Tamils face a deadly grip of friendship

What can they do when there is such a big hug from across the Palk Strait? It comes from the one who gives orders to Manmohan Singh…There’s no need to guess. It’s Sonia Gandhi. Greet feeling of neighbourliness she has. As she says it: "In our neighbourhood, there is no issue closer to our heart than the rights of the Sri Lankan Tamil people."

Of course this immense love for the Tamil people of Sri Lanka was manifest at an election rally. And guess where it was? In Chennai, of course. Where else would Sonia Gandhi have such feelings, other than in Tamil Nadu, and seated next to her coalition partner, Chief Minister Karunanidhi, who is also the partner of the Congress Party in corruption.

From the looks of it the current Tamil Nadu polls campaign is not being fought in India, but over here in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan Tamils, for whom Sonia Gandhi has so much feeling may not have any votes in Tamil Nadu, but they have fast become the ‘king makers" of the state, or so all politicians there think.

The Elections Commissioner of India, who is known for his independence may have imposed so many restrictions, especially on loads of money being spent to buy votes. He has already seized many crores of rupees intended to buy votes. But he is helpless to prevent the use of Sri Lankan Tamils as political capital, apparently much more valuable than money, by the rival politicians of Tamil Nadu.

Sonia Gandhi is not gong to find it easy to use the SL Tamil card as the trump in the DMK-Congress campaign. She has to contend with many others, who are also talking Sri Lankan Tamil at political rallies, and as the key element in their campaigns. She will have to contend with Jayalalitha, who now veils her dislike for Prabhakaran with a renewed love for the Tamils over here. Then there is Vaiko, who keeps screaming about Sri Lankan Tamils, although having no big allies in the campaign. And there are many others too, all of them singing the SL Tamil song to a Carnatic beat.

Sonia G is on the right political wavelength, or so it seems, in trying to whip up support for the Congress’ alliance with the DMK. She made sure to mention the issue of the alleged firing at fishermen from Tamil Nadu, too. "We are deeply pained that some lives of fishermen have been lost" she said. She has showed her ability to fish in troubled political waters. When it comes to political opportunism, it seems she is taking more than a leaf from the Berlusconi book, than the book of any opportunist Indian politician. Don’t blame her. It’s only because the Silvio Berlusconi style comes naturally to her. It’s nothing to do with sex and teenagers, never. She’s too smart for that. She’ll just spin a fishy story and combine her sorrow for the Tamil Nadu fishermen with the deep feeling of neighbourliness for the Sri Lankan Tamils. Do you really think she will start shedding tears for the Sri Lankan Tamils? Who knows what will happen as the campaign gets tougher and the political bankruptcy of the DMK-Congress needs covering with a curtain of Sri Lankan Tamils.

The Tamils here had better beware of this sudden emergence of a multitude of friends across the Strait. There are so many arms stretched out in a political hug that may soon become a tight embrace; and a suffocating one at that too.

It may be time for the Sri Lankan Tamils to send a message to Sonia G that she would not need to have such deep feelings of neighbourliness for them, if only her mother-in-law, from whose son she got her Gandhi surname, had not taken great and un-neighbourly pains to train young Sri Lankan Tamils to take up arms against the Sri Lankan state. 

Of course India now pays for part of the resettlement of those displaced by terror, as Sonia G boasts. But those funds could have been saved if her Ma-in-law had not spent so much to train those Tamil youth, who turned out to be the world’s most ruthless terrorists. One has to pay for past errors whether one is born in Sri Lanka, India or Italy. It’s good if one does it with such neighbourly feeling as she states, but better if it is not used for cheap political gain, in an election that seeks to strengthen bonds with one of the most corrupt political groups in India.

Forget good neighbourliness and the crocodile tears for dead fishermen; does she have no sense of shame to be in alliance with the party that produced the Cabinet Minister – Raja, who opened the sewers of corruption over the 2G licenses, that keeps snowballing to the 3G scam and the swelling muck of corruption keeps flowing in so many directions, almost engulfing all of India. Does she have no sense of shame to have sup with the father of a political daughter who is about to be charged for another aspect of a massive sleaze?

The Sri Lanka Tamils do have a problem with the abundance of voices that are being raised on their behalf in Tamil Nadu. From Jayalalitha who is convinced that the problem of SL Tamils will be solved when Kachchativu is taken back by India; Naam Thamizhar Party leader, Seeman, who vows to defeat the DMK- Congress alliance stating that Sonia’s Congress Party murdered 1.4 lakh Tamils in Sri Lanka (must be a good neighbourly act), P. Nedumaran of the Tamil National Movement who says the people should punish the DMK-Congress to help raise voices for Eelam Tamils, and the actor Vijaya who will be happy to wipe Sri Lanka off the map of the world, which must include Sri Lanka Tamils too.

That surely is great company for Sonia Gandhi. But all of this cannot be of any benefit to the Tamils here, who are being used as a political football to be kicked by every Tamil Nadu politician, and the Congress in TN, who have no solutions to the problems faced by the Tamils over there.

The politics of Tamil Nadu is fast becoming a contest on who could fool the people of TN best about the conditions of Sri Lankan Tamils. The tide of TN politics may soon turn into a political tsunami that could well engulf the Tamils of Sri Lanka, who had better watch out for the neighbourliness of such opportunists. It is best to beware of the dangers of being drawn into the vortex of the opportunist political hurricane that is now sweeping across Tamil Nadu.

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