| by Gajalakshmi Paramasivam
( September 24, 2013, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) I write in response to the Sri Lanka Guardian article ‘Northern PC: Lesson To Learn, Landmine To Avoid’ by Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka.
To me, as an insider, it is an article by an ‘outsider’ to Northern Sri Lanka. Dr. Jayatilleka confesses as follows:
‘Having been in my early 30s, a Minister in the North-East Provincial Council a quarter century ago – I resigned within six months’
We need to be insiders to last it out in such strongly Tamil areas. These are Tamil areas not merely due to majority numbers – but due to the power of the people who believe in the power of the land. Any global-position conscious Sri Lankan Administrator of Sinhalese origin would have difficulty in JVP area also. Dr. Jayatilleka confirms this through the following:
‘The second trigger was a strong Sinhala nationalist backlash against the Council and its political behaviour; a backlash that put the government and President Premadasa under severe pressure. Interestingly that backlash was no longer against the Tigers but against the Northeast Council precisely because it, rather than the LTTE, was seen at the time, as the beachhead of the giant neighbour against which the Sinhalese had tended over a very long period of history, to define their collective identity’
Sinhala Nationalists would tend to ‘understand’ Tamil Nationalists and therefore unless Tamil Nationalists attack their People – there is no animosity against the Tamil Nationalists and v.v. That’s acceptance of diversity – so long as they are not seen as a threat to the other side. To use Dr. Jayatilleka’s language – it is a ‘State of Mind’. Devolution helps develop this diversity when the parent becomes weak and is therefore not able to bring both under one umbrella.
When it comes to Administration and Governance through rights and wrongs – those driven by their local powers would tend to pull down the whole to the small part of the big picture – so they could relate and react. Hence JVP as well as LTTE using the brawn more than the higher discriminative power of the brain - tended to reduce Sri Lanka to their level. JVP type of Sinhalese thus reduced Sri Lanka to Sinhala only area and LTTE type of Tamils reduced their country to its parallel Eelam only. We still have them even amongst those who call themselves ‘educated’. Without this ability to discriminate and know right from wrong – we are living close to animal in us. Any Tamil group that has ‘Government’ powers would be seen as a threat by Sinhala Nationalists and v.v. JVP gave form to this animosity against its own cultural government as did the LTTE. They will continue to show such and worse through ‘outsiders’ holding such positions. The example that comes to mind is the base unit of family - in the case of marriage. Those driven by majority opinion within the family – rather than position powers and institutional structures – would treat a new entrant through marriage as an outsider – especially when that outsider is a female. This tendency is less in strong followers of Hindu structures and principles. I put it down to our strong investment in traditional structures. The older the religion the stronger the energy of one who has genuine faith. Hence any Buddhist would naturally need to practice more than a Hindu to access the Root Energy. This is also the reason why Sinhalese fear Tamil Nadu more than they fear Western invasion.
Dr. Jayathilleka states ‘What is often forgotten is the warmth of the early equation between two populists, the senior one a reformist, the junior a radical—President Premadasa and Chief Minister Vardarajaperumal; a warmth which does not (yet) exist between President Rajapaksa and Chief Minister to be, Justice Wigneswaran (not least because of the optics of the Prabhakaran pin-up and Tiger retro-chic in the TNA’s propaganda). Notwithstanding that early warmth, the relationship between Premadasa and Perumal degenerated into mutual aversion and antagonism within months.’
Whether it is Chief Minister Vardarajaperumal or Chief Minister to be Wigneswaran their duty was/is to consolidate and express the genuine expectations of their People and not themselves as individuals. That is the value of structures and positions. Any warmth for the individual on the other side should be expressed only in social life – which is no concern of ours who are ‘outside’ those social circles. If Tamils of Jaffna had considered Sinhalese to be enemies of Tamils – they would have not elected Mr.Wigneswaran on the basis that his children were married to Sri Lankans of Sinhalese origin. To my mind, if this same group had been under the influence of LTTE – they would have rejected Mr. Wigneswaran. These are the messages one reads as an ‘insider’.
The same group merges to produce different outcomes with different leaders – as per this inner force that influences quietly and often without our knowledge.
Before our latest Australian elections I participated in a survey and stated that Mr. Abbott was my preferred Prime Minister but that I would vote for Labor. I believe that my inner Energy as a self-governing individual was part of the reason why Mr. Abbott won that position. Despite knowing that there are asylum seekers who ‘cheat’, I got upset when Mr. Rudd brought Australians’ commitment to global balance by ruling that no boat people would become Australians once they were sent to Papua New Guinea. There are aspects of Mr. Rudd that I do admire but as a Tamil of Sri Lankan origin – I was committed to getting the ‘asylum seeker’ issue right instead of writing it off. That to me is group power and when structured through global principles – we generate global energy within and that influences outcomes when there are others of similar energy who ‘write’ the answers. That to me was how former Australian Prime Minister John Howard lost his seat. Every individual has this ‘faith based’ energy of One which I believe is Equal to God Power for God placed Himself in us. So long as this is stronger than the group energy – that person would contribute positively wherever s/he may be. Every self-governing person has this universal energy. I take it that Dr. Jayatilleka did not care enough about Tamils to stay within that group and share his energies developed through his own powers of self-governance.
Dr. Jayatilleka states ‘The use of the term ‘provincial government’ by the North Eastern Provincial Council was no accident. It revealed a state of mind. That was the first fissure which signalled the dissolution of the Council a year later, in 1990.
The newly elected Northern Provincial Council must avoid such a fate, which in a lose-lose scenario will of course have negative consequences for the Government and the country too. One consequence could be a Kosovo-Sudan scenario, but the other could be prolonged military rule in the North with a greater degree of saturation than in previous years.’
To me there is no difference between Council and Government. They are Governing bodies. But those who rely heavily on majority vote at national level would tend to picture ‘take-overs’ when the word Government is used instead of Council. I note that Dr. Jayatilleka himself has used the description Chief Minister instead of Councilor.
If this is wrong to call the Provincial Council – a Government - then every person who claims s/he is Sri Lanka is also wrong. Yet this is a slogan openly used by Mobitel and often the personalities used are of Sinhalese origin. To claim ‘I am Sri Lanka’ a Sinhalese needs to have practiced ‘affirmative action’ in her/his popular public activity. Minorities have the lesser responsibility of confirming that it is their belief. That is how the inequality is balanced. In turn the challenge for Jaffna is to show affirmative action with caste based minorities before claiming ‘I am Eelam’.
Dr. Jayatilleka states ‘The source of error is in the realm of ideas. Sri Lanka is not a federal system and no party or devolved unit within a unitary framework should behave as if it is operating in a federation. It is also absurd to function on the basis that the Sinhalese and Tamil constitute ‘equal communities’ and that therefore the Government and the TNA are equal players.’
The core purpose of Devolution is to promote this travel towards Oneness which when divided at physical level with the power of the Whole being within each divided unit – is known as Equality. Where equality of the individual is recognized – equality of groups of individuals would be comfortably recognized. The structures must be such as to divide with the power of the whole in each base unit.
A Community bound by faith is a Sovereign Group. Unless therefore majority Tamils are able to believe in the National Government - they need their own local structures and positions through which to express that Sovereignty. To state :
‘It is also absurd to function on the basis that the Sinhalese and Tamil constitute ‘equal communities’ and that therefore the Government and the TNA are equal players.’
confirms ignorance about independence. Ignorance where one claims to be an expert on the subject matter – amounts to willful denial.
A child becomes Equal to a parent when the child is able to function independent of the parent. That confirms also whether a parent has been a just / good parent. In the olden days – the parent devolved by sharing wealth. Under democracy the child has equal responsibility to claim her/his share of status and money as the parent has, to devolve when the parent considers the child is old enough to be a parent. To claim that TNA Government is not equal to the UPFA Government is the parallel of stating that the 18 year old voter/father is not equal to the 80 year old voter/father. When such claim is made – one is confirming that the Government / Parent has failed to place itself / himself in the citizen/child. This is what happens when we place the individual above the law before doing our duty as per the official structure. It is truly disappointing from a person such as Dr. Jayatilleka who has held some of the highest positions within the Sri Lankan Government structure.
Dr. Jayatilleka goes on to state ‘Every human being by virtue of their humanity has equal rights. These are intrinsic and inalienable. Every citizen whatever his or her ethnicity must have equal rights and equal treatment. However, Sri Lanka is not founded as a confederation or federation of constituent and equal communities. It does not recognise the right of self-determination however qualified that right may be. It is a democratic republic and a unitary state, the character of which can be changed only by majority consent at a plebiscite.’
Every time the Sri Lankan government disregards the UN on the claim of Sovereignty – it is confirming its parallel – at Sri Lankan level – that TNA and UPFA are to be taken as Equals until known otherwise through merit basis. By claiming its own Sovereignty at World level – Sri Lankan Government automatically confirmed that each government within its territory – from the individual to the national level – is Sovereign and not to be interfered with until known otherwise through merit basis. Innocent Tamils lost lives in confirming their claim to this God given Sovereignty. Yes, we were all born with that Sovereignty. As a group we have the Divine Duty to form local groups of faith that confirm that Divine Sovereignty. Anyone who interferes with that formation and functioning to maintain this Sovereignty is punishable. If the human systems we have developed do not punish that person the punishment will happen through Natural system. We just need to do our best through the official structures and leave the rest to God. This election victory confirms that we Tamils as a community have done just that and have therefore rewarded ourselves with that Sovereign status independent of the National Government.