The 13th Amendment from the perspective of a dissident Tamil

| by Sebastian Rasalingam

( May 24, 2013, Toronto, Sri Lanka Guardian) A propos the discussion between Mr. Dayan Jayatilleke, G. H. Peiris and others in the public media, allow me to add a few words - the words of a humble Tamil who comes from a social stratum lacking a voice in Tamil affairs. The dominant Thamillian-voice is that of the upper classes ('castes') led by the Karuvakaddu (Ciannamon gardens) lawyers, anglicized and christianized in attitude except when dealing with those in lower stations of life.

Mr. Jayatilleke is part of the environment of our Periah-Dorai class of Thimpu Tamils stuck in the 1980s, in spite of the changed politics of today.

Mr. Jayatilleke claims (234d May, Island) that "Tamils of that province have evolved and crystallised a collective identity ...". Mr. J should know that this "identity" is based on landownership by a small elite who is even today trying to "re-settle the IDPs in the old villages", reviving the caste-delineated social structures that existed in the the North. He knows how the North remained mired in poverty, with the Karuvakaddu lawyers treating the North as their private estate, run by their agents who were the Northern equivalents of the Mervyn Silva's (`palavanthans') of the south.

The rise of Prabhakaran in such a society long dominated by strong men is no accident. Prabhakaran was a "palavanthan" who grew from among the 'boys' nurtured by the Karuvakaddu lawyers. He went beyond the usual Vanniayar palavanthans by successfully assassinating enough of them to subjugate the Thimpu class. The Northern Provincial council, if established will become an arena for new palavanthans and muttukans who will play each Tamil-Nadu leader against another, and each Diaspora leader against another, while the Karuvakadduns and their NGO friends will fish freely in such troubled waters.

The Northern provincial council, if constituted, will plunge the North back into dark ages. Angered politicians of the south will cut the flow of capital for building the modern infrastructure that the North never had, or was dismantled by the Tigers. The way forward for the Tamils of the North is not that charted by DJ or the Thimpu. The Northern Tamils must emulate the Colombo Tamils, and develop their commerce and industry, hand in hand with the Sinhalese and Muslims, to create a vibrant tapestry of cultures rather than the narrow mono-culture proposed by Jayatilleke.

In my view, Mr. Jayatillke does not understand Sinhalese or Tamil society at their grass roots, and comprehends no Tamil? Political apologists like him are useful to the Thimpu and their international friends with their threats and treats. However, unlike during J. R. Jayawardena's time, Sri Lanka has nothing to fear even in a military confrontation with India which remains a disfunctional land of beggars and billionaires that cannot even defend its own borders, inter-state or international.

It is time to bury this amendment with this proverbially unlucky number.