Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tamil Eelam and Tamilnadu

With the near decimation of LTTE as a fighting force, one phase of the Tamil struggle has come to an end. I have never been to Srilanka nor have I interacted extensively with Srilankan Tamils, so I can't comment on the ground realities or how that struggle is going to proceed further. Many tamils of Tamilnadu themselves think of the problem as one that started with the 1983 pogrom and are not aware of the history of the Tamil struggle since 1950s. In such a situation, it is too much to expect the rest of India to show concern towards the Srilankan Tamils as they view the problem only through the prism of Rajiv Gandhi's assassination.

I perceive an identity crisis amongst a few Tamilnadu Tamils as to whether they have to be Tamils first or Indians. Their numbers might be minuscule, but this is dangerous to the idea of India in the long run. All political parties in the state are using the issue to score political points against each other with no common sense. Tamilnadu lacks a leader of the stature of Annadurai and the current leaders are leading the state towards a dangerous road.

May be I am reading too much into the situation. The issue might be forgotten when the next superstar movie releases and Tamils go back to their movies and mega serials.


Anonymous said...

People in other parts of India do not support eelam, not merely due to Rajiv Ghandhi's death, but mainly because of the fact that the batsmen or marketers of the eelam cause are tamil supremacists and borderline separatists. Neither the media nor the pathukavalars want saner voices supporting eelam to be heard.

How is it possible to convince rest of India, when people supporting the cause almost always are rabble rousing periyarites.

Anonymous said...

who are the thamizh supremacists?

and how are periyarites not "saner voices"?

Nilu said...

The rest of India, and most middle class Tamils have just one question: There is a war, possibly a civilian casualty that is approaching genocidal proportions. But why is the anguished cry of a Sri Lankan Tamil any louder that that of a woman being gangraped and killed in Darfur or a child being mutilated in Palestine? Because they are Tamil? Isn't that racism? If we confine this debate within the understanding of nation states, we can't possibly do much as citizens of another country. If we don't agree with the idea of a nation state, we need not have this conversation.

Chenthil said...

Anon1 - I accept that it was mostly the rabble rousers were the marketers of Tamil eelam. But I think the mainstream is getting seriously involved now, may be I am mistaken.

Anon2 - lets not start that fight here.

Nilu - your argument lacks logic. In Darfur or Palestine, I as a tamil and Indian cannot do anything to change the scenario. In Eelam, it is the support of Indian govt that has emboldened the lankan govt. As a citizen of India, I can use my voice and vote to ask for a change in the stance of my country.

What I am afraid is, once we realise that the majority of India is against what Tamils of Tamilnadu want, how will Tamilnadu react? Will we reject the idea of nation state? That will be even more disastrous.

And your reading of middle class tamils is restricted to Madras, there is a larger Tamilnadu beyond Tambaram.

Nilu said...

Ummm, what Indian support? And even if there is any -- why not restrict the political debate to stop assisting whatever is concrete support?

This blanket talk of Indian support without citing any evidence makes you sound like Vaiko.

Bala said...

Its high time some one actually polled Tamil Nadu with a straight "do you support Eelam" and "do you support ltte" question. It would show how much actual support exists for them instead of people beating the drum for their own cause. (there was a loaded question in the ndtv poll survey of TN which "showed" 66 percent of the people polled wanted the govt to help LTTE)

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

National, racial, ethnic, whatever - all these divisions on lines of identity tend to obscure basic questions.
Are civilians being bombed? Stop it.
Is there a military operation on? Try and evacuate the civilians then.
You can't do that? Then act sane, humane, and use military methods that do not inflict collateral damage.
Tamizh, non-Tamizh, scientologist, BDSM freak - these are all equally irrelevant categories in this context.


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