Is Dr. Noel Nadesan a Tamil Leader?

| by Gaja Lakshmi Paramasivam

(October 14, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) In response to my response on the basis of Dr. Noel Nadesan’s rejection of Mr. John Dowd’s rejection of Australian High Commissioner Ms Kathy Klugman’s actions in relation to ex- LTTE combatants, I received the following from an active member of the Tamil Diaspora.

To: Gaja Param
Sent: Friday, October 14, 2011 5:40 AM

Subject: Re: Sri Lankans' Rights to Seek Asylum in Australia

"Tamil leaders such as Dr. Nadesan" Is he one Gaja! how did you work that out? How about Karuna and Douglas who are they,THEN? Here is a vet with a 'mole brain' is burrowing into the Tamil community watch out!. People who have some vendetta on a section of Tamils are propagating themselves as 'friends of Sri Lankan regime' for their own interest thereby undermining Tamil people's future.’

I responded as follows:

----- Original Message -----

From: Gaja Param
Sent: Friday, October 14, 2011 11:12 AM
Subject: Re: Sri Lankans' Rights to Seek Asylum in Australia

It is true that many Tamils are compromising with the current regime. If Dr. Nadesan seems to be one such person to you, I accept that. I myself have rejected/opposed him through our common status as Australians. Karuna and Douglas are also leaders. They may not be 'good' leaders like myself - but they are leaders and would continue to naturally lead those who are like themselves. Unless you name an alternate good leader of the Tamil Community, we would be headless without them. Like in any relationship - the 'other' side could make up for the short-comings of one side, to complete the relationship and merge its value with society.

In 2010, I accepted the invitation extended by Dr. Nadesan in relation to the conference held at University of Jaffna. To me it was part of my Service work. I accepted on the basis of my own investment in the University system and made it clear that I was not politically on any side. This means in any political area - I am my own leader. Dr. Nadesan through his conduct, demonstrated respect for that. Later Dr. Nadesan shared with me his status with the Australian Officials engaging with the Tamil Community. I did the rest of the work to include myself in the group that met with Senior Officials of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs. No other Tamil leader did that even though there were some who were seen as strong LTTE supporters. With me as the person being assisted/led in this particular project - and given that I feel strongly Tamil - I conclude that Dr. Nadesan was more of a Tamil leader than any other present in that group at that time.

Dr. Nadesan and I do have differences in our approach. But Dr. Nadesan and I also have much in common in terms of helping our Community. Dr. Nadesan has so far NOT interfered with my services to the Community and I feel confident that if I needed help that he is able to provide, he would provide that help willingly. Donald Gnanakone who presents himself as Dr. Nadesan's opposition, presented himself as pro LTTE. But later Donald demoted me with his group by asking whether I was on Prozac? Given that I feel for the combatants and their families and am continuing to help them through my work in Sri Lanka, I concluded that Donald himself was pro LTTE through its political side and not its lower level members who are the ones that live/d close to the Community borders. They are the parallels of voters. Unless those voters believe in us and/or we believe in them - we need to use the conscious merit basis to take up positions. I believe I have the trust of administrative parts of the combatants as well as all true administrators within the LTTE. Hence, through Administration, I would be able to naturally influence all Tamils, to the extent of their investment in Tamil Administration. In terms of senior Administrators, many Tamil Administrators have already openly stated that I ought to be the Chief Administrator of Tamils in Northern Sri Lanka.

Yesterday's response was due to my feelings for that group at the bottom part of LTTE. Had the LTTE leaders made up that group - I would have appreciated the President's move. Using the low level cadre, to my mind, is cowardly and cheap. Hence I was adding my status to the young Tamils and I thank Dr. Nadesan for the opportunity to be his opposition. I have not seen any work by any other Australian Tamil in this regard. Leaders have to take a stand either way. Hence I conclude that for this issue at that level there is no other Tamil leader than Dr. Nadesan, and I as his opposition. If there are others - let them speak now when it is most needed. I do not know whether you consider me to be a leader, but there are many others who do - some who worked close to the LTTE hierarchy. One such senior person said that the Community needed leaders like myself. To my mind, I am a leader and to that extent I have the right to express as a leader. To the extent I get opportunities through which I could show that leadership - the person/s who give form to that opportunity through their own work is/are leaders. If we 'wait' for those we like - as you seem to do - we are likely to become an indifferent part of the Community. We need to raise ourselves to the level of 'rights' and 'wrongs' as per global standards and not 'likes and dislikes' as per those physically close to us. Dr. Nadesan may be wrong as per your assessment. This then needs to be taken up with him or at community level. Given that you are an educated person, I expect you to take it up on the basis of rights and wrongs - rather than whose side Dr Nadesan seems to be taking. To the extent Dr. Nadesan endorses the Government through his personal likes he is part of their politically motivated actions and the karma flowing from that. That is his choice. This is why we have the voting system. This applies also to those who want to step into the leadership roles vacated by the LTTE leaders. If they indiscriminately support those leaders through their liking for the positions, they have responsibility for the outcomes and their karma - for better or for worse. That is politics. When our affiliation is based on belief - we would always be right for that group that we believe in. But for this to hold true, we must not be influenced by wider society outside that group. That is the value of family and its ‘confidentiality’ in resolving problems.

Talking about family - when I went to the University of Jaffna conference - at the invitation of Dr. Nadesan - no one in my extended family (including those from Vattukkottai who were sponsored by us) said anything against it. But later when I was critical of one of them avoiding and rejecting our leadership in relation to their sponsorship of his wife's family - that young husband pointed to my participation in that conference under the leadership of Dr. Nadesan. He thus lost the value of our belief based sponsorship and has the responsibility to go under direct merit basis as applied by the Government of Australia. On that basis he needs to pay back to the Victims of War who suffered more than he. When we sponsor on the basis of belief - our pain and losses as well as our contributions as Australians are part of the assessment of their eligibility. In other words, we should be the Government for them until they are able to independently follow the laws of Australia. Given that our nephew demonstrated that he was more pro-LTTE than pro-Dr. Nadesan - I conclude that there are others like himself who owe the Victims of War in Sri Lanka, and have the responsibility to share their earnings with them. You would find this burden to be greater with pro-LTTE groups than with pro-Dr. Nadesan groups. Yet none from that group seem to have taken a firm stand on this matter.

As for Karuna, I met Karuna in 2003 through the program arranged by LTTE Headquarters. This happened when I was working with LTTE Management through a UNDP project. I traveled to Vanni with Joy Maheswaran who was then very much part of the LTTE Senior Management. Given that LTTE hierarchy allocated that leadership position to Karuna - the only Karuna known to me directly - I take it that Karuna is a leader until I know otherwise. The size of his group may have shrunk. But to the extent those people are Tamils - Karuna is a Tamil leader and would be even if he did not look Tamil. This is how I pay my dues to the People of Batticaloa for their contribution to the rebellion. Karuna as an individual has no influence over me. In this regard I give below a good analysis from zubedy (m) sdn. bhd. (Malaysia) re the levels of our interpretations:

"The P3 Concept

How do we justify our lives – past, present and future? We need to be conscious of our framework.

There are three ways we might justify:
P1 – Push. We always blame others. A simple example is blaming it on someone else like our spouse or children when we are late, or simply saying we slept late because we had some friends over the night before.

P2 – Pull. We blame it on external environmental factors, for example when we are late, we blame it on traffic jams.

P3 – Personal. Using the same example, when we are late, we know that we did not plan well enough for it, so we take ownership and plan to leave earlier when we know there may be a traffic jam. When we are P3, we take ownership of our actions and our life. We work within our capacities and capabilities. We do what we can without asking for more, knowing that though it may not be perfect, whatever we have is enough to move us forward. "

As per my mind, I have long been operating at P3 level.

As for Douglas - I met him during Tsunami Reconstruction time and he facilitated for our group of Hindu leaders to meet with the President. My proposal for the Victims of Batticaloa received the endorsement of the President and I attribute part of the credit to Douglas. If he were not worthy of Tamil leadership, I would have received the endorsement through some other means. Later at the University Conference also, Douglas paid due respect to me and introduced me to the Governor. Again, if he were not worthy of the credit from me - someone else would have had the opportunity to present my work to the higher level of Management covered by the Governor's position.

That reminds me of an amusing account I read about the Clintons - specifically about Mrs Clinton. As per that story - if Hilary had married the other guy - he would have been the President instead of Bill Clinton. Likewise any politician sharing his/her status with me - automatically gets the essence of my Administrative wisdom and therefore the opportunity and confidence to lead as an Administrator.

In terms of being seen to support the 'regime' - the closest parallel to me is that all Tamils are taken as Tigers. It is true that all of us - including Dr. Nadesan (as per my belief) feel for and identify with various parts of the Tigers. This is a social link through which we have political rights over each other. It was due to someone from that group that Dr. Nadesan belongs to - Professor Sathananthan of Monash University that I took the path I took in being with the IDPs during 2009. I used my own Administrative path and took Professor Sathananthan's help to help the Health Administrators responsible, in assessing my own motives to go to the camps. In the process of approving - I was told by one 'not to claim separate state there'. I was upset but told myself that getting the job done was more important than establishing my rightful status in Sri Lankan Health Administration. I waited outside closed doors for hours and usually read the works of my Guru and God Sathya Sai Baba. When inside, I prayed to Lord Buddha to help the Administrators not wrong me. To me wrongs done to me at that time would have been blocks in the path of Dharma and would have diluted the Administrative credits of that Department and therefore the Government. This applies to anyone who renounces all material benefits in service to the needy. Dr. Nadesan may or may not be one such person. But to the extent of his contribution to my path in serving the needy - I have the responsibility to take him as one.


All of us who naturally lead our groups to merge with society, are leaders. Where the Government is stronger than the People, we learn from the Government. Where People are stronger, we show our work through completion of our work at our local level so others including Governments could learn. Once our group merges with society – we are Equal to all other leaders – including the Government. We should not be seen as being higher than the Government – but we are entitled to be taken as equals once we have led our local groups, including families and professions to merge with wider society.