Tamil Eelaam has without a doubt turned into an issue that has nothing to do with the Tamil people either in Tamil Nadu or in Sri Lanka and everything to do with India’s strategic interests. Eelaam is nothing but a tool and a white horse to advance India’s strategic interest. It is something the Tamil people of both countries must learn to accept and refuse to fall prey to. Unfortunately, the Tamil representatives in both India and Sri Lanka are in the pockets of India who have been outsourced the task of maintaining the bogus “Eelaam” quest politically which camouflages India’s intentions and actions. India has meticulously turned the Eelaam quest into an opportunity to advance its territorial stakes while ensuring India’s plans remains on track. Sadly, Sri Lanka’s leaders continue to fall prey and refuse to use the strength of the public that detests India in Sri Lanka to deny India’s game plan to permanently create a stake inside Sri Lanka.
None of the events in history has happened without a reason and certainly not without a plan. Many of the events in history have been staged by politicians to advance their political careers and has little to do with any service to its people. This is true of politicians in all parts of the world. Had their decisions been guided without greed and lust for power the world would not be plagued with endless conflicts and disharmony? The creation of the United Nations was meant to avoid another World War but we have mini-wars taking place in every part of the world and much of the conflicts stem from new concepts and doctrines that have been welcomed inside the chambers of the UN largely influenced by larger more powerful nations that seek to tap into the resources of nations that they have forced into debt as a result of international banking systems choking Third World nations. Had UN stuck to the Westphalian sovereignty much of the problems that exist today would never have sprung into existence?
It was the 1648 Peace of Westphalia from which nation-state concept originated. Westphalian sovereignty promotes the right of a sovereign state, it advocates the principle of legal equality between states, in other words no sovereign state possesses legal “high ground” and it advocates the principle of non-intervention of one state in the internal affairs of another. The reason why the 3 basic principles came to be dissolved to usher in the concept of “humanitarian intervention” had much more to do with leaders denying human rights to their citizens and a good look at the history of tragic events would foretell how much of the tragedies were conspired and created by intelligence agents tasked to start rebellions, insurrections and terrorism as seen today. Thus, terrorism is nothing but a commercially lucrative political ploy to capture territories that are economically and geographically advantageous to powerful nations. Westphalian sovereignty has been thrown out and the UN stands accountable for allowing inequality amongst nations and for creating animosities and differences amongst the people of the world.
It was the colonial era that breached much of the codes of governance ushering a period of slavery, religious conversions, divide and rule policies and implanting the majority-minority thinking mentality amongst people who had been living peacefully. All countries of the world will naturally have a majority populace and several minorities. It is customary for minorities to use their minority status to bewail shortcomings and blame them on the majority. Sri Lanka’s case is no different. It is in this context that Sinhalese despite being the majority find themselves at odds to understand what Tamils are really being legally and constitutionally denied. Would it suit the Tamil people to go back to times of the British when only they enjoyed missionary English education leading to them securing Government jobs and enjoying better social status than the Sinhalese Buddhists who had to make do with Pirivena Schooling? Why did no one speak of the injustice to the Sinhalese where only Tamils were enjoying a higher status? Whereas the whole world seems to think a policy introduced as “Sinhala Only” in 1952 was the sole reason for the animosity between the Sinhalese and Tamils, how many cared to counter this by asking why the Illankai Tamil Arasu Katchchi party formed in 1949 with the specific objective to create a Tamil Eelaam in Sri Lanka? In 1948 Sri Lanka gained independence and it took less than a year for Tamils to start a quest to divide a small country into two creating a Tamil Eelaam in an area that suited India’s strategic interest.
Sri Lanka’s national flag denotes the minorities which even India does not, every public document of the State is in Sinhala and Tamil, Tamil cultural events are given public holidays, all public events are broadcast in Sinhala, Tamil and English, road signs, bus routes, cricket commentaries are also all in Tamil. There were times in recent history where Sri Lanka’s diplomatic service had more Tamil envoys than Sinhalese, several Central Bank governors were Tamils, even the Inspector General of Police had been Tamils, Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister was also Tamil but was gunned down at his own home by the LTTE, a party claiming to be looking after the interest of Tamils, even Sri Lanka’s Government has Tamil representatives. So in the eyes of the Sinhalese people they cannot see any discrimination apart from that which politicians, the West and India attempt to portray. What makes things more confusing is that realistically it is the Sinhalese who have been the underdogs and the group that has been neglected and if genuinely analyzed the Sinhalese have been the deprived ethnic group and not the minorities. How is it that Colombo the commercial capital is overtaken by Tamils and Muslims and even the wholesale business hub of Pettah is dominated by Tamils and Muslims and not the Sinhalese?
Nevertheless, eelaam has become a perfect tool now that the obstacle of Prabakaran and the LTTE is now no more except of course the Tamil Diaspora who again are outsourced the task of keeping alive a fictitious eelaam in order to steer global publicity as a cover up. However, we must add that it was in India that grievances against Brahmin Hindi rule that started a “We Tamil Movement” in Tamil Nadu desiring to separately seek its own autonomy. India categorically ruled out such an initiative and planned a pseudo Eelaam struggle by funding and training terrorist groups in Sri Lanka. With time terrorists end up forgetting instructions from their creators and take their own course such was what happened to the LTTE and led to the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. India’s plan of using eelaam for its own benefit was such that even the 1991 assassination of Rajiv did little to change its course otherwise LTTE should have been history way back in 1991 as punishment for killing an Indian.
If India claims to have chipped in to help Sri Lanka in the final stages of the war in 2009, it was only to claim its stake in post-war to again keep its main plan on track – that plan has nothing to do with Tamils and everything to do with choking the Sinhalese leadership into eventually annexing Sri Lanka to India on the pretext of looking after the welfare of Tamils. The 50,000 houses is nothing other than houses built for the illegal immigrants that have been steadily coming over the years from Tamil Nadu. The teachers, the medical experts, the laborers are all part of this eventual drive since Sri Lankan officials are often gullible to “humanitarian” assistance unaware or not thinking of the larger plans that have been put in place. The Indian missions in Jaffna and Hambantota are just 2 watch towers to look over the welfare of Indians and not Sri Lankan Tamils. The ferry services, the railtracks, the electricity grids are all clues and none of our leaders seem to be aware of what they are walking into by agreeing to Indian offers!
So, eelaam has been too perfect a ploy for India to subtly take over Sri Lanka as is currently taking place – their cheap drugs now hitting the pharmacies will in fact put Sri Lankans health at risk and apart from talking drug policies nothing is being done.
So India can be quite satisfied of itself – it masterminded a terrorist movement that last 3 decades, it is now using “concern for Tamils” to practically walk over the Sri Lankan Government, it embarrasses Sri Lanka internationally and still for all its red carpet all the way for India – what is happening? What more could India want and given the pace with which Indian companies are now rooted in Sri Lanka we can but ask our leaders are we really a sovereign country as of now?
Sri Lanka’s handling of the Tamil issue has been more than tardy and had Sri Lanka’s leaders over the years communicated the real scenario to its people things would certainly have been far different. Instead as politicians, Sri Lanka’s political leaders have enjoyed playing football allowing separatist agendas to surface and resurface taking a handful of administrative hiccups to an international platform that has been artfully choreographed to depict a picture of ethnic discrimination and genocide. Hypocrisy is such that the world speaks about a fictitious unverified number (40,000) massacres totally ignoring how the Sri Lankan armed forces saved close to 300,000 Tamil civilians.
Then there are the Tamil representatives belonging to elite social caste and class thinking power of the Tamils lay in their hands only have been advocating a separate land in Sri Lanka and overseas flouting Sri Lanka’s constitution and the 6th amendment and not a single Government or Opposition member of Parliament or any other political party have demanded action against these parties. It is all well to have any political party in a democracy but no political party or individual should go against what is enshrined in the constitution of that country! Had such action been taken at the outset Tamil political parties would have refrained from acting as they have and they would not have been bought over by external forces to champion separatism and devolution amongst the Tamil people by fooling them. Did any of these parties throughout 3 decades plead with the LTTE not to kill their own people, or to ask the LTTE not to kidnap and turn Tamil children into child combatants depriving them of education?
It has been well to use Eelaam to make homes in greener pastures claiming discrimination though Tamils themselves know the lies behind these claims nevertheless we have reached a juncture that necessitates Tamils in particular to come forward and nullify the lies. Politicians are the same and will make promises to ensure they remain in power. The Tamils must know that Eelaam is never the end solution to any of their issues irrespective of any Sinhala involvement as is been portrayed – jobs, education, money, livelihoods etc will not be answered by creating a Tamil eelaam – so what is the deal? Had India been concerned about the Sri Lankan Tamils would India not be looking after the Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in Tamil Nadu better – why would they demonstrate and cry foul over the way they are being treated – is this not an eye opener for Sri Lankan Tamils in Sri Lanka as to India’s real intentions.
So we are now at a stage where politicians are setting their own agendas totally flouting the sovereignty of Sri Lanka allowing India to choke us into subverting our island nation to be eventually under Indian rule and hegemony. Is this what freedom from LTTE is to equate to? Our foreign policy should remain non-aligned which will ensure that we do not end up like Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, East Timor, Haiti, Sudan and all other nations that have been victims of “humanitarian intervention”. We have had solid friends who have stood by us in times of need closing the doors to them and allowing only India is leading Sri Lanka towards hara kiri of our nation saved by our armed forces and the sacrifices they have made. No country treats the natives of another country that they have “invaded” as equals – people of Sri Lanka must take note. Moreover as custodians of the country and servants of the people who have elected politicians it is not left for them to decide to break up chunks of the country or its resources without the consent of the people.
Politicians will always be politicians it is now time for the public to stop being politicians as well.
India’s envoy is in Sri Lanka and we can but wonder what India is now demanding and more importantly why we have to give in!
About the author: Shenali Waduge
Shenali Waduge is a Sri Lankan civil society writer concerned about fair play in all matters that concern citizens of her country as well as the world at large.
She strongly advocates the belief that all the countries of the world can live in peace if they only learn to respect the space of others.