by Sebastian Rasalingam
(July 29, Toronto, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), and the UPFA (The united People's Freedom Alliance), as well as fringe parties like the United National party (UNP), the Jingoist Vimukthi Pakshaya (JVP), and the Moslem's Party have contested the local elections of the north. It is with utter shame that I note that the "Tamil" parties have failed to shed their communal names, and continue with the old Racist labels, even in the 21st century.
Although the UPFA has made some in-roads (25%) into the voter base of the North, the Racist Tamil parties have largely prevailed, while the UNP, the jingoist-Marxist-JVP, and the Muslim party have lost totally.
Political analysts writing in the south have as usual failed to note what has happened. The acronym TNA actually stands for "Thamil Namptiri Alliance", and the Namptiri are the descendants of high-caste Malabars who are today snobbish enough to imagine that they are the Brahmins who are destined to rule over the rest (80%) of the landless Sri Lankan Tamils - depressed Tamils. What about the TULF? The acronym stands for "Thamil United Landlords Front". This too is a cabal of the landed or privileged gentry. Even when they sponsor a "depressed-clas" Tamil in elections, it is done just for show. They do NOT represent the majority of the Tamils who are poor in one way or another.
Then how did they win the vote? How did they win in spite of the efforts of the government in rehabilitation, spending far more in the North than in the south, in de-mining the land and resettling the IDPs post-haste? Ask the wife of any upper-class Colombo Periya-Dorei. She will tell you that "Tamil servants" are more obedient than the "sinhalese servants". Indeed, most working class Tamils are "low-caste" Tamils, conforming to the Manu Dharma in obeying the upper classes with bowed head, even when it is not in their interest. This is the "slave mentality", or "depressed caste/class mentality (DCM)". The Namptiri Brahamins have taught us that it is all due to our past "Karma". Unfortunately, the pillai-class Christian bishops have acquiesced in this conspiracy against humanity.
So, when the TNA and the TULF go and tell the Tamils in the North to vote for them, they just follow the DCM and vote for the dicta of their Saami. The leftist parties which had liberating doctrines never succeeded in the North, although the leftists had a vast influence in the south. Unfortunately, today's so-called leftist journalists like Kumar David and Bahu Karunaratne have in effect embraced the right-wing politics of Fonseka, the TNA and other retrogrades as they cannot break off the shackles of their own social class. What you see at elections in the North is not democracy at work, but the oppressive tentacles of the Manu Dharma at work, even in the 21st century.
Remember how progressive legislation was blocked by the ITAK leadership. Instead, already in 1949 they latched onto political radicalization based on language and nationalism. It was the D. S. Senanayake government which built causeways to depressed-caste villages in the teeth of the opposition of the Tamil leaders of Colombo-7. It was Mr. S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike’s government that established nearly 15 schools in the peninsula to cater to the educational needs of minority Tamils. At that time some 250 youth from the depressed-Tamil community were appointed (by W. Dhanayake) as teachers at these schools. The establishment of these schools enabled "low-caste" kids to learn in an atmosphere some-what free of discrimination, and these moves were strongly opposed by the Chelvanayagam-Nagalingam-Amirthalingam types. Even then, University admission was the prerogative of the Upper Castes. When Hon. Badiuddeen Mohamed introduced the affirmative action plan of district-based University entrance, it actually helped the rural Tamils coming from other than the Vellalar-dominated top schools of Jaffna. Nevertheless, the poor Tamils, (who were the object of gross discrimination) were recruited to claim that the Sinhalese are discriminating against Tamils via the district-based admission of children to schools. In effect, the Jaffna voter has been doing things to satisfy the upper-caste oligarchy instead of his own good.
Gajalakshmi Paramasivam writes in the Sri Lanka Guardian how children of depressed Tamils loiter about without getting an education even in recent times. It was these children that the TULF recruited as their violent "boys", claiming that they "are ready for state terror". It was these children who were militarized by the LTTE, and ended up as cannon fodder. So these discriminated Tamils continued to die for the ruling Tamil oligrachy.
Such inability to rise against injustice is well known in abusive relationships. Thus abused wives cannot rise against sadistic husbands even when they are given a chance to testify in court. The problem of the Tamil voter is fundamentally no different. The Human-rights commissions and other carriers of the white-man's burden cannot see these things as they only see what they are funded to see.
All who value democracy MUST work against this. Political parties should not be allowed to have Racial or Caste-based names. Empowering the depressed masses is the key to the problem. Land reform, and not just infrastructure engineering, is the key to the North. Extensive land reform and demographic engineering is absolutely necessary in the North. We have to stop re-settling IDPs in their old (caste-based) villages. This was where we began this discussion, with Prof. Dharmawardana, a preceptive Sinhalese academic, pointing out that the Kok-achchankulam resettlements could typically end up as reconstructions of traditional caste villages.
Instead of such a calamity, the land of the Periya-Dorai class should be nationalized and redistributed among the depressed classes, and would be settlers coming from the demographically over-bursting Hill country and the South. Upper-caste Tamils who have left the country for good are not willing to sell their land to minority Tamils even if they had the money to buy land. In reality, after a brutal war, the land rightly belongs to the crown. The crown must re-allocate the land. There is no reason why anyone should have any thing more than a small house and garden. The rest of the land should be allocated to cooperative farming, state-sponsored industry and business, or leased out to private companies willing to invest their money in the region.
Until this is done, the Tamil Namptiri Alliance and the Tamil United landlords Front will continue to control the Tamils.