Ten Tamil Fools – Revisited

by Sachi Sri Kantha, November 25, 2017 

Orrin Klapp 1915-1997

Twelve years ago, I wrote a commentary entitled ‘Scholarship on Fools – Inspiration from Orrin Klapp and poet Kannadasan’. In it, I also provided the electronic version of the classic paper of Orrin Klapp (1915-1997), entitled, ‘The Fool as a Social Type’ [American Journal of Sociology, September 1949, vol. 55, no.2, pp 157-162].  I wrote this commentary for two reasons; (1) to promote poet Kannadasan’s scholarship on fools, and (2) to focus and critique the anti-LTTE voices among Tamils.

For this year’s Maaveerar anniversary, it seems appropriate to revisit the activities of these anti-LTTE voices now, to take stock. Did the anti-LTTE voices achieve anything of worth for Eelam Tamils, since May 2009, when LTTE lost its military struggle against the Sri Lankan army backed by powerful international forces. My ten selections then, were as follows:

Antic fool – Subramanian Swamy (economist turned politician)

Comic rogue – Cho Ramaswamy (playwright cum actor turned all-knowing oracle)

Rash fool – V. Muralitharan (aka Karuna; military rebel turned politician)

Clumsy fool – V. Anandasangaree (teacher turned politician)

Deformed fool – Rajan Hoole (mathematician turned human-rights activist)

Simple fool – S.C. Chandrahasan (lawyer turned politician)

Weak fool – Radhika Coomaraswamy (legal academic turned women’s rights activist)

Comic butt – Douglas Devananda (militant impostor turned influence-peddler)

Pompous fool – Lakshman Kadirgamar (lawyer turned Colombo’s Rasputin)

Mock hero – Jayalalitha Jayaram (actor-dancer turned politician)

My criteria for choosing these ten Tamils were, (1) They were in public life for at least a decade, and (2) They pretend to be ‘leaders’ of Tamils, in some capacity via their own publicity blurbs in books, magazines and multi-media interviews. Thus, their tomfoolery in words and deeds have been in the public record.

Among these ten, three had died. Lakshman Kadirgamar (1932-2005) was the first to depart in August 2005. Two Tamil Nadu politicians, namely Jayalalitha (1948-2016) and Cho Ramaswamy (1934-2016) died within two day span, an year ago.

Lakshman Kadirgamar is long forgotten now, among his main constituency – the Sinhalese politicians. He has been ‘institutionalized’ with an eponymous name, Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies. Nothing Tamil at all!

Jayalalitha & Cho Ramaswamy

Jayalalitha, if she had lived, would be languishing in jail now, like her friend Sasikala Nadarajan (b. 1957). Her stars had dimmed! In fact, Jayalalitha lived shrewdly (by projecting herself as a no-nonsense, convent-educated, English speaking talent) from 1981 to 2016, NOT on her own strength, but on the reflected glory of cinema association with her mentor M.G. Ramachandran, between 1965 and 1972.

Among the chosen ten, I do agree that Cho Ramaswamy had talent as a playwright and a muck-raking journalist. But, he was no political seer. His evaluation of the Sri Lankan political history was deeply flawed. Cho’s suggested alternatives for a viable political solution for Eelam Tamils are simply ‘pie in the sky’ type akin to a high octane joke that will hardly be implemented by the racist Sinhalese regime.

Among the remaining seven living fools, three appear to have retired for lack of funds, having been dropped by their foreign-based sponsors. These include, anti-LTTE noise makers Rajan Hoole, Radhika Coomaraswamy and S.C. Chandrahasan.

Two Eelam politicians (Anandasangaree and V. Muralitharan) who promoted themselves as alternative Tamil leadership have flip-flopped without showing any iota of diligent leadership on their own. Their idea of leadership is simply issuing ‘letters’, ‘communiques’ and assorted ephemera to the rulers in power and passing such junk to the news media for self promotion. Same applies to antic fool Subramanian Swamy of India, who merged his Janata Party to the current ruling clique of Narendra Modi, for political crumps.

Douglas Devananda, lingers on in the Sri Lankan parliament, for 23 consecutive years, as an appropriately tagged ‘comic butt’. In sum, cumulative deeds of still living seven fools prove that they cannot hold a candle to the sacrifices made by the Maaveerar of LTTE.

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No Responses to “Ten Tamil Fools – Revisited”

  1. Usha S Sri-Skanda-Rajah

    Sachi Srikantha got one wrong: Jayalalithaa does not belong in the list. I am making a plea he corrects it; in fact, on the contrary, she belongs on the top of the list of powerful allies, of world repute, we Eelam Tamils had and sadly lost – and possibly the only one by far, we should realize by now, with hindsight. Please read how my anger turned to respect for Jaya, i.e. from anger at her rebuke of the LTTE, to respect for her turn around on principle and how I saw myself developing an attachment for Jaya, that was expressed in prolific writing : https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-indomitable-jayalalithaa-amma-to-millions-of-tamils-passes-away/

  2. Sachi Sri Kantha

    I do appreciate Usha Sri-Skanda Rajah’s view. I also agree that Jayalalitha had (has) her fan circle. In my view, her deeds (from the time she became the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu in 1991 until 2009) were against the interest of Eelam Tamils. She did resent, V. Prabhakaran’s standing as the Tamil leader of down-trodden Tamils. In that, she even went against the wishes of her mentor MGR, though paying only lip service to ‘MGR’s rule’. After Prabhakaran’s death in 2009, Jayalalitha promoted herself as the leader of down-trodden Tamils. This is a simple fact.

  3. K.Thirumaran

    Oh no! TGTE Senator’s plea rejected!

    Maaveerar’s sacrifice is great as the LTTE fan club will tout today. But what about when LTTE leader made an appeal for Tamils to move to Vanni after the 1996 exodus from Jaffna peninsula, how many Tamils, particularly in the diaspora heeded to that plea? It was rejected in the same manner like that of TGTE Senator’s??

    It is quite easy to call everyone a fool for their standings. All those listed above did what they did and said what they said with their own opposition to LTTE.

    LTTE was never universally seen as leaders of Tamils from day one. LTTE ascended to that spectacle by assassinating fellow Tamils and Tamil youth.

    Today on social media I see Ajita Kadirgamar, daughter of Lakshman Kadirgamar limelighting the suffering of the relatives and mothers of the missing and engaging on other human rights issues and I believe she lives in Sri Lanka.

    Tamils the peninsula stalwarts of Tamil Nationalism, especially the ones entering university or by other means going abroad and or going south to a lessor extent delegated their cause to Nationhood which miserably and catastrophically failed.

    That then is the story line today also.

    “Patriotism demands of sustained sacrifice” – is said by Gen Chiang Kai-shek, founder of Taiwan ROC.

    That sustainability with regards to Tamil patriotism was never accorded in the past to the Maaveerars and not today in helping to upkeep the dignity of their families.

  4. Sachi Sri Kantha

    Thirumaran’s comment deserve a response. It is nice to hear from a fan of Lakshman Kadirgamar. The simple fact that Thirumaran cannot provide details about what Mr. Kadirgamar did to Sri Lankan Tamils while he was alive and the fact that he has to highlight the humanitarian work of Kadirgamar’s daughter Ajita is revealing indeed.

    Thirumaran mixes apples and oranges. Why bring in political assassinations to this debate? LTTE did not hold a patent on assassinations. The side to which Kadirgamar paid political allegiance also assassinated hundreds of thousands of Tamils. Did Kadirgamar oppose this? Or how about Uncle Sam’s representatives? They paid lip service to the value of democracy. But, they also conducted assassinations of their political rivals all over the world in every continent, by proxies and shaded their work with euphemism such as ‘Bring them to Justice’.