Middle-aged Politics?

by Nillanthan Maha, Jaffna, June 1, 2024

[translated from the original Tamil by Google Translate, with improvements by the Editor.]

A friend who is a medical professional recently asked, “If my child asks why he should not go abroad, is there any valid reason for me to tell him why you should stay in the country?” That. This question is among many educated middle class parents of Jaffna. How many Tamil politicians have a suitable answer to this question?

As a result of the economic crisis, there is a wave of migration. Thousands of Sinhalese and Tamil people are migrating. Recently, on the occasion of May 18, a cartoonist of “Tamil Mirror” had drawn a wonderful cartoon. In it, the scene of Mahinda landing at Katunayake on May 18, 209 was drawn inside a box. He bows down and touches the ground. But now after 15 years, from among the Sinhalese people, the scene of immigrants landing at the airports in the capitals of different countries of the world and touching the ground and kissing the ground at the respective airports is painted in another box.

Trade associations are met by civil society representatives

That is the truth. Its people are leaving the country that won the war. It is one thing to leave during the war; it is different to leave due to economic crisis. Why does a younger generation not think that they should stay in the motherland and work hard to build themselves and their country?

Especially, it is not only the young people who are leaving among the Tamil people. A large number of educated people, graduates, managers, entrepreneurs, doctors, nurses, engineers, technical experts, etc. are leaving the country. The number is estimated to be in the thousands. Apart from this, brides and grooms are leaving on the basis of family reunification. Most of the people who leave are of voting age. That means the voters required to elect a Member of Parliament have already left.

“This soil is our own soil” and from among a crowd of people who promoted Tamil national politics, why is there a mentality that thinks it is enough to leave that soil?

Because there is no credible leadership among the Tamil people. Hopeful paradigms are gone. One distrusts another; one suspects another; He blames others while doing nothing; Are the Tamil people becoming a pessimistic group of people who suspect that someone is driving them from behind? How many leaders are there who can make us believe that we will stand in this land and build a Tamil nation?

For a time politics meant making sacrifices; making commitments; In a society that used to be about fighting with one’s life, now politics is about changing hands; someone going for a “deal”; Has the cost of permits for liquor roads changed to…? Tamil people doubt whomever they vote for. They scold them.

When I met Wigneswaran in Jaffna last week, “I should point out one thing that the President said. Among the Tamil people, only people above 40 years of age talk about politics. He said that young people are interested in economic affairs. Whether that is right or wrong should be seen separately. But that is his view of the Tamil political community.”

Once upon a time Tamil youths took their lives seriously and led politics. That struggle was a rare experience for the whole world. A group of people who have made great sacrifices, a group of people who have done great deeds, a community that has produced siddhas, sages, geniuses, experts and great creators, is today scattered like an untied pack of gourds?

North East; caste and religion; They are divided into parties and groups; opposing groups within village associations; opposing groups within temple councils; and factions within parties. Among the diaspora Tamils, the Tamil people are divided in the politics of bringing the dead back to life and the politics of paying tribute to the dead. The Tamil people are increasingly clashing with themselves. The elder party is standing in the court.

Is Ranil trying to say that your younger generation has lost interest in politics after seeing a group of people scattered and reduced to such size?

Another thing he said was that Tamil parties are not going to unite for a Tamil general candidate. It is true that there is not as much unity between the parties as there is between civil society groups in the case of the Tamil general candidate. How can the parties who cannot unite among themselves unite the people as a nation?

The last 15 years of party politics have failed to build unity. Short-term issue-centered coalitions were made possible in part by the intervention of civil society. Even now it is civil society groups who are working with the parties to create a common Tamil position, create a common structure based on that and also try to put forward a common candidate.

The so-called Tamil general candidate is a party-crosser. Someone who has crossed the caste system. One who transcends regional differences. Citizens’ societies say that he will stand as a symbol of Tamil unity across all differences and inequalities among the Tamil people.

The votes collected for the Tamil general candidate are for a nation and not for an individual. There an individual stands as a candidate. But he does not represent any party. He does not represent any religion or caste or region. He does not represent anything that divides the Tamil people now. He is a Tamil Nationalist. He should stand as a symbol of unity. He doesn’t even have to be a personality. He will reflect the unity of the Tamil people. Or a symbol that reflects the general position of the Tamil people. That’s it.

Civil society groups expect that the Tamil candidate contesting in such an election should write an agreement with him that he will not use the popularity and strength he gets through that election for party needs in the future. Therefore, a Tamil public candidate who can be elevated in the presidential election, is not going to ask for votes for himself. He is not going to ask for votes for a party. He will ask for votes for Tamil unity. Tamils ​​will vote only for the common position. Voting to prove that the Tamil people have gathered as a nation. That is, the Tamil people will vote for themselves.

The so-called Tamil voting tradition of the last 15 years is a tradition of politicians recruiting for themselves. One-party political tradition where each candidate spends money, creates loyalists and collects votes for himself. Especially under proportional representation, a candidate sees a fellow candidate as a rival within a party.

But when it comes to general candidates, every politician is not going to vote for himself or his party. They have to vote for the nation. They will have to spend their own money for the nation.They will have to invest their labor for the nation. You have to work hard for the nation. That is to vote for the nation.

This is a trend that has been approaching for the last 15 years. If this is strengthened, the number of honest and decent people in Tamil moderate politics will increase. It will take Tamil politics on a new track. The starting point for that is to create a general structure where the parties and civil society join together with the aim of putting forward a Tamil public candidate.

The aftermath of the intra-party elections earlier this year proved that the Tamil people have become small. Similarly, an election that could be held later this year should not prove that the Tamil people are scattered and weak. It should prove that the Tamil people have come together as a nation.

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