Feature Article

Break vicious circle of political obfuscation: Sivaram in 2003

[TamilNet, Thursday, 12 February 2015, 01:35 GMT]
“Today it is clear beyond all reasonable doubt that India and the US-UK-Japan Bloc are trying to influence and manage Sri Lanka's peace process to promote and consolidate their respective strategic and economic interests. [..] Those who say that we should keep quiet — not rock the boat by clamouring about the true motives of the US-UK-Japan Bloc — while certain objectives are being achieved through the peace process, should remember the developments which led up to the Indo Lanka Treaty and the arrival of the Indian army. [...] The price the Tamil liberation movement as a whole had to pay for not educating the people about the truth of India's intentions was high. At this juncture, even a doddering dullard would find the déjà vu inescapable. The Tamil nation cannot afford to make the same mistake again.” Thus wrote late D. Sivaram in 2003, six years before Mu'l'livaaykkaal genocide.

Educating the masses on the designs of Powers and politically mobilising the people for the struggle was the central theme of the piece he wrote to Northeastern Herald on May 02, 2003, two years before he was assassinated by the Sri Lankan military intelligence.

“Any foreign force can have its way in a country only if its people are divided, politically obfuscated and are hopelessly sunk in political stupor. The creeping intellectual/political barrenness in the northeast should be stopped without further delay,” Sivaram said.

“[T]he obfuscation of the political reality caused among Tamils is so great that it is well nigh impossible as the days pass by to cut through the thick layers of rhetoric and rigmarole surrounding the so called peace process and to show our people the stark truth,” he wrote, telling the LTTE officials to “stop making pedestrian, boringly predictable utterances on public forums and, instead, make every endeavour to stir the people's reason, intellectual curiosity, their sense of community, their imagination and their intellectual fervour.”

This is the only way forward to decisively break the vicious circle of political obfuscation, he wrote.

“America might be mighty but that cannot detract an iota from our right to live with honour, dignity and freedom in the land of our forebears. It cannot for a moment make us give up an inch of our lands to help the US Bloc or India stabilise the Sri Lankan state,” Sivaram concluded the comment, which he wrote for Northeastern Herald (Vol. 01/39, May 2-8, 2003).

Full text of the article follows:

The folly of Eelam

By D. Sivaram (Taraki)

Today it is clear beyond all reasonable doubt that India and the US-UK-Japan Bloc are trying to influence and manage Sri Lanka's peace process to promote and consolidate their respective strategic and economic interests.

I have been ceaselessly drumming this point wherever I got a hearing here and abroad.

But the obfuscation of the political reality caused among Tamils is so great that it is well nigh impossible as the days pass by to cut through the thick layers of rhetoric and rigmarole surrounding the so called peace process and to show our people the stark truth.

This is not to say that the peace talks should be called off completely. On the contrary, if it suits the long term strategic and economic interests of the Tamils then the LTTE should stick to it for all its worth.

But it should do so if and only if it can make an intense endeavour to shake the people out of their current political stupor.

Those who say that we should keep quiet — not rock the boat by clamouring about the true motives of the US-UK-Japan Bloc — while certain objectives are being achieved through the peace process, should remember the developments which led up to the Indo Lanka Treaty and the arrival of the Indian army.

From 1983 to 86, it was taboo among Tamils to propagate the truth that India was exploiting their cause to gain a foothold in Sri Lanka. The few who dared to speak about India's hegemonistic designs were admonished not to be too rash lest we provoke Delhi's ire and cause a disruption in the weapons handouts by the RAW.

Nevertheless, a very small group of intellectuals both within and on the fringes of the armed Tamil Eelam movement did their best to awaken the people from their awesomely naive Indophile proclivities.

Their ideas were placed before the Tamil public at the time chiefly in two works — the book-let, Vankam Thantha Paadam and the street play, Maayamaan. But these were mere enlightening drops in the ocean of obfuscation about India and its role in the negotiations between the armed Tamil movement and the Sri Lankan government between 1983 and 87.

Tamil political pundits who were dealing with India would tell us: "Hush, don't rock the boat. Speak not too loudly, lest someone record your utterances and take the cassette to Delhi and get us into trouble".

There were also those who acknowledged that Delhi had ulterior intentions which would eventually be detrimental to the Tamil cause but felt that it was prudent to keep silent about the matter with a view to enhancing the armed movement's power by availing of India's ‘hospitality’ and weapons handouts.

These men realised the truth from their experience and associations in India but were scared that any concerted attempt to educate the Tamil masses might alarm and antagonise Delhi into denying us political status and the valuable rear base in Tamil Nadu.

Another pet theme of theirs was that we may eventually be able to coax or convince Delhi to politically recognise the armed Eelam groups as comprising a legitimate national liberation movement.

That Indira Gandhi had recently recognised the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) as a national liberation movement fuelled false hope among some Eelam political pundits. They believed that if we behaved ourselves with India then we may get the same legitimacy and political status and this, according to their skewed wisdom, would inexorably speed up the realisation of Eelam.

Their argument sounded so credible at the time that the obvious and logically simple truth was completely overlooked.

Even as it provided military training and arms supplies to the Tamil liberation groups Delhi continued to state quite un-equivocally and consistently that it stands by the unity and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka.

Therefore it was clear as crystal that the arms and support given by Delhi for the Tamil movement were not to achieve Eelam but for bringing pressure on the Sri Lankan state in order to make it toe the line.

Even a brief perusal of the strategic issues, which were at stake in the Indian Ocean at the time in easily and widely accessible documents would have made it amply clear what India was really after in Sri Lanka.

Yet the Eelam pundits who were pontificating from their offices in Madras saw not the larger than life writing on the wall — that the whole Eelam episode between 1983 and 87 was choreographed by Delhi to achieve a permanent strategic foothold in Sri Lanka by treaty.

But this simple, logically obvious truth was never visible even faintly to the vast mass of the Tamils in the northeast because their perceptions were totally obfuscated by the ups and downs, the sideshows, personalities, the high lights, the break downs, the communiqués, letters, revelations, analysis, photo spreads, etc., etc., of the 'process to settle the conflict and meet the legitimate political aspirations of the Tamils' mediated by India.

In the end what did the foolish Eelam pundits get in return for the Tamil cause by keeping the lid on the truth about India's real intentions, by preventing the mobilisation of our people politically against external aggression on our soil? Nothing.

They got no political recognition or legitimacy for the Tamil liberation movement. The training and arms were useless.

And above all, when faced with the dire prospect of foreign aggression we saw the people of Jaffna welcoming the Indian army warmly, as their true saviours. At Suthumalai, to the eternal shame of the Tamil cause, they urged the LTTE leader to hand over his organisation's weapons to the Indian army. Also, the Tamil community was deeply divided then. There was no national political or defence plan to face the situation.

The price the Tamil liberation movement as a whole had to pay for not educating the people about the truth of India's intentions was high.

At this juncture, even a doddering dullard would find the déjà vu inescapable. The Tamil nation cannot afford to make the same mistake again.

The current peace process is moving along a path trodden before by India and Sri Lanka. The obfuscators, both professional and casual, in the media, academia and the diplomatic corps are active again with greater vigour and sophistication, aided in no small measure by the continuing folly of Eelam punditry, inducing widespread political dullness and apathy among the Tamil masses.

The folly of Eelam
[Courtesy: Northeastern Herald, May 2, 2003, Vol 01/39]
We see the carrots of political recognition and assistance being dangled before the LTTE for the sole purpose of stabilising the Sri Lankan state in a manner that would make it sufficiently pliable to accommodate the strategic and economic interests of the US-UK-Japan Bloc.

We already hear fools (and there are many of the educated variety among Tamils) declaring that we should swallow our-pride and yield to the dictates of the world's sole super power that the US would bomb the Vanni back to the Stone Age if the LTTE does not toe the line.

Any foreign force can have its way in a country only if its people are divided, politically obfuscated and are hopelessly sunk in political stupor. The creeping intellectual/political barrenness in the northeast should be stopped without further delay.

LTTE officials too should stop making pedestrian, boringly predictable utterances on public forums and, instead, make every endeavour to stir the people's reason, intellectual curiosity, their sense of community, their imagination and their intellectual fervour.

This is the only way forward to decisively break the vicious circle of political obfuscation.

America might be mighty but that cannot detract an iota from our right to live with honour, dignity and freedom in the land of our forebears. It cannot for a moment make us give up an inch of our lands to help the US Bloc or India stabilise the Sri Lankan state.


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