30 October 2012

India’s kite-flying lesson

India is no island and neither is Sri Lanka one.  Not in this globalized world of the 21st Century.  Indeed, there hasn’t been such ‘islandic’ isolation for millennia.  Water and wind know no borders, need no visas.  People move.  Money does too, along with goods and services. 

If a butterfly flapping its wings in one corner of the world can precipitate a whirlwind at the other end, only a fool would say that India’s Kundakulam Nuclear Plant is not Sri Lanka’s business, especially when Delhi operates as though the problems of Sri Lankan Tamils are its baby (it is, for reasons Delhi is uncomfortable talking about). 
Still, Delhi does what Delhi believes is best for India, never mind protests by Indian citizens living in the vicinity of the nuclear facility.  If Delhi really doesn’t give a damn about Indians, why on earth should India worry about griping Sri Lankans?  Concerns have been raised about safety.  Delhi has offered safety guarantees, but then again those who hurrahed ‘Three Mile Island’, ‘Chernobyl’ and ‘Fukushima’ probably didn’t say ‘It’s as safe as safe could be’.  The wails come post-disaster and by then it’s too late for the victims.  Still, Delhi is not worried.  Delhi does, as we said, what Delhi thinks best and non-Indians have been unceremoniously told to go fly a kite.  And yes, if Delhi can tell its own citizen-objectors to fly a kite, telling Sri Lanka to follow suit is hardly surprising.

There’s a lesson here.  Two, in fact. 
First, following the goose-gander theory, Colombo can tell Delhi that kite-flying is a universal pastime: ‘We’ll fly and dear sirs and madams, you could do so too; it’s great fun!’  Sri Lanka can fly her own Kundakulam kite somewhere on the island and can ask China, Pakistan or Burkina Faso to help with some string, tissue paper and bamboo splits. 

Sri Lanka can squeeze more from the kite metaphor, in fact.   The 13th Amendment, for instance: ‘It’s our kite now baby, so we will choose to fly, choose length of string or shove it down the chute and play marbles instead’.   
India had no business to finger-poke in Sri Lanka’s affairs.  India fed insecurity in Sri Lanka by finger-poking.  In this instance Sri Lanka is not being busybody neighbor.  Sri Lanka is raising legitimate concerns and questions, which have been raised by Indians themselves.    However, it is one thing (like India) to tell a neighbor to go fly a kite and quite another to tell one’s own people to indulge in kite-flying.   That’s Lesson Number 2. 

Delhi is not ‘India’ but that’s not reason for ‘Colombo’ to act as if it is not Sri Lanka.  We can start with the controversial 13th Amendment, for example.  It is common knowledge that Rajiv Gandhi bamboozled J.R. Jayewardene in a way that Manmohan Singh could not trip Mahinda Rajapaksa.  The 13th Amendment was rushed through illegally.   There was no meaningful debate.  Everyone in every relevant institution was arm-twisted to get it passed.  This territorial solution to what no one has been able to prove is a territory-based problem did not resolve any grievance.  It was duly embraced by politicians of all parties who saw opportunity to use it as a stepping-stone in the matter of career advancement and of course to rob and unleash thuggery.  Those things were duly ‘devolved’.   
Today there are calls for scrapping the 13th.  There are also calls for scrapping the executive presidency.  Neither are issues that Colombo and Colombo alone can decide on.  Colombo can but should not do a Delhi on either issue. 

There are times to be Delhi because ‘sovereignty’, ‘national interest’ and ‘national pride’ can sometimes make ‘Go fly a kite Mr. Singh’ a legit retort.  There are times when we should not be like Delhi.  The kite season, simply, is over.  The winds are too strong.  And it’s raining again. 


Channa said...

oh, Bahu should take up this sport too.

මයියා ( Mayya) said...

If world is a right place where exists the equity irrespective of power and money then I have no hesitation in agreeing with you sir, but unfortunately it is not......the right is not the might but the might is right....I am sure you will not disagree if I say that our big naibour have big mussles than us . In a world of might is right , we have no other option other than dancing to the music of mighty naibour...