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Tamil Nadu Leaders and Sri Lanka!
|by Dr. Rajinder Puri|
During the recent general election campaign this writer expressed astonishment over the BJP decision to seek alliances with parties having incompatible views. Mr. Narendra Modi had declared intention of obtaining a single party majority. Where, then I argued, was the need to seek allies at that stage? The BJP wanted to demonstrate that despite Mr. Modi being the prime ministerial candidate it could win allies. It was a silly decision. I argued that the party should have maintained cordial relations with all potential post poll allies but made no commitments before the results.
On April 29 I wrote:
Much sooner than expected it is payback time for BJP!
After compromising its policies the BJP won one Tamil Nadu seat and its PMK partner won a second seat. Arguably, the cynical alliance with the Tamil parties decreased the BJP support elsewhere. Now MDMK leader Mr. Vaiko is causing huge embarrassment to the government by his antics before Sri Lanka Prime Minister Mr. Rajapaksa arrives as the PM’s guest on 26 May for the swearing in ceremony. Mr. Vaiko is joined by other Tamil leaders including Miss Jayalalithaa who in this writer’s opinion has grievously dented her image as an all India leader.
The Tamil leaders are all demanding that the Sri Lankan leader should not have been invited because of the way Tamils were treated in Sri Lanka. There was terrorism by Tamils in Sri Lanka and overkill by the Sri Lankan government in response. International agencies are seized of the matter. The Indian government rightly took a restrained view keeping in mind its foreign policy imperatives. Now the Tamil leaders are making an exhibition of the nation before the whole world. What justifies Indian interference by Tamils in the affairs of Sri Lanka?
In Sri Lanka there are the Sri Lankan Tamils who were in that nation since more than 2000 years ago. There are also Indian Tamils who migrated to Sri Lanka between 150 to 200 years ago to work in the plantations. Roughly the total Tamil population in Sri Lanka is 20% of which earlier the Sri Lankan and Indian Tamils were of about equal number. But after many Indian Tamils repatriated to India and elsewhere now the Sri Lankan Tamils are roughly twice the numbers of Indian Tamils.
Given these facts are Tamil leaders in India justified to interfere in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka in the manner which they do? If so, how can the ranting of Hafiz Saeed and his compatriots in Pakistan against India and Kashmir be condemned?
There are serious problems between India and Sri Lanka. These need to be resolved. But that requires a solution. One thought that Miss Jayalalithaa had the sagacity to appreciate this and rise above parochial populist politics.
This problem is not confined to the Tamils. Cross border commonality of language and ethnicity also exist to divide Punjabis, Kashmiris, Pathans and Bengalis. They all suffer from similar problems in varying degrees. This is on account of the legacy left by colonial rule. To overcome these problems this writer suggested a solution which does not bear repetition. Mr. Modi seems to pursue the same solution. If Tamil leaders have a better alternative solution, let them offer it. Let them not indulge in negative politics like frogs in a well incapable of seeing the larger world outside.
Times have changed and there is a vast new young generation in India. It wants to leave behind the past and create a new nation. The antics of India’s Tamil leaders are unlikely to amuse them.
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