Podcast: Violence, Disenfranchisement and Statehood

Download mp3; download mp3 (Odeo Link)

1'-5': Protests in distant lands -- far from where it may actually have an "effect".
5'-12': An individual's interaction with the state; role of violence in maintaining a statehood.
12'-14': Nationalist arrogance
14'-19': Why should the systemically marginalized and the oppressed live by a state's laws?
19'-23': Periyar and Tagore on "India" the nation.
23'-28': Constructing nationalist loyalties; erosion of leftist perspective in mainstream media. (pothu putthi - common/mainstream sensibility.)
28'-35': Muthukumar's self-immolation; Tamil Nadu's indifference to protests and the plight of Sri Lankan Tamils.

Related blog entries: நாகார்ஜுனன்; ஜமாலன்; முத்துக்குமாரின் கடிதம்.


Mayuran said...

Hi Suresh,
As a Tamil from Eelam, it is nice to hear your point of view of our struggle. Right now, our feelings are at rock bottom when thinking about; our relatives back home, the Tigers and what is lined up for us in the future. But our conviction will never be broken, either by Sri Lanka, India or any of the western cronies.
There is resentment and hard feelings towards India among us at the moment and India will have to do some miracles to make us believe that they are on our side.

One time during a conversation I heard someone mentioning the fact that, Indian’s are brought up with the mantra “I am an Indian first and then Tamil or whatever and their prospective towards Tamils in Eelam tend to be inline with the Indian governments view” From what I hear/see from TN and people like you, that may not be totally true.

Muthukumaran’s self immolation started some awareness in Tamil Naadu and brought people about on the street, but he also put us, the Eelam Tamil Diaspora’s in shame too, it’s only after his death that the Tamils living in western countries awaken and are turning out in numbers for marches and protests. You might have already noticed this in Canada and other parts of the world.

You are right in saying that there will not be a separate country called Tamil Eelam, but there is no excuse for Sri Lanka to offer something like Quebec. And to tell you the truth, they will never offer anything; our existence is like pest for them. These Singhalese are a bunch of stuck in the past, still talking about 2500 years old mahavamsam and who came to the Island first. Never have any sort of visionary to understand human dignity. I doubt their will be a politician with such middle ground as you mentioned. If such person comes to power, the Buddhist monks are there to eliminate them point blank.

It’s funny when the Sinhalese talk about “who came to the island first” one could almost walk to Thalai mannar from Rameshwaram yet they claim that their ancestors came to the island from Gujarat by boat before everyone else!

I initially had some reservations about your views and the influence of Mr.Cho on you but as I tend to read and listen more of your blog/podcasts, I can now see that you have some amazing view points.


Anonymous said...

you are getting less and less opinionated with every podcast.

Suresh said...


Adopting the state's position is a common trait among many countries' citizens; it's even more pronounced in post-colonial societies. They all have an "us" and "them" discourse before and after independence. It remains so unless the country goes through a radical political transformation (as in the case of Nepal).

In spite of all the military advance GoSL has made, parts of those who stand by the GoSL -- in India and elsewhere -- seem to agree that it cannot be sustained unless the Tamils are given the political freedom and rights they "deserve". So it may be a step out of necessity, if not out of justice. But LTTE is not going to go down quietly. And whether they do or not, GoSL will continue to harass sections of the society with pretext of "eliminating the threats to its sovereignty." Crooks like the Indian government will do what they have to assert their regional dominance.

Cho's influence on me waned out at least two years ago. My observation on my own transformation vis-a-vis Cho and lot of other things lead me to believe that I take a stance that is most rational and reasonable based on what I'm exposed to. Moving out of India has done of lot of good to me (at least as far the way I see it). It may or may not have happened had I still been there.


I agree with that observation.:P

Anonymous said...

About Symbolism and National Arrogance:


I was wondering if you had to have the discussion of national arrogance among fellow Indians in India, it may be like the above video (till 5 min and 13 secs...)

Agreed, staying out of India allows people see the picture dispassionately.



(Starting from 4:10...)

Just a reminder that there are many among common people (with pothu putthi) who are not jingoistic or depending on symbols to make an impact


On the podcast, the podcast sounded like Ma.Ka.E.Ka's campaign speech when talking about statehood and protest(naxal baari). It does not necessarily mean good or bad.

Suresh said...

Just to clarify on my previous comment: when I talk about "what I'm exposed to", I mean the field of study, literature, and to a minor extent, the people. So just leaving India may not necessarily make someone reflective of one's nationalist tendencies (and others).


I haven't had conversations similar to that one shown in the movie. Personally, I don't confront people with such ingrained notions about "culture" and "tradition"; definitely not when they are in groups. It may be a worthwhile endeavour for some, but I don't have that kind of patience anymore. Talking to "educated" people is draining enough.

I had talked about Swades once before in this blog. I'll just quote what I had mentioned then.

The problem [with Swades] is not that the lead character is a Brahmin or that it was Shahrukh (may be, but they are trivial). You'll understand my criticism if you can relate this video to the movie: http://youtube.com/watch?v=ZVF-nirSq5s
Swades wouldn't stand this parody either

Regarding Swades: this article hits it bang on

The vision of development that the NRI brings with him, and that the film promotes is, however, problematic. The director, Ashutosh Gowariker, initially establishes Mohan’s credentials as the carrier of the message and methods of ‘development’—he is educated, relatively wealthy, and upper-caste. At a meeting with a group of men from the village, where Mohan ostensibly questions the inequities of the caste system, someone asks him what he is, and he replies, Brahmin. It might have been interesting if the film had explored the caste negotiations that arise in the complex process of ‘development’ if the NRI engineer were a dalit: what then would have been the reaction of the dominant castes in the village to Mohan’s developmentalist interventions? Most of the men featured in the film who are given a voice are upper-caste. The voices of a few dalits—such as a family of labourers living on the caste-determined village boundaries—remain marginal in the film.

--End Quote--

Anonymous said...

I'm sure you have come across this question before, but just for the record, do you support Kashmiri separatist movement and all other separatist movements?

Suresh said...


I know you didn't state this explicitly, but I'll assume you're asking this question as an extension of what I had said in the podcast (that Tamils have a reasonable right to seek a nation of their own -- Tamil Eelam).

First of all, I don't even agree with this kind of reasoning. I spoke about this in the podcast itself: we cannot have pre-fabricated, universal formulas on political issues. That's why I have reservations about all grand theories (including branches of Marxism). Every movement -- political or otherwise -- has to be studied in isolation; taking into account the specificities of that issue and socio-political context.

Now, to answer your actual question: I haven't done enough research on who leads the Kashmiri separatist movement among the few handful that are the most vociferous. The people themselves show in great numbers, at least once in a while, their anger and disillusionment with the Indian State. There are flagrant human rights abuse perpetrated by the Indian military and the police on the people of the state. Kashmir also has a "history" (please read on this). So there is reason enough to believe that a separatist claim is not invalid.

However, I also believe that the people don't really have a consolidated view on what their future ought to be (because of their participation in the Indian electoral process amid calls for boycott from separatist movements). A more serious revolution -- than just short spans of violent protests -- like the one we saw in Nepal, could yield a productive result. Either in forcing India to conduct a plebiscite or to accord more autonomy to the region. A possible reason for that to have not happened, as did in Nepal, is that the military presence in the two regions is not comparable.

Anyway, the short answer is, I don't have a problem if Kashmir becomes a separate state (or with any part of the country becoming a separate state). The strategic complications that may arise due to this is irrelevant as far the ideological stance goes.

Nevertheless, I would like add to that the notion of a state is still problematic and it's contradictory, in many ways, to seek statehood if the movement does not address 'internal' problems before or simultaneously. But it's not be understood in the usual, right wing, reactionary way -- "First you form Tamil Nadu, then you split Tamil Nadu into two, then that in to two and so on and so forth. Where does it end?" I don't buy that view.

Take the Tamil Eelam case. Tamils in the North and Eastern regions have almost all the problems the Indian Tamils have -- caste hierarchies, religious bigotry etc., (probably in varying degrees). But a sovereign/autonomous Eelam, if nothing, gives way to eliminate a bigger, all encompassing problem of racist oppression. So it is worthwhile.

ஜோ / Joe said...

முதல் முறையாக உங்கள் கருத்துக்களோடு 99% ஒத்துப்போகிறேன்.

Anonymous said...

"The strategic complications that may arise due to this is irrelevant as far the ideological stance goes."

That's exactly my point. India is doing whatever it can without putting its own position in jeopardy. India cannot ignore strategic implications of its interference in the eelam issue.

Suresh said...


Much has been written about the "strategic quandary" India is supposedly in. Let's take Maalan's post.

My Comment in that post:

{{ராணுவ உதவிகள் செய்யும் அதே நேரம் அங்குள்ள தமிழர்களின் நலன்கள் பாதுகாக்கப்பட வேண்டும் என்பதையும் வலியுறுத்த வேண்டும் அதைத்தான் இந்தியா செய்து கொண்டிருக்கிறது.}} - இந்தியா இதை முழு மனதோடு, தன்னால் உண்மையாகவே இயன்றவரை செய்கிறதா என்பதே கேள்வி. தமிழக மீனவர்கள் இலங்கை அரசால் எவ்வாறு நடத்தப்படுகிறார்கள்/பட்டுளார்கள் என்பதை நினைவு கூர்வது இங்கே அவசியம். இலங்கை அரசை இந்தியா சட்டப்புர்வமாகக் கூட நிர்பந்திக்க முயன்றிதில்லை. இதற்கும் சீனா, பாகிஸ்தான் போன்ற நாடுகள் இலங்கையில் புகுவதற்கும் என்ன சம்மந்தம்? இவ்வாறு முதுகெலும்பில்லாமல் "நட்புரவாடினால்" மட்டும் இலங்கை அரசு பிற நாடுகளை நன்றி உணர்வோடு புறந்தள்ளிவிடும் என்று இந்திய கனவு காண்கிறதா?

அதேபோல் இலங்கையிலிருந்து அகதியாக வந்துள்ள தமிழர்களின் நிலைமையையும் எண்ணிப் பார்க்க வேண்டும்.

ஒரு சில மாதங்களுக்கு முன் BBC ஒலிபரப்பிய ஒரு நிகழ்சியில் திருப்பூர் அருகே உள்ள அகதிகள் முகாம் (சிறைச்சேரி என்பதே பொருத்தம்) ஒன்றில் நடக்கும் அடக்குமுறைகளைக் கண்டு திடுக்கிட்டேன். ஐநா உட்பட எந்த அமைப்புகளுக்கும் அங்கே செல்ல அனுமதி இல்லை -- காட்சிகள் அனைத்தும் மறைமுகமாகப் படம் பிடிகப்பட்டவை. அங்குள்ளவர்கள் காலணாக் கூலிக்கு வேலைப்பாடுகளை செய்து தர அத்துணிகள் மூட்டை மூடையாக லண்டனின் பெருங்கடைகளில் மலிவு விலைக்கு விற்கப்படுகிறது (அதே நிகழ்ச்சியில் காட்டப்பட்ட இந்தியர்கள் நிலை சற்றே உத்தமம் என்பது வேறு விஷயம்).

இது போலப் பல முகாம்கள், பலவிதமான அடக்குமுறைகள். இந்தியாவைக் காட்டிலும் பல ஆயிரம் மயில்களுக்கப்பால் இலங்கைத் தமிழர்கள் அதிக அளவில் குடிபெயர்ந்திருப்பது வியப்பளிக்கவில்லை.

உங்கள் வாதங்களை தர்க ரீதியாக ஏற்கும் அதே வேளையில் உங்கள் பதிவில் விடுபட்டுப்போன/மறைமுகமாக முன்னிறுத்தும் முக்கியமான புள்ளி இது: இலங்கைக் தமிழர்களை பொருத்தமட்டும் இந்தியாவின் நிலைப்பாடு ஏதோ ஒரு தவிர்க்க முடியாத கட்டாயத்தின் அடிப்படையில் அமைந்துள்ளது என்ற கூற்று. இதை இந்தியக் குடியின் நோக்கங்களின் மீது கண்மூடித்தனமான நம்பிக்கை வைத்துள்ளவர்கள் மட்டுமே ஏற்கக் கூடும்.

--end of comment--

Comments under Nagarjunan's post (linked) went further in detail. I'll quote parts of Nagarjunan's comment that are of direct relevance to our discussion here.

1983-ஆம் ஆண்டுக்குப் பிறகு எம்.ஜி.ஆர்., கருணாநிதி, ஜெயலலிதா, ஓ. பன்னீர்செல்வம் உள்ளிட்ட தமிழக முதல்வர்கள் மீனவர் படுகொலை தொடர்பாக எத்தனை முறை பேசியிருப்பார்கள், எத்தனை கடிதங்கள் எழுதியிருப்பார்கள்.. ஒரு கடிதத்தை வைத்தாவது இந்திய அரசு இலங்கை அரசைக் கண்டித்து, ஒரு இலங்கைக் கடற்படைக்காரராவது தண்டனை பெற்றிருப்பாரா.. இலங்கை அரசுக்குத் தெரியும் இந்திய அரசு, தங்களைக் கைவிடாது என்று! தமிழக அரசியல்வாதிகள் கோமாளிகள் என்று இலங்கை ராணுவத் தளபதி கூறுவதற்கு இதுவும் காரணம்தானே! நல்லுறவு என்ற போர்வையில் இதை இந்திய அரசு அமுக்க முடியாது. யாருடன் யாருக்கு நல்லுறவு?

4. இலங்கைக் கடற்படை பிடித்துக்கொண்டு போகும் மீனவர்களை விடுவிக்க முயற்சி எடுப்பதைத் தவிர இந்தியத் தூதரகத்தார் என்ன செய்தார்கள்? (இங்கே விடுதலைப்புலிகளும் சில முறை பிடித்துக்கொண்டு போனார்கள் என்பதைக் கூற வேண்டும்). பத்திரிகைக்காரன் என்ற முறையில் பல முறை ராமேஸ்வரம், நாகப்பட்டினம் சென்றிருக்கிறேன், பல முறை மீனவர்களுடன் தொலைபேசியிருக்கிறேன், கடற்படை-கடலோரக்காவல்துறை, தமிழகக் காவல்துறை அதிகாரிகளுடன் informal-ஆகப் பேசியிருக்கிறேன். அவர்கள் அனைவரும் என்னிடம் சொன்னது இதுதான் - ‘நாம ஒண்ணும் செய்ய முடியாது. மேலேயிருந்து தடுக்கறாங்க. எங்க பெயரைப் போட்டுடாதீங்க.’

5. பலியாகும் மீனவர்களுக்கு இழப்பீட்டைத் தமிழக அரசு வழங்க வேண்டும்.. அதைக்கூட வழங்க இந்திய அரசு தயங்கும், ’அடிக்காதீங்கப்பா’ என்று இலங்கை அரசிடம் கெஞ்சும்.. தன் சொந்தக் குடிமக்களைத் தொடர்ந்து கொல்லும் அண்டை நாட்டுக்குத் தொடர்ந்து நேரடி, மறைமுக ராணுவ உதவி செய்யும் இந்திய அரசை, அதற்கு வக்காலத்து வாங்கும் ஊடகத்தாரை என்ன கூறுவது.. வெட்கமாயில்லை?
இதை வைத்துப்பார்க்கும்போது இலங்கையில் புவிசார்-அரசியல் நோக்கில் மாத்திரம் இயங்கும் இந்தியா, ஆப்பிரிக்காவில் இயங்கும்
அமெரிக்கா-ரஷ்யா-சீனா போலாகிவிட்டது எனலாம். ஆக, வல்லரசுகளின் இத்தகைய இலக்கணம் இந்தியாவுக்கு வந்திருப்பதில் மகிழ்ச்சி (?). இந்த நிலையில் நீங்கள் கூறும் ‘நாம்’ என்பதில் என்னை இணைத்துக்கொள்ள முடியவில்லை. மாறாக வெட்கப்படுகிறேன்.

இப்போதுதான் உங்கள் பக்கத்தில் வந்த மறுமொழிகளை வாசித்தேன். மேற்கண்ட புவிசார் அரசியல் - strategic வாதத்தைத் தாண்டிப் பெரிதாக ஏதுமில்லை என்ப்தைக் காண முடிகிறது.


Anonymous said...

இப்படி ஒரு போட்காஸ்ட் உன்னிடம் இருந்து நான் எதிர்ப்பார்க்கவில்லை! தலைப்பை படித்தவுடன் பா.மா.கா மீது உள்ள உன்னுடைய தனிப்பட்ட கருத்துக்களை திணிப்பாய் என்று நினைத்தேன் ! ஆனால் கருத்துக்களை அருமையாக பதிவு செய்திருக்கிறாய்.

அந்த விளம்பரத்தை பற்றிய விமர்சனமும் அதற்க்கு பின்னால் உள்ள போலி நாட்டுப்பற்றும் நல்லா இருந்துது. ஒரு வேலை அகண்ட தமிழகம் தனியாக பிரிந்திருந்தால் தன் தாய் மொழியில் கல்வி கற்று தமிழன் உயர்ந்திருக்கலாம் (நல்ல தலைவர்கள் இருந்திருந்தால்).

இலங்கைல் நடக்கும் கொடுமைகளை தலைப்பு செய்திகளில் பார்த்து மனம் குமுறும் தமிழன், விளம்பர இடைவேளைக்கு பிறகு செய்திகள் தொடர்கின்றன... என்ற உடன்...தனது இனத்தின் எதிர்காலமும்,அடுத்த சந்ததியினரின் வாழ்வுரிமைகளும் கண்ணுக்கு தேரியாமல் பறிக்கப்பட்டு கொண்டிருக்கின்றன என்பது கூட தெரியாமல் மறந்து விடுகிறான் பாவம்.

வடக்கே ஒரு பூனையை வேற்று நாட்டவன் கொன்றுவிட்டால் உடனடியாக அனைத்து ஊடகங்களும் லைவ் ரீலே செய்கிறார்கள்.ஆனால் தமிழக மீனவர்களை இலங்கை அரசு கொன்று குவித்தாலும்,ஆப்கானில் தமிழன் கடத்தி கொல்லப்பட்டாலோ ஒரு செய்திகூட வராது ..மொத்தத்தில் இந்தியாவே தமிழனுக்கு எதிர்ப்பாதான் இருக்கு ,நல்ல நாடு டா சாமி .

பாரத சமுதாயம் வாழ்கவே !
வாழ்க வாழ்க
பாரத சமுதாயம் வாழ்கவே !

விஜய் பிரசன்னா

Anonymous said...

u kinda peoples can project these anecdotes to the international community..not only through the blogs but in some other way.


juvvi said...

Dear people,

I don't understand where this 'I am Indian first and a tamil next' thing is said by tamilians. Perhaps when they are abroad and are identified as Indians, but not when they are in India. None of the tamil mainstream channels constantly rub in that sentiment, except during Independence and Republic days.

I agree with the podcast that leftist views shouldn't be brushed aside and should be given some coverage too, atleast to identify the injustices and correct them.

And to tamilian's indifference to protests, its nothing to ashamed about. Its much harder to find time to take part in protests in India and still have enough money to survive than is in the western countries. Its the same with every state in India, including the battle for telengana which most of the people living in telengana don't care about yet.

how is anyone supposed to make up his mind based on the contradictory news reports in the mainstream media - tamil channels are claiming genocide and the english ones are airing the official Lankan news and the disparity between them is huge.

To expect people to be politically and historically aware of a conflict that they are not directly involved in is asking for too much.

Anonymous said...

Can someone tell me why podbazaar clips don't work anymore?

Suresh said...

I think the site is down. I'm uploading the podcast in Odeo. I'll link it shortly.

bhuvanesh said...


Just strut around a few Tamil blogs and forums and you will find such statements ubiquitous.

மத்தபடி உங்க rationalisation-அ தான் தமிழ்-ல அழகா "பிழைப்புவாதம்"னு சொல்றாங்க ...

juvvi said...


I don't know what 'pizhaippuvaadam' means.

I remember reading in the newspapers, accounts of many Tamil fishermen shot at by the lankan navy in the 90s and the early 00's. Those reports are non existent after 2002/03. And to my limited understanding of this issue, it could be more due to the ceasefire pact between the LTTE and the lankan govt. than the press (even in tamilnadu) deciding to brush the matter aside.

I understand Suresh's view that the violent struggle of LTTE is not something to be condemned outright and that people have the right to defend their identity even through arms. I suspect then the Lankan govt also has the right to squash armed violence and try to bring in peaceful political settlement to the issue. I know it hasn't worked in the north east or kashmir, but that's what national governments do. Or do you think Lanka should sacrifice some of its own willingly for the historic injustices meted out to tamils? Is that the leftist view?

Tamil blogs and forums must be full of people from abroad and it isn't surprising that they feel more Indian than tamil, if they are from India.

As for me, I support the Indian government's stand on this issue, because I don't know details of it and don't care about it. of course if the Indian govt. suppresses tamil people (for which I have not seen any direct evidence of), I will definitely protest against the Indian Union. I wish the srilankan tamils well, and hope their diaspora takes up their defence instead of blaming India for the situation they find themselves in.

Suresh said...


If you don't care about something, you should probably not have a stance at all. If there's a poll with the following question and options --

Is India abetting the genocide of Lankan Tamils?

a. Yes
b. No
c. Can't say

-- I would expect you to choose c. But you seem to choose b. There is evidence, historically and otherwise, to support the claim that it did/does (option a). Please don't tell me there isn't enough evidence. Perhaps you haven't followed the issue closely enough. But because you claim you don't know the details, c is the most appropriate option for you, don't you think?

You also seem to side with the Sri Lankan govt. It makes me think that you have not shown the slightest of interest in the issue (not that you have to). If you spend sometime going through just the wiki articles on the issue, you'll know what started this. It's disingenuous to equate LTTE (or other armed movements for Tamils) with the SL Govt in spite of the killings they have both been responsible for. We cannot forget that LTTE and others arose as a result of GoSL's oppression, not the other way around. And it's naive to think that the SL Army is targetting just the LTTE. It has shelled the civilians indiscriminately in the past and continues to do so.

SL without LTTE -- after they are quelled -- would be the SL of the 1970s or worse as far as Tamils are concerned (which isn't all rosy as many would like to think).

Here's the evidence for that: Telegragh; Times UK

Lasantha Wickramatunga was the editor of Sri Lanka's Sunday Leader newspaper. He was shot dead in SL a month ago. Lasantha's letter, published posthumously.

I don't know if you read my comment on Malan's blog. The status of Tamil refugees in India and the fact that no one has been tried or punished for all the Tamils that have been shot by SL Army (which is a crime by international laws). Even Pakistan doesn't shoot the Indian fisherman who get into its naval border.

Since you can read Tamil, you may want to read Nagarjunan's post I had linked. It's pretty long with a lot of exchanges, but it presents a well informed dialogue on the issue. If you're interested at all, that is.

Suresh said...

Also watch Bruce Fein's 'lecture'

juvvi said...


I butted in only to defend India. I shouldn't have without knowing details. I will read the links you posted before righting a wrong I did some days ago (it's not the post I made). Thanks.

bhuvanesh said...


Before you right the wrong, let me ask you a few questions.

You mention that you don't find incidents of SL Army shooting Indian fishermen in newspapers after 2002/03. Quite apart from the fact that this is another testimony to your ignorance on this issue, there is another disturbing thing at play here. your trust of the media and the right of the so called "national" governments is astonishing in the context of a podcast that specifically deals with the absurdity of such constructs.

Specifically, if you are someone who reads the daily newspapers to come to conclusions about the geopolitics played by nation-states, then there is not much left to discuss. You statement about the need for SL to sacrifice "some of its own" to meet the injustices meted out to Tamils is laughable. What do you mean by some of its own? Men?? Land?? Pray what then is this stupid talk about the right for self-determination that happens through out the world? Kashmir ?? North East??? what are you trying to say?? Do "national" governments reserve an unquestionable right over the land that a group of people with a clearly identifiable history have been inhabiting for ages and who without exercising their right for self determination have been languishing under the same governments for decades??

My problem is rather not with people like you who are open enough to talk about your apologetic politics but with Suresh who is unusually considerate in dealing with you here unlike how he thrashes others with similar viewpoints.

juvvi said...

ok. sorry.

தமிழ்நெஞ்சம் said...

thanks. I Linked this Podcast in Tamilish.com

Mayuran said...

To show you a glimpse of, what sort of a people the Tamils from Sri Lanka are fighting against.

Please see the video clip at the bottom this article
(This was filmed by the Sri Lankan army while fighting in the northern Sri Lanka against Tamils)
These people lack basic humanity, imagine a women or men getting caught alive by these monsters.

Lakshmi said...

Does violence kill all humanity in man? Can someone point me to any biographies or psychological articles ? I remember watching 1947 Earth and Train to Pakistan and reading Freedom at Midnight for the umpteenth time for proof of man becoming worse than an animal when resorting to violence. It almost seems like even when fighting for "good" scruples violence ultimately leads to destroying all goodness in human nature. There are revolutionaries around the world who adopted violence for a good cause and they don't seem to have been influenced adversely by it. There is no black and white in this world. Everybody has shades of grey. I also believe there is a norm in human nature. This leads me to blame violence for this transformation. I know all this seems pointless, but what is not unless you are on the battleground.

Kudos to Suresh for igniting the spark for this discussion...

Anand said...

Suresh it was a wonderful podcast. I do not
even know if I agree with all your points.
This Lankan Tamil issue has been there for
so long that I am tired of it. From being a hard core LTTE supporter in late 80s I have come to a point where I see them as a liability.
In an issue like this (Sinhala-Tamil), it is
very difficult to say who is right or who is
wrong. Given the history of discrimination
against them, the Tamils in Lanka have every
right to ask for an independent country.
India for its part supported their cause
earlier. India had no obligation to do so but
chose to support them to satisfy the people of
Tamil Nadu state. But India cannot dictate to
Lanka for a free Eelam without contradicting
its own position on Kashmir. As a soverign
nation, Lanka too is within its rights to defend its territorial integrity.What was possible for India was to negotiate, on behalf
of the Lankan Tamils, more autonomy but within
the framework of united Lanka. This is what Rajiv Gandhi achieved. But Prabhakaran wanted
all. He was confident that once India is
removed from this equation he could easily
accomplish the task of liberating Eelam from Lanka. Premadasa too felt that India is an
impediment for their goal of achieving an everlasting dominance over the Tamils. So both
of them paired and hatched a plan to chase IPKF
out of the scene. This was the first miscalculation (I would rater say stupidity) of LTTE. Lankan Tamils had to pay for this stupidity. To make things worse they assasinated Rajiv Gandhi. That was the most foolish action. With that action they isolated temselves. There is absolutely no point blaming India for not intervening in their problem. So a question such as "Is India abetting a genocide of Lankan Tamils?" is meaningless.
To this day the only solution which would satisfy the reasonable minds on both sides is what India, under Rajiv Gandhi, suggested. For this solution to work, the Lankan Tamils need India on their side more than the Lankans.
However India CANNOT and SHOULD NOT negotiate for the tamils as long as LTTE is alive. If I want to negotiate on behalf of someone that someone sould first listen to me. It is not wrong to say that LTTE is responsible for the current plight of Lankan Tamils. I agree with Suresh on the point of making a distinction between "what is right/wromg?" and "what can be
accomplished". Sometimes solutions to elusive problems manifest all of a sudden if stupidities such as regionalism, nationalism and ethnic feeling are sacrificed. But it is for the individuals to choose whether to sacrifice these useless feelings for a more useful peace. Peace would be achieved ultimately. Intelligent societies (like the western societies) achieve it fast whereas societies where emotion takes importance over intelligence achieve it after prolonged suffering.


Anonymous said...

I accept your opnion about Muthukumar and other thoughts about eelam, but at the same time a when i am agreeing your thought about arrogant nationalisam (video) i would like to say that we should be nationalist in right way and sence ... .because i thought your podcast should not mislead somebody to act against the country..

other wise... all fine!

Suresh said...


Violence is not just at the end of a machete or a gun, violence is in ideas and ideologies too.


Read more. And stop being "Indian" when you do.



Anand said...

Let me assure you that I am not being an Indian when I discuss the Eelam problem. I am a strong critic of India in many issues but not on the Eelam issue. I think India is handling it correctly these days. I am not recommending ahimsa either. Ahimsa worked for the British but I am sure it would not have worked for Hitler's Germany or for that matter Jeyawardane's Lanka. It was right to take arms. That brought "respect" to the Lankan tamil community, in the sense that it helped to change the Lankan Govt.'s attitude toward the tamil community. They realized that the tamils are not going to surrender meekly to their brutality. This change in attitude provided ample opportunity for the LTTE to negotiate a peaceful solution from a stronger position. However they were so fixed on the idea of an independent Eelam that they never considered other possibilities for a peaceful solution. It may be perfectly justifiable to seek independence but is it possible in the first place? Given the fact that this solution is not acceptable at all for the Lankan Govt. and also the fact that independent Eelam is not in the strategic interest of India, the next possible solution has to be considered for the benefit of the people. The best possible alternate is to consider the Indian model of Federal and State structure. I think this could be easily achieved and will bring peace immediately. For this solution to work it is better to be a friend of India at least until the Lankan federal Govt. establishes its trustworthiness. However if the tamil community decides to remain fixed in its goal of an independent Eelam they can pursue that path until its very end. But do not blame India for not supporting you, for it did support you and got betrayed by the LTTE. There is a hope for immediate peace if all the parties are willing to compromise a little. One may even emerge as a victor after a prolonged suffering but that will be a pyrrhic victory. What is the use of such a victory? I am not in support of India or Lanka. All I am saying is that LTTE is a liability and as long as it is alive it will never let this issue resolved. It is for this reason that it becomes important to dissolve LTTE, which is the main and rock solid hurdle blocking the otherwise easily achievable peace.


Anonymous said...


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