Systematic Discrimination Inflicted upon Eastern Tamils by Jaffna Tamils

Topic started by Internet (@ on Tue Mar 16 04:49:57 EST 2004.
All times in EST +10:30 for IST.

It was to be expected that the systematic discrimination and the inequalities inflicted upon eastern Tamils by the Jaffna Tamils was bound to blow up one day. I had anticipated this inevitability, and the day of reckoning dawning upon the eastern Tamils. Not surprisingly, it has now come true.

As a Muslim from the East, I did not need a crystal ball to foresee this. During the heydays of unbridled power the Tamils were wielding in Lanka, most of the development work and money was channelled to the North; the Eastern Tamils were never the twin brothers, but more like the Harijans of India - a vote bank, who could be easily manipulated and exploited for political agendas,and satisfied with a few bones and crumbs thrown at them, but nothing more. As the northern Tamils massacred low caste Hindus who dared to enter the Hindu temple, eastern Tamils also had their limitations from the sanctum and sanctorum of the Jaffna Tamils. Even the flamboyant eastern politician, Raja Durai, came to the realization that there was room upstairs only for the Northern Tamils. The hegemony and discrimination was quite blatant, and I knew a time would come when the Eastern Tamils would realize the tyranny of the northerners, and revolt against them.

A report by the University Teachers For Human Rights states: " Before the 1940's, nearly all the fertile paddy land from Kalmunai to Panama, south of Pottuvil belonged to 20 Jaffna Tamil families, who employed largely Muslim labour. Muslims had a reputation for being hard working and reliable. There was hardly a Tamil mudalali of eastern origin.

In the course of these slow changes, the largest group in the local population, the native Tamils began to feel a class deprived on their own soil; Feelings of antagonism towards Jaffna Tamils--and Muslims slowly increased.

TO understand the context to these changes, in the 40's the important government positions in the East, such as doctors , engineers and civil servants, were held by Jaffna Tamils. They had their own tribal instincts and priorities. They used their influence in finding jobs for their folk in government service, and thought little about the land. The Jaffna Tamil elite saw their future and economic base in terms of education and government employment in all parts of the country. It was only when this perception was threatened that they gave thought to land, federalism and later separation".

(As for the eastern Muslims, the Jaffna Tamils were like millstones placed on their chests - Muslims could not aspire for higher education, government jobs or any other advancement; the Jaffna Tamils' strangulation on Muslims slackened only after great men like Dr. Badiuddin Mahmoud arrived in the political scene).

The hegemony of the Jaffna Tamil dominated LTTE on easterners is history repeating and the rebellion by eastern Tamils is also history repeating.

Now that the eastern Tamils have wizened up and broken away from the yokes of the LTTE, the Lankan government, the RTTE and the Muslims will have to play their cards wisely. How the breakaway Eastern faction RTTE behaves with the Muslims will be interesting to watch. LTTE's totalitarian and arrogant nature has frightened even some of my northern Tamil friends, who dread to live under LTTE rule, if ever it materializes. If the Eastern and Northern Tamils themselves cannot coexist, then one can argue, it would be impossible for Muslims and Sinhalese to put up with the LTTE.

The Eastern Tamils do not have the wherewithal the LTTE has, especially the huge sums of money the crime syndicate gets from prostitution, smuggling of drugs, weapons and immigrants, forgeries, counterfeighting, extortion and other gang related activities. Therefore, the RTTE needs to assess its ability to survive and hence, the need to establish good relations with its neighbours.

The Eastern Tamils must treat Muslims with respect and consider Muslimaspirations to live freely and with dignity. For Muslims of Lanka, an undivided nation is the best solution; or, a Lanka which is divided between North and the rest. East should never break away from the mainland.

Meer Sahib


  Tell your friend about this topic

Want to post a response?

Post a response:



Please Reload to see your response

Back to the Forum