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Jayalalithaa emerges leader of Tamils

[Express Buzz, Sunday, 24 July 2011 08:01 No Comment]

The US Congressional committee for foreign affairs voting to ban aid to Sri Lanka till accountability was shown on the war crimes of 2009 should warm the cockles of all right thinking people, particularly those who have been sympathetic to the Tamil people of the island nation. But the path-breaking decision coming close on the heels of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s meeting with US secretary of state Hillary Clinton in Chennai, however, drives home a point relating to a certain welcome change in the dynamics behind Tamil identity politics.

By persuading Clinton for US intervention into the plight of the Tamils in Sri Lanka, Jayalalithaa demonstrated her capacity to play a global role to fight for protecting the interests of the Tamils outside India. In June, soon after she took office, the State Assembly passed a resolution seeking economic sanction against Sri Lanka and UN action on those responsible for the war crimes. With the US imposing the ban on aid to Sri Lanka, Jayalalithaa has emerged as the sole leader of the Tamils worldwide and as a fulcrum for Tamil identity and kinship.

Tamil speakers all over the world have always looked up to the people and political leaders of Tamil Nadu for support and succour at times of tribulations in various countries. Though the people of the state have consistently been sensitive and empathetic to the plight of their brethren, the earlier government under M Karunanidhi failed miserably to save the Tamils when they were massacred in Sri Lanka. The crass apathy of the DMK government caused frustration globally and led to the ignominy of Tamil Nadu almost losing its traditional role as the champion of Tamil people and their causes.

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