Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Governments and Principles

It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.
- Thomas Jefferson. 
வல்லான் சொல்லே வாய்மை. Truth is what the strong say.
- Tamil proverb

[Though Jefferson said it to elevate the right over the wrong, I am going to twist it a lot for my argument's sake. My apologies.]

I don't find any difference between the two. And here, I explain why. In the civilized world, we have precisely defined codes for life; more formally, The Law. Law, though it differs between countries, is for one purpose. Define order and discipline in the little world we live. Enforcing law is totally a different task [which is outside the scope of this blog]. So, it takes a lot for someone to deliberately go against the Law; unless that someone is 'The Strong' - like the United States; or that someone is 'Powered by The Strong' - like Isreal. 

To quote some more - US Army in Iraq, Afghanistan, Indian Military in Operation Green Hunt - it hunted down armed tribal Maoists who are indeed Indian people; the Intelligence organization of Pakistan - ISI - whose notoriety, everyone is aware of; Taliban of Afghanistan until 1996 - till then was funded by the United States, LTTE of Sri Lanka until 1991 - till 1991 (LTTE was funded and trained by the Indian Military and RAW till 1987). The motives and actions of the above mentioned organizations won't stand an argument if they are not themselves a legitimate branch of the government or acknowledged by a government as one. The point I am trying to make is that a terrorist organization is termed so because they are neither 'The Strong' nor 'Powered by The Strong'.

Many of the terrorist organizations of the current era were once freedom fighters - either explicitly or indirectly recognized and supported by democracies like India, the US, etc. So, a  government, especially a democratic one like India, has the power to almost instantly legitimize or illegitimize an organization. Let us dig a little deeper.

Why did US support the extreme right winged - women abusing - maniacs by supplying arms and ammunition, money, etc. Is it an ideology that US agreed on? No! The US did take a wrong policy by principle - deliberately, not worrying about the consequences. India's case is slightly different though - India did not have the problems of distance, inaccessibility, etc. The island country (Sri Lanka) is merely a hundred kilometers for one of the Indian Naval Bases. But still played its game through Tamil people of Sri Lanka. I wish to believe that the Indian government thought it was the right of the fighting people to have equal social and constitutional rights. I wish!

Between the years 1987 and 1991, India quickly changed its policy towards Sri Lanka and hence the LTTE - which seems to have had the LTTE so hurt, high and dry, that the LTTE made their biggest mistake in retaliation, if it was really them - killing the PM of India. The LTTE may have had some pressing reasons, which may be justified for them. But it was grave and a mistake of massive magnitude. Surprisingly, India did not make an effort to storm into the LTTE occupied areas of Sri Lanka - unlike what the United States did in Afghanistan. India held the LTTE responsible and declared it 'a terrorist organization', convicted were given death sentence. And that is all it did!

LTTE fought the Sri Lankan government and indirectly the power of India - but fell in the year 2009. If there is something that I would like to insist at this moment, it is this - "Policy decisions of the above mentioned sort are NOT based on the principles that the governments believe; it is based on the incentive of strategic positioning, weakening an enemy, domination in the neighborhood and all other bureaucratic BS"  

Sunday, August 5, 2012

India won series against Sri Lanka; and India trains Sri Lankan air force officers.

Indian team just finished its one-day international series in Sri Lanka. I suppose it should have been an interesting series. The Indian team should have done well. 4-1 is almost a white wash. Kohli apparently performed brilliantly - raised to Rank 2 in the international ICC cricket players' ratings. Congratulations to Indian team for the brilliant performance.

I just stopped following Indian Cricket. I also boycott any and every product endorsed by Indian cricket players. I boycott anything that has to do with BCCI. My belief on the Indian government is getting shattered every second. It is almost like it will not do a single right thing by the Tamils.

The latest of the insensitivities has to do with - India playing in Sri Lanka while Tamils of the island have still not been rehabilitated. In fact there are criticisms that the Lankan government has not taken enough steps to rehabilitate the affected and there are evidences pointed in the UNHRC report against the Sri Lankan army that they committed war crimes of huge magnitude. Please refer to the report and the numbers pointed out by the UN.

The real icing on the cake, in the stream of insensitivities of the Indian government is when the Sri Lankan air force officers are invited / accepted to be trained in Tamil soil in India. Who are the Sri Lankan forces going to fight if they have to? Either the next rising of the Tamils or Tamil fishermen from India. The next rising for Tamil Eelam is inevitable until there are constitutional changes in Sri Lanka, which neither Sri Lanka is taking steps to put undertake nor the Indian government or any others are insisting on the Sri Lankan government to.

How much of injustice can someone tolerate! Why did India let the Lankan army massacre so many people? Why are we playing in Sri Lanka? Why did we not bring the resolution against Sri Lanka rather than the US? Why are we training the Sri Lankan air force in India without completely investigating what happened in there?

The Tamils in India and around the world, in one way or the other, do associate themselves with the Eelam Tamils - mostly through language and way of life. Even if the Indian government does not care about the human rights violation of the Tamils in Sri Lanka, are the feelings of Tamils from Tamil Nadu so trivial that the Indian government will go on with these insensitivies?

I cannot get myself to think that the Indian government is not aware of what is going on. So, why is the Indian government doing all this? We will get to that soon.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Let us face it. Indians have identity crisis.

I am not a journalist. I am not trying to bring just facts to the table. I intend to bring to the table what I feel about the things happening in India. I think feelings are as important as facts. It is true that feelings are derived from facts and they are subjective. A fact may evoke different feelings in different people. And that is the reason why understanding feelings of people is important. I also acknowledge the fact that it is practically impossible to record everyone's feelings and that it shall create chaos. However, sometimes, we should decide to have exceptions. Exceptions on things that people hold too dear. Things which are about the life and death, ones of identity, ones own sense of freedom. Feelings of those concerned and those affected need to be recorded, analysed, quantified if possible.

My views may sound cynical. But they will never come across as baseless.

I identify myself as a Tamil, more than as an Indian. While a person from Delhi will most probably identify himself as an Indian more than a Delhi-ite, I tend to believe that a a person from Bengal will tend to identify himself more as a Bengali, than as an Indian. So, the sense of identity among Indians varies remarkably and while people talking Hindi or other Indo-Aryan languages tend to align their identity as Indians, the others tend to align towards their own languages - Bengali, Kannadika, Telugu and most strongly by Tamils to name a few. It is important to establish this because, it will help you understand my feelings and the rational behind them - supported by facts. 

So, I speak this very old, lustrous, beautiful, classical language called Tamil (Thamizhl - pronounce the letter 'l' while folding your tongue and touching the upper palette) . Though everyone may think of his own mother tongue as the most beautiful one, factually speaking, it has already been established with sufficient evidences, that Tamil is one of the oldest, most cured and languages of the world. 

So, I speak a language which most of the country does not. Malayalam, Telugu and Kannada  has lot of their words, grammar derived from Tamil - but they are still different. Tamil is the mother of the Indo-Dravidian languages in short.

Most important fact to be established here is that Tamil is NOTHING like HIndi / Indo-Aryan languages. Tamil is Greek&Latin for the Hindi speaking Indians and the vice-versa. 

To quote some more differences, the way I dress is different from other Indians. The food we eat is different. It is cooked differently, served and eaten differently. The way we cremate, bury our ancestors is different. The way marriages happen is different. 

Tamil Nadu just happened to be geographically a part of (or stuck) the sub-continent and hence a part of India. That is the reason why Sri Lanka and Maldives are not a part of India. So, what does it give me to call myself Indian. There was a collective need during the struggle for independence - freedom! But since then there has been nothing. I am not saying that we should have parted our ways and should have made different governments and should have become different countries. But I am wondering if we ever thought about it. I certainly now!

I find this very interesting and in a sense, disturbing as well. But certainly worth pondering about.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

How will you identify yourself?

If you stand in the Time's Square long enough, you will be able to see a sample of every race, religions, color, texture, quality and all those attributed to the identity of a person. The identity that the world give you and me.  You are a brown man. Black. Caucasian. Asian. Poor. Handsome. Ugly so on so forth. Something that is neither important nor relevant when compared to the one you define yourself.

When asked by someone in the Time's Square, "How will you identify yourself?", how will you and I answer? A profound question to ponder about.