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Selected Writings by Sachi Sri Kantha
Maha Bharatha & Tamil Eelam
The demonstration lesson for the day was to pluck a hanging mango with an arrow from a big tree located 100 yards away. Both Pandavas and Kauravas were assembled at Guru Dhronachariyar's archery camp. The first student archer to be called for the test was Duchchadanan. The Guru pointed at the mango, hanging in the top branch of the tree and asked Duchchadanan to take aim. Before the release of arrow, the Guru directed a few pointed questions at Duchchadanan.
Guessing what will be the outcome, the Guru asked Duchchadanan to release his arrow. As the great Guru expected, the mango did not fall. Then, Dhronacharlyar called Bhiman to take a shot and asked the same questions.
Bhiman also answered in a similar fashion to Duchchadanan. And the outcome was also the same. Bhiman was followed by Duriyodanan and the Guru's son Aswathama. All repeated similar answers to the same questions posed by the Guru. But they were not successful in plucking the mango with the arrow. Finally, the Guru called his beloved and brilliant student Arjunan to take aim at the mango. And he posed the same questions to Arjunan.
Pleased with his answers. the Guru asked Arjunan to release his arrow. And, as the Guru expected. Arjunan the brought the mango down. To his other dumbfounded students, the Guru then taught the moral of that day's lesson.
When you are aiming for one thing, concentrate only on your aim and do not be concerned by the surrounding objects and distractions. Then, and then only, you will succeed in your aim.
This simple story from the epic Mahabharata still holds true in the current environment in Sri Lanka. A cursory glance of the liberation struggles around the world in this century should reveal that they are not "100 yards dash runs". On the contrary, they are "marathon runs", lasting 26 odd miles. Here, we can confidently equate miles to years. The Indian independence struggle, after Gandhi gained leadership in 1919 took 28 years to reach its fruition. China's liberation struggle (for the same end, but with different means) under the leadership of Mao Tse Tung took almost the same length of time.
Considering this fact, how many of the Eelam starters are still in the field of liberation struggle? In 1983, there were half a dozen runners. The TULF was the first to lose its steam. It believed in the "Bangladesh model' of liberation carried out by Indira Gandhi. After Indira Gandhi's assassination in late 1985, the TULF had nothing to show for their liberation struggle aim. The next five years (1986-90) saw the pathetic fall of quite a number of Tamil militant groups due to their lack of focus on the original aim.
Militant groups such as the TELO, EPRLF, PLOTE and ENDLF behaved just like Guru Dhronachariyar's mediocre students of archery. In contrast, only the LTTE has the unblemished record of not faltering in their original aim. They have yet to bring the mango down but have gained the grudging admiration of their adversaries for their persistence and for the tenacity of their struggle.
Just a few months before his death. Jawarhalal Nehru was asked, "What in Mahatma Gandhi's thinking most impressed you and your country men?". The Indian statesman replied as follows: "His (Gandhi's) analysis of the situation in India was essentially that we were suffering terribly from fear, so he just went about telling us; 'Don't be afraid. Why are you afraid? What can happen to you?".
In essence according to Nehru, Gandhi's prime motivational contribution to the Indian freedom struggle was dispelling the sense of fear among the Indian people. Similarly it can be said that only the LTTE has dispelled the sense of fear which prevailed among the Eelam Tamils not long ago.
Some cynics may also wonder how I can compare the LTTE, with Gandhi, the apostle of non-violence. But, Nehru himself (in 1963) commented on the futility of non-violence as an effective tool for a liberation struggle in the latter half of this century. Nehru noted, "The efficacy of non-violence is not entirely convincing. None of us would dare in the present state of the world, to do away with the instruments of organized violence".
The cyanide capsule of the LTTE rebels symbolises in, one way, an adherence to Mahatma Gandhi's cherished ideal of a freedom fighter - the abandonment of the fear of death. For those who do not possess the determination to concentrate all their resources and attention on the target, the cyanide capsule symbolises suicidal tendencies. But it is only those whose aims are steadfast who can answer Gandhi's ultimate challenge to a freedom fighter - abandonment of the fear of death.