Home » Featured, Headline, News

Academic exposes ideological shift in DMK

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 18 August 2009 18:46 No Comment]

Discerning students of Tamil Nadu politics, especially those analysing the role of the state in Sri Lankan ethnic conflict, are intrigued by the transformation that has taken place in the DMK perception on Sri Lanka, writes V. Suryanarayan in an article last week appeared in New Indian Express. “The tragedy of the situation must be underlined; the Sri Lankan Tamils became pawns in the electoral politics of the state. What is more, their struggle for justice, equity and dignity has been pushed back by several decades. A long winter of discontent is ahead of Sri Lankan Tamils,” he concludes the article.

SuryaNarayan V. Suryanarayan, a long time Sri Lanka watcher and former professor of the Centre for South and Southeast Asian Studies of the University of Madras, was citing the recent speech of the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi in the state assembly, brushing aside Tamil Eelam as not a realistic goal.

Karunanidhi government has now gone to the extent of even instructing its police to erase the word ‘Eezham’ from posters and banners displayed in Tamil Nadu, according to news coming from Chennai, Monday.

Suryanarayan in his article was reminding that on August 27, 1983, DMK, the political party of Karunanidhi had passed a resolution that a ‘separate Tamil Eelam shall be the only remedy and paramount solution’ and the following day the party’s stalwart K Anbazhakan demanded Indian military intervention to the genocide taking place in the island.

The professor also reminded that, “While in power, in ’89, Karunanidhi did not have the courtesy to welcome the Indian Peace Keeping Force, which returned from Sri Lanka. He accused the Indian army of committing `atrocities’ against the Tamils.”

Comparing the DMK of today, he writes: “As the Lankan military offensive gathered momentum, the war against the Tigers degenerated into a war against Tamils. The hapless Tamil civilians were caught between the Sinhalese Lions and the Tamil Tigers and hundreds of them [Editor's note: several thousands] lost their lives. Instead of trying to evolve an international mechanism, acceptable to both the Tigers and the Lankan government, to rescue the Tamil civilians from the war zones to refugee camps, the response of the Government of India, backed by Tamil Nadu, was only to express `concern’ at the increasing number of civilian casualties.”

Asking “How does one explain the paradigm shift in the New Delhi-Chennai equation,” Suryanarayan raises a few riddles: “Was it due to the `coalition dharma’ of the Centre, where the DMK is an important ally? Was it due to Karunanidhi’s desire for stronger relations with Sonia Gandhi when sections within the Congress were toying with the idea of extending an olive branch to Jayalalithaa? Was the policy dictated by the chief minister’s desire to ensure important Cabinet berths to his near and dear ones in New Delhi?”

The question missed is that to what extent corporate interests played a role in influencing the outlook of the DMK, responded TamilNet political commentator in Colombo. Over the decades, Karunanidhi family has evolved into a multinational corporation, it has made alliances with other such corporations of India, irrespective of them being Brahmin or non-Brahmin, and it has become successful in synthesising its corporate interests with its rule of the state and its participation at the Centre, he further said.

Further responses from the commentator follow:

"The war against Eezham Tamils, especially the ganging up of the international community in abetting Colombo, was essentially to open up the island for corporate plunder.

"The Eezham Tamils were able to be spared since their nationalism failed to ally with any power and more than that it didn’t evolve its own multinational corporations. Such a nation dominated by a service middleclass and multinational only in basing its liberation movement doesn’t deserve a nation state but promiscuous Colombo offering resources of the island to everyone in return for Tamil blood deserves all favour.

"No wonder, being in the corporate club, Karunanidhi family, Kasthuri Ranga Iyengar family, Chidambaram family and a host of others in India have ‘larger interests’ in the island and that tilted the balance of their outlook. Of course it will take a long time for Eezham Tamils to get into the club.

"Suryanarayan quotes Prof. K M De Silva writing that the separatist movement in Sri Lanka `was fostered, nurtured and protected in Tamil Nadu’.

"The Sinhalese who were not prepared to share the island with their Eezham Tamil brethren and are now self-congratulating over an internationally abetted ‘victory’ will soon find new realities, for they too don’t have a corporate society.

"Whether the article reflects a paradigm shift in Suryanarayan, disillusioned with the Indian Establilshment, is the question asked in the Tamil circles."

[Full Coverage]

(For updates you can share with your friends, follow TNN on Facebook, Twitter and Google+)

Comments are closed.