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“Change your leader” – No Thanks for Unsolicited Advice

By V.Thangavelu

The easiest job in the world is to give unsolicited advice to others. And if you happen to be a correspondent/columnist in a newspaper like The Hindu, you can indulge in that type of luxury at the drop of a hat! You don’t have to think. All you need is a poisonous pen! After all, almost 15 years ago The Hindu carried headline news of Prabhakaran’s funeral procession winding its way through the streets of Vanni!

Nirupama Subramanian after a long stint in Colombo as correspondent for The Hindu is now back at Chennai. Sheer habit does not permit her to write on any other subject other than the LTTE, her favorite whipping horse! It needs time for old habits to die and an old monkey to learn new tricks!  This is very true as far as Nirupama is concerned.

Obviously Nirupama is trying to mount the proverbial horse which everyone, including the Sakkiduththar (Secretary), mounted but slipped and fell!

Nirupama wants the Thamils to change their leader. She probably thinks she is George Bush in saree (or Punjabi Suridar!) offering unsolicited advice not knowing she is making an ass of herself! At least in Bush case, he is rightly or wrongly the all-powerful cowboy President of the USA. But Nirupama? A lowly journalist with a newspaper notorious for its anti-Tamil nationalist stance.

To Nirupama, Ms.Jayalalithaa, the egocentric whimsical Chief Minister, has all of a sudden become her favourite politician and a “clever foreign policy” expert, better than the South Block mandarins! To quote “By using the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) to arrest a prominent politician who is a vocal supporter of the LTTE, Ms. Jayalalithaa has sent out a clearer foreign policy message across the Palk Straits than has emanated from South Block in recent times.”

The arrest of Vaiko under POTA has attracted criticism from the ruling BJP, the President of BJP Venkaiah Naidu, Defence Minister George Fernandez, former Law Minister Arun Jaitley (just to name a few) as mis-use of POTA. What Vaiko spoke at the Thirumangalam meeting in support of the LTTE was what he spoke inside the Indian parliament. What Vaiko spoke was also what Dr.S.Ramdoss, Thiru Pazha Nedumaran and Thiru R.  Thirumavalavan are speaking everyday on public platforms though out Tamil Nadu.  Expressing verbal support for the LTTE is nothing more than the exercise of freedom of speech. But such logical reasoning is beyond the comprehension of Ms.Jayalalithaa whose ascend to power is due to a multiplicity of fortitude circumstances!

Now back to Nirupama she pontificates “But given the starkness of the message Ms. Jayalalithaa has delivered, it is perhaps time for Sri Lankan Tamils to begin asking themselves if what they need is not so much Indian support for the peace process which could prove meaningless in the long run with the LTTE in it, but finding another leader. Besides India, there might be other good reasons to do so. “

But we Eelam Tamils (there are no Sri Lankan Tamils) care less about a foul-mouthed woman politician like Ms. Jayalalithaa. We consider her as a tragic accident in politics and an aberration in history. Ms.Jayalalithaa was soundly rejected by the people of Tamil Nadu in the past and she will be rejected again. We have no doubt on that score. Tamil nationalism is resilient and vibrant enough to defeat Tamil enemies of whatever hue!

All we can tell Nirupama is that leaders emerge spontaneously among the people. They cannot be made to order as this foolish columnist thinks! Prabhakaran is the leader and will remain the leader of the Tamil people. Tamil people have for the first time in 1000 years has a leader whom history will place him on par with Karikaal Cholan and Raja Raja Cholan 1!

Nirupama is cleverly putting words into the mouth of an anonymous Sri Lankan journalist. Even if that individual is real, Prabhakaran too can  “flower into a statesman on whom the world showers encomiums.”   After all unlike Prabhakaran who holds territory, runs a de facto state of Eelam, Xanana Gusmao was languishing in prison charged with treason after capture by the Indonesian army! What more he too was dubbed a “terrorist” by none other than the US and UK. But when his guerrilla army won the war he became the darling of the same people who earlier branded him as a terrorist. So the day is not far off when Prabhakaran too will don the mantle of President of Tamil Eelam like Xanana Gusmao and earn encomiums from his one-time adversaries!

Nirupama glibly says “ LTTE leader is today a wanted terrorist.” May be or may be not. But today’s wanted terrorists are tomorrow’s heads of states! Nelson Mandela of the ANC, still better Xanana Gusmao of East Timor, are living examples. 

Nirupama wallowing in pretended self-pity claims “But after nearly 20 years of a struggle that has led them steadily downward, tearing their social, political, economic and moral fabric apart, Sri Lanka's Tamils need to think over their choice of leadership.”   A freedom struggle, especially an armed struggle, is not a tea party. There is no revolution without bloodshed, loss of lives and destruction. That is the price freedom loving people pay to gain dignity to live as free people. A third of the population of East Timor was wiped out by the Indonesian army. Yet they triumphed! The Tamils have paid the price and now wait for their turn to celebrate independence!

Journalist like Nirupama must stop playing tomfoolery with the sentiments of the Tamil people.   As a reminder,  conventional wisdom tells the Tamils that they should act just opposite to what enemies of Tamils advise them to do!