Is Negative Politics Possible?
By Ananda Ariyarathne
There has never been an opportunity like this, to assess our strengths and weaknesses through a very realistic analysis of events that became cardinal turning points in our history. Unlike in the past, this time it has come to stay, challenging society. It has virtually crept into our personal and social lives and has started affecting the very rhythm of all our movements. Our agricultural, industrial as well as coordinating activities have also been severely affected. One is the silly behaviour that has pulled our rationality to the bottom in chasing wrong objectives without respecting the need to support the efforts of the Government to defeat the threat of the COVID-19 as the undisputed priority. Disregarding that, importance is given to aspects like the Constitution and the status of the minorities ignoring that COVID-19 does not affect human beings selectively. But, we expect our Nation to become prosperous.
Defeating the virus
The need of the hour undoubtedly is to become strong enough to defeat the virus because it has eroded the efficiency and productivity of the Nation. Unless the real efficiency is achieved, it will only be a feeble morale booster.
It is very pathetic to note how some political leaders stoop down to such low levels by creating distractions that can affect the sentiments of the people who are not allowed to settle down. The sentiments of dissatisfaction that have been allowed to germinate in the minds of people is aimed at the ultimate target of draining the support the people have towards the Government. The publicity given to the frustration of some fanatic Muslims can become very damaging as the measures by the Government has been misinterpreted as discrimination. The issue of the 13th Amendment, in the meantime, has started gaining attention, creating a favourable background to drag the Tamil question into the midst only to embarrass the Government. What is more important is to recover from economic retardation. It is a time, all communities start thinking as one and realise prosperity is important. However, now the issue has started influencing the thinking of the country, it cannot be simply shrugged off.
The ethnic issue
Before defeating the LTTE, people went through an environment of fear. To get out of that hate and fear mongering atmosphere both communities needed time to get used to the feeling of tolerance. Young girls and boys finding employment in garment factories and in other sectors helped most of the young Tamil people to realise the Singhalese were not blood thirsty people with hatred towards innocent and helpless Tamils. It was only the extremist Tamil Politicians who did not enjoy seeing people falling in to a peaceful life style. It became a very heartwarming experience for all peace loving people to know that the country was steadily moving towards harmony.
Who wants disharmony?
The Tamils do not want disharmony nor those who immigrated during British Colonial times, they already treat this as their home and are well accepted by the Sinhala majority. It’s the crooked Tamil Politicians who do not enjoy seeing people living in harmony. What is needed is equality and one law to govern all. Not separate countries. It is a truly practical symbiotic framework they need. The 13th Amendment in Sri Lanka is only a ‘Bridge built where there is no River’ to cross. It is a political manoeuvring done by the Indian Government to satisfy the ‘Fire Breathing” extremist Tamil politicians of Tamil Nadu. It is very normal human behaviour in feeling proud about one’s own ‘ethnicity’. It is applicable to any community and it becomes absurd only when some such extremists become so self-centred and delve in their own dreams.
In the early part of the last century, the feeling started and considerable numbers started agitating for independence in Tamil Nadu. Through the social conflict that came into being the movement of Tamils against Brahmins looked and sounded justifiable. The influence of the Brahmins who exerted their authority over the others who were in Majority became the beginning of a movement that tried to unite people linked and tied by the language -Tamil. The greatness of the civilisation that was linked to that heeling of esteem encouraged the reasoning. By that strategy, it became very convenient to arouse sentiments by bringing in people linked through Tamil, in Tamil Nadu.
The Tamil Leaders saw the status in the island of Ceylon. During the peak of their influence, even the Northern and North-Eastern sea belt in Sri Lanka got affected. Consequently, the regions bordering Tamil Nadu felt the impact of Tamil language which remained even after the invading forces were driven back. The historical blending became an inseparable feature. It was the justification, the Tamil extremists resorted to, in promoting their concept of ‘Dravidasthan’ in India and the maps which were drawn show the Northern and North- Eastern Sri Lankan Coastline also as parts of the aspired land for their Nation of ‘Dravidasthan’. It became a concept that started gaining momentum for a secessionist movement in India, dragging the bordering regions also into the picture. The influence of the Tamil Language spread not only through military expeditions but also through the peaceful commercial developments on one hand and in some cases it happened with the movement of skilled artisans and craftsmen who belonged to the Tamil people who ventured into neighbouring regions.
It was the presence of the influence of Tamil Language that strengthened the aspirations of people like E.V. Ramasamy who dedicated their lives to give some physical shape to their dream. It is an actual fact that in the neighbouring States, we can see more Tamil Speaking People than all we have in Sri Lanka The area that covered “Dravida Nadu’ or “ Dravida Desha” started with the Tamil Speaking Region initially but expanded later to the neighbouring States and the Northern and Eastern Parts in Sri Lanka.
It was a concept that was started by E.V.Ramasamy, awakened the aspiration of Tamil people, as far back as 1920s, when India was still under the British Rule creating a temperament resulting in the formation of supporting organisations. On the threshold of Independence for India , the separatist Tamil Leaders in India had gone to the extent of celebrating even a "Dravida Nadu Secession Day" on 1st July 1947,and it is said that they passed a resolution on 13th July 1947, at Thiruchirapalli demanding ‘an independent Dravida Nadu.’
However, within three days, on 16 July 2019, it was opposed by Mahathma Gandhi and in 1947, Mohamed Ali Jinnah who was the main force in forming Pakistan refused to support E.V.Ramasamy to create a Dravidasthan, and all those developments are well recorded in history. When the Indian Leadership saw the dangers to the whole Indian Union, action was taken forbidding any kind of secessionist activities and it is proved by the Constitutional Amendment in 1963,very clearly and categorically banned such activities, even as an Independent State after almost sixteen years.
Start a Tamil State
It was that development which pushed the Tamil nationalists of India to divert attention to the best option they had, just separated by a narrow strip of sea. It became the best and most ideally fitting solution to their problem. Do everything possible to start a Tamil State.
It can be seen clearly that the ‘promoters’ have not been just the Sri Lankan Tamils whose suffering has been alleged to have been initiated by the majority Sinhalese who are about 74per cent who are dominating. At the time of Independence, Sinhalese were a larger percentage as Indian Tamils did not have citizenship.
However, the irony was that the Sri Lankan Tamils preferred to be identified separately and the reason for such thinking was natural as Sri Lankan Tamils always felt at home here. The other reason was that the Tamil people in Sri Lanka belonged to same biological community that made up the Sinhalese, through generations of occupation in Northern and Eastern coastal areas.
It is obvious now that there had been a pattern setting in the International Political scene initially, having South Indian influence initially from Tamil Nadu as a very large number of Indian Tamils were in Sri Lanka. Initially, India was not ready to take back those Non Sri Lankan Tamils and Sirima - Shasthri Agreement brought the problem to a finality with some going back to India and the others getting citizenship in Sri Lanka. That increased the number of Tamils In this country. Otherwise, it would have been only the Sri Lankan Tamil people.
The innocent people of both communities, the Sinhalese and Tamils existed without grumbling, leaving their future in the hands of some members of the educated class. It became just a ‘pass time’ for them. Studying history, trying to interpret according to their preferences, trying to change the fate of people who know only to trust and therefore be guided as well as misguided so easily, just exist like the sheep for slaughter. The slaughter is the most fitting word as there are no signs of anything positive in the future.The most immediate reasons for the new Constitution are shown as the need to preserve the right of the people and ‘Power Sharing’.
What is power sharing?. What better rights do Sinhalese citizens have not enjoyed by Tamil citizens? The Power sharing is not for the common people. It is for the so-called self-appointed champions of the people who are taking a free ride on the people whom they describe as victims.
When you see what‘s happening, it becomes very clear that there is a well orchestrated effort to hoodwink the common people. There also, it is aimed mainly at the Sinhalese majority.
As long as this country remains as one administrative unit with a strong majority like at least 74 per cent, the aspirations cannot be achieved. The best way is to divide the majority by Political parties and geographically so that they shall never be together to stand up for unity.
Keep the Governments busy on such matters so that people will suffer at the end. The pathetic situation is that even some politicians who are in the Government make statements to please Indian Government, and weakening the stand taken by the President.