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"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."

- Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Journey Down Memory Lane To Reach 'tamiz Izam'
R.Shanmugalingam

Chapter 47

Think! This is a commodity conspicuous by its absence with many of us. In an earlier chapter, I gave a simple example of the need for technicians to know how, for example, an auto. should work after repairs. It is a comparative judgment, considering the previous knowledge of how, a well performing car should run. It is hard for many to know that difference, if they had not experienced driving a model vehicle.

We are all subject to checks and balances in life. We become more or less "Parrot like." There is practically no chance, especially when our life style is determined by economic needs. In countries where people could enact laws and programs, at least with every change in a democratically elected body or legislature, the chances for independent thinking are available. For ‘tamizar’ that opportunity was denied since foreign domination, that includes the present. We have shelved our capacity to think for ourselves. We are simply existing, pressing on regardless of, what it is doing to our intellectual, innovative potentials and native intelligence.

"Variety is the spice of life." Differences of opinion give definition to life’s multiplicity. ‘Cittar’ among ‘tamizar’ as our ancestors, have through their teachings with their songs full of thought provoking ideas and music, have enlightened the downtrodden, and refined them. These doyen of social reforms believed in our superior attitude and superior mind. All these utterances were eons ago. It is not everything they have said is applicable today.

Again, despite, our forced "unthink" lull in our lives, Bharathy, ‘taNty celva’ and leaders like Pirapakaran, have initiated some of us to think. What it means to be a nation-state of ‘tamiz Izam?’ We should have in our lifetime known what it is like to be citizens of a sovereign nation-state to remember what it is. We do not have any such memory. ‘avvyjAr’ has illustrated ‘tamiz’ Diaspora and those willing to compromise certain matters that are non-negotiable, and their independence in exile:

(‘pittar’ means either a madman or one who loves something dearly.)

What are these matters that are non-negotiable? During negotiations compromise is inevitable. That is why a two-tiered negotiations are necessary. The non-negotiables are:

It is not enough to jump into conclusions to say, that there is a set-back to achieving ‘tamiz Izam,’ therefore, we should initiate negotiations and lay down arms, because people are suffering. These fast-draw pundits, have still not gotten it. They are without memory, or they read only what they write. Tamil times are bad, and "Tamil Times" mad.

The West from the time of Louis XI, who effected the policy of doubling national wealth and the concept of a universal education policy (for the wealthy as well as the poor) in a nation-state, are the imperatives for progress. Under the uni-lingual, uni-language, uni-territorial Sri Lanka , the former, since independence was no where near doubling real income, and the latter is already denied and will continue to be denied. Desperadoes, naturally will learn Sinhala, and take after Sanskrittised ‘tamiz’ names to sound like Sinhala names, and of course religion is not that important. Sinhala aspirations will be fulfilled and that is the preaching of "Tamil Times."

This is where our think machine has to be turned on. Think of the horrors and betrayal in the past by the Sinhalas. Think of the present, indignities, interference, insinuations and impasse. Think of the total annihilation of ‘tamizar’ in future in relation to the murder and mayhem of the present and past.

Annihilation not by bullets but by assimilation. I am not saying this because I am in a safe haven. What about my agony of expectation, the agony of waiting for ‘tamizar’ to put on their thinking cap. The agony of having to read the numerous columns and postings in the different media, more painful when initiated by ‘tamizar.’ Editors such as those of the Washington Post to write, "Enough moderate Tamils showed favor for this package to allow outsiders to believe that it was a reasonable offer," a mockery of a genuine freedom struggle! What about the rise in my blood pressure reading such garbage, but cannot help reading to know what others think of us.

There are writings more professional, but, the purpose seem to undermine ‘tamizar.’ Take the case of ‘tamiz’ cinema. I have talked to people in the industry way back in the late 50s. Everyone without exception said social reform through the medium of cinema was for the philanthropists. It was not for businessmen, who are in this business for money. I saw "pathar panchali" that won international acclaim, because it portrayed one side, the obvious side of India. It was a box-office flop in India. It was a roaring success in the film critique world. Satyajit Ray got raving reports for these and other productions. He was honored by the French Government for this and other works with the title Chevalier Class 2.

I have seen Sivaji Ganeshan when they were shooting KATTHAVARAYAN. The difference between, Sivaji and others is his capacity to commit to memory and assume the character he is playing almost immediately. I recall when ‘Pakappiriviny’ I think, was to be produced in Hindi, Dillip Kumar, a Hindi Matinee idol and a superb actor. In DEEDAR, he was a Blind man and he was blind indeed! In my view acting is acting not presenting characters, such as a policeman or an attorney or a lover, in many social films.

Ben Kingsley in Gandhi gave a superb performance, and he got an Oscar for it for his acting as Gandhi. Sivaji, made an impact by his acting among ‘tamizar’ and the only entertainment, that was publicly shown, that was available for the multitude of Indians and ‘tamizar’ among them, was the cinema. Magazines like Kundoosi, Pesumpadam, were the sources for information on cinema for ‘tamizar.’ I remember reading about the comparison of Marlon Brando to Sivaji. I am not going to enter into any argument as to who is or was the better actor of the two. The fact is, Sivaji was Honored by the French Government with the title of Chevalier Class 1.

"tamiz Izam’ produced another poet, "Mahakavi" Rudramurthy (1927 - 19720, and I reproduce a verse below:

It is not that the poet does not want us to read about the past, but he wants us to think, think in the light of our existing situations. Neither our professional writings, nor amateurish attempts should confuse others, with any hidden agenda. Our message is not for academics, scholars and researchers of languages, cultures, politics, economics, etc. They have access and the means to fend for tthemselves. Our theme is to introduce to the undecided ‘tamizar,’ who do not have the time to examine every situation, the dangers of indifference, mis-representation, mis-interpretation. We should get them to participate in a unified action that will bring relief to the suffering masses without compromising on our basic values and withouttconfusing them.

The 1996 US Presidential primary election campaign is a good example of "confusion confounded." One candidate claims that his is the right path to a better USA. Another says, the first one was wrong and his is the best, The contradiction goes forward and backward. None of them seems to care for the Party they represent and worse, about the Country they want to lead. All this because, each one wants power. The media are playing a vital role and Dollars in the millions are passing into the pockets of the media moguls.

This is why I implore full blooded ‘tamizar’ to desist from confusing our undecided people. Help them make a good decision to rally round. Help them bring pressure on the US government with the help of Americans with clout, to bring everlasting peace in our land ‘tamiz Izam.’ Or whatever the freedom fighters deem fit and necessary under the circumstances.

Although, I know and it is my gut-feeling, after rummaging through thousands of articles, books, meetings, discussions, experienced in human and material resource management, I have also come to the conclusion, ‘separation is the only solution.’ Who am I to condemn the freedom fighters or expect the LTTE to act as I want? As a full blooded ‘tamizan’ I will not stand in the way of any decision made by the freedom fighters. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, are the only true representatives of ‘tamizar’ in ‘tamiz Izam.’ and nobody, and nobody else.

The question before us is not what the Sri Lankans want as reported by the Voice of America:

"The question Sri Lankans are asking themselves after the bombing is how much more ethnic violence they will have to endure before a peaceful solution is found."

The question before us is When and how ‘tamiz Izam?,’ if violence and suffering have to stop.

Again a request to the quick fix, fast draw pundits, please go through the series of events in Ceylon since independence in 1948. The various utterances by Sinhala leaders, political, religious and lay. There is no change in their tune, they are all for a uni-lingual, uni-religious, uni-territorial Sinhala Buddhist Sri Lanka, and others will have to live at their indulgence. THINK. Beacause we are slaves to none. "Namarkkum kudijallOm."

continued

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