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Tamil Nadu being forced to go the Eelam way? -- I
In 1965, when Tamil Nadu faced the possibility of military action from a powerful New Delhi, Annadurai opted to abandon his demand for full autonomy to states under a lose confederation with one currency but multiple ethnic, cultural and national identiti
TAMIL NADU appears headed for revolutionary political changes in a culmination of a combination of events: For one, the two main Dravidian political outfits – Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), headed by three-time chief minister M Karunanidhi and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), headed by former two-term CM Jayalalitha – are both reeling under overwhelming outrage among the Tamil population. Discontent brewing against the leaders is peaking due to a general perception that both have betrayed the Tamil cause. The recent brutal military action by the government of Sri Lanka against an assertive Tamil population there has brought about an explosive situation.

According to reports from Colombo, Sri Lankan forces are closing in on territory controlled by Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Kilinochi, current political capital of the rebels, could fall in the hands of government. But, it is highly unlikely that the struggle against oppression will end. If anything, Tamil Nadu is at the risk of turning into a battleground, like Pakistan’s northwest.

Interestingly, both the outfits that rule in TN alternately swear allegiance to the ideals of DMK propounded by founder CN Annadurai. His mission was to fight for real autonomy to the states under a true confederation at New Delhi. He recognised India as a sort of present day Europe with one currency but multiple cultural, ethnic, linguistic and national identities. (Incidentally, the concept is advocated today by several regional parties, including Maharashtra Navnirman Sena).

Annadurai was a highly educated, scholarly, strategic thinker unlike the current day bosses of these remnant DMKs. When faced with the possibility of military action by a powerful New Delhi in 1965, he opted to abandon his demand for the status. He expertly avoided the fate of Hyderabad or Goa against a formidable enemy or perhaps, the risk of a genocidal oppression, similar to the one going on since 1980s in Sri Lanka.

Since then, TN has always been ruled by either the DMK or AIADMK, with no power sharing with allies. Any coalition has been limited to electoral alliance for seat adjustments. Even the cadre and the leadership of the Communist parties in TN, Communist Party of India (CPI) and Communist Party of India – Marxist (CPIM), subscribe to Annadurai’s vision of ’Self-rule in states, confederation at Centre’. The two main ‘national’ parties – Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – have only ceremonial presence. Their role is limited to investing the megabucks involved in electioneering of any one of the parties in return for seats.

Long periods in absolute power have inevitably led to a degree of autocracy and tyranny in both parties. Allegations fly thick about high level of corruption, amassing unaccounted wealth by cronies and infighting among senior leaders. ‘Kalaignar’ Karunanidhi and ‘Amma’ Jayalalitha are both known to indulge in undermining each other. They have done deals with whatever political outfit rules in New Delhi to get the other dismissed, harassed with raids and even jailed when out of power. This has prompted several leaders to break away to form own parties like Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK), Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK), Lakshiya Dravida Munnetra Kazaham (LDMK) etc – all swearing allegiance to ‘original’ DMK. The latest is the MDDMK, floated by the ‘fans’ of superstar, Rajnikant and it is sending a chill down the spine of opportunists.

The ground reality in Tamil Nadu is that almost every Tamil – belonging to whatever religion or strata – has a primary affinity to other Tamil-speaking people of whatever domicile or religion. This is somewhat true of the Malayalees (Keralites) whose identity transcends religion. The India they recognise as a collective identity includes the entire British India. The entity in New Delhi to them is more for administrative convenience and in no way above ethnic affinity and pride. Only a tiny minority -- mainly high-caste elite chosen by God to rule over serfs condemned to languish as pariahs even in next birth – believe in this age in the concept of paramountcy of the ‘sovereign’ – personified by ‘Bharat Mata’.

Even though Sri Lankan Tamils, who are solidly behind LTTE have the sympathies of the people, they have long been scapegoats of self-serving politics. Dravidian leaders, in their zeal to get on the right side of Delhi bosses, are seen to be conniving with New Delhi’s policy of aiding Sri Lankan government in exterminating Tamils. Moreover, in its futile geopolitical ambitions, New Delhi is seen siding with Sri Lankan forces, which have indiscriminately been capturing, torturing and killing TN fisherman in the sea.

Almost all the political parties in Tamil Nadu have come together in demanding immediate halt to New Delhi’s covert support to the genocidal war against ethnic Tamils. CPI organised a massive rally and fast on the birth anniversary of Gandhi and invited every other party to raise the voice of Tamils. The rally expressed solidarity with the fishermen as well Sri Lankan Tamils and called upon the Central government to pressurise Colombo to stop hostilities and respect international law. Sri Lanka had unilaterally scrapped a Norwegian brokered ceasefire with LTTE, in defiance of International Commission on Sri Lanka.

CPI national secretary D Raja alleged that Sri Lanka has become a rogue state by continuing military action against the Tamils on the island nation. Panruruti Ramachandran who was interlocutor in India-initiated Sri Lanka process during AIADMK founder MGR’s reign in 1980s was one of the main speakers. MDMK supremo Vaiko, TDI president P Nedumaran and Viduthalai Chiruththaikal (translating to Liberation Panthers) president Thol Thirumavalavan, who boldly and openly support the liberation struggle by LTTE were cheered by the huge crowd. Jayalalitha had assured of supporting the party, however, pulled out at the last moment, apparently after some horse trading with saffron allies. PMK strongman Dr Ramadas, father of Central health minister Anbumani, simultaneously urged TN chief minister to come out in the open and support the Sri Lankan Tamils. He said New Delhi must be forced to stop anti-Tamil policies.

Most of the leaders openly admire LTTE and its chief Prabhakaran for his courage and determination. New Delhi wants him extradited to India for being put to a sham Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) trial and perhaps, a fake encounter. It was clear that the story peddled by the Congress government, framing Prabhakaran for the mysterious suicide bomb attack that killed former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, does not wash anymore.

Startled at the spontaneous public response transcending party lines, AIADMK has now announced that it would support a similar demonstration scheduled for October 10. It is being organised by MDMK chief, Vaiko and will stage a demonstration in front of Shastri Bhavan, the seat of New Delhi’s offices in Chennai. The former CM has assured Vaiko that her organising secretary, Muthusamy would speak at the demonstration.

Even apologists of the ’Bharat Mata’ concept are rattled at the mammoth groundswell. State unit president Ganesan of BJP demanded that the ruling DMK seek the Centre’s intervention in ensuring a political resolution to the ethnic conflict in the island nation. KV Thangabalu, president of TN Congress said, “Don’t try to isolate the Congress in Tamil Nadu from the issue. As the president of the TNCC, I am ready to lead an all-party delegation to Delhi to take up the issue.”

The octogenarian CM Karunanidhi has sensed the magnitude of public ire that may dethrone his government. He is seen as a shameless collaborator in New Delhi’s connivance in ethnic cleansing. He broke his ominously long silence and asked his cadre to send ‘millions of telegrams’ to Manmonan Singh seeking a halt to collaborating with the Sri Lankan regime. He then spoke to Manmohan Singh and asked the Centre “to treat the appeal as a distress call and of national importance.”

“In an attempt to cool tempers in TN, National Security Advisor MK Narayanan was directed to summon Sri Lankan envoy and convey “India’s grave concern and unhappiness” at the growing casualties of unarmed Tamil civilians in the military action there.” The worthy advised Sri Lanka, “It is essential that vital supplies to the affected population are not disrupted in any manner.”

Reacting to the useless rhetoric that is no more than loud noises, Karunanidhi issued a veiled threat to pull out of the precariously positioned United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. He declared, “If this atrocity against Lankan Tamils does not stop, then we will have to find answer to the question, ’Whether we require this government?’ I tell you with all humility that this meeting is to tell you this."

Are the hot-headed strategic planners in New Delhi – quite a few of them traditionally from TN, but viewed as traitors and black sheep there – driving TN to go the Eelam way? Developments in October will decide if New Delhi will be adding to the Kashmir imbroglio another hopeless embroilment in the South.



                                                                                                  (To be continued
)

COMMENTS (38)
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Sami
This article while bringing out the feelings of Tamils in relation to the Srilankan Tamil probelm, fails to provide a clear picture of the historical facts and the current perspectives. It is true that the dravidian parties had a separatist tilt in the 50s and early 60s. But Annadurai abandoned the idea of Tamilnadu's separation from Indian Union not in 1965 'when faced with NewDelhi's threat of force' but in 1962 during the Chinese invasion of India because he felt a strong India is essential for the survival of Tamils. Nevertheless the DMK came to power not on the platform of Tamilnadu's separation from India but on the issue of opposition to imposition of Hindi. Moreover, congress leaders in Tamilnadu lack crucial oratory skills and they always look upto Delhi for any decision. All this has contributed to the continuous dravidian party rule. If you want to equate Tamils' contribution to nationalism, you could only do that with the Bengalis. But both Bengalis and Tamils are fiercely proud of their language. Example: Subramanya Bharathi a fiercely nationalistic poet was equally fiercely proud about being a Tamil. On the Bengali side Rabindranath Tagore was known for his love of Bengali and at the same time he was nationalistic. One fact I want to remind the writer is the fact that Subramanya Bharathi who brought a revival in Tamil writing and spread the idea of social equality like fire, belonged to the community of people who the author accuses of worshipping a non-existent Bharat Mata. Another great personality was U.V.Saminatha Iyer who collected and brought to light most of the Tamil epics which these dravidian politicians quote often. He is known as 'Tamil Thatha' that is Grand Old Man. History aside, today elections in Tamilnadu are not determined solely on the platform of Tamil pride because Tamil is already declared a classical language and enjoys a huge importance due to the reach of the Tamil entertainment industry and media. Moreover there is no Hindi imposition anymore. Tamils are content to a great extent. Notwithstanding this Tamils look forward to the central govt for one issue, that is the security of Tamils living around the world. No community will adopt a hands-off approach if its brethren are threatened with extinction anywhere. Emotions were running high in West Bengal during the genocide of Bengalis in East Pakistan and India had to intervene to create Bangladesh. But when it comes to Eelam Tamils, the rest of India wants them to remain integrated with a country that systemically conducts atrocities against them. We too believe in Bharat Mata, but if Bharat Mata cannot protect her children who went to explore the nearby island before thousands of years, how can we be confident that she will protect her own children who live in her own land. The feeble response to Pakistani and Chinese activities in Srilanka explains everything.
Sami
This article while bringing out the feelings of Tamils in relation to the Srilankan Tamil probelm, fails to provide a clear picture of the historical facts and the current perspectives. It is true that the dravidian parties had a separatist tilt in the 50s and early 60s. But Annadurai abandoned the idea of Tamilnadu's separation from Indian Union not in 1965 'when faced with NewDelhi's threat of force' but in 1962 during the Chinese invasion of India because he felt a strong India is essential for the survival of Tamils. Nevertheless the DMK came to power not on the platform of Tamilnadu's separation from India but on the issue of opposition to imposition of Hindi. Moreover, congress leaders in Tamilnadu lack crucial oratory skills and they always look upto Delhi for any decision. All this has contributed to the continuous dravidian party rule. If you want to equate Tamils' contribution to nationalism, you could only do that with the Bengalis. But both Bengalis and Tamils are fiercely proud of their language. Example: Subramanya Bharathi a fiercely nationalistic poet was equally fiercely proud about being a Tamil. On the Bengali side Rabindranath Tagore was known for his love of Bengali and at the same time he was nationalistic. One fact I want to remind the writer is the fact that Subramanya Bharathi who brought a revival in Tamil writing and spread the idea of social equality like fire, belonged to the community of people who the author accuses of worshipping a non-existent Bharat Mata. Another great personality was U.V.Saminatha Iyer who collected and brought to light most of the Tamil epics which these dravidian politicians quote often. He is known as 'Tamil Thatha' that is Grand Old Man. History aside, today elections in Tamilnadu are not determined solely on the platform of Tamil pride because Tamil is already declared a classical language and enjoys a huge importance due to the reach of the Tamil entertainment industry and media. Moreover there is no Hindi imposition anymore. Tamils are content to a great extent. Notwithstanding this Tamils look forward to the central govt for one issue, that is the security of Tamils living around the world. No community will adopt a hands-off approach if its brethren are threatened with extinction anywhere. Emotions were running high in West Bengal during the genocide of Bengalis in East Pakistan and India had to intervene to create Bangladesh. But when it comes to Eelam Tamils, the rest of India wants them to remain integrated with a country that systemically conducts atrocities against them. We too believe in Bharat Mata, but if Bharat Mata cannot protect her children who went to explore the nearby island before thousands of years, how can we be confident that she will protect her own children who live in her own land. The feeble response to Pakistani and Chinese activities in Srilanka explains everything.
k_ra,
It is a very curious coincidence that the suppressed feelings of kinship with Sri Lankan Tamils burst out from the chests of our Tamil warriors when the life and rule of Velupillai Prabhakharan is at peril. What thoughts have been spared for the lost lives of Sri Sabaratnam who was killed by treachery by our Tiger, Padmanabha, Amirthalingam etc etc. Our homegrown kalaignar can shed tears for tiruchelvan's death but the tears strangely remained dormant for all these years! The Sri Lankan Armed Forces and the public too have paid a heavy price in terms of life and property. LTTE remains a fascist organisation which cares too little for any other interests other than what it wants to achieve. It is strange that Mr Natteri Adigal chooses to ignore the volume of evidence which directly and indirectly implicates LTTE in the assassination of Mr Rajiv Gandhi and also in a number of other criminal activities in Tamil Nadu. Mr Adigal cannot also be oblivious to the connections that have sprung up between LTTE and other terrorist groups. It is also the speciality of the vicious anti brahmin bias that exists in the minds of 'kanmanis' that no debate is incomplete without hurling abuse at the nearly non existent community. It is unfortunate that this much despised microscopic minority called tambrahm takes flak either for its presence or absence. Tambrahms who have been driven out by the 'thooya thamizh pulavars and veerars' have done well for themselves wherever they have gone, preserved the tamil traditions that they have carried and speak better tamil than most of our 'thamilargal who have now appeared from the woodwork speaking that thamil that cannot be music to the ears of our sanga thamizh pavalars'. Long live classical Tamil and Long live Tamil Hypocrisy!!!
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