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Wednesday 18 September 2013

Let’s unite to defeat ITAK and its sponsors

It is not the elections on Saturday that I have in my mind. Neither would I expect the UNP to join the others in this struggle. I am thinking only of a future struggle based on what has happened in history relative to the Sinhala people who have a sense of history that is not found among many other nations. The fact that there are so many “vansakathas” in the literature provides ample testimony to the sense of history among the Sinhalas and in the Sinhala Buddhist culture. If man is a political animal Sinhala people are historical- political animals in general. It is the sense of history that tells the Sinhalas that the TNA manifesto is by the dispersed Tamils in the west sponsored by the western countries, and that it aims to obtain a mandate from the majority of Tamils in the Northern Province for an Eelam. The dispersed Tamils, TNA and the sponsors want to use the ordinary Tamils in the Northern Province as a block that has given a mandate for an Eelam in which the ordinary Tamils, especially the so called low cast people would have no say. The Tamil politics in Sri Lanka have been dominated by the Jaffna Vellala Tamils some of whom are Christians of different denomination or Catholics.

Though called the TNA the amalgamation of Tamil parties contest the Northern Province provincial council elections under the name Illankai Thamil Arasu Kachchi (ITAK) or the Lanka Tamil State Party. The ITAK leaders would try to outdo EPRLF leaders such as Premachandran and leaders of other parties. It is not only a symbolical return to ITAK (so called Federal Party) politics of pseudo non violence but that instigates people to violence following the same violent politics of Chelvanayakam. It is reported that nominations have been given only to two candidates of the so called low castes though they comprise more than fifty percent of the population of the North. In Sinhala it is said “honda Honda netum elivena jameta” or better dances in the wee hours, and it is clear that ITAK by becoming more racist would like to create another Prabhakaran with arms supplied by the west while the leaders enjoy a luxurious life in Colombo. The ITAK leaders would claim at present and until the elections are over that they have no intention of establishing an Eelam. It is true that one cannot “prove” that the ITAK manifesto is an Eelam manifesto.

However, what has to be mentioned is that if one were to give a perfect proof then one has not proved anything. It is in Pure Mathematics or Mathematics if we follow the American jargon that one could give perfect proofs using Aristotelian Logic. When I sat the final examination in Science with Mathematics as the main (and only) subject nearly fifty years ago, there was a question set presumably by late Prof. Douglas Amarasekera who left the University in disgust when some ignoramus at the apex of higher education in the country  wanted to find out whether Professors had Ph.D’s, which asked the students to comment on “Pure Mathematics is the class of all propositions of the form p implies q. ”  I can remember answering that question with glee as I knew that in Pure Mathematics nothing is proved. The so called theorems in western Mathematics only say that if the proposition p is true then the proposition q is true. The verification of the truth of p is left in the hands of the God, and not definitely in the hands of Natha Deviyo for that matter.

TNA (ITAK) manifesto is not a Mathematical statement and there is no theorem of the form if implemented then it would lead to the establishment of an Eelam. However, we make our judgments in any area other than Pure Mathematics based on many other factors including our experience which is by definition historical as there are no future experiences. We predict the future based on past and the very fact that we cannot prove mathematically that the implementation of the ITAK manifesto would lead to an Eelam encourages us to believe so. It is definitely a belief and not all believes based on history are meant for the wastepaper basket of history.

I have an entirely different perspective of the so called ethnic problem or the ‘minority’ problem even from those in the Sinhala national movement. The Sinhala Buddhists whose core culture is that of the Yakshas who became Buddhists by listening to Budun Vahanse directly are very tolerant of other cultures. They would tolerate others without imposing their culture or absorbing them into the Sinhala Buddhist culture by force or other means. I would not go into details by comparing with the Hindu and other cultures but suffice is to mention that the Muslims who arrived one or two centuries before the Portuguese arrived in the country from present South India, and whom P Ramanathan considered as ethnic Tamil but of Islam religion were not discriminated by the Sinhala Buddhists and were allowed to live following their religion and adhering to their culture. There was no antagonism between the Sinhala Buddhists and the Muslims  unlike in what is now known as India, and when the Portuguese harassed the Muslims the Sinhala King settled them in what is now referred to as the eastern province. This tradition was extended to the Catholics who were harassed by the Reformist Dutch and in general Sinhala Buddhists had no ill feeling towards others as long as they were not invaders or used by the invaders. The Dutch and the English changed this tradition and used the Tamils who were imported by the Dutch and the Muslims against the Sinhalas in order to maintain their colonial rule. The 1915 Sinhala Muslim “riots” were a result of this and the Sinhalas thought of the Muslims as agents of English colonialists.

The history of Tamil racism has been described in “An analysis of Tamil racism in Sri Lanka” which is a translation of “Prabhakaran Ohuge Seeyala Bappala ha Massinala” available in the fourth reprint. The Sinhala Buddhists had some ill feeling not only towards the Tamils,  Malays, Kochins and others who were imported by the colonialists but towards the Sinhala Christians whom they considered as agents of colonials. Piyadasa Sirisena’s novels, Anagarika Dharmapala’s speeches and writings depict these resentments, and the attitudes of the Sinhala Buddhists were cultivated as a result of their anti colonial struggle which took more a cultural form. However, within a few decades, in spite of attempts by most of the leaders of the Christian/Catholic Churches to use the Sinhala Christians/Catholics against the Sinhala Buddhists, through marriages and other social interactions the Sinhala Christians/Catholics ceased to be agents of western Christian colonialism and Sinhala Buddhists now have no ill feeling towards them. The Malays and some other ethnic groups also went through this transformation but unfortunately the Tamils remained outside this fabric. The Tamils in the estates and in the eastern province are going through these transformations slowly mainly due to social (cultural) interactions. The interactions between the Jaffna Tamils who came to Colombo were with the English speaking culturally alienated Sinhalas who had a colonial mentality and naturally they remained together with most of the English speaking Sinhalas, “dasas” of the colonialists.

The stranglehold of the Jaffna Vellalas in the Eastern Province and in the Central and Uva provinces has been broken now and it remains to liberate the ordinary Tamils in the Northern Province, especially in the Jaffna peninsula from the yoke of mainly the English speaking Vellalas in Colombo, who are agents of western Christian colonialism. This situation will be illustrated by the results of the provincial council elections where the UPFA will do better outside the Jaffna peninsula in general. The so called ethnic problem is a result of the western Christian colonialists, especially the Anglo Saxons, using English speaking Tamil Vellalas, the Christian/Catholic clergy and elite against the Sinhala Buddhists and the aspirations of the Jaffna Vellala leaders to become the rulers of the entire country with the sponsorship of the English colonialists. The Vellala leaders beginning with Chelvanayakam having realized that they cannot be the rulers of the entire country now want a separate state in the Northern and eastern provinces again with the blessings of the westerners led by the English, who maintain the dispersed Tamils in their countries to agitate against the Sinhalas. This colonialism has to be defeated meaning that ITAK politics have to exposed in the Northern Province. In order to do that we should all unite against the ITAK that has been sponsored either as ITAK or its previous avatars by the English since eighteen thirties.  

Nalin De Silva