Why 13A should be repealed – I
The thirteenth amendment is in the limelight again. Soon after the Supreme Court decided that the Divineguma Bill should be approved by the Provincial Councils the writer in his column in The Island of Sept called for the abolition of the thirteenth amendment.
A campaign for repealing it has gathered momentum after the Defence Secretary Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa demanded that 13A be abolished. The thirteenth amendment serves no purpose for the people; it is only a source of income for the Chief Ministers, Ministers and the other council members. It is said that the 13th amendment would allow the Tamils living in the Northern and Eastern provinces to solve their problems as they are being discriminated against by the so-called Sinhala government. There are some Muslims living in the Eastern Province who think that they are discriminated against by both the Sinhalas and the Tamils and they are agitating for a separate unit in the Eastern Province to be ruled by the Muslims.
The purpose of the 13A imposed on us by India, with the connivance of the west, using force of parippu politics and undiplomatic arm twisting by Dixit with the knowledge of Rajiv Gandhi, as told by the Indian government and the NGOs was to solve the problems of the Tamils who were supposed to be discriminated against by the Sinhalas. The Muslims under M. H. M. Ashraff, who turned to communal politics following Chelvanayakam, soon became interested in a ‘province’ for the Muslims. Though the Tamil leaders have been asked to describe the so called grievances that the Tamils have merely because they are Tamils no answer has been given today. It is true that in Sri Lanka no non-Sinhala Buddhist has been the President or the Prime Minister under the old constitution whereas one would point out that Manmohan Singh, who is not a Hindu is the Prime Minister of India and Obama, who is not an Anglo Saxon White is the President of the US. However, what is not realized is that culturally Obama is a white Anglo Saxon Christian who admits that the white Anglo Saxon Christian culture is the dominant culture of the US in spite of rhetoric about multiculturalism, and that Singh is under the tutelage of Sonia Gandhi, who has culturally become a Hindi speaking Hindu at least in public appearances. Whatever said and done Hindu culture is the dominant culture of India and Singh accepts it. Indian Congress, though they may not say so in words, is a Hindu Party for all practical purposes.
When the Tamil Vellala leaders could not hold to the privileges that they enjoyed they invented grievances. The only grievance was their incapability to hold on to political leadership after universal franchise. The “grievances” grew as their influence diminished, and Chelvanayakam realized around 1947 that the Tamil Vellalas with their anti Sinhala opinion could not become leaders at the centre, and wanted a separate state in the territories marked for a so called Eelam that ironically derived from Sihalam! The Eelam extended beyond the Northern and Eastern Provinces, and gradually concepts such as traditional homelands, natural habitats of the Tamil people emerged. Chelvanayakam established his Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi (Lanka Tamil State Party) way back in 1949 to fight for a separate state in the territories earmarked for an Eelam. However, it was not realized that unlike in India many Tamils (today the majority) lived outside the so called traditional homeland of the Tamils, and even if the Tamils had grievances, and establishment of an Eelam in the “traditional homeland” was not a solution to the so called grievances of the Tamils living outside “Eelam”. Thus there was an internal contradiction in the problem and the so called solution proposed, which has been ignored up to date.
In any event Chelvanayakam realized that the Tamil Vellalas could not win an Eelam on their own and he began to mobilize not only all the Tamils but the Muslims as well to fight for Eelam. The Vadukkodai Resolution of 1976 was the result, and the terrorists who were organizing were also associated with Vadukkodai Resolution. The grievances became aspirations in the course of the “struggle” and the terrorists who were trained by India and the west soon gained the upper hand with the money poured in from those countries. The west was interested only in weakening the Sinhala people the only group to have fought against the English from 1817 onwards. The fight continued with the help of Puran Appu, Gongalegoda Banda, Anagarika Dharmapala, the Bhasa Premins, fifty six, Mrs. Bandaranaike, 2005 Mahinda Chinthana, humanitarian operation. The Tamil terrorism was defeated in May 2010 but Tamil racism continues to exist with the patronage of the west and India. This struggle by the Sinhalas is nothing but a fight to gain the due place for the Sinhalas, and especially for the Sinhala Buddhist culture and is directed against the English and not the Tamils or any other minority in the country. The Tamil racism that was created by the Dutch and by the English, and nurtured by the English is used against the Sinhalas by India and the west. The west has portrayed the struggle between Tamil racism sponsored by the west and India and the Sinhalas, as one that establishes a Sinhala Buddhist hegemony over the Tamil Hindus, a story that appeals to the western media and their so called intellectuals, thus removing themselves from the actual struggle. The actual struggle is nothing but one by the Sinhalas against the English and the others in the west who sponsor Tamil racism, to win the rightful place for the Sinhalas, especially for the Sinhala Buddhists which has been denied to them since 1506.
In spite of having a majority in the Parliament, Sinhala people could not win their rightful place as the west is very powerful and there was no leader after 1977 until 2005 who could stand up to pressure from the western countries and India. The struggle of the Sinhalas against the western hegemony and India has been interpreted as something else, and in the early nineties Chandrika Kumaratunga was imported from her self-exile by NGOs, their friends and others to change the policies of the SLFP from a nationalistic party to one that supports western colonialism. We reiterate that the Sinhala people are still engaged in an anti colonial struggle, and the west is trying various methods to scuttle it. As we mentioned many moons ago they might even attempt to send Mahinda Rajapaksa and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to the guillotine in the process, of course after defeating the present government. The Katunayake incident, FUTA strike, the “clash” between the executive and the judiciary are only attempts to destabilize the government by the Brahmins who have been brought up in the tradition of western education whether Liberal or Marxist.
From 1977 to 2005 the west and India had the upper hand and the thirteenth amendment was the result of the weak leadership of J R Jayewardene, and was part of the political struggle mentioned above. The thirteenth amendment was part of this political struggle. It is being claimed in some quarters that the so-called military solution is not a political solution. This is wrong as all military affairs are political activities. It was not only terrorism that defeated at Nandikadal in May 2009; all so-called political solutions including the thirteenth amendment that was forced on us by India also were. Hence the need to abolish the 13th Amendment!
By Nalin de Silva
(To be continued)