TAMIL NATIONAL FORUM
Selected Writings by Prof P.Ramasamy
Tamil Eelam - a Nation State in the Making
14 July 2000
Tamil Eelam - Right to Self Determination and
Eelam & the Right to Secession by Professor M.Sornarajah]
are three questions being posed about Tamil Eelam:
Is Eelam a reality?
What will the nature of its
How is the new
nation-state going to sustained economically?
And what will the nature
of the new society in general and the policy towards other ethnic
Is Eelam a reality?
Before the above questions could be addressed, it must be firmly
established that creation of Eelam is not predicated on chauvinistic grounds.
Eelam is basically a Tamil response to the injustices
committed by the Sinhalese elite against the Tamil people for a number of years.
Thus, through the creation of Eelam, Tamils hope that their pride, dignity and
freedom as human beings will be safeguarded in their traditional homelands. The
struggle for their realisation of this noble objective is spearheaded by none
other than the LTTE.
Of late, these questions and related ones seem to concern
both friends and foes of Eelam. While there are no definite answers to these
questions, some tentative clues can be provided.
In a formal sense, Eelam has not been formed. LTTE has not made any declaration
to date about Eelam. But
in an informal or defacto sense, LTTE is basically in control of nearly 70
percent of Tamil traditional homelands. Thus, on this basis, it can be argued
that the LTTE stands an excellent chance of creating an independent homeland of
Eelam in the near foreseeable future. However, for this to happen, the LTTE has
yet to expel the Sri Lankan armed forces from the north and parts of the east.
In this regard,
no number of devolution packages can derail the commitment and
single-mindedness of the LTTE. For it there is no solution with out Eelam. In
this context, it is rather ridiculous for the Sri Lankan government to expect
the LTTE to endorse the devolution package-a package meant to appease the
government's international clients more than anything else.
What will the nature
of its political governance?
If Eelam is created what will be the nature of political
governance? Will it come under a civilian administration or will the LTTE
continue to hold on to power? It goes without saying that once Eelam is created
and diplomatically recognised by the international community of nations, LTTE
has no justification to hold on to power.
Since it is the political principle of the LTTE that government
should be run on democratic lines, democratic form of government will have to be
instituted based on the popular mandate. Freedom fighters will probably form
political parties to contest in the elections, but political power will be
predicated on the basis of popular participation and popular mandate. LTTE will
not just disappear, but it will be transformed into a professional security
apparatus of the new nation. It goes without saying, the prime minister or the
new president of the country
will be probably Prabhakaran; unless of course, he retires from the
How is the new
going to sustained economically?
Will Eelam be feasible nation-state project?
So many countries have gained their independence in the last few decades,
and many of them are doing well. There is no reason to doubt that Eelam will not
do well. Well, given the Tamil Diaspora's support for the LTTE, one would expect
that funds from the Diaspora
will flow into Eelam. Given the number of Tamil professionals who have made
their mark in professional fields, one would expect these individuals and their
organisations to contribute to the development of Eelam. Of course once Eelam is
politically formalised, there are donor agencies who would be ready to provide
financial assistance. Remember back in the early 1990s, Japan was quite keen to
provide development assistance for Tamil areas. It was the Sinhalese government
that stopped this project. In this regard, the Japanese will come to assist
Eelam. So Eelam will be a completely feasible state. More than this, I believe
given the widespread nature of the support from the Tamil Diaspora with their
skills in hi-tech fields, Eelam has a very bright future as hi-tech state.
And what will the
nature of the new society in general and the policy towards other ethnic
It is beyond question that the new society of Eelam will be a
transformed one. Years of struggle waged by the LTTE has given Tamils a new way
of constituting their society. To a large extent ills associated with the caste
system will be removed. The LTTE has always recognised this menace.
The dignity and pride of women will be restored and resurrected in the new
society. Their role will have to constituted under new egalitarian and
democratic order. Gone will be the days in when women were subjected to all
kinds of discrimination. In the new society both women and men will be expected
to shoulder new responsibilities without the burden of pre-ordained sexual roles
and stereotypes. There are many analysts who see the LTTE as merely a fighting
machine without the understanding how it has contributed to transform the Tamil
society by getting rid of customs and practices that have served to constrain
the development of ordinary Tamils.
Eelam will be based on the principles of democratic secularism. There will be
freedom of worship. Other ethnic groups will enjoy the same rights as Tamils.
Muslims will have an important stake in Eelam. In fact there are indications
that if the Muslims support Eelam, the deputy leader of Eelam will be a Muslim.
In fact during the period of
Kittu, Muslim community were promised a number of things in the new
administration. While it is true that Sinhalese regime has created a lot of bad
blood between the LTTE and some sections of the Muslim community, Muslims on the
whole are not opposed to the ideals of the LTTE. In fact, the LTTE has taken
great pains to obtain the support of Muslims for Eelam. There are indications
that some sections of the Muslim community are beginning to realise the validity
of the promises made by the LTTE. Tamils have been
by the Sinhalese majority, but in Eelam, all nationalities will enjoy equal