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Home > Tamils - a Nation without a State> France > 12 Tamils Elected in French Local Government Elections
Tamils - a Nation without a State
12 Tamils Elected in French Local Government Elections
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 18 March 2008]
"An emerging picture in recent times in Europe and North America is the active and successful participation of Tamils in the political arena of their adopted countries.
The new impetus seems to be coming from the younger generation of Eezham Tamils. Fourteen Eezham Tamils contested in the local government elections this time in Paris and suburbs alone. Five Eezham Tamils were elected in the first round itself. Along with them, two Pondicheri Tamils and Mrs. Lilawtee Rajendram, a Mauritiun Tamil married to an Eezham Tamil also got elected in the first round.
In all twelve candidates of Tamil origin were elected to local bodies in
Paris and suburbs in the local government elections concluded on 16 March 2008.
Seven of them are Eezham Tamils
while three are of Pondicheri (Paa'ndichcheari) origin and one each of
A striking feature of the concluded elections is that all the elected Eezham Tamils belong to left wing political parties. Observers identify a subtle message of Tamil unhappiness conveyed to the present right wing government, says writer Ki.Pi. Aravindan in Paris.
The 12 candidates elected in Paris and suburbs are -
The French Tamil connections have a long history dating back to the time that the French East India Company was established at Pondicheri in 1664. The French and the Danish (at Tharangkampaadi) were the two European powers who thought of having their colonial headquarters in the land of Tamils.
A part of the modern history of Tamils shows a strong link to the colonial history of the French. Tamils migrated to various French colonies all over the world and a representative section of them are living in France today. A large number of them are those who migrated to France from Pondicheri with the annexation of French territories by independent India.
Even though from time to time such Tamils found representation in the French political arena, new impetus came with the arrival of Eezham Tamils, shaping and giving form to a common Tamil identity in France.
Around 125,000 Tamils are estimated to be living in France. Of them, around 50,000 are Eezham Tamils.
A significant event that took place in
Paris last January was Tamils of all shades jointly celebrating
Thai Pongal as a common festival of Tamil identity.
Another noticeable manifestation of the emerging cultural consciousness is the presence of four Tamil bookshops in the La Chapelle area of Paris.
Last year, in Norway, eight Eezham Tamils, five of them ladies, were elected to the local bodies. Two of the ladies were aged 19 and 22 when they were elected.
According to Statistics Norway, a Norwegian government survey, 70 percent of Eezham Tamil women participated in the voting which is the highest among the migrants in Norway.
Political consciousness, education and long established familiarity with the norms of democratic politics are said to be the reasons behind the diaspora Tamil political activism.