A Chief Minister for Eastern Province

The President has chosen Mr. Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillaiyan as the Chief Minister of the Eastern Province, and undoubtedly we are into a new era in politics, especially in Tamil politics. Gone are the days that Tamil politics was determined by a few families in Colombo. The main aspiration of those families in Colombo was to lead the country displacing a similar set of Sinhala families centred in Colombo. All of them were English speaking and had no world other than that was created by the British for them. The British governors manoeuvred the Tamil leaders beginning with the Ponnambalam - Coomaraswamy family (more than an iota of "evidence", of course with the necessary interpretation, could be found on this "fact" in the books written on communal politics and in other literature. Please note that there is neither evidence nor fact without interpretation implying that there are no objective historians with or without a capital H), and instilled in their minds the ambition to be the leaders of the country. As we have said on many occasions, the Colombo based Tamil leaders realised that with the introduction of limited franchise first and then universal franchise this aspiration receded away from them. Finally it was SJV Chelvanayakam (SJVC) who came to the conclusion that the Tamil leaders based in Colombo could not realise their aspiration and hence replaced it with a new aspiration. The new aspiration could be called the second aspiration of the Colombo centred (and based) Tamil leaders. Chelvanayakam and others of his ilk introduced separatism not after the official language bill but long before that when they founded the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) or the Lanka Tamil State Party. The period between the first aspiration and the second aspiration is well documented in terms of communal politics, however without drawing the necessary conclusions. The authors of these books and papers, who may be brilliant scholars but pathetic creators of concepts and theories (in fact they hardly create anything other than offspring, which according to Einstein is creation in the womb but not in the mind), are at a loss to explain the continuity as well as the discontinuity (in any dynamic process there is a continuity as well as a discontinuity) of Tamil politics from the first aspiration to the second aspiration. Thus they attribute separatist politics of Chelvanayakam to the official language act turning a Nelsonian eye to the formation of the separatist ITAK during the lifetime of the first Parliament itself, while Mr. SWRD Bandaranaike was a minister in the first UNP government.

As we said last week, almost thirty years after the formation of the ITAK, in 1976, SJVC was able to unite the Northern Tamils, the Eastern Tamils, the upcountry Tamils, and the Muslims under the flag of Tamil speaking people, an artificial conglomeration, which was bound to disperse sooner than later. They were united by SJVC on an anti Sinhala base that had been established by the ITAK in thirty years. These four categories had different origins and different cultures unlike the so called up country Sinhalas and the so called low country Sinhalas both being creations of the British, and were to be dominated by the Northern Tamils. The leadership, which was in the hands of the ITAK and its successors such as the TULF dominated by the Northern Tamils belonging to the Vellala - Brahmin culture had a western Christian outlook from the first Aspiration days as the leaders were manoeuvred by the British. Under SJVC it became more and more Christian oriented and in the seventies when the leadership fell into the hands of Prabhakaran the movement had taken an anti Sinhala Buddhist line more than anything else. Some may be thinking that Prabhakaran is not Colombo based as he is an "ordinary" person from Velvetithurai. He may be physically based in Killinochchi or in some bunker in the premises of a church, but he is more than Colombo based culturally and "spiritually". In fact he is London based if one were to consider the sources of funds he receives, and even today he is maintained by the west and the Tamil diaspora in the west. The leaders of the Vellala Brahmin culture handed over the leadership to Christian Karaivar (it is irrelevant whether Prabhakaran is a Christian or not by faith, it is the culture he serves that matters) half heartedly as the former had no choice at that stage. However, in the meantime the up country Tamils and the Muslims broke away as there was pressure from those who did not want to be under the yoke of the Northern Tamils. However neither Thondaman nor Ashraaf gave up anti Sinhala politics, and even today, the SLMC and the CWC act in unison on many matters, especially vis a vis the LTTE. SLMC following Ashraaf policies and politics still prefer to be a minority among the so called Tamil speaking people and would be happy with a non contiguous autonomous Muslim zone in the North - East state of a Federal country. This is nothing but politics of their western masters who finally want to see the Sinhala Buddhist culture weakened if not destroyed in the country. The irony is that the west is at war with the Muslim culture though Hakeem would prefer to be by the side of Bush. The west is using some Muslims in Sri Lanka against the Sinhala Buddhists having declared war with Muslim culture.

However, it was apparent during the last few years that some of the other Tamil parties and the other Muslim parties were gravitating towards a third aspiration. There is no anti Sinhala sentiment and neither do they demand a separate state. They would be happy with some powers in the provinces they are in a majority and are eager to live in harmony with the Sinhala people in a Unitary State. They are also prepared to accept that the Sinhala Buddhist culture is not just another culture in Sri Lanka but has special significance though not a dominant culture like the Judaic Christian culture of the west. These Tamil and Muslim parties, especially in the eastern province have liberated themselves with the aid of the Sri Lankan government and are prepared to work as a unit with the UPFA in the eastern province. They are no longer under the domination of the Northern Tamils nor the western powers that maintain Prabhakaran. It was Karuna who gave the leadership to the Eastern Tamils, and now the leadership has been taken over by Mr. Chandrakanthan. The choice of Mr. Chandrakanthan as the Chief Minister in the Eastern Provincial Council was a foregone conclusion and Mr. Hisbulla’s entry as a Muslim candidate into the fray was not healthy to say the least.

We have analysed the so called ethnic problem on many occasions including in the publication "Prabhakaran ohuge seeyala baapala ha massinala" which can be accessed through www.kalaya.org. and it could be summarised as that of aspirations. Today some parties are still having the aspiration two while some other parties have shifted towards the aspiration number three. Even the aspiration three is communal and some Sinhalas may oppose it because of this communal character. An aspiration four where the provinces, districts better, including gam sabhas would share some powers in a unitary state or better an eksesath rajya, not on a communal basis would be most welcome by the Sinhalas. In an eksesath rajya power was not concentrated in the centre but at the same time the pranthas (provinces or districts or even gam sabhas) were not based on ethnicity. The Sinhala people are mainly against ethno devolution as it paves the way for aspiration two mentioned above. They may agree with aspiration three which hopefully could end up as aspiration four.

Eastern province has given us a good opportunity to work out a mechanism that would lead to aspiration four. However Mr. Hisbulla has somewhat worked against that by demanding that he should be made the Chief Minister on ethnic grounds. If the President had promised him that he would be made the Chief Minister if the Muslim members are in a majority, I find fault with such kind of promise, as ethnicity should not have been considered. The ethnic identities would be there for thousands of years to come unless the west succeeds in its malicious attempt to destroy the other cultures. The Sinhala people have always respected the identities of other people and the Veddas constitute a good example. The Veddas were able to retain their identity for thousands of years, though the Sinhala people had the cultural and political ability to absorb Veddas into the Sinhala nation. Even among the Sinhalas the Yakshas were able to retain their identity, and I have been informed that even fifty years ago in Minneriya and its surroundings there were Yakshas among Sinhalas, who though belonged to the Sinhala nation from the time of King Pandukabhaya, had retained their identity. If these Yakshas and Veddas are not to be seen today (we have some artificial Veddas maintained for the benefit of the tourists), it is the result of western Christian modernity destroying all the other cultures. The northern Tamils, the Eastern Tamils and the Muslims are not threatened by the Sinhalas but by the west that would destroy the Sinhala culture too if possible.

What Mr. Hisbulla has to do now is to support the Chief Minister and work towards the development of the province without thinking of himself as a Muslim but at the same time retaining his Muslim identity. If he does that without supporting the communal politics of Hakeem he would one day be elected as the Chief Minister. The Eastern Province gives us hope to get away from communal politics of nearly two hundred years since the inception of the legislative assembly. We have a history of more than two thousand years as a nation and we do not have to borrow from west or from India any concepts to "build" a nation. Our nation meaning that of Sinhalas, Northern Tamils, Eastern Tamils, Upcountry Tamils and Muslims is one of the oldest nations. The latter categories are also heirs to the nation though they have joined the Sinhalas lately. It is only a question of absorbing them into a nation that has already been built, without trying to build a "brand new" nation following the Social Scientists of the west. Western Social Scientists who limp behind Western Physicists do not know how to define a nation, a culture, ethnic group etc., though they write flamboyantly on ethno politics and such subjects. Looking for so called objective criteria following Western Physicists, they are unable to distinguish between a Sinhala and a Tamil, but they continue to preach from their altars on ethnic problem. As far as they are concerned there are only nation states and those who are citizens of those states! That kind of sterile "objectivity" has destroyed Sinhalaness as well as Tamilness and we have all become humans, meaning those belonging to western Judaic Christian culture. We would not want Pillaiyan to lose his non Brahmin Eastern Tamilness but at the same time he should be the Chief Minister of all of the Eastern Province and not only of the Eastern Tamils.

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