Whatever is the journalistic halo behind Swapan Dasgupta, his recent writings and utterances on the struggle of the genocide-facing nation of Eezham Tamils could have been ignored as coming from just another of the dubious ilk that writes for agendas, had he not been a member of the Rajapaksa-sponsored BJP-RSS-Shiv Sena delegation that went to Colombo and Jaffna. Now as he openly bares the line of thinking in the camp, the BJP-RSS-Shiv Sena lot aspiring for power in India, may have to answer to the world of Tamils and to the humanity in general whether it is aspiring to become worse than that of the present Establishments in New Delhi, Washington and Beijing, commented an activist of alternative politics in Jaffna, urging mainstream polity and public in Tamil Nadu to be prepared with the needed.
Swapan Dasgupta writing in The Pioneer on 9th June was sympathetic for Mahinda Rajapaksa becoming “the latest whipping boy of the morally indignant.”
He may be right because the boys to be actually whipped by a righteous humanity are sitting in the Establishments of New Delhi, Washington, Beijing, and in the international media, especially in a particular section of Indian media that was long blighting the cause of genocide-facing Eezham Tamils, just because of petty benefits it was receiving from the genocidal State or because of its Swapnas (dreams) of Indian imperialism eating the cake of the island in full by catching the tail of the Sinhala-Buddhists.
Swapan now 58, was recollecting his earlier visit to Jaffna 25 years ago and seeing “gun-totting members of various para-military factions walking with a swagger” to say that thinks are much better now and to even justify the occupation of the territory of Tamils by the genocidal Sinhala military, which according to him “operates well below the radar.”
“Logistically, the army wants to insulate itself in the security zones, build strategically located cantonments and operate as a rapid response force just in case insurgency resurfaces,” Swapan was defending.
If an occupying military that has committed the worst genocide in the recent times and is continued to commit genocide could be excused in this way, why the Tamil sons of the land walking with a swagger in their own land had worried the journalist or why should he be particular in giving the epithet “murderous” to the LTTE, unless he is an agenda writer?
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The journalist was countering the realities of demographic and structural genocide that take place in the territory of Eezham Tamils by citing a Chettiar businessman he had met at a lunch hosted by businessmen of Indian origin in Colombo, who had reportedly told him that 30 per cent of the people in the capital are Tamils and they control 70 per cent of the business.
“Sampanthan’s theory of Tamils being an endangered breed in Sri Lanka doesn’t have too many takers south of the Elephant Pass,” the BJP-RSS-Shiv Sena journalist says, coming out with his new theory that “The ‘Tamil problem’ that provides livelihood to the global human rights industry and provokes indignation in some circles in India seems essentially a Jaffna problem, and should be renamed as such.”
Whether the journalist wants to lure the Tamil business class in India to go against the aspirations of Eezham Tamils or not, both the journalist and the Chettiyar seem to have forgotten the three pogroms and the probability further pogroms even now, once the structural genocide of Eezham Tamils in their land is complete.
According to Swapan, India “still takes a needlessly gratuitous interest in the internal affairs of a sovereign neighbour,” in discussing devolution based on the 13th Amendment. But India partnering with the Sinhala State in committing genocide and continuing partnership in the structural genocide are not interferences into internal affairs.
Swapan even put a reader to doubt his journalistic credentials when he projected the formation of Provincial Councils under the unitary constitution as “akin to India’s State governments.”
Perhaps, he might have taken for granted the political ignorance of the majority of readers in India on the island, as he himself has stated in another article that Sri Lanka is “better known these days for the slinging arm of Lasith Malinga and the classical elegance of the well-spoken Kumara Sangakkara.”
What a contribution of journalism in India when there was a paradigm-setting genocide took place at its backyard!
In the view of the BJP-RSS-Shiv Sena journalist, the “de-merger [of the North and East of the Tamil territory in the island] is now a reality.” Colombo may concede land powers to the province but who can blame Colombo for its reluctance to give police powers, he asked.
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Before going to Colombo and Jaffna, on the Rajapaksa sponsored trip, Swapan Dasgupta, giving an interview to India’s Niti Radio on 4th June said the following:
“We may have some concerns over whether Hambantota port should be Chinese. We can have some concerns about the level of their proximity to China and etc., but by and large we do not consider Sri Lanka to be a hostile force. Indeed, it seems to be a friend of India – a country which has got a deep civilisational ties with India – and more important: let us not forget that in the last stages of the war, when a powerful section of the Western countries was urging Sri Lanka to have a ceasefire with Pirapaharan and the LTTE – an opportunity which no doubt Pirapaharan and the LTTE would have used to gain time, re-group as he has done in the past, it was at that time the Sri Lankan offensive that you either surrender or we fight to the last – that policy had the basic tacit concurrence of the Government of India, because everyone in the Government of India and in the rest of the Indian society knew that the LTTE wasn’t really an ordinary separatist movement. It was a menace, which had really had a lot of damaging implications, which had destroyed a part of Sri Lanka and its ability to create a safe haven for itself in Tamil Nadu or something that endangers Indian security, which is why there was a basic understanding as far as Delhi and Colombo were concerned that the destruction of the LTTE was a step in the right direction. […] India has very deep business relations with Sri Lanka. We are jeopardising this for the sake of remnance of an LTTE, which has really no interest of securing the rehabilitation of Tamils, which wants to keep the fire of the separatism alive.”
“Sri Lanka, for all its sins today, is one of those countries which we can call a friend,” he said.
“Any country, which sees a powerful country trying to flex its muscles, there is bound to be a domestic reaction,” he condemned any pressure of India on the State in the island, asking “Wouldn’t there be fury building up there in India, if the US Senate had been planning some sort of resolution which was on the issue of Kashmir or something like that?”
One could see how the natural rapport between Eezham Tamils and the Tamils of Tamil Nadu is perceived by the BJP-RSS-Shiv Sena journalist as a worst ‘security’ threat than the Sinhala State bringing in China to the borders of Tamil Nadu. What about Tamils deciding to bring in China then, as a last resort to the audacity of New Delhi?
If just a political pressure from a powerful country [India] bringing in domestic reaction among Sinhalese is understandable, what reaction should come from Tamils for the complicity of India in the genocide of Eezham Tamils? Why that is not an understandable logic to the ‘journalist’?
If Sri Lanka has ‘civilisational’ ties with India, what logic is there that you should allow one nation there to erase the identity of the other? What prevents you from thinking of a policy of having two civilizational partners of parity in the island?
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The journalist condemned the DMK for coming out of the New Delhi coalition after its demand to pass a resolution against Sri Lanka was not accepted. “You cannot have a resolution pertaining to one single country,” he said, adding that “next time, someone passes a resolution on Kashmir, you do not have a leg to stand on, just remember that.”
What does the journalist say for India condemning apartheid in far away South Africa and liberating Bangladesh in the neighbourhood? Even the Tibetans in India should beware of politics of Dasgupta genre coming to power in India.
Kashmir always used to be cited by Sri Lanka friends in India to detract Indian political and public support to the cause of Eezham Tamils. It was there even in the early 1980s, but Mrs Indira Gandhi was not afraid of it.
If the Dasgupta ilk’s continued citation of it is going to be the policy of any future government in New Delhi, even after committing a heinous genocide in recent memory and continued genocide driving the people of the Tamil nation to the wall, then Tamils have every justification in making a strong bond with peoples of similar situation in the rest of South Asia. In fact it will be a folly of their mainstream polity, if it is not making such moves but continues to hang on the two culprits the Congress and the BJP in making governments in New Delhi.
The BJP–Rajapaksa paly-paly only shows that they are neither for Hinduism nor for Buddhism, but only for using the religions of the ‘majority’ and for power that doesn’t shun genocide as means.
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Swapan Dasgupta again wrote in The Times of India on Sunday.
The Bombay-based Times Group, including its Economic Times of India, surpassing the Chennai-based The Hindu in buttressing the Rajapaksa regime for whatever may be the reason, is very well observed in recent times.
“The origins of that war lie in a divisive, chauvinist politics that, thankfully, the country has now repudiated. There is a sense of optimism in Colombo and a great sense of relief in Jaffna that the war which probably left no family in the island unaffected is over,” he reiterated on the new positive ‘avatar’ of the Sri Lankan State while structural genocide through subjugation, militarisation, land appropriation, forced demographic changes, rape and sexual abuse, imposition of Sinhala language, destruction of Tamil/ Muslim places of worship and construction of Buddhist establishments., is an everyday phenomenon just like the physical genocide of mass killings taking place every day during the war.
A journalist cannot overlook objective evidence, but almost all the English language journalists shamelessly shielded the magnitude of the genocide of Tamils that took place during the war and one need not be surprised at what Dasgupta is doing now.
After seeing the orientation of the BJP-led delegation to Jaffna, the talk among the news reporters in Jaffna was that it was just another group that had come to receive suitcases from Rajapaksa. But more serious minded didn’t buy that story as they were aware that the elements that had come are capable of giving suitcases to Rajapaksa.
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In both the features of Dasgupta that appeared in The Pioneer and in The Times of India, the focus of attack was on the Tamil diaspora.
Within a one-day guided visit arranged by Rajapaksa, he was capable of grasping and telling to the people in India and to the world that the ordinary people in Jaffna, desperate for a breather, are not seeking separation, but it is the diaspora “with a view of the island that is frozen in time.”
In his assessment the diaspora is with unchanging historical memory and hateful vision for future.
“The diaspora bankrolled murder,” he accused.
He was particular about the diaspora in three countries:
“Tragically, the quiet elation over a new dawn is being soured on a daily basis by a diaspora that wants its own version of Sri Lanka, crafted in Canada, UK and Norway,” he wrote.
“Imagine our reaction if India’s politics was sought to be remote-controlled from Southall and New Jersey [places where Indian diaspora lives in large numbers in the UK and in the USA],” Dasgupta concluded his Times of India feature.
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Perhaps Dasgupta is frozen in time with the memory of Indian Establishment crushing the Khalistan struggle with a massacre in the Golden Temple, a pogrom in Delhi, making a Sikh as a president and another a robot Prime Minister, alienating the diaspora and pretending as though nothing has happened. In his frozen memory, he may be thinking that the Sinhala State could also do something like that.
But the war in the island was not domestic. It was actually an international war waged by 30–40 Establishments across the world led by the USA and India. China was an opportunist benefactor. No one can now escape from the responses becoming international and the diaspora being an integral part of it.
India had a chance of resolving the crisis within the region. But by its injustice to Tamils and by an approach unrealistic to the chronic question in the island, it lost the opportunity like a chasing dog allowing the squirrel to climb the tree (A’nil ea’ravidda Naay).
New Delhi’s Romila Thapar was also attacking the Tamil diaspora when she rushed to Colombo to buttress the genocidal State immediately after the war.
What many of them don’t see, or pretend they don’t see, is that it is the Tamil people in the island facing the prick of the day-to-day genocide, who are more determined secretly in their heart than the people in the diaspora, about getting liberation from the genocidal Sinhala State.
In the age of communication, the diaspora is not frozen in time. It interacts every minute with its kith and kin in the island and gets its impressions only from them.
What right the Dasguptas coming from the outside have, in implying that they know better than the kith and kin in the diaspora on what is good for the Tamils in the island? MK Narayanan spoke in a similar way to the TNA. This arrogance will never allow Eezham Tamils to reconcile with the Establishment in New Delhi.
Leave aside the acknowledgement of genocide and the right to self-determination. But, New Delhi has not even taken a single step in soothing the emotions of Eezham Tamils. It was constantly acting in contrary, irritating and mentally torturing the Eezham Tamils at every step.
The sin that has been committed is not a small one to forget and for Dasguptas to say that now everything is becoming okay, unless there is substantial remedy in the form of fundamental political justice. Dasgupta thinks, “only the political loose ends remain.” He must have sure been imagining the loose ends remaining for the completion of structural genocide and the total annihilation of the nation and territoriality of Eezham Tamils in the island.
The diaspora only voices what the gagged people in the island are unable to tell.
The international war needs international justice and the diaspora has to internationally operate until the justice is meted out with international guarantees.
This internationalisation is the reality now.
The Tamil diaspora responding in a hitherto unseen way for a hitherto unprecedented genocidal paradigm of the International Community of Establishments in unison is also a reality now.
These realities are in no way comparable to Dasgupta’s Southall and New Jersey examples.
New Delhi and the ilk of Dasguptas have to first realise these realities before daring to tell the Eezham Tamils that the de-merger of the North and East is the reality now or the genocide is a reality with which the Eezham Tamils should learn to live.