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Friday 13 December 2013

India is irrelevant in our domestic affairs

The governments should protect the human rights according to the so called political scientists and others in Sri Lanka following their western counterparts. However, human rights as a concept has evolved in the western world in protecting the individual from the powers of the governments. As it is the governments which are responsible to protect the human rights of the individuals a problem arises when the rights of the governments are not protected or recognized by the individuals. The concept of human rights in western culture, as all the other western concepts formulated within the Greek Judaic Christian Chinthanaya, is restricted by this dichotomy stemming from the limited Aristotelian logic, and one does not need a Derrida to tell us that the westerners think in terms of dichotomies or dualities. If the westerners could not realize it before Derrida then it points out to an inadequacy of their thinking. The incipient bourgeoisie would have loved the concept of human rights as against the western feudal states, but having come into power they would have had different thoughts about the concept in the states that they established. However, they are a managing class and they know how to manage even human rights. The western countries belonging to the Judaic Christian culture based on Greek Judaic Christian Chinthanaya have a monopoly of not only creating concepts and theories but of interpreting them as well.       

However it is not my intention to delve into a discussion of human rights as such but to draw the attention of the readers to the reciprocity involved in human relationships whether between individuals, between organizations including states or between an individual and an organization. The question that is being asked is where is the reciprocity in the relationship between India and Sri Lanka. Why should India (for that matter any other country) attempt to dictate terms to Sri Lanka as far as the Tamil problem is concerned? At least in the case of England one can understand their interest in the problem as it is that country that created the Tamil problem and at present wants to use Tamil racism in the form of the dispersed Tamils mainly in England, against the Sinhala people who continue to fight against English (American) hegemony in the country. This does not mean that we should be dictated by the English and should try to please them the way the UNP would have done gladly.  

India got involved in the problem not due to any love for the Tamils in either Sri Lanka or India but due to the pro western anti Indian foreign policy of the UNP governments, especially that of J R Jayawardhane. The UNP neither then nor now know of any middle path and they are prisoners of western thinking in terms of dichotomies. Even the little bit of nationalism in the times of the Senanayakes was lost in the Jayawardhane era, and Premadasa being a misfit in the UNP did not know whether he was coming or going. Premadasa took a very anti Indian line and his pro western policy was to be seen despite declaring the high commissioner Gladstone a persona non grata. India reacted to this foreign policy of the UNP and not to the politics of Tamil Nadu at the beginning.  If any party is responsible for adopting a wrong foreign policy it is the UNP.          

It was subsequently that Tamil Nadu politicians attempted to influence the central government and Indian national politicians chose the easy way of winning votes in Tamil Nadu by deciding to favour the racist policies of the former. However, we cannot forget that from the very beginning India had a policy of controlling the Indian Ocean following the infamous Panikkar formula that Indian Ocean is the ocean of India. This policy is nothing new as it has been followed in some form or other from very ancient times. Even today the Indian fishermen fish in Sri Lankan waters and Tamil Nadu has apparently said that the former should be allowed to come to Sri Lankan waters without any restrictions.

The Indian policy towards Sri Lanka is dictated by the above three facts. The first and the third stem from Indian national interests but the second is a result of local politics. What India does not realize is that by adjusting their foreign policy to satisfy the demands of a particular state they have only fuelled separatist policies of  Tamil Nadu.  One should not forget that it was in Tamil Nadu that separatist policies first arose even before Muslim separatism that led to the establishment of Pakistan. If the west decides to support Tamil racism India is in for a big problem. However, the west would support a united India at present since it does not want to destabilize that country as it can be used as a buffer against Muslim politics and China. The Congress is bound to lose at the next general elections whether Tamil Nadu politicians support it or not as has been illustrated by recent elections in some other states.

Now why should India be interested in the “welfare” of the Tamils in Sri Lanka. The Tamils in Sri Lanka are not citizens of India and if we go by the same “logic” Sri Lanka should take an interest in the affairs of Buddhists in India. It is true that our constitution does not allow the state (government for most purposes) to protect Buddhism in India, but then there is no provision in the Indian constitution to get involved in the affairs of the Tamils in Sri Lanka. However, the interest of Tamil Nadu in the affairs of Tamils in Sri Lanka proves that the Sri Lankan Tamils have come to Sri Lanka only in the recent past. The Sinhala people and the Maldivians do not have that kind of relationship, though the Maldivians are descendents of the former who  have migrated from Sri Lanka. The language spoken in Maldives though called Divehi Basa reminding us of Deepa Bhasa that refers to Sinhala in ancient chronicles has evolved independently over the years.

We have been dictated by India over the Tamil problem from the time Indira Gandhi who wanted to teach a lesson to the UNP leaders over the pro western policy of the Jaywardhane. Now what has India done to Sri Lanka to compensate for these dictates. If not for India there would not have been a thirteenth amendment and no provincial councils, an utterly illogical solution to the Tamil problem. If Tamils are discriminated in Sri Lanka then one has to solve the so called problem in the whole of the country. However, the solution proposed is giving self determination to the Northern and Eastern Provinces where less than fifty percent of the Tamils live. Thus the so called problem, the discrimination of the Tamils in the other provinces is not solved. In any event the Tamils in the Eastern province are not in  a majority in that province, and there is no possibility of a merger of the Eastern Province and the Northern province at present. In India states were demarcated along language differences for different reasons and the Sri Lanakn situation is entirely different.

India has no right to intervene in the affairs of Sri Lanka even if the Jayawardhane government was following an anti Indian pro western line, and after the boycott of the CHOGM by the Indian Prime Minister has told the world that they do not have any interest in Sri Lankan affairs whether for good or bad of both countries. As they kept aloof at the CHOGM India should keep away from our activities and we have no reason whatsoever after the boycott to give a hearing to the Indians.

Nalin De Silva