The bloody road from Vadukoddai to Nanthi Kadal---Part I

"On what non-violent principles did the Jaffna Gandhians endorse violence which was the driving force of the Vadukoddai Resolution? How wise were the leaders of Jaffna to drag the Tamil people into the Vadukoddai nightmare?"
_________________

By H. L. D. Mahindapala

(August 31, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) Of all the political documents that came out of Jaffna there is none to surpass the Vadukoddai Resolution passed at the Convention of Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) held in the electorate of Vadukoddai on May 14, 1976. It is the peak point where the diverse Jaffna-centric communal forces, lurching in all directions without a clear focal point (from 50-50 to “federalism”), came together as a decisive political expression of its ruing Vellahla caste/class. It revealed the hidden political agenda of the Tamil political caste/class aggressively. It shed the earlier sham about being non-violent Gandhians in search of a “federal state” and came out openly for the establishment of a separate Tamil state through violence. S. J.V. Chelvanayakam, the father of Tamil separatism, went through it with a fine comb and “approved the choice of words”. ( p.128 – S. J. V. Chelvanayakam and the Crisis of Sri Lankan Tamil Nationalism,1947 – 1977, a Political Biography, A. J. Wilson).

The Vadukoddai Resolution was the finale of the cryptic “little now and more later” (p.128 – Ibid) mono-ethnic extremism headed by Chelvanayakam. Later in his speech to Parliament on November 19, 1976, shortly after passing the Vadukoddai Resolution in May 1976, he spelt it out categorically saying: “We have abandoned the demand for a federal constitution.:(p.129 – Ibid.) The bogus front of federalism presented earlier was a tactical and deceptive cover to advance, covertly and incrementally, towards a separate state. The “approved choice of words” was toned down craftily to preserve the bogus Gandhian veneer while passing the ammunition. Not surprisingly, the so-called Gandhians distributed wooden pistols at their so-called non-violent demonstrations, a clear sign of coming events casting their shadows. The Vellahla masters were brain-washing the Tamil activists to be ready for what was to come.

It was a Resolution that was designed deliberately to find a military solution. The Vellahla manipulators not only “abandoned the demand for a federal solution” but also abandoned, along with it, the idea of finding a solution through parliamentary process which was the only path available for non-violent politics. The Vadukoddai Resolution contained the collective will of the Vellahlas who defined, without any ambiguity, the mono-ethnic and intransigent determination of Vellahla-dominated politics to carve out a domain that would preserve, protect and promote their traditional feudal and colonial power over the peninsula and beyond.

The flow of events that originated from the Vadukoddai Resolution had a devastating impact on the Sri Lankan polity. When it declared war and called on the Tamil youth to take up arms it legitimized violence that rolled down from the north like a demonic juggernaut crushing everything in its wake. It summarized the basic “grievances”, “aspirations”, the political parameters, the ideological base and the ultimate Eelamist objectives of Vellahla politics. Knowing that separatism and violence are inseparable it urged emphatically the violent strategy needed to achieve the final goals of Jaffna political caste/class. After listing the usual litany of complaints in its preamble it declared war in the two concluding paragraphs, which called upon the youth to take up arms and throw themselves into the struggle without flinching until “the sacred fight for ….the goal of a sovereign socialist State of EELAM is reached.”

The Vadukoddai War which began in 1976 ran its full course, through many violent twists and turns, until it went down ignominiously in Nanthi Kadal. The Vellahla fathers of the Vadukoddai Resolution of May 14, 1976 – a suicidal political act that dragged the helpless Tamils and deposited them in the cold waters of Nanthi Kadal on May 18, 2009 -- never expected to be defeated by the Sinhalese. Prof. A. J. Wilson, in his hagiography, elevated his father-in-law to the grade of a “Moses who would lead the Tamil people to their promised land” (p. 8 – Ibid). In hindsight, it is clear that Chelvanayakam was more like the Pied Piper of Ipoh, Malaysia (where he was born) who lured the Tamil people of Jaffna to follow him into the watery graves of Nanthi Kadal.

Despite the devastating impact on the lives and hopes of the misled Tamils, caused primarily by the Vadukoddai Resolution, the Tamils in the diaspora have declared that they are going back to the Vadukoddai Resolution. This is stated explicitly in the provisional declaration of “the Provisional Transnational Government” which, incidentally, has no fixed abode on this planet. How far can the Tamil diaspora go down this track? What do they hope to achieve by flogging dead horse? Have they considered the deadly consequences to the Tamil people who have had enough of the Vadukoddai Resolution? Haven’t the Tamil people paid enough for the folly of their leaders in the past who led them to Nanthi Kadal?

After the collapse of the $300 million killing machine bank rolled by the Jaffna jingoists in the Tamil diaspora (Janes Weekly), after losing international support – mainly from India – and after the humiliating loss of two leaders within a space of three months, the return of the confused Tamil diaspora to a past that has no future is not only counter-productive but suicidal also. To go back to the Vadukoddai Resolution – the political altar on which the Jaffna leadership sacrificed the Tamils with no gain – can only ruin whatever is left of the Tamils in Sri Lanka. The diasporic Tamils, of course, will drop their tears in their beer and whiskey and lead their comfortable lives in Western suburbs. But shouldn’t they, at least out of compassion for their fellow-Tamils who had suffered enough, give some due consideration to rebuild their lives at the end of the futile Vadukoddai War? Or are they opting deliberately, under the cover of concocted theories, to bankroll another violent route to Nanthi Kadal?

Stunned by the unexpected defeat and without knowing how to face the new ground realities the frustrated and disillusioned Tamils in the diaspora have plucked out of thin air another bogus theory for shifting house from Vanni to a non-existent “Provisional Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam”. Without a fixed address on this planet and with no takers at an international level to give it some credibility it is purely a pie-in-the-sky “government” which exists only in the imagination of the big-noting, expatriate Jaffna jingoists who act in the mistaken belief that they can do to the decaying corpses of Nanthi Kadal what Jesus did to Lazarus. Their grand standing may help them to console each other and send a message that they are doing something to salvage their tattered reputations after their millions went down in Nanthi Kadal. But how is a return to Vadukoddai politics going to salvage the Tamils after what happened in Nanthi Kadal?

Their so-called “Provisional Government” is a “government” which is running around like a chook without a head. It is a “government” that no one has recognized – not even the Tamils who have had a gutful se first-hand experiences of going through the Vadukoddai disasters do not wish to relive the violence of the failed past. The fanciful description of its latest political fiction advertised as the “Provisional Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam” is an unrealizable figment in the fevered imagination of political stunt men who have not learnt the lessons staring in their face. Besides, this PTGTE has not even found its citizens yet. According to its own statement, it is looking for a reputable international company to register its one million Tamil voters to hold elections in a transnational electorate that excludes Sri Lanka. It is the first airy-fairy mobile “government” that exists, if at all, somewhere in the far distant stratosphere and, the worst is, they don’t even have a damp squib to get there! How much more comic can they get? In fact, the diasporic text which announces the return to Vadukoddai Resolution reads like a hilarious sit com written by a B-grade script writer who was in a hurry to get to the toilet.

As usual, they believe that they can concoct their own history and live in it by turning their backs on the known history running against their wishes and “aspirations” They are the born mytho-maniacs who fancy that they can force the rivers of history to flow backwards. Haven’t they heard of George Santayana who said, so very wisely, that those who forget their history are forced to relive it? What on earth do they expect to achieve by going back to a failed past? What is the glory left in the Vadukoddai Resolution after it ended in shooting, at point blank range, its own people who were running away from its horrors as fast as their feet could take them? The Jaffna jingoists have a consistent record of becoming the victims of their own political machinations. They declared war against the Sinhalese of the south in the Vadukoddai Resolution and, ironically, it was the children born out of this Resolution first turned their guns on the fathers who drafted and passed the Vadukoddai Resolution.

Any serious or concerned Tamil must take a hard look at the Vadukoddai Resolution and ask: What has it done to the Tamil people of Jaffna? What are the great achievements that the Tamils of Jaffna can boast of now after the Vadukoddai Resolution ended in Nanthi Kadal? How many lives of Tamil children were cut down in their prime as a result of the violence unleashed in the Vadukoddai Resolution? Was the Vadukoddai route the only path available for the Tamils of Jaffna? If all the other Tamil-speaking minority communities decided to co-exist in a multi-cultural society, without resorting to Vadukoddai violence, why did the Jaffna Tamil leadership, which pretended to be non-violent Gandhians, declare war in the Vadukoddai Resolution, unleashing the most brutal violence on the nation and most of all on its own people? Who suffered most from the violent consequences of the Vadukoddai Resolution?

On what non-violent principles did the Jaffna Gandhians endorse violence which was the driving force of the Vadukoddai Resolution? How wise were the leaders of Jaffna to drag the Tamil people into the Vadukoddai nightmare? Why did the so-called superior intellectuals in the Jaffna peninsular fail to follow the more humane and civilized path of non-violent co-existence like the other minority leaders who first language was also Tamil? If the Vadukoddai Resolution is the highest peak of their political imagination then what is the caliber of their intellect? Did not the Tamil leadership overplay their hand imagining that they had the power to defy the whole world and impose their will on Sri Lanka? Who should take responsibility for leading the Tamils into the hell hole in the Vadukoddai Resolution?

The ending of the Vadukoddai Resolution in Nanthi Kadal is the conclusive and triumphant argument that demolishes the unsustainable accusations of blaming the Sinhala-Buddhist of the south for everything that went wrong in the peninsular politics. It is the mono-ethnic extremism of the north that produced the Vadukoddai Resolution. And finally when it sank unceremoniously in the brackish waters of Nanthi Kadal they were dumb founded, more so because they could not scapegoat the Sinhala-Buddhists this time. They launched, with uminitagted arrogance, the Vadukoddai War to teach the Sinhalese a lesson. They financed it. They directed it.

They recruited the old and the young into it. They even forced the young pregnant girls to eat raw pineapples and jump from tree-tops to abort the children in their wombs so that they could be forced to fight in the futile war declared in the Vadukoddai Resolution. And when they lost the Vadukoddai War, after fighting for 33 years rejecting international and national offers of peace, the violent villains of Vadukoddai had no one to blame except their own monumental folly.
-Sri Lanka Guardian

ARCHIVES FROM AUGUST 2007 TO JANUARY 2015