10 February 2013

India is our ‘friend’, right?

It was not the first time that Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans have been treated shabbily in India and by Indians.  Friday’s vandalizing of an office of the Bank of Ceylon in Tamil Nadu by pro-LTTE elements of that state who are wont to shed copious tears over ‘the plight of Tamil brethren in Sri Lanka’ ironically left two Tamils, one Sri Lankan and one Indian, injured.  It is a well-known fact that for all the love professed for Sri Lankan Tamils by Tamil Nadu politicians, they (Sri Lankan Tamils) are subject to ridicule and harassment in that State and treated with derision and suspicion.  If there are CCTV cameras at the Chennai Airport, the footage would reveal a lot about ‘love’.

It is now customary for uncouth Tamil Nadu politicians to whip up hysteria among ill-educated supporters and organize demonstrations and attacks on Sri Lankans.  It is customary for Delhi to issue statements of concern and trot out assurance-homilies regarding safety.  And yet, officials have been harassed, pilgrims attacked and properties damaged.  That’s ‘India Shining’, one supposes.  But India is a ‘friend’.
A quick recap is called for.  India funded, armed and trained the LTTE terrorists to destabilize Sri Lanka to the point of annexure (ref Rajiv Gandhi’s statement on turning Sri Lanka into a second Bhutan).   The LTTE blunted development, terrorized a nation, killed thousands of innocent civilians and more than any other entity caused untold suffering to the Tamil community (courtesy forced recruitment of children, hostage-taking and turning regions the Tamils lived in into combat zones for decades).  India helped them.  But India, ladies and gentlemen, is a ‘friend’. 

India took up an anti-Sri Lanka position at the UNHRC in March 2012 and is said to be readying to do a repeat this year.  India tried to and is still trying to secure a strategic foothold via the Sampur Power Plant with exclusivity clauses as well as cost-upping inferior technology specifications.  India has always arm-twisted Sri Lanka to sign trade and other agreements with unequal benefits.  Indian companies are trying to secure drilling rights in the Mannar basin.  All for the love of Sri Lanka.  India is wary of Chinese influence in Sri Lanka, perhaps because India feels that China is not Sri Lanka’s friend and that as Sri Lanka’s ‘friend’, India needs to protect ‘Lil’ Bro Sri Lanka’.  The condescension should be ignored because, after all, India is Sri Lanka’s ‘friend’. 
India dumped a mammoth white elephant called the 13th Amendment preying on J.R. Jayewardene’s inability to do simple arithmetic.  The ‘13th’ was used and is being used by those who want a Sri Lanka break-up to concretize the myth of ‘Traditional Tamil Homelands’, never mind the fact that the majority of Tamils live outside the Northern and Eastern provinces.   India is a ‘friend’, though.   

Indians visit Sri Lanka, some as tourists, some on business.  Indian companies operate freely in Sri Lanka.  India exports a lot to Sri Lanka, including cheap and sub-standard drugs.  That’s ‘friendship’ and we have to conclude that there are nice, decent, Sri Lankan ‘friends’ who facilitate such ‘friendship’, for it takes two hands to clap. 
The point is that Sri Lankans who take issue with India would at worst just demonstrate outside the Indian High Commission.  Indians are not button-holed and screamed at.  Indian properties are not vandalized.  Is that out of ‘fear of reprisal’?  Hardly.  India has shown its worst face and ended with egg on it, ironically courtesy of the bad-eggs they warmed in Tamil Nadu (that’s the IPKF, dubbed at the time as the Illan Parippu Kana Force, or ‘Force that asked for it and duly got it’). 

In short India and Sri Lanka are friends but ones who have different ideas about what constitutes friendship.  Different ideas about civilization too, one might add.  People learn from one another, though, and over time ‘friends’ pick up each other’s traits.  It is hard to think that India would become less uncouth and thug-like though.  It would be a pity, however, if Sri Lanka became like India and did the works-both-ways-brother number on Indians and Indian establishments here.  


Fayaz Moosin said...

shades of Shakespeare and Marc Antony !!!well done.fayaz

sajic said...

I was going to make the above comment and Fayaz beat me to it!

SANDIKA said...

we give different naming/names different groups/people. any who does not belong to the category of 'relatives' parents' sons and 'daughters'( are there any other groups?) are belong to the category of 'FRIENDS'. This word too one can sub categorize if like or if want. some are just hello and hi friends, some 'hello good morning/good night/how are u today friends, some how was your day?, what happen to the issues you were talking about, did you find any solutions, did u have your lunch, medicine, how was the trip, may be i can help, sure you will win, so some belong to the above dialogued categories. some ( there are many or any :) SOME APPEAR ONLY WHEN NECESSARY , WHEN YOUR FRIEND IS IN NEED OF YOUR HELP, WHEN SOME JUST OPPOSE FOR EVERY SINGLE THING YOU SUGGEST OR FOR EVERY THING THAT YOU DO ( NO ANALYZING TAKES PLACE, SOME ANALYZE YOU PROPERLY THEY JUST DON'T ISSUES ANY STATEMENTS BUT READ YOU BETTER AND GIVE THEIR HONEST VIEWS OR STATEMENTS IN PUBLIC - THERE ARE MOMENTS THAT FRIENDS HAS TO SHARE THEIR VIEWS TO THE PUBLIC OR FOR THE PUBLIC IN ADDITION TO THE THINGS THAT THEY SHARE AMONG THEMSELVES (AMONG FRIENDS)


SOME ARE REGIONLIZED, CONTINENTALIZED,EUROPEANIZED OR ASIANIZED SUMMITIZED, DIFFERENT ORGANIZATIONALIZED, TELEWISED, ETC ETC each above mentioned ( categories of friends) may act or react or do things to maintain,sustain, support or who knows to oppose to the levels of their exisiting frienships things such things truly depend on the 'inteligibility or the understandability, closeness, importance of the friendships that they maintain. everything happens accordingly.

so India is a friend, Afghanistan is a friend, Pakistan is a friend, Vaico is not a friend, Obama is a friend, Holande is a friend, King of UAE is a friend, i am not going to sub categorize any of them.

so friends, friends often or most of the occasions get chances to show their 'level of relationships'to the friends that they associate with or know what category they belong to,

lets see, sometimes people get chances sometimes they don't get chances to show 'how close they are'? but when ever they are given a chance they must show whether they are trustworthy friends or just 'trade n trade' friendships ' or is it just cultural ( namely) or historical or civilizational :)

all Anthonies, Marks and Cleopatras , Arjuns, kalidasa,William Wordsworth, Shakespeare, Michel shoemarker i guess are not enemies of any of that era or this era only thing that i don't understand it 'the sub category' they belong to :)

India are you a friend of SL?

introspection4sl said...

The treatment that many sri lankan officials and even pilgrims had received in TN is pathetic and no one would deny that. But you have not experienced such an act in other parts of India. Even the people of TN (educated ones) are embarrassed by the likes of Vaiko. But we Lankans do have an equal or a worse record of treating Indians in our soil. Let’s not forget that. What happened to Indian cricket fans in Pallekale stadium recently?, remember Sharuk was greeted with bombs, attack on Rajiv Gandhi, vandalism of Indian property during Black July. These acts have already put a black mark on our nation. Talk about that too. We as a society need to grow up. But in all these cases you can observe a difference on how authorities acted. In India when things like this happen their authorities control the unruly elements. Do we do that in SL? The CM of TN and other politicians use the Lankan issue for their own advantage. But central gov in india, did not let things go out of hand. When will our idiots learn this? We are not in a position to point our finger at india. That is the sad reality.
It is true that lankan issue, our ethnic problem is a tool for the TN politicians to gain political mileage. But think for a moment who let them do it? It is we, who let them do that. It is WE and Sinhala leaders (whom you support) who do not solve our problems that are being used by TN politicians. Solve them first. But what are we doing, trying to create more problems. There is no use in blaming TN politicians, lets solve our issues first.
It is true india funded LTTE. But later on they did help us let’s acknowledge that too. LTTE was a product of the racist and idiotic policies of Sinhala leaders. That is the truth and there is no point in blaming others. India is a different country and they took advantage of the prevailing situation in SL and we let them do it. There is no point of talking about Rajiv, after all he was somewhat pro SL than his mother. India’s approach on SL has changed a lot lets invest in that.

introspection4sl said...

India did bully SL during 80s and sadly we did provided space for that. We, our leaders let the creation of a polarized ethnic makeup in SL playing the race card and ignoring Tamil’s concerns. Personally I think JR handled india quite well at that time. He punched above his weight as a leader in a small country, (though I believe he is part of the tragedy in SL). Somewhere in mid 80s india realized break up of SL is not gonna work well for india so they changed the game. And whatever the intentions they had coming up with 13th amendment, it did serve this country well. Don’t blame India or 13th, it was a good thing for us. Yes 13th amendment was good for SL. I don’t say it suits our problem we need a more practical solution. However power devolution is a must if SL is to prosper in the future.
It is again true that india-SL trade is heavily biased towards india. But that is again because of our bad economic policy making. Gove is not trying to build our economy. It is not handled by competent people with the aim of developing SL. It is the commission what drives them. When you are poor, hamoma oluwata athahodanawa ne. That is the reality. We can’t change how other countries do things, but we can change how we do things. Just look at the way MR gov is destroying our economy and wasting public money on white elephants. Mattala airport, hambanthota port, stadiums in hambanthota, Mihin air, Norochcholai, nelum pokuna, asian games all these things are not done with a proper analysis. It is the leaders of this country who bring down our ecomony, making this country indebted for years to come. We give others the leverage to exploit us. Can u see that? After all importing from india is advantageous to SL. Last time I heard, SL is importing buses from china. I say just look at a map and think about all the shipping cost. Importing from india is advantageous to us. Also india is a large market. Our own industries can use that. Creating anti Indian sentiment would not help us in that regard. Whatever said and done india is a secular and democratic country in south asia. If handled intelligently india is an asset for SL.
Don’t say IPKF was the worst face of india. IPKF didn’t invade SL. They came here after JR requested for them. If Premadasa didn’t send the IPKF back, we could have finished LTTE with minimum damage to SL. Let’s act using intelligence other than mere emotions. Also there is nothing called friendship in world affairs. Once US and Pakistan were friends. Things change. Countries act in their own interests and don’t expect any goodwill out of friendship. I didn’t expect such an emotional drivel from a newspaper editor. I understand you have genuine love for Sinhala people but please give the intellectual guidance they do need now. Again I am telling you, we need to act using intelligence than mere emotions.