FIRST World Tamil Eelam Convention
July1982 - Nanuet, New York
Liberation Council Appointed
- Tamil Times Report, July 1982
The First World Tamil Eelam Convention, attended by
nearly 200 delegates from several countries, including India and Sri Lanka, held
on July 3 and 4, 1982 at Nanuet, New York, USA resolved to "set up a Tamil Eelam
Liberation Council to lobby the International Community, to co-ordinate the
activities of all groups committed to the idea of Tamil Eelam and to usher the
birth of the new nation.
The Convention also elected a body known as the EELAM LIBERATION COUNCIL
comprising five members: Dr. W.V. Panchacharam, Edward Benedict, K. Jegathesan,
T. Sritharan and N. Vijayanathan. This Council has subsequently co-opted three
more members to assist in its work: Dr. S. Navaratnam, K. Vaikunthavasan and
Mrs. P. Perinhanayagam.
The Convention which commenced at 9 a.m. and continiued till 8 p.m. on each
day was presided by Dr. V.M. Sethuraman (Perunkaviko), Mr. P. Nedumaran and Mr.
The delegates from Tamil Nadu, India, included: Mr. D.P. Radhakrishan
(D.M.K.); Mr. P. Nedumaran (Leader, Kamaraj Congress); Mr. Ira Janarthanam
(AIDMK - Chief Whip, Upper House); Mr. Thangabalu (Leader - Indhira Yough
Congress); Mr. Aru Gopalan (Gen. Secretary Tamil Eela Solidarity League);
Perunkaviko. Dr. V.M. Sethuraman (Convenor - International Tamil Integration
Society); Mr. K. Chittibabu (Organiser - Tamils Defence Front); and Mr. M.
The delegates from Sri Lanka included: Mr. A. Amirthalingam, NIP, (TULF
General Secretary, Leader of the Opposition); Mr. M. Sivasithamparam MP
(President, TULF); Mr. Kovai Mahesan (Editor, Suthanthiran); Mr. Eelaventhan
(Organising Secretary -TELF); and Mr. S.C. Chandrahasan (Legal Secretary, TULF).
The Programme Committee, consisting of five members (all of whom were
subsequently appointed to the Eelam Liberation Council), which was in charge of
all the preparatory work of the Convention also had produced an impressive
Convention Souvenir entitled `The Story of Thamil Eelam" for distribution among
the delegates. The foreward to this document clearly indicated what the
organisers expected of the Convention:
"The convention envisions the proper prioritisation of the critical issues
facing the Tamils, and in the very nature of the polemic climate under which the
Tamils have lived for several decades, the matter of the "right of self-deter-
mination" must receive immediate and prompt attention. This aspect of our demand
placed before the power-holders cannot be postponed any further."
"It is the contention of the Convention that the path of freedom and liberty
is best articulated in the reality of a separate state for the Tamils. This
should be pursued vigorously."
While the Programme Committee was responsible for all t he organisational
arrangements, a special mention ought to be made of the contribution made by Dr.
W.V. Panchacharam, who put in an enormous amount of pre-convention work and
remained the live-wire behind the Programme Committee.
Tulf Tactical Success
A pre-Convention getogether was held at Dr.Panchacharam's residence on the
evening of July 2, the day before the Convention began. The TULF leaders, M.
Sivasithamparam and A. Amirthalingam, who attended this function, spent several
hours with the Programme Committee members to ensure that the Convention did not
become a platform of embarrassing anti-TULF propaganda. From what transpired
during the following two days, it was apparant that the TULF leaders achieved a
remarkable tactical success in their discussions with the members of the
Programme Committee, in that the latter did everything possible to ensure that
nothing happened at the Convention which would have provoked a walkout by the
It was apparent from the general tenor of the speeches and discussions at the
Convention that there was almost unanimous acceptance of the fact that the Tamil
speaking people of Sri Lanka were subjected to discrimination and oppression,
and often the victims of racial violence. There was also general agreement that
the Tamils should strive for the creation of a separate state.
Standing Ovation For Indian Delegates
What was most significant and made more demonstrably clear was the total and
unconditional support of all the delegates representing most of the political
parties from Tamil Nadu, including the ruling Indira Congress, for the cause of
the Tamils of Sri Lanka.
For the first time, one could hear first hand, the increasing interest and
involvement of the South Indian political parties in the problems facing the
Tamils in Sri Lanka. Some Indian delegates had visited Sri Lanka, and
particularly the Northern and Eastern Provinces and Central parts of the country
where most of the Tamil plantation workers of Indian origin reside, prior to
their arrival at the Convention, and they gave a graphic account of their
One was left with a feeling that, if and when another bout of racial violence
directed at the Tamils were to take place in the future, as is happened in
August 1977 and May - June 1981, the reverberations in South India may not
permit the Tamil Nadu government, and for that matter the Indian central
government to remain passive spectators. There was a clear indication that the
policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka hitherto
followed may not be strictly adhered.
The Tamil Nadu delegates received a rapturous standing ovation which they
richly deserved. All the Tamil Nadu delegates made excellent contributions, but
the contribution of Aru Gopalan was simply brilliant.
As far as the delegates from Sri Lanka were concerned, there was a clear
distinction between those of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) and the
breakaway Tamil Eelam Liberation Front (TELF). They appeared to be canvassing
support, for their respective positions among the expatriate delegates.
While the TULF delegates tended to justify its current line of negotitions
with the government of Sri Lanka, and to reassert its long term commitment to a
separate state of Tamil Eelam, the TELF delegates presented a much more militant
line of no negotiations with the government, boycott of elections and taking
immediate steps to set up a separate state, including the formation of a
provisional government of Tamil Eelam.
Mr. Eelaventhan was the chief speaker for the TELF and he handled his brief
with extreme ease both in English and Tamil. Although lacking in flamboyance and
charisma of an Amirthalingam, Eelaventhan made deep and wounding holes in the
For the TULF, Mr. M. Sivasithamparam, sometimes with tears in his eyes, made
a highly emotional and an effective contribution in which he called upon the
younger men, who had become critical of the TULF leadership, not to be
impatient, to get back into the fold, and, if and when the rank and file
accepted them, to be prepared to take over the leadership.
If some delegates entertained the illusion that the Convention could be
turned into an anti-TULF forum, they hail failed to take into account the
Amirthalingam factor. Mr. Amirthalingam skillfully deployed all the experience
and eloquence at his command to put the TULF case with force and conviction. His
contributions, both in Tamil and English, were weighty, forceful and
authoritative. He proved that, however hopeless a case might be, an able and
skillful lawyer could make something of it.
The contributions of Mr. S.C. Chandrahasan, son of the Late S.J.V.
Chelvanayakam, made a deep impression among the delegates. He was eloquent in
both Tamil and English. He exuded a sprit of sincerity which was not apparent in
others. His contributions were of a higher quality, less polemical, but more
intellectual. There was all round praise for him as an individual and for his
contributions. One was left with the impression that it would not take many
years for the Chandrahasan factor to have a significant impact in any leadership
stakes within the TULF.
Resolutions unanimously adopted
by the First World Tamil Eelam Convention held at New York on July 3 & 4, 1982
1. RESOLUTION ADOPTED
CONSIDERING that an independent Tamil State had been in existence for several
centuries in the Traditional Homelands of the Tamils in the Island of Ceylon
until its conquest by the Portuguese in 1619;
TAKING ACCOUNT of the fact that with the termination of British rule in the
Island of Ceylon in 1948 and the imposition of a British-made constitution in
that year rejected by the majority of the Tamil people at the Parliamentary
General elections of 1947, British paramountcy over the Tamil Nation lapsed
thereby creating a constitutional vacuum in respect of the Tamil Nation;
BRINGING TO THE ATTENTION of the world that the illegally imposed
constitutions of 1972 and 1978 by the Sinhalese Government of the day were no
more than unilateral declarations of self-proclaimed constitutions in respect of
the Sinhalese Nation only, the majority of Tamil Representatives in Parliament
refusing to participate in constitution - making and rejecting both
REGRETTING that since granting of independence to the Island of Ceylon in
1948 the Tamil Nation has been subject to discrimination, oppression and
state-encouraged violence by successive Governments dominated by the Sinhalese
RECALLING that the just and legitimate demands of the Tamil People were not
appreciated or recognized by the Sinhalese People and their Governments
resulting in the Tamil United Liberation Front, the political party representing
the Tamil People, at their First Convention on 14th May, 1976 unequivocally
resolving that "the restoration and reconstitution of the Free Sovereign Secular
Socialist State of THAMIL EELAM based on the right of self-determination
inherent to every nation has become inevitable in order to safeguard the very
existence of the Tamil Nation in the Country".
RECOGNIZING that the Tamil United Liberation Front requested from the Tamil
People at the Parliamentary Elections of 21st of July 1977 a mandate, for the
re-establishment of the Sovereign secular State of Tamil Elelam and did in fact
obtain the mandate;
NOTICING WITH CONCERN the pogroms against the Tamil People by the Sinhalese
People and the Sinhalese Security Forces throughout the Island since 1956 and
increasingly so since August 1977, thereby endangering the very existence of the
Tamil people including the plantation Tamils, calculated to coerce them to flee
ALSO NOTICING WITH CONCERN the arbitary arrests, prolonged detention,
torture, killings and arrests as hostages of Tamils under the State of Emergency
in 1979 and under the prevention of terrorism law of 1979 which contains
provisions denying protections available under normal laws and designed to be
used mainly against Tamils and which have been condemned in the report of the
International Commission of Jurists of October 30, 1981.
ALSO NOTICING WITH CONCERN the burning of the Pubic Library in Jaffna with
97,000 volumes including rare first editions and manuscripts, the Independent
Press, Eelanadu, headquarters of T. U.L.F. and other institutions and buildings
in Jaffna by the security forces of the State in June, 1981 manifesting the
intention to destroy the cultural heritage of the Tamil People and to repress
their knowledge and freedom of expression;
ALSO NOTICING WITH CONCERN the killing of innocent persons, terrorising of
people and the arrest of their leaders by the security forces and the rigging of
the elections of District Development Council of Jaffna in June 1981 by
Ministers of State, Sinhalese Government officials and the security forces;
RECOGNIZING that the Sinhala security forces in the traditional homeland of
Tamils are acting as an army of occupation;
BEING AWARE of the planned effort by the successive Sri Lanka Governments to
colonize the Traditional Homelands of the Tamils with Sinhalese, using the aid
and loans given for the purpose of development by foreign countries and
international aid agencies;
CONSCIOUS of the fact that having adopted the International Covenant on
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights, the Sri Lanka Government continues to carry on a false
propaganda that there is protection of human rights in Sri Lanka as provided by
the constitution, while blatantly denying to the Tamil People fundamental human
rights including the right of self-determination;
REALIZING that the chauvinistic policies of successive Governments since the
granting of Independence to the Island of Ceylon are leading to repeated acts of
State terrorism resulting in increasing sense of insecurity and fear of genocide
among the Tamil people;
REAFFIRM the necessity and urgency for the restoration of the sovereign State
of Thamil Eelam so that the survival and security of the Tamil people will be
ensured, the dignity and honour of the Tamil People will be preserved, and the
ideal of enjoyment of civil and political freedom and freedom from fear and want
for the Tamil People will be achieved;
CALL UPON the Tamils of the World to join and unite in the struggle to secure
justice, security and peace to the Eelam Tamil Nation;
WHILE ACKNOWLEDGING with gratitude the sympathy and support to the oppressed
people by the people and Government of India, the people and all political
parties of Tamil Nadu whose representatives are participating in this Convention
as observers, the State Government of Tamil Nadu, the State Assembly of
Massachusetts, the International Commission of Jurists, Ammesty International,
International Human Rights Law Group and other human rights organizations-
APPEAL TO the nations of the World and the International Community to ensure
that the Eelam Tamil Nation is not denied fundamental human rights including the
right of self-determination -
AND RESOLVE TO SET UP A THAMIL EELAM LIBERATION COUNCIL TO LOBBY THE
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY, TO CO-ORDINATE THE ACTIVITIES OF ALL GROUPS COMMITTED
TO THE IDEA OF THAMIL EELAM AND TO USHER THE BIRTH OF THE NEW NATION.
2. The following is the full text of the resolution moved at the World
Tamil Eelam Convention held recently on the subject of the formation of a
Provisional Government of Tamil Eelam. The resolution was referred to the Eelam
Liberation Council for consideration.
WHEREAS since this is the first time that an International convention
comprising leading representatives from several countries of the World including
Thamil Eelam, is being held to decide and determine the destiny of the Eelam
WHEREAS, it is in this great country that certain historic STEPS were
recently taken to win world sympathy for the understanding of the Thamil cause,
starting with the address in the United Nations General Assembly in 1978 on why
the U.N. should recognise the right of self -determination already exercised by
the Eelam Thamils for a separate Thamils to live as a soverign soverign state.,
WHEREAS, this was followed in 1979 [May 22] by a unique and unprecedented
demonstration of support by such an august assembly as that of the Massachusetts
State which unanimously passed and adopted a resolution and proclamation
amounting to an implied recognition of the sovereignty and freedom of the State
of Thamil Eelam.
WHEREAS another important state much nearer Thamil Eelam namely Tamil Nadu
has no more than one occasion demonstrated its support and solidarity for our
case as shown by the State Assembly's unanimous resolution adopted in August
WHEREAS, as a further step on Pongal Day 1982 [14th January], Thamil
representatives assembled at the United Nations solemnly and with historical
perspective made and carried out the Declaration of Independence for the three
and a half million Eelam Thamils to live as a sovereign separate state.
WHEREAS, on this same Pongal Day similar Independance Declarations and
demonstrations in support were made in other countries such as in India [Erode]
and Malaysia [Kulalumpur] and of course in Thamil Eelam.
WHEREAS, this momentum is being kept up as clearly shown by the people backed
re-adoption of the Independence Declaration on 26th April, 1982 in Jaffna led by
the emerging new mass movement led by the Thamil Eelam Liberation Front [TELF].
WHEREAS, the number of arrests of militant Tamil youth, particularly last
May, both in Tamil Nadu and Thamil Eelam, make it imperative that further
practical steps be taken to achieve our goal of Thamil Eelam.
WHEREAS this very morning our Thamil Eelam Flag has been solemnly hoisted in
the presence of the Convention delegates and representatives.
THIS WORLD CONVENTION TAKING INTO FULL CONSIDERATION THE TOTALITY OF ALL
RELEVANT DEVELOPMENTS, RESOLVES AND DECIDES TO FORM AN INTERIM PROVISIONAL
GOVERNMENT OF THAMIL EELAM. WITHIN ONE YEAR FROM TODAY.
The Case for
Eelam - Dr.S.Navaratnam
The following are extracts
of the speech made by Dr. S. Navaratnam at the World Tamil Eelam Convention held
in July 3 and 4 at New York:-
"The scarred and bloodied landscape that disfigures so much of this once
peaceful and beautiful land (Sri Lanka) is only the visible result of a well
calculated and brilliantly organised campaign to undermine the morale of the
civilian masses and the freedom fighters alike.
Our political system is in turmoil. Our people are bewildered. Our youth is
confused. The leaders who a few years ago were proclaiming from every available
public platform that the Tamil speaking People have given them a mandate to
establish a homeland for them are seen today parleying with the President and
preaching the virtues of co-operation with a government whose catalogue of
betrayals has yet to be erased from our memories. We are told of "Amity Talks"
taking place between the leaders but not details of their character and nature
Eelam is rife with rumours that the Tamil leadership is now slowly
sliding away their commitment to Eelam. These speculations are allowed to pass
unchallenged. Consequently, new political groupings are springing up, naturally
accusing the existing leaders of gross betrayals. The Tamils at home and abroad
are perplexed and disillusioned, their hopes are shattered. Their youth once
dedicated to bring peace and freedom to their people are today confused and
spilling blood among themselves to the utter dismay and disappointment of the
people. To some of us living abroad and committed to help our brethren achieve
the same degree of peace and security as we are fortunate to enjoy in these
alien lands, it is both sad and distressing to note the lack of purposeful
leadership offered to those ir Eelam.
"For approximately three decades since independence the Tamil speaking people
sought to involve themselves in the political affairs of the island within the
unitary constitution bequeathed to them by the British. They believed that,
within it were provisions which would give adequate protection to their life,
liberty and property and they could transact their affairs in relative
tranquility. The view of the Tamil elite was dealt a shattering blow by
Bandaranaike's decisive victory at the general election of 1956 rejecting much
of the things that had then come to be accpeted as the normal order of the day.
This did not mean that the interests of the Tamils were intact prior to 1956,
as is evident in the disenfranchisement of the plantation workers and the active
policies pursued and implemented in the form of Sinhala colonisation of
traditional Tamil speaking areas. Even though they affected the ordinary Tamil
working classes very substantially, the erosion of their interest was at best
tolerated and ignored or at worst conveniently accepted by the elitist
leadership whose ethos and values were no different from those of Sinhala
leaders, both natural offsprings of the colonial masters
The Tamil plantation workers were disenfranchised by an Act of Parliament.
The immediate effect was to distort the electoral balance whereby Kandyans who
constitute 26% of the population of the island gained 44% of the seats, thereby
consolidating the political ascendancy of the Sinhalese vis a vis the rest.
By the crude use of "democratic process," the Tamils were effectively
disenfranchised by the different Sinhala governments gripped in Sinhala Budhist
Attempts at reconciliation by agreements negotiated between Sinhala
governments and the Tamil parliamentry leaders were abruptly abrogated before
they were implemented.
Predominantly Tamil speaking areas such as the Plantation areas in the
Central Province, Eastern Province and the Southern periphery of the Northern
Province are subject to state sponsored colonisation at the behest of Sinhala
Buddhist pressure groups.
Tamils who live outside their borders are set upon by Sinhala goondas with
the connivance of the forces of law and order, their lives put in jeopardy and
their property appropriated.
Armed with special legislation the Army and Police continually harass those
Tamils who live in their traditional homeland causing untold damage to life and
Institutionalised discrimimation in the field of employment and educational
These facts which I have just enumerated clearly constitute a violation of
Article II of the Convention of the Prevention and Punicshment of the Crime of
Genocide as approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations Resolution
260A (iii) of the 9th December, 1948.
A democratic state can only exist and effectively excercise sovereign power
so long as it can command the loyalty of all its people, and to do so itmust be
capable of representing the general will of the people. This general will must
be a reflection of the consensus of opinion across the whole of its population,
not the private opinion of any groups. But when this general will becomes
identified with one of these groups because it is the largest and therefore able
to dominate the rest, the result is one of inevitable divisive rancour. The
charecteristics of the general will which unites people together cannot be
founded simply on the sole will of the majority. When simple majorities are used
to disadvantage the minorities and put them in peril, then it becomes
The Tamils have not seriously participated in Government since 1956. Their
representatives are elected to Parliament but their voice is not heard. Of what
use is democratic representation when there is not power to be shared? The two
major parties among the Sinhalese compete with each other, as in a Dutch auction
to further diminish and curtail the few rights left to the Tamils. As if this
was not sufficient, the very forces of law and order, ostensibly
established to protect the person and property of the people, themselves carry
out deliberates acts of violence against the people and their property. These
men are not compelled to answer for their misdeeds.
In these circumstances, I submit that the essence of the contract between the
Tamil citizen and the State has ceased to exist. We are on own and virtually
thrown back into the State of nature...
That is why I say to this convention we have a right to join togehtcr with
similarly placed people and organise within a defined geographical area to
resist these acts of violence and genocide perpetrated on our people and adopt
policies to increase their welfare. This is the case for Eelam which I commend
to this Convention.
In the past our leaders were negotiating with Sinhala Governments in order to
extract various concessions from them. From judging those negotiations,
agreements and pacts, no tangible benefits haveaccrued to the vast majority of
the Tamil speaking people, certainly not the plantation workers or the ordinary
peasant who is now crowded out of his village in the Vanni and the Eastern
"The fact that the bulk of the plantation workers are without a vote places
them at a great disadvantage since no one outside the plantation leadership
itself is interested in their cause.
The state of Eelam will be composed of all the disadvantaged groups, be they
Tamils, Muslims, Christians, Hindus or Budhists. It is their sufferings that
will have to be alleviated. It is their welfare that will have to be promoted if
EeIam is to be reality. It is these people who will have to create it. There is
no Eelam unless they are convinced that the new state would usher in a new dawn,
a new era where freedom from fear, freedom from basic wants, and equal
opportunities to all without discrimination are guaranteed.
That is why our founding fathers in their wisdom at their National Convention
of the T.U.L.F. declared and I quote
"That Tamil Eelam shall be a socialist state wherein the exploitation of
man by man shall be forbidden, the dignity of labour shall be recognised,
the means of production and distribution shall be subject to public owner
ship and control, while permitting private enterprise in these branches
within limits prescribed by law, economic development shall be on the basis
of socialist planning and there shall be a ceiling on the total wealth that
any individual or family may acquire".
We must take this message to the people to make this a mass movement. Eelam
can only be liberated by mass actio . The expression of the desire of a people
at an election does not necessarily mean that they are ready for mass action.
The leadership having obtained the mandate have a positive duty to prepare
the people for such action rather than fritter away their limited resources on
Any agreement they negotiate with the government is of a temporary nature.
They are maintained at the pleasure of the government and will be abrogated
whenever it suits their convenience. We could petition and petition, march and
march, and give money until we wear ourselves out; none of this endeavour would
reach the core of this matter and it would change nobody's fate.
"No nation can be brought into being without experiencing the pangs of birth.
Force is the midwife for an old society pregnant with the new. Therefore, if we
are resolved to establish Eelam, then we must also be prepared to withstand
considerable suffering and hardship.
It appears that my generation and its successors are just beginning to tread
this well trodden path of oppressed people all over the world. Our youth are now
on the march. There is dedication to the cause. Their harrowing tales of police
persecution and their acts of herosim are already becoming part of our folklore.
As is the case with t hses struggles, there are bound to be incidents which
perhaps could be avoided by a proper appreciation of history.
The recent events in Eelam and South India where our gallant youth, possibly
misled, were involved in acts of adventurism against each other fill us with
sadness. These are temporary setbacks and of not much significance and therefore
let us not lose heart. For each one of them there are hundreds of others who are
by their dedication and self sacrifice are working and night to ensure that no
Tamil speak g person will suffer again for accidentally being born a Tamil.
The task before us is enormous. The effort required is formidable. It is
clear to some at least that all of us are standing in the same deep shadow, a
shadow which can only be lifted by human courage and honour.
And therefore friends for anyone born a Tamil today is also burdened with a
heavy responsibility. Now is not the time to be indulging in idle chatter or
trivial talk or nourishing food. The party is over. There is a job to be done.
Let us stand together and get on with it."
Self Reliance: A Political Imperative - Edward Benedict
There is widespread acceptance that the struggle between the Sinhalese and the
Tamils in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) dates back to nearly two thousand five hundred
years. (2500 BC). It is widely claimed that the is widely claimed that the
enmity and rivalry between these two communities is the single, oldest struggle
between any two known groups of peoples in the world. Although, there have been
periods of relative harmony between the groups involved, much of the history has
been marked by a polemic climate, obviously generated by sharp differences in
language, culture and religion. These differences have by and large remained
irreconcilable for several centuries, and still remains a matter of not only
domestic tranquility, but also have become a matter of international concern.
At the very outset without having to repeat statements that have been made by
experts and scholars on the nature of the struggle provoked by Sinhala
oppression all throughout the history of that nation, the one salient factor
that stands out prominently, is the absence of `homogeneity' in Ceylon. In the
past many Sinhala historians have alluded to this dimension, and it appears that
the hear of the matter of this rivalry is the presumption of `homogeneity' in
Ceylon. The essential ingredients so vital to the formation of a `nation-state'
does not exist in Ceylon.
It is therefore, clear that the idea of "One Nation" is a political myth. As
it has been pointed out with valid historical documentation -Ceylon is one
country - but two nations. The Nation -Builders presumably working on the theory
that unity was possible within diversity, but, a political philosophy that
subscribed to the imposition of "Sinhala - Buddhist Uniqueness" resulted in the
programmed exclusion of the minorities, especially the Tamil minority, from the
mainstream of the social, economic and political life of Ceylon. All
discriminatorymeasures both by administrative and legislative measures taken by
successive governments were counter-productive to national unity, national
integrity, and nation building. In point of fact, a stable and cohesive society
was dismantled in the post-independence era .by serious political calculations.
The principle of exclusion was operative, and it was visible.
OPTIONS EXHAUSTED The tamils have practically exhausted the many options, in
an effort to vindicate their rights as a people-long settled in that country.
The Tamils, through their elected representatives have placed their legitimate
demands to the Sinhala leadership time and time after. The many pacts and deals
made with the Sinhala political leadership in the post - independence era, were
never honoured, it was honoured more in the breach than in its compliance.
The road the Tamils had travelled was torturous one. Communications between
the Tamils and the Sinhalese have reached and impasse, and the only option that
still remained open to the Tamils, was to think in terms of a political strategy
that would mark the end of an era of wilful oppression. The political leadership
in a landmark decision at Vaddukodai -unanimously decided to create a "Separate
State for the Tamils." The Vaddukodai resolution is a major shift in the
political philosophy and strategy, and one that has to be to honoured in terms
of its mandate from the Tamils of Ceylon.
The Tamils in their struggle for freedom and liberation from the oppressors
have had recourse to many arguments, whether it be constitutional, -legal, or
matters of historical evidence, and a whole other range of valid contestations
which challenge Sinhala rule over the Tamils. It is perhaps true that not one of
these will satisfy the Sinhala power holders, not because it lackslogic, but
because once power has been passed on to the Sinhala - elite, they are unwilling
to either share power to surrender their right to rule. In fact this transfer of
power or surrender their right settlement was a tragedy of enormous dimensions,
and a political error of great magnitude caused by the British, resulting in the
current dilemma of the Tamils in Ceylon. It
was a horse deal between the British and the Sinhala leadership, and one that
has caused untold havoc since that deal was made. Therefore, it is proper to
claim, that we are being ruled illegally, but notwithstanding the rejection of
these contestations, the one -"Right" that the Sinhalese cannot deny the Tamils
- is the "RIGHT OF SELF DETERMINATION."
As Tamils, we have frequently alluded to the incontestable fact that the
right of self-determination is an inalienable - fundamental right, and one that
is not open for debate or discussion. It is a right widely accepted in the
international community of nations, and one that has to be respected. The
critical matter that is before the Tamil people is the nature of the political
model that would best incorporate their native aspirations. The political model
that has been proposed is that of "Thamil Eelam," and until a fresh mandate is
obtained from the people, this model cannot be compromised.
A real - living progame for the liberation of a people, must necessarily
include the "People", not some, but all of the people. The nature of the
struggle is such that it must accept the principle of "MASS PARTICIPATION". The
movement cannot be left in the hands of eighteen members of Paliament, or eighty
one youths - whether they be radical or not, not even in the hands of a handful
of members of the community of expatriate - wherever they
be. A dependent theory is contrary to the vitality and growth of a movement.
Any genuine liberation struggle must place its stress with the peole themselves.
This is what is meant by SELF - RELIANT struggle, and this must therefore
encompass all areas. The building of resources at all levels must commence
immediately. Yet this does not contradict the principle of `Self-Reliance." It
is an orchestration of efforts, but one that must be planned and programmed to
meet all exigencies. A struggle that transfers the burden of winning the rights,
to powers whether they be super - powers or not, will eventually fail, and
become entrapped in slavery to a new master. It is imperative therefore to bear
in mind, that a liberation group that does not understand "Self - Reliance"
cannot understand liberation. Only where the people themselves have fought and
died for their liberation, can they then become masters of the new society. The
"elite revolution" is political suicide, without Mass Participation, th
revolution will be short lived and limited in terms of its ultimate goal.
The Tamils must learn from similar struggles that are taking place in the
world. The best examples around the world whether the Cuban revolution, the
Eritreans struggle, the P.L.O. etc.. are all worthy of our intense study, unless
there is mass appeal, mass participation, the uprising of the people themselves,
the movement is bound to fail. It must become a PEOPLE'S WAR. Our principal aim
is our PRINCIPLES. There must be Determination. There must be WILL to succeed.
In the final analysis, the idea of liberation must firmly be entrenched in
our hearts and minds. We must positively take sides, the Tamils can no longer
sit on the fence. We must be participants in this, our struggle, not spectators,
-on the side of mankind attempting to liberate itself from all kinds of
oppression. If we are a oppressed people -and we are -then we must fight for
The political model of Thamil Eelam can be read in many different ways. There
are some who consider it as, Quest for Tamil rights, others use it as an
intimidating and threatening political instruments, and yet others see it as a
goal to be achieved. The shaping of the future is in the hand of the people.
Since the free world usually are not supporters of "Separatism",then a strong
federalism might be an answer.
In any event, the decision is in the hands of the people, As the Axiom goes -
VOX POPULI - VOX DEI. (The voice of the people is the voice of God) The rights
of man come not from the state but from Almighty God. The fight for self -
determination is a political imperative; and one that must be pursued with all
its Vigor and Vitality.
Call for Effective
Intervention By Indian Government. on Tamil Issue
The Tamil Nadu Kamaraj Congress leader, Mr. P. Nedumaran, has urged the
effective intervention of the Union Government in the Sri Lanka Tamils issue to
ensure the safe return of thousands who had fled the country seeking asylum in
Mr. Nedumaran told newsmen on is return from the World Tamils Conference held
recently in New York, that the conference discussed the Sri Lanka Tamils Eelam
demand and a new organisation styled "Tamils Eelam Liberation Council" was
formed A 12-point programme was drawn up and it was resolved to open branches of
the new Liberation Council in various countries in Europe to mobilise the
sympathy and support of their people.
Li reply to a question, Mr. Nedumaran said the Sri Lanka Tamils wanted that
the people and the Government of Tamil Nadu Mould mount pressure on the Centre.
There could be talks between the officials of the External Affaris Ministries of
the two countries, failing which the Foreign Ministers could meet.
Referring to the Liberation Tigers, Mr. Nedumaran demanded a probe by the
Tamil Nadu Government into alleged leakage of information, during interrogation
of the arrested persons.