DMK won 50 seats in the state legislature. In Feb. 1962 Kamraj changed the state name from Madras to Tamilnad. He wanted Madurai (Pandyan capital) as state capital.
16. 1963 - Separatism proscribed from Indian politics (not from people or writers)

(B) 1963-mid 1980s (illegal phase)

The unexpected War with China in 1962 gave Nehru an opportunity to ban Tamil separatism using "protect the motherland national feelings." No room in India for any anti-Indian talks. The separatist movement had to be moved to Jaffna to the Ravanas of Naicker. It went back to India after 1978 (JRJ-IndiraG cow and calf family feud) and got an open foothold after 1983 Tamil killings in Colombo. Had a set back with the killing of Rajiv G in May 1991.

17. 1967 election - Anna became chief minister. Congress party out from power.
18. 1968 - One day student strike; hoisted independent Tamilnadu national flag.
19. 1969 Feb - Anna died of oral cancer; 15 million attended his funeral (largest in
the world).
20. 1969-1976 - M. Karnanidhi as chief minister (DMK)
21. April 1974 - Tamilnadu assembly passed a resolution for state autonomy
22. 1972 - MGR's fall out from DMK (one reason Karunanidhi's practice of
polygamy). Formed AIADMK.
23. 1977 election - MGR won

(C) After mid 1980s (separatism back in Tamil Nadu via Delhi politicians)

24. mid-1980s - Tamilnadu liberation army formed (TNLA) to liberate Tamilnadu
(TN) from Indian rule; TNRT - TN retrieval troops; Thamizhaka Makkal Viduthalai Padai formed.
25. 1984 - MGR suffered a paralytic stroke
26. 1985 - RajivG unsuccessfully requested Perunchiththiranar (who started the
magazine Thenmoli) to stop Independent Tamilnadu movement
27. 1987 - MGR died; power struggle between wife Janaki and suspected mistress
28. 1988 - MGR's wife Janaki chief minister for 24 days; Jayalalitha succeeds.
29. 1989-1991 - Karunanidhi won
30. 1991- 1996 - Jayalalitha won
31. 1993 - MDMK formed by Vaiko
32. 1996- 2000 - Karunanidhi won.
33. 1996 December - Jayalalitha in jail
34. 2001 - Jayalalitha became chief minister (without contesting a seat)
35. 2001 June - Karunanidhi in jail
36. 2002 July - Vaiko arrested by Jayalalitha under Prevention of Terrorism Act for
making pro-LTTE speech.
37. 2002 August - Nedumaran arrested by Jayalalitha under Prevention of Terrorism
Act for making pro-LTTE speech.
38. 2004 - Jayalalitha's party lost seats in the Delhi parliament
39. 2004 July - Veerappan (friend of Prabakaran) was killed after 20 years of hiding
40. 2005 Dec 30 - Jayalalitha refused a meeting with Mahinda Rajapakse
41. 2006 Jan - Jayalalitha wants Delhi to take back Kachchativ island from Sri Lanka
42. 2006 April - Tamilnadu assembly elections, Karunanidhi won
43. 2008 Feb - Jayalalitha asked Delhi to impose Presidential Rule in Tamil Nadu
(under Article 356)
Anandasangaree warns India against Tamil Nadu becoming a separatist terrorist heaven

Tamil Nadu geopolitics

Tamil Nadu is the only Indian state to oppose Hindi as a unifying language. In Punjab, where there was a civil war against Delhi, Hindi is accepted with Panjaabi taking a second place in public schools There are several popular websites promoting separatism and attacking the "Hindian" homeland in India as opposed to a Tamil homeland. Despite laws in the book, the power of separatist writers was so penetrating that Rajiv Gandhi once made a personal appeal to a writer to stop writing! Tamilnad mind of a Tamil Ravana from Lanka is not easy to erase. The anger fueled by separatist Tamil politicians against Delhi as exploitation of Tamils by Hindi rulers is conveniently directed at the Sinhala Buddhists killers, with what Prabakaran calls, a Mahavamsa mindset.

It is true that no one Indian state can face the Indian military Goliath but the Delhi rulers know that a new political reality of "coalition governments" has come to stay. The Tamil vote block is more powerful than the political power needed to use Direct Presidential Rule. It (Article 356) can be imposed now only if state politicians (in the opposition) want Delhi to use against their local rivals (chief minister). The present game of alternatively DMK jailing AIADMK boss and AIADMK jailing DMK boss, with the Indian Supreme Court caught in between has given a little breathing room to Delhi, but such DMK-AIADMK nonsense will vanish if Prabakaran as Ravana is in power in an Eelam. There are other minor political parties in Tamilnadu (TMC, PMK, MDMK) who act as Prabakaran's proxies.

India's Palestine Wall

Perhaps, this is why Delhi thought of a new solution: the Sethusamuduram Canal has suddenly become India's Palestine Wall to cutoff Valvetithurai from Chennai.
With the Tamil Nad voting block gaining influence in Delhi, two central government projects came to Tamil Nad as if there is a plan to cutoff the mingling of two separatist rivers-separatists in Tamilnadu and Sri Lanka's north-Sethu Samuduram Canal Project and the mega Kanya Kumari nuclear power plant. Gwynne Dyer (Island, Feb. 15, 2007) gave a list of world walls. For example, Pakistan is building a 1,500-mile fence along Afghanistan border. Since Tamil terrorists converted the sea border between India and Sri Lanka a terrorist super highway, the Delhi government may be planning to use the two federal projects as "India's Palestine Wall' in the south.

Tamil language faces pressure from its landward neighbors Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam and from the Hindi official language department in Delhi. The Hindi official language department is moving slowly with annual progress reports. The Pondicherry model is another pain in the neck, forced upon Tamil Nad. Additionally, those federal water transfer projects come with the federal muscle. With such pressure Lanka to the south is a trouble-free fertile valley full of Ravana attractions such as Trincomalee and Seetha Eliya and Ravana Ella and 30 other identified sites.

A Tamil "F" in Sri Lanka will rekindle the fire beneath the surface. Chamberlain thought Hitler had only a limited hunger. A language-based "F" state is a growing monster. It needs more room. It cannot grow landward in India. But it can come southward via the shallow seas and become the Dravidasthan first demanded directly from London in December 1938 by the Justice Party of Naiker. Two caste groups in Tamil Nad are demanding two separate states within its boundaries! (PMK leader S. Rmados is demanding one for the Vanniyar castes; as a reaction to this the Dalits inpoliticians can postpone or re-direct such domestic divisive demands by instigating separatist agitation or UDI in a language-based "F" unit in Sri Lanka.

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