Douglas Devananda- As a Prime Minister

“Douglas Devananda strode into our midst at a time when the Tamils needed him most. Sri Lanka has been through a period of national malaise bereft of any sense of moral direction.”

by Dr.Tellipallai C Rajaratnam

(November 17, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) There was speculation to appoint Lakshman Kadirgamar as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka during President Kumaratunga’s time. Even if he had been appointed the Prime Minister, the Tamils would not have been convinced of the sincerity of the Government. The position is different if Douglas Devananda is appointed Prime Minister.

Hope springs eternal. All it needs is to implement the 13th amendment of the Constitution in the North according to fulfill the aspirations of the Tamils. But will this be done? Will this be enough ? What happens if there are obstacles there after ? Can Douglas Devananda go to North as the Chief Minister and be stranded there ? Then who is to take care of the overall matters in Colombo ? There are reports that matters are not so rosy as it is made to look in the East?

The Tamils would be satisfied only if Douglas Devananda is made Prime Minister. This would help the Government in the eyes of the International community and many countries including India would be convinced of the sincerity of the Government. India has not always acted in the best interests off Sri Lanka. It was in India that the Tamil terrorists were nursed, trained, nurtured and multiplied for reasons best known to them.

By their own admission, political analysts have said that the war can be won but terrorism cannot be eradicated. Several countries are lobbying the Sri Lanka Government for a ceasefire. There will always be a lacuna – an allegation to successive Governments that what the Tamils have got is not enough- the only way out is to appoint Douglas Devananda as the Prime Minister as soon as possible.

Douglas Devananda has escaped 13 attempts on his life. Some say, God has protected him as the chosen ‘vessel’ to save the Tamils ; some say that the spirits of the innocent Tamils killed have saved him; some others say that he has saved himself through his military experience; some say he is a re-incarnation of King Sangilli Kumaran – the Last King of Jaffna. Whatever the reason, Douglas Devananda is a magnificent man with spiritual powers.

All Tamils would get together under the leadership of Douglas Devananda and as Prime Minister he would be able to convince his people to choose the democratic ideals and the major player in conflict would have to abide by the propositions made by the new Prime Minister Douglas Devananda. Devananda, of course is an idealist. He believes in truth, justice and word as bond. He professes to people the importance of discipline in public policy, government and democracy.
Douglas Devananda strode into our midst at a time when the Tamils needed him most. Sri Lanka has been through a period of national malaise bereft of any sense of moral direction. Through it all, throughout the fastest moving years in memory, he was unflappable and unyielding.

Douglas Devananda brushed off the jibes and jabs of his jealous critics. With that charismatic smile and that easy homespun style, which never changed, he brought a new assurance to the Tamils. He is not only Sri Lanka’s Senior Cabinet Minister important as that is, he is the legitimate Leader of the Tamils, yet not recognized - a great leader
It was not only that he was the Great Communicator and he was the greatest but that he had a message to communicate - the message that he has guided this nation, he essence of good governance is to blend the wisdom of the ages with the circumstances of contemporary times - that is what he has done. Not since Chelvanayagam, has there been a Leader who has so understood the power of words to uplift and to inspire. It is time he invited S.C.Chandrahasan, the son of S.J.V.Chelvanayagam to enter the Parliament on the National List. Tom, Dick and Harry from the Tamil communities cannot legitimately represent the Tamil people.

Chandrahasan, who now lives in self imposed exile, an able lawyer has contributed immensely to the Tamil community. His presence in Parliament will make the difference. The cream of the Tamil community must join hands- we must before it is too late. We have had so much tears, misery and disasters. Douglas Devananda’s father, his uncle and my father publicly denounced caste systems in our community but they are known to have whispered to each other that some people “were not our cup of tea” which is the English version of the Tamil proverb “Kulathalave aagumaam kunam(The general disposition of a person reflects his cast/ breed)”. We have seen and experienced this factor in Sri Lanka.

With a toughness unseen for a long time, Douglas Devananda stood face-to-face with successive Governments. And, with an unexpected diplomacy which confused his foes and even some of his friends in successive Governments, he reached out to that hierarchy, perhaps no longer evil, but still formidable. He met its leaders on their turf, but on his terms. He should to continue to fight injustice and strive for human dignity and for the freedom of the Tamil people.

Douglas Devananda has reached beyond partisanship to principles, beyond his own self to our very souls. He has reached for and touched, as S.J.V. Chelvanayagam - who was known as the Father of the Tamils. The Tamil community throughout the world has proclaimed that Pirabaharan is the Warrior and Saviour of the Tamils. Jeyaraj Fernandopulle has often said that deep within the hearts of most Tamils, there is consensus to this belief as the Tamils feel humiliated by the 1983 riots. I am conveying what Jeyaraj openly declared. But alas Jeyaraj was a victim to the traits of those whom he praised. Without conflict of ideas and ideologies the Tamils would agree that Douglas Devananda is the Guardian Angel of the Tamils perhaps the new Father of the Tamils. He must continue his good work and publicity is of paramount importance.

Leadership is more than budgets and balance sheets. More than the policy of public measures, it is a matter of moral purpose. And that moral realm is reached by that insight and rhetoric of which only the truly great are capable. Devananda has reached the highest Office any Tamil can aspire. With President Obama’s elevation in the U.S., there is speculation that he may soon be the first Tamil Prime Minister. So, he must continue to strive and defend the Tamils whilst providing food and shelter as he is doing for the IDP’s through good governance and his advocacy with the Government. We are devoid of human dignity.

The political instinct of truth, conviction and patriotism began only after Douglas Devananda embraced the democratic mainstream after the Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord. Devananda should influence those around him to follow suit. Devananda should convince the Government that they should win the confidence of the Tamil people by giving him more powers for the effective administration and governance in the North.

Douglas Devananda is so devoted to our system of Government and our Constitution .The idea that reasonable people could solve any human problem if they work together in good faith.
In a time of Politicians, he proved himself a Statesman. And that leadership, that The Tamil people could identify with each and every one. More than anyone else, Devananda knew peoples' desire to be attached to some cause greater. So, instead of inundating the Tamil people with the torrent of projections and percentages, he speaks of the voluntary spirit of community and charity.

It is trite learning that Douglas Devananda is too smart to be pushed around. Minister Devananda has a duty by the Tamils to continue his good work. It is his duty to purify and unify the system in the North and only he can do it.

When others speak of the fear of war, Devananda speaks of the need for peace through strength. When others bewailed the failure of big government to provide for the collective good, he speaks of self-reliance, of personal responsibility, of individual pride and integrity. When others demanded compromise -- when others demanded compromise, Devananda, professes conviction.

It does not do good to anybody to join in destroying those who play leading roles in rebuilding this nation, persons who devote their lives to the service of their fellow men, those who do great things and live great lives.

I didn't know Douglas Devananda well, but, like many, I came to him when I needed help like others. From his outfit, those around him will carry tales to distance others for reasons best known to them but I do not write or commend him under a mask of another name. How many Tamils will write fearlessly about him? I trust he would appreciate the sincerity of my convictions and direct those around him not to humiliate any one. It is trite learning that whilst lip service is done for democracy some hands still clench the butt of a gun. Devananda is duty bound to discipline those around him. This is where class, caste and creed come into play. For when the spirit is broken, everything is lost and can never be the same.

[ Dr. Tellipallai. C.Rajaratnam LL.B(SL)., LL.M(Lond)., Ph.D(Lond)., was the Co-ordinating Secretary to the Chief Government Whip of Parliament, Late Jeyaraj Fernandopulle; The Member in charge of the English Media of the Media Observation Unit founded by Late Jeyaraj Fernandopulle for the Presidential Election Campaign of President Mahinda Rajapakse in 2005; Candidate for the Colombo District for SLFP-PA in the 1994 Parliamentary General Elections; Author; Orator; Member of the World Lawyers & Poets Society ; International Legal Consultant; CEO of the Chambers of Academic & Professional Studies] E mail: -
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